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Protesters, Rejecting Mental Illness Labels, Vow To "Occupy" The American Psychiatric Association Convention

PHILADELPHIA, May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Saturday, May 5, 2012, as thousands of psychiatrists congregate for the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting, individuals with psychiatric labels and others will converge in a global campaign to oppose the APA's proposed new edition of its "bible," the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), scheduled for publication in 2013. Occupy the APA will include distinguished speakers from 10 a.m. to noon at Friends Center (1515 Cherry Street, Philadelphia), and a march at approximately 12:15 p.m. to the Pennsylvania Convention Center (12th and Arch Streets), where the group will protest from approximately 1 p.m. while the APA meets inside.

"This peaceful protest exposes the fact that the DSM-5 pushes the mental health industry to medicalize problems that aren't medical, inevitably leading to over-prescription of psychiatric drugs – including for people experiencing natural human emotions,  such as grief and shyness," said David Oaks, founder of MindFreedom International (MFI), an independent voice of survivors of psychiatric human rights violations. "We call for better ways to help individuals in extreme emotional distress."

Others criticizing the revised manual include Kyle Arnold, Ph.D., of the Coalition for DSM-5 Reform, which has gathered over 13,000 signatures from mental health professionals calling for "an alternative approach." "The DSM-5 will recklessly assign psychiatric labels to many people who should not have them, which will lead to further over-prescription of dangerous drugs and more infringement on individual freedoms," he said.

Jim Gottstein, Esq., founder of the Alaska-based Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights), will cross the country to speak. "The public mental health system is creating a huge class of chronic mental patients through forcing them to take ineffective yet extremely harmful drugs. As the APA gets ready to do even more harm with its proposed expansion of what constitutes mental illness, I want to be there in person to participate in the protest."

Other speakers include Joseph Rogers, executive director of the Philadelphia-based National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse and a longtime consumer/survivor movement leader.

"We will promote humane alternatives to the traditional mental health system, such as peer support, which evidence proves is effective in helping individuals recover from severe emotional distress," Oaks said. "Our protest is about choice. Everyone is welcome."

Contacts: Susan Rogers, Clearinghouse, srogers@mhasp.org; David Oaks, MFI, 541-345-9106, boycott@mindfreedom.org

SOURCE MindFreedom International

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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