Freedom Center Honored by Forbes

ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION

Promoting Openness, Full Disclosure, and Accountability
http://www.ahrp.org and http://ahrp.blogspot.com

FYI

Forbes, a leading business magazine has chosen Freedom Center, an alternative mental health organization located in Massachusetts, and run by and for people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, to be featured as their charity of the month in September.

From August 29th through the end of September, Forbes is highlighting the Freedom Center’s work through its website, http://www.forbes.com/philanthropy/2008/08/28/mentalhealth-schizophrenia-pf-
philo-in_rm_0829philanthropy_inl.html

AHRP congratulates Freedom Center for the recognition it has received of its noble purpose and practical approach demonstrating a different–humane–paradigm of care for patients with emotional / cognitive problems that empowers patients and improves people’s lives.

AHRP commends the editors of Forbes for breaking with the powerful pharmaceutical-influenced mental health professionals led by Harvard’s Mass General Hospital. The psychiatric establishment has adopted pharmaceutical solutions despite their demonstrable failure to improve the lives or mental condition of its
patient roster. People treated within the mental health system are condemned to suffer drug-induced physiological and psychological harm.

When a medical treatment works, there are measurable reductions in patients suffering from the treated illness.

Contrary to other bone fide medical specialties, those who follow the treatment regimen prescribed by psychiatrists can expect to become increasingly disabled and dysfunctional.

The currently prescribed psychotropic drugs are more toxic than earlier versions–resulting in an INCREASED number of chronically disabled patients and DECREASED life-expectancy. That suggests (at the very least) that the treatment isn’t working. At worst, it suggests, the treatment is causing more harm than benefit.

Freedom Center together with the New York-based Icarus Project published a “Harm Reduction Guide To Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs.”

Underscoring the responsible approach they take to the serious risks inherent in withdrawal from psychotropic drugs–which cause severe withdrawal symptoms, a sign of drug dependency–Freedom Center does not prohibit or coerce anyone to stop taking prescribed psychotropic drugs. Instead, they suggest for someone who finds withdrawal too intense, “Why don’t you consider going back on th medication and focus for the moment on finding yourself a stable housing situation. Or feeding yourself
better.”

See Freedom Center Video:
http://www.forbes.com/video/?video=fvn/philpitch/pf_freedom082808&partner=contextual

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
veracare@ahrp.org
212-595-8974

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 8, 2008

FREEDOM CENTER’S “HEALING VOICES” TOP STORY ON FORBES.COM
http://forbes.com/

“Lucky 7” Anniversary Celebration Planned

Media Contacts:
Oryx Cohen: 413.561.3269
PJ Moynihan: 413.265.9833
Chaya Grossberg: 917.974.1876

NORTHAMPTON, MA: Forbes, a leading international business magazine, has chosen the Northampton, MA based Freedom Center, an alternative mental health organization run by and for people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, to be featured as their charity of the month in September. From August 29th through the end of September, Forbes is highlighting the Freedom Center’s work through its website, http://www.forbes.com.

Included in Forbes’ “Philanthropic Pitch” campaign to support Freedom Center is a five-minute video along with a written story called “Healing Voices” about one of Freedom Center’s Co-Founders, Will Hall. For the first four days of the release, “Healing Voices” was the top rated story on the Forbes website, and it has consistently remained in the top ten since. To access the “Healing Voices” story and video, you can visit www.freedom-center.org and follow the direct link to Forbes.

To celebrate the honor of being recognized by Forbes, and its seven-year anniversary, Freedom Center will host a special event to screen the video at its “Lucky 7 Psychosocial” party on September 20th at 6 pm, at the World War II Club, 50 Conz St., Northampton, MA. The celebration will also include a hula-hooping performance by the Noho Hooperstars, live music by “Bucket Benny,” and a dance party hosted by DJ Black Angus until midnight.

Screening of the short film will begin at 7pm. There will be a cash bar, and the event will be catered by the Alternative Food Company. Suggested donations are $10 at the door, however nobody will be turned away for a lack of funds.

“Forbes contacted me a few years ago for an article on alternatives to anti-depressant medications,” said Freedom Center co-founder Will Hall. He said the Forbes editor was so moved by the story of the Freedom Center that the group was chosen for this special fundraising opportunity via the Forbes website.

Local filmmaker PJ Moynihan, of Digital Eyes Film, produced the 5-minute Freedom Center video that appears on the Forbes site. “I have a personal connection with the subject matter,” said Moynihan. “This is a
tremendous opportunity for the Freedom Center story to begin making its way out into the world as a model for change.”

Mary Clare Higgins, Mayor of the City of Northampton, describes Freedom Center as “a valuable option for many of our residents. It is a welcome addition to services available to citizens of our city.”

Freedom Center is currently funded solely by individual donations and small grants, which include monies from Resist, Inc. and the City of Northampton’s Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG). “It demonstrates how a small group of dedicated folks can initiate change as well as a whole new way of seeing and doing things,” says Northampton CDBG Administrator, Michael T. Owens.

Freedom Center is a volunteer, peer-run group that supports informed choice and self-determination regarding medication, other psychiatric treatments, and holistic alternatives. Freedom Center incorporates a Harm Reduction philosophy and supports people’s choices in their own mental health recovery and in their own lives. Freedom Center offers yoga, acupuncture, writing groups, support groups, educational events and volunteer advocates for rights protection. Freedom Center is volunteer-run and offers all its services for free. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made to Freedom Center/CHOICES and mailed to P.O. Box 623, Northampton, MA 01061.

Forbes.com is the single largest economic portal on the Internet, with an estimated 15 million visitors per month. Initiated by Forbes Senior Editor, Richard Morais, the Philanthropic Pitch is a unique feature that, each month, promotes a charity in an effort to encourage philanthropic giving. The Freedom Center Philanthropic Pitch will be featured for the month of September, after which it will be archived at Forbes.com.

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