Even a Broken Watch is Right Twice a Day

Kermit Brown, Human Rights Officer, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.

Is the customer (client) always right? Of course not. So why does it seem that in the personal decision-making process, the client is almost always wrong? Why do some mental health programs assume that the client is incapable of making choices about what to eat, what clothes to wear, what persons with whom to associate, what music to listen to? Why is the client almost always wrong when she/he utilizes the formal complaint system to identify an injustice? Why can't the client be allowed the personal autonomy to make "bad choices," the same as clinicians and advocates? Do mental health systems unwittingly perpetuate the social-devaluation of clients through policies and practices? Do some laws and regulations help or harm? Even a broken watch is right twice a day. Isn't it possible that the client is capable of being right...just once?

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