APA Protest

MFI and allied organizations united for a successful peaceful protest of the 2012 American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, questioning the dysfunctional over-labeling, over-drugging and forced psychiatric treatment still all too common in psychiatric practice today. [Updated 5 Oct. 2012]


Aki Imai from Ohio is a graduate student ally, who marched in the MindFreedom protest of the APA.

[New material has been added since this was first published, look for items marked “Update.”]

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Occupy the American Psychiatric Industry!

Thanks to everyone involved in making this MindFreedom protest a success!

As thousands of psychiatrists gathered for one of the main gatherings of the mental health industry, hundreds of psychiatric survivors and allies participated in a MindFreedom International march and protest, on 5 May 2012, in Philadelphia.

In 2012, “we are all the media.” MFI has a lot to share from this event, including video, photos, and news coverage. If you have more to add let us know!


Video of Mass Label Rip


There were many great moments at the protest, but here is one of the most empowering and most touching: A series of psychiatric survivor and allied activists ripping up psychiatric labels that had been applied to them, which had only gotten in the way of their progressing on their individual paths.

We don’t have to accept such labels if they aren’t helping us, and can take control of our own lives.

Here’s the “Label Rip” video… allow a moment for it to load:


For many more videos from the protest including several pre-protest speeches, the moving street march, and people’s individual stories, see the PsychRights Channel on YouTube.

Activist Lauren Tenney has even done an inspirational one-minute video “trailer” about the Boycott Normal campaign and protest here.

Images of the “Five Five” Day


Some photos we particularly liked:

APA 5-5-12 crowd scene


Woman on bullhorn and protesters with signs


You can see many more black & white photos in poisonaffair’s photo set, and Lunatic Fringe has a great set of color photos from throughout the day’s events.


Protests Elsewhere in Solidarity!


These are global issues, and there were solidarity protests in a number of places beyond Philadelphia:


Mainstream Media and Other Coverage Around the Web


The Philadelphia Inquirer published a front page article the day before the protest, How do controversial revisions in psychiatry’s guidebook make you feel?

And then the Philly Inquirer followed up afterwards with, Former patients protest psychiatrist convention, appreciating the lighter side of the label rip.

The Philly Post also covered us with with a pre-event blog by psychiatric issue journalist Liz Spikol, This Weekend, Philadelphians Can Say “Screw You” to Normal.

Update: The BBC covered the protest on their May 5 World Service Newshour program, starting 14 minutes in and lasting about six minutes.

The prestigious UK publication New Scientist has an article, ‘Label jars, not people’: Lobbying against the shrinks, which covers the protest and highlights the concerns that many psychiatrists themselves have with a new edition of the “psychiatric bible” DSM-5, due to be published next year.

One outcome of the protest was that the APA “Radical Caucus” invited activists from MindFreedom and the Icarus Project to their caucus meeting at the conference, and Mad in America blog has some lengthy Reflections on the 2012 Radical Caucus Meeting. Duncan Double blogged Occupy APA, on the same meeting but from the British perspective. Update: Lunatic Fringe offered another perspective on this meeting, Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Survivors Meet In The APA’s Radical Caucus.

Psychologist/activist Bruce Levine published a 4 May blog on Mad in America supporting the five-five protest, asking Anti-Authoritarians and Schizophrenia: Do Rebels Who Defy Treatment Do Better?

Gaia Health Blog posted a story, Occupy Psychiatry: End the Cult of Psychiatry, which puts several good videos in context.

MindFreedom set up two Facebook pages to help organize the event and gather our own media from it: Boycott Normal – Occupy APA 5/5, and Occupy the American Psychiatric Association — Five Five.

You can also see a lot of information on links by reading through #occupyapa on Twitter.


Pre-event information


You can see the posters, materials, announcements, speakers, etc., via the MindFreedom gateway to Boycott Normal, here: http://www.boycottnormal.org

For the four months before the 5 May 2012 event, and the week after, the MindFreedom International Blog Talk Radio Show featured interviews with speakers and participants.

You can find and listen to the archive of the January, February, March, April and May 2012 MF Blog Talk Radio Show by clicking here. 


Tell Us More


If you know of additional articles, photos, videos, etc. that you’d like to share with us, please send them to us at news@mindfreedom.org


Action – We Are All the Media!


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