By Yvette McShan – Let’s Stop All Forms of Abusing Psychiatric Patients, Part 2 of 2

Restraints are just one form of abusing psychiatric patients

America must stop abusing psychiatric patients.  Forced treatment is cruel, and should not be tolerated. It needs to stop in America, and any country, for that matter.  We must stop abusing psychiatric patients that way.

What about organizations that do not believe in forced treatment, but get medical dollars to diminish people in the mental health system, to document consumers are getting better — when they are really being set up to fail, and will more likely end up more traumatized.  That’s a another form of abusing psychiatric patients.

A

Continue reading By Yvette McShan – Let’s Stop All Forms of Abusing Psychiatric Patients, Part 2 of 2

By Yvette McShan – How to End Racism and Mentalism in the US, Part 1 of 2

My desire is for people to end racism in America peacefully, as human beings.  I believe that most human beings in America want to end racism for real — White, Red, Brown, Yellow, and Black.  I wish I could end racism all by myself, or with the Victorious Black Women  (VBW),  but I can’t.

But can we start to end racismamong ourselves, if no more than in dialogue.  That’s how movements get started.  Right?

End Racism

We Can’t Afford NOT to End Racism

I and other African Americans, and people of color, have been personally affected by racism in

Continue reading By Yvette McShan – How to End Racism and Mentalism in the US, Part 1 of 2

What Does the Experience of Being Poor Really Mean? Part 2 of 2

The Experience of Being Poor

There seem to to be two streams of thought abour what being poor means in the U.S.  Both are valid, both vital to any serious discussion of poverty. One is global, looking at the whole nature and profound impact of poverty; the other is far more personal, speaking to the personal experience of  being poor.

Understanding and power despite the experience of being poor requires both perspectives, especially to the degree that our thinking and collective reasoning creates poverty and its horrific outcomes.

It is true that there are other kinds of riches, and

Continue reading What Does the Experience of Being Poor Really Mean? Part 2 of 2

Meg Park: Humanity, Love, and Mental Health Reform

by Margaret J. Park, M.Div., C.P.S., Recovery Specialist, Allegheny County (PA) Office of Behavioral Healh

Margaret J. Park

It seems to me the people who work to change the public mental health system have reached a general consensus that helping people recover from trauma and extreme emotional difficulties takes humanity, love, and reform, and less coercion and manipulation to be succeed.

We are struggling with how to articulate this well enough to change the overall environment in which individuals and families come to professionals for healing, and a way out of the pain and despair.

Continue reading Meg Park: Humanity, Love, and Mental Health Reform

Cliff Wright – Why Anger Alone is Insufficient, Part 2 of 2

Anger Alone Is Not Enough

Anger alone is not sufficient to create change. It needs to be focused purposefully and strategically employed.

When you study the movements that have actually changed conditions and circumstances, you find outrage that becomes focused action, based on principles, values, and a clear actionable vision of the future, not anger alone.

How Anger Alone Becomes A Movement

People become a movement that finds its voice.  Finding that voice, and using it purposefully, profoundly is the point and within the context of recovery, one of the surest signs of life after illness and loss.

Then,

Continue reading Cliff Wright – Why Anger Alone is Insufficient, Part 2 of 2

By Clif Wright – People with Mental Health Labels Should Feel Rage, Part 1 of 2

Where is the Rage?

I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I do mean what I’m about to say.  It’s meant to be real talk — RAW — about rage.  Sometimes, the only appropriate response to oppression is rage.

Movements, civil disobedience, and especially non-violent direct action are not for the faint-hearted, can’t-we-all-just-get-along crowd.

This is for the bravest and brightest among us, folks who are ready to give EVERYTHING, put everything on the line, put their asses, freedom, and lives on the line to challenge the forces that would, and indeed are, destroying them, their families and all

Continue reading By Clif Wright – People with Mental Health Labels Should Feel Rage, Part 1 of 2

By Hannah – The Brain Disease Theory of Mental Illness is a Human Rights Issue

Look twice at the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Awareness Week.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) runs awareness campaigns just like this every year, with financial support from Big Pharma.  The educational message of both is that depression, schizophrenica, and bipolar are treatable medical conditions — brain diseases –and getting “help” is a good thing. The public seems to believe, almost unanimously, thanks to “awareness” campaigns like these, that “mental illnesses” are brain diseases. The Brain Disease Theory Ruins Lives

Laura Delano: Damaged by Diagnosis of a Brain Disease

Listen to this speech by Laura

Continue reading By Hannah – The Brain Disease Theory of Mental Illness is a Human Rights Issue

By “Hannah” – Single-Payer Health Care System Limits Patient Choice and Outcomes

(Editor’s Note:  The writer lives in Canada, and is writing from her experience with their government-funded “single-payer” health system.  Many Canadians like their system and can’t understand the U.S. system of “the best health care a person’s money can buy.”

Many in the United States, who favor health insurance reform,  feel single-payer health care, where individual practitioners, clinics, and hospitals would be paid by the government, would be better.  Some Canadians and Britons, who have single-payer health care, aren’t so sure.)

What Would TV's Marcus Welby, MD, Think of Single-Payer Health Care?

I figure this is heresy, but I’m

Continue reading By “Hannah” – Single-Payer Health Care System Limits Patient Choice and Outcomes

We Need Communities Other Than “Mental Health Ghettos”

"Ghettos" by Ghetto Kid

People with diagnoses still suffer illegal discrimination in housing because they can’t prove a property owner is refusing to sell or rent to them because of their disability or mental condition.  They often pay more for poor housing in less desirable neighborhoods than non-diagnosed people do for better housing.

They cluster in the town’s poorest, most dangerous neighborhoods, or in low-cost housing projects that accept the government housing vouchers nicer developments refuse.  Housing discrimination is one of the reasons people with mental health diagnoses are victims of violent crimes 6 to 23 times more often

Continue reading We Need Communities Other Than “Mental Health Ghettos”

Different Types of Mental Health Advocacy

There are many types of advocacy:

Types of Advocacy: Legislative, the New Hampshire Statehouse

Legislative advocacy is pretty much sticking your hand out and saying, “Please.”

Wellness Wordworks’s message is, “We don’t really need more money; we just need to spend it on what really works.”

But many legislative advocates in mental health are service providers fighting to keep their agencies open, whether or not this benefits people receiving services.

Most grassroots or consumer-based advocates have to pay their own expenses to participate in legislative advocacy and are consequently not strongly represented. Some professional advocates don’t even know consumers

Continue reading Different Types of Mental Health Advocacy

Clif Wright – Helpers Must Love and Listen

Helpers must love before they help

I would say to anyone wanting to become any kind of helper, no matter what their title, is helpers must love and listen.

This is manifest over and over in interactions with so-called consumers, clients, people in trouble, at risk, in transition, recovery, well and not so well.  Folks like you and me trying to find their way.

Each of us is whole and complete and able within ourselves, capable of finding solutions within ourselves, finding a way to navigate our troubled waters,  Though the solutions we are within us, sometimes we need

Continue reading Clif Wright – Helpers Must Love and Listen

NAMI has two sides to their story; we all do.

Mental health advocacy is much more complex than most people want to admit.

Recently it has become fashionable in mental health civil rights communities to bash NAMI. It’s almost reflexive, “They take drug money.” Well, they’re working on it.

Yes, NAMI has harmed many people. But they have also helped many people, and the harm they have done was, for the most part, unintentional. Some NAMI people, not all, are looking for answers. When we reflexively bash their mental health advocacy efforts, it’s hard to keep a conversation going.

Corinna West talking to Tomas Hernandez from NAMI Kansas City

Continue reading NAMI has two sides to their story; we all do.

Why people in recovery might know more mental health outcomes research than professionals

Self-education about mental health outcomes might be better than school training

My memorial collage for Al Henning who died of depression. If he had known of true mental health outcomes, he may not have given up.

As I’ve learned more about the problems with the mental health outcomes literature, I’ve explored ideas about the disease model of “Mental illness” compared to other approaches. I’ve been struck how much of my education is coming from peers in recovery and not professionals.  Why is it that so few of them know that medications help some people, but not everyone, and may

Continue reading Why people in recovery might know more mental health outcomes research than professionals

David Hilton, Part 3: The End of the Trail

What Got David Hilton in the End?

Refusing Medication, Substance Abuse, Previous Traumas, Defying Authority?  Or All  of The Above?

David Hilton lived his life in repeating, almost identical, two-year relapse cycles, each relapse longer, more dangerous, and damaging to him than the one before.  I held David Hilton’s hand through his last three.  Others, who knew him longer, say previous patterns were the same.

 He’d get released from the state psychiatric hospital, stable on medication, with a court order to take his medication. He stopped his meds abruptly, as soon as he reached the hospital parking lot, went home,

Continue reading David Hilton, Part 3: The End of the Trail

David Hilton, Part 2: Good Anger, Bad Rage

David Hilton Would Not Take Care of Himself

My Mentor Was A Giant in the Mental Health Empowerment Movement

Note: David Hilton, Part 1 looks at David Hilton’s contributions to the mental health empowerment movement, and being my mentor and partner in New Hampshire.

http://wellnesswordworks.com/david-hilton-part-1-activism-friendship-anger/

David Hilton

When facts and experience contradict an ideology, rational people question their ideology.  Ideologues deny the facts and cling to their ideology.

My best friend, colleague, and mentor in the mental health recovery and empowerment movement, David Hilton (1953-2003), repeatedly ignored his own experience, and followed his anti-medication ideology  to repeated episodes of

Continue reading David Hilton, Part 2: Good Anger, Bad Rage