NARPA’S mission is to support people with psychiatric diagnoses to exercise their legal and human rights, with the goals of abolishing forced treatment and ensuring autonomy, dignity and choice.
NARPA exists to promote social justice for people who experience the world in ways society often calls “mental illness.”
We do this through:
◊ Rights advancement
◊ Promoting alternatives to coercive and harmful practices
So the right to choice can be meaningful.
NARPA's Annual Rights Conference:
Newark, NJ / October 26 - 29, 2022
Doubletree Newark Airport
Full conference schedule -- with houndouts & course materials
List of workshops, keynotes, special events (PDF version available for download here)
It is time for a community approach to mental health... Reimagining how we respond to mental health crisis
In lieu of a face-to-face conference in 2020, NARPA presented a series of webinars related to current events. All of the webinars are available for streaming on NARPA's YouTube Channel.
"Mental Health Courts and Specialized Courts in Canada: Access to Justice from the Perspective of people with psychiatric histories." Watch it here.
“Rights-Based Alternatives to Police Response for Mental Health Crises: A World-Wide Perspective,” Watch it here
"Establishing a Non-Police Response to Mental Health Crises: The Needless Killing of Miguel Richards by NYC Police.” Watch it here.
"Olmstead in the Age of COVID," with presenters Kathy Flaherty, of the Connecticut Legal Rights Project, and Jennifer Mathis, of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. Video of this webinar available here
Watch "Creating an Anti-Racism Framework in the Psychiatric Survivor Movement," a training by NARPA board member, Chacku Mathai, presented by MindFreedom International.
In June 2021, the World Health Organization released a 300-page document titled Guidance on Community Mental Health Services: Promoting Person-Centred and Rights-Based Approaches. Read an article about it here, and link to the full report here.
The Zyprexa Papers - A riveting new book by Jim Gottstein of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights exposing psychiatric fraud and corruption. A first-hand account of how pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly did everything in its power to suppress and keep secret a trove of documents from its own files (the “Zyprexa Papers”), showing that its best-selling drug caused diabetes and other life-shortening metabolic problems.
Innovative Approaches to Working With People Who Are Suicidal -- An 11-seminar course from Mad in America Continuing Education. More information here…
“Responding to the catastrophic reduction of psychiatric patients’ life expectancy”, a new book chapter based on a NARPA keynote presentation given by Peter Lehmann
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.
Spotlight on Institutional Psychiatry -- A One-Time Newsletter
NARPA Statement on the response to Hurricane Irma Civilly Committing Homeless People is NOT the Solution to Hurricane Irma Safety
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.
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 here (PDF).
Darby Penney (1952 - 2021) Noted psychiatric survivor activist, author and long-time champion in the human rights movement for people with psychiatric labels
Mort Cohen (1935 - 2018) Civil Rights Hero, Litigator, Law Professor (portrayed in the film 55 Steps)
Pat Risser (1952 - 2016) Psychiatric Survivor, Civil Rights Activist, NARPA President
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)
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. 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)
The Rights Tenet Update - From the NARPA archive: 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.
"Tremors in the System: the help you want or the help you get" a new 23 minute 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.
Prozac.org: 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 New York State Office of Mental Health is promoting the psychiatric drugging of children: Haldol, 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.
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 from Michael Allen, of the Bazelon Center, responding to the media campaign to undermine the rights of people with mental illnesses
New York High Court Condones Shocking Injustice: New York State's judicial 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...
Curing the Therapeutic State -- Thomas Szasz on the medicalization of American life. An interview from Reason magazine
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.)
The Highlander Statement of Concern and Call to Action
Mental Health Advocacy: From Then to Now (an overview written by Rae Unzicker in 2001)
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
The National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy condemns the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many other Black Americans. Racism results in deaths, injuries, and unjust treatment of people of color within the justice system, the health care system, and the psychiatric system. We understand racism as a structural social evil based in the legacy of slavery, and we stand in solidarity with all people working to demolish this systemic harm.
NARPA 2019, Hartford, CT >> Full Conference Schedule, handouts & course materials (Hartford, CT, Sept. 2019). Additional NARPA 2019 information here: (PDF).
NARPA 2018, Baltimore, MD. Keynotes, workshop sessions & special events, with handouts and course materials (PDF); Conference Program is available here (PDF).
NARPA 2017, Portland, ME, September 2017: Full Schedule with handouts / course materials (PDF).
NARPA 2016: Rights Under Siege: Fighting Back, Phoenix, AZ, August 2016: Full Schedule with handouts / course materials (PDF).
NARPA has a new email address. Please contact NARPA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NARPA is not affiliated in any way with the Church of Scientology or the Citizens' Commission on Human Rights.
Last updated on March 19, 2023.