Some Mental Health Justice Resources Related to Unitarian Universalism

Below please find a few links for people who are active with Unitarian Universalist churches and the topic of mental health justice.

Please note this list is not officially connected to any church. However, I am a UU member who has worked for 40 years on mental health activism. I have been asked to pull together a proposal for a panel discussion on this topic at the 2015 General Assembly, which is the national gathering for UU’s and will be in Portland, Oregon in June.

If you are with the GA, please note just below the bios for the panel you will find links regarding all the presenters, including links to videos to show you how they present.

These resources are an ongoing project, so check back later and there may some changes.

uu-mental-health-justice-graphicFacebook group on the topic of UU Mental Health Justice:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/uumentalhealthjustice/

One of the main pioneers to work on mental health issues is the UU minister Rev. Barbara Meyers. You can find information about her and her many projects here:

http://www.mpuuc.org/mentalhealth/mentalintro.html

One of the main UU ministers to embrace the mental health justice movement is Rev. Phil Schulman. You can find him on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/RebShaman?fref=ts

One of his projects is Advocates for Humanity, which you can find on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/AdvocatesForHumanity

Below you will find some info about the proposed panelists, yes, I am one of them. Of course you can find a few other entries on this blog related to this topic.

Rev. Dr. Steven Epperson has been the Parish Minister of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver (Canada) for the past 13 years.  Personal experience and pastoral engagement with the congregation and the wider community have shown that emotional and mental distress is widespread, deeply painful, and misunderstood and poorly treated in our conventional mental health systems.  In response, he has spoken in public numerous times on our “mental health crisis” with his congregation, regional UU youth, and cable TV.   As well, with his partner Diana, he co-directs an adult education program that promotes emotional, mental and physical well-being and flourishing.  That program includes “mad matters” seminars, a Madness Radio Listening Group, hearing voices and psychiatric drug tapering groups, documentary film nights and public speakers events. They also meet monthly for fellowship, a good potluck meal, and to write letters advocating for human rights and health alternatives for people dealing with mental and emotional distress.

 

The Rev. Dr. Devorah Greenstein works with and on behalf of, people from historically marginalized communities. Her educational training has given her contextual and theoretical perspectives in which she grounds her anti-oppression work. Her work includes educating and developing resources for religious professionals, lay leaders, and other individuals and groups engaged in anti-oppressive, multicultural transformation work to confront institutional and cultural ageism, ableism, racism, classism, and heterosexism. Rev. Greenstein is an adjunct and advising faculty for the UU Starr Academy. She was on the Board of Directors of EqUUal Access, a group which promotes equality and access for UUs with disabilities, and for eight years was the Program Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility Concerns for the UUA. She has authored “Some Disability Etiquette Tips for Greeting People,” “Helping Children Who are Deaf,” “The Power of Language, the Language of Power,” and “Backyards and Butterflies: Ways to Include Children with Disabilities in Outdoor Activities.”

 

Marcia Meyers is a 68-year-old, effusive retired teacher, who in her own words, “Identifies, in this order, as a grandmother, a teacher and an activist.” She dedicated 33 years to teaching in the public school system, during which she was active in the teacher’s union, both locally and nationally. Five years ago, Marcia began her work with the Economic Justice Action Group of the First UU Church of Portland. Four years ago, Marcia’s youngest daughter was coercively placed in the Oregon psychiatric lock-up, where she experienced one year of involuntary drugging with five different psychiatric drugs. So Marcia helped start one of the most effective, grassroots, activist groups for mental health justice, Rethinking Psychiatry, which has involved hundreds of people in many events such as gatherings and film festivals.

 

David W. Oaks experienced five psychiatric lock-ups while attending Harvard, but a social service group at Harvard referred him to grassroots activism in this field. He graduated with honors in 1977, and has devoted his adult life to working in the psychiatric survivors’ social change movement. He helped found one of the main independent human rights groups in mental health, and spent 25 years working as MindFreedom International’s executive director. In December 2012, David had a bad fall and broke his neck. He is now in a power chair with the disability label of “quad.” He joined the UU Church in Eugene and has branched out his activism to include all disability and climate change.

 

Here are a few links related to the proposed panelists:

Some links regarding Rev. Steve Epperson:

cable TV interview on David Berner Show:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7fHjYtc8Nw

Selected sermons:

http://www.vancouverunitarians.ca/cms/webdav/site/ucv/shared/Sermons/2011%2005%2015%20Our%20Mental%20Health%20Crisis.pdf

http://www.vancouverunitarians.ca/cms/webdav/site/ucv/shared/Sermons/2014/Psychocracy%20and%20Community%20-%2029%20Jun%202014.pdf

http://www.vancouverunitarians.ca/cms/webdav/site/ucv/shared/Sermons/On%20Alienation%208%20Dec%2013.pdf

 

Some links regarding Rev. Greenstein:

http://www.sksm.edu/people/devorah-greenstein/

 

Video on Radically Subversive Religious Leadership:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmbeBERLwBU

 

Some links regarding Marcia Meyers:

Rethinking Psychiatry:

http://www.rethinkingpsychiatry.org/

 

Video of Marcia presenting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkaZKV2EGJ8

 

Some links regarding David Oaks:

His blog:

http://www.davidwoaks.com

 

MindFreedom International:

http://www.mindfreedom.org

 

Video of David presenting before his fall:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boJMRuqj8-0

 

Video of David after his fall:

http://vimeo.com/108665104

Here is a summary of our proposed panel for the 2015 GA, it is a proposal but we hope it is accepted:

 

David Oaks

davidwoaks@gmail.com

 

Proposal Details

 

Proposed Program

 

Program Title (72 characters maximum including spaces):

 

We are the 100%! Building a Creative Way to Mental Health Justice

 

Program Description (50 words or 375 characters maximum):

 

Mental health is not just about those of us given a diagnosis. How can families and congregational leaders be awesome allies for youth and adults in mental health care? In what ways can physical and mental disability movements partner? In a time of extreme inequality and climate change, how do we build a new way to mental wellness for all? Your voice is very welcome!

 

Speakers

 

List up to four persons who will be presenting this program.

Rev. Steven Epperson

Rev. Dr. Devorah Greenstein

Marcia Meyers

David W. Oaks

 

Supporting Information Please be concise.

 

What are the goals of this program?

 

Addressing the area of Leadership:

 

  1. We seek to help UU congregations live into a new way of being that is intentionally inclusive of people with mental health difficulties. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 4.1 percent of the U.S. adult population has a “serious” mental disorder, and the lifetime prevalence of “severe” mental disorders for 13 to 18 year-olds is 21.4%, but this panel discussion will challenge all leaders to encourage and support one another through questioning the power of labels. A goal of this panel discussion is to proactively respond to the increasing use of psychiatric diagnoses by considering the way each and every one of us must work on our mental wellness. As EqUUal Access puts it in their Views, “How do we respond to the situation where wide-spread belief in stereotypes is harmful to many people in society?” Inclusion of people diagnosed with mental disorders in our congregations is in line with the EqUUal Access effort for congregational certification in disabilities that will be announced at this General Assembly.
  1. The panel discussion will share their real life stories about inclusion of youth with mental disorder diagnoses and the way the physical disability movement can apply its vision of inclusion to mental disability.

 

Addressing the area of Culture and Identity: We seek to build a movement of people who will widen the perspective of congregations to serve, empower and bring meaning to people with mental health difficulties. We will build a new way towards support for people with mental disorder diagnoses so that they can see themselves as “insiders,” by showing how more dominant groups and the 100% wrestle every day with serious mental issues such as economic inequality, global warming, etc.

 

Addressing the area of Partnership: This panel discussion seeks to further the building of a movement within UUism, with members of many congregations participating and cooperating jointly, for mental health advocacy. Participants will learn the basics about a little-known, diverse, international, social change movement that has worked for 40 years to transform the mental health system, and bring it towards human rights, choice, alternatives and empowerment. We will recognize the worth and dignity of all people involved with mental health, even though they themselves may be very divided in their perspectives. Our panel discussion will enhance the ability of participants to partner with people and other organizations with diverse visions of mental health.

 

Addressing the area of Spirituality: This work is closely linked to the first principle “Inherent worth and dignity of every person,” the second principle “Justice, equity and compassion for all,” and the fourth principle “search for truth and meaning.” Participants will learn that MLK frequently, for more than a decade, used the psychological idea of “creative maladjustment” as a spiritual basis for his social justice activism. We will build a new way to reignite his vision for the future!

 

How does this program address the selection criteria specified for GA 2015?

 

  • Our panel discussion is a very good fit and we address all four facets in the theme itself of “Building a New Way.”
  • All four of us are members of UU Churches, two are UU Ministers, and we all ground our social justice activism in our UU covenantal faith tradition.
  • We chose winnable learning goals, below please find what we think is a very effective strategy to achieve all four of our goals.
  • UU Congregations and communities need to build a new, open way to welcome this increasing minority.
  • We incorporate a holistic approach to multi-issue activism including  antiracism, anti-oppression, multicultural awareness and practice, and we link this issue to economic justice and even addressing climate change.
  • The presenters include activists who have come out of a very difficult “closeted” identity: family members of loved ones who are in mental health care and psychiatric survivor that is an individual who identifies as having been traumatized by poor mental health care.
  • We will offer many examples and stories of partnership in the wider community, especially mental health justice, but also with the physical disability movement, human rights activism, and many others.
  • We believe in always taking into account the participation of people of all abilities, and of multiple generations and learning styles, and we will offer participants a special web page for post-panel discussion and UU resources.
  • We are avoiding jargon and technical material, we wish to reach everyone, so we are well-suited to the GA format and audience.
  • We will all use real-world examples to illustrate concepts based on our activism in our UU communities.
  • In all modesty, this is a world-class panel. We are willing and capable of fostering engaged participation and/or interaction because that is part of our strategy.
  • We appreciate the theme and goals for this GA, because they have drawn out our best thinking about a very difficult issue. We have communicated with several previous GA presenters on mental health, and their work has helped so much. But as far as we know, this is one of the first panels connecting mental health justice to the wider world, we are truly building a new way for mental health justice. We hope this shows depth, inspiration and prophetic vision.

 

Briefly describe the program content and activities and how they will help meet your goals:

 

Before and after this panel, we will use social media to include a wider audience. At the start of this panel, we will use a brief icebreaker to make sure everyone feels as welcome and safe as possible.

 

The panelists will address four real life stories: How youth and adults in the mental health system were included in UU congregations. How the physical disability movement has connected with the movement to change the mental health system. Connections between the movements for economic justice and transformation of the mental health system. How the climate crisis means that everyone must be in a big movement for mental wellness.

 

We will give real-life stories about partnering with this very big, but highly divided mental health community. We will not dwell on divisions, such as loyalty or rejection to the medical model, but we will instead call for a third way, which we call deep welcoming, based on our First Principle. We will insist on mutual respect between all people, even when highly controversial topics are brought up.

 

Our three-part strategy: (a) We talk about our stories of mental health justice activism, (b) We invite participants to build a new way for mental health justice to connect with everyone, 100%, and (c) We will definitely allow time and dignity for diverse views from the participants.

Programming selected by the PDG will be scheduled Thursday, June 25 through Saturday, June 27. Are there any known scheduling limitations for your program that we should be aware of (such as limited availability of speakers)?

 

Because of disability accessibility and transport, we need to have this panel in the afternoon, preferably 2 pm or later.

 

References:

 

Barbara F. Meyers

Board member in UU EqUUal Access.

bfkmeyers@prodigy.net

Fremont, CA 94536

 

Rev. Katie Norris

UU Minister who has worked on brain health.

katie.norris1@gmail.com

El Cerrito, CA 94530

 

Jeanne-marie Moore, LCSW

Accessibility Committee, Lay Leader, UU Church in Eugene

jeannemarie@jeanne-mariemoore.com

Eugene, OR 97401

 

 

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Update: My Open Letter to Linda Vigen Phillips, Author of the New Young Adult Novel “Crazy”

Update: The author has replied, and you can read this November 14, 2014 update at the bottom of this,

Here in Eugene, Oregon, I heard a radio interview with the author of a young adult novel called “Crazy,” and I hoped that the author would challenge some mental health oppression during her book tour here in Oregon. After all, her semi-autobiographical fiction novel is about growing up in Klamath Falls, Oregon with a mom who has severe mental and emotional problems. Unfortunately, the radio interview seemed to turn into a promotion of the conventional mental health system.

Below is my open public letter to this author to ask that she questions the mental health industry more in her book tour:

Cover of the book "Crazy"

The Young Adult Novel “Crazy” is by author Linda Vigen Phillips.

Dear Linda Vigen Phillips,

At first, when I heard the interview with you on my local radio station KLCC-FM today, I was enthused about the possibilities for your book tour. I had high expectations that you can challenge mental health oppression.

For the past 40 years I have been working to change the mental health system as a person who survived abuse by the psychiatric system as a teenager. So I’m optimistic that your book tour could give many teens struggling with these issues a great amount of hope.

However, during your interview, I felt very disheartened because the message seemed to support the current mental health industry, which I feel needs to be overthrown completely. You seem to be such a caring and smart author with the intent of supporting psychiatric survivors and our families. So below I ask some questions that I would love to hear a reply to, and most importantly, I urge you to open dialogue with your audiences about these issues throughout your book tour.

I have not yet read your young adult novel, “Crazy,” but I know you are reaching many of us who have psychiatric diagnoses and family members, such as during your book tour visit to one of my favorite bookstores, Tsunami Books. Several times over the past few years, Tsunami Books has hosted some great psychiatric survivor authors, poets, musicians and other creative folks. So please take my questions in the friendly manner they are offered to you:

1. Can you give us any scientific evidence about your claims regarding genetics?

During the interview, you told the audience that people with psychiatric problems, such as those of us labeled “bipolar,” have a clear genetic connection. In fact, you said that if one parent had such problems then the child had a 50% chance of developing similar problems. Incredibly, you then added that if both parents had these problems then their child had a 100% chance of developing similar psychiatric problems.

Can you please offer me even one scientific source for such a claim? I am friends with psychologist authors who dispute such a biological link. It may not be your intent, but your interview implied that genetics equals fated destiny. I know that we are way more complex than that, and I know that the science is way more ambiguous. By the way, science tends never to use such numbers as 100%. If there is even one person in the world without these psychiatric issues whose parents both have bipolar diagnoses, that would disprove this claim.

2. Isn’t it a contradiction for you to then claim that writing was your “salvation”?

Directly after you made the above genetic claims, you said that writing, such as your journaling, helped your “salvation.” But that seems to be a contradiction. How can children of parents with psychiatric diagnoses have a great chance of developing the same psychiatric problem, while you used very hopeful and positive psycho-social alternatives to direct your own fate and healing? So are you saying that if your father was also diagnosed bipolar that such journaling would be fruitless? I bet your message is more nuanced than that, but I did not hear that today.

3. Will you be our ally in stopping the “Bully Model”?

There is a big division today within mental health. First there is a camp that claims one must take psychiatric drugs to recover from “psychosis” such as a diagnoses of schizophrenia or bipolar. Second there is a camp that absolutely hates ever including a medical model and instructs people that they must never use biological approaches such as drugs and electroshock.

I hope that you embrace what I call a third path, that endorses choice rather than the creed that I call the “Bully Model.” During your interview today, maybe you got over-enthusiastic, but you actually said that a diagnosis of “bipolar” may be “terminal” unless a person stays on their regimen of “medication.”

Yes, I realize that several times you also talked about the power of talk therapy, so I know you believe other approaches beyond the medical model can be helpful. However, there are many people, such as me, who reach some level of recovery after a bipolar diagnosis and are “off their meds,” as I have been since 1977.

To be a good ally for those of us in the mental health system, I hope that you endorse “choice” during your public appearances. You will find that leaders today tend not to use the term “mental illness” because invoking this phrase implies that one must follow a medical model to heal, when there is a rainbow of many choices that work. I have an essay about ending the use of the phrase mental illness here: http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-abuse/psychiatric-labels/not-mentally-ill

Many of us also have family members who are in the mental health system, and it is very important for us all to endorse a choice model to be awesome allies, especially for youth who have mental and emotional problems.

4. Is there really such a big division between “Normal” and “Crazy”?

During your interview, you mentioned that you originally wanted to use the title “Nervous Breakdown,” but your publisher thought the word “crazy” would have more of an “impact.” This may seem like I am making a joke, but isn’t “Normal” more scary than “Crazy”? Seriously, the most distressed person who is called bipolar, on their worst day, at least is not wrecking a whole planet. Truly global catastrophes such as the climate crisis require the complicity of billions of so-called “Normal” people. We are the 100%!

By the way, I am one of those mental activists who uses words such as “crazy,” “mad,” and even “cuckoo.” Unlike some folks with mainstream mental health groups, I believe in recapturing some of those bad words. However, by using the word crazy for this fictional mom, and maybe your own real mom, aren’t you discounting the trauma that might have led to her problems? Shouldn’t words like “crazy” be used in a way that pushes us all to reconsider who and what are crazy, rather than in a way that legitimizes using the medical model? Isn’t it better if we use such words about ourselves, rather than for others?

5. Can you refer people to our Mad Movement?

I know that some groups endorsing the current mental health system are referring people to your novel.

There is also an alternative, diverse, international, growing social change movement to overthrow the mental health system. This Mad Movement is led by psychiatric survivors. One great source of info about this movement, including many mental health professions, journalists, attorneys, etc., would be the great website Mad In America.

Can you please refer people to dig deep on this topic and hear the voices of critics of this industry, especially psychiatric survivors?

Good luck on the rest of your book tour, and I look forward to your replies.

Those who are interested can link to my blog entry here (which will help search engines find these questions), and look up your own website here:

http://www.lindavigenphillips.com/

Reply from author:

Dear Mr. Oaks,

Thank you for responding to my interview on KLCC with your open letter.  It has been my desire from the beginning to use this book to open dialogue about mental health, and I have been encouraged to see that happening on this tour.  I certainly agree that there are many avenues available to help those with mental issues today, and I applaud both patients and medical professionals who are open to customizing treatment.  I thank you for sharing a bit about your own history, and I am intrigued by the fact that you have been off meds since 1977.  I would love to hear about the regimen you have followed with such positive results.
The statistics concerning genetic inheritance vary widely, and I believe the exact formula for the influence of nature versus nurture is not known.  In retrospect that is what I should have said, and I certainly did not intend to imply that “genetics equals fated destiny.”
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me, and I wish you all the best.
Linda Phillips
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Robin Williams or Patch Adams? Watch Brief Message from David Oaks to Mad In America International Event

You may watch a little eight-minute video message, below, I sent this past Sunday, October 12, 2014, especially created to be shown during the gala dinner for the Mad In America International Film Festival, which brought together many movies that challenge the mental health industry. I wish I could have been there physically because this certainly was one of the main Mad Culture events of the season and many activists, film makers, and other creative folks were in attendance.

My amazing wife Debra repeated my sentences so that everyone could hear my disabled voice and not miss a precious word. My good friend David Zupan, who is making a documentary about me, videoed us on our backyard deck. In the background, you may see our guest cottage, which used to be my writing studio. This is where I fell from a ladder while reaching up in our loft for our cat, Bongo, and broke my neck back in December 2012.

In the video, I mention that many of us love Robin Williams, but I choose to follow the path of joy, life, and love created by Patch Adams, who Robin portrayed in the movie by that name. My friend Patch is a psychiatric survivor who, as a young person, was suicidal and decided to make a life change to embrace the world, flawed as it may be.

Here is the video message, followed by some links to info that I mention:

My blog about global warming and mental health: http://www.davidwoaks.com/eugene-area-chamber-global-warming

My blog where I, PsychoQuad, go to the movies, written because of the film festival: http://www.davidwoaks.com/psychoquad-movies

You can read about the Mad In America International Film Festival and the many great movies: http://madinamericainternationalfilmfestival.com/

Some other videos by David Zupan, including the building of Debra’s dream, an accessible path for me to our back garden: http://vimeo.com/user1758711/videos

By the way, Patch proudly does not get on the Internet (his employees do though). The great news is that Patch responds to every written message that he gets by old-fashion postal mail. You may just get a postcard back, but this pretty famous celebrity personally answers every letter. Thank him for being honorary chair for International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment! If that concept, first announced by Martin Luther King, is new to you just google it. Anyway, write to Patch here:

Patch Adams MD & Gesundheit Institute
P.O. Box 307
Urbana, IL 61803 USA

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PsychoQuad Goes to the Movies: The Power of Sex, Bettie Page and Art Overthrow Psychiatry

Over the decades, I have had the good fortune to be immersed in what many of us call Mad Culture. In various cities, at a number of events, there would be a confluence of writers, researchers, artists, and otherwise creative people who all wanted to peacefully overthrow the psychiatric industry and find a new way of helping people in crisis. I am glad to hear that one of your chances for Mad Culture will be from October 9-12, 2014 in Massachusetts, because the Mad In America International Film Festival will bring many film titles and speakers together. In fact, I have been invited to speak for a few minutes via Skype near the end of this great event.

I wish I could be there physically, but in honor of this Mad film event, here are some movies that I have watched lately, along with my brief review.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/87/Betty-Page-Reveals-All-poster.jpgBettie Page Reveals All (2012, Documentary, 101 min., via Netflix streaming)

That’s right, one of the main pin-up personalities from the 20th century was a psychiatric survivor. Bettie Page was famous as a charismatic and sexual model whose images are still admired long after her death. This documentary reveals that from 1979 to 1992, after the height of her fame, Bettie Page was in psychiatric institutions in California.

This film is mainly a lot of fun, showing her history and how she became one of the leading underground characters in Americana. In fact, she may be more popular today than in the 20th century. There is a very sad part of this story though, because Bettie Page was a trauma survivor, her childhood was awful, she experienced abuse as an adult, and the men in her life were mainly negative. When Bettie retires down in Florida, her past seems to catch up with her and she ends up having a major mental crisis.

You can watch this documentary on Netflix and I highly recommend it. Bettie Page is a fascinating person, and you can get some insight into how our society misinterprets trauma as “mental illness.”

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Your Local Chamber of Commerce and Global Warming: Can You Help?

Your Local Chamber of Commerce and Global Warming: Can You Help?

On Sunday, September 21, 2014, here in Eugene Oregon, I participated, with my wonderful wife Debra, in a local rally to support the major march in New York City for climate justice.

Everyone and every group working for mental health justice ought to make fighting global warming a priority right now. Of course, the whole disability movement, and in fact all sentient beings should be concerned about climate crisis, but those of us working for human rights and more choices for mental wellness have special reasons to make this planetary catastrophe a unifying theme for all of us.

Martin Luther King frequently talked about the importance of creative maladjustment as an answer to oppression, and many environmentalists are wondering where humanity’s creativity and maladjustment are right about now. The Mad Movement knows that the psychiatric industry has ground down the human spirit for centuries, but we never ever give up! MLK resisted the war in Vietnam toward the end of his life, and some civil rights activists were mystified that he seemed to be off topic. However, MLK knew that we are all in one big movement for the “beloved community,” as he put it.

But if you need something very specific to connect the Mad Movement to global warming, here it is: Those of us called psychotic are often coerced to take neuroleptic drugs (sometimes called antipsychotics), and these drugs are well known to suppress the temperature-regulatory part of the brain. During a heat wave, prison reformers have been talking about how horrible it is that those in non-air-conditioned prisons where people are forced to take these drugs often die. Well, most USA states have laws allowing citizens to be forcibly court-ordered to take these drugs while living at home out in the community.

In fact, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) has a bill to expand this outpatient forced drugging to many other Americans, ask him how many. People who are forcibly drugged tend to be poor and often do not have air conditioning, so coerced psychiatric pharmaceuticals can be a death sentence. The media have tended to avoid this topic, maybe because they are afraid that we will quit our drugs, as I did back in 1977.

I have always felt that we are in one big movement for a peaceful revolution, including about the environment.

Here is something I have been taking action against for a few years: one of the worst defenders of climate crisis is the huge US Chamber of Commerce based in Washington, DC. The US Chamber was taken over a number of years ago by a few big corporations that promote the current economic system.

Here in Eugene, Oregon, and in almost every medium and large city in the USA, there is a local Chamber of Commerce. It may surprise you to hear that your local chamber tends to be fairly independent from the big US Chamber. There is a campaign to have some of the locally-based chambers speak out that the US Chamber of Commerce is all wrong about global warming.

For years, the leading climate crisis group, 350, has had a campaign to ask each chamber of commerce to say “The US Chamber does not speak for us!” This campaign has only been able to convince 56 of the chambers to speak out. But we psychiatric survivors tend to not give up. I have helped mobilize several actions requesting that the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce make a statement of concern about human-caused global warming. I have organized several public events, street theater, protests, and lots of communication by email and even letters to the editor.

Unfortunately, the Eugene Area Chamber has refused to speak up about this disaster that may become one of the worst catastrophes in the history of planet Earth. Scientists know for certain that global warming is horrible. And there is a risk of run-away climate crisis that threatens life on Earth. I call this danger Normalgeddon. Here is where we stand:

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Psychiatric Survivor Activist Blogs as PsychoQuad for a Revolution in Mental Health, Major Website Picks Up for Global Re-Distribution

EUGENE, OR — FALL 2014 — News Release

A photo of David W. Oaks

David W. Oaks, aka PsychoQuad

A recent blog entry by long-time activist David Oaks is receiving quite a lot of attention among fellow activists working for major change of the mental health industry. In the blog, David tells his friend Marcia’s story of mental health rights abuse and activism. He writes, “Marcia’s story riveted me because it involves activism, madness, psychiatric torture of her beloved daughter, Unitarianism, secret poisoned-pen letters, Scientology and global warming!”  The story is certainly intriguing, and has quickly gathered more than 30 lively comments.

It has been 40 years since David W. Oaks was locked up for the first of five times by the psychiatric system. For 25 years he served as director of MindFreedom International, one of the main independent human rights groups in mental health. Then he broke his neck, and for the last 18 months he has been in a powerchair with a new label of “quad.” He prefers PsychoQuad, and people can find his new website name www.psychoquad.com. David W. Oaks continues to speak out, and he is making waves.

Today, Oaks devotes himself to the intersection of the mental health system, disability and the environmental destruction of planet Earth resulting in global warming. Oaks calls this dangerous combination Normalgeddon.

Oaks turns 59 on his birthday, Tuesday, September 16, 2014. Oaks said, “Do not worry about cards or gifts. I’m not fishing for praise. Just comment here on my blog and that will be birthday gift enough for me. Please try to leave your comments again, it should work now!”

Author Bob Whitaker is the publisher of the website “Mad in America.” He said, “As the long-time director of MindFreedom, David Oaks has been a leading voice for ‘rethinking psychiatry’ for decades. His writings will serve as an important contribution to madinamerica.com.” Oaks, 58, is based in Eugene, Oregon, where he lives with the one he calls his “true love Debra.”

Upcoming blogs by David will include his review of a new film about global mental health, how everyone can and should be a leader to stop Normalgeddon and more about the strange controversy involving Unitarianism and Scientology. Below find some links for you to explore:

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My Top 11 Ways to Reunite for a Mental Health Revolution!

My very good friend Marcia Meyers of Portland, Oregon is one of the most powerful leaders I have seen in my nearly 40 years of activism in the little-known movement for deep change in the mental health industry. She joined my amazing wife Debra, some friends and me for a backyard party at our Eugene home this summer and brought to my attention an issue that deserves a larger audience. Marcia’s story riveted me because it involves activism, madness, psychiatric torture of her beloved daughter, Unitarianism, secret poisoned-pen letters, Scientology and global warming!

So while I have been blogging for a few years, please understand that this post is the longest one yet. The major web site Mad in America, which is now like the Huffington Post of over-throwing psychiatry and inspired by the books of journalist Bob Whitaker, is picking up my blog for re-distribution. My primary concern here is with honoring the incredible work of Marcia and her group Rethinking Psychiatry. Marcia can teach our whole social change movement an important lesson about unity that can help all people as we struggle against environmental catastrophe, which I call “Normalgeddon.”

I include my top 11 ways that our Mad Movement can reunite, none of which involved any religion.

Thank you Marcia Meyers!

Marcia Meyers, mother of a psychiatric survivor and activist with the Unitarian Universalist church in Portland, Oregon.

Marcia Meyers, mother of a psychiatric survivor and activist with the Unitarian Universalist church in Portland, Oregon.

Marcia is a 68-year-old, effusive retired teacher, who in her own words, “Identifies, in this order, as a grandmother, a teacher and an activist.” She dedicated 33 years to teaching in the public school system, during which she was active in the teacher’s union, both locally and nationally. Marcia describes this work as foundational to the activism that would follow. As she puts it, “From my many years of teaching and my years of union work I honed my skills as an organizer and activist.”

Marcia retired in 1999 and attended the World Trade Organization protest, the huge Battle in Seattle, later that year. This event was particularly transformative. She told me, “The new and privileged freedom of retirement along with this historic event catapulted me into local and national economic justice activist work.” It was in the wake of the Battle in Seattle that Marcia began her work with the Economic Justice Action Group of the First Unitarian Church of Portland. This branch of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) church is one of the largest congregations ever, and for five years, has provided a safe, supportive home and platform for Marcia to fight corporate personhood.

The trajectory of Marcia’s work was changed once more about four years ago, when her youngest daughter was suddenly and inexplicably brutalized by the police and criminal justice system, and incarcerated in an Oregon state mental institution. Marcia refers to the trauma that her daughter was subjected to as “needle-rape.” Her daughter, a 28-year old vegan who believes in natural medicine and does not drink, smoke or voluntarily use drugs, was held down and forcibly injected by psychiatric workers. The Oregon psychiatric system locked up and involuntarily medicated this precious family member for an entire year. From April 2010 to April 2011, Marcia’s daughter continuously resisted as Zyprexa, Haldol, Abilify, Risperdal and Ambien were forced into her body.  Without warning, she was suddenly released. Of her daughter, Marcia says, “She remains very sensitive, caring and creative as well as more challenged than ever by the contradictions of this reality and in trusting others.”

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