Mad in America, which was founded as a webzine in 2011, is now operating as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. This provides us with both a new challenge, and this is the exciting part, a chance to dream big. The challenge is to raise the money to pursue our bigger visions for the future. And as you’ll see, to meet this challenge, we are going to need the support of our readers.
Our stated mission in our business plan is quite simple. We want to serve as a catalyst for remaking psychiatric care in the United States (and abroad). We believe that the current drug-based paradigm of care has failed our society, and that scientific research, as well as the lived experience of those who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, calls for profound change. And we believe that there needs to be a grassroots, communal effort to effect such change.
Mad in America Foundation has two distinct operations. The first is publishing this webzine. The second is Mad in America Continuing Education (MIACE), which had previously been operating as a non-profit under the umbrella of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. We are pursuing a number of new initiatives in 2016 that will expand the scope of operations for both our website and MIACE. Specifically:
- Original Journalism: We intend to report on new programs and other reform efforts, and on the corrupting influences that pervade the field today.
- MIA’s Sunshine Project: We will develop public “information” campaigns to address pressing relevant issues. The first campaign will urge the FDA to review the scientific evidence regarding the use of antidepressants during pregnancy and the risks to the developing fetus, with the thought that there should be a black-box warning placed on antidepressants for use in pregnant women.
- Expanding our “Drug Info” resources: We will create short informational booklets, with texts and graphics, for each class of psychiatric medications, and a booklet for research on withdrawal from psychiatric medications.
- Creating a Mad in America website for Spanish-speaking readers in Latin America, Spain, and the United States. This sister site will be managed by an editorial team in Spain.
- Our first classes focus on providing information related to the long-term effects of psychiatric drugs, bias in the research literature, and research on alternatives. We currently have ten such courses online, and expect to add six more courses of this kind in 2016.
- In addition, we are currently investigating the possibility of hosting courses on psychiatric drug tapering and withdrawal, which would be presented by “professionals” and by “peers” with experience in researching, studying and writing about this task.
As you can see, the two parts—the webzine and MIACE—are both dedicated to publishing information, born both from science and from personal experience, that calls for a “paradigm shift” in how our society conceives of “psychiatric disorders,” and how best to treat those who may be struggling with such difficulties. We also know that calls for such change are arising from all corners of the globe. This protest is rising in response to the disease model that pharmaceutical companies and the American Psychiatric Association have promoted for the past 35 years, with such evident deleterious effects on global mental health.
We have set a goal of raising $250,000 to fund our operations in 2016. Given our ambitions, this is a tiny amount, less than the annual salary of a single pharmaceutical executive (and probably less than the total compensation paid to a single pharmaceutical rep). We are seeking to raise this budget in three ways:
- $160,000 in support from family foundations.
- $75,000 from readers of MIA.
- $15,000 from operations (MIA store and MIACE tuition).
In addition, we will be applying for grants from foundations that support journalistic and educational programs.
Last year, MIA readers provided $37,000 in donations to MIA. This year, we are hoping to double that. The family foundations that we have approached want to see such reader support. We now have our first matching grant from a foundation, which has agreed to match all donations, up to $25,000, made by MIA readers from January 1 through February 29. (You can find all of our financial information here.) All donations are tax deductible.
We have greatly appreciated all of your support in the past, and hope that all of our readers will consider becoming “subscribers” to Mad in America. We believe this struggle is vital to the future of our society.
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.