Four Great News Items About MindFreedom & Winning Human Rights in Mental Health

David W. Oaks, psychiatric survivor, speaks a few years ago in Oslo, Norway at a protest.

David W. Oaks, psychiatric survivor, speaks a few years ago in Oslo, Norway at a protest.

I do some consulting for the independent nonprofit, MindFreedom International, which is one of the main coalitions focusing on human rights in mental health.

Here are four positive news items about MFI:

1. MindFreedom will be doing another free webinar later this Summer 2018, on choice in mental health.

On August 19, 2018, MindFreedom will be holding a new free online webinar about empowering options for people needing mental and emotional support. The title of the webinar: “Voices for Choices: Organizing for Alternatives to Forced Psychiatric Treatment.”

Thanks to support from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, three leaders in the field of providing alternatives to mainstream mental health, will be offering this opportunity. For more information and to register, go here. Act soon, attendance is limited and based on previous webinars, this will be popular.

2. MindFreedom is stronger than ever.

It has been more than five years since I experienced a major accident and severe ongoing disabilities, requiring my retirement after 25 years as MFI’s executive director. As well as the above grant from the Foundation, MFI received an anonymous major donation, and many members have continued to support this important effort.

I am glad to report that MindFreedom International is doing very well. However, there has not been a replacement executive director. Until now. MFI is now announcing a search for a new executive director. This will no doubt lead to better member services, campaigns, and online information, which many people supportive of human rights in mental health have hoped for. Congratulations!

Please note that MindFreedom website currently lists the deadline for the job application as July 31, 2018. So unless this is extended, it is too late to apply.

For more info, see the MindFreedom website here. (Please note that I am not in any way personally involved with the search.)

I have very much enjoyed providing some consulting with MFI through my new business, Aciu Institute. We have helped do several surveys, for example. We look forward to future support for MFI.

3. You can now view MindFreedom’s last webinar, on human rights in mental health, free.

At the beginning of this Summer, 2018, two other psychiatric survivors and I presented a free MFI online gathering about winning campaigns for choice in mental health. You can now view a video recording for free on the web, here.

Above right is a photo of work I did years ago in Oslo, Norway with one of the oldest groups in our movement: We Shall Overcome. We constructed a huge prop hypodermic needle and reaches hundreds in Oslo about choice in mental health. No forced psychiatric drugging!

4. For a limited time, interested activists can apply to benefit from mentorship.

As a follow-up to their webinar MindFreedom International gave about human rights in mental health, about 20 folks can apply to become mentorees. Each will work with a mentor to develop written plans for a human rights in mental health campaign. Because space is limited, those interested should contact MFI soon. Email to: sarah@mindfreedom.org

Go MindFreedom International, go! Let us help lead this revolution!

I am glad to see that MindFreedom International, despite many struggles related to the incredible oppression in the mental health system, and also my accident, is doing so well. Listening to a lot of folks, I know there is hope for a better online presence, member services, etc. But generally these hopes are very constructively and lovingly offered.

Let us all work together for MindFreedom International and the revolution we need in mental health. With the climate crisis, the lock so-called “normality” has on our culture has become a central emergency, globally!

 

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We’re finishing “Creative Maladjustment Week” 2018, Get Ready for 2019!

Leonard Roy Frank

Leonard Roy Frank

We just finished another Creative Maladjustment Week.

In case you are new to that phrase, for more than a decade, Martin Luther King talked about “creative maladjustment.”
MLK would say that he was proud to be creatively maladjusted to problems like militarism, poverty and racism.
A number of years ago, MindFreedom International began a Creative Maladjustment Week to celebrate this idea, and to challenge what is falsely called “normal.”
Of course, there are 8 days in Creative Maladjustment Week. I suggest we add a ninth day, because today, July 15, is the birthday of an amazing, late, psychiatric survivor author and leader: Leonard Roy Frank (photo on right).
You can read about the incredible life of Leonard, one of the early beatnik-dropouts who was tortured by involuntary electroshock, here: http://davidwoaks.com/my-friend-leonard-roy-frank
You can read about Creative Maladjustment Week on a special MindFreedom website here: http://cmweek.org/
Getting Ready For Creative Maladjustment Week 2019
The MindFreedom website for CM Week needs a few improvements. For example, there is a downloadable PDF manual about how you can have a CM event. Unfortunately, each day is connected to a day of the week, which of course would change each year.
Below are the theme days for 2019, including a special ninth day for the birthday of Leonard Roy Frank. I suggest the theme be Revolution. Many people called Leonard the Gandhi of the Mad Movement, and hopefully he would appreciate this.
OK, here are the days and themes for next year:
  • July 7, 2019, Sunday, Day 1: Day of Creativity
  • July 8, 2019, Monday, Day 2: Day of Action & Movement
  • July 9, 2019, Tuesday Day 3: Day of Laughter & Joyful Noise
  • July 10, 2019, Wednesday, Day 4: Day of Kindness
  • July 11, 2019, Thursday, Day 5: Day of Self Care
  • July 12, 2019, Friday, Day 6: Day of Community Care
  • July 13, 2019, Saturday, Day 7: Legacy of Lunacy
  • July 14, 2019, Sunday, Day 8: Day of PRIDE
  • July 15, 2019, Monday, Day 9: Day of Revolution
Please note that July 2019 will also have the 50th Anniversary of the Oregon Country Fair. While I could not find the exact dates for OCF 2019, I will guess that it will be from Friday, July 12, to Sunday, July 14.
Are you inspired by Creative Maladjustment Week? I feel that an update of the idea might help. Perhaps Creative Disorder, since today the mental health system uses the phrase “disorder” more than anything else.
I encourage Positively Crazy activities, which I call the new PC. Too often we hear about negative activities attached to mental problems. The fact is that many creative and peaceful actions are Positively Crazy.
Do you agree? Do you have any ideas? Please post your comment here. Get ready for CM Week 2019. I hope to help update the MindFreedom website and PDF for Creative Maladjustment Week.
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Are You a Psychiatric Survivor in the USA? What Helps Us Speak Up?

Those of us who have experienced human rights challenges because of the mental health system, have often been marginalized and silenced. Our viewpoints are diverse, and need to be part of the national conversation.

Here in the USA, the debate over gun safety often involves mental health, yet we in the public seldom hear from psychiatric survivors.

Personally, what is very horrifying to me is the USA federal government currently has programs in 17 cities to support court-ordered involuntary outpatient mental health. That is right, USA taxpayers are spending more than $50 million to coerce hundreds of their fellow citizens to take psychiatric drugs that they do not want.

Of course, this outpatient coerced mental healthcare has gone on for decades on the state-level, impacting thousands. But there is something about the USA federal government paying directly for these coerced outpatient procedures that really bothers me.

If you would like to read more about USA federal support for court-ordered involuntary outpatient mental health, I have blogged about it here.

Are You a USA Psychiatric Survivor?

For decades, I have been a public activist as a psychiatric survivor. Each of us defines “psychiatric survivor” in our own ways. For me, I experienced coerced mental healthcare inside a psychiatric institution about five times.

I am helping MindFreedom International, one of the main independent human rights action groups in mental health, to learn from psychiatric survivors about what can help get out our stories. I am facilitating a national focus group on Sunday, June 10, 2018. Ideally, you would have access to a webcam that works. We will take care of all the technical needs for a video teleconference.

We only have limited room, so if you are interested, please contact me soon. Even if you cannot join us on that day, I would like to hear from you. For instance, I am working on a survey of USA psychiatric survivors.

If you are a USA psychiatric survivor who would like to be in touch, please email to me via my consulting business, Aciu Institute, LLC: revolution@aciu.info

MindFreedom is helping to get out the word, such as with the following blurb that is on their website: http://www.mindfreedom.org/mindfreedom-hosts-focus-group-need-ten-psychiatric-survivors-1/

MindFreedom is Recruiting Ten Psychiatric Survivors for a Focus Group

MindFreedom International is hosting a web-based focus group on June 10 for psychiatric survivors. Participants will be paid a small stipend for their time. See details below.

MindFreedom is Recruiting Ten Psychiatric Survivors for a Focus Group

Focus Group

David W. Oaks, psychiatric survivor activist and past Executive Director of MindFreedom International, is reaching out to other psychiatric survivors in the USA. Do you identify as a psychiatric survivor in the USA? Please consider emailing to David, via his consulting business: revolution@aciu.info.
 
David is holding a two hour, web-based focus group for psychiatric survivors on June 10. Participants will receive a modest stipend for their time. Participants must have access to a computer that is connected to the internet in order to participate in the focus group. Please email soon. Paid stipends are limited to ten participants.

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Help Wanted in Eugene: Join Our Amazing Homecare Team!

Paid Home Care Worker Wanted

Spring 2018: Part-Time, Eugene, OR

Have a Current S&DS Home Care Provider Number?

Here in southwest Eugene, on a quarter-acre of wild garden, in our little creative home, I have a great team of five fantastic folks. They provide about 85 hours per week to help me get out of bed, do hygiene, eat, get back to bed and various activities of independent living that allow me to live in our community with my amazing wife, Debra.

My workers all say they love this job. But one is leaving for a full time position: Leaving 3 evening shifts Mon., Wed., and Fri. As well as a Sun. am shift. There is some flexibility.

As a quadriplegic+, I use a powerchair, and have a few other challenges such as a disabled voice. After more than 40 years as an activist, I am passionate about social & environmental change.

A priority is a homecare worker with an active Senior & Disabled Services (S&DS) provider number. S&DS pays my workers’ wages, health insurance and vacation through the State of Oregon.

Because of time, we are now looking for someone with an active provider number. Experience with paralysis care, such as a hoyer lift, is important. We aim to make this the best employment on Earth!

If interested email me at: davidwoaks@gmail.com

Or call me at 458-205-9426.

My listing is in the OHCC Registry and Referral Service.

You can download and post this flyer: home-care-flyer-2018

More info see the “help wanted” tab in my blog.

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Your Vision for Thanking Leaders Under 30: How Should We Nominate Youth for Awards?

David Oaks and Patch Adams discuss global revolution and nose picking at 2015 Oregon Country Fair.David Oaks and Patch Adams discuss global revolution and nose picking at 2015 Oregon Country Fair.David Oaks and Patch Adams discuss global revolution and nose picking at 2015 Oregon Country Fair.David Oaks and Patch Adams discuss global revolution and nose picking at 2015 Oregon Country Fair.David Oaks and Patch Adams discuss global revolution and nose picking at 2015 Oregon Country Fair.David Oaks and Patch Adams discuss global revolution and nose picking at 2015 Oregon Country Fair.David Oaks and Patch Adams discuss global revolution and nose picking at 2015 Oregon Country Fair.David Oaks and Patch Adams discuss global revolution and nose picking at 2015 Oregon Country Fair.David Oaks and Patch Adams discuss global revolution and nose picking at 2015 Oregon Country Fair.David Oaks and Patch Adams discuss global revolution and nose picking at 2015 Oregon Country Fair.David Oaks and Patch Adams discuss global revolution and nose picking at 2015 Oregon Country Fair.

David Oaks and Patch Adams discuss global revolution and nose picking at a recent Oregon Country Fair.

Let us thank young people for their leadership, vision, creativity and for just putting up with the bullshit that is piling up all around us!

Yes, we should give everyone an award, just for existing! But where do we start? I agree with the philosophy shared by many and credited to the Iroquois Confederacy: think ahead seven generations. How about we start with folks under 30, the ones we in the counterculture are supposed to trust.

I figure that seven generations from now would be a few years after the turn of the century, 2200. That might seem like a very long time, but there are some kids today, who when they are old, will share the planet with some little kids who will, we hope, reach the year 2200.

We owe the future a big, huge apology. We also can thank the future for their leadership!

Patch Adams, MD (shown on the left picking his nose with me), suggested that we award a few young leaders, and he has an idea about where we can start:

At Oregon Country Fair, an enormous celebration in the woods near Veneta each July that is wonderful and indescribable, I often have the chance to catch up with my friend “The Real” Patch Adams, MD, who goes each year to connect with his grand-kids. I have often blogged about my most-famous friend, because he often shares wonderful humor, strangeness and creativity.

Back at OCF 2012, a number of us gave an award, artistically created from recycled materials by psychiatric survivor art gallery owner Tim Boyden from OutOnALimb (see award image below). Since then we have given many awards, using PDF’s inserted with names and achievements.

Below are a few, usually given to thank great folks, or in the case of our Congress person Rep. Peter Defazio, to remind him to be an authentic fighter for the underdog, such as folks in the mental health system. Below is also a humorous award we gave to the local Chamber of Commerce to encourage them to speak up about the climate crisis.

We want your suggestions now: How can we all nominate young people, say under the age of 30, to appreciate their work and leadership into the future? Perhaps using online surveys? A panel of judges including young people? Do you have ideas to make these awards creative? Do you want to help on any of this? You can comment here, or email me privately at davidwoaks@gmail.com

Who do you think should be thanked? Wouldn’t it be fun to hand deliver a few at OCF 2018? The timing, July 13, 14, 15, happens to be the last three days of Creative Maladjustment Week, which many readers knows we celebrate, in the spirit of Martin Luther King who envisioned an International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment.

Here are a few awards:

 

In 2012, at the Oregon Country Fair, a number of us with MindFreedom Oregon gave Patch Adams, MD this award, presented in the Community Village. Psychiatric survivor Chrissy Piersol did the honors of presenting. Award was created from recycled objects like loose screws and nuts, by psychiatric survivor artist Tim Boyden.

In 2012, at the Oregon Country Fair, a number of us with MindFreedom Oregon gave Patch Adams, MD this award, presented in the Community Village. Psychiatric survivor Chrissy Piersol did the honors of presenting. Award was created from recycled objects like loose screws and nuts, by psychiatric survivor artist Tim Boyden.

Usually, our awards are for positive activities. However, once in awhile we need to make a difficult point. Unfortunately, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) supported involuntary outpatient mental health. We hope he changes, maybe our tongue-in-cheek awards, which we brought to his office, will help? Award # 1: For Your Future Accomplishment

Usually, our awards are for positive activities. However, once in awhile we need to make a difficult point. Unfortunately, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) supported involuntary outpatient mental health. We hope he changes, maybe our tongue-in-cheek awards, which we brought to his office, will help? Award # 1: For Your Future Accomplishment

Award # 2: For Saying “No” to Murphy

Award # 2: For Saying “No” to Murphy

Award # 3: The Golden Pill Bottle Award

Award # 3: The Golden Pill Bottle Award

Our Award using humor to point out the Chamber complicity with Climate Crisis.Because of their silence about the climate crisis, here is the Award we gave to the Eugene Chamber with our tongues in our cheeks. Psychiatric survivor artist Tim Boyden created this award.

Most of our awards are for good actions by groups and individuals, such as this award to Food Not Bombs. Thanks to activist Ian McTeague for helping to create these awards, and of course he is a splendid recipient, and he is right here!

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