Free Two Day Conference in Topeka for Kansans

Want to learn social media? Want to build your own job? Register Now! Spaces must be confirmed by Feb. 21!

Want to get connected with other people that know about complete mental health recovery? Become a certified “patient” advocate who can make a living helping people overcome their health care challenges? We can get you started! Click here to be a Kansas Grassroots Advocate! For only ($20, and there is a waiver for that $20) join the Kansas Mental Health Coalition to learn about grassroots advocacy. They have grant funding for hotel, food, and some travel reimbursement. We;ll have

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Obama’s mental health discussion comes to Kansas City!

I’m one of those mental health discussion weenies. I’m an advocate who pokes my head in a lot of corners because I learned a lot time ago that everything connects and makes sense. Really, mental health discussions, environmentalism, industrial food, transportation, water rights – all of the painful issues right now boil down to the same thing – there are some people out there making a lot of money off doing things in a way that doesn’t make sense. So inertia and lobbying money helps us keep doing things that don’t make sense instead of working to help the grass

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Clarifying business missions

This January I went to Cincinnati for a cluster of three business conferences, and to explore possible expansion of my online network to a satellite city. During the third conference, I got e-mail rejection notices for all the pending grants I had for my business, some of which I had thought were locked up. My friends helped me through it and suggested more networking and work on clarifying business missions. They also suggested I stay in touch for another event the next weekend.

Bridge shot in downtown Cincinnati. Riding across the grate freaked me out some.

A potential business

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Why Support Poetry for Personal Power’s Indiegogo Campaign?

Poetry for Personal Power is now Wellness Wordworks’ premiere program and is filing for it’s own nonprofit status if we get your help on our Indiegogo campaign. Last fall we wrote a blog explaining our approach to stigma reduction, and why social inclusion campaigns are so much better. The main idea is that we teach all of the most valuable lessons of the recovery movement, about peer support, building resiliency and finding our own strengths. But we’ve put them together in a very short and simple package that we can send out to brand new audiences.

1. Everyone goes through

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Business Plan Updates from Corinna West, Wellness Wordworks, and Poetry for Personal Power:

We missed you over the winter: Corinna West, the founder of Poetry for Personal Power and Wellness Wordworks, has been out of full time entrepreneurship activity much of the winter due to a spiritual emergency. This involved her deciding to follow the Creator’s guidance on life choices and business pursuits. You can read about the first part of this journey on her personal blog, with more updates to come out soon about the second half of the journey. Also, our main blog editor and board chair, Ken

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More tools to help with spiritual emergency

Editor’s note: One of my mental health advocate friends sent me this from the East Coast to help me through my spiritual emergency and said that I could repost it.

My encounters with spirits and demons started in 1996. The first visual hallucination I had was claiming I saw the face of Jesus come out of the T.V after saying a prayer. The next one was of a demon face that transformed right in front of me at the psychiatric ward I ended up in when I envisioned the end of the world prophecies coming true.

It’s a long story

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10 tips for parents of children who hear voices

These tips were posted by Jacqui Dillon on Mad In America. They were originally generated when Oprah Winifrey decided to do a show on “childhood schizophrenia.” The tips were compiled by an international organization of people and children who hear voices. One of their representatives hand delivered a letter to Oprah along with these tips asking her to recommend other approaches besides a disease model for here show on children who hear voices. Oprah made no acknowledgement of them on her show. She just took that opportunity to say that all children who hear voices should be given psychiatric medications

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UnDiagnosing Unplanned UnConference schedule

Next week we are hosting a conference in Cincinnati in partnership with Paul Komarek of Defying Mental Illness. He’s helped me come up with conference planning details. This has been an exercise in delegation for me, because he has more of a mental health provider point of view and I have more of a psych survivor point of view. But I also am not in the city and I’m still processing the last of my spiritual emergency so I have to guard my energy levels.

Paul Komarek’s description of the conference:

Doing, Thinking, Feeling: To move beyond emotional distress we

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Does Coming Out About Mental Illness Reduce Stigma?

PRO: What most mental health advocates usually say.

This was taken from a local NAMI person in an email on a listserv:

Surely those who encourage and care about you change lives best, whether they are a peer or not. Some people are indeed lucky to have caring and talented professionals and other recovery helpers. I think this happens much more than we realize.

The reason I say that is stigma is still so pervasive. I believe we meet folks every day who are closet consumers. In my work and private life, I’ve met countless individuals who have a serious,

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Psychiatric survivor stories saved our lives

Psychiatric survivors are people who have survived mental health treatment. We did not survive our illness, we survived psychiatry. The difference between people with “consumer” stories and psychiatric survivor stories are just how you self-identify. If you feel comfortable saying that you survived the treatment instead of the “illness”, then you are in the group that has psychiatric survivor stories. That is all the more complex the distinction is. Some people identify in multiple different ways, according to a survey I did of 54 mental health advocates:

Who has their own psychiatric survivor stories?

Psychiatric survivor stories often include

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24 tips to increase Peer Leadership In Your State

Here are my thoughts on some innovative ways to increase peer leadership in your state. This was a conversation that came from SCOPE, an organization of peer in Missouri. The acronym stands for Support Consumer Operated Program Enhancements, but unfortunately, leadership didn’t do a good job developing joint problem solving capacities of the members and it just turned into a reporting mechanism for the state to monitor the peer programs. They put out a call for ideas and I sent them this and got no response. So this is re-post so that other people may be able to use the

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Some Non-Demonimational Tools for Removing Spiritual Beings

Editor’s note: This information came from a person in Kansas who works with spiritual emergencies and gave me some advice about removing spiritual beings. She also says to check out the STAR center resources, and the Spiritual Emergency blog. She emailed me throughout my recent spiritual emergency and gave me permission to share her suggestions without identifying information.

You can read about my story here and how I went about removing spiritual beings: http://corinnawest.com/spiritual-emergency/. It was tough to coordinate both a Christian and a non-denominational approach, but I found it both useful and essential. Unfortunately, the Christians weren’t supportive of

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Christian Tools for Handling Spiritual Emergency

Recently I went through a Chrisitan spiritual crisis and was helped in a big way by my church. I was also helped by a non-denonimational perspective through my Christian spiritual crisis, and that blog is coming next. I wanted to post both points of view because I don’t think that they are in conflict. This both / and is one of the most valuable things I figured out. Both views can be true at the same, exact time, and not necessarily contradictory. This blog is reproductions with permission of emails from my church Intercessory team who helped me through it.

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Advocacy victory – Public health care communicators

Recently I got an email from the National Public Health Information Coalition asking me to take their survey about creating a certification process for health care communicators. I didn’t like their survey so I sent the following email: I just took your survey about public health communicators and I think you totally overlooked the role of patient advocates. There are many reasons people in recovery might know more about health care than professionals. Also, one of the biggest risks in health care is iatrogenic harm, and patient advocates prevent that. Also, patient advocates are often much better at promoting prevention

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How Can Day Treatment Graduation Become Possible?

Though most adult day treatment programs in mental health centers have adopted recovery language, they are still, at their roots, mostly day care. They often discourage, and create barriers to day treatment graduation.

The people themselves are often unwilling to risk reducing or weaning off their medication, losing their benefits, or re-entering the work force, and their providers don’t want to help them, don’t know how, or don’t want their clients to risk having setbacks the clients clinicians will have trouble dealing with..

But many studies have shown that supported employment programs move people toward recovery, jobs, and day treatment

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