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From Armchair to Action: Winning Human Rights in Mental Health!

Posted by on August 11, 2021 in Activism, Alternatives, Mental Health, Peer Support | 0 comments

You’re Invited to a Free MindFreedom Campaign Action Webinar: 

All who support human rights in mental health are welcome!

Free Zoom Webinar, THIS Sunday, August 15, 2021

For decades, MindFreedom International (MFI) has been one of the strongest independent coalitions for human rights in mental health. Join us whether you’re a past, current, or possible-future MFI member. 

How can you work with others in MFI to effectively win alternatives and human rights through united campaigns? What steps can you take to begin forming an MFI Affiliate in your area? If you are already connected to an independent group, how can you connect with MFI as a Sponsor? 

Date: THIS Sunday, August 15, 2021

You need to register for free as soon as possible. Please click HERE

Zoom will then send you an automatic invite. If you do not see this, check your spam folder and/or search your email for the word zoom. Please note this invite link is unique to you, please do not share it. 

The start of the 15 August 2021 meeting, in several Time Zones:

7 pm ET US
6 pm CT US
5 pm MT US
4 pm PT US
23:00 UTC
8:00 (am), next day 16 August, in Korea & Japan. 

The meeting will be for up to 1.5 hours. MFI Executive Director Ron Bassman will be on this call and he said, “Charles Dickens opened his classic novel A Tale of Two Cities with the line, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’ If we are feeling that such a time is now, let’s push to make it the best of times.”

Sarah Smith from the MFI office will also be a presenter and said: “This Webinar is important because telling our stories to one another from our armchairs is not enough. We need to support one another and share our collective wisdom for a greater purpose: to go outside our bubbles and speak our truth to strangers, even if we are afraid.”

Other special guests include:

Wilda White
Celia Brown
Daeryun LIM, MAD Pride Seoul Korea
Jim Gottstein
Ted Chabasinski
Rev. Phillip Schulman

Any questions or problems, just contact David Oaks by email.

Yours in Solidarity,

David W. Oaks, Aciu! Institute revolution@aciu.info

David W. Oaks on Green Disability

Posted by on July 13, 2021 in Activism, Alternatives, Disability, Environment, Mental Health, Peer Support | 1 comment

Thursday, 15 July 2021, I gave a live, 45-minute online workshop on Green Disability as part of the Alternatives 2021 Conference. We will post the video as soon as it is available.

Below is more information about that workshop:

Green Disability: Peer Support Unites the Mental & Physical Disability Movements

How can peer mutual support in both physical & mental disability movements help humanity prepare for disasters including climate crisis? Our society seems too complacent, but peer support is a practical way for groups to respond to future disasters, and defend vulnerable communities threatened by disasters such as pandemics.

Date & Time: Today, Thursday, 15 July 2021, 4 pm ET, 1 pm PT.

How to Pre-Register Free:

Simply click on this link, fill out the brief form, and then Zoom will email you an automatic invite. If you do not see that invite, check your spam folder and/or search for the word zoom.

You can also register free for the whole Alternatives 2021 conference, accessing dozens of workshops by mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors.

If you missed any workshop, including mine, they will be available for streaming soon. I will announce this as soon as I hear any development.

More MAD Pride Month News

July is MAD Pride Month! Read about resources, networking, calendar here:

Updates Behind the Scenes: Mad In America Launches My Blog About SAMHSA

Posted by on June 29, 2021 in Activism, Commentary, Legislature, Mental Health, Peer Support | Comments Off on Updates Behind the Scenes: Mad In America Launches My Blog About SAMHSA

Updates Behind the Scenes: Mad In America Launches My Blog About SAMHSA

Mad In America, major webzine for “rethinking psychiatry,” just published, today, June 29, 2021, my new blog: “Will US Agency New Head End Stonewalling About Money for Involuntary Outpatient Mental Health?” The US Senate confirmed President Biden’s nomination for the new leader of Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, PhD, an African-American psychologist.

SAMHSA has been supporting involuntary outpatient mental health, which can mean court-ordering US citizens to take powerful, controversial psych drugs in our own homes in the community. However, SAMHSA has so far refused to provide any information or evaluation about their more than $25 million in grants.

My original Mad In America blog is here, please share & comment:

www.madinamerica.com/2021/06/end-stonewalling-involuntary-outpatient/

An audible version of the Mad In America blog is here:

News Updates: Will SAMHSA Start to Repair Damage?

29 June 2021

A few hours before Mad In America published my blog, 29 June 2021, Lindsay Baran, a staff person for the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), supporting the Mental Health Subcommittee, said:

SAMHSA’s refusal to provide us with the requested information is unacceptable. People are being harmed – their rights are being violated – by these grants, and SAMHSA’s lack of transparency is incredibly alarming.

A few hours AFTER Mad In America published my blog, and I contacted President Biden & SAMHSA, a staff person with SAMHSA’s FOIA office called me at home. She was very nice. She said that there had been quite a turnover in that department. She is the third staff person I am dealing with. She said she had been hired in the Spring, and would get me some materials by this week, or at the latest next week.

This staff person said SAMHSA’s FOIA office had so much material they would need to get it to me as a “rolling” download of about three big files a week. We will let you know about the results.

We will also post other updates here, as we get them. The latest will be on top.

Additional Resources About the SAMHSA Blog

As listed in the blog, July is MAD Pride Month, and you can find out more about it here:

aciu.info/2021/06/22/mad-pride-month-july-2021/ 

Mad In America has all of my blogs from the past few years on my author’s page:

www.madinamerica.com/author/doaks/ 

Shortly before my blog was published by Mad In America, I created a personal blog about my experience, including the record heat here in Eugene, Oregon:

Waiting For My Blog, Breaking Heat Records Here In Eugene: davidwoaks.com/today-eugene-heat-record

Below, please find personal blogs over the past few months that relate to this topic:

No New Normal: MLK, President Joe & Green Disability: davidwoaks.com/no-new-normal-mlk 

Oaks Vlog #1: Mental Health, Disability & Revolution: davidwoaks.com/oaks-vlog-1-mental-health-disability-revolution

Inside Story of My Keynote at Peerpocalypse 2020: davidwoaks.com/my-keynote-at-peerpocalypse-2020

Your Feedback is Very Welcome

Whenever I blog on Mad In America, there are often comments at the bottom, and I try to reply to as many as possible. You are encouraged to comment on that blog, and the URL again is: www.madinamerica.com/2021/06/end-stonewalling-involuntary-outpatient/

You may also comment here and/or you can email me at revolution@aciu.info.

Waiting For My Blog, Breaking Heat Records Here In Eugene

Posted by on June 27, 2021 in Activism, Commentary, Disability, Environment, Mental Health, Normalgeddon, Peer Support | Comments Off on Waiting For My Blog, Breaking Heat Records Here In Eugene

I have recently submitted my newest blog to Mad In America. The topic is about the betrayal of a federal agency regarding involuntary outpatient psychiatric drugging. This is my 45th year working for human rights of people in the mental health system. 

To be very clear, let me begin by saying I very much wanted to have my Covid-19 vaccination. My wife and I felt a great relief and gratitude after we got our vax. We knew we were not only helping ourselves, but our community in general is supported by having a high vax rate. 

That said, in a way I kind of can understand where the distrust of the pharmaceutical industry has come from among those who hesitate to get vaxxed. For decades, I have witnessed and documented arrogant, negative, thoughtless, harmful oppression by drug companies. In my research about mental health human rights, centuries of a kind of war by “normal” has killed and disabled so many people with psychiatric labels. 

These centuries of oppression have not been very visible, but I believe that many tap into this distrust and are hesitant to be vaccinated even though it may save the lives of themselves, loved ones, and the overall community. 

MAD Unite: We Need Your Voices More Than Ever!

In a few days, Mad In America will publish my blog, in which I announce that MAD Pride Month begins in a few days, July. Of course, MAD has no official definition. But I like thinking of M.A.D. as standing for “Marginalized And Disempowered!” Maybe it is hopeful thinking, but it seems like those of us considered “other” are getting a stronger and stronger voice. The psychiatric survivors, people with disabilities, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and LGBT, among others, need to amplify and build solidarity as never before. 

In a few hours, here in Eugene, Oregon, Sunday, 27 June 2021, the temperature is supposed to break records. We are supposed to climb over 103 degrees F, a record for June that was just set yesterday. 

Later this afternoon, the temperature climbed even more, to over 108 degrees F. This heat is not only unusual for Eugene in June, 108 is the all-time historic record for all months and years here in Eugene. We made very ugly history by reaching 111.

My great friend and activist, David Zupan, directed me to a new article that just came out a few days ago in TruthOut about climate: 

truthout.org/articles/terrifying-un-draft-climate-report-urges-total-transformation-of-our-way-of-life

The fact is, the enormous world body that has been focusing on the greenhouse effect, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has for years been playing a defense game. IPCC itself says it is not a strictly-speaking “scientific” organization. It is a planetary collaborative effort, and because of all the deniers who have focused on uncertainty, IPCC has focused on certainty. 

However, one of the main dangers of climate chaos is triggering feedback loops that mean we can have cascading runaway amplification of extremely hazardous uncertainty. To understand this, I highly recommend the new documentary by David Attenborough, Breaking Boundaries, on Netflix. 

The famous climate activist, Greta Thunberg, has been involved with several brief videos that help explain this feedback effect. You can find this info here:

feedbackloopsclimate.com

Climate Crisis Hurts the Marginalized the Most 

For many years, during heat waves, I have pointed out that one of the most common families of psychiatric drugs that are given coercively are the neuroleptics or what is now commonly called “antipsychotics.” Because of the trend of court-ordered involuntary outpatient psychiatric drugging, and because marginalized people often do not have air conditioning, this can be a recipe for killing. Neuroleptics, like many psychiatric drugs, can make people more sensitive to high temperatures, and can even suppress the heat regulatory systems. 

There are so many reasons to oppose involuntary outpatient psychiatric drugging. For example, we all know about Robin Williams, but many do not know that he had dementia caused by a disease known as Lewy Body. This was only discovered during the autopsy, according to a documentary that came out in 2020, Robin’s Wish

Let me repeat, even someone with the resources of Robin Williams, could not be diagnosed with Lewy Body until after death. This is true for many people with this type of dementia. But it is well-established in medicine that neuroleptic drugs are contraindicated when someone has Lewy Body, the mortality rate can increase sharply. 

Of course, as a survivor of involuntary neuroleptics myself, I could give you a hundred reasons why forced psychiatric drugging is a mistake. But as my blog explains, the major federal agency, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), has spent more than $25 million to support court-ordered outpatient mental health, which can often mean coerced neuroleptics. 

Emergency: Our Society Needs to Hear From Marginalized People Now!

Instead of promoting forced psychiatric drugging of those considered “other,” we ought to be listening more carefully to the marginalized and disempowered.

And so I wait for Mad In America to soon publish my blog. And today, Eugene’s temperature will set records for not only the month, but for all recorded history. 

In a few days, MAD Pride Month begins, July. We only have a few days, but this year I would like to focus on laying the groundwork for next year, 2022. 

This is because I feel like the next two centuries after 2022, are crucial for life and humanity. The year 2222 would clearly be seven generations ahead. Will people still be there? 

For humans and life to exist, we need to have a global revolution. Everyone. You. Me. We. 

Dear 2222. . . Are you there? 

To Get The News About My New Blog, When It Is Published…

The moment Mad In America publishes my new blog, I will get out the word to the folks on our ConstantContact free confidential email list. In order to make sure your email address is there, click here:

https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/KP5C4KZ/dwoaksnews

(To be very clear, I have three different blogs. This is my personal blog, thanks for reading it. I refer here to my blog on the website Mad In America, which as I mentioned will publish my piece soon, please get on the above list to be notified. I also have a blog over on my consulting business, Aciu Institute, LLC.)

Oregon Action Alert, June 2021:

Posted by on May 26, 2021 in Activism, Alternatives, Disability, Legislature, Mental Health, Peer Support | Comments Off on Oregon Action Alert, June 2021:

Prevent Wasting Money on Misinformed, Coercive Mental Health Overreach!

The below alert is especially for Oregonians who support human rights and alternatives in mental health. However, even if you live outside of Oregon, your voice will help show legislators they need to urgently stop this flawed bill.

Oregon State Senator Floyd Prozanski has had a Work Group on mental health issues. Within this Work Group, the Subcommittee of Oregonians with Lived Experience of the Mental Health System OPPOSES a harmful bill sponsored by Sen. Prozanski: 

SB187 redefines “dangerous” as a legal concept instead of a clinical concept, and increases the number of Oregonians likely to be subject to civil commitment restrictions of their civil rights.

Even though Sen. Prozanski’s Work Group never addressed or voted on SB187; Even though the Subcommittee of Oregonians with Lived Experience opposed SB187; And even though most public testimony was against SB187… Unfortunately, Sen. Prozanski pushed his bill. 

TAKE ACTION:

SB187 is now in the Oregon Joint Committee On Ways and Means. As a joint committee, it has legislators from both the House and the Senate. Please refer to this list of legislators in the Joint Committee On Ways and Means, and if you see any of them that represent you, please write to them and express your opposition to SB187!

Even if your Oregon Senator or Representative are NOT on the Joint Committee, email them and ask them to oppose the bill before the Joint Committee

You can also email to the six leaders of the Joint Committee, the co-chairs and co-vice chairs. You will find their email addresses in the sample letter below. 

For a sample model letter opposing SB187, click here.

To prepare your emails, you can read our one-page Brief Talking Points to Stop SB187

For a longer five-page analysis of the problems with SB187, click here.

To follow developments of this & other related bills, be sure to sign-up for email alerts from our partners at MindFreedom Oregon. Email: mf-oregon@aciu.info. (Version 20210526)

Attention All Residents of Lane County, Oregon, USA: Climate Survey

Posted by on May 12, 2021 in Activism, Disability, Environment | Comments Off on Attention All Residents of Lane County, Oregon, USA: Climate Survey

Deadline to take the Lane Community Climate Survey is Friday, 21 May 2021.

The climate crisis demands immediate emergency attention. Below is a news release about an important survey you can take now. This has links to the survey in English and Spanish. Residents of Lane County, please take the survey today and distribute it widely, especially to marginalized communities.

Contact information:

Lane Climate Equity and Resilience Task Force

Haley Case-Scott, Climate Justice Grassroots Organizer

541-313-8447 hcasescott@beyondtoxics.org

Release date: 5/4/2021

LANE COMMUNITY CLIMATE SURVEY

Making sure climate actions are equitable & promote resilience in Lane County, Oregon:

The Lane Climate Equity and Resilience Task Force has launched a countywide survey that aims to identify climate priorities and concerns in Lane county communities, with a focus on reaching Low-income and working communities; Black, Indigenous, and People of Color; Immigrant Communities; Native American Community members; Mental Health and Disability Representatives; LGBTQ Communities; and Rural Communities.

The Lane Climate Resilience and Equity Task Force is composed of community representatives and stakeholders who live and work with diverse and underrepresented communities in Lane County. They are working to ensure that the climate actions developed by County staff and approved by its Board are equitable.

Community members can take the survey online here in English or Spanish:

● English: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CERTF

● Español: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CERTF2

If you would like to take the survey over the phone, contact Haley at 541-313-8447.

Cripping the Red Carpet: Disability Documentary May Win Oscar, Sunday, April 25

Posted by on April 24, 2021 in Activism, Disability, Peer Support | 1 comment

Image from the movie Crip Camp, a Disability Revolution: Young African American man pushing young white man in wheelchair while holding guitar.
From a poster for the movie Crip Camp, a Disability Revolution

I loved the documentary about the disability movement, Crip Camp, on Netflix. It is one of the flicks nominated for an Academy Award. I hope you join me watching & cheering during this free Zoom webinar, info from the organizers:

CRIPPING THE RED CARPET on Sunday, April 25th at 3 pm PT, 6 pm ET.

Celebrate Crip Camp’s Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature! A historic moment for the disability community, Crip Camp at the Oscars will truly be a night to remember.

The Paul K. Longmore Institute and the Crip Camp Impact campaign are teaming up to kick off Oscar night with a celebration of disability community and culture. We’ll learn what the stars of the the film Crip Camp are thinking about the film’s Oscar nomination, have a red carpet dance party featuring all of you in your crip couture* (whether that’s rocking your best sweatpants and hoodie or busting out your Hollywood glam – we LOVE it all!), and enjoy a lot of laughs with our two event emcees, comedians Maysoon Zayid and Nina G.

Register: https://tinyurl.com/crippingtheredcarpet 

Virtual Vigil Public Service Announcement: Honor Ivory McCuen

Posted by on April 7, 2021 in Activism, Alternatives, Disability, Mental Health, Peer Support | Comments Off on Virtual Vigil Public Service Announcement: Honor Ivory McCuen

Sunday, 18 April 2021, 5 pm PT

At that time click: tinyurl.com/ivorypeer

This is a free webinar in honor of the late Ivory McCuen (1990-2021).

Ivory died homeless of exposure at the age of 30 on 24 Jan. 2021 at 17th & Chambers in Eugene, Oregon. Ivory was a mother of two boys, and a frequent user of the mental health system. Ivory was known for her love of nature, art, and singing.

Live music by folksinger David Rogers

Speakers include:

  • Breezy Smith, Ivory’s sister
  • Reverend Lois Van Leer, UU Church in Eugene
  • Eric Jackson, homeless rights activist
  • Merri “Kitty” Carlisle & David Oaks, co-chairs of UUCE ATF
  • Chuck Areford, retired mental health worker
  • Christina Peirsol, NAMI Lane County
  • Jacek “Jack” Haciak, Oregonians with Lived Experience
  • Rachel Levy, Rethinking Psychiatry
  • Rev. Phillip Schulman

ASL Interpreting by Patrick Galasso, Closed Captioning ㏄ Available

Co-sponsored by:

  • Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene Community (UUCE)
  • UUCE Accessibility Task Force
  • CareWorks of Lane County
  • MindFreedom International
  • MindFreedom Oregon
  • Oregonians with Lived Experience of the Mental Health System
  • Extinction Rebellion Justice Eugene
  • Planet versus Pentagon
  • Rethinking Psychiatry
  • Aciu! Institute

Ivory’s obituary in Eugene Weekly: tinyurl.com/ivory-eugene

Donations in honor of Ivory can be made to White Bird’s crisis team, CAHOOTS.

For more information, to co-sponsor, or to reach organizers: ivorypeer@gmail.com or 541-914-1469

For the Facebook event page for this Virtual Vigil, click here.

17 February: Let Us Remember Giordano Bruno, Freethinker

Posted by on February 16, 2021 in Commentary, Normalgeddon | Comments Off on 17 February: Let Us Remember Giordano Bruno, Freethinker

Statue of Giordano Bruno in Campo de’ Fiori, Rome, Italy

Tomorrow, 17 February 2021, is a special day for me. Along with many people all over the world, I remember the life and times of Giordano Bruno. He was the last individual burnt at the stake by the Inquisition on 17 February 1600.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of hosting my Mom from Chicago here in Eugene, Oregon for a decade. She shared many stories. One of the most startling was the revelation that my grandfather, an immigrant from Lithuania who spent many years digging coal, admired the author and philosopher, Giordano Bruno, whose statue is in Rome, turned to face the Vatican.

This year, I have asked a wonderful friend who was raised in Italy, psychiatrist Benedetto Saraceno, MD, to translate a short remembrance of Bruno. May we all be freethinkers during these challenging times when we need to change almost everything to address the climate crisis and the way our humanity responds.

You may find both the Italian and English translations here, please forward especially to folks who speak Italian:

Unitarian Universalist Online Access Forum: Sunday 31 January 2021

Posted by on January 30, 2021 in Activism, Disability, Mental Health, Peer Support | Comments Off on Unitarian Universalist Online Access Forum: Sunday 31 January 2021

Updated: Now watch this webinar live, either on Zoom or Facebook, tomorrow, Sunday 31 Jan 2021:

Free Public Disability Webinar  

Disability wheelchair with Unitarian Universalist chalice
UU Values & Disability

Unitarian Universalist Online Access Forum

Mental Disability, Mental Health & UU Values

TOMORROW Sunday, January 31, 2021

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm PST

Watch live on Zoom: tinyurl.com/uu-mental-disability

Or watch live on Facebook: facebook.com/UUEugene

All are welcome: Mental disability, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), brings special challenges. How do mental disability and mental health relate to the UU value of dignity & respect for all? A dialogue between Leslie Relle (TBI survivor) and David Oaks (psychiatric survivor), both UUCE members.

Special Guest: Rev. Phillip Schulman (TBI survivor) has served four UU congregations as Minister. He is a community organizer, peer leader & restorative justice activist.

Live music by Susanne Giordano, tune in 5 minutes early.

ASL interpreting by Patrick Galasso. Moderated by Merri Carlisle, Co-Chair.

Sponsor: Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene Accessibility Task Force (ATF)

If you have any questions, would like to get on our email list, or would like to volunteer, contact us at access@uueugene.org or 541-914-1469. If you miss, ask about online recording. (Version 3)