The mental health industry has named today Mental Health Screening Day. MindFreedom launched a campaign to Screen the World for Normality. Will we find it?

WASHINGTON, DC: I’m typing this from the motel we are staying at here in our nation’s Capitol. So far, no signs of normality.

In a few hours, our crew of MindFreedom Normality Screeners heads across the Potomac River to Arlington, Virginia to the headquarters of the American Psychiatric Association.

It’s a great crew. It includes:

  • A physician, Dr. Larry Plumlee, who has been one of the main supporters in “The Beltway” of MindFreedom since he helped organize one of our peaceful protests here 15 years ago.
  • A psychologist, Al Galves, who is on both the board of MindFreedom and the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, which is having a conference here in a few days.
  • A liaison from MindFreedom Virginia, Frank Blankenship, also plans to be there. Frank is also chair of our Affiliate Support Committee. He’s working with new board member Mary Maddock of Ireland and others to launch dozens of new MindFreedom Affiliates.

We bring our simple but peacefully powerful tools: Rubber chicken, red squeaky noses, biohazard aprons, and our coupons that read “You Are Officially Normality Free.”

Nothing like humor to help a great team work together.

Our goal: To find if normality exists anywhere on Earth.

Our reasoning: If a “normal” person exists on our planet, then — according to the mental health industry — wouldn’t that person be in the main office of the organization that helps determine what is “normal” and what is “not normal”?

Let me be quick to say this is a peaceful activity.

We have been corresponding this past year with an American Psychiatric Association board member, Dr. Jeffrey Geller of Massachusetts, suggesting a mediated dialogue between psychiatric survivors and the APA. Unfortunately the APA board was unable to discuss this matter because of other pressing matters, but Dr. Geller suggests we do not give up.

Yesterday I personally phoned up Lydia Sermons-Ward, director of the American Psychiatric Association’s Office of Communications, as a courtesy call, to explain that our presence today in front of the APA’s building is peaceful, nonviolent, civil, and even friendly. I invited Lydia and anyone else to come outside for the normality screening.

Stay tuned, we’ll let you know about any results.

My guess: After more than one thousand “screenings” we have not yet found normality.

How you can help:

Our intrepid crew encourages you and your loved ones – and even unloved ones – to “self-screen” for normality.

It’s an easy five-step process!

  1. Make an animal noise. Now. At your computer screen, or wherever you are. Make any animal noise: Meow of a cat, moo of a cow, anything.
  2. Evaluate yourself. Here’s how:
  3. If you made an animal noise of any kind? You show no signs of normality. Congratulations!
  4. If you did not make an animal noise of any kind? You show no signs of normality. Congratulations!
  5. Spread the word: Encourage others to take this simple self-test!

Truly, it’s a win-win for all concerned.

Every normality screening we do brings us that much closer to declaring victory. The effort is sponsored by MindFreedom, the Mad Pride Movement, and the International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment (IAACM), which is a real organization that Martin Luther King, Jr. called for creating more than ten times.

And our go hats off to the amazing Patch Adams, who has also worked with us since that event Larry helped organize 15 years ago. His international clown network, especially the troupe in Florence, Italy, helped devise and inspire this normality screening effort. Thanks Patch!

Thank you for taking this Normality Screening Self-Test, and please encourage others to do so.

For more information on MindFreedom’s campaign to screen the world for normality go here.

And stay tuned, we’ll let you know how the normality screening goes over at the American Psychiatric Association. I’m optimistic, how about you? But then of course, we’re just not normal.