Funder Fragility and Forced Collaboration


Dear Funder,

Your staff people told my staff people that you want us to “find our fit into the nonprofit ecosystem.” We do have a fit. WE know our role. Have you seen our infographic? We know our role, in the ecosystem. Our role is to bring people data-driven knowledge to balance harm vs benefit. But people are so resistant to doing effective, honest, sensitive, science-based work.

Dear Funder, You say you want to work on health equity but can you walk the talk? Do you care about hearing the actual community? Do you REALLY want people-power, data-driven, knowledge-based, accurate info to balance harm vs benefit? Or do you just want to keep your status quo? So few people even CARE about balancing harm vs. benefit.  Here is nice blog on Funder Fragility.

How funder fragility is similar to white fragility and what funders can do about it

Dear Funder, So many people are idealogues, and dogmatic. They view mental health treatment as 100% beneficial and refuse to examine the science of what works and what doesn’t work. They view this with religious fervor. They refuse to talk to the people we serve, those who have been harmed by the behavioral health system. And by many counts, it is over half of the people out there. If you look at NNT vs. NNH studies, Long Term Outcome studies, and public views studies, we are speaking for at least HALF of the people who experience the behavioral health sector.

Dear Funder, The people that are harmed, over half of people with behavioral health labels, they need different services, supports, and advocacy than people that benefit from the existing “treatments.” We know our role — why can you not see that it is a valid role? When we speak for over HALF of people who experience behavioral health treatment?

Dear Funder, Why do you force us to collaborate with NAMI or MHA or our local mental health center? Why should we put ourselves underneath someone else who only tells one side of the story? You know how hard it is to collaborate when there is no “mission alignment”? Why would we want to mix our accurate story with their inaccurate facts and science? Why should their “one side of their story” be better than our “both sides of the story”? When you refuse to look at medical harm, you are just like a gambling addict — you are only willing to look at the wins.

Where do YOU fit in the ecosystem? Clearly in Box #2. Clearly. And you’re not even interested in hearing the rest of the story. Or are you? Do you really want to help people with behavioral health issues?

  1. How about you book another phone meeting? There have been so many one-and-dones, “yeah, we heard you out, now go away.” Follow up your phone call with a meeting invite, a consultation payment, an invite to the rest of your project.
  2. How about you do some science-based community engagement?
  3. How about you attend some medical-harm-aware conferences? iNAPs, ISEPP, Alternatives, Health 2.0, Stanford MedX, PeerPocalyse, HealthFuturism, NYAPRS, are just a tiny list to start with. We are presenting at the Colorado Shared Risk and Protective Factor conference. 
  4. How about you learn about what the recovery movement is, does, and why we are important?
  5. How about you learn why disease model advocates are DIFFERENT than medical-harm-aware advocates?
  6. How about you confront your own dogma and ideology?
  7. How about you acknowledge that you don’t even know what you don’t know?
  8. How about you acknowledge the reality of medical harm?
  9. How about you look at long-term outcomes studies and overall system level effectiveness studies?

Please balance harm vs. benefit, don’t keep covering your ears and eyes and trying to pretend that HALF of your constituents do not exist.

Dear Funder, Don’t be fragile. Move beyond your blind spots. When we tell our story, it matters. Don’t keep pushing this situation under the rug. Don’t use personal attacks against me to discredit my words. Don’t use my angry tone to discredit me — how about “I’ll be more polite when you stop killing my friends.” It’s time to respect the facts. It’s time to honor people who devote their lives to telling the truth. Look at the science and data and outcomes in behavioral health. Don’t let the disease mongers keep pulling the wool over your eyes. Get WOKE. Get WOKE!

Dear Funder, Hear the community. Read the blogs on this site. Look at the science. BE a public health professional and talk to the people who actually DO prevention. Don’t just buy into the status quo. Open your ears. Open your heart. Our people matter.


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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  1. Corinna,
    I see where you are coming from but Saul Alinsky would say just your request in and off itself is putting you in the less powerful position.
    What many, many folks don’t understand about being in need of support is that there are many ways and the powers that be have limited everyone perspective on that, closed doors and windows, and blind folded , shackled, and deafened true human perspective.
    Many founders have both above ground and below ground agendas and they want what they want regardless.
    Asking to be seated at the table is much different from just taking a seat st the table.
    Why not an anti NAMI parallel group?

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  2. Thanks OH.
    Yes. Folks need to read about Jonas Salk and his refusal to take on any financial benefit from his work on the Polio Vaccine. And how many kids in iron lungs do we see now? He was legitimate. Contrast that with Marsha Getson’s latest New Yorker article on the action at the Met Art Education Center.
    People were killed – thousands all in the quest for profit.
    As is written in the Declration of Independence by a slave owner who refused to Free his six ? children from slavery until after his death “ it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”
    There is now, thanks to Bryon Stephenson and many others a memorial to those lives destroyed by the Jim Crow era of lynchings.
    Pablum and politeness isn’t going to work.
    Though I appreciate your efforts and it shows how their thinking is irrational-

    how can any human be afraid of other and or 360 perspectives unless they are fearful of losing power and control?
    There is an ocean of this small thinking that has gained influence on so many institutions and they have or are trying to not only lock folks up but also throw away the key by various actions like divide and conquer, following the systemic method of Jim Crow subtle and not so subtle fear and control abuse, dis information, blame and name calling.
    They don’t want people to connect the dots which would show
    many but not all folks in the systems or systems depending how global one wants to go with multiple institutions
    and formats
    that the lines lead straight to a select group with various hangers on ect….
    During WWII there were various efforts to ferment change within the Nazi government and Stalin ect – it failed because many people thought at first they could be reasoned with.
    With money and power and control involved reason means nothing.
    I am still hopeful we have not reached a point of no return but it seems we need much much more like the Met action and use Saul Alinsky and other ancient and new strategists to inform the future.

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    • Yes, the Jewish people refused to leave Germany because they were Germans and surely the government wouldn’t even think of doing anything to them. And if there were any hints of such activity then surely they could sit down and dialogue, they would apply reason to the situation and things would be just fine.

      Unfortunately, they were terribly wrong and ended up in the gas chambers and the ovens. You are correct. In our battle with psychiatry and the drug companies trying to reason with them is not going to get us anywhere, except worse off than we were before. I am not going to sit in a circle and hold hands with my oppressors and sing Kumbaya in the hopes that they will see reason and set us free. It isn’t going to happen. As I’ve stated before, many people who opposed slavery thought that they could bring about change by reasoning with the slave owners. And we all know where that got them. Slave owners had to be forced to free the people they’d held in slavery and it took a horrendous war to accomplish this.

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  3. Corinna, I think we all realize your efforts. I tried to create a non alternative place and got no help, in fact I was targeted by NAMI folks who came into a free Reiki session and two females came up and started sprouting. Mental Illness is a disease like diabetes. I was too kind to ask if they had ever worked on a medical floor or personally knew folks who have or cared for those with that true disease. I also failed to ask if they had either a SocialnWork, or other type of liscence that would allow them to make statements such as that.
    I also interviewed for a Cimmunity Mental Health Center that has for years been peer focused and as soon as I mentioned Robert W’s Work end of interview.
    Also does not help my former boss was physically escorted out of a County MH meeting by police on orders of the director of the MH / SA board. He had been in line to get the position himself but as they say the fix was in.
    In some places things are difficult.

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