Please take continue to take action to demand the release of Shield member, Siddharta “Sidd” Fisher from Western State hospital in Tacoma, Washington.
Alert Update 9/16/21
Cindy writes about Sidd: “As a Black, Trans, Disabled person, unlawfully confined in a decertified, defunded hosptital, this truly increases her vulnerability to harm”
The good news is that Cindi Fisher continues to fiercely advocate for Sidd’s immediate discharge in accordance with the Olmstead ruling. See below for actions you can take.
The bad news is that the previous plans that Cindi put together for Sidd’s release have been officially dismissed by the discharge planning team. If you recall, at the demand of Sidd’s psychiatrist, Western State took Sidd off the discharge list, to enable a social worker to report to a judge during a recommitment hearing that Sidd was ineligible for the outside services (the ones that Cindi had helped Sidd enroll in) so Sidd was recommitted because there was no discharge plan!
Then capricously, WS staff put her back on the disharge list, only days later. Administratively, this shenanigan had the effect of undoing months of work by Cindy and Sidd’s advocates to create a independent living plan for Sidd which had Sidd’s buy-in
The discharge planning team is now recommending that Sidd live in an adult care home. As Cindi pointed out, Sidd’s last experience at an adult care home was negative and short-lived, plus it can take up to a year for an opening at one of these adult care homes, essentially dooming Sidd to remain locked up at Western State indefinitely.
Other bad news is that Cindi has been banned from visiting Sidd, her adult child, due to a disagreement involving the mask-wearing policies enforced by Western State. This led to a misunderstanding in which Western State staff accused Cindi of shouting and being combative, and creating safety/security concerns MFI staff has known Cindy for years and has never witnessed her exhibiting any behavior that could be construed as violent or threatening. MFI strongly opposes this characterization of Cindi’s character.
Despite a ban order by Western State, Cindi will continue to hold vigils in front of Western State hospital, noting that it is public property.
Join the advocacy for
Next one: September 21, 2021
Please take 2 minutes to copy, paste and email this message to Western State Hospital Administrators …click her
or if you have more time
Alert Update: 8/17/21
Cindi thinks your letters are making a difference!
Don’t let up now!
Several days ago, we put out a call for help locating the contact information for Siddhartha’s ‘treatment’ team. Thanks to a devoted Shield volunteer, we have located some of that information. Please scroll down to actions to view contact these people for Siddhartha’s immediate discharge and don’t forget that you can post your actions in the comments section below.
Cindi is ending her forty day consecutive day fast but she continues to protest in front of Western State Hospital every Tuesday
For more details on how you can be in solidarity with Cindi, you can view more details on her website HERE
If you have already taken action based on the original alert dated 7/27 (see below) THANK YOU! If you haven’t taken action to date, or you are new to this Shield campaign, please scroll down to read the original alert and join others by taking action TODAY. You can share Siddharta’s alert with others by going to the alert on MFI’s website HERE and sharing the link.
Ron Bassman, MFI’s Executive Director recently wrote this letter HERE
When you take a new action, whether you receive a response or not, please post a copy of your letter/email publicly in the comments section on Sid’s alert HERE
Scroll down to view actions you can take for Siddharta!
ACTIONS posted 8/9/2021
Send an email to every legislator in Washington with a single messae, compliments Jim Gottstein. Use this email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact the following individuals who are on Siddharta’s ‘treatment’ team who have the power to recommend his immediate discharge:
2) Brian Waiblinger
Medical Director, Western State Hospital
525 34th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
3302 N 19th St
Tacoma, WA 98406
3) Ellen Brown
Discharge Social Worker
(MFI has learned through another Shield member that the information of Ellen Brown posted earlier was incorrect. A disclaimer was posted alongside the information stating that MFI was not 100% sure of the accuracy of the contact information. MFI has now confirmed that the contact information posted earlier was incorrect.
4) Dr. Zisken
MIKHAIL Y ZISKIN
8016 56th Street Ct W
University Place, WA 98467
(Outside-house pickets have seemed effective for some folks?)
Psychologist on Sid’s ‘treatment’ team if you can find her contact information, please send it to email@example.com
Consider joining Cindi by fasting for an hour, a day, or giving up something you enjoy for a time. Write the item you are giving up and the time period on a paper plate and send a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can circulate.
Alert Update: 8/4/21
“Hidden in plain sight. People have no idea how corrupt the Washington mental health system is!” These are the words of Cindi Fisher whose adult child who continues to be imprisoned in Western State Hospital, despite his discharge readiness.
Cindi ended her fast yesterday but she will continue to fast every Tuesday and protest in front of Western State Hospital on Tuesdays until Sid is discharged. She asks for your continued support calling the hospital and officials in the state of Washington (see phone numbers below) to demand Sid’s release.
In this video, recorded live at her protest yesterday HERE She asks that you join her by fasting as a statement of support for Sid and all of the other people who are locked up in Western State hospital. She asks that you take an empty plate and write down what amount of time you would be willing to fast for Siddharta whether it is an hour or a day or even longer and send a selfie of your plate to Cindi at email@example.com.
Watch Cindi Fisher, Original alert 7/21/21Sidd’s mother, Cindi Fisher, requested that Sidd’s Shield be activated to help her win her freedom. She has been held against her will for over a year while being forcibly drugged. On the eve of what supposed to be the day of her discharge, she was capriciously taken off the discharge list. Cindi has been conducting a hunger strike in solidarity with Sidd ever since.
You may recall that Western State Hospital was de-certified by the state of Washington and de-funded by Medicaid to the tune of $53 million. Why then, are there hundreds of people, like Sidd still locked up there in violation of the Olmstead Ruling which explicitly states that people should be allowed to live in the least restrictive setting possible within their own communities?
Sidd and her mother both ask for your help demanding Sidd’s release from this unsafe, unhealthy environment..
You can read about Cindi’s solidarity protest HERE
Below is a summary of Sidd’s year-long ordeal and if you scroll down to the bottom of this page you can read ACTIONS to take.
Cindi has waged a battle for ten years to support Sid’s right to live in the community as called for by the Olmstead Ruling HERE
A Mad In America article HERE describes Cindi’s journey from “Compliance to Activism”.
For those of you who have followed Siddharta’s story for many years, Sidd has slowly been letting her mother know for several years that her gender identity is female. Previous articles use he/him pronouns. Today, her mother uses she/her pronouns.
- On March 27th, 2020, Siddharta Fisher was arrested by police after experiencing a mental health crisis in Vancouver, WA.
- In mid-April, 2021, Siddharta was determined to be discharge ready from Western State Hospital.
- After weeks of the hospital not making progress towards discharge, Siddharta and Cindi Fisher took the initiative and worked out accommodations that would accept Siddharta and set up wrap around services from a local mental health agency that Siddharta had worked well with before. The hospital agreed to the plan, but still did not give Siddharta a firm date for release.
- On June 28, 2021, after Cindi Fisher informed the hospital administration that she would commence a hunger strike based on what seemed like a violation of the Olmstead Decision, Siddharta was given a July 1 discharge date.
- On June 30, 2021, less than 23 hours before Siddharta’s long awaited release, the discharge was blocked with no explanation before or at the time.
- Cindi Fisher stated, “For the last 6 weeks, Sidd had such laser focus about getting discharged, and was so articulate about going home and what freedom would feel like. When Sidd’s long and desperately awaited walk to Freedom was revoked by Dr. Ziskind and medical director Dr. Waiblinger less than 23 hours before I was due to pick her up, it had a harsh and crushing effect on Sidd’s mental health. She lost her clarity and hope.”
Cindi’s journey reveals the structural inequalities faced by black and gender non-conforming people like Siddharta who experience increased vulnerability to mental health crises, less access to quality treatment, and the least access to resources to continue care after discharge. Black patients receive more stigmatizing diagnoses for the same symptoms, higher doses of medication, and a higher likelihood of going to jail rather than a hospital for the same actions. *
What makes this situation so concerning to MindFreedom is that Sidd was on the discharge list since April and was signed up to participate in several outpatient programs in Washington to help her live independently in the community in accordance with the Olmstead ruling. Sidd is eligible to receive housing support and other services, partly paid for from a settlement from The Trueblood v. DSHS lawsuit filed in 2014 which challenged unconstitutional delays in competency evaluation and restoration services for people detained in jails.
Sidd was in line to return to her community with a lot of support.
On Tuesday, June 29, the Director of Social Work, Candace Yi, called Cindi to instruct her on the exact place and time to pick Sidd up.
On Wednesday, less than 24 hours before Sidd’s discharge, Cindi received a phone call from administrators saying that Dr. Zisken, Sidd’s treatment team doctor, and the Western State Hospital medical director not only blocked Sidd’s discharge, but took her completely off the discharge list, without any reference of harm to self or others, or prior warning.
Not only did this devastate Sidd, it made her instantly ineligible to receive the transitional housing services and peer delivered services she was set to receive after discharge–in effect, all of the planning for Sidd that took months and months to put together just went up in smoke.
Sidd needs our help to protest this injustice!
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE
Call Western State Hospital
Leave the message with the answering operator …
“Tell Dr. Waiblinger to Free Siddharta Immediately with NO Restrictions!”
Call Governor Jay Inslee
Governor Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002
TTY/TDD call 711 or
Call Senator Cleveland
District 49 (Sidd’s district)
Telephone Relay Service
Michelle Tinkler or Princene Johnson
1 (800) 531-0508
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