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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My Experience of the Three Phases of Internal Stigma Reduction

By Ken Braiterman, Wellness Wordworks Board Chair

I came out to my family and trusted friends right away, when I was diagnosed in 1977, not with people who only knew me a short time, or at work. I didn’t want them to think about my mental health history if I got angry, tired, or frustrated like everybody else.

What I told myself determined what I told other people.  That evolved in stages.

I thought in 1977  that I had a chemical imbalance in the brain, a no-fault disease controllable with medication.  That was a new idea then.  If enough people

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Ann Burgess – Why Only Some Emotional Distress is Called a Disease

We are one as humans, all infinitely interconnected. Therefore, we are certainly responsible for ourselves, and need to reduce  the normal, human emotional distress people have created and can solve.  Our true voice would never leave us if we were all treated as worthy, not “sufferers,” or victims, who have been labeled, ridiculed, or violently squashed in forced treatment — who currently can’t hear their true  voices.

We want the healer within us, that others have available.

Elegant, almost scientific, evidence that there is no real separation between you and me, that we are interconnected infinitely with all humans (and the rest of

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Bonnie Castro – People, Not Treatment Models, Change Lives

Editor’s note: This came from a discussion in an email group for all the peer support centers in Missouri. Bonnie Castro is a peer support specialist. 

Some Peers Change Lives

So many folks in the system right now still remain in the “life is limited” stage despite consumer-run programs or clinical services that are offered to them. It’s not the services destroying the system so much. It’s the people delivering those services that change lives.

Recovery Rocks 2011 – Conference with many peer specialists where Bonnie was a speaker

I have met case managers that are really good at what they

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JRA – The myth of Biological Mental Illness

One of my bicycle mechanic friends told me that every single person who brings their bicycle into the bike shop talks about JRA. I was “Just Ridin’ Along…. and my brakes suddenly stopped working.”  OR I was “Just Ridin’ Along, and my tire just went flat….” Out of the blue. The mechanics hear it so often that they just use the acronym JRA.  Never mind, for instance, the brakes needed maintenance, or the tire had 1500 miles on it and was so thin that flats started being very predictable.

So the disease model, or biological mental illness, says the illness

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11 Mental Health Research Ideas

Recently, my favorite blogger, 1boringoldman.com did a post about four of NIMH”s mental health research grants that add up to $10 million. $250,000 each…. for what? It turns out they are basically me too studies or finding out answers that are irrelevant or already solved, or solutions harmful to us.

So here are some free mental health research ideas for these people to see whether or not they actually want to help us. These are ideas of programs that could help folks with mental health labels to move towards control of their own lives.  All of these programs could generate very

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PressRelease – National Launch next Week for Poetry for Personal Power!

Presidentially recognized program to start national expansion in St. Louis and Cape Girardeau

 Eight colleges and universities in St. Louis and Cape Girardeau are hosting Poetry for Personal Power, Missouri’s homegrown mental health prevention program which is being presented to former first lady Rosalyn Carter next month.

St. Louis, MO, October 19, 2012 Missouri’s homegrown Poetry for Personal Program is beginning a national expansion in  St. Louis and Cape Girardeau. SEMO Association of Black Collegians will kick off with an open mic to talk about overcoming adversity on Monday Oct 22 at 8 pm at the University Center lounge.

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How I Overcame Frozen Emotions, and Re-Connected With Myself

Words can hurt.  Words can heal.  Words can create profound and lasting changes, or humiliate and destroy us.  But they only have that power if we can feel.

A person with frozen emotions is not moved by language.  She hears the words, but they float around somewhere “out there”.  Syllables strung together, hardly meaningful.  Syllables like stones bouncing off a lake.

The closed self is like a lake covered in hardened steel.  Below the cold metal, nothing is alive, because nothing can breathe.  The deep soul within becomes static.  Locked in a cavern of darkness, unmoved, unmovable.

I have been this

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Pyschiatric survivors can fund entrepreneurial mental health revolution

(This was originally posted on Mad In America.)

How We Want to Create Entrepreneurial Mental Health Revolution:

I’ve been working for 2 1/2 years on a system to provide non-medical care for people with emotional distress. I want it to be evidence based, peer provided, non-clinical, completely voluntary, cheap enough to pay for ourselves AND available nationwide and worldwide very soon. This is what I think our community needs to create entrepreneurial mental health revolution, and after spending around 6000 hours working through the permutations with much of your online input, I think we’re just about there.

Black history

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David Dodd – Treating the Mental Health Industry as a Criminal Enterprise is Self-Defeating

Labeling in The Mental Health Industry

One of Wellness Wordworks’s goals is to create dialogue with those in the mental health industry, to help shape how they approach their work.

Dialogue will be much easier if  we treat the mental health industry as an institution with worthwhile goals it is having trouble meeting, not a criminal enterprise that has chosen to prey on the vulnerable for no reason other than sadism and profits. Because they know that those labelled mentally ill have been subjected to rape, butchery, and genocide in the past, many practitioners in the mental health

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Anonymous – Mental health from an outsider’s point of view

How does you involvement in advocacy look from an outside view of mental health? Check out this short essay.

I meet a lot of people out riding my bicycle. Once I was out and I starting talking to this guy on his way home from work. I had an open mic contest that night and practiced my poem for him. I think it was The Grassroots Manifesto that night. Well, this guy and I became friends and I see him now and then in one of my good social circles and he told me he’d be interested in sharing this experience anonymously

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Solution based advocacy part 2: The distress model points to complete recovery

Or which solution based advocacy rabbits we’re not chasing any longer……

We’ve been working with various strategy advisors lately as well as learning from many different points of view. We premiered our solution based advocacy approach on Martin Luther King Day. Stephanie Zamorra from Kansas City Sourcelink is one of the best small business development professionals in Kansas City. She heard my business idea right on day 1 of the Fast Trac entrepreneurship training program and told us to focus. She said, “You know the saying, ‘He who chases two rabbits doesn’t eat.’ ”

Lately we’re figuring out which rabbits

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Emotional distress causes psychosis

Sometimes it’s not genetic: how Emotional Distress causes psychosis, and not the other way around

The main reason to talk about emotional distress instead of a disease based approach is that it’s more accurate. The well shared theory is that genetic predisposition causes psychosis which causes emotional distress. However, when you look at the details, you’ll find that instead it’s the other way around. Emotional distress causes psychosis which causes genetic change. Many times the root cause is not genetic at all.

Genetic research leads to evidence that emotional distress causes psychosis

The claim that’s been made for many years

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