MindFreedom International (MFI) asked for stories and art from psychiatric survivors, mental health consumers/users, and their family and loved ones. Nearly 100 were submitted by the extended deadline of 831/. Thank you. Here’s more info.

Cultural dancing at one of MindFreedom Ghana’s public outreach activities. Picture shared by MindFreedom Ghana.

Update 1 September 2011: The deadline to submit items for the below handbook is over. However, items submitted after the deadline, may be used on the MindFreedom web site.

NEWS UPDATE: 14 July 2011                                   

MindFreedom International – For Immediate Release

Contact: Heather Marek, MFI; 541-345-9106,


Submissions invited for: Global Mental Health Empowerment Handbook


Deadline Extended: 31 August 2011

About the Global Mental Health Empowerment Handbook

MFI is creating a Handbook that encourages the voice of people diagnosed with psychiatric and other mental disabilities. Submissions are welcomed from anywhere, especially from poor and developing countries. The Handbook seeks to empower mental health system users, consumers and survivors so that they may be heard more effectively by their communities, care providers, and policy makers.

The MFI Handbook, with support from the international development organization CBM, also aims to inspire the reader to become involved in organizing, taking ownership of their organizations and using the framework of the disability movement. MFI will print thousands of copies of the Handbook in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, and accessible formats.

To read more about the handbook, click here.


        Submissions to the Handbook: Deadline 31 August 2011

Two of the Global Mental Health Empowerment Handbook Team: Lisa Romano and Heather Marek“MFI needs your help putting a human face to our movement,” said Heather Marek, Communications Specialist with MindFreedom International who is working on the Handbook (photo on right). 

Said Heather: “The Handbook will use examples of leaders taking action, holding support groups, street marches, and artistic and cultural activities. We want to show the diverse range of backgrounds, beliefs, challenges and successes of people with mental disability labels around the world, especially from developing countries. Mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors in poor nations can — and do — speak for themselves!”

Submissions can take a variety of forms, so long as they can be used for print. MFI is looking for works that tell a story about people’s experience with the mental health system, including overcoming human rights violations. Here are some examples:

  • Personal true stories of recovery and/or activism 
  • Art (drawings, paintings, sketches)
  • Photos with captions.
  • Poetry

Creators whose submissions are used in the Handbook will receive a $50 (US) stipend. MFI will give credit to all authors and artists by sharing their name, unless otherwise instructed.

Works that are not used in the Handbook may still be appear on the MindFreedom International website, journal, and in other publications, so there is a good chance that other work will be published beyond the Handbook, and archived. Only those published in the Handbook qualify for a stipend.

Said Heather, “This is a unique opportunity to have your story touch and inspire people around the globe! We cannot guarantee that any work will be published, but we appreciate the uniqueness and creativity in our movement, and will do our best to share your work.”

        How To Submit Your Story, Art, Photo, Poetry

Multiple submissions for the Handbook are welcome from the same individual. All submissions become the property of MindFreedom International. MFI is committed to preserving and amplifying the voice of consumers, survivors, and their families. MFI will strive to keep works as close to their original form as possible, but may edit submissions before they are published.

Each written submission must be no more than 500 to 600 words in length.

Deadline: August 31, 2011

Send Submissions via e-mail or postal mail to:

MindFreedom International
PO Box 11284
Eugene, OR 97404-3484
United States

        About MindFreedom International

MindFreedom International is an independent nonprofit that unites 100 grassroots groups and thousands of members to peacefully take action for human rights in the mental health system.

While MFI is open to the public, a majority of our members identify themselves as “psychiatric survivors,” that is, individuals who have personally experienced human rights violations in the mental health system. All who support human rights are welcome to join. MFI members and leaders include mental health professionals, advocates, attorneys and family members.
For more information about MFI and the Handbook, including how to become a member, visit our website at



For a PDF version of this news update click here.

Photo on top: 

Scene from MindFreedom Ghana event. 

In photo above right: 

These are two of the team at the MindFreedom International office helping to create the MF Global Mental Health Empowerment handbook. Lisa Romano (left) is a Canadian lawyer who moved from Toronto, Ontario to Eugene, Oregon. She is committed to social justice and is particularly interested in elder law and health law. 

Heather Marek (right), MindFreedom International Communications Specialist, has a Master’s Degree in Masters in Conflict and Dispute Resolution.

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