P2P services and freedom of choice in mental health care

MindFreedom International (www.mindfreedom.org), one of a few independent activist coalitions in mental health advocacy, says it will participate with a strong delegation in Alternatives 2010, the yearly conference organized by and for mental health consumers and survivors. The conference starts today, September 29, and will go on until October 3.

The Alternatives conferences offer in-depth technical assistance on peer-delivered services and self-help/recovery methods. Beyond the exchange of knowledge and networking, Alternatives offers a rich social, artistic, and healing environment. Said one attendee: “The conference transformed me so I can transform the system.”

David W. Oaks, the director of MindFreedom International, has posted a statement:

Since the 1980’s, the USA federal government has done something decent in mental health: Each year, the feds fund a conference gathering together leaders in services directed by mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors. This year’s in California – one mile from Disneyland – promises to have more than 1,000 participants.

He adds

“I recall my first Alternatives in the 1980’s, and many since. There’s a warm mutual support. We have all “been there.” We unite in diversity.

For 34 years as a community organizer, I’ve supported great groups doing peer delivered service (PDS) that receive money from the mental health system. Our people tend to be low income. So “system money” is a necessity. PDS is the best bargain in mental health. Scarce taxpayer money in tough times ought to fund more PDS.

But remember the role of protest and independent activism!”

In an email message, MindFreedom International says:

“MindFreedom International — which does not play a role in organizing this conference — hopes to bring up a public statement at Alternatives 2010 about the “undue influence of the pharmaceutical industry.” MFI initiated the statement, which was signed by a number of prominent mental health consumer/psychiatric survivor leaders who attended a federal summit this summer.

MFI now hopes Alternatives 2010 participants will endorse the statement by acclamation. To read the statement, here is a link:


In addition, MindFreedom International is raising the possibility of uniting for a long-term, significant nonviolent protest of the mental health system, encouraging widespread “withdrawal of cooperation” from the mental health industry, culminating in peaceful direct action in May 2012.”

More on their site: MindFreedom International

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