From: David Oaks -
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 10:04:09 -0700
To: MHSA, California Department of Mental Health - Carol Hood, DMH -, Stephen Mayberg, DMH -
From: David Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International
Re: Trauma by betrayal regarding Prop 63

This letter is to oppose the use of Prop 63 funds for involuntary psychiatric procedures such as involuntary outpatient commitment.

I am director of MindFreedom International, uniting 100 groups, including several in California, who work for human rights and alternatives in the mental health system.

Those promoting Prop 63 asked for the involvement of mental health consumer organizations, who were told that Prop 63 would only be used to expand much-needed empowering, voluntary services.

Instead, California DMH is proposing ways to use Prop 63 money for forced procedures, including court ordered drugging in people's own homes.

Two comments:


Many of those mental health consumers who were used to promote Prop 63 have in the past experienced severe trauma from human rights violations in the mental health system.

Betrayal by lying through a "bait and switch" with those consumers at such a high level is essentially re-traumatizing to those individuals. This breaks the trust -- the little there is -- with mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors.


Though seldom publicly acknowledged, forced procedures in psychiatry today are typically about enforcing the taking of neuroleptic drugs.

We would like to note that we have never seen information from California DMH, including in any informed consent materials, acknowledging that long-term use of neuroleptics is now associated with significant structural brain changes --essentially brain damage. This is well-documented in the current medical literature, please ask if you would like citations.

Please note we are pro choice on psychiatric drugs and many of our members choose to take them as prescribed.

However, your not publicly acknowledging to patients, families and decision-makers about neuroleptic-induced structural brain change (especially from high dose long term neuroleptics) is a profoundly unethical violation of human rights.

That you would lie to use mental health consumers to win millions of dollars, and then use those millions to essentially brain damage those you lied to, is simply immoral on so many different levels.

It is sad that one of the main groups you are listening to, National Alliance for Mentally Ill, also has a non-disclosure policy. NAMI officially refuses to disclose exactly how much money they receive from the psychiatric drug industry that is profiting from your decisions. No other large mental health group has such a secrecy policy. APA, WFMH, NMHA, etc. all have disclosure policies. Not NAMI.

It is one more example of how a dysfunctional group -- the current mental health system -- covers-up problems under the table, and refuses to disclose or discuss them, claiming they represent mental well being.

Your written values include the latest buzz words, such as "transformation," "recovery," "empowerment," "self-determination," promotion of voluntary services.

But are these truly your values? Is it instead: Lying? Cover-up? Betrayal?

How is it your organization can possibly model itself as an example of mental and emotional well being by exhibiting such values?

Please cancel all Prop 63 funds from going to involuntary psychiatric procedures.


David Oaks, Director MindFreedom International 454 Willamette, Suite 216 - POB 11284 Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA email: fax: (541) 345-3737 phone: (541) 345-9106 toll free in USA: 1-877-MAD-PRIDE
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MindFreedom Support Coalition International is an independent non-profit uniting 100 sponsor groups to win human rights & alternatives in mental health. Accredited by the United Nations as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with Consultative Roster Status.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted." - Martin Luther King, Jr.