We Need Your Help!

Robert Whitaker
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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:

Webzine initiatives:

  • 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.
    .

.MIACE initiatives:

  • 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.

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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).

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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.

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Support MIA

Enjoyed what you just read? Consider a donation to help us continue to produce content, provide up-to-date research news, offer continuing education courses, and continue building a community for exploring alternatives to the current paradigm of mental health. All donations are tax deductible.

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40 COMMENTS

  1. I have just donated $250.00 as a one-time donation (meaning $500 total due to the matching donation from the family foundation) and encourage others to match that or to donate as much as you can, and post what you are donating here.

    Robert, it’s interesting to hear about these new initiatives and I’m very happy to read about the plans.

    But I have several criticism which apply to this article and to MIA’s financial plans more generally:

    1) Why does the end of this article not have a direct link to the Donate page saying “Please make a one time donation by February 29 HERE” (link) ?

    That should be a no-brainer. I do marketing for my job and it disturbs me not to see this… one has to make it as easy as possible to donate in every place that donations are written about. For some people, having to search and find the small “Donate” link (which should be larger btw) in the upper right hand corner is not going to happen. Money flows to people who makes things easy, obvious and intuitive.

    Secondly, regarding the donation page itself: https://www.madinamerica.com/join?s2-ssl=yes

    This page is a problem. One has to scroll down two whole screens to even see the options to donate. Initially, all one sees is a welcome sign and a list of what MIA does for its readers. This list of reasons does not need to be first and can come after the donation options. People looking on the donate page already know why they want to donate. Internet marketing 101 is that a large proportion of readers do not even scroll down past the screen the text/images they first see when opening a page. The donation options should be prominently visible right away, not having to be scrolled down 2 screens.

    Thirdly, the donation page would ideally have a mailing address for MIA readers who are scared of putting their credit card information in electronically. This address should allow MIA readers who prefer snail mail to send checks to MIA.

    Lastly, it should again be emphasized in the article above and on the donation page that nonprofit donations are tax deductible. The words “tax deductible” do not appear in the article above at all. Many readers who rarely donate to charity do not even know or forget that making donations will save them money on taxes. If they are aware of this, they will be likely to donate more.

    It seems like you don’t have a marketing person advising you. I run a for-profit teaching business and these things pop out at me… Maybe someone at MIA needs to read about basic internet marketing. Because messaging matters. Good intentions and good-sounding programs alone are not going to be enough to keep MIA alive without effective advertising of the need for reader donations.

  2. Maybe it was fortuitous I was remiss, and have not gotten my donation in yet. And I know our local community fund will look for other families with similar interests, when one family requests a donation for a particular organization. Please remind me what information from MiA, I should send in to them with my donation request, information that explains the scope of your endeavors.

  3. All I know is I see those expensive TV ads for the ASPCA

    They get ALOT of donations ! Millions and millions !

    https://www.aspca.org/sites/default/files/financial-statement-2012.pdf

    The ASPCA works to rescue animals from abuse and pass humane laws…

    Well MIA works to rescue people accused of mental illness from abuse and pass humane laws !!

    I think MIA should also present itself as a human rights organization, I am sorry but I just clicked donate and got bored with what I read.

    Needs to include human rights and have more of a fighting tone IMO.

    Save the children from these sicko pharmaceutical companies and their puppets posing as doctors destroying lives, donate today !

  4. “We have set a goal of raising $250,000 to fund our operations in 2016. ”

    I can imagine a psychiatrist just pointing and laughing at that. Put this into the perspective of what the typical psychiatrist makes in a year, how many of them there are and of course the do-nothing, no-skills-required, lazy drug prescribing that they do to “earn” it. Just think of the huge economical contrast between them and their victims.

      • Well therein lies the problem. Most people who would want to support MIA are probably disabled victims of psychiatry and living on SSI. If not for bumming off my parents on SSI, I’d either be a ward of the state in a group home or living in a tent somewhere.

        • I know this is probably true; I had this thought also. Many psychiatric survivors are not in economically good situation; the more financially stable and strong one is, the less chance of being involved with the mental health system in the first place… On the other hand, many professionals and therapists who charge $100-200 or more per hour are readers and/or authors on MIA. Hopefully many of them will choose to make tax deductible donations of a significant amount, as it doesn’t take them long in terms of hourly wages to earn enough to do so.

          • Furthermore, while not everyone can donate $100 or $250, almost everyone can donate a one-time amount of $5, or $10, or $20. Many poor and young people donate to campaigns like Bernie Sanders, which are funded almost entirely by such small donations. Almost anyone can feel involved in this way.

        • Here in N.H., there ARE NO “group homes” worthy of the name, and the ones that do exist, are filled-to-the-gills, with LONG waiting lists. I’d RATHER live in that tent in the woods, and HAVE done so, for a total of several years of my adult life, so far. And they call psychs “health care”?
          I just took a $250.month hit to my SSDI & SSI, because the State of N.H. just cut my case. What a sad case of “distributed fascist death camps” the system has become….

      • Also, I think you missed my point. If 100 psychiatrists chipped in a fraction of their salaries to a fee or donation to, say, the APA, that could easily come out to hundreds of thousands of dollars. It would take thousands of MIA donations to reach that. If only counting the victims of psychiatry, easily beyond tens of thousands. My point is to highlight the stark contrast between how privileged and affluent the psychiatrists are relative to the people who’ve been harmed by them and want justice. It’s demoralizing to consider that for every psychiatrist permanently damaging a child’s brain, it may take 1,000+ victims before anything might be done about it. And that’s assuming the victims aren’t brainwashed into blaming the damage on their illness, and that they’re functional and/or safe and supported enough as adults to even raise their voice at all.

        • “My point is to highlight the stark contrast between how privileged and affluent the psychiatrists are relative to the people who’ve been harmed by them and want justice.”

          I agree with the significance of this statement. It’s as though poor people are expected to support the rich, so that they can continue to exploit them. That’s called ‘vampirism,’ and is exactly the indicator of a sick society, as we often talk about in here.

  5. I must give credit where credit is due; the popup ad and the thermometer page are looking good. Well done MIA staff. It aint easy to get a compliment from me so doubly well done.

    Secondly, I still think the donate page should have the options to donate right at the top… or at the top and bottom.

    To other MIA readers, I encourage you to send your friends and family this article and to ask them to donate on your behalf. That is what I did with my mom and my best friend and they both said they would donate.

    • A pro what?

      I am a marketer, coach, and real estate investor… but what I want here is simply for MIA to survive and succeed so that it can continue to fight against the established and hugely damaging system of falsely diagnosing and overdrugging.

      Let me encourage you, human being, and every other human being, to donate whatever you can even if it’s 5 bucks.

  6. Yesterday, I doubled my monthly donation to MIA. If I could afford to, I’d have increased it tenfold. Mr. Whitaker, your writing and your creation of this website have immeasurably improved the lives of (at least) thousands and thousands of Mad people. Speaking for myself, your work has given me hope, an REAL, not a psychiatrized, identity, and information on how to exercise my rights as a citizen. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done and what you’re doing and planning to do. You’re my hero. Bless you.

  7. I strongly believe in the valuable contribution that Robert Whitaker and Mad in America has made to the conversation about the mental health system. I thus have donated and wish I could give more. The only objection I do have with the site and discussion at times is the global character attacks on psychiatrists. To say that they are all in it for the money and essentially do not care about their patients is a terrible generalization. I certainly know of many psychiatrists that are not good at what they do, do not keep up with lastest best practice and never question their profession. That is a shame. I just know personally and professionally many who are really good and do listen to their patients and families as well as other professionals they work with in teams. Respectful, intelligent arguing is great, just not personal global character attacks. Profession needs leadership and new direction. Thank you Mr. Whitaker for your perseverance and dedication to this worthy cause and contributors who have made me more knowlegeable and a better professional serving others who put so much trust in professionals. I carry this responsibility very seriously and want my clients to have choices about treatment.

  8. It’s good to see more people are donating. As of today Feb. 6th over $9,000 additional has been donated since the fundraiser started at the beginning of February. That means the $25,000 target is quite likely to be met as only $6,500 more is needed to meet the target and get the whole match.

    I hope that MIA staff will soon bring this article back to the top of the list of articles on MIA and keep it there until the target is met.

  9. Below is a letter for any professionals or laypeople to copy and email to your colleagues and friends/family to alert them to this MIA fundraising effort. Feel free to copy this text and email it to them. I am not charging anything to let people copy and paste this letter 🙂
    —————————-

    Hello,

    I wanted to share with you this initiative –

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/02/we-need-your-help/

    Mad In America is trying to raise funds to survive and also to expand its operations. I think MIA does a lot of good work to bring hope and a human view of emotional suffering to the mostly poor, disadvantaged people and families that read the site. So for that reason I wanted to ask if you would please donate something to this effort if you can afford to. Please read the article by Robert Whitaker to see more and the donation options. I have already given to this campaign myself, which is seeking to raise $25,000 from many small donors. The donations are tax deductible and will be matched 100% by a family foundation if given before February 29.

    Secondly, if you can please forward this email to any of your colleagues and/or to any professional listservs of ethical psychologists who disagree with the medical model, that would be even better and more helpful. Please do this if you can!

    Here’s the direct donation link – https://www.madinamerica.com/join?s2-ssl=yes

    Below I’ve listed a few of the things MIA is working on. I am not being paid anything to promote this fund-raising effort; I’m just emailing you out of my own free will because I think this mission is important and is helping a lot of vulnerable people similar to how I myself have been in the past.

    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,
    XXX

    ————————————

    Webzine initiatives:
    •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.
    .

    .MIACE initiatives:
    •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.

  10. Mr. Whitaker, thank you for having provided this space to use my voice, and to hear those of others, for the purpose of supporting the sorely needed radical social change which I believe most of us seek. Indeed, I’ve paid my dues, along with the rent.

    While it seems to be part of our collective process of healing to wake up to and acknowledge this dark age in our society and times (which I believe is spearheaded by the industrial complex of ‘psychiatric and other mental health services and practices’) in order to discover our personal truth and enlightenment, it is also a daunting task, and I applaud your initiative and courage.

    Thanks to my 4+ years participating in the discussions on this website–including with you and your staff, personally–I have learned a great deal that has brought me tremendous clarity about many things vital to my growth and personal evolution, while greatly deepening my understanding of where we stand at this time, as a collective. I have also made some extremely heartfelt and spiritually valuable connections, for which I’m extremely grateful.

    As a full-fledged survivor of psychiatric atrocities, this experience has been most valuable in raising my awareness around the nature of the clinician-client relationship, which is where I feel the real problem is here, on the human interaction level. There is no true connection between these two groups, especially if they are separated by class, where one is dominant and the other is marginalized.

    Given how oppressive our dominant middle class (money) culture is—which we’ve often recognized in depth on this website–of course, services would be an enormously high risk endeavor for the client, and where stuckness and downward spiraling occur regularly; which is exactly where we encounter the myth of ‘chronic mental illness,’ as created by the system, and by psychiatry within the context of its profound myopia along with misguided training and education.

    This is the conclusion I’ve drawn after over 20 years involved with this field on every side of the fence, and where I feel the landscape of healing and personal growth can shift in a significantly supportive way. Merely my personal perspective only, of course.

    • Congrats, MiA, no doubt the goal will be achieved. I sent my request in to our family fund for a $1000 donation, they don’t vote until the 15th, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. As to the purpose of the donation, I said it was to aid in helping a non-profit do research and education into non-pharmaceutical industry funded medical research. My mom also said she’d recommend MiA’s non-profit to a friend who was looking for good non-profits. And I hope our community fund will also look for others with similar interests. Good move in becoming a non-profit, MiA, and in achieving your goal. Set higher goals next year. I don’t think you quite yet realize how important what your doing, truly is. Thank you, and congrats.

      • Good to hear this SomeoneElse. This is a worthy cause… I also prevailed upon family members, friends, and contact in the professional psychology community to donate to MIA and several of them did. Becoming more effective at getting MIA readers to spread the word via word of mouth will really help with future fund-raising and keeping MIA alive. Personal appeals from a given person to those who know the person well and want to help their chosen cause are the most effective.