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Mad Pride in New York


A group of people who have been labeled "mentally ill" is camping out on the East Lawn of the state capitol building in downtown Albany, New York for 72 hours from 1:00 PM Sunday, July 11th to 1:00 PM Wednesday, July 14, 2004.

The event marks the 24th Bastille Day Celebration/Demonstration of the Mental Patients Liberation Alliance. The Alliance is a statewide self-help, peer support and advocacy organization of people who consider themselves survivors of the psychiatric system. The Alliance offers a peer support and advocacy center in downtown Utica and a 24-hour peer support line at 1-800-654-7227.

The members and friends of The Alliance hope this legal and peaceful vigil will call attention to concerns about the use of controversial psychiatric treatments. These commonly used "medical procedures" are used to change a person's feelings, thinking, emotions, and behavior.

Presently anyone suspected or accused of a mental health, alcohol, or substance use problem can be taken into custody, transported to a psychiatric unit and held 72 hours for an evaluation. Denial of a problem, arguments in defense of one's self, or failure or refusal to comply are recorded as symptoms of a disease. A diagnosis of a mental disorder or substance abuse alone is sufficient evidence that a person needs treatment. The mental illness industry projects that up to 1/3 of our population could and should be treated. This month President Bush will reveal his plan that will mandate the testing of 52 million students for "mental illness" and allow for "state-of-the-art treatments" using "specific medications". Twenty five federal agencies were instructed to develop the implementation plan.

Most people who receive "mental health" or "behavioral health" services are convinced or compelled to accept psychiatric drugs. Most psychiatric "hospitals" use shock treatment as well as drugs. In New York State shock treatment is even used on children. Drugs and shock treatment are used on people over their objection, and without their willing and informed consent. Most people who have been subjected to imposed psychiatric "treatment" describe such "help" as torture.

The Bastille Day Celebration is part of a simultaneous worldwide event coordinated through Support Coalition International. The Coalition represents over 100 human right organizations that work to call attention to the failure of mental health systems. Activists engage issues such as involuntary inpatient and outpatient commitment, loss of parental rights, parity, specialized tracking systems, mental health courts, and profit-oriented services.

Bastille Day offers solidarity, advocacy, comaraderie, a forum for vital issues, peer networking, education, support, freedom of expression, healing, and more.

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Samantha Johnson, psychiatric survivor, MFI intern

Samantha Johnson is a 22-year-old psychiatric survivor who is interning at the MindFreedom International office. "I was absolutely in disbelief at how the people were treated at the hospital. It was an environment of emotional abuse interspersed with 'treatments' and 'policies' that could be more accurately described as assault. The tragic thing is that there really are some good people working there, but they are unable to provide people with the help they need inside a system that prioritizes profits over people. It might take five years of counseling for someone to truly recover from a mental health crisis, but it takes five minutes to tranquilize them. This is why I started working with MindFreedom. For 25 years MFI has been challenging the mental health system to see us as human beings- to treat us as human beings- through peaceful activism. At MFI we emphasize individual choice, empowerment, and compassion as necessary aspects of a true healing process."
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