Oryx Cohen, M.P.A., is a leader in the international consumer/survivor/ex-patient (c/s/x) movement. Currently he is the Director of the National Empowerment Center's (NEC's) Technical Assistance Center. Among other responsibilities, he assists states that have an underdeveloped consumer/survivor voice to find that voice and then work toward transforming the mental health systems in those states to become peer-driven and recovery-oriented. Prior to joining NEC, Oryx was Co-Director of the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community. He helped to spearhead an innovative peer-run approach focusing on recovery, healing, and community. Oryx is also the co-founder of Freedom Center, the Pioneer Valley's only independent peer-run support/activist organization. Freedom Center's purpose is to empower and support people with psychiatric labels while challenging oppressive mental health policies and practices. He has served on the board of the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA).
Oryx is featured in Agnes's Jacket: A Psychologist's Search for the Meanings of Madness, a book by Gail Hornstein, where Oryx and fellow Freedom Center co-founder Will Hall are compared to the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Oryx serves on several boards and committees internationally, nationally, and regionally, including the Hearing Voices Network USA Working Group. Oryx volunteered for several years with MindFreedom International, directing its Oral History Project. This project involved collecting and documenting c/s/x stories of abuse, empowerment, and healing in the mental health system. Oryx is also adjunct faculty in the Westfield State College Psychology Department.
This event is also a fundraiser for the new peer organization in Louisiana, Meaningful Minds United. We encourage donations, which are tax-deductible and will help their nonprofit work.