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Lane First Steps

A list of initial ways that Lane County mental health agencies can change to offer a greater range of choice for clients.


MindFreedom is a nonprofit organization that advocates for human rights in the mental health system. 

In the past few years MindFreedom has been holding discussions with Lane County Mental Health and with LaneCare about how to increase self -determination, empowerment, and consumer choice in mental health treatment, with a particular focus on creating alternatives to risky medications as the primary treatment for people diagnosed with "serious" "mental illness."  As part of this discussion, MindFreedom developed its own "agenda" or list of possible changes that would increase consumer choice and empowerment.  Then, in order to outline more concrete steps that were possible for each provider agency in Lane County, a "First Step Checklist" was developed, which is attached. 

MindFreedom hopes this checklist will take the discussion about consumer rights out of the abstract and into the realm of immediate possibility.  We are aware some or all of these steps may appear controversial, so discussion and dialogue about them is welcome.  We feel confident that the proposed changes would lead to both a more respectful and a more effective mental health system.

Please review the checklist at your agency, and consider the possibility of taking some or all of these steps.  You may contact us with any questions.  A MindFreedom representative, or a representative of another community group also interested in these issues, may be checking in with your agency in the near future to review steps taken and discuss future possibilities.  Thank you for your consideration of this important matter!

Lane County First Step Checklist for Mental Health Service Providers

This draft checklist is based on a longer MindFreedom Lane County Agenda, which you are encouraged to obtain from us and read.

Both the Agenda and Checklist are an ongoing process. Your input and ideas are very welcome!

Lane County First Step Checklist for
Mental Health Service Providers

This draft checklist is based on a longer MindFreedom Lane County Agenda, which you are encouraged to obtain from us and read.

Both the Agenda and Checklist are an ongoing process. Your input and ideas are very welcome!

1. Goal of a totally voluntary mental health system

Provider agrees to develop a policy regarding the National Council on Disability goal of eliminating coercion in mental health care, and then agrees to measure and publicly share measurements of number and kind of deviations from that goal.

2. Policy for assistance in ending dependence on medications

Provider agrees to develop a written plan to assist clients who choose to end their dependence on medications, including insuring clients are notified about and have access to support in weaning themselves off psychiatric medications should they request that.

3. Agreement about informed consent

Provider makes public the contents of their current written informed consent forms and policies, and agrees to assure that all such materials, especially on neuroleptic drugs, are up to a current minimal standard.

4. Training in evidence based non-medical model approaches

Provider agrees to train staff about evidence based non-medical interventions, including for what is considered psychotic behavior.

5. Policy for discussion of alternatives

Provider creates a written policy and training program requiring staff to discuss non-drug alternatives with clients.
6. Policy against disempowering beliefs

Provider agrees to a timeline for creating a policy and re-training program to prevent staff from communicating false disempowering beliefs to clients (e.g. claiming it is scientifically proven that a mental health problem is definitely caused by a biochemical imbalance).

7. Option for crisis and residential treatment without medications

Provider agrees to work with interested community members to create more non-drug alternatives, including creation of crisis and residential services for clients choosing not to use psychiatric medications

8. Training in forming support networks

Provider agrees to create a written plan to support the formation and increased use of peer mutual support networks.
9. Directory and Referral System for Alternatives Support

Provider agrees to assist in process of creating a directory and referral system for non-medical model based alternatives.

10. Support for Advocacy and Systems Change by Clients

Provider agrees to create an action plan for supporting empowerment and self-determination by clients, including sending a representative to the Lane County Consumer/Survivor Advisory Council, creating a client council, and supporting other advocacy and systems change.


For more information and to be part of this process, please contact MindFreedom Lane County at:

phone: 541-345-9106

office: MindFreedom
454 Willamette, Suite 216
Eugene, Oregon 97401

[revised 11/06]

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Laura Delano - Psychiatric survivor blogger activist

Laura works as a peer specialist in the traditional mental health system and writes a blog at, where she is sharing her story of recovery from psychiatry. After living with psychiatric labels for 13 years and taking psychotropic medications for ten of them, Laura says she found liberation in 2010 from her psychiatric diagnoses, from her reliance upon the mental health system, and from the once deep-seated belief that she was sentenced to a life-long "mental illness." Laura says, "I am proud to be a member of the MindFreedom International community for all MFI does to promote equality, justice, and civil rights for people who have been labeled 'mentally ill.'" (See 'Related Content' links below for link to Mad In America web site where Laura's blogs.)
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