Molly Hogan holds up a poster with  photos of her mother and grandmother, who experienced extreme psychiatric human rights violations. Molly Hogan is a nurse who is coordinator of the MindFreedom Bay Area Affiliate. Molly is shown here with photographs of her mother who had forced electroshock (lower left), grandmother who had a lobotomy (upper right) and stepmother who had forced electroshock. Photo credit: MindFreedom. Molly Hogan supporting victims of psychiatric torture.

Molly Hogan is a nurse who is coordinator of the MindFreedom Bay Area Affiliate. Molly is shown here with photographs of her mother who had forced electroshock (lower left), grandmother who had a lobotomy (upper right) and stepmother who had forced electroshock. Photo credit: MindFreedom. Molly Hogan supporting victims of psychiatric torture.

MindFreedom International and California Network of Mental Health Clients co-sponsored a peaceful protest of the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting today Sunday, 17 May 2009, in front of the Moscone Center, San Francisco.

From the Mindfreedom website:
SAN FRANCISCO, CA: As psychiatrists arrived at the Moscone Center in San Francisco for their Annual Meeting they were greeted by survivors of psychiatric human rights violations and their allies, a powerful sound system, and stories of psychiatric abuse and survival. About 50 protesters from five states participated in a “Festival of Resistance” co-sponsored by MindFreedom International and California Network of Mental Health Clients (CNMHC).

Calling it a “Festival of Resistance,” the event began with a skit using a 10-foot hypodermic needle prop that said “Mad Pride” on one side and “Truth Hypo” on the others. About a dozen guerilla theater participants in white coats bowed repeatedly chanting, “Oh Big Giant Hypo, Please Help Us Be Normal!” But soon the Big Giant Hypo, and the protesters, were giving the APA meeting itself a truth injection.

The protest was part of a growing “Mad Pride” movement that has been seeking change in mental health care for 40 years, and is finally gaining more public attention.

The focus of the day was about individuals who have experienced abuse in the mental health system, supported by their allies. One speaker was Molly Hogan, a nurse who is the coordinator for the MindFreedom San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate.

Molly told the story of her mother who had forced electroshock. Molly is shown here pointing to her mother. On the top of Molly’s sign is a photo of Molly’s grandmother, who had a lobotomy.

For more photos of the Festival of Resistance click here.

Other speakers included (partial list):

  • Frank Blankenship of Florida, MindFreedom Affiliate Support Committee Chair.
  • Delphine Brody, a protest organizer, and client/survivor advocate, Mental Health Services Act Director, CNMHC.
  • Leonard Roy Frank, activist, author & electroshock survivor.
  • Al Galves, PhD, of New Mexico, psychologist, mental health consumer, author, MFI board member.
  • Ashley McNamara, artist, writer, and activist with The Icarus Project & Bay Area Radical Mental Health Collective.
  • Matt Morrissey, mental health counselor, MFI board member;
  • David W. Oaks from Oregon, psychiatric survivor and director of MindFreedom International.
  • Ron Unger from Oregon, mental health counselor and coordinator, MF Lane County.
  • Sally Zinman, long-time client/survivor activist.

An open mike was held that included a number of other speakers.

The protest, held under a hot sun, was endorsed by CNMHC Social Accountability Work Group, Bay Area Radical Mental Health Collective, and The Icarus Project.

A steady theme for today’s protest was all the investigations revealing drug money corruption inside the American Psychiatric Association. One of the speakers was mental health worker Ron Unger from Oregon. When asked earlier why he came all the way from Oregon for the protest, Ron said:

“APA corruption has resulted in a multi-billion dollar industry which tells lies to keep people trapped on drugs that shrink their brains while shortening their lives. If the APA told the truth, many people could figure out how to use alternatives to retake responsibility for their own mental wellbeing

“The APA tells lies to sell drugs: it’s in need of a truth injection, to cure it’s unbalanced propaganda!

“The APA tells lies to trick people into relying on drugs that earn big profits, but often harm or even kill those who take them.  The APA should tell the truth about the hazards of medications,

“We want the APA to focus on increasing choices for mental heath and for full recovery, rather than telling lies to get people hooked on pills that shrink their brains and often kill them.”

The action today was completely independent, with no connection to a larger protest yesterday, Saturday, 16 May 2009, by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), an organization that is sponsored by the Church of Scientology.

MindFreedom director David W. Oaks said he was very grateful for all the support for today’s protest, 17 May, from so many sources.

“MindFreedom has been focusing on the Ray Sandford campaign in Minnesota,” said Oaks, speaking about protests against the forced ongoing outpatient electroshock of a 55-year-old man in Minnesota. “But exactly at the end of three days of protests in Minnesota two weeks ago we got contacted by Delphine Brody that California Network of Mental Health Clients was climbing on board.”

Many people helped today’s protest by providing water and snacks, creating props, carpooling participants to public transport, creating posters, making signs, organizing a pre-event reception, providing housing to protesters, and much more. Said Oaks, “We all got to see the power of unity and nonviolent direct action today! Mutual support and activism worked hand in hand. Thank you everyone! Please ask people to join and support MindFreedom International”

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