Frequently asked questions about how to start, how to join, and how to build an Affiliate of MindFreedom International, as well as becoming a sponsor organization.

How can I contact affiliate and sponsors?

You can view a full list of MindFreedom’s affiliates and sponsors. The contact information for each affiliate is kept private to avoid spam. Please email our office for affiliate email addresses.

What’s the difference between an Affiliate and Sponsor?

It’s simple!

An affiliate uses the”MindFreedom” name, and is similar to a chapter. An affiliate is based on local geography. For instance, there is a MindFreedom Ireland. A MindFreedom Ghana. Since you are using the MindFreedom name, you enter into a written agreement with the MFI board. This “Frequently Asked Questions” will help you do this.

A sponsor is an already-existing group that agrees to support MFI goals, and does not have the”MindFreedom” name in it. For a PDF downloadable form to register for your group to register as a Sponsor Group, click here. If you can’t download, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the office with a request to join as a Sponsor.

How do I start a new affiliate?

There are three easy steps!

  1. If you do not yet have a MFI membership, or yours has expired, be sure to join/renew.
  2. Check the MFIaffiliate list to see if there’s already someone near you who is actively creating an affiliate.
  3. If there is no local contact, or this contact is inactive, then just let the office know you’re interested in forming one! E-mail to member@mindfreedom.org about your interest and area. We will create a mindfreedom.org email account, and answer any additional questions.

Email questions to the MindFreedom International office at office@mindfreedom.org.

Do I need to become a member of MindFreedom International to start an affiliate?

Yes, the affiliate program is open only to MFI members. As you work in the community, encourage any new contacts to also join as a MindFreedom member as soon as possible.

Since we do not accept funding from the government or pharmaceuticals and other industries, our resources are very limited. So, we are only able to support MindFreedom members who become affiliates. Membership dues allow us to work on important campaigns such as promoting choice in the mental health system, speaking out against forced treatment, Mad Pride, and other important human rights initiatives.

Last, but not least, memberships allow our movement to grow. We have strength in numbers!

Will you publish my phone number or address?

No. We will provide affiliates an’alias’ e-mail address (for example, we may create virginia@mindfreedom.org for organizers of a Virginia affiliate). We can even have e-mail to that alias go to more than one e-mail address so that the job of answering e-mail can be shared by others in your affiliate.

For more information about alias e-mail addresses, click here.

How can I find others to build our affiliate?

MindFreedom headquarters will encourage members in your area to contact you.

The purpose of forming an affiliate is to empower your community and help the movement grow. MFI encourages you to reach out to people in your area!

Here are a few outreach and networking strategies you may consider:

  • Share information about your group with the MindFreedom email lists. Also, remember to join the mf-grassroots email list to exchange support and tips with others here.
  • Write a letter to the editor to draw attention to an important mental health issue and your affiliate group.
  • Go to meetings and events and tell people about your group. Tabling, posters, flyers, and brochures can be a great way to let others know you exist and what MindFreedom is all about.You can download a sign-up sheet to help you gather e-mail addresses (as long as you agree to keep those private). Use them for local MindFreedom activities,and also provide them to the MindFreedom central office. To download the form and for more information, click here.
  • You can also pass out MFI’s brochure, Give the Mental Health System a Truth Injection.
  •  Start a Facebook fan page to begin discussions and share information. Contact the MFI office for more information.
  • Share photos, art, stories, videos,and poetry online through sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. In the 21st century, we are the media!
  • Throw an event! Host a parade,protest, party, and invite people to come. Whenever you plan events, let the MindFreedom office know so we can help you promote it!

What are some easy actions we can all take together as an affiliate?

All it takes is one person to write a letter to the editor or to state and federal lawmakers. Two or three people and you can leaflet against forced treatment or hold a vigil at some facility in your area of the country.

And we all know the value of mutual support, so you are encouraged to network and exchange support about your activism.

Read the MindFreedom Journal for a list of priority campaigns that MindFreedom is engaged in. You’re sure to find something that matches the interests of several of the people in your affiliate, however small or big.

Visit our affiliate news page for a sense about what sort of projects affiliates organize. We know you will be inspired!

What are affiliate “levels”?

  • Level 1: This is how you start. Most affiliates are building a Level 1 Affiliate. It’s easy. A current member of MFI begins by letting MFI know you are interested in forming affiliate level one. MFI will seek to help publicize your interest in starting this affiliate. If you have even a small group of two others you may be approved by the board as an official “affiliate level one.” You can stay at level one and accomplish a great deal.
  • Level 2: Once you build to the point where you can have an organizing committee of about five people, you can apply to be an affiliate level two. Choose well, because this is the start of a board of directors or steering committee.
  • Level 3: The third level is if and when you incorporate as a nonprofit in your region. You then become your own nonprofit, within contractual agreements with the board of directors. But no rush… take the time to get to really know one another first.

Once several towns and cities have affiliates you can then form a State or national affiliate. In other circumstances you can try to start a regional, state or even national affiliate. You can consult with the MindFreedom office about this decision.

How do we handle any problems?

For starters, as with any activity with people you do not know, your common sense in working with new acquaintances and colleagues is encouraged. While we have wonderful MindFreedom members, please use discretion as you get to know anyone who is new to you. MFI does not have the resources to get to know all members or those seeking an affiliate. Let the MFI office know immediately if there is any violation of our guidelines.

If you are interested in forming an affiliate, and if you agree with the stated mission of MindFreedom International, there should be few major problems arising. The mission of MindFreedom is to work together in a spirit of mutual cooperation.

You can consult with the Affiliate Support Committee, and ask for ideas on the MindFreedom Grassroots e-mail list.

Should any such disputes occur, and you are unable to resolve them locally, please keep in mind MFI has few resources for resolution. The board of MFI may suggest a variety of options, including mediation, or even temporary suspension of the affiliation until the dispute is resolved. For serious disputes, an attorney affiliated with MindFreedom is available for board consultation.

Please do your best to work together well! We need to channel our energy towards working on the pressing issues our movement faces.

What can I do to help others start affiliates in MindFreedom International?

Please consider assisting our MindFreedom office staff.  Email: office@mindfreedom.org.

How can we become a sponsor group?

If you are in an already-existing organization that does not use the “MindFreedom” trademarked name,you can apply to be a sponsor group in the MindFreedom coalition. You may download an application by clicking here. You may also e-mail any questions or about your interest to member@mindfreedom.org.

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