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Humor vs. Mental Health Screening in Eugene, Oregon

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A short news article about using humor to challenge plans by President Bush to make "mental health screening" common throughout the USA for adults and children.

_Eugene Weekly_ Eugene, Oregon, USA 29 September 2005

Northwest of Normality

The Eugene-based nonprofit MindFreedom International will be screening people at the Eugene Celebration for "normality."

The street theater this weekend is inspired by President Bush's announced plans for nationwide mental health screenings for all adults and children.

"More than 1,000 people were screened at this year's Oregon Country Fair with no normality detected," says MindFreedom Director David Oaks. "Every rumor of normality has thankfully always been a false alarm."

Watch for clowns in white coats and red noses screening the public with rubber chicken wands to try to spot any normality, says Oaks, "which has still not been discovered."

Regarding the White House screening plan, Oaks says, "Watching for troubled people sounds good. But the public should know these plans are heavily influenced and promoted by the psychiatric drug industry. We want better advocacy and alternatives first, before mental health corporations use schools to recruit more customers for psychiatric drugs."

MindFreedom is a U.N.-recognized NGO promoting human rights for mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors. For more information or to help, stop by booth #55 at the Celebration, call 345-9106, visit or e-mail oaks at

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Levi Chambers is a sociology student, organizer, and psychiatric survivor working toward mental health justice in Olympia, Washington. He said: "I am a member of MFI because the organization fights for my rights more effectively than groups with funding from big pharma. My family and I stopped supporting those groups, and have been MFI fans ever since." Levi believes in community mental support, non-pathological and non-chemical treatment alternatives, and declines to use psychiatric labels. Currently a 22-year-old college student involved in the Icarus Project and a member of MindFreedom International, Levi hopes to become a researcher who works to gain scientific acknowledgment for alternative recovery models. If you would like to work with Levi to fight discrimination, build alternatives to conventional psychiatry, and demand a non-violent revolution in mental health in Washington State, please contact him.
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