Back to All Events

Protests of the American Psychiatric Association: Dissent, Progress, and Accountability

  • East Village Access 242 East 2nd Street New York (map)


Each year since the 1960s, protesters have gathered at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association to protest a wide range of issues. Protesters include community members, people with lived experience, family members, and psychiatric care providers representing a variety of perspectives. Some of the concerns that protesters express include forced treatment and coercion, over-emphasis on the biomedical model, and diagnosing individuals as ill while ignoring systemic oppressions.


On September 3, IDHA is holding a community discussion centered around protests and actions towards psychiatry and the APA. How do we engage the psychiatric community, both from within and from outside? How do we acknowledge the emotional labor from psychiatric survivors who enter into psychiatric spaces as activists? How can we work together as psychiatrists and psych survivors towards social change, when current systems make this difficult?

During the May 2019 APA meeting in San Francisco, a group of psychiatrists who participated in past protests or have dissenting opinions about the field presented a workshop on the history of protests from 1971 to the present day. These presenters will share their work on developing this workshop, presenting a history of protests within the APA, and the negotiations and difficult compromises made in an attempt to engage psychiatrists in the conversation. We then welcome discussion on this work as well as sharing of experiences from group members on engaging/dissenting with psychiatry.


Daniel Fisher, MD, PhD
Xinlin Chen, MD
Jessica Isom, MD, MPH
Tamar Debora Lavy, MD
Swapnil Gupta, MBBS, MD

This event is open to all people, including people with lived experience as well as psychiatrists or other mental health providers. We recognize the diverse set of perspectives, including people with lived experience offering alternative explanatory models and mental health professionals offering criticisms on their careers and research.