Update for the Month of April 2024

by Board President Al Galves



MindFreedom Shield

The MindFreedom Shield Volunteer Project has gotten off to a roaring start, far exceeding expectations. Due to our inability to provide sufficient staffing, we were not timely handling inquiries and requests that could have possibly developed into a full-blown MindFreedom Shield Alert. This has fundamentally changed, with new inquiries/requests being responded to in a timely manner. There is still much work to be done, however.

Seventeen people attended the MindFreedom Shield Volunteer Recruitment Meeting on March 19th. Since then, there have been three MindFreedom Shield Volunteer meetings and weekly meetings are being held on Saturdays. These meetings have been very productive. 42 people are currently signed up as Shield Volunteers.

There was a backlog of inquiries/requests on which a core group of volunteers has been diligently and enthusiastically following up. Out of a total of 27 inquiries or requests, including one from as far back as December 16, have been completed. Of these, six people have been freed from psychiatric imprisonment. Perhaps our efforts were a factor in one person being freed, maybe two. The volunteer calls and e-mails have organically included peer support and that has been quite satisfying. There are currently 8 active inquiries/requests that could result in a full-blown MindFreedom Shield Alert.

One of them is from William Mahler in Massachusetts, who has been psychiatrically imprisoned for some time and has a court hearing scheduled for May 1st, which we understand is open to the public via Zoom. We have issued a MindFreedom Shield Alert for William where you can find instructions on how to attend the hearing by Zoom. The idea is it might have a beneficial effect for the judge to see that a lot of people are interested in William being treated fairly and freed.

Phone calls to the MindFreedom office virtually always go to voicemail now and we are working on deploying an internet-based system which will allow the phone to be answered more often and when people do leave voicemail, to have them responded to even more promptly than they are now.

In short, we are very pleased with our MindFreedom Shield volunteers and extremely grateful for the terrific work they have done. THANK YOU!

Thanks to Jim Gottstein for leading this effort and to Board Member Kristina “KK” Kapp for helping out.

MindFreedom Group Chat

Thanks to our volunteers And Steiner and Eddy Zuber, MindFreedom has started a secure moderated group chat through Element so that you can stay connected with the MindFreedom community!

You can join the MindFreedom group chat on Element through your internet browser or by downloading the Element mobile app. Below are instructions for joining either way. If you have any trouble, please send an email to And at rainbowsandhuman@proton.me. And is one of the chat’s moderators who currently handles invites.

To join the MindFreedom group chat on your phone: 

1.) Download the Element mobile app via your app store. If the app is unavailable in your store, you can download it at https://element.io instead.

2.) Follow Element’s directions to sign up for your account.

3.) Start a chat (Direct Message) with one of the moderators by saying that you’ve been invited by MFI to join the MFI group chat. To start a chat (Direct Message):

– There are two plus sign icons in the upper left side of the app. Press the plus sign icon that is closer to the center. When you put your cursor over it, it will say “Start Chat.”

– Copy and paste And’s username into the address field: @andhuman:infosec.exchange.

– Press “Go.”

– Enter your message.

To join the MindFreedom group chat on your computer: 

1.) Click here to sign up for an Element account in your browser.

2.) Put in the username, password, and email address you want to use. (You may have to then complete a CAPTCHA to show you’re a real person registering and not a bot.) Then click to accept the Terms of Service.

4.) You’ll be emailed a link to verify your account. Check your spam folder if you don’t see it in your email!

5.) In the tab or window where you first opened Element in your browser, you’ll see a message asking who you want to chat with. You can just click “Skip.”

6.) Now you’re logged in to Element. In the search bar to the upper left, copy and paste And’s username into the address field: @andhuman:infosec.exchange. Then select “People.”

7. Message And asking to join the MindFreedom group chat!

New Board Member

Krista Erickson has been elected to our Board of Directors. Krista was one of the hunger strikers in the 2003 Fast for Freedom and helped create what is now the MindFreedom Shield. She served on the Board from 2004 to 2017.

Financial Condition and Fundraising

We are in financial trouble, living on a shoestring. At the end of March we had $19,000 available for operations.  To maintain our current level of operations we spend about $2,500 a month. In February and March we received $516 and $866 in donations respectively. You can do the math.

We are working on submitting applications to foundations. About 12 years ago, I made what I thought was a major effort to raise money from foundations. I learned that human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International don’t care much about the rights of persons diagnosed with mental disorders. I applaud them for doing what they do and I rue the fact that they are oblivious to the plight of people whose rights are being violated by the mental health system.

KK, new Board Member Krista Erickson, Susan Musante, and myself are going to be working on fundraising. If any of you want to help us in this fundraising effort, please contact me at agalves2003@comcast.net, at 575-522-8371 (landline) or 575-571-3105 (cellphone).

If you want to donate to MindFreedom you can do so by clicking here or by sending a check in the mail to PO Box 11284, Eugene, OR 97440, USA.