MindFreedom International News — 12 July 2004
Psychiatric Survivors Movement Mourns Loren Mosher
Loren Mosher — Psychiatrist and Human Rights Activist — Has Died,
But He’s Still Fighting His Profession.
As Loren Dies, His Newest Book Goes to Press
Statement by David Oaks, Director, MindFreedom
Loren Mosher was like a Schindler of psychiatry, as in the film “Schindler’s List.” One of our Schindlers has died.
Loren Mosher was a psychiatrist who fought his own profession’s oppression, who was a tremendous ally to survivors of psychiatric human rights violations. He died this weekend in Berlin after struggling with a liver disease.
This is just a brief note to let people who care about human rights in the mental health system know about this loss of a real hero.
If you did not know about Loren’s contribution to this area, I’ve put just a little bit at the bottom of this that I encourage you to read, such as his famous letter of resignation from the American Psychiatric Association.
I’m lucky that Loren was also a personal friend of mine, and on the board of MindFreedom. He did so many things to support me, our group, so many groups, and our entire social change movement.
Loren was also superb at encouraging other mental health professionals to have the simple courage and decency to speak out, such as in his work with the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology. He knew how to enjoy life, too. Loren knew how to overthrow psychiatric oppression and have a nice day, such as in his world travels.
Loren would be delighted to know that even death is not stopping him from challenging his psychiatric profession!
Loren has worked for many years on a book he co-authored entitled “Soteria: Through Madness to Deliverance.” Final details for the book’s publishing were being prepared at about the time Loren died.
A colleague of Loren told me today the book will be out by September, and perhaps even by the time a memorial is planned for Loren in August. Soteria tells the story of his successful fight to create a commonsense alternative that worked, an alternative to the mental health system that did not use the bizarre bullying and poisoning with massive amounts of drugs that has captured the current mental health system.
Soteria was just a house, with regular people (not mental health professionals) trained to take care of people not by pouring toxic concoctions of psychiatric drugs down these clients throats… not by pushing these clients around… but instead by building relationships.
Soteria clients did better, of course, than those who were pushed through the strangling ringer of the current mental health system. But that data threatened the mental health system, and the profession has done much to try to suppress the “evidence based” humane, empowering model that Soteria championed.
How many people’s lives and minds were saved because Loren helped them escape psychiatry’s systemic abuse, both in Soteria and in many other ways, internationally?
Well, Loren is still winning. He is winning out with his new book. And he’s winning out with the thousands of psychiatric survivors and allies his life has touched, who will carry on his struggle, with, hopefully, the same good humor, intelligence, and persistence that I always saw in Loren.
Psychiatric survivor Peter Lehmann announced the news that Loren had died in the Anthroposophic Clinic Havelhoehe in Berlin, Germany, during his last ditch effort to fight his liver disease. Loren lived in San Diego, California, USA.
There will be more to say about Loren’s legacy for the movement to change psychiatry. I will personally speak about him this Bastille Day, July 14, which for 24 years has been a day of protest of human rights abuse in the mental health system (see http://wwww.MindFreedom.org).
Also, I am sure many of us will join me in remembering Loren at ICSPP’s conference http://wwww.icspp.org and at Alternatives 2004. Poignantly, we psychiatric survivors were planning an award for Loren at ICSPP; thankfully, he knew about our often-too-slow but loving efforts to appreciate him.
Below you’ll find some biographical information, articles, and a blurb I submitted about Loren’s latest book.
Thank you Loren Mosher, for fighting the good fight with such style, cunning, wit and care. We mourn you, we remember you, and we will redouble our efforts to stop the violations you hated, and promote the humane alternatives you dearly loved.
May Loren’s life encourage many more Schindlers in the psychiatric profession to have the wisdom and bravery and love and decency to speak out about the nightmarishly horrible abuse that is inherent in the psychiatric system, to confront it, to even laugh in its face, and to build loving alternatives to it.
Soteria: Through Madness to Deliverance
As a psychiatric survivor, I hope Soteria stories will be told and retold, again and again, because together they illuminate an exhilarating path toward deliverance from a mental health “system” gone mad. In this book, Soteria’s stories about how people can support and help others experiencing extreme mental and emotional crises emerge in loving (and sometimes humorous) detail. Here, the authors detail how dissident mental health workers, professionals, and researchers heroically championed an historic project in the face of a tidal wave of repression from the arrogant, tradition-bound psychiatric profession. These stories teach us how to survive a confused, drug-addicted, authoritarian, and, at times, deadly mental health establishment. For all those who—when confronted with psychiatry’s crimes—ask, “But what’s the alternative?” Soteria offers an elegant reply. It tells the inside story of an effective, hopeful, commonsense, empowering alternative to mainstream mental health practices.
David Oaks, Executive Director
MindFreedom Support Coalition International
454 Willamette, Suite 216 – POB 11284
Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA