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    NAMI-California Shows Little Compassion for Mental Health Consumers


    by Dan E. Weisburd Editor of _The JOURNAL_

    You may broadcast via e-mail what I'm about to tell you far and wide. In recent years the NAMI California Board of Directors has gone from being mediocre to being a malicious absurdity. In the process I have become a prime target for the simple reason that I am pro-consumer and pro-patient's rights. They worship E. Fuller Torrey, MD, who is a good person but has succumbed to selling involuntary treatment by branding unmedicated people with mental illness as violent, and I've pointed out his fallacious and unsubstantiated statistics.

    The simple truth of the current state of affairs is that _The JOURNAL_ is no more. Period.

    The board of directors of NAMI California, through its attorney, has informed me that it has suspended _The JOURNAL_. In addition they voted to glue shut my traditional Publisher's Note pages opening the "Mental Illness and the Law" issue because Brian Jacobs, the board president, got an attorney to give the opinion that my calling into question the views of E. Fuller Torrey, MD (a public person -- published in _The NY Times_, _Washington Post_, etc.) could constitute defamation.

    Again, showing me no courtesy, had they have called on me they could have learned that I had obtained four authoritative legal opinions to the contrary including one from a former Harvard Law School professor who taught First Amendment and defamation law. Plus, they could have learned that sources cited by Torrey had told the National Stigma Clearinghouse that their work in no way substantiated his claims of 1,000 murders a year by persons with serious mental illness. My concern was labeling our people as violent and that that stigma-raiser was printed, without hesitation or verification by some of our nation's best newspapers!

    True to this board's form they did not even notify me of their decision to suspend _The JOURNAL_ until after the "WELLNESS" issue was off the press. Brian Jacobs, the board president, upon reading my Publisher's Note in that issue went to Martha Long, Director of The Village ISA and Richard Van Horn, her boss at MHA-LA County and tried to persuade them to send a letter protesting what I had written. You should know that I am recognized as the "Godfather of the Village" and am very proud of it and fond of its staff, having chaired (1986-8) the California Economic Development Commission's Task Force on Serious Mental Illness, which conceptualized the Integrated Service Agency (ISA) Concept -- The Village being the first model of that concept. You should also know that my son, David, is a member of the ten year old Village, and has been there for almost three years now, and is employed, happy and doing well despite his very "voicey" schizophrenia.

    When they (Long and Van Horn) refused to write a critical letter, and Van Horn even told Jacobs that he agreed with the thrust of my column -- that good medical care was needed for our population -- Jacobs nevertheless went to his attorney and his Executive Committee and got concurrence to once again glue shut my Publisher's Note -- this time in the "WELLNESS" issue, before mailing it out. But, typical of their ineptitude, they didn't even do a good glue job. People have been calling me asking why this was done, and saying it was silly and offensive and easy to pull apart.

    But the event is not silly. It is censorship.

    Perhaps next they will burn the books (press over runs) that are in storage and have an approximate $250,000 value when sold at conferences or by mail. That value belongs to the members of this 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is not to be taken lightly by those who accept board responsibility. Few magazines live beyond three years. _The JOURNAL_ lived 11. I believe it is now dead, and that they, the board of NAMI California have knowingly killed it, for reasons known best to them.

    In 1989 when, as 1st Vice president of CAMI, I was given carte blanch to create a new publication as long as I raised all the money for it and would not take liquor or tobacco funds, I took the responsibility seriously. Over the years I have raised more than two million dollars to produce the 44 issues contained in the 11 volumes of what has become _The JOURNAL_, and never was there ever a talk of censorship. I am very proud of the legacy I leave behind, and will never kowtow to a dictatorship -- not in these United States. What sorry times our family movement has fallen upon, and what a sad excuse for leadership we have now holding power.


    Dan E. Weisburd 10260 Moorpark Street Toluca Lake, CA 91602

    (818) 769-3252



    Please keep your messages to NAMI *civil*.


    NAMI national says this is a state concern. But national NAMI needs to speak out. The national NAMI board helped remove executive director Laurie Flynn on Jan. 1, 2001. They are searching for a new director.

    Sample message: "Please pick a director who speaks out for freedom, not censorship and forced drugging."

    E-mail to NAMI's national director of public policy Andrew Sperling at:

    NAMI's toll free help line 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) extension 2.

    Other NAMI national contact information:


    E-mail to:

    If you'd like, copy complaints to NAMI California to both Dan Weisburd at and Support Coalition at

    NAMI CALIFORNIA phone: (916) 567-0163

    (They still have copies of the glued "censored JOURNAL": "Mental Illness and the Law" and "Wellness" are available from NAMI California for $10 a copy. Or $55 for 10 copies.)


    Support Coalition International speaks out about human rights in the "mental health system." SCI's journal _Dendron_ doesn't censor human rights news! Information below on how to join. Tell NAMI their censorship inspired you to join Support Coalition!



    You can now join, donate and renew with Support Coalition International by VISA/MasterCard via a secure web server:

    To contact or join Support Coalition International other ways: Phone 9 am to 5 pm Pacific Time at (541) 345-9106. Or you can join toll free at 1-877-MAD-PRIDE (623-7743). Or fax at any time to (541) 345-3737. Or write to: Support Coalition; PO Box 11284; Eugene, OR 97440 USA. Or e-mail: [email protected] Donations tax deductible.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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