911 and 988: Both Help and Horror on Everyone’s Speed Dial

Rob Wipond

Investigative reporter Rob Wipond’s forthcoming book Your Consent is Not Required: The Rise in Psychiatric Detentions, Forced Treatment, and Abusive Guardianships (BenBella, January 2023) will provide the first comprehensive, journalistic overview of contemporary people’s experiences of civil commitment in the United States and Canada in several decades. In this presentation, Wipond will provide an introduction to the core science, laws, practitioner standards, and social-political interests driving involuntary psychiatric interventions today. Then, he will delve into some of his findings that challenge common beliefs, discussing the evidence that there are in fact many more inpatient beds and more people subjected to coercion than ever before, mass-scale psychiatric-detention fraud for profit is on the rise, and flexible mental health laws are increasingly being used to manage schools, workplaces, and other institutions and for explicitly politicized purposes. Finally, he’ll review the need for political organizing, and the vital importance of advocating for improved collection of basic data alongside greater honesty and public transparency in relation to the entire system of psychiatric coercion.

Rob Wipond is an investigative journalist who writes regularly on the interfaces between psychiatry, civil rights, policing, surveillance and privacy, and social change. His work has garnered seventeen magazine and journalism award nominations for writing on science, law, and public issues. His book Your Consent Is Not Required: The Rise in Psychiatric Detentions, Forced Treatment, and Abusive Guardianships is forthcoming (BenBella, January 2023).


  • Be able to describe extremely flexible ways in which diagnostic categories and mental health laws can be interpreted and applied.
  • Understand the increasingly broad spectrum of contemporary social situations in which coercive psychiatric detentions and treatments are used.

Roll-out of 988 Threatens Anonymity of Crisis Hotlines, by Rob Wipond | Mad in America, Jan. 29, 2022