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Hunger Strikers Demand

While many discuss abstract concerns and far away places, millions are subject to barbaric and inhumane treatment in the so called mental health system. Read about true grass roots activism in the face of corporate mind control.
 http://www.mindfreedom.org/mindfreedom/hungerstrike.shtml

FAST FOR FREEDOM IN MENTAL HEALTH
(return to Fast for Freedom | return to Brief Alerts)



NEWS RELEASE - 21 August 2003

Contact: Mickey Weinberg 626-795-5525 or 541-345-9106 or  oaks@mindfreedom.org

Hunger Strikers Demand
Human Rights in Mental Health:
American Psychiatric Association Replies

PASADENA, CALIF: On Sat., 16 August 2003 six "psychiatric survivors" from throughout the United States arrived in Pasadena, Calif. and began a hunger strike to press for human rights and choice in psychiatry.

Their demand: That the mental health industry produce even one study proving the common industry claim that "mental illness is biologically-based." The hunger strikers charge that the pharmaceutical industry and psychiatry are medicalizing an ever-widening spectrum of human emotion and behavior for financial gain, and are willing to deceive the public while they too frequently humiliate and harm their clients.

"The government gives virtually total support to a quick-fix, pill-pushing model of mental health at the expense of alternative, less invasive ways of helping people in emotional distress," asserts David Oaks, hunger striker and Executive Director of MindFreedom Support Coalition International.

The hunger strikers are subsisting on a liquid only diet until the American Psychiatric Association (APA), The Surgeon General, and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) adequately respond to seven challenges sent to them. The American Psychiatric Association has sent the Fast for Freedom a response.

A team of 14 mental health academics and practitioners are reviewing the APA response. One, Loren Mosher, MD, former head of schizophrenia studies at the National Institute of Mental Health said, "What we are dealing with here is fashion, politics, and money... I want no part of a psychiatry of oppression and social control."

"The targets of our fast have muddied the waters of mental health for too long," said Mickey Weinberg, hunger striker and MindFreedom board member. "It's time they come clean. They claim science is on their side. We're just saying, 'prove it.'"

MindFreedom Support Coalition International is a Non-Governmental Organization with Consultative Roster Status in the United Nations, and a non-profit that unites 100 sponsor groups to win human rights & alternatives in mental health.

Web site for latest news: www.MindFreedom.org

~~~~~~~~~~

Media Advisory - Fact Sheet

Hunger Strikers Challenge American Psychiatric Association, US Surgeon General, and National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

WHAT: Six MindFreedom Support Coalition International members from throughout the USA have gathered in Pasadena, California and started a fast on August 16, 2003 while awaiting three leading advocates of psychiatry to provide evidence for claims.

Hunger strikers are refusing all solid food while they await responses to seven challenges they have made to leading national advocates of mainstream psychiatry. Hunger strikers seek reliable and valid scientific evidence backing claims about psychiatry, or a public admission by the American Psychiatric Association, the Surgeon General, and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill that the claims do not meet the standards of orthodox science. Responses to the challenge are being reviewed and analyzed for scientific credibility by a panel of mental health academics and practitioners.

WHEN: Began Saturday, August 16, 2003 until... ???

WHERE: Ahiah Building; 277 N. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101 USA. Parking available in front of the building.

WHO: Hunger Strikers -- Vince Boehm (Wilmington, DE), Krista Erickson (Chicago, IL), David Gonzalez (New York, NY), David Oaks (Eugene, OR), Hiromi Sayama (Hemet, CA), Mickey Weinberg (Pasadena, CA). [Plus solidarity strikers in various locations internationally.]

Review Panelists -- Fred Baughman, MD (CA), Peter Breggin, MD (NY), Mary Boyle, PhD (United Kingdom), David Cohen, PhD (FL), Ty Colbert (CA), Pat Deegan, PhD (MA), Thomas Greening, PhD (CA), Albert Galves, PhD (NM), David Jacobs, PhD (CA), Jay Joseph,PhD (CA), Jonathan Leo, PhD (CA), Bruce Levine, PhD (OH), Loren Mosher, MD (CA), Stuart Shipko, MD (CA).

MindFreedom Support Coalition International is a Non-Governmental Organization with Consultative Roster Status with the United Nations, and a non-profit that unites 100 sponsor groups to win human rights & alternatives in mental health. For more info on MindFreedom and the hunger strike see www.MindFreedom.org

Three hunger strikers remain. 04.Sep.2003 11:24

NothingAboutMeWithoutMe

NEWS UPDATE: Freedom in Mental Health - 4 Sept. 2003
 http://www.MindFreedom.org * * * please forward! * * *

DAY 20 OF FAST FOR FREEDOM IN MENTAL HEALTH.

AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION REP
SAYS HUNGER STRIKERS ARE NOT "SERIOUS."

DR. JAMES SCULLY, APA MEDICAL DIRECTOR,
GETS ANGRY, HANGS UP ON HUNGER STRIKERS.

PASADENA, CALIF.: Three hunger strikers remain. They
are refusing all solid food to protest human rights
violations in the mental health system. They continue
to await meaningful replies from the American
Psychiatric Association (APA), National Alliance for the
Mentally Ill, and the Office of the Surgeon General.
Two of the remaining hunger strikers are in their sixties.

The hunger strikers ask supporters to continue to make
civil phone calls to the APA at 703-907-7300 to support
the Fast for Freedom in Mental Health.

PSYCHIATRY'S OFFICIAL STRATEGY, REVEALED?

Elected officials of the American Psychiatric
Association's Board of Trustees have acted politely
with hunger strikers. The President of the APA even
diplomatically met with a delegation of hunger strikers.

But the main representative of the APA has apparently
decided to choose "stone walling and rudeness" as the
main, official APA strategy, say hunger strikers.

And that's the strategy that counts.

APA Medical Director James H. Scully, Jr., MD, since
he recently got back from vacation, has repeatedly hung up
on hunger strikers and supporters. He has accused the
hunger strikers of not being "serious."

On Day 18 of the hunger strike, Mickey Weinberg reached
Dr. Scully on his direct phone line.

During the brief telephone call, Dr. Scully stated that
emotional problems are in fact "brain diseases." Dr.
Scully claimed that this fact is as incontrovertible
as the "earth going around the sun." He then claimed
he "only talks to serious people" and abruptly hung up
on Weinberg, a board member of MindFreedom.

Dr. Scully did not explain why he would claim
Weinberg and other hunger strikers were not "serious."

Weinberg, 62 years old, was already considered
gaunt the first week of the fast. He has already
lost at least 14 pounds on the hunger strike.
Weinberg helped organize the hunger strike over
a two and a half year period, at great personal sacrifice.
Weinberg has worked as a community organizer for
psychiatric survivors for more than 30 years.

For background, bio's and goals of the hunger strike see
 http://www.MindFreedom.org.

Other Mindfreedom members say they have experienced a
similar reception when attempting to engage Dr. Scully in
meaningful dialogue: anger and abrupt hang-ups.

There have been no complaints about the behavior
or speech of any of the hunger strikers.

Said hunger striker Romi Sayama, "Even APA President
Marcia K. Goin saw the need to talk with several of us
fasters at her Los Angeles office. But Dr. Scully
appears to be stonewalling. He is clearly unconcerned
with the lack of science in psychiatry. He does not
at all display the same level of courtesy as Dr. Goin."

The hunger strikers say their current requests
are reasonable: agree to comment & meet by Nov. 1.

To reach Dr. Scully with statements of support for
the hunger strikers, Dr. Scully's direct number is:

703-907-7300 extension 1-8532-# [pound key]

To lodge a complaint about Dr. Scully's behavior,
APA President Marcia Goin's direct number is
(323) 226-5755.

For several other phone numbers & e-mail for APA
elected Board of Trustees, and media, see:

 http://www.mindfreedom.org/mindfreedom/hungerstrike30.shtml

~~~~~~~~~~~~

IN OTHER NEWS....

FASTER DAVID GONZALEZ IS FORCED TO RETURN TO NEW YORK

Also on day 18, fasters had to say farewell to fellow
hunger striker David Gonzalez, who had to return to
his job in New York City, but who continued his fast until
late in the day there on September 3rd.

Said David G., "I'm very sad to leave. I wish I could
continue here with everyone, but I am already missing
two days of work."

Faster Romi Sayama said, "David Gonzalez's presence at
the Fast For Freedom has been invaluable, and his
contributions continue through his web site and
message board." To see David G.'s web site:

 http://www.cinemaniastigma.com/pages/13/index.htm

~~~~~~~~~~~~

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE LAST FEW DAYS....

8/30 (DAY 15): LETTER TO PRESIDENT BUSH

Mindfreedom sent a letter to President George W. Bush,
requesting that he order Surgeon General Richard
Carmona M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S., to comment on the
original demands of the hunger strikers. The Office of
the Surgeon General has now (as of September 3rd) been
unresponsive for 38 days to the simple requests of the
Fast for Freedom in Mental Health.

This also was a breakthrough day for the Fast for Freedom
in Mental Health, winning national publicity through an
article in _The Washington Post_. To see the article:

 http://www.mindfreedom.org/mindfreedom/hungerstrike48.shtml

9/1 (DAY 17): MORE MEDIA COVERAGE

More international coverage: Faster Mickey Weinberg
was interviewed by former MindFreedom board member Don
Weitz on Don's Toronto based radio program.

David Oaks received notification that the Fast For
Freedom in Mental Health was mentioned on national
CBS radio.

For published media coverage on the strike see:

 http://www.mindfreedom.org/mindfreedom/hungerstrike22.shtml

A press release (scroll down below for copy) was issued to
inform media of the letter from Mindfreedom to
President Bush regarding the Surgeon General's lack of
response.

9/2 (DAY 18): RADIO PERSONALITY GARY NULL

Mickey Weinberg was interviewed on the "Gary
Null" nationally syndicated radio show.

9/3 (DAY 19): NYC TELEVISION COVERAGE

Television coverage: David Gonzalez appeared on a
television show in New York to discuss the hunger
strike.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

DAY 19 COMMENTS OF THE THREE REMAINING HUNGER STRIKERS:

Mickey Weinberg, 62 years old:

"This entire hunger strike experience has been just
great! There's been so much support from people in the
movement. There's so much more media attention than I
thought possible. There is a true bonding relationship
with our academic and professional friends in the
International Center for the Study of Psychiatry &
Psychology. There are new friendships with fellow
hunger strikers and supporters. If the Fast For Freedom
ended today, it would be a success. But the fast continues."

Romi Sayama, 22 years old:

"It is appalling to me that psychiatry has allowed
this strike to drag on as it has, rather than admit
the simple truth. They are content to have us risk our
health due to lack of eating, just as they are content
to risk the lives of their patients through harmful
'treatments', none of which are scientifically
justified. That alone, should tell the public that
they are not only uncaring as doctors, but that they
really have no ability to provide any sort of evidence
for emotional problems being a result of chemical
imbalances."

Vince Boehm, 64 years old:

"So far we've proven the bio-medical model is nothing
more than ideology. This ideology is based on the
concept of the Big Lie. If the population hears the
same message over and over again, with apparent
authority, even if it is a lie, it will soon be
accepted by the people as undisputed truth. This is
why the gospel of 'chemical imbalances' and
'biologically based brain diseases' are so accepted.
When this is applied to a commercial endeavor it
becomes very dangerous. When you factor in human
corporate greed we have real problems."

~~~~~~~~~~~~

NEWS RELEASE September 1, 2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mickey Weinberg (626) 795-5525

HUNGER STRIKERS CHARGE SURGEON GENERAL
WITH DUCKING ISSUES AS FAST ENTERS THIRD WEEK

Pasadena, Calif.: On Friday, August 30, four remaining
Fast for Freedom in Mental Health hunger strikers
requested that President George W. Bush order Surgeon
General Richard Carmona, M.D., in the spirit of the
President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health,
to respond to a query of their parent organization,
MindFreedom Support Coalition International, sent on
July 28.

The hunger strikers, now in the 17th day of their
fast, had requested of the American Psychiatric
Association (APA), the National Alliance for the
Mentally Ill (NAMI), as well as the Surgeon General,
that they produce citations to reliable and valid
scientific evidence "upon which psychiatry bases its
spurious claims and treatments, and upon which it has
gained and betrayed the trust and confidence of the
courts, the media, and the public," or admit publicly
that they can't. While they await adequate answers,
the hunger strikers fast on liquids.

During the first two weeks of the fast, MindFreedom
Executive Director, David Oaks, made daily calls to
Dr. Carmona's office to no avail. "Inadequate,
unresponsive, and condescending though their letters
were, the APA and NAMI at least had the courtesy to
reply," said faster, Romi Sayama. "The Surgeon General
might be a decent man who's attempting to avoid
embarrassing the other two organizations by saying
nothing, rather than revealing the truth behind
psychiatry's deceptions."

In its official response, the APA referred the hunger
strikers to a report by the previous Surgeon General,
David Satcher: "Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon
General." A 14 member panel of academics & clinicians,
supportive of the MindFreedom fasters, found numerous
statements in that report, as well as in text books
suggested by APA Medical Director, James H. Scully,
Jr., M.D.'s letter, which validate the position of the
hunger strikers.

For the present, the hunger strikers continue to wait
patiently for Dr. Carmona's reply and for citations to
research which meets the scientific standards requested
from the other two organizations.

MindFreedom International Support Coalition
International is a Non-Governmental Organization with
Consultation Roster Status in the United Nations, and
a non-profit that unites 100 sponsor groups to win
human rights & alternatives in mental health. Contact
Mickey Weinberg: (626) 795-5525.

~~~~~~~~~~

FAST KEY LINK REVIEW:

For news releases, published media articles, contact info,
links to photos, lots of updates, fact sheet, commentary,
and latest actions you can take to support the fast, see:

 http://www.MindFreedom.org

_The Washington Post_ 29 August 2003 covered the
Fast for Freedom in Mental Health. See the article here:

 http://www.mindfreedom.org/mindfreedom/hungerstrike48.shtml

This current "middle ground" request by hunger strikers to APA:

 http://www.mindfreedom.org/mindfreedom/hungerstrike47.shtml

For Fast photos, a lively public message board
including chat with hunger strikers, and more see:

 http://www.cinemaniastigma.com/pages/13/index.htm

For photos of a delegation of hunger strikers meeting
with the President of the American Psychiatric Association:

 http://www.pagesforpeople.com/

For photos of a recent event at the Fast for Freedom
headquarters with authors Dr. Mosher & Jay Joseph see:

 http://www.pagesforpeople.com/Speakers/

For some of the latest published media articles on the fast:

 http://www.mindfreedom.org/mindfreedom/hungerstrike22.shtml

For direct link to the lively public message board
that you can post to, and dialogue with fasters (this
is now on a new, improved site):

 http://members5.boardhost.com/EroMaat/

Original statement of demands by Fast for Freedom:

 http://www.mindfreedom.org/mindfreedom/hungerstrike1.shtml

Rumor-busting: Fast for Freedom and MindFreedom are
*NOT* connected to Church of Scientology or Citizens
Commission on Human Rights:

 http://www.mindfreedom.org/mindfreedom/hungerstrike27.shtml

How to join MindFreedom Support Coalition International
and donate to Fast for Freedom at the same time:

 http://www.mindfreedom.org/join.shtml

For a sample of the debate going on about the
"biological basis of mental illness" see:

 http://psychrights.org/

For a "blog" started by a Fast supporter see:

 http://mindfreedom-fast.blogspot.com/

~~~~~~~~~~

DONATIONS ARE ENCOURAGED TO SUPPORT
HUNGER STRIKE COSTS, WELL INTO THIRD WEEK.

BEGIN OR RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP IN
MINDFREEDOM TODAY!

MindFreedom Support Coalition International
is a non-profit uniting 100 grassroots groups,
and is independently funded by group and
individual members like you who support human rights.

Find out more, and join and/or donate today at
 http://www.MindFreedom.org. Click on join/donate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For occasional updates like this, you may join this
dendrite MindFreedom announcement list here for free:

 http://mailman.efn.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/dendrite

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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