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MFI Blog

Welcome to a blog by MindFreedom International's staff and occasionally other people closely involved with MFI, about our campaigns, other activism, and human rights and alternatives in the mental health system. Most of us are psychiatric survivors, and have been organizing for major mental health system change for years, some of us going back to 1976.

Nov 12, 2012

What is the most ridiculous thing a psychiatrist has said to you?

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by John Abbe, independent consultant to MindFreedom International. • Theater student Caitlin Belforti wants to incorporate ridiculous things mental health professionals have said into a piece she is writing on psychiatric survivors. read more...

Oct 26, 2012

Your "Creative Maladjustment" Can Help Boost Mad Pride!

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by David Oaks, director of MindFreedom International • MindFreedom is announcing the First Annual Creative Maladjustment Week. This can help the "mad pride" campaign, and reach the general public. read more...

Oct 12, 2012

Poor And Disabled Children in Kentucky Increasingly Being Prescribed Antipsychotics

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By Sophie Faught, MFI Communications Coordinator • Antipsychotic prescriptions for kids on Medicaid in Kentucky jumped by 270% in the past decade. read more...

Oct 08, 2012

California Bans "Therapy" To "Heal" Youth From Their Gayness

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by John Abbe, MFI Communications Coordinator I lived in California for about 10 years, and feel some pride at their leadership on this, as in so many other issues. read more...

Aug 24, 2012

Question National Public Radio Bias on Mental Health Issues

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I listen to NPR a lot -- the USA National Public Radio -- but when it comes to mental health, they have tended to support a narrow, corporate view. Today's show, 24 August 2012, featured neurologist Dr. David Eagleman. He made a pseudoscience argument against equality, the role of personal responsibility, and hope. I felt so strongly, I submitted a complaint to the NPR ombudsman. You can speak out too. read more...

Aug 07, 2012

The Main Debate in USA About CRPD Needs to Be Addressed

The United Nations treaty called "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities" (CRPD) is being debated in the USA Senate. We need to reply to some bizarre Internet rumors in the USA that are being spread against CRPD, and in fact against the very idea of an international human rights framework. read more...

Jul 21, 2012

Surprising Secret Opposition to MFI's Successful Peaceful Protest of Psychiatry on 5 May 2012

When 200 people, mainly psychiatric survivors, protested in front of the American Psychiatric Association... there was something missing. A surprising footnote to the 5 May 2012 protest in Philadelphia reveals that Dr. Allen Frances "vocally opposed" support for the event, behind the scenes. read more...

Early Questions about Colorado Tragedy, and James Holmes Study of Psychiatric "Biomarkers"

Media report that the alleged shooter in the recent atrocity in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater quit his role as a neuroscience PhD student last month. It's too early to make any conclusions, but there are questions. Were university authorities aware he was a troubled student? What kind of help was offered? Did he choose his field partly to find answers for his own problems? Is it relevant that one of his final classes looked at the alleged "biological basis" of a psychiatric disorder? read more...

Jul 09, 2012

How Corporate Media Defends What Is Mistakenly Called "Normal"

In the last few months, I had strikingly similar conversations with two journalists that gave me insight into the challenge of questioning what is generally and mistakenly called "normal" in our society. read more...

Jun 21, 2012

Answering a Linkedin Question About "Mental Illness"

The social-networking site Linkedin has a large web community called "Mental Health Networking." An individual posted this question to everyone, "Does nature or nurture produce mental illness or is it a combination of both?" Here is my reply. read more...

Mar 21, 2012

Businessweek Cheerleading Electroshock

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT, also known as electroshock) is one of the most controversial procedures in medicine. You wouldn't know that from the latest corporate media promotion by Businessweek, published by Bloomberg. read more...

Feb 17, 2012

Happy World Human Spirit Day to Giordano Bruno! Who?

The 17th of February is celebrated as World Human Spirit Day. It's also a day of remembrance about philosopher Giordano Bruno, considered a hero of the 'free thought' movement, which is directly connected to our own. Bruno was burned at the stake today in 1600. read more...

Jan 15, 2012

Filmmaker Daniel Mackler, Critic of Psychiatric Drugging, Visits Lithuanian Mental Health System

Daniel Mackler is a therapist in the New York State, USA who has made several films about the effectiveness of non-drug alternatives in helping people diagnosed with what are considered serious psychiatric disorders. In a blog entry on Robert Whitaker's web site this week, Daniel has written an essay exposing problems and opportunities in the Lithuanian mental health system, which he had the opportunity to visit for two weeks in November 2011. read more...

Jan 13, 2012

One Year After Publishing of "Coercive Treatment in Psychiatry"

An open letter by David W. Oaks, MFI Director, to those who created the book "Coercive Treatment in Psychiatry" that was released one year ago. The "psychosocial and moral illness" of the power imbalance between psychiatric survivors and the mental health industry is witnessed. read more...

Jan 01, 2012

Mental Health and Harvard

A volunteer agency at Harvard featured my story. Here are a few reflections about Harvard grad psychiatric survivors (see photo of four of us). Can reach more members of the Harvard community? read more...

Dec 20, 2011

When will society look back on today's chemical lobotomy?

The NY Times published an interesting article about how Eva Peron -- first lady of Peru in the 1940's -- apparently received a lobotomy. When will society look back at today's 'chemical lobotomy' with neuroleptic antipsychotic drugs? read more...

Oct 12, 2011

Faith based communities and mental health

I heard of a faith-based group that had an individual who was disruptive... and somehow this led to discussions about "mental health." But let's slow down for a moment... there are more complex issues involved. "Boycott normal" also means being more conscious about who and how the boundaries of "normal" are set. read more...

Aug 25, 2011

"Peacefully Push Back" on World Mental Health Day, October 10, 2011

It's time to peacefully push back against the "label, label, label, drug, drug, drug" bullying of the mental health system, that is globalizing as never before. A good day to do that is October 10, which is World Mental Health Day. read more...

Aug 17, 2011

After a disaster, a second disaster can hit those labeled 'mentally disabled'

Leaders in the disability field asked for advice about how to help people diagnosed with a disability after any major disaster in empowering and knowledgeable ways. David Oaks, MFI director, responded with a warning that after a disaster, many of those diagnosed with 'serious' psychiatric disabilities can be in for a second wave of trauma in a flawed mental health system. read more...

Jul 02, 2011

The many "mad movement" islands need bridges and canoes.

Reflecting back on 35 years of activism in what is called the "mad movement," David Oaks suggests the various fragmented groups and communities need to connect more for emergent activism. [revised 8/7/11 and 1/17/12] read more...

May 14, 2011

Report from opening of Rethinking Psychiatry

Earlier tonight, on Friday, 13 May 2011, the two-day symposium Rethinking Psychiatry began. There was some big news: Some of the participants had started a new foundation that won a $2 million dollar grant, to create information and research examples of model alternatives in mental health. read more...

May 06, 2011

The Sting of Psychiatry's DSM Label Bible is Unfair Power

The American Psychiatric Association "label bible" -- known as Diagnostic and Statistical Manual -- is up for revision. The APA has delayed the process because of intense criticism including from APA leaders themselves. So to try to address this public relations disaster, the APA held another teleconference for "stakeholders" and invited MindFreedom. This time, MFI had a three-person delegation on the call, and challenged the APA about the harm caused by DSM. read more...

Apr 27, 2011

Visit to MindFreedom Ghana has many lessons for us all

In April 2011, a delegation from MindFreedom International visited MindFreedom Ghana in Accra, Ghana, Africa. Celia Brown (MFI Board President) and David Oaks (MFI director) gave a workshop about how those using the mental health system, and those who have survived psychiatric abuse, can work more closely with the general cross-disability movement to amplify their voices. read more...

Feb 16, 2011

Top Ten: How Mental Health System Can Have EGYPTIAN Moment!

Can the mental health system have the kind of revolt we've seen in Egypt? Mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors are leading an international social change movement for major change in mental health care today. How can such activism and advocacy be supported by agencies and programs that are funded by scarce taxpayer funds? Here are David's "Top Ten Tips" to help the mental health system experience an "Egyptian" moment. read more...

Feb 11, 2011

MindFreedom Ireland speaks out on electroshock

Congratulations to MindFreedom Ireland for speaking out against involuntary electroshock. read more...

Jan 26, 2011

After Arizona: Media Still Ignoring Viewpoint of Mental Health Consumers and Psychiatric Survivors

The horrible attacks on innocent people in Tucson by Jared Lee Loughner has resulted in a flood of media about the topic of mental health. The mainstream media have given a lot of coverage to the views of an organization promoting more forced psychiatric drugs. At the same time the media have largely ignored representatives of groups composed of mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors, with very few exceptions. read more...

Jan 22, 2011

After Tucson: Mainstream Media Pushes Forced Psychiatric Drugging, Ignores Consumer/Survivor Perspective

Since the Tucson catastrophe, the mass media have largely been ignoring the perspective of groups run by mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors, despite many news articles and opinion pieces discussing mental health. Meanwhile, these same media have quoted extremist E. Fuller Torrey and supporters of his group Treatment Advocacy Center, the main organization promoting more forced psychiatric drugging as the main solution for mental and emotional problems in the USA. read more...

Jan 17, 2011

What creative responses can prevent future tragedies like the Tucson, Arizona shooting?

The MindFreedom community sends our heartfelt support to everyone impacted by the mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona on 8 January 2011. Unfortunately, those who push more forced psychiatric drugging are using this opportunity to advertise their agenda. In the spirit of Martin Luther King, a question needs to be asked, "What creative peaceful approaches might be used in the future to help avoid atrocities like this?" read more...

Dec 10, 2010

State of Oregon pays $2 mil to ask, "How do we fix psychiatric institution culture?"

We ask, "Why zero?" For eight years - since Sept. 2002 - the State of Oregon has spent zero (0) for the state-wide voice of mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors. Now the State announced they will pay a consulting firm $2 million to find out what is wrong with the "culture" at its large, troubled psychiatric institution, Oregon State Hospital. How about supporting the organized state-wide voice of the customer? read more...

Oct 02, 2010

My Comment to The Huffington Post about Bias in Mental Health

The Huffington Post once more is turning their blog over to an extremist attack on the human rights of people in mental health, while not giving a voice to organizations of, by and for mental health consumers. Here's my comment I submitted to The Huffington Post on 1 Oct. [Update 5 Oct. 2010] read more...

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Cookie Gant

Cookie (1949 - 2003) was a founder of MindFreedom International's coalition, and was a rolling coalition herself: African American lesbian disabled psychiatric survivor artist photographer! Cookie served on the MFI board for several years, and co-founded MindFreedom Michigan. (Photo by Tom Olin at an MFI international strategy conference.)
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