Learn about the goals of the MindFreedom Campaign for Choice in Mental Health Care

Choice in Mental HealthNews update: Join this campaign on 1 November in Philadelphia for an important symposium called “Creative Revolution: Mobilizing Our Healing Resources.” For more info click here:

MFI Choice Campaign Network of Alternatives


Definition of self-directed, safe, and humane healing approaches


Many of us are trying to find solutions that promote our emotional healing and well being. We have explored different possibilities both within and outside of the mental health system (including the treatments some of us were forced to use within the system).

We’ve learned a lot from our experiences, both our own and those of others we have worked with, including by providing our own services. We have found out much about what works well to promote humane healing for people, and what doesn’t.

We’d like to see the below values incorporated in all mental health services, both within and outside the mental health system. We have found these approaches more safe, effective, and helpful than others, promoting better outcomes for those who use them.

  1. Self-directed, safe, and humane healing approaches allow people’s experiences to become more important than the diagnoses, validate the person and their experience, and encourage the person to come up with their own answers.

  2. These approaches use peer support, where people share with each other, learn from each other, and are healed by relating to each other.

  3. They encourage people to explore different options and possibilities and to be open.

  4. They allow for risk taking, sharing vulnerability and experimenting.

  5. An alternative validates the whole person and their right to expression.

  6. They give people permission to explore, express, and learn from their emotions.

  7. They invite people to connect or re-connect as valued and respected members of their community;they allow for mutual respect, and do not make assumptions about people.

  8. They encourage communities to embrace and include people who have been marginalized.

  9. They regard whatever people are experiencing as a potential source of healing, learning and growth.

Self-directed, safe, and humane healing approaches are opposed to the following approaches:

  1. Approaches that trap people in limiting roles by diagnosing them and viewing them as having illnesses that must be treated. These approaches expect people to respond in predictable ways.

  2. Approaches that discourage spontaneity and natural healing processes and activities by demanding compliance to such treatment regimens as psychiatric drugs.

  3. Approaches like the above that lead people to believe that they need to control their feelings and behavior. They then believe that they must stay on psychiatric drugs which harm people and are of limited effectiveness.

  4. Approaches that promote and foster stereotypes about people using mental health services. This process is insular. Further, they segregate and marginalize people; they also label and diagnose people, leading them to be treated as objects, not individuals.

  5. Approaches that do not allow for growth;that keep people stuck and dependent on the system, and on psychiatric drugs.


Directory of Alternatives

MindFreedom Choice in Mental Health Care Campaign has launched a searchable, screened online directory of humane alternatives to the traditional mental health system!

Check out the Directory of Alternatives

Click here to read more news on the Directory

The focus on a directory emerges from MindFreedom International’s successful conference/retreat to support the growth of workable alternatives to the mental health system.

Too often, traditional mental health services keep clients stuck in the system, keeping people from having choices about their lives. The emphasis on medical solutions, especially psychiatric drugs, has become problematic for many. We are seeking new ways of taking charge of our lives, new answers to finding our way out of the mental health system, new roads to our own recovery. 

Do you provide alternatives in mental health?

We are currently seeking sponsorship by interested groups and organizations to help us realize these goals. Coming out of this conference, we want to form a network of groups and organizations that would be a member subgroup of MindFreedom International, that promote or provide such alternatives. We also plan to develop an interactive website directory of these services.

Get Involved in the Choice Campaign

If you would like to become involved in the Choice Campaign, please email

The MindFreedom Campaign for Choice in Mental Health Committe is led by of Janet Foner, chair; Matt Morissey, co-chair and co-secretary; Celia Brown, Conference Coordinator; Florence Brown, co-secretary.

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