Minutes of meetings, 6-10 September 1999, Chile Print


6-10 September 1999 , Santiago, Chile

There were about 50 users/survivors of psychiatry present during the meetings - from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany, Finland, Chile, Argentina and Britain

The meetings were chaired by Iris Holling, Mary O'Hagan and Bill Compton
Monday 6 September

The participants introduced themselves.

Ground rules were agreed for the meetings:

  • English speakers - speak slowly and clearly.
  • Respect each other and our differences.
  • Share the speaking - especially with people from countries of cultures who have not had much input.
  • Keep to the topic.

There was a discussion on WNUSP relationship to World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) particularly on the ways WFMH could involve users and survivors more.
Tuesday 7 September

The history of the World Federation of Psychiatric Users (WFPU), now named the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP), was explained to the participants who had no previous involvement.

A brief introduction to WFMH was given.

It was clarified that WNUSP is a separate organisation from WFMH

The participants unanimously supported the nominations of Janet Meagher (Australia) and Sylvia Caras (USA) as the user/survivor candidates for the WFMH board.

Four resolutions from WNUSP to WFMH were approved to be presented at the WFMH general assembly later that day:

   1. Because of concern about the spread of forced psychiatric procedures into the community, it is resolved that WFMH supports the position of WNUSP in opposition to involuntary outpatient commitment
   2. As a first step toward increasing the involvement of users and survivors of psychiatry in WFMH, it is resolved that two user and survivor Board seats be created and implemented today. On behalf of users and survivors present at this Congress we affirm the Board candidates - Janet Meagher and Sylvia Caras.
   3. It is resolved that the WFMH Board re-affirm the recommendations adopted in London and the Resolution passed in Finland concerning the meaningful involvement in WFMH of users and survivors of psychiatry, and develop an action implementation plan on this issue.
   4. That the WFMH Board and the people who attend the Congress reflect and respect the cultural diversity of their regions and of the world.

Support was given for a resolution to be offered by the Chilean Consumers at the general assembly.
Wednesday 8 September

Janet Meagher and Sylvia Caras were congratulated on their election to the WFMH board.

The recommendations to formalise WNUSP prepared by the pre-conference meeting were tabled and discussed.

One change was made to the recommendations. Aim 2 was extended to include the words in bold: 'To develop effective information exchange among user and survivor organisations in each country and individuals active in the movement'

The recommendations were then unanimously adopted by the participants present.

The following internal decision making process for WNUSP was adopted:

Stage I - Receipt of Communication
Letter or communication received by a member of interim committee that requires a response or action. That person is to respond immediately by acknowledging the receipt to the sender.

Stage 2 - Circulation
If a broad response or opinion is required, the material should be circulated to interim committee members. The recipient could do this, or if electronic, it could be e-mailed to Sylvia Caras.

Stage 3 - Timing
Urgent: If an urgent response is required, the interim committee members wishing to respond must do so in approximately one week. It is suggested that the recipient draft a proposed response for comment to be distributed with the request when circulated. This would save time.

Non-urgent: If there is no apparent urgency, interim committee members would have up to a month to consider their responses.

Stage 4 - Response
Responsibility for finalisation of the issue and seeing that an appropriate response is made rests with the original recipient. They could delegate this responsibility to another committee member if both mutually agree to do so. Urgent correspondence is to be responded to in approximately one week. Non-urgent correspondence is to be responded to in approximately one month.

If there are no interim committee responses to a communication within the timelines given, the original recipient responds (or the delegated interim committee member) as agreed.

Participants from each of the four WNUSP regions were asked to select two interim committee members from their region and to announce their names at the meeting the next day.
Thursday 9 September

The interim committee was announced:

Asia / Pacific region:

  • Masaji Koganezwa (Japan)
  • Helen Connor (Australia)
  • Maria Mar (USA)
  • Graca Fernandes - to be confirmed (Brazil)
  • Mike Meyer (South Africa)
  • Ismail Mokhtar Abdelghani - to be confirmed (Egypt)
  • Iris Hölling (Germany),
  • Another European to be confirmed by the European Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry.

Mary O'Hagan (New Zealand) was appointed as an additional member by the participants present.

Janet Meagher and Sylvia Caras were co-opted onto the interim committee.

It was decided that no chairperson would be elected, to encourage the sharing of tasks and responsibilities among all the members of the interim committee.
Friday 10 September

Mary O'Hagan gave a report on her involvement in the panel to monitor the UN Standard Rules for the Equalisation of Opportunities of Persons with Disabilities.

Communication was discussed as a vital issue for the interim committee to work on - to ensure that the interim committee keep in touch with each other and WNUSP members, and that information on WNUSP be available in various languages.

A information technology sub-committee was established and appointed:
  • Ken Udagawa (Japan)
  • Ting Mintz (USA)
  • David Oaks (USA)
  • Helen Connor (Australia)
A financial sub-committee was also established and appointed:
  • Brian Coopper (USA)
  • Jean Campbell (USA)
  • Maria Mar (USA)

It was decided that all members of the interim committee and the sub-committees would form an email list to ensure everyone would receive all communications.

It was agreed that WNUSP and Support Coalition International stay in close contact to build on the work that has been done by both organisations.