Brief bio of David W. Oaks, MFI Director

by David W. Oaks — last modified 2008-01-09 12:31

David W. Oaks, director of MindFreedom International, has been a psychiatric survivor human rights activist since 1976. David was a working class student attending Harvard University on scholarship in the 1970's when he experienced psychiatric institutionalization five times. He was diagnosed schizophrenic, and underwent forced psychiatric drugging and solitary confinement.

Harvard's student volunteer agency Phillips Brooks House placed David with one of the early psychiatric survivor human rights organizations, Mental Patients Liberation Front. David wrote his senior paper about community organizing with psychiatric survivors, and graduated with honors in 1977.

As well as his activist work in the field of human rights in the mental health system, David has also worked in the environmental, peace and social justice movements.

David lives with his wife Debra in Oregon and loves camping and gardening.

David is available for speaking engagements and workshops. He has presented on topics such as "community organizing for independent systems change in the mental health system" to a diverse range of participants including in Chile, Norway, Ireland, Turkey and throughout the USA.

E-mail address: oaks (at)

David gives workshops! For a description of his most popular workshop -- Community Organizing for Independent Systems Change -- click here.

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Judi Chamberlin

Judi is considered one of the most effective international psychiatric survivor activists. Judi is shown here holding the National Council on Disability report From Privileges to Rights, which her good friend the late Rae Unzicker helped create. Judi has served for years on the MFI board. (Photo by Tom Olin)