You are receiving this information and these instructions because you have expressed an interest in possibly filing a complaint about harm from psychiatric diagnosis. You may file a complaint if (1) you yourself were harmed; (2) you have (or had) a loved one who was harmed; or (3) you are an "interested party," which means that in some capacity or other (as a professional, an employee, a friend, or otherwise an observer), you have been aware of and troubled by the harm caused by psychiatric diagnosis.
Before you begin: (A) Understand that you may wish to file a complaint against the professional(s) who gave you the label(s), but this template is not for such a complaint. This template is ONLY for those who wish to file a complaint against the members of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) who edited or otherwise bear some responsibility for the currently used edition of the DSM. The reason is this: The APA is a lobby group that publishes and profits from the DSM. The APA has a set of Ethical Principles that all of their members are expected to follow. This template is for a complaint against those APA members who have the most responsibility for harm from the DSM, because they are the originators of the problem: They created the DSM manual and publicized it as scientifically-grounded, and they did not, instead, take care to make it widely known that it is not scientifically-grounded and that it helps in only one or two ways and carries risk of a huge number of kinds of harm, often irreversible, and has been known to cause death. The professionals who assigned you DSM labels should, of course, have made sure to educate themselves adequately, and if they had done so, they would have learned that the manual is not scientific, is unlikely to help, and can cause tremendous harm. Filing a complaint with the APA against the DSM editors will not prevent you from filing a complaint against the professional(s) who assigned you the label(s).
The APA's instructions for filing a complaint make it clear that no complaint will be considered unless it relates to the past 10 years. Wait - do not stop reading here if you received your label(s) more than 10 years ago. That will be addressed in a moment. The DSM-IV was published in 1994, and the most recent edition, DSM-IV-TR (the "TR" stands for "text revised") differs only slightly from DSM-IV and was published in 2000.
About the 10-year limit: The APA's statute of limitations deals with harm suffered or events occurring in the past 10 years. Although one can never predict on what grounds they might dismiss any given complaint, it would seem to be worth arguing that whenever you were diagnosed (say, 1990, for example), if you have suffered as a result within the past 10 years, your suffering might have been reduced if the DSM-IV editors had taken steps to publicize the lack of science in their manual, or the harm it can cause, or if they had taken steps to redress the harm. Therefore, the statute of limitations may state suffering "in the last ten years", which is not the same as having been diagnosed in the last ten years.
(B) Find out if at least one of the diagnoses you were given (or your loved one or other people you have seen hurt in this way) came from the DSM-IV or DSM-IV-TR. You can do this in a number of ways. Sometimes the label (Bipolar Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, etc.) is written on a drug prescription paper or a lab order or a lab report. You may have copies of other documents from your charts that show which labels you were given. Sometimes the labels come from a different diagnostic manual, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is published by the World Health Organization. The DSM and ICD sometimes use the same words in their labels, but they have different numbers for the same label. So try to find a 3-digit, 4-digit, or 5-digit code next to a label you were given, and then go to psychdiagnosis.weebly.com, and look in the document called "DSM codes and Work Group members," and see if it is listed there. Another possibility is to contact the hospital, the practitioner, or the clinic where you were labeled - including the military or the Department of Veterans Affairs - and ask whether they use the DSM or the ICD, and ask to get that statement from them in writing. You can also request that they send you copies of your whole chart or just those pages on which are found your psychiatric diagnosis or diagnoses.
(C) Write out your own personal story (or the story of your loved one, or of others you have seen harmed), and try to do it in no more than two or three pages. The reason to keep it brief is to make as clear as possible the following points: (i) What was happening in your life (or the other person's, or people's), and how you (or the other person/s) were feeling or acting at the time of being labeled, and thus describe what you think they were using as "evidence" that you (or the other person/s) were mentally ill; (ii) Who assigned the label(s) and in what year. Be sure to make the connections between (i) and (ii) for each label (e.g., the person had experienced the death of someone they loved, they were deeply sad, and a psychiatrist said they had Major Depressive Disorder and needed psychiatric drugs or electroshock); (iii) What harm, economic or noneconomic, you (or the other person/s) suffered because of being labeled, such as suffering in relationships, decreased sense of self-worth or self-confidence, wages lost due to suffering, jobs lost, being billed for psychiatric services you never asked for, etc; (iv) What year the harm ended, or, if any or all of it has ended yet; (v) If you (or the other person/s) have found anything to be helpful, what was it?
(D) Note that the APA says that its Ethics Complaint proceedings are confidential, but there is no way ever to be certain that confidentiality will be maintained at their end. It is not that one should assume they will breach confidentiality, but simply that it is essential to be aware that it is not impossible, and it is not clear what recourse you would have if they should do that. You might want to ask a lawyer about that if it concerns you.
(E) Be aware that it is possible that absolutely nothing will result from your filing the complaint. As of today, there is no way of predicting that, until we learn what, if anything, the APA's Ethics Department will do about the first batch of complaints that were filed in late June/early July of 2012. It is too early to worry about that, because these things take time. Be aware, too, that if the APA decides to investigate your complaint, ask for further information, or hold a hearing, it may take years before any of that happens, before it is completed, and/or before they render a decision.
(F) Understand that this is a grassroots effort. There is no organization or funding to help complainants. The objectives are (1) to demonstrate the harm caused by psychiatric diagnosis, based on the widespread but mistaken beliefs that it is scientifically based, that it can be helpful, and that it is not harmful; and (2) to hold the key people in the APA ethically accountable. If you have any questions or encounter any problems, please contact the person from whom you heard about the complaints, or send a message through the Contact Form at http://psychdiagnosis.weebly.com/contact-us.html.
(G) Once you have done the above, you will have done almost all the work necessary for filing the complaint. At that point, please send a message through the Contact Form a http://psychdiagnosis.weebly.com/contact-us.html , simply saying you are ready to receive the template, and you should receive it within about ten days.
At no time do you have to disclose your real name or identity to us, because we realize that some people will feel too vulnerable or otherwise apprehensive about doing this. But if you wish to do so, feel free, and know that we will never disclose your name or contact information to anyone.
Best regards, Grassroots Group to End Harm from Psychiatric Diagnosis
"He who sees a need and waits to be asked for help is as unkind as if he had refused it." - Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)