Truth & Reconciliation in "Mental Health"

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Wed, 05/25/2016 - 8:00am to 9:00am
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Portland experiment in community healing has second sharing circle

Three community mental health activists join host Paul Roland to talk about a series of "Truth & Reconciliation" events in Portland organized by the MOMS Movement, Rethinking Psychiatry and the Icarus Project. The Wednesday, May 25 event will be an opportunity for people who have experienced extreme mental/emotional states, along with their families and allies to share their stories, encircled by the community. It follows a similar event in March, in which both those who have received and those who provide mental health services or "treatment" shared their stories in the center of a wider circle of community members.

Wednesday's circle will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Center for Intercultural Organizing, 700 N. Killingsworth St. in Portland.

All three guests are part of a working group that is facilitating the Truth and Reconciliation project:

Grace Silvia, a radical mental health activist and psychotherapist who works with people who want to withdraw from psychiatric drugs. She knows first hand that,  in fact, diagnosed mental illness can be mental, emotional, spiritual and political healing trying to happen. She is involved with Rethinking Psychiatry ( and the Movement Of Mothers and Others Standing Up Together (MOMS), and supports groups like Icarus Project (, the Hearing Voices Movement (, and the Spiritual Emergence Network (


Ptery Lieght, who survived establishment Psychiatry's attempt to "cure" him through forced treatment--which only further traumatized him. Luckily, he found support elsewhere and now works to change the mental health pargadigm, especially regarding how the needs of the most marginalized can be met. He is an advocate for human rights and the right to create shelter if none can be found, and works with Right 2 Survive (, Right 2 Dream Too ( and Hazelnut Grove ( Icarus is his support system.


Cindi Fisher, founder of MOMS ( and a founding member of Rethinking Psychiatry, is the mother of an adult son who she believes was "disabled by the label" of mental illness and whose actual life experiences were discounted. Instead, under the cover of his label, he was given experimental psychiatric drugs that debilitated his ability to think clearly, caused him terrible pain and severe disability, in the end resulting in an act of self-preservation that was criminalized. From there, he cycled in and out of systems that blamed, shamed and punished him for his reaction to the drugs and his untreated trauma.

Fisher started MOMS because, as other mothers from around the country began to hear of her advocacy for her son, they called with similar stories of their own disempowerment and abuse by the system that they felt was harming instead of healing their children. They in turn began to advocate for human rights and true healing for their children, and found that they were more often that not "shut up, shut down and shut out."

MOMS now not only advocates for humane and real treatment for trauma and to de-emphasize the use of psychiatric labels, but is also trying to build a bridge between different sectors of the community--including compassionate providers and others who want to create community alternatives for healing. Her story can be found here:


Other resources:

Article about the Truth & Reconciliation project:

Mad in America website/blogs:

Recent article mentioned on show: "Mind the Gap: The Space Between Alternatives and Force" found here:

Icarus Project Portland:

Portland Hearing Voices

Madness Radio on KBOO:

North Star Clubhouse (mental health recovery program for adults):

Folk Time (peer support & community activities):

MindFreedom International

Dr. Peter Breggin

Robert Whitaker, author Anatomy of an Epidemic and Mad in America





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