Why You Should Care About #FreeBritney

JCheang
Wed, 07/14/2021 – 10:07

By Jessica Kennedy, Chief of Staff at Mental Health America

Britney Spears’ case returns to court today and supporters of the #FreeBritney movement will rally in D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial to pledge their support for her and her fight against conservatorship.

Britney Spears has asked courts to end a conservatorship that has prevented the singer-songwriter from managing her own finances, her own business, and her own life.

Her public mental health struggles in the 2000s, her subsequent treatment, and the assignment of her father as conservator have all been well-documented in the press. Social media fans, petition creators, and others launched the #FreeBritney movement to raise awareness about Britney’s conservatorship. 

The movement exploded earlier this year when a heartbreaking Hulu documentary from the New York Times Presents, Framing Britney Spears, laid everything out on the table.

But #FreeBritney is also about something more than legal efforts to free someone from a conservatorship. It’s about a societal stigma — our fundamental inability to believe that people with mental health challenges are intelligent, capable people who can make good decisions. 

It’s a stigma faced by people like Britney–people like me. 

I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t pretend to know the right legal arguments for either side. But Britney’s story, and her journey, are so sadly similar to what I’ve experienced, and many people with mental health and substance use conditions experience.

After a crisis experience, we may find ourselves in rehab programs, partial hospitalization programs, or inpatient facilities. A lot of the time, that’s because there weren’t enough resources to get us help before the crisis stage.

The thing is, as Britney has experienced, once you’re part of this system, it can be hard to get out. People just stop treating you as someone who is able to make their own decisions.

Do you want to check out of the facility? You have to wait until you’re cleared by someone else, even if you checked in yourself. 

Do you want to stop taking a certain medication or stop seeing a certain therapist? You’re not well; those are choices for someone else to make.

Do you make bad choices with money? Even just a few times? Now we need to put you into a conservatorship or assign you a representative payee (for social security management) to help you “make good choices.” You will need to justify every single decision. 

There are times when someone does need a conservator or a representative payee. Some MHA affiliates run representative payee programs. MHA’s position statement on self-determination acknowledges that while there are some times when appointing a guardian, conservator, or representative is necessary, the individual with the mental health condition MUST have a voice.   It’s critically important that guardianship and conservatorship laws limit the discretion of guardians and require shared decision-making in justifying any action that affects the person with a mental health condition.

It doesn’t seem like Britney has been involved in a whole lot of shared-decision making.

Treat Britney with respect. 

Read her statement. 

Listen to her words.

I am. Join me.

Add new comment

DID YOU KNOW?

The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
 
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

Follow Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center's success:

Sign up to receive updates

Emergency

Code Red
Gunshot Victim
Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Epilepsy/Seizures
Cardiovascular
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…

trauma

Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.

Rehabilitative

Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at:
info@healthydcandme.org