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Introduction to MindFreedom Shield

Learn about how the MindFreedom Shield may help protect registered members from coerced psychiatric procedures.

MindFreedom International issues alerts about individuals at risk of or currently experiencing involuntary psychiatric procedures, including on an outpatient basis while living peacefully in the community in their own residences.

For example, occasionally these public alerts have led to some members who are experiencing coerced outpatient psychiatric drugging to find resources assisting them to relocate to avoid their forced psychiatric procedures. This in no way implies that MindFreedom, its board or members -- nor the individuals escaping forced outpatient psychiatry -- are in any way involved in, aiding, supporting or condoning any illegal activity, directly or indirectly.

MindFreedom International has a track record of taking constructive, nonviolent action when we are notified that a person is being subjected to coerced or forced psychiatric procedures. In order to better utilize our very limited resources, we have established the MindFreedom Shield Program.

The MindFreedom Shield Program is a coordinated registration system and solidarity network of current MindFreedom members who want to have as much protection as possible from coerced or forced psychiatric treatment. The MindFreedom Shield is not meant to replace a formal psychiatric "advance directive," which is a legal document we highly recommend people fill out. MindFreedom does not have the resources to assist in completing an advance directive.

If a member who has registered a MindFreedom Shield is, to the best of our ability, verifiably found by MindFreedom to be subjected to coerced or forced psychiatric treatment, an alert will be sent to the MindFreedom Solidarity Network on that person's behalf. Everyone in the MindFreedom Solidarity Network is expected to participate in constructive, nonviolent action recommended in the alert received to support the person for whom an alert has been issued.

The MindFreedom Shield program is not an advocacy system, and is no substitute for advocacy. The MindFreedom Shield does not have the resources to do research, advocate on specific details of your care, or provide legal or medical advice. The MindFreedom Shield is basic and focused, similar to Amnesty International's alert system: A number of people speak out in a civil way to a decision-maker about a basic allegation of human rights abuse because of psychiatric coercion.

While no one can guarantee the results of issuing human rights alerts, it has been our experience that public awareness can often reduce, if not end, situations of coerced or forced psychiatric treatment. In any case, the MindFreed Shield serves to educate the public that coerced and forced psychiatric procedures continue to harm the human rights of people internationally. And the MindFreedom Shield helps a survivor of psychiatric abuse know they are not alone, and others are remembering and speaking out for their human rights.

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Caitlin Belforti: Psychiatric survivor, young adult leader, student

Caitlin is a survivor of maltreatment of Adelphi University's student counseling center. A young adult new to the movement, Caitlin hopes to continue to her involvement in the psychiatric survivor movement and bring more attention to an issue that is all too prevalent and all too ignored. Also an actress and a poet, Caitlin hopes to use the medium of performing arts to spread awareness, and to reach fellow survivors. She says, “Many thanks to the support I have received so far from the cool crowd that is MindFreedom!" Caitlin is speaking at the MindFreedom International peaceful protest of the American Psychiatric Association in Philadelphia, OccupyAPA 2012.
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