In a sudden reversal, the National Empowerment Center has announced it is restoring my workshop on coming off psychiatric medication at the Alternatives 2010 mental health conference in Anaheim California. (You can read about their original decision here: http://www.madnessradio.net/coming-off-medications-workshop-censored)
The National Empowerment Center, organizer of the annual event, had censored “coming off medications” from the workshop description and title, which led me to decide to not attend the conference. News spread quickly on the internet, and the resulting outcry from mental health consumers and the public led to the workshop’s reinstatement and an apology from Daniel Fisher, Director of the National Empowerment Center.
I want to thank everyone who spoke up about this. I hope the change is a sign that mental health policy can become more honest about medication risks and more open to the need many people have for alternative choices. I also want to thank Dan Fisher and the National Empowerment Center staff personally for the thoughtful discussions we’ve had on this matter. By including coming off medications as part of the conference agenda, they are helping promote the wellness and self-determination that are at the heart of what our movement stands for.
Here is the announcement that Dan sent out today:
Good news re: workshop by Will Hall at Alternatives 2010
Please forward widely. Thanks, Dan
On behalf of the National Empowerment Center, Inc., I wish to apologize to Will Hall and to the consumer/survivor community for the last-minute decision to alter the title of his workshop to remove the reference to coming off medication.
The original workshop title, “Coming Off Medications: A Harm Reduction Approach,” will be restored, and we are delighted Will has agreed to come to Alternatives and present on this subject as originally planned.
I appreciate that this issue has created an opportunity for significant dialogue. It is my expectation that this dialogue about the importance of shared decision-making on starting, reducing, or coming off medications will continue, at Alternatives and beyond.
Daniel B. Fisher
National Empowerment Center, Inc.