This is a news release from the Freedom Center, a sponsor group of MindFreedom, about their Creative Protest and Speak-out Sunday, July 29th, 2007, at 2PM, in Northampton, Massachusetts, USA.
For Immediate Release:
From Cooley Dickinson Hospital into downtown Northampton,Massachusetts, USA.
Dozens of local residents will symbolically push a hospital bed away from Cooley Dickinson Hospital to symbolize an “escape from psychiatry” on Sunday July 29th at 2pm. The Freedom Center, an all volunteer activist and support group that stands against forced treatment and in favor of true informed consent and safe and accessible treatments takes the position that the modern system of psychiatry is ramped with corruption and unnecessary drugging despite the fact that there are alternatives. The protest is starting at Cooley Dickinson because many patients who have gone through the psychiatric ward have reported forced drugging, psychological abuse, and human rights violations.
The hospital bed will be pushed into downtown Northampton, accompanied by signs, props, street theatre and chants as an effort to raise awareness about the widespread use of force and coercion in the psychiatric system. This bed push is in solidarity with similar bed-pushes that have happened in July (Mad Pride month) in England and Toronto.
After arriving in downtown Northampton people will speak-out in front of First Churches about their own experiences in the mental health system. “We’re here to say that human suffering is often related to social, economic, or political issues and that we need a more sustainable means of dealing with these struggles,” says Dick Gilully, 72 of the Freedom Center.
The Freedom Center has existed in Northampton for over 6 years and provides free peer support groups, a free acupuncture clinic, and free yoga classes to the city of Northampton as well as a weekly radio show, “Madness Radio” on Wednesdays at 6PM on Valley Free Radio 103.3 FM. The group has also done public education through hosting events with psychiatric abuse survivors, psychologists, and psychiatrists who address alternative views to the mainstream medical model of mental disorders. “Psychiatric drugs have not been the answer for all of us,” says Dianne Dragon, a mother of three who has been working with the Freedom Center for over two years now, “so we try to create and present other means of understanding and coping with our struggles and we try to let the rest of the world know about it.”