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About the Global Mental Health Empowerment Handbook

CBM International awarded MindFreedom a grant to create a handbook that encourages the emerging voice of people diagnosed with psychiatric and other mental disabilities in poor and developing countries. The handbook will share stories of psychiatric survivors and our social change movement, as well as examples of empowerment, recovery, and activism. It will also include practical tips and resources for developing your voice, organizing, and exercising your human rights.

Updated deadline: 31 August 2011

Project Summary

 

CBM International awarded MindFreedom a grant to create a handbook that encourages the emerging voice of people diagnosed with psychiatric and other mental disabilities in poor and developing countries. The handbook  seeks to inspire psychiatric consumers and survivors to become involved in organizing, taking ownership of their organizations and using the framework of the disability movement.

The World Health Organization has declared a global emergency of human rights violations and disempowerment among those diagnosed with mental disabilities. Unfortunately, the most basic materials for community organizing and leadership development from this constituency’s perspective are virtually non-existent. The handbook will be available to all, but MFI will specifically target Argentina, Brazil, Ghana, India, Kenya, Kosovo, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Serbia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, and Vietnam, where there is a lack of resources and funding to provide basic training and information. MFI will print 3,000 copies of the handbook in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, and accessible formats.

Handbook Overview

 

·         We are people!


Puts a human face on our constituency, using examples of leaders taking action, holding support groups, street marches, and artistic and cultural activities. We hope to draw in the reader by showing the diverse range of backgrounds, beliefs, challenges and successes of people with mental disability labels from developing countries. The reader quickly understands that mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors in poor nations can and do speak for themselves, as well as influence in policy.

 

·         The story of our social change movement


This will provide an overview of the social change movement led by psychiatric survivors, mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors. We will include history, values and principles, and key accomplishments. We will highlight how we have a voce internationally, using specific examples. While we will include pressing human rights issues, the focus will be on hope. We will show how more and more allies within the international cross-disability movement are supportive of our constituency.

 

·         How to develop your own voice


Includes practical tips, examples of successes, and resources in three areas: (a) developing your voice with family, friends and your immediate community; (b) developing your voice with care providers, social workers, advocates; and (c) developing your voice with policy makers and decision-makers. The handbook will address the United Nations human rights guarantees, as well how to address the national human rights framework in a group's home country.

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Dorothy Dundas

While institutionalized for three years as an adolescent in the 1960's, MindFreedom member Dorothy Washburn Dundas was labeled a "schizophrenic" and forced to undergo 40 combined insulin coma-electroshock "treatments." Dorothy says, "I experienced and witnessed many atrocities. I believe that luck, determination, and my own anger and one compassionate advocate were my best friends on the road to my ultimate survival and freedom." Through a number of op-ed pieces, she has voiced her opposition to abusive psychiatric practices. Her poster, "Behind Locked Doors," which she created from her hospital records, is used in training programs. Dorothy lives in the Boston area where she has raised her four wonderful children. She founded and is the sole driver in her "safe, friendly and reliable" car service called The Crystal Lake Express.
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