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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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Leah Harris

Leah Harris, a second generation psychiatric survivor, discovered MindFreedom in 2000 when she was 25 years old. Her first act in the mad movement was to tell her story of oppression and resistance, and to help edit stories for MindFreedom's Oral History Project. Since then, she has been working in various ways to help achieve the vision of MindFreedom: an end to all forms of psychiatric oppression, healing of all forms of "normality," and the creation of vibrant, colorful communities that honor and celebrate diversity, difference, and the full range of human experience.
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