CCHR Exhibit: Experts Expose Psychiatric Abuse in Rome

At the opening of the CCHR Traveling Exhibit, Dr. Vincenza Palmieri spoke of abuses inherent in the practice of psychiatry.

Italian human rights group calls for an end to coercive psychiatry and to the use of physical or chemical restraints, particularly on children.

Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) brought Psychiatry: An Industry of Death traveling exhibit to Palazzo Velli in Rome’s Sant’Egidio Square in the historic center of the city to raise awareness about psychiatric abuse and violations of human rights.

Dr. Maria D’Oronzo, psychologist and founder of the Bologna Human Relations Center, addressed those attending the opening of the exhibit. “Involuntary treatment is not a ’medical practice,’” she said. As a student, she visited many mental hospitals that were promoted as the last word in the care of patients. But in fact, as she told the audience, “they were like cattle farms.” For 25 years D’Oronzo was a student and then colleague of the late Dr. Giorgio Antonucci, who pioneered humane treatment of the mentally ill. She became completely disabused of what passes for standard practice of coercive psychiatry.

Psychiatry has indeed woven a tragic thread through society.

Dr. Vincenza Palmieri, National Institute of Family Pedagogy

“Psychiatry has indeed woven a tragic thread through society,” said psychologist Dr. Vincenza Palmieri, founder and president of the National Institute of Family Pedagogy. “We had barbaric systems in the past, but in fact, nothing has changed. Every day, men, women and children tell me their tragic stories of psychiatric restraints and prescriptions of psychotropic drugs.”

Modern psychiatric protocols on the treatment of children are one of Dr. Palmieri’s primary concerns. “I believe there is no barbarism worse than the psychopharmacological treatment of children,” she said. “In Italy, we have 2 million people taking psychotropic drugs. Some were probably administered to them in childhood for a mild condition but remain today addicted to these substances.”

The exhibit’s graphic footage and interviews with psychiatrists, psychologists, neurosurgeons, medical doctors and other experts in the field led one visitor to state: “Abuses are still very evident, flagrant and degrading but they are now more disguised.”

Among those visiting the exhibit in Rome, several reported abuses and asked CCHR to investigate. These included:

  • A family whose children were taken from them after a psychiatric evaluation
  • Another who was committed to a psychiatric institution against her will
  • Grandparents who asked CCHR for help to restore their grandchild to his family  

Psychiatry: An Industry of Death traveling exhibit is an educational multimedia presentation and self-guided tour on the dangers of psychiatry. It examines the history of psychiatry and exposes fraud and human rights abuse including the overmedication of children with psychiatric drugs and the use of electroshock.

Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a nonprofit charitable mental health watchdog co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and professor of psychiatry Dr. Thomas Szasz. It is dedicated to eradicating psychiatric abuse and ensuring patient protection.

With headquarters in Los Angeles, California, CCHR International guides a global human rights advocacy network of some 180 chapters across 34 nations. CCHR Commissioners include physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, lawyers, legislators, government officials, educators and civil rights representatives.



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