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Will Hall

This article is about the mental health advocate, writer, and counselor. For other uses, see Will Hall (disambiguation)

Will Hall (born 1966) is an American mental health advocate,[1] counselor, writer, and teacher. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, he is a leader in the peer support movement and is an organizer within the psychiatric survivors movement.[2][3] Hall advocates the recovery approach to mental illness and is recognized internationally as an innovator in the treatment and societal response to psychosis.

In 2001, he co-founded the Freedom Center and from 2004-2009 was a co-coordinator for The Icarus Project. He has consulted for Mental Disability Rights International, the Family Outreach and Response Program,[4] and the Office on Violence Against Women, and in 2012 presented to the American Psychiatric Association's Institute on Psychiatric Services.

Hall hosts the FM radio program, "Madness Radio,"[5][6] syndicated on the Pacifica Network, and in 2009, co-founded Portland Hearing Voices.[7]

He lives in Portland, Oregon, New York City and Las Delicias, Costa Rica.


After graduating from the community studies program at the University of California Santa Cruz in 1986, Hall worked for the Santa Cruz Sun newspaper as a staff reporter and for the Resource Center for Nonviolence's[8] Brazil program. In 1988, he became Co-Director of the Earth Island Institute's Environmental Project on Central America, and traveled to El Salvador and Nicaragua during the civil wars in those countries.

In 1990, Hall began to suffer a deterioration of his mental health, and was involuntarily committed to San Francisco General Hospital in 1992. He spent a year in the public mental health system, including restraints, solitary confinement in a padded cell, and more than two months in locked wards at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.[9][10]

After leaving the traditional mental health system in 1993, Hall stopped taking psychiatric medications and began to reestablish his well-being using holistic health, spiritual training, and social supports.

In 1996, he worked in the planning department of the advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy in Portland, Oregon.

In 1997, became at student at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. After another mental health crisis in 1999, he left school and spent six months at the alternative residential facility, Burch House,[11] in New Hampshire.

In 2000, Hall moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, where he worked for five years at Broadside Bookshop.[12]

In 2001, he began speaking publicly about his mental health experiences, and with Oryx Cohen co-founded and did peer counseling at the Freedom Center in Northampton, a support, advocacy, and activism community run by people with psychiatric diagnoses.

In 2002, Hall joined activist Ed Russell to initiate a volunteer-run, low-power Pacifica Radio affiliate FM community radio station in Florence, Massachusetts called Valley Free Radio (VFR).[13]

He is host of "Madness Radio", an interview format radio show which began on VFR and is now syndicated on the Pacifica Radio Network, including KBOO in Oregon.[14][15]

From 2004-2009 he was on the co-coordinator collective of The Icarus Project, and he is author of Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs.[16][17]

He is director of Portland Hearing Voices in Portland, Oregon.[18] Hall has worked as a consultant for Mental Disability Rights International and done talks and trainings in many countries.[19]

He has a counseling, coaching and therapy practice. Hall has a Master of Arts in Process Work (MAPW) from the Process Work Institute in Portland, Oregon (2011) and a certificate in Open Dialogue through the Institute of Dialogic Practice in the village of Haydenville, Williamsburg, Massachusetts (2012).[20][21]

Hall has been a board member and founder of the Mental Health Association of Portland since 2008.

See also


  1. ^ Benedict Carey. "Revisiting Schizophrenia: Are Drugs Always Needed?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Family Outreach and Response". 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  5. ^ "Latest Shows". Madness Radio. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Portland Hearing Voices". Portland Hearing Voices. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  8. ^ "Resource Center for Nonviolence". Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  9. ^ "Will Hall". Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "LESSON 3.1 Spiritual Emergence". Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  12. ^ "Broadside Bookshop, Inc". Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  13. ^ "About". Madness Radio. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  14. ^ "Madness Radio | KBOO". 2013-10-28. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Harm Reduction Guide To Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs & Withdrawal". The Icarus Project. 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  17. ^ "Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs: Will Hall: 9780980070927: Books". Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  18. ^ Mad’ men and women embrace their mental health issues | News | - Portland News, Sports, Traffic Weather and Breaking News - Portland, Oregon"'". Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  19. ^ "Will Hall, Author at Mad In America". Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  20. ^,DiplPW_Portland_Oregon_117901
  21. ^ "Institute for Dialogic Practice". Retrieved 2013-11-12. 

External links

  • Will Hall's website
  • Will Hall's May 2013 Psychiatry Grand Rounds talk at Oregon Health & Science University
  • "Freedom To Sit: Welcoming People With Psychiatric Disabilities At Meditation Retreats," June, 2007 Turning Wheel Buddhist Magazine
  • "Mad Men and Women Embrace Their Mental Health Issues" November 2009, KATU TV Portland Oregon
  • "(Low) Power To The People: How Pirate Radio Became Legal and Why Northampton Might Benefit," May 2001, Valley Advocate
  • "Mad Medicine," June 25, 2009 Portland Mercury newspaper
  • Freedom Center
  • Madness Radio
  • The Icarus Project
  • Valley Free Radio
  • Portland Hearing Voices
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