Live report from Alternatives 2010 Conference: D. J. Jaffe Attacks
The first full day of Alternatives 2010 is over, and MindFreedom's director David Oaks has reports some of the news, including about another political attack from the extremist promoter of more forced psychiatric drugging, D. J. Jaffe. [Updated.]
I guess the idea of so many mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors getting together and uniting is upsetting for some folks.
Extremist crusader D. J. Jaffe, who has dedicated years of his life to try to make it easier to court order us to take our prescribed psychiatric drugs, has blogged on Huffington Post that we're very, very naughty indeed.
But first, some news....
It was reported at the start of Alternatives 2010 in Anaheim, California that more than 1,000 people had registered for the conference. Nearly all of us have been diagnosed with psychiatric diagnoses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar, etc. But from the look of it, we are just 1,000 human beings at a pretty nice hotel having a conference.
I arrived at the conference to hear some news about fellow Oregonians. One of the groups in our state-wide coalition OCSC is Mental Health America of Oregon, whose leadership includes Rollin Shelton and Beckie Child. MHAO has won one of the coveted federal government "technical assistance center" grants, which means they will be the only "TA center" on this side of the Mississippi. The grant is more than $300,000 per year, and may be for as long as five years.
Another of MHAO's leaders, Meghan Caughey of Corvallis, Oregon, had an extra surprise... she won the Howie the Harp award for her advocacy work.
Pamela Hyde, who heads the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Systems Administration (SAMHSA), opened the conference. She made note of some recent conferences about the keynoter, Bob Whitaker, and one of the presenters Will Hall. Hyde reassured the crowd that she agreed with them and saw no problem with either presenter. She said if she had been aware of the controversy from the start, there simply would have been no controversy in the first place. While they are both resolved, you can read about the Whitaker controversy here. And you can read about the Hall controversy here.
Attack from D. J. Jaffe
I have to wonder, why does Huffington Post - supposedly a 'progressive' blog that respects the voice of disempowered people - keep running blogs attacking the human rights of people diagnosed with psychiatric disabilities?
Extremist D. J. Jaffe has tried to blast the Alternatives conference. One of his main complaints is that the organizers did not use his preferred phrase for us, "mentally ill." Conference organizers tried to find more inclusive language than this old-fashioned strictly "medical model" approach. Jaffe saw this as somehow "shunning the mentally ill."
He used his column to push for "Laura's Law," a California approach to mental health that could result in thousands more people coerced and forced to take powerful psychiatric drugs against our will. You can read Jaffe's post here.
Huffington Post has several bloggers on mental health, including Jaffe, but I have not heard of one specifically of, by and for our community. It would be as if Huffington Post had bloggers about gay rights, African American rights, and labor rights.... but no bloggers who represented any groups of gay/lesbians, African Americans, or unions.
In the disability movement the slogan is "Nothing About Us, Without Us." It's time for Huffington Post to learn that slogan.
While you can comment on Jaffe's blog post above, it may also be helpful to contact Huffington Post itself, and ask when they will support the voice of mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors.
You can contact them here:
You know, there's a little coincidence here about Ms. Huffington. Seven years ago this summer, MindFreedom had an influential hunger strike about mental health. Robert Whitaker, keynoter here at Alternatives 2010, highly praises that hunger strike as exemplifying a creative activist approach to challenging the power of the psychiatric drug industry.
Well, seven years ago this summer. Ms. Huffington was running for office here in California. And we know that she said she supported human rights in mental health. She was in our area, but she never did visit or even mention the hunger strike.