WHY OCCUPY WALL STREET SHOULD SUPPORT
OCCUPY THE AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION
May 5th, 2012, in Philadelphia, PA
On May 5, 2012, people who care about human rights will gather in Philadelphia for an event called Occupy the American Psychiatric Association (Occupy the APA). They are gathering to protest the approval of the latest version of psychiatry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5, which will label many more, often normal, human experiences and emotions as a "mental illness." They will also protest the way in which these labels are the springboard for human rights violations.
The Occupy movement seeks to help people regain control of their lives, which have been undermined by corporate domination. In the framework of conditions that make corporate abuse possible, the alliance between the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries (PsychoPharmaceutical Complex) plays a key role.
As a participant in Occupy Sacramento said, “Why is this important to the 99%? The inordinate influence of Big Pharma in orchestrating decades of campaigns to expand force and coercion in mental health care is a high-profile example of how corporations continue to undermine democracy, human rights and dignity in their pursuit of ever-increasing profits.”
Since the mid-20th century, in order to increase psychiatric and pharmaceutical profits, there has been a growing trend to medicalize and pathologize an ever wider range of human experience through ever more expansive editions of the DSM, and using these diagnoses to justify prescribing very harmful drugs. The result has been that people in the public mental health system are now dying 25 years earlier on average than the rest of the population. Put simply, the psychiatric industry, led by the American Psychiatric Association, has teamed up with the pharmaceutical industry to sacrifice people’s lives on the altar of profits. As reported by Fortune magazine, in one recent year 12 pharmaceutical companies made almost 64 billion dollars! Psychiatric drugs are leading these profits. This is done through pharmaceutical industry-funded, dishonest research that is accepted by the American Psychiatric Association to further its own agenda to increase its members’ wealth and power.
If medications are not effective, or if a person does not want to take medications, more restrictive, invasive, and expensive measures may be taken, often against the will of the person supposedly being treated. At the same time, there are many individuals who find psychiatric medications helpful and make an informed choice to take them. We support everyone’s right to make their own treatment choices.
The criteria for mental illness are detailed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and, with the 5th Edition about to be rubber-stamped by the American Psychiatric Association, many people who thought that they were just “having a hard time” may now be told that they have a serious mental disorder and will need to be medicated – like it or not. Everyone in the 99% is a potential victim because anyone can have experiences that get labeled as a mental illness.
The 1% have the money to resist; the 99% do not.
This is why, on May 5, 2012, we will gather in Philadelphia to Occupy the APA! Join us!
17 May 2012
Today's issue of British publication NEW SCIENTIST -- with three
million readers globally -- covered the protest in front of the
American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, on
the topic of psychiatric labeling.
BELOW is text. At BOTTOM are links to updated list of news about
protest, including how to hear BBC global coverage of protest debate,
see Youtubes of march, speakers, protest and more....
NEW SCIENTIST - 17 May 2012
'Label jars, not people':
Lobbying against the shrinks
by James Davies
"LABEL jars, not people" and "stop medicalising the normal symptoms of
life" read placards, as hundreds of protesters -- including former
patients, academics and doctors -- gathered to lobby the American
Psychiatric Association's (APA) annual meeting.
The demonstration aimed to highlight the harm the protesters believe
psychiatry is perpetrating in the name of healing. One concern is that
while psychiatric medications are more widely prescribed than almost
any drugs in history, they often don't work well and have debilitating
side effects. Psychiatry also professes to respect human rights, while
regularly treating people against their will. Finally, psychiatry
keeps expanding its list of disorders without solid scientific
At the heart of the issue is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders (DSM) -- psychiatry's diagnostic "bible" (see main
story). Allen Frances, who headed the last major rewrite of the manual
-- DSM-IV -- fears that the revised version will undermine the
profession's credibility. "What concerns me most," he says, "is that
its publication will dramatically expand the realm of psychiatry and
narrow the realm of normality."
Among the revisions he believes will be most damaging are those to
generalised anxiety disorder, which threatens to turn the pains and
disappointments of everyday life into mental illness, while
"disruptive mood dysregulation disorder" will see children's temper
tantrums become symptoms of a disorder.
One protester, Harvard graduate and writer Laura Delano, started
taking psychiatric medication at age 14, after a bipolar diagnosis.
She felt this worsened her state until, in 2004, she attempted
suicide. It was only once she had rejected her treatment and her
identity as a psychiatric patient that things began to get better.
Many of the protesters want reform in the shape of alternatives to
drug treatment. As protest organiser Susan Rogers explained: "People
here are for choice, for the right to decline as well as choose
treatment. We want [mental health consumer and psychiatric survivors]
to know there are alternatives to hospitals and medication -- they can
go into peer support run by people like themselves."
"The best success rate for a diagnosis of schizophrenia is in rural
Finland, where there is a slogan that problems aren't in our heads,
but between our heads," says fellow organiser David Oaks. "They
emphasise the importance of peer support in recovery."
Talking to psychiatrists as they filed past the protest, there was
quite a lot of sympathy. "These voices have to be heard. We are seeing
a manifestation of some legitimate concerns," said one.
Another was nearly as militant as the protesters: "Psychiatrists
usually take 15 minutes to give a diagnosis, so we shouldn't be
surprised if we are getting it wrong. These 15-minute sessions are a
form of malpractice."
The APA's response was to say: "Many of the proposed changes help to
better characterise people currently seeking treatment but who are not
well defined by DSM-IV. It is unfortunate there are instances in which
people do not feel they have benefited, but these circumstances cannot
discredit the clinical practice of psychiatry, or those helped by
It is significant that the protests exposed once again the lines of
division not just between protesters and the establishment, but within
the establishment too. Meanwhile, patients are still caught in the
middle, sometimes to their detriment.
Profile: James Davies is a senior lecturer in social anthropology and
psychotherapy at the University of Roehampton, London
- end New Scientist article -
OTHER NEWS on Peaceful Protest of Five-Five
American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting
BBC GAVE GLOBAL COVERAGE of protest that day:
Starting at "Minute 14" to "Minute 20" hear David Oaks speak
about the protest and the DSM, followed by psychiatrist
Allen Frances who "half agrees" but defends APA here:
Philadelphia Inquirer covered protest twice:
NewsWorks KHYY has slide show of protest plus news article here:
GENERAL NEWS COVERAGE:
See Youtube of historic Occupy APA MARCH here:
See protest directly in front of American Psychiatric Association here:
Lauren Tenney images of protest here:
Lauren's fun TRAILER for historic "Five Five":
YOUTUBE OF SOME PROTEST SPEAKERS
LAURA DELANO speaks before protest here:
TED CHABASINSKI speaks before protest:
JIM GOTTSTEIN speaks before protest here:
Psychotherapist ADINA LAMBERT of ISEPP speaks before protest here:
DAN HAZEN speaks before protest here:
DAVID OAKS speaks before protest here:
FRANK BLANKENSHIP speaks before protest here:
LAUREN TENNEY speaks before protest here:
HARRY LICHTENSTEIN of MF NYC speaks here:
Psychiatrist CLANCY MCKENZIE speaks before protest here:
AKI IMAI speaks before protest here:
SUSAN ROGERS speaks before protest here:
JOSEPH ROGERS speaks before protest here:
DIANA GONZALEZ psychiatric survivor from ISEPP:
FAITH RHYNE gets folks ready for 'label rip':
Transgender support for Occupy APA protest:
OTHER OCCUPY APA NEWS
NEWS OF SOLIDARITY EVENTS....
SEE PHOTOS of Toronto solidarity protest here:
MindFreedom Ireland holds solidarity event:
UK solidarity vigil:
Solidarity events were planned for Ireland, Toronto, Washington State,
Boston, UK, Arizona, Philly (forum 6 May), Alaska and more, here's list:
Psychologist/author BRUCE LEVINE blogs about his support here:
Youtube of Dorothy Dundas, psychiatric survivor speaking out about
Bio's & photos of some of the speakers:
MORE about Philly protest, news release, flyer, etc:
IDEAS TO DO MORE....
Find link to download print and post AMY SMITH ART to
Support "Occupy APA" *EVERYWHERE*, or go here:
READ ARTICLES about harm of psychiatric labeling, including WASHINGTON
POST column by Paula Caplan's on 27 April:
WANT TO LABEL RIP?
Example of a 'label rip':
How to do a 'label rip':
RIP UP LABELS IN YOUR MIND:
Ted Chabasinski calls for protest of APA in San Francisco in May 2013:
Find out where and when future APA meetings are, to plan your peaceful
FACEBOOK REGULAR PAGE Boycott Normal - Occupy APA 5/5:
or this link:
Facebook EVENT for five-five Occupy the American Psychiatric
or this link:
TWITTER: hashtag #occupyapa follow @occupyapa
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More ways to participate in the BOYCOTT NORMAL campaign:
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Mind YOUR Freedom!
MindFreedom International is open to all -- including family members,
advocates, and concerned mental health workers.
A majority of MFI members identify as 'psychiatric survivors.'
Psychiatric survivors have experienced abuse in mental health care,
but nothing can stop their activism for justice.
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