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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
(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.)
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.
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:
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.
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
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
Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene Community (UUCE)
UUCE Accessibility Task Force
CareWorks of Lane County
Oregonians with Lived Experience of the Mental Health System
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-914-1469. If you miss, ask about online recording. (Version 3)
Today, Monday, 18 January 2021, we celebrate Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. In two days, we in the USA will have a brand-new President, thankfully. Every morning I listen to a lot of National Public Radio (NPR). With vaccinations increasing, NPR reported that a “new normality” may finally be possible. A few minutes later, an NPR editorialist warned us, as he should, that the surge of white supremacy must not become a “new normal.”
With all this talk about “new normality,” let me tell you something that MLK wrote and spoke about that is often neglected. MLK called for the end of what we call “normality.” This is my 44th year working for human rights of people with disabilities, so I got very interested when I first heard about this incredible historic fact, and dug in for more.
One of the best examples is that MLK brought a written speech with him in August 1963 to the famous, peaceful March on Washington. At the podium, perhaps after expertly sizing up the huge crowd on the Mall in the summer heat, he never gave that longer written speech. MLK instead improvised, partly based on previous speeches, and gave impromptu what is now known as the “I Have a Dream” speech, one of the most famous in US history.
The title of the original speech that MLK did not give was “NORMALCY — NEVER AGAIN.” This typewritten speech, complete with his corrections marked with xxxxxxx, is carefully archived at the Woodruff Library at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Here are some of his words that are most relevant to me today:
“[W]e will not be beset by the nagging knowledge that this nation owes an abject apology to Lincoln; an apology for going too slow in granting equal rights to all her citizens; an apology for not pushing hard enough in bringing to reality his hopes and dreams; an apology for invoking the evil alibi that ‘this is not the time’ for the hour of freedom to strike.”
King concluded this part of his speech with words that he would often say other places and are so well put and so important today: “For we know full well that… any time is the time to do the right thing.”
We white USA-born males owe the world an apology for the bigoted folks, mainly white male “citizens,” who are leading the bankrupt ideology of White Supremacy. The best way for us to apologize will be to take action: Black Lives Matter!
MLK frequently visited the theme of challenging normality. He even called for the creation of a “International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment.” The nonprofit human rights coalition, MindFreedom International, celebrates this vision of having a real IAACM.
Welcome President Joe, But No New Normal!
With the impending inauguration of a new president, many of us feel great relief. Wonderful. But let us learn a lesson from electing President Barack Obama, who I supported. I feel many of us progressives relaxed and let down our guard during Obama’s eight years. Obama himself encouraged progressives to be more active during his administration, and we should have listened to him. Now we know. This time, let us be on guard, prepared, engaged, and always active.
I think back about my childhood growing up in the south side of Chicago. White Supremacist racism was rampant in that area, not far from the Nazi headquarters. At the age of ten, I was only a few miles away from where Martin Luther King was struck by a rock or brick on 5 August 1966.
I later got out of Chicago, went to college and became a community organizer activist for people with mental or physical disabilities. In 1983, I moved to Eugene, Oregon.
I distinctly remember sitting in Monroe Park, not far from downtown Eugene, Oregon. I was reading material written by MLK. He recalled those days on the south side of Chicago, and I remember he remarked about the intense hate he saw in the eyes of white protestors. MLK said that racists in Mississippi could probably learn from Chicago racists! I especially remember, to paraphrase, that MLK said the hate was so great, his hope was that some young people would get out of the south side of Chicago, go to college, and get away from that environment. I was so startled, it felt like he was writing directly to me.
Perhaps MLK was writing to me, in a sense. Certainly he is speaking to all of us now, that we must never again have “normality.” No normality and no new normality! Ever! Here in our household we even have a little game that you might want to play: Whenever your hear the word “normal” such as on the radio or TV, everyone sneezes or howls. The first to do so “wins.” Let us continue to be allergic to normal or new normal! Why?
On Jan. 7, 2021, the day after the D.C. riots when Trump supporters violently invaded the Capitol, a Trump administration leader for mental health, Elinore McCance‐Katz, M.D., Ph.D., announced her resignation. She had been Trump’s appointed assistant secretary for mental health and substance use at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Yes, we ought to all applaud her resignation in protest of Trump’s rioters. Here is an excerpt from her recent statement:
“I believe that this behavior was totally unacceptable and, in my own heart, I simply am not able to continue. I believe that we are given certain life situations where we must make the difficult decisions and we get one chance to do it the right way.”
However, for the past four years, under Dr. McCance-Katz’s supervision, SAMHSA has sadly betrayed our values in the movement for empowerment of mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors. Quietly, SAMHSA has given two major grants, in 2016 and 2020, to dozens of cities and towns around the USA to support more “court-ordered” coerced mental health care of people living in their own homes out in the community. SAMHSA uses the euphemism “Assisted Outpatient Treatment” (AOT) but really the term that legal scholars use objectively is “Involuntary Outpatient Commitment” (IOC).
We have now made a spreadsheet about grants for outpatient commitment based on SAMHSA’s own public documentation. For more than one year, I requested, unsuccessfully, that SAMHSA supply any reports about the outcome of their support. You may find our spreadsheet about SAMHSA backing of outpatient commitment, as well as a copy of my one year of email dialogue with SAMHSA here:
So, Dr. McCance-Katz, we appreciate your service and your resignation after the white supremacist violence, but please do not reapply for your position at SAMHSA! During your time at SAMHSA, millions were found to support IOC, but SAMHSA claimed poverty when it came to supporting the popular annual Alternatives Conference, which since 1985 has provided a way for hundreds and thousands of US mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors to work together. You can read about the history of Alternatives here:
SAMHSA canceled Alternatives and zeroed out funding support. Now the main annual conference is Peerpocalypse, which is sponsored by a State nonprofit here in Oregon, Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon. You can find more about Peerpocalypse here:
It is no surprise and coincidence that the federal agencies who are supposedly working for our mental well-being, instead use coercion to support “normality” and silence the voices of mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors.
SAMHSA is not the only federal mental health agency with a bias toward the old-fashioned medical model approach, and against an empowerment-based model. My friend, psychologist Al Galves, PhD, told me:
My hypothesis is that the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) spends more than 80% of its $1.7 billion each year on studying the brain — neural networks, cells, molecules, neurotransmitters, other chemicals and genetics. This is a big problem because human beings don’t use our brains or our genes to live our lives. We use our minds — our thoughts, feelings (emotions), intentions and perceptions to live our lives. The mind is not the same as the brain.
I have often pondered the way so-called “normal” is hurtling itself towards the cliff of environmental catastrophe. Now I realize that humanity as a whole, with a few exceptions such as many indigenous tribes, has a “Green Disability.” That is, it is irrefutable that generally speaking modern humans are so very out of touch with nature, that we threaten our own extinction.
There are five new brief free online videos launched from Greta Thunberg and the Dalai Lama about the role of feedback loops in amplifying the risk of climate crisis. This is why we need immediate and major action, so that seven generations ahead there will still be people and life. Please take a look at these short videos, narrated by Richard Gere: