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Mad Pride Activists Protest in New York

By Erin Lale

MindFreedom International, PsychRights, and a number of grassroots collectives will be speaking out against violations of human rights that occur in the course of, as explained by a MindFreedom member, “treatment and false-science that assumes the right to impose dangerously coercive biomedical and often-deadly forceful behavioral intervention upon the lives of people with presumed and real disabilities. In many cases, people become disabled in the course of treatment.”On October 6th, 2012, in New York City, supporters of human rights in psychiatry will gather for a human rights in mental health systems rally and a protest against forced and coercive treatment.  Activists from the Mad Pride and mental diversity movements will be celebrating the humanity and potential of those frequently labeled and mistreated in the psychiatric industry.

Speakers will include Mad In America blogger and advocate, Laura Delano; longtime grassroots activist and organizer of Veterans Against Military Psychiatry John Judge; MindFreedom NY’s Harry Lichtenstein; Rights for Imprisoned People with Psychiatric Disabilities (RIPPD) representative Lisa Ortega; Dr. Seth Farber, author of two books on mental health and society, the most recent of which is this year’s The Spiritual Gift of Madness:

The Failure of Psychiatry and the Rise of the Mad Pride Movement; Tina Minkowitz, psychiatric survivor, lawyer, and director of the Center for Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry;  Will Hall, survivor of a schizophrenia diagnosis, therapist, and Portland Hearing Voices; Ted Chabasinski, childhood ECT survivor, attorney, writer and famous speaker and activist in the psychiatric survivor’s movement.

At 12:00 pm, protesters will gather across the street from the United Nations, where survivors and mental diversity activists will speak on the vital need for human rights in human care, stronger oversights in policy and the funding of appropriate alternatives in provision of care that support recovery, liberty, and human dignity. In addition to these causes, protesters will be demanding that the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industry be held accountable for human rights abuses and the losses and damages incurred in people’s lives.

Following this rally, protesters will march to 53rd at 7th, the site of an American Psychiatric Association conference focused on community-based treatment settings. Event organizers have stated that their goal is “to encourage all people affected by psychiatry to consider the role of coercion and force in their treatment, and for those who have been harmed by their experience with psychiatry to know that people are working to try to help raise awareness of the issue and that there are ways to get involved in the effort to make things better.”