May 2019


Hello friends, comrades, and community partners~ 

We recognize that people have been hurt and re-traumatized by the mental health industrial complex. We also understand that is why some people might feel skeptical of a grassroots group called "Mental Health Providers Unite!" Over the past four decades, the mental health industrial complex has used the biomedical model to understand and explain mental and emotional suffering.The biomedical model continues to cause harm with its narrow scope. It puts entirely too much focus on individuals.  As therapists who work with marginalized populations, we have seen firsthand how capitalism, white supremacy, settler colonialism, and other systems of oppression generate mental and emotional distress. Clearly, there are very powerful and entrenched interests and agendas that keep many of us in the Mental Health profession from speaking out against the structural inequalities that significantly contribute to all of this suffering.  

Mental Health Providers Unite! started out as a response to the 2016 presidential election results. As our affinity group has evolved over the last few years it has become clear that our work is not explicitly focused on uniting mental health providers. We are a core group of 6 people imagining a new radical world that has both love and intensity. So we've decided to change our group name to Empathy Riot!  For us, empathy riot means holding the complexity of compassion and chaos. It's a more expansive name that will allow us to organize specifically around a radical perspective of Mental Health.

Empathy is about growing, creatively connecting, and healing. 
Riot is about disrupting, interrupting, and challenging. 

As part of this name change we will be deleting our closed Facebook group for Mental Health Providers and transition to a community page that is open to the public. We invite you to like Empathy Riot's new public community page!  

We will continue our grassroots organizing and community collaborations. We look forward to new opportunities to cultivate connections with other radical mental health providers and to challenge the status quo in mainstream Mental Health.  

In solidarity, 
Kirk, Karen, Nicci, Leah, Anna, and Carissa 

Please connect with us on Instagram! 


Our Asylum Support Mental Health Evaluation Volunteer Training provided an opportunity to grow our volunteer network.  The current administrations proposed sweeping new rules for asylum-seekers would make it more difficult, and more expensive, for to folks to seek refuge in the U.S. That makes this work even more urgent now.  We are so grateful for the collaboration with Innovation Law Lab and to all of the volunteers willing to get scrappy and creative.     

Care Not Cops asks you to call or email the City Council members to call for reductions to the police budget and investments in life-sustaining services and resources.

Mayor Ted Wheeler   503-823-4120
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty 503-823-4151
Commissioner Chloe Eudaly 503-823-4682
Commissioner Nick Fish 503-823-3589
Commissioner Amanda Fritz 503-823-3008

Email or phone script:

Dear Commissioner,
As Portland moves closer to approving the budget for next fiscal year, I ask that you use your budgetary voting powers to reduce the violence of policing and build up community resources. As a resident of Portland, I'm deeply disturbed by the actions of the Portland Police Bureau in profiling, harassing, and killing Black people, houseless people, and people perceived to be in mental health crisis. Through the budget process you have an opportunity to end Portland's racist anti-gang policing program, reduce the violence of the Police Bureau by eliminating their budget for filling vacant positions, invest in longterm solutions for Portland's houseless community, and support residents' mental health needs without policing. Ensure that Portland's budget represents Portland's values, reject the proposed $10 million increase to the Police Bureau.

Name and Affiliation (if any)


MAY is the last Support Group before SUMMER BREAK! They will resume in September!

Mental Health Worker Support Groups

Wednesday, May 22nd 2019
4115 N. Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217
Facilitated by volunteers- Leah and Anna

In collaboration with Critical Resistance PDX, we invite you to join us in learning more about the ways in which injustice and incarceration cause significant harm and why a punishment based criminal system does nothing to address the healing or restoration of our collective communities.   


Saturday, June 8th 2019

$10-25 Sliding Scale

Location: Dismantle, Change, Build Center
14 Northeast Killingsworth Street
Portland, OR 97211

*Food will be provided*

Reclaim a more radical, trauma-informed, social justice oriented self care! 
  Wednesday, June 5, 2019
7 PM – 9 PM
 232 SE 80th Ave (Montavilla UMC)

"The defense of self and of loved ones in the community is something everyone should have access to and be empowered to participate in. This is particularly true for marginalized communities who experience violence. Right now there is an intensity of state and institutional violence, including violence enacted by those who act as the state's private militia such as white supremacists, transphobes, homophobes and fascists."

About the class:  
Class is taught to the ability of those present. 

There is shower, laundry and sauna access. 
To protect yourself, those in class, the equipment and matt, please wear gym clothes (clothes only for the gym that are cleaned and washed after each use). Clothes with no buttons, zippers or pins ect). 
No shoes are worn on the mat.
Kids are welcome. There is no child care but there is semi-supervised space to play. 


July 21st 2019  Empathy Riot SUMMER PICNIC!  

Let's hang out, eat good food, listen to some music, and connect with other radical folks who are doing the work. 

#JoyfulResistance #RadicalMentalHealthCommunity

More details to come! 

Amidst the larger political struggles, stressors, and fears, we know you are working hard to support your clients. We may feel exhausted, numb, or like we can never do enough. These and other symptoms, affect us collectively.

Let's meet these challenges together!