Susan Kingsley Smith – Focus on mental health solutions

The mental health solutions matter, not who’s wrong or right:

I’ve been noticing more in more in mental health advocacy that things aren’t always black and white.  I’m noticing lately that in the work of many advocates is that in order to be “right” someone has to be “wrong”.
Susan Kingsley-Smith talking about mental health solutions at dinner at Alternatives 2011 with Andy Grant, Peter Lehman, Amy Smith, herself, and Rita Brooks.

Susan Kingsley-Smith talking about mental health solutions at dinner at Alternatives 2011 with Andy Grant, Peter Lehman, Amy Smith, herself, and Rita Brooks.

And this I believe is a source for much unnecessary contention and conflict. There is a difference, perhaps subtle, between advocating change and creating change. Both are necessary but it is not necessary to create change to make others wrong. Making a solid line judgement about being either “all in” or “all out” is not always necessary.

The key I’ve found is to not focus on what everyone else is doing wrong in order to make what I’m doing right but to simply focus in what I’m doing and doing my best.  It’s very tough to have a view of all or nothing in your connection to others and their work. Yet it’s in accepting others we find community. When we separate ourselves like this we risk creating more a following of “right wrong” than one of community where  inclusion and acceptance of differences.

I appreciate the heart and passion of everyone who wants to reform the mental health system. It’s really important to focus on mental health solutions– but the focus on what others are doing “wrong” seems to be a driving force of contention still.Those still stuck in the system need to hear how we who escaped did what we did. And we can do what we do on the fringes without having to make everyone else wrong to do it.  Creating a  focus on mental health solutions doesn’t necessarily mean others focus must be disproven to prove ours is better. It just is. And when we all do what we feel is ours to do and can support vs tear down one another then that is where the healing begins for everyone and the “movement” will start to pull together I believe.

Seeing ourselves as unique and individual is different than seeing others as wrong in order for us to be right. We all have things to contribute. Isolating and separating ourselves by making things black/ white or all/nothing and separating ourselves leaves little room for collaboration. There is a difference between enmeshment and engagement. We can separate ourselves enough to engage without having to adopt or endorse what we don’t agree with. Anyway…you’ve said you appreciate my views so I hope you don’t mind that I shared this one.

Do you know of mental health solutions that makes things better for at least one person each day?

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