David Oaks

Job role: 
Member type: 
Policy Maker
Brief Biography: 

David W. Oaks, former Executive Director of MindFreedom International, has been a psychiatric survivor human rights activist since 1976. David’s parents were working class, and he was raised in the south side of Chicago. In the Fall of 1973 David attended Harvard on scholarships, including from his father’s union. While he was in college, David was placed in psychiatric institutions five times, and he experienced forced psychiatric drug injections and solitary confinement. In 1976, Harvard’s student volunteer agency Phillips Brooks House placed David as an intern with one of the early psychiatric survivor human rights organizations. With support from peers and his family, David used exercise, nutrition, counseling, wilderness trips, protest, and employment to recover mental and emotional well being. He graduated from Harvard with honors and has been off all psychiatric drugs since 1977. In December 2012 David experienced an accident, he fell and broke his neck and became a quadriplegic using a powerchair. David lives with his wife Debra in Eugene, Oregon and loves his garden. David now is an activist for a nonviolent revolution not only in mental health, but in challenging climate crisis denial. He blogs at http://www.davidwoaks.com

Regions of interest: 
North America
Disorders of interest: 
Psychosis/bipolar disorder
United States of America
David W. Oaks, psychiatric survivor activist

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