Report from the congress "Coercive Treatment in Psychiatry:
A Comprehensive Review", run by the World Psychiatric Association
in Dresden, Germany, June 6-8, 2007
David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International
World Psychiatric Association Meets with Psychiatric Survivor
Representatives from several psychiatric survivor
and mental health consumer/user organizations met with
leaders of the World Psychiatric Association here in Dresden,
The Topic: Dialogue About Psychiatric Coercion
DRESDEN, GERMANY: Representatives of several psychiatric
survivor/mental health consumer organizations held meetings
with top leaders of the World Psychiatric Association during
the past three days here.
The WPA conference is on the topic of coercion in psychiatry.
For more than a year, several psychiatric survivor and mental
health consumer groups have been aware of this situation.
I am very proud to report that these movement groups worked
well together to address this challenge. We appointed author/psychiatric
survivor Peter Lehmann as our negotiator/liaison with the
WPA, and Peter did an absolutely brilliant job.
The results? A number of psychiatric survivor/mental health
consumer issued a combined public statement, which alone
In addition to peaceful protests outside, psychiatric survivors
and mental health consumers were also speaking out inside,
with exhibit tables, keynoting, presenting symposia, negotiating,
protesting and most important UNITING.
The WPA made several pledges, but of course the proof will
be in the outcome.
I would like to personally assure all who have concerns
about whether WPA is telling the truththat we are being
"tricked"that of course I share and respect your deeply
held concerns. I too often I have seen positive words from
psychiatric leaders without results, including when I was
locked up and abused inside of a psychiatric institution.
But also MindFreedom principles begin with those of Martin
Luther King, Jr. Of course we mustand no doubt willuse nonviolent direct action and protest, including even
civil disobedience. But to do this well we also need to
begin by speaking directly, in as civil way as possible,
to our opponents, and clearly state our situation and demands.
So many psychiatric survivors and mental health consumers
and our allies clearly explained the situation of human rights
here at the WPA. Thank you.
MindFreedom representatives and supporters meet with
WPA board members to talk about a proposal for moderated
dialogue between psychiatric survivor organizations
and psychiatric professional organizations, such as
the WPA and their member organizations
(Photo by Reinhard Wojke)
MindFreedom representatives and supporters meet again
with WPA board members
(Photo by Ursula Müller)