When Esmin Green died so horrifically and publicly in an emergency room waiting room, the world paid attention. But why is there little if any mention of what psychiatric drugs she may have been given while waiting in that room?

You may have heard about the death of Esmin Green. She died in a psychiatric emergency room in New York and her death was caught on video by security cameras.

I’m proud that MindFreedom is co-sponsoring a vigil to be led by psychaitric survivors to remember Ms. Green.

But I’m concerned about the general public discussion about Ms. Green.

I see two of the usual patterns emerging.

First, the “more money” mantra has begun.

I’ve seen the president of the American Psychiatric Association use this tragedy as an opportunity to call for more money. I’ve studied the history of psychiatry and for two hundred years there’s been the same pattern: There’s a horrible scandal that is covered by media and investigated by government. And then the mental health system asks for more money and gets it.

And so the pattern goes:

Scandal. Request for more money.

Scandal. Request for more money.

Scandal. Request for more money.

Second, a “usual suspect” is once again missing from the lineup.

I see the medical examiner has found blood clots — perhaps because of waiting so long — may have caused Ms. Green’s death.

But there is little if any public discussion about what psychiatric drugs Ms. Green may have been forced to take during those 24 hours. This omission is significant because it turns out a number of psychiatric drugs can raise the risks of death by blood clot.

The general media often seems reticent to cause a “scare” about psychiatric drugs.

For instance, currently there is a heat wave on the East Coast of the USA. What i’ve seen in past heat waves is that the media will write about deaths related to heat waves, but they will leave out the fact that certain psychiatric drugs — such as the “antipsychotics” also known as neuroleptics — can increase the risk of death during a heat wave (because the drugs tend to suppress the temperature-regulation part of the brain).

I’ve just searched google news for any reference to the words:

heat related deaths

Google had about 1,000 news entries with those words.

But how many of those entries included the word medication? About six.

And how many of those 1,000 heat wave death articles specifically mentioned the antipsychotics or neuroleptics?


That’s right, only two out of 1,000 warned readers specifically about the hazard of antipsychotic drugs during heat waves.

1) In Toledo, Ohio, the media was forced to mention antipsychotics after there were two deaths of people in a group home who were taking neuroleptic psychiatric drugs:


2) And a pharmacist with a column in a Connecticut newspaper mentioned how antipsychotics are dangerous during heat waves:


That’s it.

In the case of neuroleptics, of course, many people on an outpatient basis in New York State are actually forced to take the drugs under Kendra’s Law. They tend to be poor, and lack air conditioning.

So how many people on Kendra’s Law are dying, especially during a heat wave?

How many are dying directly (such as via choking or heart attacks) or indirectly (such as weight gain and increased smoking, which neuroleptics tend to promote) because of neuroleptics?

And going back to Ms. Green, why is there such silence about what psychiatric drugs she may have been on?

I do see one notable exception to the silence:

The courageous psychiatrist and author Peter Breggin, who lives in New York State, has written in the Huffington Post blog about the potential role of psychiatric drugs in the death of Ms. Green.

I’ve searched around in Google news, and it looks like Peter stands alone in even mentioning this possiblity.

Thank you Peter.

You can read Peter’s analysis by clicking here.

When will the media show the professionalism and courage to dig deeper on these stories?

And when will the public stop falling for the usual patterns of the mental health system:

  • Scandal.
  • The mental health system asks for more money.
  • And meanwhile there is a cover-up about psychiatric deaths.
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