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My name is Jim Flannery and today, I invite psychiatric survivors, ex-patients, and peers around the world to participate in this year’s Virtual Protest of the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting.  You can participate by creating a 3 minute video sharing your personal story of how psychiatry harmed you and submitting it at The deadline to submit is April 30th.

I will be livestreaming the videos on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube during the APA’s Annual Meeting in May. I will also be traveling to San Francisco to show these videos to the psychiatrists and capture their reactions on film.

I know it’s hard to consolidate all the harm psychiatry causes into three minutes, so please focus on your personal experiences.  Whether its an experience with involuntary commitment, forced drugging, psychiatric abuse, coercion, unfair court rulings, pressure from school administrators, outpatient committals, side effects from psychiatric drugs, being lied to about having a neurochemical imbalance – whatever your story is, please share it. 

Here’s my three minute story:

Dear psychiatry,

In 2008, I was hospitalized involuntarily for the first time during a time of intense emotional distress.  This marked my entry-point into your system of control and coercion that I will never fully escape.  It took me ten years to be free of your psychiatric drugs but your label, diagnosis, and legal power follow me anywhere I go in the United States.

In total, you’ve locked me up involuntarily four times. 

Every lock up, you tied me down to hospital beds.  Every lock up, you forcibly drugged me by needlepoint. Every lock up, you used seclusion and isolation.  Every lock up, you lied to me and my family and claimed I had a neurochemical imbalance.  Every lock up, you made me submit to your every command, utterly breaking my spirit, before I was allowed back into society.  Not once did I ever receive a hug… not once did I receive an apology… not once was my so-called “treatment” consensual.

You may think my repeat lock ups in psych wards hurt my credibility and make my judgment questionable… that’s fair.  However — my four lock ups were in four different states across the US, making me a credible witness to the current condition of mental health services in our country. I can attest that these horrible experiences were not a rare case of one bad psychiatric hospital in one bad city – this is a systemic problem that is prevalent across the country.

As I’ve spoken to more and more people over the years, I’ve learned this is the case around the world.

I’m protesting to make my voice heard and the voices of countless others who are harmed by your violent use of force. When will you stop harming people and start honoring your own Hippocratic oath to “First Do No Harm”?