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The NARPA Book Club

Books of interest and importance
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Conference Archives

Confessions of a non-compliant patient by Judi Chamberlin

To Be a Mental Patient  
by Rae Unzicker

Mad In America

The Bonkers Institute

NARPA 2016:

Phoenix, Arizona, August 2016

Full Schedule (click here)

with handouts of presenters

NARPA 2015
Washington DC , August 2015
Full Schedule (click here) 
Check here for updates and course materials..

NARPA 2014 Rights Conference
Seattle, WA, September 2014
Conference Flyer
Full Schedule

NARPA 2013 Annual Rights Conference
Hartford, CT, September 2013
Conference Materials & Handouts
Line-up of Workshop & Keynote Presentations
Conference schedule

NARPA 2012 Annual Rights Conference
Cincinnati, OH, September 2012
Full Schedule

NARPA's  2011 Annual Rights Conference
Philadelphia, PA, September 2011

NARPA's 2010 Annual Rights Conference: (with materials and handouts)
Atlanta, GA, September 2010
Choice Not Force
●Guardianship/Forced Treatment/Restraint
Recovery and Peer Run Programs
Force and Coercion Beyond the Institutional Setting

NARPA's2009 Annual Rights Conference:
Phoenix, AZ, September 2009

Conference Archives



Announcing NARPA 2017
Portland, Maine, September 6-9
Holiday Inn by the Bay

Keynote Speakers: 

Michael Perlin, J.D., Earl Miller,
Kathy Flaherty, J.D., David Cohen, Ph.D.

Significant Developments in Mental Health and Disability Law - 2017
Robert Dinerstein, J.D.

More information here...


Register Now

NARPA exists to promote social justice for people who experience the world in ways society often calls “mental illness.”

We do this through:

 ◊ Education

 ◊ Advocacy

Rights advancement

Promoting alternatives to coercive and harmful practices

So the right to choice can be meaningful

 NARPA Rights Tenet Newsletters

NARPA's newsletters (originally published between 1984 and 2002) are now available to read on the web,
courtesy of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Special Collections & University Archives Librarians.


NARPA 2016:


August 2016
Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, Phoenix, Arizona

  ◊  Full Schedule of presentations - with handouts ◊ 
 Keynote Speakers: 

Robert WhitakerCaroline White, Peter Lehmann

 Mort Cohen, J.D.,  Eve Hill, J.D.,


 Esteban Santiago flew from Anchorage, Alaska to Fort Lauderdale to commit his mass murder. Read Jim Gottstein's op-ed in the Alaska Dispatch News, Alaska's largest newspaper, titled, Misguided mental health system needs an overhaul.

 A new book by Susan Stefan on suicide law and policy argues strongly against involuntary commitment of people simply for talking about suicide and wanting to die. The book makes the argument that this kind of involuntary commitment is unconstitutional, and further argues that most hospitalization for suicidality, even voluntary hospitalization, is counterproductive. One of the major answers is greater focus on peer support and PCAs. The book discusses over a thousand cases and makes a number of important policy recommendations. Read more about Rational Suicide, Irrational Laws: Examining Current Approaches to Suicide in Policy and Law...

 British Medical Journal article by David Healy, M.D., about the marketing of a myth: Serotonin and Depression

  National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) director, Thomas Insel, M.D., announced that psychiatry's standard treatment for people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychoses needs to change. Read here and here.

□  Shock treatment: Ken Kesey hits back at critics of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest -  In January 1964, Ken Kesey wrote the following letter to the New York Times, defending the Broadway adaptation of his novel, its cast, and in particular, responding to the journalists who had criticized the play for its "unrealistic storyline."¯ Read the letter...

 Are Psychiatric Medications Making Us Sicker? - Several generations of psychotropic drugs have proven to be of little or no benefit, and may be doing considerable harm.

  The Needs of People with Psychiatric Disabilities During and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Position Paper and Recommendations - A Report of the National Council on Disability, prepared and drafted by Susan Stefan and Ann Marshall of NARPA.

 From PsychRights and Jim Gottstein, here is video from the 2014 Protest of the American Psychiatric Association's annual convention in NYC.

Connecticut Supreme Court Holds Lawyers, Conservators Accountable In Probate Cases: "The ruling has far-reaching implications for our troubled probate court system. It means that a court-appointed lawyer...cannot ignore the wishes of a client."

Robert Whitaker on the New York Times' In Defense of Antidepressants:  "... the American public has been treated to yet another dose of misinformation."

Healing Voices, a new film chronicling the lives of individuals experiencing mental health issues and extreme states, is now in production. The film examines mainstream mental healthcare and psychiatry in the United States through the lens of individuals at various stages of their mental health story; it explores the stigma of psychiatric diagnoses, the role of trauma, pharmacology, alternatives to the "one-size-fits-all" medical model, and the power of storytelling in recovery. "Healing Voices" is being promoted on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter. Click here to learn more.

□  NARPA congratulates  Disability Rights International Founder and Executive Director, Eric Rosenthal, recipient of the 2012 Public Service Award from the University of Chicago. Eric is a long-time rights activist and NARPA supporter. Read more.

Making a Killing: Clinical trials have become marketing exercises for Big Pharma -- and cash-strapped universities are helping make the sale   Mother Jones magazine sheds light on how drug manufacturers manipulate clinical trials to make their drugs look good - sometimes at the expense of patients' lives.

NARPA's statement on the Arizona tragedy

 Disability Rights New Jersey has filed a federal lawsuit regarding the involuntary administration of medication to psychiatric patients in New Jersey's public and private hospitals. The lawsuit alleges that the current procedures, which do not provide for an independent review in the event of a challenge to the need for involuntary medication, violate individual rights and fail to conform to present standards of good clinical practice.
   Click here for of the complaint.
   Click here for the opinion denying protective order.
   Click here for the opinion regarding motion to dismiss.

UN Calls Shock Treatment at Massachusetts School "Torture" - See ABC News' report and read Mental Disability Rights International's full report on the Judge Rotenberg Center. Update (May 2011): Founder and director of Massachusetts “Shock School” resigns after being indicted on criminal charges. MDRI's Report concludes with an "urgent appeal" to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, demanding the US end the torture of people with disabilities immediately. And see the Op-ed in the Washington Post, "Disabled children at Mass. school are tortured, not treated" (10/2/10).

Pfizer too big to nail — Federal prosecutors say the world’s largest pharmaceutical company is too big to fail. When Pfizer was caught illegally marketing a drug that was taken off the market, the feds agreed to charge a shell company which exists solely for the purpose of pleading guilty and taking the heat off Pfizer. A report from CNN's Special Investigations Unit.

Poor Children Likelier to Get Antipsychotics - New federally financed drug research reveals a stark disparity: children covered by Medicaid are given powerful antipsychotic medicines at a rate four times higher than children whose parents have private insurance. And the Medicaid children are more likely to receive the drugs for less severe conditions than their middle-class counterparts, the data shows.

□  NARPA joins the California Coalition Advocating for Rights, Empowerment and Services (CARES) in opposition to AB 1569, currently pending before the California Assembly Health Committee. AB 1569 would re-authorize involuntary outpatient commitment under AB 1421 ("Laura's law", referred to as "assisted outpatient treatment" by proponents) for six years and would eliminate all state oversight of such programs. (Click here to download a copy of the CARES letter to the Health Committee Chair.)

Report of the National Council on Disability:
" From Privileges to Rights: People Labeled with Psychiatric Disabilities Speak for Themselves" 
-- With a link to the full report as well as information about how to order a free copy.

□  Crazy Like Us: The Americanization of Mental Illness - In recent years, American ideas about psychiatric disorders have spread around the globe. Is that really good for the world’s mental health? Read this article by Ethan Watters from the New York Times.

□  Read an essay sharply critical of the psychiatric industry, published in the medical journal, The Lancet. The article reviews two books: The Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment by Joanna Moncrieff and Side Effects: a Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial by Alison Bass. Read the article here.

□  Read the NY Daily News story, "Kings County Hospital doctors, nurses facing charges in Esmin Green death-by-neglect case." And read the NYC Department of Investigation's report.

□  Listening to Madness - Why some mentally ill patients are rejecting their medication and making thecase for "mad pride" (a May 2009 Newsweek piece on Will Hall and the Icarus Project)

□  "Tremors in the System: the help you want or the help you get" - a new 23minute film by Nora Jacobson features long time NARPA member and supporter Marj Berthold and her experiences in the Vermont mental health system.

□  Big Pharma Gone Wild: How Risperdal, a drug meant for treating rare psychiatric disorders, became the seventh best-selling medicine in the world.

□  UN: Forced Psychiatric Treatment is Torture

□  FDA proposal to reclassify electroshock machines - and deem them safe in the absence of scientific evidence. Public comments were due by January 8, 2010. Learn about the FDA docket, find out how to view public comments online, and get additional information here. For background, see "The FDA’s Regulation of ECT (Shock Treatment): A Beginner (or Refresher) Course."

□  Maine's medication law challenged  A new federal lawsuit, filed by the Disability Rights Center of Maine, challenges the constitutionality of a new law that allows patients in psychiatric facilities to be medicated against their will.  The lawsuit, which was brought on behalf of an 83 year old woman, alleges that the law violates due process rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; The law fails to provide patients with adequate notice of a hearing or an opportunity to be heard before being deprived of their liberty. The lawsuit also claims that patients may be forced to take drugs that can cause death or have devastating and irreversible side effects, especially in elderly patients. Read more here.

□ how the pharmaceutical industry works behind the scenes to shape public policy and push drugs. An article by Ken Silverstein from Mother Jones Magazine.



The Rights Tenet Update  --  The online version of NARPA's Rights Tenet newsletter. With coverage of the battles against forced drugging laws, the "parity"  controversy, the Supreme Court vs. the ADA, etc.

The New York State Office of Mental Health is promoting the psychiatric drugging of childrenHaldol, Adderall, and Dexedrine for 3 year olds, lithium and Depakote for 2 year olds?  See this booklet - a Q & A on using medications with children with mental disorders - published by the State of New York for parents of young children.

In Memorium

Leonard Roy Frank (1932 - 2015)
A civil rights activist, author, psychiatric survivor

Kim Darrow (1946 - 2011)
Remembering a remarkable lawyer, naturalist, and civil rights hero

Judi Chamberlin (1944 - 2010)

Confessions of a non-compliant patient

Judi Chamberlin Papers - University of Massachusetts Special Collections & University Archives
Listen to npr Morning Edition story  (1/19/10)   Boston Globe remembrance (1/20/10)

Washington Post  ,  New York Times, and  □ PRNewswire


Alaska Supreme Court Strikes Down Forced Psychiatric Drugging Procedures
In a resounding affirmation of personal liberty and freedom, the Alaska Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Myers v. Alaska Psychiatric Institute. The court found Alaska's forced psychiatric drugging regime to be unconstitutional when the state forces someone to take psychiatric drugs without proving it to be in their best interests or when there are less restrictive alternatives. The Decision also points out that Alaska Statutes require the hospital to honor a patient's previously expressed desires regarding psychiatric medications. Read more...

An open letter responding to the media campaign to undermine the rights of people with mental illnesses

New York High Court Condones Shocking Injustice: New York State'sj udicial system has abdicated its role and has virtually given the State's Office of Mental Health carte blanche to force unwanted electroshock on New Yorkers. Read PsychRights' press release, NARPA's  amicus brief in the Simone D. case, and more...

In Memory and Celebration of Rae Unzicker
See "When Women Pursue Justice," a 3,300 square foot mural in New York City celebrating women who led movements for social change in the U.S.A. over the past 150 years, features Rae Unzicker.

Curing the Therapeutic State -- Thomas Szasz on the medicalization of American life. An interview from Reason magazine

ADA Case of the Week archives 

Maintaining Integrity and Cultivating Compassion - Keynote address presented by Steven Schwartz, November 2003

"Mindless and Deadly:" Media hype on mental illness and violence - from EXTRA! (the magazine of FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting)

Prozac Revisited: As drug gets remade, concerns about suicides surface. . .  " Just as the 14-year patent on Prozac is about to expire... and the drug's maker is preparing to launch a new version, a body of evidence has come to light revealing the antidepressant's dark side." - from the Boston Globe

"To Memorizing Politics of Ancient History": International Human Rights and Comparative Mental Disability Law: The Role of Institutional Psychiatry in the Suppression of Political Dissent - Professor Michael Perlin's keynote talk from NARPA's Annual Rights Conference, November 2006

Should all school children should be screened and labeled?  The final report of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, issued in 2004, calls for universal mental health screening of universal mental health screening of American children, and the Center for Mental Health Services and Congress are poised to take action...


Supreme Court Upholds ADA & Right to Integration (Olmstead v. L.C.)

Mental Health Advocacy: From Then to Now

The Highlander Statement of Concern and Call to Action

NARPA Community Message Board/ listserv

Participants at White House mental health conference appeal for justice - The breakout session on civil rights was a ray of hope in a conference otherwise dominated by proponents of biochemical psychiatry, force, and coercion

Treatment at Westborough State Hospital

NARPA is not affiliated in any way with the Church of Scientology or the Citizens' Commission on Human Rights

Last updated on April 13, 2017

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