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Traumatized, or "Mentally Ill?" Understanding what goes wrong when a hurt and confused person is given a psychiatric diagnosis.

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A Forum for Survivors of Trauma, Friends, Family and Community Members with Ron Unger

  • Forum
When Dec 11, 2006
from 09:00 PM to 11:30 PM
Where Gerlinger Lounge, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA
Contact Name
Contact Phone 541-556-6710
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When bad things happen to people it's normal to be off balance and to have difficult emotions. But when people get really upset, professionals sometimes label their difficulties as "symptoms" of a particular "mental illness." What effect does it have on people when their mental and emotional reactions are defined as an illness? How does it interfere with healing after trauma? What are alternative ways of understanding severe mental and emotional distress that could truly facilitate healing for individuals and for our community?

This interactive forum is the second in a series of three intended to bring together those of us most impacted by violence and trauma - survivors, friends and family, and caregivers - to listen, and to learn what hurts, what helps, and how we can promote and support healing.

Ron Unger LCSW is a mental health counselor and a leading advocate for reform in the mental health system. He introduced Lane County to a psychological way of working with problems labeled "psychotic" which have usually been addressed only with medications. He has presented on topics such as the relationship between trauma and all kinds of "mental illness," the delusions of the mental health system, the possibility of full recovery, and the role of peer support. Ron is himself a survivor of trauma and has many family members who have been caught up in the mental health system.

[This event is not sponsored by MindFreedom; Ron Unger is a long-time activist with MindFreedom Lane County Oregon.]

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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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