What is ICI Connect?
ICI Connect is a simple, free online platform that is designed to help people who are asking questions or thinking critically about the mental health system find and connect with each other in person. After creating basic profiles, members can search by location and/or interest for other members who live nearby in order to connect, share information, spark new friendships or collaborations, provide mutual support or advocacy, organize public learning events or groups, set up crisis networks, or begin to build grassroots community alternatives to the mental health system. Our members are generally people who’ve experienced or witnessed some of the misleading, coercive or harmful aspects of our current mental health system – we’re part of a rapidly growing segment of society that has become passionate about developing alternative approaches and building more mutually supportive and socially just communities beyond the mental health system.
- Click here to join us! (Existing TWP Connect members who want to join ICI Connect should log in first and click the “ICI Connect” tab under “My Account”.)
- Want to learn more first? Read on below! And read more about our principles, values and mission.
- Are you someone who has withdrawn, is withdrawing, or is considering withdrawing from psychiatric drugs? Then our sister group TWP Connect may also be of interest to you!
Who is ICI Connect for and not for?
You should join ICI Connect if you are one of the increasing number of people who are grappling in some way with the problems of today’s mental health system, and are starting to wonder about – or are already sure of – the need for more than just minor changes.
Perhaps, from witnessing the impacts first-hand, you’ve become concerned about the mental health system’s medicalized model of care and its frequent uses of coercion and force. Maybe you or someone you know has been harmed more than helped by psychiatric diagnoses or interventions. Or maybe you’re wondering about why we keep hearing about ever larger numbers of people struggling with “mental health problems” even as mental health interventions are becoming ever more widely used. But whatever perspectives inform our concerns or how long we’ve had them for, they all bring us to the same questions: If the mental health system doesn’t have our answers, where else can we turn? And how do we find others who feel similarly? These are the questions that led us to create ICI Connect.
For those of us at Inner Compass Initiative who’ve been writing and speaking publicly about these issues, we hear from more and more people every day who are eagerly seeking information, insights, support, validation, and hope from others who understand or have “been there”. They’re yearning to find others who want to come together in however big or small a way to begin to imagine and build different resources, options, and supportive spaces. And, perhaps more than anything, they’re simply seeking good old-fashioned, human connections: Those warm, real-world, in-person, shake-my-hand, look-into-my-eyes, share-our-stories-together kinds of connections. Yet they tell us that it’s often hard, if not impossible, to find people or groups in their own communities that take a human-centered, spiritually open, scientifically critical, non-clinical and civil rights-focused approach to understanding and addressing emotional and mental difficulties.
That’s what ICI Connect is for. Through creating new connections and relationships, we can inspire new hope and possibility, plant new seeds, and lay foundations for different pathways forward—each one of us becomes a vital asset in a growing grassroots movement.
ICI Connect is not for everyone. We all arrive at our questions and critical perspectives from different backgrounds and experiences, on different timelines, and in different ways, and ICI Connect is intended to be an understanding, safe and respectful space for all of our members. With that said, there are some attitudes and beliefs that our members consider to be both untrue and extremely harmful, and if you firmly believe them, then we ask that you not register for ICI Connect at this time. Please do not register to join ICI Connect if you firmly believe, without question, in one or more of the following claims:
- “Mental disorders have been scientifically proven to be biological diseases that require medical interventions, and the only valid, trustworthy perspectives on mental disorders and treatments come from medically trained doctors and mental health professionals.”
- “People who resist their psychiatric diagnoses or the treatments given to them by medical doctors or mental health professionals only do so because they lack insight into their illnesses.”
- “It is offensive, irresponsible, and even dangerous when people publicly challenge the scientific validity of psychiatric diagnoses or the safety and effectiveness of common psychiatric treatments.”
- “Forcibly giving people psychiatric drugs against their wills is sometimes necessary for their own good.”
If you firmly believe that any one of the above claims is undeniably true and beyond question, please do not apply to join ICI Connect – instead, we encourage you to take some time to explore the educational materials available on our website. And note that we use the phrase “firmly believe”; if you have in the past believed these things—even firmly—but now find yourself questioning these beliefs and feel open to exploring and learning with others about alternative ideas and approaches, then we encourage and welcome you to join ICI Connect!
How does ICI Connect work?
Every member chooses a username and completes a simple profile indicating a little about themselves, where they are located, and their main interests in connecting with others. Members can easily search for and find each other based on their mutual interests and/or their geographic location. Common interests include, for example, connecting for one-on-one meet-ups with fellow ex-patients, family members or critically-minded practitioners, or finding others interested in organizing mutual aid groups, local discussion groups and learning events.
Members can contact each other privately by means of a contact form. When you choose to contact a member by clicking the member’s “Contact” button and completing the contact form, your message and the email address that you provided during ICI Connect registration will be automatically routed to that member’s personal email inbox. After that, the member who receives your message can choose to email you directly at your email address.
ICI Connect is not a fully developed social media platform, and it may never be – its primary purpose is to help people find each other in their own local communities. However, we will be actively seeking input from our members about how we can improve the platform’s usefulness.
Is ICI Connect confidential?
How do I join?
Are you feeling ready to join ICI Connect? Great! Just click on the link below. After you submit your registration form, you’ll receive an automatic email notification indicating that it has been received and that an ICI Connect administrator will review your application soon. Once approved (normally within a day or two), you’ll receive another notice and you’ll be ready to log in and start using ICI Connect.
Registration Troubleshooting Tip: If, after submitting your registration, you're informed that you've left a field null, go back and make sure to do both of the following:
- Place a pin on the geographical map
- Fill out every field that has a red asterisk
The Connect Pledge: Guiding Principles for Participating in ICI Connect/TWP Connect
The Connect Pledge
By joining and continuing to participate in the ICI Connect and/or TWP Connect communities, I agree to abide by the following guidelines:
- I have read the “About ICI Connect” and/or the “About TWP Connect” page(s) and am in alignment with these values.
- I will be honest in the information that I share about myself with other Connect members, while also taking responsibility to protect my personal boundaries and privacy to the degree to which I am comfortable. I understand that I am free – and indeed encouraged by ICI/TWP for my own privacy – to register for membership using an email address and a rough geographic location that do not specifically identify who I am to others.
- I understand that ICI/TWP does not and cannot reasonably vet each registration submission or profile for its factual accuracy. Therefore, I accept that all responsibilities and risks lie with me to make decisions about contacting other members and to make decisions about if, when, and how to reveal identifying or personal information to other members or meet in person with other members.
- I will contact fellow Connect members in a manner that is thoughtful and intentional. If another member does not respond to my request for contact, I will respect that and not repeatedly keep trying to contact that member in a harassing manner. I can expect the same intentionality and respect from other Connect members who are trying to contact me.
- I respect the principles of confidentiality and agree not to disclose to any person or entity – either within Connect or outside of it – any personally identifiable information about another member without that member’s express consent.
- I understand that different people arrive at critical perspectives on all things “mental health” on different timelines, in different ways, from different backgrounds, and with different experiences, resources, opportunities, and belief systems. I pledge to treat all members of ICI Connect and/or TWP Connect with respect and understanding and to meet all members where they are at on their journey, and I can expect the same respect and understanding from them in return.
- I will not use ICI Connect or TWP Connect to promote professional services of any kind or commercial-affiliated, religious-affiliated, or professional service organizations, and understand that if I do so my membership may be terminated.