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"Voice, Choice and Human Rights in Mental Health Care"

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A panel on the movement to change the mental health system and its connection to wider struggles for civil rights was held in Eugene, Oregon on 15 January 2010. The speeches by David Oaks, Tracey "TC" Dumas, and Ron Unger are now available online as text, video or audio.

"Voice, Choice and Human Rights in Mental Health Care"

Tracy "TC" Dumas, PhD

The City Club of Eugene panel "Voice, Choice and Human Rights in Mental Health Care" is now available in audio, text and video formats online.

On the panel were:

  • David W. Oaks, director, MindFreedom International
  • Tracey "TC" Dumas, PhD
  • Ron Unger, mental health counselor

The panel linked the movement to change the mental health system to the influence of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement in general.

The panel also addressed enacting empowerment guidelines for Lane County Mental Health Clients.

Many are familiar with complaints about the mental health system, but now MindFreedom and allied consumers/survivors have written guidelines for change and are asking that LaneCare and Lane County Mental Health officially adopt them.

Said Ron Unger, coordinator of MindFreedom Lane County:

"What these guidelines aim at is a mental health system truly oriented around the rights of people, and around their long term, not just short term, interests.

"They envision a mental health system that is more likely to listen to the voices of those it is trying to help; one that recognizes that there are differences in what works for different people; one that fosters realistic hope for regaining healthy self direction; and one that recognizes that being "normal" is not the only way to be healthy.

"2010 could begin a new decade of increased respect for voice, choice, and human rights in Mental Health: Let's all ask Lane County to agree to make these improvements become standard in mental health care!"

The City Club of Eugene web site has panelist information and photos here:

Listen Online

You can listen to an MP3 recording of the panel from the KLCC-FM web archives here:

Watch Online

The speech given by David Oaks can be viewed on YouTube, here:

Watch Tracey "TC" Dumas's speech on YouTube, here:

The panel can also be viewed on Ustream, here:

Listen at the Eugene Public Library

In a few weeks, an audiotape of the whole event will be available at the Eugene Public Library. Check with the Adult Reference librarian for availability at 541-682-5450 or email:

Read the Text of the Speeches

You can read the original text of each panelist's speech (the final is a bit different) by clicking on the links below:

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Lauren Tenney, psychiatric survivor activist from New York State

First involuntarily institutionalized, at 15, Lauren Tenney is a survivor of psychiatry. She has been involved with the user and survivor movement since 1992. Her goal is to help stop forced psychiatric procedures, detainment, and confinement, human rights violations, psychiatric abuse and torture. Of particular concern are the elimination of forced electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) on people of all ages, but particularly children and senior citizens, forced drugging, restraints, seclusion, behavioral interventions, and coercion of any kind. Lauren, a Mad-Activist/ Artist/ Author/ Academic/ Adjunct Professor is coordinating The Opal Project, an outcome of participatory action research she coordinated for field research in the PhD program in Environmental Psychology at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her dissertation topic is: "The Institutionalized "Community." She became involved with WE THE PEOPLE when the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights and MindFreedom International needed someone on the ground in Brooklyn, New York to coordinate a response where Esmin Green was murdered-by-neglect. She now lives in Albany, NY with her service dog-in-training and cat. For more info: and
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