Category Archives: mindfreedom news

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.

Leave a comment

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

Very Sad News

David Romprey has died at the age of 42. First the article from the Salem Statesman Journal:

August 1, 2008

Mental-health activist dies at 42

Medical issue kills David Romprey before car crash

By Ruth Liao
Statesman Journal

Longtime Salem activist David Romprey, who is remembered as an outspoken crusader for Oregon’s mental-health system, has died, officials said.

Romprey was about to begin Monday as a coordinator of the Oregon Peer Bridgers Project with the Oregon State Hospital, spokeswoman Patricia Feeny said.

Romprey died Wednesday night in Salem as he was pulling out of a driveway near 12th and Chemeketa streets NE, Salem Police Lt. Mark Keagle said.

It happened about 6 p.m. when the vehicle crashed into a pole, police said. Police determined that Romprey died of a medical condition before the crash.

Romprey was 42. He is survived by two children, Max and Emily.

Romprey, who spent two years as an Oregon State Hospital patient until he was released in 1991, was a critic of the state’s 125-year-old Salem facility and fought to diminish stigmas attached to mental illnesses.

In 2005, Romprey was honored with the Mental Health Award for Excellence by the Oregon Department of Human Services, Feeny said.

Romprey was integral in helping to create the Oregon Peer Bridgers Project, a new program that would help released patients’ transition into the community, said Roy Orr, superintendent of Oregon State Hospital.

The program will help create individualized plans for patients who are either selected or who volunteer to join. On average, about 50 to 60 patients are discharged monthly from the state hospital campuses in Portland and Salem, Orr said.

The program also would track the patients’ progress and adjustment back into the community, Orr said.

“It’s just stunning to think, we’re now without David and the world’s a little poorer as a result,” Orr said.

Friend Mike Hlebechuk, a residential services coordinator for the state, said Romprey’s greatest gift was his command of the English language — in speech or writing.

Romprey once evoked Moses’ cry “Let my people go” in talking to representatives from the president’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, Hlebechuk said.

Friend David W. Oaks, the director of MindFreedom International, called Romprey a “dynamic hero” for the mental-health advocacy movement in Oregon.

Oaks described Romprey’s efforts as a “community organizer,” who would travel to Eastern Oregon to help set up mental-health consumer support groups and networks.

“David had overwhelming passion for the most marginalized and powerless people in the mental-health system,” Oaks said.

Romprey was a longtime member of a statewide mental-health advisory council, said Madeline Olson, a deputy assistant director of the Addiction and Mental-Health Division.

Romprey also advocated wellness for everyone, not just those with mental illnesses.

“His whole life was an example that categorizing people and stigmatizing people was foolish and wrong,” Olson said. or (503) 589-6941

Other comments about David arrived in my email as the day went on:

Many of you have heard the news, but for those of you that have not, I am sad to announce that we have lost a true member of the Consumer/Survivor movement. Dave Romprey died last night of what is believed to be natural causes.
Jim Russell of the BCN stated it correctly-A Hole in the world. That is truly what David has left. David left us last night in body but certainly not in spirit. As I sit here typing this notice I can? t help but reflect over the past 10 years that I have known David. For me David can be summed up in one word-Passion! Passion for Life, Passion for change, Passion for those still suffering, Passion for his friends and Passion for his family. He has left a legacy and a baton to be passed.

He is Truly missed.

Rebecca Eichhorn,
President, Oregon Consumer/ Survivor Coalition

Thank you for letting us know about David Romprey – how could someone so young die of “natural causes”? He was so dedicated, so full of life, so articulate (check out this essay he wrote just a few years ago: ) I have memories of him waiting to testify before the Oregon Legislature, busy with his laptop, thinking a mile a minute, yet quick with a smile or an encouraging word.
I cannot believe his shining bright light has gone out so soon.
Karen Cormac-Jones in Salem

It is a shock for me to read the news about David Romprey.

I remember the first time I met David R- he was working on what became the grant that started Empowerment Initiatives, out of the OHSU. I was director of a support services brokerage in developmental disabilities and he came by for advice about building self- directed supports in mental health. I was very excited by the idea but didn’t know how long it would take or if it would become reality.
Later, I met someone who had been working on the advisory board for the project just before it began (we were both in the psychiatric ward at the time). After I was let loose, I showed up at a board meeting and quickly joined the effort along with David.
EI is still going and is still (I think) the nation’s only consumer operated brokerage in mental health support services.
I had the opportunity to be at the state capital a couple of times with David, testifying on behalf of self-directed supports and related legislation. I was always especially amazed by how many people he knew- he literally greeted by name just about everyone we met or saw (many of whom were politicians or state mental health staff).
I will miss David and miss what he brings to the table of the consumer/ survivor movement.


Filed under CS/X movement, Mental health recovery, mindfreedom news, wellness and systems change

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

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

If you aren’t Mad you aren’t paying attention

News from MindFreedom and the Bend Weekly News

A State of Oregon study says that Oregonians in the mental health
system die earlier than the general public.

Bend Weekly News in Bend, Oregon, USA covered this news in the below
story, which includes a link so you can download the State of Oregon
study, “Measuring Premature Mortality among Oregonians,” published 10
June 2008.


Report: One-third of mentally ill Oregonians die before 50

Jun 13, 2008 by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources

Oregonians with serious mental illness are dying years earlier than
their neighbors in the general population, and a grassroots health
movement is under way to reverse this trend.

The Oregon Department of Human Services Addictions and Mental Health
Division (AMH) has teamed with consumers of mental health services
and their families, health care professionals and others to implement
a statewide wellness initiative aimed at improving mental and
physical health and longevity.

Death comes before age 50 for one third of those treated for mental
health problems, according to results of a seven-year AMH mortality
study. A staggering 89 percent of people treated for both mental
illness and substance abuse die before age 50. The average lifespan
of someone who is dually diagnosed is 45.1 years, which equates to an
average 34.5 years of potential life lost.

The recent study, titled “Measuring Premature Mortality among
Oregonians,” compared the death records of persons who received
public substance abuse and/or mental health treatment with the
general population.

The early death toll among this segment of Oregonians falls in line
with similar results from national and state studies. More
importantly, it brings into focus what many individuals with mental
already knew; by taking charge of their health, habits and
lifestyle they can add years – and quality – to their lives, said Bob
Nikkel, DHS assistant director for addictions and mental health.

“National research and this study make it clear that persons being
treated for substance abuse and mental health problems have many
risks that may bring on early death,” said Nikkel. “Our most critical
imperative is to help individuals with mental illness live better and
longer lives.

“Mental health and substance abuse is an important quality of life
issue for Oregonians,” he continued. “Dying prematurely not only
destroys human potential, but it has an economic impact as well.”

The AMH study showed substance abuse and mental health clients have
higher risks of death associated with suicide, homicide and
unintended injuries. In addition, they are economically disadvantaged
and vulnerable to many diseases that cause death. For example,
antipsychotic medications used to treat someone with mental illness
are known to elevate the chance of dying from cardiac arrest; others
may lead to diabetes.

The mortality study is available on the DHS Web site at:

Nikkel said a DHS/AMH wellness committee is working to improve the
health and longevity of people with mental illness by drawing on
scientific research, literature and successful practices by user
groups. Here are some of the committee’s guiding principles:

*** We must treat and support the whole person;

*** Care coordination and wellness screening are essential;

*** Access to a range of health care options and basic health care
must be afforded to all Oregonians;

*** Early intervention and prevention across the lifespan saves
lives, makes a difference in years of productive life lost, and
improves quality of life;

*** Medication management and empowerment equips individuals with the
tools and strength to ask questions and work with treatment providers
to find healthier and effective ways to support recovery and
wellness; and

*** Disparities in health care coverage and access to service must be
overcome, along with finding culturally appropriate treatment programs.

Committee members are seeking funding for grassroots-level programs
that encourage education and lifestyle changes and for peer-to-peer
support services.

For more information visit the DHS wellness Web site at:

On a different note-

Talking with my guests at KBOO radio last night we got into a discussion of stories we all had from psychiatric hospitals, some funny, some not and different experiences we had with mental health providers. I think Ann had the idea that we need to have a “secret shopper” project; people could go to various agencies and then provide reviews of the services, respect and treatment they receive. We could then publicize the information to produce a guide that would be useful to folks. A related idea was that we should collect current information regarding services and treatment at hospital psych wards. On the air we got into a discussion about the relative merits of Portland area acute care facilities. Conclusions? We agreed that, at least before their remodel, Adventist was the worst place to stay but had the best food. Our choice for best local facility (as if anyone ever has a choice) was Providence NE. We also agreed that the showers at St Vincent’s leak and flood the rooms.

We had a great time on the program and gave away tickets to the National Air Guitar Championships being held at Dante’s in downtown Portland. The winner was chosen from among callers on the basis of how many diagnoses they had been given. A good time was had by all.

New Music- added last night on the Music Page

Check it out.

Pictures friom my son’s blog- Better Bees than Bears

He’s drawing pictures on the sidewalks of San Francisco.

Ready to breathe

The first tadpole crawled out of the water last night at about 11 pm. Won’t be long before they all head off into the world. Sniff.

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Filed under CS/X movement, Free Music, Frogs, Mad Radio, Mental health recovery, mindfreedom news, mp3, new music, pictures


UK study/ SSRIs

Millions of prescriptions for SSRIs are written up in the UK each year, but a major study says they’re no better than placebo. What now for the citizens of Prozac Nation?

“Perhaps the next time half a million people gather for a protest march on the White House green,” wrote Elizabeth Wurtzel in her bestselling book Prozac Nation, “it will not be for abortion rights or gay liberation, but because we’re all so bummed out.”

From the West Virginia Gazette

West Virginia disability rights groups are fuming after the owners
of a pre-Civil War mental hospital in Weston renamed the property the
"Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum."

article here-

Looks like Andrew is drawing on the sidewalks again

My son Andrew, who lives in the SF area, likes to draw on the sidewalk. These and other illustrations of his well-spent time are on his blog- listed to the right- Better Bees Than Bears. Click for larger picture.

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)
June 20th, 2008

Dedicated to Everyone
who has ever been given a psychiatric label, to anyone who experiences mental health challenges and 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!

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.

Moon Shots

Since this Friday is Mad Liberation by Moonlight, these pictures are to help stimulate your memory so that you stay up at night to listen. Click to make larger.

Found here:

Mental Health and the ADA-

This is a packet I put together for a training I gave to State of Oregon Human Resource managers.

Click for doc.


BTW: Here’s how the frogs are doing:

Also, check out new recording on the music page…

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Filed under CS/X movement, Free Music, Frogs, Mental health recovery, mindfreedom news, mp3, new music, pictures, Uncategorized

Mad News from MindFreedom & NY Times

Received this from MindFreedom today:

Sunday NY Times: Congress discovers that Harvard psychiatrist
covered up drug money

Tomorrow’s Sunday New York Times (8 June 2008) will have an item
about a drug money cover-up by a world-famous Harvard psychiatrist
who is considered a catalyst for the enormous increase in psychiatric
drugging of USA kids. See the text of the article below.

NY Times reports that US Congressional investigators led by Senator
Charles E. Grassley discovered that Harvard’s Dr. Joseph Biederman
illegally did not disclose to Harvard authorities much of the more
than a million dollars he received from psychiatric drug companies.

Says NY Times: “[Dr. Biederman’s] work helped to fuel a controversial
40-fold increase from 1994 to 2003 in the diagnosis of pediatric
bipolar disorder.” Please forward. At bottom is commentary from
MindFreedom and how you can take action.


NY Times article with photos on MindFreedom web site:

Or on NY Times web site:


Sunday New York Times

Child Experts Fail to Reveal Full Drug Pay

By Gardiner Harris and Benedict Carey

June 8, 2008

A world-renowned Harvard child psychiatrist whose work has helped
fuel an explosion in the use of powerful antipsychotic medicines in
children earned at least $1.6 million in consulting fees from drug
makers from 2000 to 2007 but for years did not report much of this
income to university officials, according to information given
Congressional investigators.

By failing to report income, the psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Biederman,
and a colleague in the psychiatry department at Harvard Medical
School, Dr. Timothy E. Wilens, may have violated federal and
university research rules designed to police potential conflicts of
interest, according to Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of
Iowa. Some of their research is financed by government grants.

Like Dr. Biederman, Dr. Wilens belatedly reported earning at least
$1.6 million from 2000 to 2007, and another Harvard colleague, Dr.
Thomas Spencer, reported earning at least $1 million after being
pressed by Mr. Grassley’s investigators. But even these amended
disclosures may understate the researchers’ outside income because
some entries contradict payment information from drug makers, Mr.
Grassley found.

In one example, Dr. Biederman reported no income from Johnson &
Johnson for 2001 in a disclosure report filed with the university.
When asked recently to check again, he reported receiving $3,500. But
Johnson & Johnson told Mr. Grassley that it paid him $58,169 in 2001,
Mr. Grassley found.

The Harvard group’s consulting arrangements with drug makers were
already controversial because of the researchers’ advocacy of
unapproved uses of psychiatric medicines in children.

In an e-mailed statement, Dr. Biederman said, “My interests are
solely in the advancement of medical treatment through rigorous and
objective study,” and he said he took conflict-of-interest policies
“very seriously.” Drs. Wilens and Spencer said in e-mailed statements
that they thought they had complied with conflict-of-interest rules.

John Burklow, a spokesman for the National Institutes of Health,
said: “If there have been violations of N.I.H. policy – and if
research integrity has been compromised – we will take all the
appropriate action within our power to hold those responsible
accountable. This would be completely unacceptable behavior, and
N.I.H. will not tolerate it.”

The federal grants received by Drs. Biederman and Wilens were
administered by Massachusetts General Hospital, which in 2005 won
$287 million in such grants. The health institutes could place
restrictions on the hospital’s grants or even suspend them altogether.

Alyssa Kneller, a Harvard spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement:
“The information released by Senator Grassley suggests that, in
certain instances, each doctor may have failed to disclose outside
income from pharmaceutical companies and other entities that should
have been disclosed.”

Ms. Kneller said the doctors had been referred to a university
conflict committee for review.

Mr. Grassley sent letters on Wednesday to Harvard and the health
institutes outlining his investigators’ findings, and he placed the
letters along with his comments in The Congressional Record.

Dr. Biederman is one of the most influential researchers in child
psychiatry and is widely admired for focusing the field’s attention
on its most troubled young patients. Although many of his studies are
small and often financed by drug makers, his work helped to fuel a
controversial 40-fold increase from 1994 to 2003 in the diagnosis of
pediatric bipolar disorder, which is characterized by severe mood
swings, and a rapid rise in the use of antipsychotic medicines in
children. The Grassley investigation did not address research quality.

Doctors have known for years that antipsychotic drugs, sometimes
called major tranquilizers, can quickly subdue children. But
youngsters appear to be especially susceptible to the weight gain and
metabolic problems caused by the drugs, and it is far from clear that
the medications improve children’s lives over time, experts say.

In the last 25 years, drug and device makers have displaced the
federal government as the primary source of research financing, and
industry support is vital to many university research programs. But
as corporate research executives recruit the brightest scientists,
their brethren in marketing departments have discovered that some of
these same scientists can be terrific pitchmen.

To protect research integrity, the National Institutes of Health
require researchers to report to universities earnings of $10,000 or
more per year, for instance, in consulting money from makers of drugs
also studied by the researchers in federally financed trials.
Universities manage financial conflicts by requiring that the money
be disclosed to research subjects, among other measures.

The health institutes last year awarded more than $23 billion in
grants to more than 325,000 researchers at over 3,000 universities,
and auditing the potential conflicts of each grantee would be
impossible, health institutes officials have long insisted. So the
government relies on universities.

Universities ask professors to report their conflicts but do almost
nothing to verify the accuracy of these voluntary disclosures.

“It’s really been an honor system thing,” said Dr. Robert Alpern,
dean of Yale School of Medicine. “If somebody tells us that a
pharmaceutical company pays them $80,000 a year, I don’t even know
how to check on that.”

Some states have laws requiring drug makers to disclose payments made
to doctors, and Mr. Grassley and others have sponsored legislation to
create a national registry.

Lawmakers have been concerned in recent years about the use of
unapproved medications in children and the influence of industry money.

Mr. Grassley asked Harvard for the three researchers’ financial
disclosure reports from 2000 through 2007 and asked some drug makers
to list payments made to them.

“Basically, these forms were a mess,” Mr. Grassley said in comments
he entered into The Congressional Record on Wednesday. “Over the last
seven years, it looked like they had taken a couple hundred thousand

Prompted by Mr. Grassley’s interest, Harvard asked the researchers to
re-examine their disclosure reports.

In the new disclosures, the trio’s outside consulting income jumped
but was still contradicted by reports sent to Mr. Grassley from some
of the companies. In some cases, the income seems to have put the
researchers in violation of university and federal rules.

In 2000, for instance, Dr. Biederman received a grant from the
National Institutes of Health to study in children Strattera, an Eli
Lilly drug for attention deficit disorder. Dr. Biederman reported to
Harvard that he received less than $10,000 from Lilly that year, but
the company told Mr. Grassley that it paid Dr. Biederman more than
$14,000 in 2000, Mr. Grassley’s letter stated.

At the time, Harvard forbade professors from conducting clinical
trials if they received payments over $10,000 from the company whose
product was being studied, and federal rules required such conflicts
to be managed.

Mr. Grassley said these discrepancies demonstrated profound flaws in
the oversight of researchers’ financial conflicts and the need for a
national registry. But the disclosures may also cloud the work of one
of the most prominent group of child psychiatrists in the world.

In the past decade, Dr. Biederman and his colleagues have promoted
the aggressive diagnosis and drug treatment of childhood bipolar
disorder, a mood problem once thought confined to adults. They have
maintained that the disorder was underdiagnosed in children and could
be treated with antipsychotic drugs, medications invented to treat

Other researchers have made similar assertions. As a result,
pediatric bipolar diagnoses and antipsychotic drug use in children
have soared. Some 500,000 children and teenagers were given at least
one prescription for an antipsychotic in 2007, including 20,500 under
6 years of age, according to Medco Health Solutions, a pharmacy
benefit manager.

Few psychiatrists today doubt that bipolar disorder can strike in the
early teenage years, or that many of the children being given the
diagnosis are deeply distressed.

“I consider Dr. Biederman a true visionary in recognizing this
illness in children,” said Susan Resko, director of the Child and
Adolescent Bipolar Foundation, “and he’s not only saved many lives
but restored hope to thousands of families across the country.”

Longtime critics of the group see its influence differently. “They
have given the Harvard imprimatur to this commercial experimentation
on children,” said Vera Sharav, president and founder of the Alliance
for Human Research Protection, a patient advocacy group.

Many researchers strongly disagree over what bipolar looks like in
youngsters, and some now fear the definition has been expanded
unnecessarily, due in part to the Harvard group.

The group published the results of a string of drug trials from 2001
to 2006, but the studies were so small and loosely designed that they
were largely inconclusive, experts say. In some studies testing
antipsychotic drugs, the group defined improvement as a decline of 30
percent or more on a scale called the Young Mania Rating Scale – well
below the 50 percent change that most researchers now use as the

Controlling for bias is especially important in such work, given that
the scale is subjective, and raters often depend on reports from
parents and children, several top psychiatrists said.

More broadly, they said, revelations of undisclosed payments from
drug makers to leading researchers are especially damaging for

“The price we pay for these kinds of revelations is credibility, and
we just can’t afford to lose any more of that in this field,” said
Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, executive director of the Stanley Medical
Research Institute, which finances psychiatric studies. “In the area
of child psychiatry in particular, we know much less than we should,
and we desperately need research that is not influenced by industry

– end –


Commentary by David Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

I was was once a Harvard student. Grandson of coal miners, at Harvard
on scholarships, I developed mental and emotional problems.

Harvard psychiatrists ordered my forced psychiatric drugging in a
Harvard teaching hospital, McLean. Harvard psychiatrists told me
point blank I had to stay on powerful neuroleptic (“antipsychotic”)
drugs for the rest of my life.

They were wrong.

I graduated anyway in 1977. With honors. I’ve been off all
psychiatric drugs ever since.

In my senior year, a Harvard volunteer agency — Phillips Brooks
House — placed me in a psychiatric survivor group (thank you PBH!).
I’ve spent the last few decades working to prevent psychiatric human
rights violations.

But I almost became one of the early teenagers to be diagnosed
bipolar (and “schizophrenic”) and placed on neuroleptics for all this

An unreported problem is that a diagnosis of “psychosis” like
“bipolar” can lead to decades, or a life-time, of neuroleptic
drugging (antipsychotics). We at MindFreedom are pro-choice on the
personal health care decision to take a prescribed neuroleptic, but
these drugs really are pushed and pushed hard without adequate
advocacy, information, alternatives, etc.

To check out what mainstream medicine has long known about what long-
term neuroleptics can do the frontal lobes of primates, check out the
monkey study in this folder:

or use this web address:

Ben Carey, one of the reporters for the above great NY Times article,
has done a lot of work on investigating psychiatric drug industry
corruption, and he should be applauded. But Ben and I have
communicated, and he knows about the neuroleptic brain damage story.
But — like all other mainstream media — he has chosen not to report

ACTION: Thank Ben Carey for his courageous reporting, but ask when he
will report that neuroleptics cause frontal lobe shrinkage.

E-mail for Ben Carey is:

Perhaps somewhere in some college — perhaps Harvard? — there is
hopefully a future “Al Gore of mental health” who will one day show
PowerPoint slide shows to millions of people about this “Greenhouse
effect” of the mind:

The tragic and literal mass chemical lobotomy of millions of young
people through decades of neuroleptics, needlessly, without any
informed consent about the structural brain change, when humane
alternatives exist but are not offered.

Yes, diabetes and weight gain from neuroleptics are horrendous, and
can kill.

But chemical lobotomy?

That could have been me.

And I take that personally.

You can also thank Senator Grassley, and let him know about the
neuroleptic brain damage issue. Very few elected officials have ever
been informed.

MindFreedom supports legislating criminal penalties for individuals
such as Dr. Biederman; make his a humane prison, with lots of humane
alternatives for rehabilitation, but sentence some real time behind
bars, and we can begin to address this crisis.

You can also encourage Sen. Grassley to pass laws to help make
behavior like Dr. Biederman’s a criminal offense.

Sen. Grassley web contact form:

or use this web address:


Filed under CS/X movement, Mental health recovery, mindfreedom news