Whitaker is a critic of psychiatric drug company claims, with his new book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic.” US federal government officials objected to Whitaker keynoting Alternatives 2010 conference. An MFI alert 48-hours ago is called “effective,” and Whitaker is now re-confirmed as keynoter. Thank you MFI News readers!
Bob Whitaker is author of the new book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” critical of the psychiatric drug industry.
- To read some of the many comments e-mailed to President Obama and federal mental health agency director Pam Hyde, because of the MFI alert, in just 48 hours, click here.
- MindFreedom director David Oaks blogs about today’s Whitaker victory here.
23 July 2010
What a difference two days and a MindFreedom International alert can make?
What a difference a MOVEMENT can make!
by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International
While there’s no guarantee public attention helped, there has been a sudden change today:
This morning, author Robert B. Whitaker has been “re-confirmed” as keynote speaker at the annual federally-funded Alternatives 2010, which has brought together hundreds of mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors for 25 years. His new “Anatomy of an Epidemic” has significant criticisms of claims by the psychiatric pharmaceutical industry.
Bob told MindFreedom, “It does go to the sense that this is a consumer/survivor conference. They can set the agenda. That’s the way it should be, in terms of self-empowerment. They should choose who they want to hear from. It’s a nice step forward.”
Congratulations everyone — especially those who do good work in the “system-funded” world and have the courage to invite a critic of the dominant paradigm. We know your job is tough, and we appreciate your effort.
At the same time, this is a great teaching moment in the importance of supporting and remembering the independent psychiatric survivor activist movement, including MindFreedom International.
Below this brief timeline of recent events is how YOU can thank the Obama administration, and encourage more support for deep change in mental health care.
- June 2010: Robert Whitaker is confirmed as keynote speaker of Alternatives 2010.
- 15 July: His confirmation is withdrawn by organizers, citing concerns by high-level federal officials. Bob was told he was not going to keynote.
- 21 July: MindFreedom issued a public alert, “What About Bob?” copied BELOW. Many of you quickly responded by contacting President Obama and SAMHSA (I’ll post some on the MFI blog). A SAMHSA phone operator could guess the topic before a caller even said it!
- 23 July: Today, Whitaker is re-confirmed as keynoter of Alternatives 2010. An anonymous source said the MindFreedom alert was “effective.”
*** NEW ACTIONS *** NEW ACTIONS *** NEW ACTIONS ***
Too often, activists are seen as complainers. Here’s a chance to give some APPRECIATION.
Please use the White House web form here to send THANKS, and encouragement for more:
SAMPLE MESSAGE — please limit yours to 2,500 characters. Your own words are best:
THANK YOU President Obama for your administration support today for the self-determination of mental health consumers/psychiatric survivors to choose journalist Bob Whitaker, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic, to keynote Alternatives 2010, which is an important annual conference funded by SAMHSA. Now it’s time to do even more. We encourage you and your staff to support the availability of more non-drug, effective, empowering choices in mental health care.
If possible, please copy your thank you message by e-mail to SAMHSA director Pam Hyde at, and to MFI for public use at news (at) mindfreedom (dot) org
2) FORWARD THIS GOOD NEWS!
Many blogs, Facebook pages, e-mail lists, etc. are talking about the MFI alert from two days ago. Please spread this good news.
3) READ BOB’S BOOK!
You can order Whitaker’s book “Anatomy of an Epidemic” at discount from MindFreedom’s MAD MARKET, and benefit MFI’s human rights work:
MindFreedom will also have an exhibit booth at Alternatives 2010 with Bob’s book, see you there!
4) JOIN AND SUPPORT MINDFREEDOM INTERNATIONAL!
Here’s a great lesson in inside-outside strategy. That relies on MindFreedom independence. Donate to MFI today:
FOR COPY OF ORIGINAL “EFFECTIVE” ALERT — NOW COMPLETED — click here.