Our Funding Was Cut!

Submitted by admin on Thu, 07/24/2003 - 00:24

Our Funding Was Cut!


Posted on Jul 24, 03

We lost our funding for 2003-2004! For the past two years Freedom Center has been funded through the Department of Mental Health Consumer Initiative Grants. The Consumer Initiative Grants are the result of years of mental patient liberation activism stretching back to the 1970s. They represent one of the few DMH programs where funding resources are put directly under the control of patients themselves for autonomous initiatives related to empowerment, skills training, and recovery.

We're still sorting out the reasons for the cutoff, but we know it is not for lack of merit. Our successes are well documented, and led the DMH grant committee -- comprised of ex-patients/psychiatric survivors -- to recommend we be funded for $15,000. We even got a call one day saying "Congratulations, you got the money!"

So we were shocked to hear a few days later that we were in fact getting nothing. The higher-ups in the DMH bureaucracy went against their own committee's recommendation -- and cut us off completely!

As a result we are scrambling to pay for our yoga classes, our twice weekly space rentals, publicity, meetings, website, peer advocacy, events -- everything. We're back to the beginning where the Freedom Center relied only on its members to keep it afloat.

We're also trying to sort out what the politics are behind this move. We have heard that the DMH bureaucracy feels that Freedom Center is too "radical," or, to put it in bureaucratic language, "We think you're great, we just are concerned about how you will be perceived by others." At issue, apparently, are some of our core beliefs.

Do our goals -- to end coercion, stop mistreatment, ensure informed consent, support self-determination, offer holistic alternatives, and provide accurate information about 'mental illnesses' and psychiatric medications -- make us too 'radical?' We don't think so. We think it is the DMH that has a problem.

As a result of this funding cut, we are more in need of donations than ever. Please take a moment to click the "Donate!" button a the left -- even $5 will help. It takes you to Pay Pal, a very easy and secure on-line credit card service that is safe to use; it accepts visa, mastercard, amex and discover. And please consider volunteering or offering other resources, as well.

The bright side? Without DMH funding, we now have nothing to lose...

( categories: )