On May 4, 2014, I will be speaking out with many others at the Annual Protest of the American Psychiatric Association, which is organized this year by MindFreedom International and the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights. It is just a few days away and I am so inspired by the outpouring of support people have given to this effort! There are literally people coming to the protest from all over the country – including Alaska, Florida, Massachusetts, and Detroit (that I know of).
Just look at this line-up of some of the people who will be speaking out for our human rights to be instituted, protected and promoted:
- Gary Null – Wellness Expert & Popular Radio Show Host
- Vera Sherav – Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP)
- Leah Harris – Stop HR 3717 Campaign
- Nathaniel Lehrman – Former Clinical Director of Kingsboro Psychiatric Center
- Lauren Tenney – WE THE PEOPLE In Remembrance of Esmin Green who was Murdered-By-Neglect at Kings County Psychiatric Emergency Room, June 19, 2008
- Rolando Bini – Parents in Action and Mental Hygiene Court Patrol
- Dorothy Dundas – National Association of Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA)
- Seth Farber – Psychologist/Author/Human Rights Activist
- Frank Blankenship – MindFreedom Florida
- Harry Lichtenstein – MindFreedom New York
- Jim Gottstein – Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights®)
Of course, the psychiatrists are coming to New York City from every state in the country too.
Unfortunately, we are most often at the stage of demanding our human rights, then defending them.
We have a lot of work to do to educate the public on the devastating effects of psychiatric treatment.
Even if someone is voluntarily involved, the 25 – 30 year loss of life for people in the public psychiatric system who are “seriously mentally ill” is well-documented. For people who are involunatrily involved, this staggering assault on the lifespan applies, as well as a host of other human rights violations, including torture, which are often carried out through state-sponsored force, coercion, and misinformation campaigns.
What is worse is that we generally accept this situation and for at least a period of time in our own lives, that our individual fate is to be a mental patient . . . that this is the life we are going to have. That is just not true. We can accomplish whatever we put our minds to do. No personal dream is too great or small for us to individually achieve. As the general public starts to see us through our efforts–not based on what the mainstream media says about us–but about who we are based on what we do, society will benefit and the idea that there is a legitimacy to psychiatric profiling will be eliminated.
We need a platform to have our voices heard. The public needs to know what the (p)harmaceutical industry does not want them to know: there are alternatives to the biomedical monopoly of psychiatry. Readers of Mad In America generally know this. But how do we get to the rest of the world?
I think it is by further educating ourselves and growing our networks. People who are traveling in from around the country and other parts of New York are meeting around 11AM at Penn Station to walk over to the protest together. (It’s about three blocks: 34th Street and 11th Avenue, across the street from the Jacob Javits Convention Center where the American Psychiatric Association will be meeting.
If you’ve never been to a protest before, it is a great place to connect with like-minded people. It feels good to get out there and do something. Solidarity. Power. Inspiration. I remember one of the first protests that I went to in the early 1990s. That protest really changed my life. It was then, when I was standing together with all of these other people, that I really knew, I was not alone in this fight. It has not been the same since.
We can organize. We can make our voices heard. We can grow our movement and make change. We need you. Please get involved. Feel free to call me for information at (516) 319-4295.
This year we are focusing on three main issues, all of which have Twitter campaigns associated with them:
#StopPsychAssault: We continue to fight the obvious human rights violations committed by psychiatry and work toward ensuring informed consent with informed choice in any public mental health system. We continue to call for bans on electroshock, forced drugging, restraint, seclusion, and aversives.
If you cannot come to the protest, please post your verbal protest (or pictures of you protesting) on either of the event pages for the protest:
For those of you who want to participate but are too far away to get here, The live streaming link (noon – 4PM by the Open Paradigm Project is at http://new.livestream.com/accounts/3973214/events/2962936
Your written protests will be compiled and presented to the American Psychiatric Association and the media soon after the protest.
Please submit your written comments and pictures by May 5, 2014.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.