“We, a group of people with first-hand experience of the mental health system, write to express our concern about what we see as one-sided coverage of this system in the media and to draw the attention of civil rights organizations to the systemic discrimination that we witnessed and experienced. We, our loved ones, or inmates in the facilities where we worked, were exploited for monetary gain and victimized in various other ways. We saw how abuse, corruption, and exploitation were covered up, while victims and critics of the system were silenced and marginalized.
EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES THAT THE PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS OF THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM ARE NOT ADEQUATELY REPRESENTED IN THE MEDIA IS INVITED TO SIGN THIS LETTER.
. . . Some of us had the rare fortune to encounter a psychiatrist who treated us or our loved ones with kindness, respect, and integrity; some of us saw patients who were helped, not harmed, by the mental health care they received. However, our experiences led us to believe that such cases are exceptions rather than the norm. We believe that the mental health services suffer from deep, systemic problems, and we want to draw public attention to them, to break the wall of silence, and to initiate a discussion as a step towards creating a humane and efficient system.
WE INVITE THE MEDIA, CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS, SUPPORTERS AND CRITICS OF THE CURRENT PSYCHIATRIC SYSTEM, AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO DISCUSS THE FOLLOWING POINTS.”