MindFreedom Frequently Asked Questions
What is MindFreedom International?
MindFreedom International is an independent nonprofit that unites 100 grassroots groups and thousands of members to peacefully take action for human rights in the mental health system. While we are open to the public, a majority of our members identify themselves as "psychiatric survivors," that is, individuals who have personally experienced human rights violations in the mental health system. All who support human rights are welcome to join. MindFreedom members and leaders include mental health professionals, advocates, attorneys and family members.
(Learn more about MindFreedom on our "Who We Are" page)
What are MindFreedom's vision, mission and goals?
Vision: A nonviolent revolution in mental health care.
Mission: In a spirit of mutual cooperation, MindFreedom leads a nonviolent revolution of freedom, equality, truth and human rights that unites people affected by the mental health system with movements for justice everywhere.
- Win human rights campaigns in mental health, such as opposing coerced, forced and fraudulent mental health procedures.
- Challenge abuse by the psychiatric drug industry.
- Support the self-determination and voice of psychiatric survivors and mental health consumers.
- Promote safe, humane and effective options in mental health.
Is MindFreedom an independent organization?
Absolutely, MindFreedom is totally independent. MindFreedom activities receive zero funding from and have zero links with the government, drug companies, mental health systems or religions. MFI's policy of independence is similar to the Amnesty International pledge that "AI is independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion." (In fact, MindFreedom is independent from AI, too!)
In fact, MinFreedom is one of the very few totally 100% independent organizations in the mental health field. The vast majority other organizations in the mental health field, with a few rare exceptions, receive substantial funding from and have links with the mental health system, government, drug companies and/or a religion. MFI is funded by individual members like you, by occasional non-governmental independent foundation grants, and by sales of Mad Market books and gear.
How can I join MFI?
MindFreedom is a membership-driven organization, one of the very few independently-funded groups, supported by members, and dedicated to taking action for human rights.
The recommended annual donation for membership is $35, low income $20, but people give what they can, when they can.
Please note that MindFreedom is largely a group of low-income people, and no one has ever been turned down for membership due to low funds, though the board does require "something from everyone" unless you have no access to funds at all. You are encouraged to join for however much you can afford! For information on joining by web, phone, e-mail, mail or fax, see the join/renew/donate link on this web site. For more information on the MFI member discount policy click here.
How can I TAKE ACTION and get involved with MindFreedom?
Visit our GET INVOLVED page to learn about exciting opportunities to join our non-violent revolution in mental health care. Remember that a key part of volunteering is your own persistence and follow-through! Your initiative is much appreciated, and we'll do what we can to support your efforts to be more active. MindFreedom and its sponsor groups are involved in a wide range of activities, from leafleting and rallying to a presence inside the United Nations. Our goal is to provide the resources for each and every member to reach the leadership they wish.
How can I network with other members and keep up to date with news?
Once you are a member of MindFreedom, you may join any of our member-only e-mail lists. There are a wide variety of e-mail lists: some are for news, some for mutual support, one is on electroshock, and much more. There's a list for members who wish to volunteer, and sometimes we forward questions we receive there. The main umbrella list for members is an announcement list to keep up-to-date with news releases, member notices, etc. It's very easy to join any or all of these e-mail lists now via the web.
For individuals who are interested in forming a new MindFreedom regional affiliate, we can sometimes help you network with members in your geographic area. You can ask the office about that. Please note that when networking with a person new to you, this person does not represent MindFreedom, and MindFreedom makes no guarantee about the results of this networking, and you are encouraged to use the same discretion you would whenever you network with a stranger.
How can I find out more about sponsor and affiliate groups of MFI?
MindFreedom unites about 100 grassroots groups in a dozen countries for human rights and alternatives. Some are small, some are large. Many of them are engaged every day in providing alternatives and working for human rights.
How can I find out about the MindFreedom Journal and submit articles?
The MindFreedom Journal is a good way to find out about what MindFreedom and its members and sponsor groups are doing.
The MindFreedom Journal welcomes articles, letters to the editor, art work, etc. Please refer to the journal for the kind of articles we usually use, and to get a feel for the approximate word length. The best way to submit an article is via e-mail to office (at) mindfreedom.org. Please note poetry submissions ought to go directly to the poetry editor Bonnie Schell at poetry (at) mindfreedom.org
Aren't all critics of psychiatry linked to the Church of Scientology?
No. To repeat, MindFreedom International has zero links with or funding from any religious organization. MFI has zero links with or funding from the Church of Scientology, or its group Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR).
This is one of the most frequently asked questions asked of activists who are critical of human rights violations by the mental health system. Why? For decades, some psychiatric industry representatives have made false claims that all critics of psychiatric abuse must be connected to Scientology or its organization CCHR. This is incorrect. Apparently, the intent of these industry representatives is to claim there is only one critic of the mental health profession, and then discredit that one opponent. However, the fact is there are many individuals and groups with reasonable criticisms of psychiatry that, like MFI, have absolutely no link to Scientoloy or CCHR. MFI was started by psychiatric survivors; and while some industry defenders may be surprised, we psychiatric survivors are capable of organizing on our own, and we have good reasons to organize!
Our intent in this response is to state the truth, and not to criticize any individuals or groups active with CCHR. Also, MFI has a firm anti-bigotry position, and we will not take part in prejudice toward any individual because of their religious choices. But the reality is that MFI is independent. If anything, journalists ought to quiz industry defenders more thoroughly about their own sources of funding! MFI is one of the rare totally independent groups in the mental health field.
To emphasize and clarify our independence, MindFreedom's attorney David Atkin has provided a signed letter, a PDF of that letter is available here.
What is the MFI Shield Program?
Registration for the MFI shield is now online, and MFI members are welcome to sign up for free. The MindFreedom Shield Program is a coordinated registration system and solidarity network of MindFreedom members who want to have as much protection as possible from coerced or forced psychiatric treatment. The MindFreedom Shield is not meant to replace a formal "advance directive," which is a legal document we highly recommend people fill out. If a member who has registered a MindFreedom Shield is verifiably found by MindFreedom to be threatened to coerced or forced psychiatric treatment, an alert will be sent to the MindFreedom Solidarity Network on that person's behalf.
Everyone in the MindFreedom Solidarity Network is expected to participate in constructive, nonviolent action recommended in the alert received to support the person for whom an alert has been issued. While we cannot guarantee the results of issuing alerts, it has been our experience that public awareness can often reduce, if not end, situations of coerced or forced psychiatric treatment. See the shield area of this web site for more information.
Is any contact information I provide MindFreedom private?
MindFreedom protects your contact information so that only the MindFreedom office staff can view it. If you wish, you can even ask the office to set your database entry, so that even the office will not contact you by phone, postal mail and/or email, just specify.
MindFreedom never shares or sells your contact information.
Would you like to be contacted by MindFreedom volunteers in your area? If you wish to "opt in," you can ask the office to set your database entry so that MindFreedom volunteers may contact you about MindFreedom-related activities.
May I copy and use printed material and graphics from MindFreedom International?
Except for written material, photographs, etc. where the copyright is retained by the individual creator, you are encouraged to use any and all of the materials on the MFI web site and other MFI sources with, as the bottom of each MFI web page explains, some rights reserved under the "Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 2.5."
What is Creative Commons, and what does that mean?
In other words, "You are free: to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work, and to make derivative works, under the following conditions: Attribution. You must give the original author credit [including the www.MindFreedom.org web site]. Non-Commercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes."
Click the "CC" button on the very bottom of any MFI web page for more information about the Creative Commons. For other uses of MFI web site or other material or to answer questions, contact the MFI office.
FAIR USE NOTICE: Public portions of this web site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.
How can I contact MFI?
P.O. Box 11284
Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA
Office street address
(for delivery of boxes, UPS, Federal Express, etc.)
454 Willamette, Suite 216
Eugene, OR 97401-2643 USA
Toll Free Member Services Phone in USA
1-877-MAD-PRID[e] or 1-877-623-7743