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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Hello World! 5 Reasons We Must Say ‘No’ to Normality & Psychiatry

Updated 21 September 2015:

If you live on Earth and breathe, then you must overthrow what is mistakenly called “normal” and the mental health industry. Why?

Jillian sticks out her tongue and holds a cat.

Homecare worker Jillian sticks out her tongue while hugging the cat, Bongo. Emergency Rooms look for this sign of distress and name it the Qsign (the tongue looks like the tail of the letter Q)!

Today, our planet is faced with an unprecedented emergency, according to the vast majority of scientists, wise people and just about everybody else. Smart folks tell us that we have the technology, smarts, and economy to address these urgent crises, but do we have the will? It seems that the general public is paralyzed, and as our leaders continue to procrastinate, we are collectively entering into the beginning of chaos.

As my friend “the real” Patch Adams, MD has explained to me for 23 years, one of the most effective ways to reach people is their sense of humor. Yes, the feature movie in 1998 about Patch is a bit syrupy-sweet, but you have to admit the power of wearing a red nose! Seriously, laughter is of course powerful. And we may need a touch of comedy to even look at the absurd reality around us now. That is why some folks are sticking out their tongues (see the photo here of Jillian for example); jokingly, maybe our leaders are waiting for us all to show some signs of distress such as the Qsign!

(rest of entry below)

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New Short Documentary Airs About Me: Diagnosed-Psychotic Quad Activist Global Revolutionary! You Can Watch Now, Free

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

David Oaks and Debra Nunez

David and Debra on our back deck, “home and in love.”

Today a documentary about 10 ½ minutes long, by my good friend David Zupan, airs on statewide TV and you can see it online for free, details below.

You can see:

  • Me tear up my psychiatric label “psychotic”
  • Martin Luther King call for us all to be “creatively maladjusted”
  • A re-creation of my big fall that broke my neck
  • What screwing up your vocal chords can sound like  
  • Support from my amazing wife and community
  • Us protest for global revolution because of climate crisis

Yes, making revolution visible now all over Earth is a great way to be creatively maladjusted to global warming, and this documentary shows that if I can do it, then so can you!

Here is an actual movie-trailer about one minute long for this documentary:

Producer David Zupan said, “Creatively Maladjusted shows how human rights activist David Oaks and his wife, Debra Nunez, creatively respond to tough realities with the help of courage, community and humor.” The piece will be shown on the Oregon Lens series. (Please see the next page of this blog entry for the links to the 10 and a half minute documentary.)

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PsychoQuad & Friends Visit Eugene Area Chamber of Silence About Climate Crisis

My friend, activist David Zupan, wrote the below about our protest inside the Eugene area Chamber of Commerce, or the “Chamber of Silence” as our banner calls them. For several years we have asked our local chamber to say that the US Chamber does not speak for any of us about the denial of climate crisis. Unfortunately, Eugene’s Chamber has refused to say anything about global warming.

So, a few of us showed up inside the office for the Eugene Chamber when they held one of their regular luncheon meetings to try to get new members. We asked pointed questions and a couple of videographers, including David Zupan, captured our action. The national, well-respected climate crisis activist group 350 has called for us all in the USA to ask our local chambers to speak out. My impression is that the response from local chambers has been so frosty that activists have moved on to other, more-winnable campaigns, but we are tenacious, we psychiatric survivors, plus it is a good practice in loving our opponents when we surface opponents in reality, not just theoretically.

Okay, let us turn over the rest of this blog entry to David Zupan, his news and the video that he and Jana Thrift took, thanks David and Jana!

Challenging the Chamber of Silence

By David Zupan

In this four-minute video, local residents peacefully protest at a March 5, 2015 Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce meeting. They question the US Chamber of Commerce policy of denying global warming and demand that the local chapter state that the national does not speak for them on this urgent issue.

So far 56 Chamber of Commerce chapters have taken such action. Jana Thrift and I were both told to stop filming the event. I was grabbed and pulled toward the exit at one point which activist David Oaks stopped by saying “Don’t touch, don’t touch, we’re leaving.” Outside David Oaks and others talked with a Chamber rep who suggested a proposal could be submitted for review by the chamber at a later date:

Here is a 44-minute rough cut video of the same event:

For more info about our campaign for years to encourage the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce to speak out about the climate crisis, their refusal and what you can do see our landing page about the worst case scenario for global warming:

http://www.normalgeddon.org

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The Worst Case Scenario for Global Warming — What I Call Normalgeddon —  is Bad for Our Mental Wellness: The Chamber of Commerce Doesn’t Speak For Us!

David and Debra march in Eugene for climate justice

Sunday, September 21st, 2014, Eugene, Oregon, Debra and David (on right) beginning to march against global warming in solidarity with the event in New York City.

For four decades I have been an activist challenging the mental health industry. More and more I feel that the climate crisis should be one of the highest priorities for social change led by people who have personally experienced psychiatric abuse, and our allies. I affectionately call us The Mad Movement. It seems that almost every speaker against global warming ends their message the same way, that we can stop this catastrophe if society has the “will.” I believe that participants in The Mad Movement have an important insight into real sickness in society. As a psychiatric survivor, I have seen too much labeling of creative maladjustment as ill. We need to shake off our world’s complacency and numbness, also known as “normality.”

The beginning of 2015 marks the fifth anniversary of a little-known campaign by the well-respected environmental group 350.org that asks the approximately 7,000 local chambers of commerce in the USA to oppose the way the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, based in Washington, D.C., blocks national progress in the fight to stop global warming. 350 says that, “The Chamber has long opposed environmental standards, but on climate change, they’ve gone pretty near berserk” (www.chamber.350.org).

350’s main request of local chambers seems pretty modest — to simply issue a statement saying that the US Chamber “doesn’t speak for us” in its denial of human-caused climate change. Unfortunately, despite five years of effort by activists, only 56 local chambers have distanced themselves from the U.S. Chamber about global warming. That is less than one percent! I have helped organize many actions over the past five years to ask our local Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce to say anything about climate change, but regrettably we have been met by a wall of silence.

We have tried everything from writing letters to the editor, personally corresponding with board members, performing public street theater, and protesting inside the chamber office itself. And still, no substantial moves have been made. The Eugene Area Chamber’s board members relentlessly refuse to speak up for values that they profess to have.

I am extremely concerned about the disaster of climate change because I think of it as a one-two punch. The first punch is highly predictable and linear. Almost all scientists agree on this “unequivocal” punch. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change spotlights the certainty of human-caused global warming hazards, such as sea-level rise. I am more interested in the second, surprise punch of runaway climate change, which is non-linear.

There has been a quiet revolution throughout the sciences that I like to call “the butterfly effect.” Others call this field the science of emergence, chaos, dynamic systems, or complexity. In short, when complex systems like Earth’s environment are disrupted, chaotic results can occur. Global warming may trigger amplifying, abrupt feedback effects, such as methane release as a result of warming permafrost. A little global warming may lead to an irreversible avalanche of extreme global warming. I call the worst case scenario of climate change “Normalgeddon.”

Right now, the Eugene chapter of 350.org is focusing on valuable state-wide campaigns such as blocking oil pipelines, divesting the University of Oregon Foundation from companies that profit from fossil fuels, and carbon-restrictive legislation. These campaigns are necessary, and we should rally for more support for these local efforts. We should also still support 350.org’s national campaign to get local chambers to speak out against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce president has always been responsive and civil to me personally, but he has also refused to speak out against the U.S. Chamber. He claims that the Eugene chamber is entirely independent. In a way, the Eugene community should see the Eugene Area Chamber’s refusal to speak up as a gift, because the climate crisis is no longer a faceless entity — it is embodied by our local chamber’s refusal to demand real change. Our chamber is also an actual place to peacefully protest. The chamber’s office is downtown at the corner of 14th and Willamette.

The planet’s issues are the people’s issues. Those of us who are the most marginalized and disenfranchised by existing inequality are the most vulnerable to impacts of the changing climate. All organizations fighting for people must fight for the planet, and vice versa. As a mental health and disability rights activist, connecting the issues of mental health and climate change are particularly important to me, but this work can and must be done in all realms. Please take up the leadership to nonviolently urge that the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, and its leaders, speak up about the U.S. Chamber and climate crisis.

After my wonderful wife Debra and I came home from last year’s climate march here in Eugene in solidarity with a huge New York City march, we turned to each other realizing that we had the exact same take-away message: Hope means acting from your own highest principles, without necessarily knowing what the outcome will be. I hope that the Eugene community and the board members of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce will think this through, and act on their own highest principles. After all, real mental well-being requires that we work now with a sense of urgency, unity, purpose and hope. Not only do we need a climate miracle, we need to construct our own miracle in our minds and in our communities.

 

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For more information see the David W. Oaks blog at www.normalgeddon.com.

 

 

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