Category Archives: Links: Recovery

Audio Visual Aids and other stuff, uncalled for

I’ll start with pictures that have caught my eye:

I love statistics-

Stool Joke:

Who doesn’t?

Bottom line: I want my socks back.


Found on a nameless website that doesn’t exist and isn’t at all interesting anyway click if it doesn’t animate right away):

Frogs, frogs and frogs:

Info Links:

Weird Frog Facts!

Wikipedia entry

Exploratorium Page on Frogs

That’s pictures for now and Fun Frog Factoids.

Links to which you ought to have a look- see:

Ionia– an intentional community supporting mental health recovery in Alaska. I’ve met some folks from there and it appears to be a very cool and responsible pro-active response to the Public Mental Hell System. Go to their website here.

Bi-Polar Blast– shedding it’s label. Now is called Beyond Meds. It’s a featured link on my sidebar but visit now for the fresh perspective. Click here.

Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights) is a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) public interest law firm whose mission is to mount a  strategic legal campaign against forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock in the United States akin to what Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP mounted in the 40’s and 50’s on behalf of African American civil rights.  The public mental health system is creating a huge class of chronic mental patients through forcing them to take ineffective, yet extremely harmful drugs. Go here.

Psychiatry Deconstruction Zone– Successful schizophrenia, go here.

Pendle Hill free downloads– Quaker info, not just for Friends anymore. Go here.

Protest Records! Great source for politically progressive music, all free. Includes many artists you know and some you should learn more about. Go here.

Miscellaneous Audio Downloads:






(huge file but worth it)




(one of my favorite “Broadway tunes”)





One more- this should be enough for today-


Bye for now- Don’t let the bastards get you down.

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Filed under animated gif, animation, CS/X movement, Frogs, Links: Recovery, Mental health recovery, mp3, Music, Spirituality

Link to on-line tour of Building J at OSH

FYI- Just got this from the Oregon Consumer-Survivor Coalition.

The Oregon State Hospital building where “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest” was filmed is now empty, ready to be torn down. Oregon Statesman Journal has a video tour and an artcle here.

This is what it looks like from the outside-

Thought I’d throw in a scene from the movie-

Link to a website that is working to save the building for historical reasons:

Bye for now-


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Filed under CS/X movement, Links: Recovery, Mental health recovery, wellness and systems change

Mental Health Round-up

Unlike the Pendleton Roundup there will be no bull(s).

We’ve known this for a while- the evidence simply piles up:

Lilly, J&J Antipsychotics Don’t Top Old Drugs in Kids (Update1)

By Rob Waters and Tom Randall

Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) — Best-selling antipsychotic medicines by Eli Lilly & Co. and Johnson & Johnson caused more side effects and were less effective for children with schizophrenia than a little-used 30-year-old generic drug costing one-fourth as much.

For the study, published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 116 children ages 8 to 19 were given molindone, an older drug available as a generic, or a newer antipsychotic, either Lilly’s Zyprexa, which generated $4.8 billion in sales in 2007, or J&J’s Risperdal, with $4.7 billion in revenue.

Most children failed to improve on any of the drugs, and side effects were more common in those taking the newer ones. Zyprexa, in particular, caused weight gain and unwanted boosts in insulin, blood fat and signs of liver damage. The trial is the latest in a series of studies finding that the newer, pricier medicines don’t improve treatment for mentally ill patients, researchers said.

“This is yet one more study which has failed to find any significant area of advance or superiority of the second- generation medicines,” said Jeffrey Lieberman, senior author and a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York, in a Sept. 12 telephone interview. The drugs sell because of “very aggressive marketing campaigns and a wish among patients there was something better out there,” he said.

Lilly, based in Indianapolis, fell 28 cents, or less than one percent, to $46.32 at 10:51 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Johnson & Johnson, of New Brunswick, N.J., dropped 1 cent to $70.58.

Pending Application

J&J’s Risperdal was cleared by U.S. regulators last year for treating adolescents with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Lilly has a pending application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market Zyprexa to adolescents ages 13 and older, spokesman Jamaison Schuler said in a telephone interview.

The study wasn’t long enough to compare side effects that have been associated with extended use in the older medicines, Schuler said. Those side effects include tardive dyskinesia, or involuntary muscle movements such as repetitive grimacing, blinking and movements of the arms and legs.

“It’s difficult to understand whether or not the findings of this study add any meaningful information based on the authors’ acknowledgement of the limitations of the study,” said Srikant Ramaswami, a spokesman for J&J, in an e-mailed statement today.

(Go here for the full article)

Who knew it could be worse than in Oregon??

N.C.’s mental health disgrace: Nowhere to go but up

var actBookmarkTitle = “N.C.’s mental health disgrace: Nowhere to go but up”;

• published September 14, 2008 12:15 am

There’s no way to comprehend how a patient in a psychiatric hospital that’s been warned for months about unsafe conditions could have been allowed to sit in a chair for 22 hours without food or help while staff members in the room played cards and watched television.

The patient’s experiences sound like something out of a horror movie. Doctors weren’t notified that he had fallen and hit his head while choking on medicine, nursing staff members failed to follow doctor’s orders to check his vital signs and give him fluid and hospital workers were caught falsifying his medical records, a report in the Raleigh News & Observer.

Steven Sabock, 50, died of a heart problem about 22 hours after being left in a chair in the dayroom at Cherry Hospital.

(Go here for the full article)

Of course, we already know what works

For many years, it has been assumed that people who experience severe and persistent mental health difficulties do not recover, leading to low expectations that have been seen to wear away hope and support chronicity (Harrison & Mason, 1993). In the introduction to Mental Illness and Recovery, Ralph and Corrigan (2005) stated that:

Prior to 1990, students of major mental health disciplines learned that the serious mental illnesses were defined as having poor prognoses with progressively downhill courses. Treatment was limited to custodial options. People with these diagnoses had to foster ideas of hope and recovery in a mental health system that viewed serious psychiatric disorders as harbingers of doom. According to the old school, people with serious mental illness needed to accept that normal life was impossible, that dreams of independence were unattainable, and that long-term institutionalization was inescapable. Recovery signaled a monumental revolution in the mental health paradigm. (p. 4)

Recovery is a common term that is generally equated with getting well or getting back to normal (Roberts & Wolfson, 2004). However, when this term is used with respect to mental illness, most people agree that it refers to a process rather than a steady state. Although a clear definition of recovery is elusive and seems to mean different things to different people, most people agree that a person “in recovery” is working to take back control of his or her life and is working toward achieving her or his own goals and dreams. It does not necessarily mean an absence of what might be considered “psychiatric symptoms”.  It does mean learning to relieve difficult feelings and behaviors, and to live well in spite of these difficulties (Ralph & Corrigan, 2005; Roberts & Wolfson, 2004). As people who have a lived experience of mental health difficulties have attempted to define recovery, various themes have emerged (Ralph & Corrigan, 2005). These themes include:

* Recovery is defined in terms of continual growth, increased control over one’s life, and either a redefining or reestablishing of a sense of self in the recovery process.
* Recovery is a highly individualized process rather than a universally defined end state, and requires methods of research than can capture or at least more accurately assess the dynamic and varied nature of the phenomenon.
* Recovery is a nonlinear, ongoing process—people do not move through the recovery process in a predetermined, orderly manner.
* People play an active role in their own recovery process.
* People are the experts on the topic of their own experiences, needs, and their own recovery.
* Hope is an essential ingredient.
* Meaning and purpose in life are necessary to recovery.
* Relapse is part of a process and not a failure. (Davidson & Strauss, 1992; Loveland, Randall, & Corrigan, 2005; Morse, 1997; Ralph, 2000; Strauss & Carpenter, 1981; Young & Ensing, 1999)

Ralph and Corrigan (2005) contend that recovery is concerned with a sense of meaning in life and personal comfort, and is focused on validation of personhood, recognition of common humanity, and tolerance for individual differences. Allott, Loganathan, and Fulford (2003) and (Ralph, Lambert, and Kidder, 2002, June)consider that the turning point in a person’s life, when they begin to focus away from illness and toward recovery, is marked by the individual’s active and responsible engagement with his or her distress and difficulties. Recovery is often described as having a defining moment or a turning point (Allott et al., 2003). Sometimes it is a low turning point before which the person had a hard time moving forward, feeling that they would never be well, and dealing with the grief and anxiety that is commonly associated with loss of health and hope for the future. It is sometimes claimed that recovery is often further delayed by a state of learned helplessness encouraged by the low expectations of mental health professionals. Several authors suggested that a beginning of working toward recovery can often be attributed to talking to peers about mutual experiences and self-help strategies. People begin to regain their sense of self, taking back control and responsibility for their lives (Faulkner & Layzell, 2000; Leibrich, 2001).

Coleman (1999), who has a lived experience of mental distress including institutionalization and who is an advocate for recovery, emphasized that recovery depends far more on self-help and collaboration than on being treated.

Recovery is not a gift from doctors but the responsibility of us all. …. We must become confident in our own abilities to change our lives, we must give up being reliant on others doing everything for us. We need to start doing these things for ourselves. We must have the confidence to give up being ill so that we can start becoming recovered. (Coleman, 1999, p. 7)

(See this for source)

The notion that recovery from severe psychiatric disorder is impossible is now contradicted by impressive and well-known longitudinal studies and the anecdotal experience of many, many people.

In the Japanese Long Term Study (Ralph & Corrigan, 2005), follow-up evaluations were conducted for 105 people with the diagnosis of schizophrenia who had been discharged from mental institutions between 1958 and 1962. Follow-up periods were from 21 to 27 years. Results indicated that 31% were recovered, 46% improved, and 23% were unimproved. Forty-seven percent were fully or partially self-supporting and 31% were again hospitalized. Early stages of the illness course were typically found to fluctuate with regard to social functioning, whereas later stages stabilized to either a stable self-supporting state or a chronic institutionalized state.

Roberts and Wolfson (2004) considered the International Study of Schizophrenia (Harrison et al., 2001) to be the most comprehensive long-term follow-up study of recovery. It included 1633 participants from 14 culturally diverse areas who were studied at 15 years and again at 25 years after diagnosis. The results were in line with previous studies. Outcomes at 15 years and 25 years were favorable for over half of the participants. However, the researchers in this study admit that their studies, like other similar studies, rely heavily on the presence or absence of symptoms and social disabilities, and on resource indicators as outcome indicators rather than indicators that might be defined by the study participants.

Of most relevance to this project is the Vermont Longitudinal Research study (Harding, Brooks, Ashikaga, Strauss, & Brier, 1987).  In this study, 269 people were followed for about 32 years. On average, the people in this study had been ill 16 years, totally disabled for 10 years, and hospitalized in the back wards of the Vermont State Hospital for 6 years. Patients participated in a model rehabilitation program organized around the goal of self-sufficiency, residential and vocational placements in the community, and long term continuity of care. They had been released from the hospital with community supports already in place. At follow up one-half to two-thirds were considered to have improved or recovered, depending on the criteria used. Sixty-eight percent did not display signs or symptoms of schizophrenia. Forty-five percent displayed no psychiatric symptoms at all. More than two-thirds were rated as having good functioning on tests that included both psychological and social criteria. This landmark study was hailed across the country and around the world as evidence that, given intensive education and support initiatives along with medical treatment, recovery from severe mental illness is possible. This finding had a great impact on the mental health field because it was in contrast to the longstanding view that people with mental health symptoms could not get better.

These findings were further supported by the Maine–Vermont Comparison Study (Desisto, Harding, McCormick, Ashikaga, & Brooks, 1995), which used a group-matching design. This study compared the outcomes of 269 people in Maine in similar circumstances with the 269 people in the Vermont Longitudinal Study. However, the Maine patients received standard inpatient treatment and aftercare. Vermont participants were found to be more productive and had fewer symptoms, better community adjustment, and better global functioning than Maine participants. Roughly one half of the Maine participants were rated as having good functioning. The researchers in these studies suggest that the model rehabilitation program utilized in the Vermont study (which will be discussed in the history section of this literature review) gave Vermont participants an earlier opportunity to adapt to life in the community and may explain the better outcomes for these participants.

Anecdotal evidence of recovery from severe mental health difficulties is growing at a rapid pace. Ralph and Corrigan (2005) state that as people have gained more voice around issues that impact their lives, a new understanding of recovery has emerged based on their lived experience (Deegan, 1988). This understanding of recovery was introduced in the 1970s with the rise of the consumer/survivor/expatient movement (Chamberlin, 2002) and is not based on a disease model framework. This view has emanated from individuals who were living with and trying to recover from mental illness and the effects of institutional and other medically based treatment interventions (Chamberlin, 2002). Walsh (1996) suggest that mental illness changes lives irrevocably. She says, “We can never go back to our ‘premorbid’ selves. The experience of disability and stigma attached to it changes us forever. People would not want to go back. Recovery involves growth and an expansion of capacities.” (p.  87) For many people who write about this process, recovery is a personally meaningful goal rather than an abstract construct that is studied academically.

Although Roberts and Wolfson (2004) feel that there is a need to gather and strengthen the evidence base for recovery, they suggest that this can and needs to be a major area for collaboration between people who experience mental health difficulties and care providers. They contend that meta-analyses or randomized, controlled trials provide little guidance on what might make a difference to a person who is working on their recovery.

How does the medical model fit into all of this? Roberts and Wolfson (2004), well-known British psychiatrists, claimed that the medical model is narrowly focused on disease, treatment, and biological reductionism, and contrast this with the broader person-centered focus of recovery models. Ralph et al. (2002), asserted the validity of an evidence base largely composed of personal narrative, and the views of “experts by experience.” At present there is significant tension between the medical model and recovery initiatives. Often their values and language stand in significant disjunction with one another. However, in this research project and in mental health recovery work around this country and around the world, this researcher has found that the medical community, while often unwilling to give up the notion that medical treatment is essential, is discovering that by supporting recovery initiatives and peer support, they experience more successful outcomes (Copeland, 2004c).


Steven J. Onken, Ph.D., Jeanne M. Dumont, Ph.D.; Co-Principal Investigators
Priscilla Ridgway, M.S.W., A.B.D., Douglas H. Dornan, M.S.,
Ruth O. Ralph, Ph.D.; Co-Investigators
Prepared for:
National Technical Assistance Center for State Mental Health Planning,
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors

Recovery is the reawakening of hope after despair.
Recovery is breaking through denial and achieving understanding and acceptance.
Recovery is moving from withdrawal to engagement and active participation in life.
Recovery is active coping rather than passive adjustment.
Recovery means no longer viewing oneself primarily as a mental patient and reclaiming a
positive sense of self.
Recovery is a journey from alienation to purpose.
Recovery is a complex journey.
Recovery is not accomplished alone—it involves support and partnership.

And we know about the horrible, advancing death rate of people with a mental health diagnosis:

In October 2006, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) released a report entitled Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness[i]. Among the report’s findings were the following devastating outcomes for the population with serious mental illnesses:

* Persons with serious mental illnesses are now dying 25 years earlier than the general population.
* Sixty percent of premature deaths in persons with schizophrenia are due to medical conditions such as cardiovascular, pulmonary and infectious diseases.
* Increased morbidity and mortality are largely due to treatable medical conditions that are caused by modifiable risk factors such as smoking, obesity, substance abuse, and inadequate access to medical care.
* Antipsychotic medications have become more highly associated with weight gain, diabetes, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome.
* Access to adequate healthcare for individuals with serious mental illnesses is greatly impaired by numerous factors.

So- we know that the mental health treatment system/ public mental health system does not work, does not lead to recovery; we know that it in fact is part of the increasing death rate among persons who are “mentally divergent”. What is worth doing?

SAMHSA- Consensus Statement:
The 10 Fundamental Components of Recovery include:

• Self-Direction: Consumers lead, control, exercise choice over, and determine their own path of recovery by optimizing autonomy, independence, and control of resources to achieve a self-determined life. By definition, the recovery process must be self-directed by the individual, who defines his or her own life goals and designs a unique path towards those goals.

• Individualized and Person-Centered: There are multiple pathways to recovery based on an individual’s unique strengths and resiliencies as well as his or her needs, preferences, experiences (including past trauma), and cultural background in all of its diverse representations. Individuals also identify recovery as being an ongoing journey and an end result as well as an overall paradigm for achieving wellness and optimal mental health.

• Empowerment: Consumers have the authority to choose from a range of options and to participate in all decisions—including the allocation of resources—that will affect their lives, and are educated and supported in so doing. They have the ability to join with other consumers to collectively and effectively speak for themselves about their needs, wants, desires, and aspirations. Through empowerment, an individual gains control of his or her own destiny and influences the organizational and societal structures in his or her life.

• Holistic: Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. Recovery embraces all aspects of life, including housing, employment, education, mental health and healthcare treatment and services, complementary and naturalistic services (such as recreational services, libraries, museums, etc.), addictions treatment, spirituality, creativity, social networks, community participation, and family supports as determined by the person. Families, providers, organizations, systems, communities, and society play crucial roles in creating and maintaining meaningful opportunities for consumer access to these supports.

• Non-Linear: Recovery is not a step-by step process but one based on continual growth, occasional setbacks, and learning from experience. Recovery begins with an initial stage of awareness in which a person recognizes that positive change is possible. This awareness enables the consumer to move on to fully engage in the work of recovery.

• Strengths-Based: Recovery focuses on valuing and building on the multiple capacities, resiliencies, talents, coping abilities, and inherent worth of individuals. By building on these strengths, consumers leave stymied life roles behind and engage in new life roles (e.g., partner, caregiver, friend, student, employee). The process of recovery moves forward through interaction with others in supportive, trust-based relationships.

• Peer Support: Mutual support—including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills and social learning—plays an invaluable role in recovery. Consumers encourage and engage other consumers in recovery and provide each other with a sense of belonging, supportive relationships, valued roles, and community.

• Respect: Community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation of consumers —including protecting their rights and eliminating discrimination and stigma—are crucial in achieving recovery. Self-acceptance and regaining belief in one’s self are particularly vital. Respect ensures the inclusion and full participation of consumers in all aspects of their lives.

• Responsibility: Consumers have a personal responsibility for their own self-care and journeys of recovery. Taking steps towards their goals may require great courage. Consumers must strive to understand and give meaning to their experiences and identify coping strategies and healing processes to promote their own wellness.

• Hope: Recovery provides the essential and motivating message of a better future— that people can and do overcome the barriers and obstacles that confront them. Hope is internalized; but can be fostered by peers, families, friends, providers, and others. Hope is the catalyst of the recovery process.

But the absence of these principles in practice is only a small part of the problem.

Other issues are directly in the way of an effective mental health supports system:


Trauma is among the most significant factors involved in mental illness, and it must be taken into account by caregivers and providers, four prominent speakers told the Trauma-Informed Care Symposium in Yakima on June 11.

The purpose of the symposium was to present information about the impact of trauma, take stock of trauma-related activities and programs already occurring in Washington, and develop priorities for promoting trauma-informed care in Washington.

Tonier Cain, a survivor of trauma, shared her story as one of the speakers. It begins with a severely neglectful mother, a long history of childhood and adult sexual abuse, alcohol addiction from age nine, marriage at age 14, and a drug addiction that led to 66 drug-related convictions.

After being incarcerated numerous times and losing several of her children to the foster-care system, Cain became pregnant again and found a program that helped drug-addicted pregnant women become drug-free and keep their children.

This was the turning point for Cain as for the first time, instead of asking, “What is wrong with you?” one trauma-informed clinician asked, “What happened to you?”

After entering the program, she began working on her trauma issues. In the four years since she completed the program, she has been drug- and alcohol-free, has become a national speaker on trauma issues, has become a board member on several boards of directors, and has become a homeowner and a nurturing mother to her young daughter.

“We would do well to assume that every person who comes to us seeking services is a trauma survivor,” said Dr. Roger Fallot, who opened the symposium with an overview of trauma-informed services.

Dr. Fallot discussed the difference between trauma-informed systems and trauma-specific services. As he explained, human service systems become trauma-informed by thoroughly incorporating an understanding of the prevalence and impact of trauma and the complex paths to healing and recovery into every component of service delivery. Trauma-specific services, on the other hand, refer to specific interventions that directly address trauma and its impact and help individuals heal and move forward in their recovery.

Local trauma champion Laura Merchant gave an overview of a trauma initiative currently taking place in Washington State. Merchant is the Assistant Director at the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress and is involved in a collaborative project with the Mental Health Division that trains clinicians throughout the state in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), a psychotherapeutic intervention designed to help children, youth, and their parents overcome the negative effects of traumatic life events.

Merchant discussed the difference between regular cognitive behavior therapy and TF-CBT. TF-CBT emphasizes routine trauma screening for all new clients instead of assuming that, if a client has a trauma background, the client will raise the issue.

Finally, Dr. Brian Sims discussed how to create trauma-informed systems of care. Dr. Sims explained that it makes sense to ask people who have serious mental illness about a trauma history; up to 98% of people who have serious mental illness have a trauma history. Dr. Sims also discussed strategies that mental-health providers can use to facilitate trauma-informed treatment, such as giving consumers choices and treating consumers with respect.

At the end, participants filled out a worksheet in which they identified the three items that they felt were most important in implementing trauma-informed care in Washington State. On the same worksheet, participants could sign up to become “Trauma Champions,” therefore becoming members of the newly-formed Trauma Advisory Group.

The Mental Health Transformation Project (MHTP) sponsored this event, and Jill SanJule, Consumer Liaison for the MHTP, organized the symposium with assistance from Mary Blake, the SAMHSA Project Officer for the Washington State Mental Health Transformation Grant, Susan Salasin, the Project Officer for the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care, and Joan Gillece of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

SanJule also received input and assistance from a statewide taskforce consisting of Tom Schumacher of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Cheryl Sullivan-Colglazier of the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, Ann Christian of the Washington Community Mental Health Council, Peg Evans-Brown of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Robin McIlvaine of the Mental Health Division. In addition to assisting with planning the event, the taskforce members have also committed to assisting with the next steps in implementing trauma-informed care in Washington.

I would say these things must be a first step to systems change:

  • There should be immediate action to train current professionals and peer providers in mental health / trauma treatment strategies (e.g. EFT or EMDR or other evidence based therapies);
  • The principles of self-determination must be assertively promoted throughout the provider community, adopted as “best practice” and made part of both administrative rules and contracting for mental health services and supports;
  • The “brain disease/ chemical/ medical model of mental health must be discarded and debunked using the existing mountain of research that contradicts this approach (the pharmaceutical industry, while it has a place in treatment for some people, must be taken out of the driver’s seat of medical/ psychiatric education);
  • The training for mental health professionals from the doctorate level to the bachelor’s level must include significant education regarding the fact and circumstances of mental health recovery and the importance of addressing trauma and incorporating self-direction in services.

With these actions, we can begin to implement the recovery principles and National Consensus Statement. Without these fundamental and vital steps, systems change will be a joke at the expense of both the tax payers and the people who are trapped in the Public Mental Hell System.

I will leave you with this story I found on Ron Unger’s blog:

By Sonia Novinsky
Jacqueline came to me about one year ago. She was a beautiful woman, in
her forties and had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic with auditory
hallucinations, depression and an inability to operate in social
environments. Now, after a year, the hallucinations are gone and she is
well adapted to society. Along the way many other benefits
occurred…including relief from anorexia and the cessation of smoking.
Here’s the story.
She arrived in a very depressive state, saying to me: “This is my last
chance. And all I can pay is 10 dollars per session.” It was impossible
to refuse her desperate appeal for help. She said…
“For 9 years now, since my daughter was born, I am taking Haldol, Prozac
and other medications because Psychiatrists considered me an incurable
schizophrenic patient. I’ve been sleeping most of my daytime during all
these years.
After a traumatic event when my daughter was born I fell into a
depression. I started listening to Mary’s voice (Jesus’s mother)
GC COMMENT: her former psychiatrist diagnosed this an auditory
and I had some inappropriate behaviors, including a kind of anorexia,
with hospitalization. I heard about your work with Energy and I want to
try it. I believe that this could help me to get rid of medication and
my disease. The only reason I don’t kill myself today is because my
religion forbids me to do it.”
My first thought was: should I do EFT for a psychotic client? But the
despair I saw in her eyes touched me and I decided to try. She said she
would do anything to be free from Haldol. In fact, she threw away her
drugs and cut off communications with her psychiatrist. She refused to
take drugs because of the negative effects on her and made it a
requirement that I work with her on that condition.
At the first moment she told me that she had a supportive husband and
parents, and also wonderful children and that made her feel more guilty
for being a mentally ill person. She complained of smoking too much, of
having difficulties to rest and sleep. She said she was also 30 kg more
than her ideal weight, partly because of the antipsychotic medication.
During the last 9 years she was afraid to drive a car, which was normal
to her before her crisis.
The last psychiatrist she saw was very oppressive, telling her she had
an incurable mental illness and was obliged to take Haldol for the rest
of her life. When she arrived at my office she was very angry with all
psychiatrists and therapists who took care of her during all these
years. They gave her no hope: just labels and drugs.
Before investigating core issues, I worked for some weeks on our
rapport, trying to help her on her self esteem and trying to develop
some trust in our connection. She was very upset with the kind of
relationship she had with her psychiatrists and therapists. A hierarchy
was always present, and she was the inferior part of it, all the time.
Her objections about the treatment were never validated by them.
I agreed to try to work with her without medication (her choice) only if
we could see each other almost everyday and talk on the phone whenever
necessary. She agreed to tap with me on the phone whenever I asked her.
In this case it is very important to stress how strong was her intention
to get rid of any medication because they condemned her to be out of a
normal life.
In this case, besides EFT, praying was used almost everyday. She bought
“A Course in Miracles” and did her lessons everyday. The first result,
from the combination these items, was that hallucinations started fading
down and disappeared completely.
I will make a summary of the main topics we worked with EFT. We did EFT
hundreds of times. I learned a lot with Gary, so I do a free talk while
tapping, in a way that I can’t reproduce here, introducing humor and
installing new meanings and possibilities. She was entirely open to work
with EFT.
We started working with the most apparent sensation she was having at
the moment she arrived. In my experience you can start with this state,
even if it is not a core issue. When this layer is reached, even if you
don’t clear it completely, it gives room for the traumatic memories to
show up. Meanwhile you get the basic trust needed to work deeply.
Defenses hold back slowly while the person calms down. At the same time
inner positive resources become more available for working with more
delicate issues. So we started working on her self image and self
esteem, while tapping:
Even though I was shocked by the label of “incurable schizophrenic” Dr.
X put on me, at his office, that makes me feel completely hopeless, I am
not this label, I am more than what people think about me and I deeply
and completely love and accept myself.
While we were tapping I installed some reframing about how I was one
with her, no hierarchy between us, how we were together and no label
separating us.
The result was important for the rest of the treatment: she trusted that
she was not alone and that I was assuming a strong, deep, and personal
commitment with her. Differently from other professionals she had seen
before, I was not just using a technique or medications or my
professional skills. Sometimes when there is a lack of this commitment,
then technique, titles or medications become tools that are responsible
for the client’s feelings of isolation, inferiority and separation. When
this happens, these tools become inefficient.
She disclosed that when her daughter was born she was very upset with
some events and we tapped on them. The worst one (which launched her
first psychotic episode) was her husband’s imposition that his mother
should be the godmother of her daughter. Since they started dating, his
mother and his sisters disapproved of Jacqueline and were mean to her.
Jacqueline’s husband, Leo, didn’t allow any choice to Jacqueline. He
almost begged for this, crying and screaming. When Jacqueline went to
see her mother in law to invite her, her reaction was very negative. She
said: “I accept to be the godmother but I will not receive your family
in my house.” This was a traumatic event for Jacqueline.
She felt very unhappy, with no way out, and thus she had her first
psychotic attack. She undressed completely at a soccer stadium full of
We tapped for this event, and many aspects showed up. We tapped for the
shame and guilt of not having control of her behavior. While she was
narrating the event I tapped on her. This is my preferred way of tapping
specific events. This one was a very traumatic event but finally her
husband agreed on her demand that his mother would not do the baptism of
their daughter.
Thus she was victorious in some way, but she paid a high price for this
“victory”: from this day on she carried the label of a sick person.
After two months her mother in law died suddenly and that gave
Jacqueline the illusion of having a mean power inside her, and that made
her still more guilty. In some way Jacqueline felt she had no control
over herself but from another point of view she was afraid of having
some extraordinary power.
While doing EFT….
Even though I lost control about my behavior that day in the stadium and
I am ashamed about it, I completely forgive myself. This was they way I
found at that time to validate my protest against my mother in law and
my husband demands.
Even though I did what I did at the stadium and she died two months
later, it is only a belief that I can control someone else’s time to
die. This is God’s power, not mine so I can be free of any
responsibility for other people’s life or death.
Jacqueline wanted to drive a car again. She felt ready to try it, after
clearing her psychotic attack and its consequences. So we tapped for the
fear of driving, first at my office, then in her car.
Even if I have fear of driving a car because I went out of control that
day at the stadium, and my mother in law died just after it, and my
husband said that I was not trustable anymore, I deeply and completely
accept myself.
Some aspects of her fear were: fear of losing control, fear of hitting
the car, fear of hitting some one on the streets, fear of hurting her
children if she hits the car, fear of killing someone.
We made a test. We went inside her car and tapped in the car for any
aspect, like “heart jumping too fast”, “I am not able to drive anymore”,
etc With me at her side, in the car, she drove the car by herself. After
a couple of minutes she was very calm, driving the car. Since that day
she is driving the car with no problem, with her children. Sco Paulo (my
home) has very dangerous and wild traffic. Many normal people don’t
drive cars here. But she does it now.
Schizophrenia is caused sometimes by double messages received mainly
during childhood. Since her birth we could find many situations where
double messages were received. Clearing all these double messages along
Jacqueline’s life, since her birth until now, it was essential to allow
her to see everything in a different way and to create a more integrated
Jacqueline was the first child. Her father (Italian origin) wanted only
a male child. When Jacqueline was born her mother felt in some way not
comfortable with the fact that she couldn’t give her husband a boy. At
the beginning of her life Jacqueline felt no holding, no sensation of
being desired. Eleven months after her birth her mother gave birth to a
boy who received all the attention of the parents. Jacqueline was most
of the time with a single aunt that had a strong passion for a catholic
priest at that time.
We tapped for all events and sensations Jacqueline could remember that
were related to this belief of not being wanted, of not deserving love,
of being guilty for not being the boy her parents were waiting for. The
strategy Jacqueline found was trying to persuade her father that she was
good enough like a boy would be, and to do so she became too close to
him and that made her mother very jealous and ambivalent towards her.
Even though I felt the cold eyes of my cold and felt alone in my little
bed, feeling I didn’t deserve love for not being a boy,….
Even if I still feel guilty for not filling my parents expectations,
when they said to me how important it was for them to have a boy as
their first child…
Even if I felt an ambivalence in my mother’s way of looking at me
because she wanted a boy instead of me and she was jealous of my love
for my father…
Investigating it more, I discovered that when Jacqueline had her crisis,
after the birth of her daughter, she was feeling guilty and not
deserving to have two healthy children, a boy and a girl. This was
connected with a specific and important event that we addressed in each
When she was 18 years old she was dating her future husband and she got
pregnant. As she was very religious and she wanted to become a mother
she didn’t want to make an abortion. But her husband, Leo, said that he
would stay with her only if she made the abortion.
She postponed it as much as she could. She felt under a big pressure.
She didn’t want to lose Leo and didn’t want to lose her child. She
talked with her parents and they agreed with the abortion. So she did
it. It was a very traumatic event for her. She felt guilty for the
abortion, felt enraged with Leo, who didn’t go with her to the clinic,
and felt very uncomfortable with her father. After the abortion he was
very critical to her. Their parents were supportive on one side, but on
the other they were very severe and full of deception.
We tapped for each aspect of this event: the blood she saw, the place
where she laid down, the light of the room, the questions the doctor
asked her, the ambivalent sight of her mother, the feeling of
abandonment because Leo was not there, the guilt of killing a 4 months
old fetus.
We discovered that her anorexia was connected with the blood she saw at
the abortion.
Even if the medication had controlled the anorexia, it was a good
release to understand and clear this event and the compulsion that it
triggered. From that day she started feeding herself on a more balanced
way and started losing the extra weight she had at the beginning of the
She cried a lot when we were tapping for this event. Anger at herself,
anger at Leo, anger at her parents that could have said to her: “You may
have the child and we will help you”, anger at her father, who called
Leo to drink a whisky to calm down, sensation of having committed a
murder, etc
After some sessions working on this issue we tapped for forgiveness,
reframing that she was not alone on what she had done, she was just a
girl in love with Leo and in some way she did the abortion to save her
relationship with him.
Sometimes Jacqueline called me during the evening, crying, hopeless,
feeling that something was wrong with her, feeling that her husband
didn’t love her, although he always said the opposite. She never had an
abreaction, we just tapped on the phone and she calmed down.
We could see at that moment how the mother in law event triggered the
abortion trauma, guilt and anger. When her husband made this second
imposition to her: “My mother will baptise my daughter”, she fell apart
and collapsed. Since that day she started hallucinating and having
inappropriate behaviors. One manifestation of this behavior was a
passion for a catholic priest (like her dear aunt in the past), who held
her in a compassioned way at the church.
In my point of view, the main issue for Jacqueline was not being held
since the beginning of her life, and this fact was repeated many times,
maybe because the writings on her walls were like these: “I don’t worth
to be loved, I don’t deserve to be hold, there is something wrong with
me, I should be different to be accepted, I am inappropriate, I have
some strange powers that can harm people, etc”
I was suspecting, from some facts Jacqueline told me about, that her
husband was also sending double messages to her. On one side he said he
loved her, on the other side he was indifferent, quiet, isolated,
I worked with the couple for three sessions and my impression was
confirmed. Leo was very polite but was always concerned with Jacqueline
in a very distant and professional way, asking me if she shouldn’t start
with the medication again.
During the year we worked together Jacqueline had some more depressive
moments. Sometimes she was very accelerated, talking and talking,
reading the Bible compulsively, going to the church and speaking in a
non-spontaneous and hearty way. I supported her not taking the
medication in all these moments.
Beyond EFT we did some yoga therapy, grounding and breathing exercises
to calm her and connected with the here and now, feeling her body
sensations and trusting them. Being touched by me in a very tender way
very important for her to feel grounded and accepted, bringing hope back
to her life. These procedures were enough to stop any process of losing
control or wish to die.
What was interesting is that when we cleared all aspects of the guilt of
the abortion, including the guilt of having healthy children and the
guilt of being alive (she used to talk of suicide as a self punishment),
on the same week her anxiety stopped and her voice became more calm and
she stopped smoking.
As she was more awake and present to her family she started trying to be
closer to her husband but he was always very distant, even repeating
mechanically that he loved her.
We tapped: “Even though I feel like I am crazy with the double messages
he sent to me yesterday, and maybe since I was 18 years old, I hold
myself, I deeply accept myself, and I choose not to believe that I am
crazy. Maybe there is something wrong with him..”
She asked him to go to therapy but he didn’t go.
After some time, as she was more centered and not feeling crazy, she
started realizing how strange was her husband’s behavior. It was not
difficult for her to find out that he was having an affair. Coldly, he
agreed and told her he didn’t love her anymore.
Now they are in a divorce process. As a catholic this is very
complicated to her. But she has the serenity to face this fate. She
brought her children to therapy, she went to a lawyer and asked for the
rights of her children. Leo came to me and confessed that since she was
18 he didn’t love her. He only married her because she made the abortion
and he felt committed with her and grateful to her. So maybe he has been
sending double messages for twenty years.
Jacqueline became very angry with him and with herself. We are now
tapping for her to accept reality as it showed up and finally be free of
these double messages that made her schizophrenic for 20 years. The good
part of it is the two wonderful children who are really special and are
doing the best they can to facilitate this difficult moment for
Jacqueline and Leo.
We have more work to do. The important thing is that Jacqueline is
working again in her profession. She could finally see that her husband
was away for many years, although physically present.
I think the most important piece of this therapy was the possibility she
opened for me to have a deep rapport with her, while tapping. She
started believing that she was a person, not a sickness, and as far as
this occurred, her own family started to legitimate her like a mother, a
professional and a complete human being. She felt self confidence to
re-start her professional life again. For 10 years her family and Leo’s
family considered Leo like the best husband, almost an angel, and
Jacqueline was the crazy one, the problem.
The whole system around her changed when she changed. The truth showed
up and she could see how she felt crazy also because her husband was
sending double messages since a long time, maybe during all their
She is now living alone with her children. Leo left the house, and
Jacqueline is very grounded, determined, not even feeling a victim. She
said to me, “It’s time to turn the page: the page of my marriage, of my
labels, of my poor self esteem. I am ready to take care of me and my
children, and all I want is Leo to be happy, as far from me as
Some months ago she gave me a long written testimony ( in Portuguese),
about her issues and her treatment, confirming some results I wrote
above. Her intention was to help other people who could profit from her
experience. One of these last days she completed the testimony verbally.
I quote this her words :
“For the first time in my life I feel peace in my heart. I have
difficulties with my son and with my husband but they don’t disturb my
peace. I want to live like a normal woman and like a helper, for this I
am praying and serving as a volunteer in a hospital.

For the first time people trust me again. I was elected for the
directory board of my club, and possibly I will be a candidate for a
public position in the near future. I am free from the obsession toward
the priest, I know it because I went to see him in the church and could
see him only like the priest he is. I don’t need smoking nor the voices
I used to listen to. I can remember the abortion without guilt. I
couldn’t have a child for myself at that moment. I feel free from the
double messages my husband used to send to me all the time, saying he
loved me but excluding me from his life and problems and pleasures. I
feel ready to take care of myself, and to take care of my children. I am
living each day, not anticipating the worse like I used to. The pressure
I felt in my heart is gone. I think I tried to protecte my husband by
accepting the double message without any protest, putting the guilt on
myself. I feel healthy as anyone in this life even if I need therapy for
some more time.”

I wrote in the computer while she was speaking. Her voice was soft.
During her worse days her voice was too acute and full of irony and
arrogance. This day her eyes were tender, her voice was tender, her
posture was elegant, her energy was kind and balanced.

Concluding I think that what was decisive was EFT plus the holding she
felt because I could accept, without any judgment, her passion and
fantasies toward the priest, her wish to die, and her fear of getting
crazy, and her deep pain, out of any category or classification that
could separate us.
Sonia Novinsky

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Madness, action and the slow dawning of awareness

First, a listing of events from MindFreedom News:

Listing of activities, conferences and gatherings related to MindFreedom International directly or indirectly.

Title Description Start Date End Date Location
Join our parade entry in the Eugene Celebration to change mental health! March with us for choice in the mental health system at the 2008 Eugene Celebration parade! Mad pride! 2008-09-13 08:30 2008-09-13 11:00 Eugene, Oregon, USA
Another Mad Word Is Possible Several days of events in September in Malmo, Sweden. 2008-09-17 00:00 2008-09-21 00:00 Malmo, Sweden
David W. Oaks to speak at World Psychiatric Association Every three years the World Psychiatric Association holds a World Congress. At this year’s event, David W. Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International, has been… 2008-09-22 18:45 2008-09-22 19:45 Prague, Czech Republic
CAPA holds Psychiatric Survivor Pride Weekend Sponsor group Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) sponsors a weekend of events to celebrate survivors of psychiatric human rights violations. 2008-09-27 13:00 2008-09-28 15:00 Toronto, Canada
Narpa 2008 Conference The National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy 2008 Annual Rights Conference: “Seizing Opportunities for Change” 2008-10-01 00:00 2008-10-04 00:00 University of Texas Thompson Conference Center, Austin
Premiere for the film documentary about UK rock band Heavy Load. Heavy Load of England is composed of punk rock musicians diagnosed with learning disabilities. A new film spotlights the band’s success. 2008-10-01 00:00 2008-10-01 00:00 London, England
Last Day to Sign Petition October 4, 2008 is the last day to sign the petition “Stop the Psychiatric Drug Crisis in the US Military.” 2008-10-04 11:55 2008-10-04 11:55 Ah, Crap
Psychiatry and Freedom 11th International Conference for Philosophy and Mental Health International Network of Philosophy and Psychiatry 2008-10-06 00:00 2008-10-08 00:00 The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, TX, USA
International Center for the Study of Psychology and Psychiatry’s 2008 conference. The International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, Inc. (ICSPP) is a sponsor group of MindFreedom. This is an excellent conference, especially… 2008-10-10 00:00 2008-10-12 00:00 Tampa, Florida, USA
National consultation in India on citizens’ charter of human rights NAAJMI partners in India are organizing a two day National consultation on “Citizens’ charter of Human rights for persons living with a mental illness.” 2008-10-10 00:00 2008-10-11 00:00 Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, India.
Alternatives 2008 Since the 1980’s, the US federal government helps fund a large conference of several hundred mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors, many of whom are… 2008-10-29 00:00 2008-11-02 00:00 Buffalo, New York, USA
ENUSP Plans 2009 World-Congress Against Discrimination and Stigma The European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry are joining with other groups in Greece in the second half of September, 2009 for a world-congre… 2009-09-15 00:00 2009-09-30 00:00 Thessaloniki, Greece

And these:

Upcoming Events
UK Television Production Company Seeks Mad Pride Stories UK,
Asylum! Conference and Festival Elizabeth Gaskell Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK,
Join our parade entry in the Eugene Celebration to change mental health! Eugene, Oregon, USA,
Another Mad Word Is Possible Malmo, Sweden,
David W. Oaks to speak at World Psychiatric Association Prague, Czech Republic,

And this plug:

MindFreedom Journal is out-
(go to for free copy)

If you’d like a free sample issue of the award-winning MindFreedom Journal and information about membership mailed to you, just fill out and submit the web form available here.

MindFreedom members include psychiatric survivors, mental health consumers, advocates, family members, and many mental health professionals. What do they have in common? A commitment to the importance of human rights and alternatives in the mental health system.

The new Fall 2008 MindFreedom Journal has 16 pages of the latest news on mental health human rights, with personal stories, color photos, interviews, poetry and a calendar of events as well.

Because we believe you will join once you see the exciting work MindFreedom is doing, we’re now offering a free sample of the Journal. We want to let everyone know what MindFreedom members, sponsors and affiliates are  doing to promote human rights and alternatives in mental health.

Oh- and don’t forget this:

(Does the Word “DUH” mean anything to you?)

Loneliness Harms Health
By Rick Nauert, Ph.D.
Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on September 9, 2008

New studies show that a sense of rejection or isolation disrupts not only will power and perseverance, but also key cellular processes deep within the human body.

Chronic loneliness belongs among health risk factors such as smoking, obesity or lack of exercise.

Feeling connected to others is vital to a person’s mental well-being, as well as physical health, research at the University of Chicago shows.

The studies, reported in a new book, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, show that a sense of rejection or isolation disrupts not only abilities, will power and perseverance, but also key cellular processes deep within the human body.

The findings suggest that chronic loneliness belongs among health risk factors such as smoking, obesity or lack of exercise, according to lead author John Cacioppo, the Tiffany & Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology at the University.

“Loneliness not only alters behavior, but loneliness is related to greater resistance to blood flow through your cardiovascular system,” Cacioppo said.

Ah, Crap

It looks like the Mad Liberation by Moonlight September show will be canceled- It would have been Friday night, September 19th, 2008, 4 days after the full moon but this conflicts with the annual Coltrane Marathon. Listen anyway. It’ll be back in October (10/17/08, 3 days post lunar fullness).

Here’s a lunar calendar with some thoughts about the next few shows of 2008:

Looking at this schedule, you should get the idea that the next shows will be on 10/17, 11/14 (fortuitous!) and 12/12 (even more fortuitous!). I’ll let people know if this changes, as sometimes happens when Daniel has a special that conflicts.

Other Stuff:

political commentary (click for readable size)-

new illustration from my older son’s blog-

This is cool-

3d Hilbert Curve

3d Hilbert Curve

So is this-

Miscellaneous nonsense or not-

And with this, good-night:


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Sunday Soup

Try this Automatic Flatterer, feel better:

Give a Listen:

Cat Power-


Allen Ginsberg-


Lewis Black- TV Pilot-


Take a look:

Think about these things (links):

free buddhist audio-


Ron Unger’ssite-

Tomorrows news today-

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Recovery Roundup- News and Views from the Movement

From MindFreedom:

Human Rights in Mental Health Alert – Please Forward

Calling All Human Rights Activists & Advocates: Support Ann L.!

New York State Citizen to be Forcibly Drugged on Outpatient Basis.

Ann L. says her forced psychiatric drugging makes her “sick and is torture.” But New York State is aggressively pushing for more forced drugging of Ann L. on an outpatient basis in her own community residence.

Ann L. is 50 years old, and says she has been in and out of the psychiatric system since she was 15. Ann says she was locked up for the past seven years in the notorious Pilgrim Psychiatric Center in New York, where she experienced years of forced psychiatric drugging.

Earlier this year Ann L. finally won her freedom.

She thought.

Ann got out of the institution and has been satisfied living in the community in the Irving Berkowitz Residence in West Brentwood. But now the State of New York is threatening to continue her forced psychiatric drugging while living at home even outside of the institution.

The State of New York is seeking to use “Kendra’s Law” to continue to administer forced psychiatric drugs to Ann L. using Involuntary Outpatient Commitment.

Ann L. (not her real name) states that she fears the forced psychiatric drugging will continue to debilitate her health and put her at risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Two independent nonprofit advocacy groups, MindFreedom and PsychRights, have determined that Ann L.’s situation is a priority. They are working together to support Ann L.’s bid for freedom in both the court room and the court of public opinion.

Stop the forced psychiatric drugging of Ann L.!

* * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * *

Ann L. asks that you contact New York Governor Paterson. Use this web page:

or use this web link:

Phone: (518) 474-4623. Fax: (518) 486-4170


Your own words & experiences are best. Please be civil but firm:

“I oppose the State of New York continuing the involuntary outpatient psychiatric drugging of Ann L. who is living in the Irving Berkowitz Residence in West Brentwood, New York. Please stop all forced psychiatric drugging in New York State.”


1) Research shows that coercion is bad for a person’s “mental health.”

People subjected to forced psychiatric treatment have been shown to be at increased risk for drug dependence, disabling side-effects of medication, and suicide. Force can result in damage to self-esteem and the motivation toward recovery, as well as inducing or furthering fear and trauma.

2) People recover when they have a real choice among alternatives and volunteer services.

People recover when they are empowered to make their own choices, when they take responsibility for their own lives, and when they are offered hope. Under the conditions of Involuntary Outpatient Commitment this is impossible.

3) People deserve alternatives to psychiatric drugs.

Psychiatric drugging can cause additional mental and emotional problems, and can even kill. More humane and effective alternatives to psychiatric drugs ought to be offered for those who choose them.

4) Psychiatric human rights violations are life-threatening.

Research shows that people in the state mental health system die about 25 years younger than the general public. Remember the public death of Esmin Green who was denied any help while locked for 24 hours in a NY psychiatric emergency room.


Please forward this alert to all appropriate places on and off the Internet.

It just takes a moment to contact additional New York State officials. If you can also phone or write that is helpful, but at least e-mail them. Be civil, be firm, don’t stop!!

Let them all know that forced psychiatric drugging is wrong and must be stopped!

Please contact these New York State officials immediately:

*** Assemblyperson Peter M. Rivera is Chair of the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

He is a crucial elected leader focusing on the field of mental health.


Phone: (718) 931-2620

David W. Oaks to be “special presenter” at world

psychiatric congress

by David W. Oaks last modified 2008-07-24 13:06

Every few years, the World Psychiatric Association holds a World Congress. The WPA has invited MindFreedom International executive director David W. Oaks to be a “special presenter” at the Congress, which is in September 2008 in Prague.

David W. Oaks to be "special presenter" at world psychiatric congress

David W. Oaks, MFI Director, will address WPA.

Here is the title and abstract of the talk planned for the World Congress of the World Psychiatric Association by David W. Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International.

World Congress of Psychiatry

Document ID: WCP4323

MindFreedom International, Eugene, United States

David W. Oaks,

Topic: Ethics in psychiatry


Abstract Body: The point of view of individuals who have experienced  human rights violations in mental health care, and the organizations  that represent us, need to be heard by psychiatric professional  organizations. Mediated dialogue must be encouraged between groups  representing psychiatric survivors and groups representing mental  health professionals.

We are not alone. Dr. Benedetto Saraceno, Director of the Department  of Mental Health and Substance Dependence at the World Health  Organization (WHO), has stated, “The violation of human rights of …  psychiatric services users and the recognition of their role and  rights as citizens are a main concern for WHO. WHO thinks that no  treatment can be credibly provided in a context which systematically  violates human rights. There is a global emergency for the human  rights of people suffering from mental health problems. I insist on  the word ‘global’ as people tend to believe that these kinds of  violations always occur somewhere else when, in fact, they occur  everywhere.”

Certain human rights controversies are especially pressing, such as  involuntary electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) against the expressed  wishes of the subject, and long-term, high-dosage coerced  administration of neuroleptic psychiatric drugs.

In a broader sense, though, if a family with a member in severe  crisis is primarily offered psychiatric drugs, when non-drug  approaches can work, this too is a kind of coercion. I respect an  individual’s right to take prescribed psychiatric drugs. However,  being offered only one choice is not really a choice at all. Creating  more non-drug voluntary alternatives has become a human rights concern.

Here is a link to the bio about David W. Oaks on the World Psychiatric Association web site:

From Recovery from Schizophrenia (Ron Unger):

Radio Interview

Posted by Ron Unger on July 15th, 2008

An interview with me on “Madness Radio” can be found at I talk about why I got interested in psychosis, mainly because of my own experiences as a young man that it seemed to me were understandable yet not likely to be understood by our current mental health system. Then I talk about cognitive therapy for psychosis and why I think it is a helpful and needed addition to the mental health field.

Download episode file directly:

Short Video Clip

Posted by Ron Unger on July 14th, 2008

Hugh Massengil videod part of a seminar I did, and posted it to YouTube. I’m discussing the relationship between cognitive therapy for psychosis and medications, and then talking a little about “what is psychosis” and the continuum between everyday errors and “psychosis.” If you want to check it out, it’s available at

Recovery Stories

Posted by Ron Unger on July 5th, 2008

Recently a couple people I know have put their recovery stories on the web. One is my friend Hugh Massengil, who got his story put on an official state website, even though his story suggests mental health treatment is almost completely off track, at least in its standard form. He is on a committee about increasing wellness among those with mental health diagnoses (very important given data that such people typically die 25 years earlier than average, often due to conditions that are aggravated by medication.) His story illustrates that wellness often is a result of successfully breaking away from traditional “treatment.” You can access his story at

Another is the story of Oryx Cohen, who is one of the leaders at the Freedom Center You can access Oryx’s story at It’s a great read, going from his attempt to get his car to fly on the freeway (not very successful) to his attempt to get off psychiatric medications and have a good life (much more successful, though not without difficulty and one big slipup.)

Finally, I’d suggest checking out the video at It’s an overview of the perspective of psychosis as all about reorganizing the mind, as a positive process if the person gets supported in working through it in a good way. The video is well done and worth the time you will take watching it!

Also, check out this link:

Thanks for reading,listening, paying attention.

My prayers go out to you and my wish that everyone you meet will be kind, gentle and wise.

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Oregon Consumer/ Survivor Coalition & stuff

Oregon Consumer Survivor Coalition delegation meets with Oregon’s

by Rebecca Eichhorn

In June 2008, representatives from the Oregon Consumer Survivor
Coalition (OCSC), Mental Health America, and several individual
consumers were invited to meet with Governor Ted Kulongoski. The
purpose of this historic meeting was to brief the Governor on matters
concerning mental health and consumer affairs in Oregon.

The hour long conversation offered an opportunity to familiarize the
governor with issues facing consumers and the public mental health

Some of the topic discussed at the meeting included:

** The history of the consumer movement

** the concept of “recovery”

** consumer/survivors as partners in treatment

** peer support services, and

** the need for a continuum of mental health services.

The Governor set the agenda and led the conversation asking questions
and indicating genuine interest in each topic discussed. There was
not enough time to cover the Governor’s entire agenda. However, the
topics that were discussed seemed well received and layed the
foundation for a future meeting and continued dialogue with the
Governor regarding consumer voice and issues facing the mental health

Rebecca Eichhorn, MS
OCSC Board Member
Consumer Affairs Specialist
Consumer Care Partnerships

New York Times covers Mad Pride!

Protests against forced electroshock-

From MindFreedom news-

(lazy blogger)

May 2008 Protests of Electroshock

by David W. Oaks last modified 2008-05-15 15:00

Electroshock — also known as electroconvulsive therapy — was protested by MindFreedom members in Cork, Ireland; Ottawa, Canada; Montreal, Canada. Here are brief reports from each.

May 2008 Protests of Electroshock

MindFreedom Ireland in Cork, Ireland on 3 May 2008 protesting electroshock.

BELOW are reports from three May 2008 electroshock protests: Cork, Ireland (photo in upper right); Ottawa, Canada; Montreal, Canada.

The reports were compiled by Sue Clark, who is chair of the MindFreedom ZAPBACK Committee to end electroshock.

Update: A photo is now on this web page for each of the three protests.

MindFreedom Lane County will also include protest of electroshock in their 17 May 2008 skit protest The Normathon.

The reports begin with Ottawa, followed by a brief report from Montreal, and then from Cork, Ireland.

May 2008 Electroshock Protests

Photo of protest in Ottawa, Canada on 11 May 2008 of electroshockOttawa protests electroshock on 11 May 2008

[Photo on right, more photos click here.]

by Sue Clark

Hello everyone:

Here are two articles re the ECT protest yesterday in Ottawa. The first one is from the CBC national news. There was a radio show yesterday on CBC radio at 7:30 p.m. I was told and there was a whole show on ECT. I will try to get the transcript. The first article from the CBC they put in Dr. Peter Breggin’s’ name wrong, and put in “Paul Breggin”.

The second article from said in the article “patients” I have free of psychiatry since 1990 and have not been a patient since then.

The ECT protest was also covered by CFRA radio, CJOH TV news in Ottawa, and A channel News in Ottawa. The CBC had a whole story on ECT on CBC radio on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and I did not hear the show. If anyone did, please let me know.

We will be holding the ECT protest every year on Mother’s Day on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Thank to all who participated in this ECT protest in Ottawa: Steven Wittenberg, my husband, Don Weitz, Graeme Bacque, Jane Scharf, Marco, Phillip and Jen, Cristian and Francois, Elisabeth Ziegeler and Jay, Debbie and Jennifer, Michael, Barbara Mainguy, Karen Dawe, and to the others who were there and to all the people who sent statements and encouragement to to the event: Mary Maddock from Mindfreedom Ireland, Helene Grandbois from Montreal, Dr. Bonnie Burstow from Toronto, Leonard Roy Frank from San Francisco, and Dr. John Breeding from Texas, and to David Oaks and his staff for their support and encouragement.

I will be on a radio show today on CHRY radio 105.5 at 5:30 p.m. which is in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
talking about the ECT protest yesterday and other antipsychiatry issues.


Sue Clark-Wittenberg
MFI committee on ECT & Human Rights
Ottawa (613) 721-1833


Despite criticism, electroshock therapy commonly used in depression Last Updated: Monday, May 12, 2008 | 12:22 PM ET CBC News<;

(you can make comments at this link) – Sue

Despite protests calling for a ban on the treatment, electroshock therapy is frequently used by Canadian psychiatrists to treat severe depression.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) estimates that last year, the procedure, which dates back to 1938 and involves passing electrical currents though the brain to trigger seizures, was used more than 15,000 times in the country.

The figure has remained virtually unchanged since 2002, CIHI says, showing that the popularity of the procedure remains strong.

A report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal last week shows the procedure is commonly used to treat drug-resistant depression in seniors.

However, critics of the procedure believe its usage should be stopped, and it is a painful procedure that leads to brain damage.

On Sunday, about a dozen protesters rallied in Ottawa, calling for a ban of the procedure.

Protest organizer Sue Clark-Wittenberg had electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) 35 years ago, and says it has kept her from getting an education and a good job.

“The bottom line is electroshock always damages the brain. Electroshock always causes memory loss,” she says.
ECT survives calls for ban

Dr. Nizar Ladha, a psychiatrist based in St. John’s, has been using ECT for three decades. He says the procedure does induce seizures, but they’re not painful and don’t cause convulsions.

“As an effective and lifesaving treatment, it rates right up there with the discovery of penicillin,” he told CBC News.

Ladha says he has seen ECT help fight depression and prevent many suicides.

The Canadian Psychiatric Association argues that ECT is safe and effective, though the Canadian Medical Association says it can cause memory loss.

But Dr. Paul Breggin, a New York-based psychiatrist, is in a minority of psychiatrists who says the procedure should be banned.

“We’re treating human beings as if they are a very crude machine which can be battered back into shape.”

Still, Dr. David Goldbloom, a psychiatrist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, predicts it will become even more popular, having survived numerous calls to ban it and two provincial inquiries.

“Each time the conclusion is the same — that the balance of evidence supports retaining this to try to help people with depression.”


Shock therapy ‘barbaric, inhumane,’ say protesters

Updated: Sun May. 11 2008 18:29:27<;

Past patients of electroshock therapy took to Parliament Hill today, requesting a ban on what they say is torture.

“Stop electroshock before it stops you,” chanted Sue Clark Wittenberg, a former electroshock therapy patient and vocal opponent to the practise.

Also known as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the American Psychiatric Association and the Canadian Psychiatric Association have deemed ECT to be safe and not cause brain damage.

The protesters claimed ECT is barbaric and inhumane.

Wittenberg said she was subjected to ECT 25 years ago. Now, she claims she suffers from memory loss and difficulty learning. Wittenberg and other patients want the Canadian Government to ban what is considered a therapeutic practice.

“The Canadian Psychiatric Association says on their website that electroshock therapy is safe. That is not true, look at me,” Wittenberg said.

Wittenberg claims 14,000 people in Ontario are subjected to electroshock therapy every year.

According to the Canadian Psychiatric Association, ECT is effective in the treatment of patients with major depression, delusional depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and catatonia.

Protest in Quebec in May 2008 of electroshockQUEBEC PROTESTS ELECTROSHOCK

Montreal protest to ban ECT Saturday May 10, 2008 (photo on right).

Our protest was real success. About 50 persons were there. We had our choir perform two times and chant our slogans.

We had a bannière with “Disons non aux électrochocs Urgence d’agir”.

I made two times a speach one more general on my motivations to make ECT banned and a translation I made of Sue testimony that she send me.

Two other speakers made speeches. Two TVs station were there TVA and Radio-Canada who made a very good report of the situation about ECT not just a report from the protest but also they documented the fact that our Ministry of Health did nothing from the Banken report recommendation 5 years after the report.

Nobody was interviewed to counterfact our statements. The Ministry of Health was interviewed and could just say they do nothing to monitor or to tcheck about the situation of ECT and the women and elderly that were shocked. On the web site of both Radio-Canada and TVA our statement are well put into evidence. We also had interviews for a radio program that will be on the air on next friday night at 8 o’clock cannot say the result of this. We will see.

In general the protest was energizing and everybody who was there will sing our songs with us and say our slogans. Really a very exciting event.

As Mary said we shall overcome
Take care


MindFreedom Ireland protests electroshock in Cork, Ireland

Press Release – For more information contact Mary Maddock of MindFreedom Ireland

3 May 2008

Members of MindFreedom Ireland, the organisation which campaigns for human rights in the mental health system, protested against the use of electro shock as a ‘treatment’ both in our Irish hospitals and worldwide.

It took place outside the G.P.O. Oliver Plunket St. Cork, Ireland between 1.p.m. and 4.p.m.

Many members of the public expressed their own shock! that this barbaric practice was still performed both worldwide and in our Irish hospitals today ‘in the name of help.’

They were more outraged that it could even be legally forced on vulnerable people.

Many of them signed a petition to abolish the practice.

Four electro shock survivors from Cork spoke out and confirmed that it did indeed cause brain damage.

Last year both Kathy Sinnott, MEP and Dan Boyle, Green Party took part in the protest.

The protest was part of a worldwide demonstration in conjunction with Mother’s Day in Canada, to highlight the fact that two thirds of the recipients of shock are women. Messages of solidarity from Canada were read out.

On the same day MindFreedom Ireland celebrated the ratification of the UN treaty on the rights of people with disabilities (this importantly includes people with psycho/social disabilities) which hopefully will stop forceful ‘treatments’ used in present day psychiatry including electro shock.

Mary Maddock was the focus of an article about electroshock in in a major Irish newspaper, to read the article click here.

Some important facts about electro shock commonly known as ECT ( Electro Convulsive ‘Therapy’.






Mad Liberation By MoonLight

KBOO Radio 90.7 FM

1- 2 a.m. Late Friday night

(yes, I know that it is technically Saturday morning- relax, it’s just a radio show)

July 25th, 2008

(Please do not note that the lunar calendar would generally put the show on July 18th but I can’t be in town that night- sorry for the incontinence. You can still listen to KBOO and be surprised at whatever you hear. Try not to get confused, I know I’m trying my best and it’s not working very well. The show will be on July 25th, 1:00 a.m. Friday night.)

This show is dedicated to Everyone

*who has ever been given a psychiatric label, *who experiences mental health challenges and of course to *anybody who has the misfortune (or good fortune) of being awake at that hour.

You can participate! Call in at (503) 231-8187

Please call in!

(Set your alarm if you aren’t usually up at that time)

Friday nights from 1 am to 2 am usually following the full-moon, will be a segment on KBOO radio (90.7 on your fm dial, to the left of NPR), also streamed on the internet on their website, will be time for of Mad Lib by Moonlight. The program is part of the usual Friday night show, The Outside World.

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Events News Release from MindFreedom

Some of the events are already past because I was late getting this up but much of it is still useful.

MindFreedom International News – 17 July 2008 – please forward

A Few 2008 Events About Changing the Mental Health System

The calendar of events below, in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, and UK
may be of interest to those who passionately care about human rights
and alternatives in the mental health system.

[Disclaimers: Most but not all events are organized by MindFreedom or
sponsor groups. Listing is not necessarily endorsement. The
organizers are solely responsible for their content. Date listed is
start date. This listing is not meant to be comprehensive. If your
event is not yet listed you may submit e-mail to ]

For more info and links for below events go to:



Mad Pride Week in the City of Toronto – The Mayor of Toronto even
officially declared a Mad Pride Day! This wonderful series of events
is already underway, but there is still time to attend. A bed push
parade and party is scheduled for July 19, and a Mad Pride brunch on
the morning of July 20.

Watch for organizers from new affiliate, MindFreedom Ontario!

14 – 20 July 2008



BonkersFest – Poses the question ‘De-normalisation: The next civil
rights movement?’ This free event will take place on the actual area
where the infamous Bedlam was located. Past BonkersFests have drawn
three thousand participants.

BonkersFest is a showcase of mad creativity providing a day of
inspiring performance, art and music for the whole community.

19 July 2008



Mad Pride Asheville – “Part of a 9-nation disorganization of similar
festivals, featuring week-long festivals in London and Toronto and
others in Portland OR, Montreal, and various other cities in the US,
Canada, Belgium, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South
Africa and Ghana.”

19 July 2008



A vigil co-sponsored by MindFreedom International to remember Esmin
Green, who died so publicly while waiting in King County Hospital
Psychiatric Emergency Room:

25 July 2008



July 31, 2008 is the deadline for MindFreedom to receive a matching
grant by raising a grand total of $500.00 from first-time donors. If
we reach this goal, the Helios Resource Network will double the total
amount donated by granting MindFreedom $500.00 in matching funds.

If you would like to help us reach this goal, and support human
rights and alternatives in mental health, please become a MindFreedom
member today by donating any amount — small or large — to MFI
through the Helios Resource Network.

For information on how to make your tax-deductible donation count
toward the Helios grant, please go directly to this Helios Web page

Or read more about this important opportunity here:

But act now! The deadline is 31 July 2008!



Education Day on Human Rights & Alternatives in Mental Health –
“PRAWI of New Zealand is a sponsor group in MindFreedom
International. Director Anna de Jonge announces PRAWI is holding an
all-day educational event using DVD’s from the conferences of the
International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology.”

17 August 2008



Asylum! Conference and Festival – From the organizers: “The
conference will bring together organisations, activists, campaigners
and academics working for radical challenge and change in mental
health. It will showcase critical work on psychiatry and psychology
(‘Big Psy’) and the pharmaceutical industry (‘Big Pharma’), and
alternatives to diagnostic medical labels like ‘schizophrenia’ and
‘paranoia’.” This event is being held on the Elizabeth Gaskell
Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

10-12 September 2008



NARPA 2008 Conference – This year the NARPA conference will be held
at the University of Texas at Austin, and will feature speakers
Michael Perlin, Catherine Penney, and Susan Stefan, and others.

1-4 October 2008



International Center for the Study of Psychology and Psychiatry’s
2008 conference – The ICSPP is a sponsor group of MindFreedom. This
is an excellent conference, especially to network dissident mental
health professionals critical of the current psychiatric system.

10-12 October 2008



Alternatives 2008 – Since the 1980’s, the US federal government helps
fund a large conference of several hundred mental health consumers
and psychiatric survivors, many of whom are leading consumer-driven
projects such as support groups and drop-in centers.

29 October – 2 November 2008


ACTION: Please forward this events calendar!

For more info and links for above events go to:


For hard-to-find books and gear go to MFI’s Mad Market here:

New DVD: “Little Brother, Big Pharma”!


Wherever you live, volunteer today for human rights and alternatives
in mental health!

MindFreedom International Office:

454 Willamette, Suite 216 – POB 11284; Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA

web site:
e-mail: office(at)mindfreedom(dot)org
MFI office phone: (541) 345-9106
MFI member services toll free: 1-877-MAD-PRIDe or 1-877-623-7743 fax:
(541) 345-3737

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Mad News from MindFreedom


July 25, 2008 VIGIL and Demonstration – Kings County Hospital
Center, Building G, New York, USA

Please POST/ Forward


Contact: Lauren J. Tenney, MA, MPA, Psychiatric Survivor FOR
IMMEDIATE RELEASE Cell: 516-319-4295

WE THE PEOPLE Call for an End of Abuse, Torture, and Neglect in the
Wake of Ms. Green’s Death While Detained at Kings County Hospital
Center’s Psychiatric Emergency Room.

Advocates, human rights activists, and community members are holding
a vigil and demonstration to mourn the death of Ms. Esmin Elizabeth
Green. WE the PEOPLE are calling attention to the reported horrific
inactions and complete neglect that Ms. Green was subjected to while
detained at the Kings County Hospital Center’s Psychiatric Emergency
Room, 451 Clarkson Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11203.

According to the Associated Press, after being involuntarily
committed to the institution, Ms. Green sat waiting for a bed to
become available for nearly 24 hours before she collapsed on to the
floor. She lay there helpless for nearly an hour until she received
medical attention, which came too late[i]. Further, according to the
New York Civil Liberties Union, facility staff possibly falsified
documents, stating that Ms. Green was “up and went to the bathroom”
and was “‘sitting quietly in the waiting room’ – more than 10 minutes
after she last moved”[ii]. The surveillance tape shown on CNN Video
portrays Ms. Green dying on the floor as people pass her by[iii]. In
fact, on the Internet, one can find a mass of comment on this tragedy
by individuals all over the world – a question repeatedly asked,
“Where is the humanity?”

All people must be treated with dignity, humanity, and respect. We
must not tolerate violations of human rights that individuals who are
assigned psychiatric labels often endure.

We ask you, wouldn’t you be depressed and possibly even ‘agitated’ if
you were going to lose your home and employment? Reportedly, this is
what led to Ms. Green’s commitment[iv]. Any one of us could be
labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis and subjected to inhumane
‘treatment’ if we are thought to be ‘agitated’, particularly if we
are poor.

How many more people labeled with “mental illness” will be subjected
to torture and neglect before something is done to protect human
rights within psychiatric systems? David Oaks, Executive Director of
MindFreedom International states, “I encourage us all to reflect on
the need for a deep nonviolent revolution in the field of mental
, far beyond the “reforms” that have gotten us to where we are
today, with televised death via neglect of a mother of six”.

In 1875, a New York Times article cites abuses of inmates at the
Kings County Asylum, spurred by Mr. Nelson Magee, a former inmate.
Then-Commissioner Norris reacts to the investigation, “This sort of
thing is very common among lunatics; they are always imagining
themselves in great danger of being killed by their keepers”v. How
many more centuries have to go by before action is taken to end these
abuses and neglect?

WE the PEOPLE stand for change. We have been abused by the
psychiatric system. Our brothers and sisters continue to be abused
and murdered, as evidenced by Ms. Green’s untimely demise. Massive
human rights violations happen every day in psychiatric institutions
but this horrific inaction was captured on videotape. We will call
attention to the every day tortures committed in the name of
psychiatric “help” including diagnosing life’s challenges as
”illness,” forced pharmaceuticals, restraint, seclusion, and
electric shock treatment (ECT) with a Vigil to honor Ms. Green’s
memory beginning at 2 PM.

There are many questions as to what led to Ms. Green’s death. Was it
in any way related to the toxic and debilitating drugs that people
labeled with “mental illness” are intimidated, coerced, and forced
into taking? A thorough investigation is necessary to determine the
extent of the torture, ill treatment and other human rights
involved in this case and in the practices of the
institution as a whole. We must stand united to demand social
justice, equal rights, and environments free from torture and detention.

On July 25, 2008, we invite all people to join us and stand united in
support of the demand that everyone receive the full benefit of their
human rights and the preservation of their liberty, dignity and respect.

Who: All People.

What: Candle Light Vigil to mourn the loss of Ms. Esmin Elizabeth
Green and condemn violations of human rights.

Why: WE THE PEOPLE call for an end of abuse, torture, and neglect in
the wake of Ms. Green’s Death on June 19, 2008, while detained at
Kings County Hospital Center’s Psychiatric Emergency Room.

Where: Kings County Hospital Center, Psychiatric Emergency Room,
Building G. 606 Winthrop Street Brooklyn, NY 11203

Date: July 25, 2008

Time: 5 PM – 10 PM, Candle Light Vigil, 8:30 PM

We welcome your involvement as an organizational co-sponsor or an
individual endorser of this effort. If you would like to speak at
this event, please contact us.



For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Contact: Lauren J. Tenney
Cell: 516-319-4295

Contact: David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom Phone: 541-345-9106


[i] Retrieved July 8, 2008 from

[ii] Retrieved July 8, 2008 from

[iii] Retrieved on July 8, 2008 from

[iv] Retrieved July 8, 2008, from

[v] Retrieved July 9, 2008 from


Urgent action: Please forward to all appropriate places on and off
Internet, especially to concerned people and groups in New York State.


Mad Pride

MindFreedom International News – 14 July 2008
Nonviolent Revolution in Mental Health!

Mad Pride 2008 Skyrocketing!

Mad Pride has been growing fast! Below are just a few of the Mad
Pride events this month in many nations.

Coverage in the Sunday New York Times, international events that draw
thousands of participants (Thank you, MindFreedom Ireland!), and the
skyrocketing enthusiasm of Mad Pride organizers, all point to the
great strides taken by this movement over the last six months. Mad
Pride celebrates the human rights to be different, and promotes human
rights in mental health.

According to MindFreedom’s calendar of events, the second half of
2008 will see this trend continue.

Here is a brief look into a few Mad Pride 2008 events:


This weekend, from July 11 – 13, 2008 at the Country Fair in Eugene,
Oregon, you can visit the “Doors of Expression” booth and uncover Mad
Pride at this famous, annual event.

Mental Patients Liberation Alliance holds 28th Annual Bastille Days
Demonstration, “HELP Stop Psychiatric Oppression.” from July 11 – 14,
Albany, New York.


From July 14 – 20, Toronto will celebrate Mad Pride Week, including
their second annual bed push.

Through July 14, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Gallery Gachet is
holding panel discussions, performances, readings and film events to
celebrate “World Mad Pride.”


On July 14, MindFreedom Ghana is holding its third annual Mad Pride

On July 17, in Cape Town, South Africa, there will be a Mad Pride
Parade followed by a celebration and music.


On July 16, in Leeds, West Yorkshire, there will be music, poetry and
more, celebrating Mad Pride.

Bonkersfest 2008 will be held on July 19, in London. This is probably
the largest Mad Pride event in the UK (Last year it drew three
thousand participants!) and will be held at the site of the infamous
Bedlam Hospital.

For updates and more, visit our Mad Pride Campaign page:


ACTION: Please forward this Mad Pride News to all of your mad and mad-
friendly friends, relatives and colleagues!


Mad Pride = United Strength in Numbers = You!


* Win human rights campaigns in mental health.

* End abuse by the psychiatric drug industry.

* Support self-determination of psychiatric survivors.

* Promote safe, humane, effective options in mental health.

* Show your MAD PRIDE!

Join here:

MindFreedom is a nonprofit human rights group that unites 100 sponsor
and affiliate groups with individual members.

MindFreedom is one of the very few totally independent activist
groups in the mental health field with no funding from governments,
drug companies, religions, corporations, or the mental health system.

MindFreedom is the only group of its kind accredited by the United
Nations (NGO Consultative Roster Status).

All human rights supporters are invited to join MFI by donating here:


MindFreedom International Office:

454 Willamette, Suite 216 – POB 11284; Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA

web site:
e-mail: office(at)mindfreedom(dot)org
MFI office phone: (541) 345-9106
MFI member services toll free: 1-877-MAD-PRIDe or 1-877-623-7743 fax:
(541) 345-3737

Please forward!

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The world is so full of a number of things…

I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

I digress….

had to post this picture:

Mental Health and Mortality

Per our last post, we reported that in Oregon one-third of people treated for mental health diagnosis die before age 50. If you add “co-occurring disorders”, 89 percent of people treated for both mental
illness and substance abuse die before age 50. These numbers are in line with but also in excess of the national data regarding mortality and mental health.

It’s important to note that the figures are based on people who are receiving treatment. It’s also key to point out that these mortality statistics are getting worse not better. Add to these findings the fact that the most significant factor involved in recovery from mental illness is the length of time one has received treatment; that is to say that the longer one receives treatment, the less likely they are to recover.

What conclusions can be drawn?

  1. Mental health treatment is possibly preventing people from getting well and
  2. Our advances in treatment (new drugs, etc.) are killing us faster and faster.

Is anybody listening? Not much, it would appear. In Oregon we are building a new state hospital system at a cost of half a billion dollars. Our mental health treatment centers and support agencies are stuck in a time warp, oblivious to the facts, ignorant of the potential for recovery and blindly pushing the drugs that are killing us at a rate unprecedented for any other major public health issue.

(Note on the incredibly simpleminded continued reliance on large public institutions: I am of the opinion that as long as we have a system that believes that “some people just have to kept in institutions”, we will have a system that incarcerates a large number of people in these settings. It is only when we say that “no one should be treated this way” that we will begin the to take meaningful steps toward an effective community approach to treatment and support. The state hospitals will continue to suck up the majority of the resources at the expense of real treatment, real recovery and real self-determination. The old arguments that we need these places because of “court mandated patients”, “public safety” and the less acknowledged factor of state employees’ unions who resist the shift to community agencies and settings are are all red herrings and scare tactics with no real value in the discussion. Between 1987 and 1999, with fits and starts, the state dismantled it’s large public institutions for people with developmental disabilities (Fairview Hospital and Training Center/ FHTC, the last and largest). The biggest factor in the process taking so long was the repeated arguments mentioned above. In the end, these all turned out to be empty threats that had no value other than their ability to slow things down. Meaningful, secure and recovery based supports can be engineered in the community. Oregon has already done it before. Some of you may say that their is no correlation or equivalence between these populations but that is also just a lie perpetrated by those who would hold back the future. Fairview held hundreds of individuals with mental illness, hundreds who were court-mandated and thousands of unionized staff. It was once a small city; It is now a field of weeds and grass. I was there. I worked at part-time Fairview in the 1970s and was involved throughout the process of it’s closure.)

The institution is not the only problem. Existing community services are often mismanaged, poorly staffed read the Annapolis Coalition report or in Oregon, the Governor’s report) and typically way behind in their acceptance of recovery and self-directed supports (compare your local clinic with the National Statement on Mental Health Recovery).

Are there any silver linings?

We have a consumer/ survivor movement that is gradually learning to work together and spread our collective wings. We have tiny (microscopic in a national sense) new programs that are consumer directed. use peer supports or embrace self-directed service models. We also have a growing emphasis (in Oregon) on “wellness” as a focus and recovery as a real possibility for all people facing mental health challenges (see:

Gradually, the public mental health system is becoming aware of the impact of trauma in the lives of people with mental health issues. While some studies show that as much as 95% of persons with a mental health diagnosis are trauma survivors, our treatment programs are remarkable for their tendency to re-traumatize the afflicted. Effective treatment for trauma has come a long way but is still not widely used. At the same time we are seeing the long term effects of mal-treatment that ignores the trauma factor and leads to greater and greater difficulty in the individual’s ability to recover.

New thoughts are emerging and new ideas slowly joining the mainstream. This from a publication from SAMHSA:

Today’s mental health system has failed to facilitate recovery of most people labeled with severe mental illnesses, leading to increasing expressions of dissatisfaction by people using services, their families, and administrators. Only a fundamental change of the very culture of the system will ensure that the changes made in policy, training, services, and research will lead to genuine recovery. In accordance with the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health report, mental health consumers and survivors, representing diverse cultural backgrounds, should play a leading role in designing and implementing the transformation to a recovery-based mental health system.

This paper provides an outline of how consumers/survivors can catalyze a transformation of the mental health system from one based on an institutional culture of control and exclusion to one based on a recovery culture of self-determination and community participation. At the national policy level, this paper recommends that consumers develop and implement a National Recovery Initiative. At the State and local policy levels, State and local recovery initiatives are recommended. On the direct service level, the paper provides a road map for developing services, financing, and supports that are based on self-determination and recovery.

A recovery-based mental health system would embrace the following values:

  • Self-determination
  • Empowering relationships based on trust, understanding, and respect
  • Meaningful roles in society
  • Elimination of stigma and discrimination

Changing the mental health system to one that is based on the principles of recovery will require a concerted effort of consumers and allies working to bring about changes in beliefs and practices at every level of the system. The building of these alliances will require the practice of recovery principles of trust, understanding, and respect by all parties involved.

(The full article re: above can be found at

Another positive sign is the increasing clinical and scholarly acknowledgement of the role of spirituality in the recovery process (see:,,, to name a few resources).

Peer delivered services are supposed to be rolled out in Oregon during the coming year. The state has made necessary changes in it’s Medicaid Waiver to allow billing for peer mentors and service providers.

While the overall system seems to be riding a hand basket to hell, the growing awareness, solidarity and action emerging from the Consumer/ Survivor/ Ex Patient movement is on a collision course with the system that is, was and wishes to always be. It is either a slow motion train wreck or the harbinger of a revolution in mental health treatment.

Things are on the cusp of a change. Part of that change may need to be the collapse of the current system (including our current, mostly pitiful, community service models) under the weight of it’s own silliness. If it happens, this will not be a bad thing.
If all the case managers, therapists, pills and hospitals for treatment of mental illness disappeared over night…

On balance, would we be better or worse off?

On a completely different note:

Pictures I’ve found interesting lately-

windshield grime-art:

I has a cleaning…

Prince says “hai”

Always remember

To check the music page for new stuff.

BTW- I’d love to hear from you about your own music. Do you have any home recordings I can post? Please, no professional quality shite.

Finally,for today, a little video

Avalokiteshvara – Treasury of Compassion


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