(The Tenth Annual International Conference on Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression, held in Toronto, Canada on May 14-18, 1982, adopted the following principles.)

1. We oppose involuntary psychiatric intervention including civil committal and the administration of psychiatric procedures ("treatments") by force or coercion or without informed consent. 

2. We oppose involuntary psychiatric intervention because it an unethical and unconstitutional denial of freedom, due process and the right to be let alone. 

3. We oppost involuntary psychiatric intervention because it is a violation of the individual's right to control his or her own soul, mind and body. 

4. We oppose forced psychiatric procedures such as drugging, electroshock, restraints, solitary confinement, and "adversive behavior modification."

5. We oppose forced psychiatric procedures because they humiliate, debilitate, injure, incapacitate, and kill people. 

6. We oppose forced psychiatric procedures because they are at best quackery and at worst tortures which can and do cause severe and permanent harm to the total being of people subjected to them. 

7. We oppose the psychiatric system because it is inherently tyrannical.

8. We oppose the psychiatric system because it is an extra-legal parallel police force which supresses cultural and political dissent. 

9. We oppose the psychiatric system because it punishes individuals who have had or claim to have had spiritual experiences and invalidates these experiences by defining them as "symptoms" of " mental illness." 

10. We oppose the psychiatric system because it uses the trappings of medicine and science to mask the social-control function it serves.

11. We oppose the psychiatric system because it invalidates the real needs of poor people by offering social welfare under the guise of psychiatric "care" and "treatment." 

12. We oppose the psychiatric system because it feeds on the poor and powerless, the elderly, women, children, sexual minorities, people of color and immigrants. 

13. We oppose the psychiatric system because it creates a stigmatized class of society that is easily oppressed and controlled. 

14. We oppose the psychiatric system because its growing influence in education, the prisons, the military, government, industry and medicine threatens to turn society into a psychiatric state made up of two classes: those who impose "treatment" and those who have or are likely to have it imposed on them. 

15. We oppose the psychiatric system because it is frighteningly similar to the Inquisition, chattel slavery, and the Nazi concentration camps. 

16. We oppose the medical model of "mental illness" because it justifies involuntary psychiatric intervention, including forced drugging.

17. We oppose the medical model of "mental illness" because it dupes the public into seeking or accepting "voluntary" treatment by fostering the notion that fundamental human problems, whether personal or social, can be solved by psychiatric/medical means. 

18. We oppose the use of psychiatric terms because they substitute jargon for plain language and are fundamentally stigmatizing, demeaning, unscientific, mystifying and superstitious. Examples: 



psychiatric inmate = 'mental patient' 

psychiatric institution = 'mental hospital', 'mental health centre'

personal or social difficulties = 'mental illness' 

socially undesirable characteristic or trait = 'symptom' 

drugs = 'medication' 

drugging = 'chemotherapy' 

electroshock = 'electroconvulsive therapy' 

anger = 'hostility' 

enthusiasm = 'mania' 

joy = 'euphoria' 

fear = 'paranoia' 

sadness, unhappiness = 'depression' 

vision, spiritual experience = 'hallucination' 

non-conformity = 'schizophrenia' 

unpopular belief = 'delusion' 

19. We believe that people should have the right to live in any manner or lifestyle they choose. 

20. We believe that suicidal thoughts and attempts should not be dealt with as a legal or psychiatric issue. 

21. We believe that alleged dangerousness, whether to oneself or others, should not be considered grounds for denying personal liberty, and that only proven criminal acts should be the basis for such denial.

22. We believe that persons charged with crimes should be tried through due process of law, and that psychiatric professionals should not be given expert-witness status in criminal proceedings or courts of law. 

23. We believe that there should be no involuntary psychiatric interventions in prisons and that the prison system should be reformed and humanized.

24. We believe that so long as one individual's freedom is unjustly restricted, no one is truly free. 

25. We believe that the psychiatric system is, in fact, a pacification program controlled by psychiatrists and supported by other mental health professionals, whose chief function is to persuade, threaten, or force people into conforming to established norms and values. 

26. We believe that the psychiatric system cannot be reformed, and must be abolished. 

27. We believe that voluntary networks of communioty alternatives to the psychiatric system should be widely encouraged and supported. Alternatives such as self-help or mutual support groups, advocacy/rights groups, co-op houses, crisis centres and drop-ins should be controlled by the users themselves to serve their needs, while ensuring their dignity, freedom and self-respect.

28. We demand an end to involuntary psychiatric intervention. 

29. We demand individual liberty and social justice for all. 

30. We intend to realize our goals and will not rest until we do so. 



(This Bill of Rights was officially adopted by On Our Own, a self-help group of present and former psychiatric inmates, on October 29, 1982. These rights apply to all people incarcerated in any psychiatric institution, any psychiatric ward or unit in a general hospital or prison in Canada. This is not a legal document - no such bill has been passed anywhere in Canada.) 

1. The right to remain free of incarceration in any psychiatric facility. Alleged dangerousness or criminal acts should be dealt with in the criminal justice system. 

2. The right to due process - the right to a court hearing or trial by jury *before* incarceration or loss of freedom. 

3. The right of access to free legal advice, legal council or advocacy upon our request. 

4. The right to be represented by a lawyer of our choice during any or all steps of the civil commitment or admission process, Review Board or Advisory Review Board hearings. 

5. The right to remain silent during civil commitment or admission to any psychiatric facility. 

6. The right to be warned that information communicated to psychiatric staff during examination for civil commitment or admission to a psychiatric facility is *not* privileged or confidential. 

7. The right to refuse *any* psychiatric treatment, whether from a voluntary or involuntary inmate, without threat of reprisal or coercion of any kind. 

8. The right to refuse to be labelled or diagnosed since psychiatric diagnostic terms (e.g. "mentally ill," "psychotic," "schizophrenic," etc.) are unscientific, invalid, mystifying and stigmatizing. 

9. The right to informed consent to *any* treatment - to be fully informed by a doctor about: the nature and type of any treatment planned for us, the alleged "benefits" of the treatment, the known side-effects, adverse reactions or risks of the treatment, and the known and safe alternatives to the treatment *before* giving our consent.To be valid, our consent must also be freely given without any external pressure, threat of reprisal or coercion. 

10. The right to refuse to participate in any research or teaching program while incarcerated. 

11. The right to be fully informed within 24 hours of admission about the institutional rules and regulations and about our legal rights, including the right to a Review Board or court hearing. This information must be in plain language which we can read and understand, or interpreted for us in our native language. 

12. The right to wear our own clothes at any time while incarcerated.

13. The right to sanitary and humane living conditions while incarcerated.

14. The right to choose our own doctor or therapist while incarcerated.

15. The right to consult with any doctor, therapist or community health worker not affiliated with the psychiatric institution, ward or unit on which we are incarcerated. 

16. The right to immediate and competent medical treatment by a doctor of our own choice at our request. 

17. The right to be provided with nutritious food, including a kosher or vegetarian diet at our request. 

18. The right to refuse to participate in any activity or program in any psychiatric facility without threat of reprisal or coercion of any kind. 

19. The right to complete confidentiality of our medical and psychiatric records. 

20. The right of access to our own medical and psychiatric records, including the right to see, copy, and/or correct any part of these records.

21. The right to be paid *not less than the minimum wage* for any work we have performed in the institution. Such work will include any task performed in any so-called "industrial therapy" or "vocational rehabilitation" program or "sheltered workshop." 

22. The right to vote in any municipal, provincial or federal election, including the right to be enumerated and fully notified of the date, time and place of voting and assistance in travelling to the polling place at our request. 

23. The right to be provided with adequate financial assistance while incarcerated *and* upon leaving any psychiatric facility. 

24. The right to manage our own money and retain our personal possessions while incarcerated. 

25. The right to be informed of available housing alternatives and to be assisted in finding adequate and affordable housing in the community *before* our release from any psychiatric facility. 

26. The right not to be subjected to any form of cruel and unusual punishment as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

27. The right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times.

28. The right to control our own body, mind and life.

(Both of these documents were published in the book SHRINK RESISTANT: The Struggle Against Psychiatry in Canada - this book is an anthology of personal stories, poetry and art contributed by more than forty Canadian psychiatric survivors. It was edited by Bonnie Burstow and Don Weitz.)