This week on MIA Radio, we interview Celia Brown. Celia is a psychiatric survivor and a prominent leader in the movement for human rights in mental health. She is the current president of MindFreedom International, a nonprofit organization uniting 100 sponsor and affiliate grassroots groups with thousands of individual members to win human rights and alternatives for people labelled mentally ill.
Celia also serves on the board of the National Empowerment Center and has co-chaired the planning committee for the National Alternatives Conference for the past few years. She was last year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Alternatives Conference.
In this interview, we talk about the history of the human rights movement to combat forced treatment and the important role Celia has played in it.
In this episode we discuss:
- The goals and values of the movement for human rights in mental health, specifically in regards to the issue of forced treatment
- Celia’s role in the human rights movement and MindFreedom International
- How the movement for human rights in mental health first started and its early achievements
- The important role played by Judi Chamberlin in the formation of the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement
- How efforts to combat shock treatment and provide informed consent about psychiatric drugs have been a core part of the movement in recent years
- The development of the peer specialist position and the peer support movement
- How the human rights movement has developed alternative language to the terms and labels used by the mental health system
- Some of the current tensions and divisions within the movement
- Current ongoing advocacy efforts to combat forced treatment, including Tina Minkowitz’s advocacy work with the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Disability Integration Act
- Why the movement has faced challenges in changing policy and public opinion on the rights of people labelled mentally ill
- How the movement for human rights in mental health has overlapped and intersected with other human rights movements, including the civil rights, feminist, and disability rights movements
- The role Kate Millet played in bridging the psychiatric survivors movement with the feminist movement
- How people can get involved in the movement for human rights in mental health by learning about the history of the movement, attending conferences, and seeking mentorship
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