What is MindFreedom International (MFI)?
Since our establishment in Eugene, Oregon in April 1996, we have been an independent non-profit coalition uniting grassroots groups in several different countries as well as thousands of individuals across the world to peacefully take action for human rights in mental health care.
Our goals are simple and threefold:
- Challenge human rights abuses in mental health care such as coerced and/or fraudulent psychiatric treatment including drugging, electroshock therapy, and institutionalization
- Promote humane and effective mental health care
- Support the self-determination of psychiatric survivors and consumers of mental health services
Who is MFI?
Our organization currently consists of thousands of paying members and donors, numerous volunteers, two office administrators, our Scientific Advisory Committee of mental health care professionals, and a six-person board of directors (Dr. Al Galves, Susan Musante, Jim Gottstein, Vesper Moore, and Cherene Caraco).
Most of us are psychiatric survivors (those who have personally experienced human rights violations in psychiatry), while others are voluntary consumers of mental health care, family members and friends of survivors and/or consumers, and professional providers of mental health care including “dissident” psychiatrists.
Many of us are also people with marginalized identities (e.g. people of color, people in the LGBTQIA+ community, people with neurodivergence, and people with physical disabilities), which intersect significantly with the subjects of mental health and psychiatric abuse.
We aim to unite a diverse range of perspectives with a network of solidarity. Anyone who supports human rights is welcome to join us!
What are MFI’s services?
• The Shield program: public advocacy campaigns to help people free each other from coerced psychiatric treatment
Our free Shield program allows you to record your psychiatric treatment preferences in advance by filling out this private form on our website. You officially become a member of this program once we process your application.
As a Shield member, if you are ever threatened with or subjected to unwanted psychiatric treatment, you can contact MFI to organize a public campaign in which our volunteers and fellow Shield members will advocate on your behalf by respectfully pressuring the institutions involved in your case to honor your preferences and rights.
You are expected to offer the same support to others in their campaigns if possible.
While we cannot guarantee any results, past Shield campaigns have successfully reduced and even ended people’s coerced psychiatric treatment by raising public awareness of their situations.
Disclaimer: The Shield is not a substitute for any legal documents such as an advance directive, which we highly recommend you fill out as well.
• Free informational articles and books
Our website offers a myriad of information to support psychiatric survivors and their loved ones, as well as mental health activists in general. For example, our 272-page Organizing Guide for Psychiatric Survivors is available both online as a downloadable PDF and as a book.
Those who lack regular access to a stable internet connection are welcome to request physical copies of our books and articles by phoning our office at (1) 541-345-9106. We appreciate financial compensation for our resource-mailing services but do not require it for anyone who cannot afford it.
• Referrals for those seeking support
We do not offer any legal services, medical services, or support groups of our own, but we may be able to direct you to others in your area who are registered with us either as professional affiliates or as volunteers.
To request a potential referral, please contact our office at email@example.com. (Note that we cannot guarantee any referrals because we may not necessarily know of anyone local to you.)
• An online directory of survivor-friendly mental health care providers
We host a directory of mental health care providers who respect the needs of psychiatric survivors and anyone else searching for alternatives to conventional psychiatry, or simply mental health services that will not force unwanted treatment on them.
Practitioners can apply for our directory by filling out a form in which they are required to describe their services and agree to uphold MFI’s guidelines for providers. Our board of directors screens each application for approval.
• Volunteer and internship opportunities
We are always looking for volunteers who could assist our cause by lending us their expertise in a variety of areas such as tabling, peer support, social media, fundraising, graphic/web design, database maintenance, and our Shield campaigns.
Multidisciplinary internships are also available for students seeking to build professional skills, gain hands-on experience with NPOs, and earn college credits.
Remote volunteers and interns are both welcome. Click here to learn more!
• Judi’s Room: a monthly remote discussion open to all
Named in honor of celebrated activist Judi Chamberlin, Judi’s Room is a free discussion panel that MFI hosts jointly with I Love You, Lead On via Zoom on the first Wednesday of each month.
The discussion focuses on a different mental health topic each month and features input from panelists who are professionals and/or individuals with lived experience pertaining to the subject. This is typically followed by a Q&A session or open-floor discussion that anyone in the audience may join.
To attend Judi’s Room live, you are required to register in advance via a link that we send out to everyone on our mailing list for Judi’s Room. MFI members are automatically enrolled in this mailing list upon joining. Non-members are welcome to sign up for the mailing list simply by emailing our office at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Add me to Judi’s Room” as the subject header.
You can view recordings of past Judi’s Room meetings on our official YouTube channel.
Donations are optional but always welcome because we use them to pay for the services of an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter whenever one is requested.
Can MFI provide me with legal advice?
No, we are not a legal advocacy organization and cannot provide legal services. The best we can do is potentially refer you to a legal agency or legal professional such as an attorney depending on whether we have any active affiliates in your area.
Can MFI provide me with medical advice?
No. Our website contains information about various medical topics, but these materials should not be construed as an attempt to offer or render a medical opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of medicine.
Anyone seeking to stop taking psychiatric drugs should do so carefully and with proper medical advice because suddenly quitting can be dangerous.
I believe I am being targeted by a governmental organization and/or tortured by electromagnetic waves/implants/”V2K”/mind control. Can MFI help me with this?
No, we can only offer assistance pertaining directly to mental health care.
Where do MFI’s funds come from?
We are powered solely by contributions from thousands of individuals like you, and occasional grants from independent foundations. We receive no funding from pharmaceutical companies, governments, political parties, or religious organizations.
Feel free to contact our office atto request copies of our 990 Forms that we have filed with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You will see that we do a lot with limited resources!
Aren’t all critics of psychiatry involved with “Scientology”? Does MFI have any connections to it?
No, there are plenty of individuals and organizations with reasonable criticisms of psychiatry who are not connected to “Scientology”—like us.
MFI is not affiliated with nor sponsored by “The Church of Scientology” or its organization known as “The Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights” (CCHR), and we do not intend to associate with either in the future. This applies to all of our volunteers, staff, and leaders.
There is always a possibility that some of our non-representative members (i.e. those who are not volunteers, staff, or leaders) may privately subscribe to “Scientology” without our knowledge since we naturally do not investigate the individual ideologies of the people who sign up for memberships with us. However, should we have any “Scientologists” among our non-representative members, we will never use our organization as a platform for them to voice their beliefs.
David Atkin, our attorney, has provided a signed letter to clarify and emphasize MFI’s independence.
Is MFI anti-psychiatry?
No, we are “pro-choice”: we believe that each individual should have the right to make their own informed choices about accessing mental health care, including psychiatric services.
Many of our members are “dissident” psychiatrists or people who choose to consume prescribed psychiatric drugs which they find beneficial. Often, it’s those who are willingly taking prescriptions who are also the most passionate and active about challenging abuse in the psychiatric drug industry, as they have the most at stake—their lives are on the line.
It is also true that many human rights violations arise from the current dominance of psychiatric drugs in mental health care, squeezing out alternatives and facilitating the spread of disinformation, and we are among the few advocacy groups to openly speak out about the unethical way in which these drugs are promoted or even pushed on people. This does not make us anti-psychiatry, however.
In fact, MFI’s concerns are now mainstream ones. The general public is increasingly expressing worry and even outrage about corruption in the psychiatric drug industry and mental health care services themselves.
Does MFI keep my personal information private?
Yes. We keep your personal information in a secure database, where it is accessible only by our office administrators. We will not share or publicize any information about you without your explicit permission, and we never sell personal information.
In the event that you are no longer interested in maintaining ties with MFI, you can contact our office at email@example.com to request that we delete your profile in our database.
May I copy and use printed materials and/or graphics from MFI?
Except for written material, photographs, etc. where the copyright is retained by the individual creator, you are encouraged to use any and all of the materials on the MFI web site and other MFI sources with some rights reserved under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 2.5.
What is Creative Commons, and what does that mean?
In other words, “You are free: to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work, and to make derivative works, under the following conditions: Attribution. You must give the original author credit [including the www.MindFreedom.org web site]. Non-Commercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.”
Click the CC button on the very bottom of any MFI web page for more information about the Creative Commons. For other uses of MFI web site or other material or to answer questions, contact the MFI office.
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