Why I am Going to the APA Protest in NYC on May 4, 2014

I am one of the few lucky ones to have survived this long after being forcibly locked up in four different mental institutions over 50 years ago. I feel a responsibility to the memory of those who died and to the millions around the world who are still subjected to the inhumane, torturous “treatments” of the mental health system.
With a heavy heart and fire in my voice and spirit, this is what I plan to say on May 4 – in memory of Susan Kelly:

When I was a teenager, I was locked up for 3 long years, forced to undergo combined insulin and ECT, drugging, seclusion and restraint. My seventeen-year-old roommate was killed by the ECT and insulin. It was unspeakably horrible. It was torture.

I have been speaking out for over 35 years, and I am here again to tell you THIS MUST STOP. Today, teenagers and adults are locked up every day against their will. Women, especially, are being shocked – and without informed consent. They are never told that their brains will be irretrievably damaged. People die 25 years younger than they should from long-term medication use.

I again read Loren Mosher’s powerful and moving 1998 letter of resignation from the APA.

In Dr. Mosher’s words:

“This is not a group for me… psychiatry has been almost completely bought out by the drug companies…We condone and promote the widespread use and misuse of toxic chemicals that we know have serious long term effects…tardive dyskinesia, tardive dementia and serious withdrawal syndromes.

“This level of intellectual/scientific dishonesty is just too egregious for me … I want no part of a psychiatry of oppression and social control.”

His words are even truer today than they were in 1998. I urge you all to work hard to defeat the Murphy bill….HR 3717!!! If this bill is passed, it will reduce funds for healing alternatives. Respite houses and peer-run advocacy programs, which have been life-saving for so many, will lose their funding and close! It will expand forced “treatment,” locking up and violating the civil rights of thousands. It will take us back 30 years.

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Dorothy Dundas’ poster, made of clippings from her psychiatric file


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.


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