Psychiatric Drug Facts via :

“Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems… Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision.” Dr. Peter Breggin

What Is Mental Health Advocacy?

I am a passionate advocate for my son and for individuals and families who are struggling to find solutions to difficulties they are experiencing. There is a Mental Health Transformation going on in this country and around the world in which Consumer/Survivors are continuing to find their common ground and work cooperatively with those who are supportive of the goal of "care without coercion," or force of law. We have allies both inside and outside of the present system and with all of us working together, we will be able to effect a positive change. This movement has been around for decades--but has been drowned out by the Big-Pharma funded "advocacy" movement, and it's media machine which continues to disseminate it's fundamentally flawed and distorted message across the country, and the globe. This message is divisive, it turns "mental illness" and mental health advocacy into an US and Them equation; when what is needed is a WE approach. Those who may very well have good intentions, and feel compelled to help those who are diagnosed as "mentally ill" because these individuals are perceived to be "less fortunate;" often develop strategies and implement social control programs which cause those whom they are trying to help further harm.

This approach adds to the discrimination those stigmatized by a psychiatric diagnosis experience. Those who are "advocated for" are separated out for special treatment which often does not consider the perspective or include at all the people who are targeted for special treatment. Even the people chosen to act on the behalf of a person with a psychiatric diagnosis to support and advocate for them or legally appoint to act on their behalf, when/if they are unable to do so; are excluded if not bio-medical psychiatry devotees. This strategy of telling the public that "mental illness" is just like any other disease, was used not because it is true, but because it was thought that it would de-stigmatize psychiatric diagnoses...

This approach is dishonest, so it should not be surprising that it causes anxiety and distress to those with a psychiatric diagnosis. It should also be no surprise that it has not in fact lessened the effects of stigma---the 10 year analysis of this "anti-stigma campaign" determined those with psychiatric diagnoses are experiencing more discrimination. Those who are advocating for what they perceive to be in the best interest of people who are "seriously mentally ill" are at a disadvantage of actually doing so if they ignore scientific evidence that does not validate the coercive psychiatric treatment agenda. If advocates do not champion the agendas and concerns of "seriously mentally ill" people, it is not advocacy for them; but control of them that is being advocated. Failing to even acknowledge differing opinions and experiences among patients/survivors respectfully, in reality, causes further harm. Invalidating a person harms all people; even people who it is believed have a "lack of insight." Invalidation alienates people; those who are alienated will not trust those who invalidate them, and will not seek assistance from them in a time of need. People in extreme psychological crisis need kind, compassionate care and assistance; they do not need coercion and control.

Some self-appointed advocates claim coercion and control is necessary due to a "lack of insight" of people who are experiencing extreme states, in order to protect the general public. There does appear to be a lack of insight about the meaning of "advocacy." Advocates who believe that it's possible to advocate for people without listening to them, and without defending them when they have been victimized, lack insight into the meaning of advocacy  in this context.. To truly advocate for another person, you must gain their trust, so the person or group of people one hopes to help will tell you how you can help them, and what they need. It's impossible to advocate for a person or group of people without listening to their experiences, validating their perspective and working for the social changes needed to stop the Human Rights violations people with psychiatric diagnoses experience as a matter of course.  

Thanks to the dedication of organizations like Mind Freedom International, PsychRights and the National Empowerment Center to name a few, and events such as Alternatives, Psych Out, Mad Pride Marches, and the I Got Better campaign, we are continuing to put forth a message of hope and recovery. The basic message: all people need to be respected and accepted; all people have Human Rights worthy of protecting. People need to be provided information based on research that is ethically conducted and accurately reported. People need to be supported when experiencing a crisis and encouraged to learn any skills they may need to actively work towards their own recovery--recovery is not only possible, it is to be expected. 


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