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

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What to Say When Peers Are Asked to Work for Free

Editor’s Note: As a mental health consultant with lived experience, I identify with this piece by Corinna West. More often than not, invitations from mental health providers to keynote conferences, advise on projects, and serve on committees do not include payment for our time, expertise, and experience. It’s as if they think we have nothing else to do, and the honor of having them listen to us should be all the reward we need. I was once asked to keynote a conference out of state, and pay my own air fare and hotel bill. “We don’t have funding to pay

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Learning Social Media for Baby Boomers, Part 2

Starting on Facebook and Twitter If You’re Over 60 Tip 1: Get a “Kid Mentor” to Teach You

My Facebook and Twitter "Kid Mentor," Corinna West, 37 (Left)

You can create free Facebook and Twitter accounts free on your computer by following directions on your screen. Get comfortable with one before you start the other. I ignore Linked-In. I don’t have time for three social media.

Many people over 60, like me, have learned the basics on Twitter and Facebook, but don’t get the full benefit. Others don’t use them at all. Many are afraid to try. Others have

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Selling Peer Support Agencies to Flinty Republicans

Thr New Hampshire Statehouse

Peer Support Agencies Fit Republican Values and Save States Money

In 2003 the Peer Support Agencies in New Hampshire faced a 60% budget cut. This is story of how grassroots advocacy restored that funding by showing how our programs save the state money. This story is extremely urgent today as Kansas almost lost funding for their peer support agencies, which are called Consumer Run Organizations, or CRO’s.

Kansas did lose all funding for their statewide network of people in recovery, which coordinates a national recognized advocacy training called the leadership academy, a truma-informed care grant, and the annual recovery conference.

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How Distress Language Cured Corinna West’s “Psychosis”

By Ken Braiterman

(NOTE: Corinna West gave me permission to write and post this story using her name. She read, reviewed, and made suggestions prior to publication.)

Corinna West and Ken Braiterman: We Taught Each Other to Use Distress Language

One night in 2008, Corinna West called and said she was “psychotic.” She was afraid she’d be fired, go to the hospital, and lose all the ground she’d gained. She had lost sleep and was hallucinating, she said. When the “symptoms” started, she got scared, and called me for support.

Disease vs. Distress Language

In those days, Corinna

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Overcoming Distress, Building My Capacity for Happiness

Thanksgiving, 2011

2011 has been the happiest year of my life. 2010 was the second happiest. I have more friends, more close friends, more and better activities, and stronger connections to the community than ever before. I’ve been aware of that for some time. But this Thanksgiving, I began to feel something new: I am successfully building my capacity for happiness.

Ken Braiterman

Sitting in temple a week before Thanksgiving, I had the feeling that I belong here. I’m connected to the people in this congregation. Until now, I was like the old Groucho Marx joke: “I would

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Medicating troubled teens and younger children

by Ken Braiterman

Medicating troubled teens did not exist when I was one.

Far too often, doctors and school officials present medicating troubled teens and younger children to parents as relatively risk free, the only option, not one of many. Both those statements are demonstrably false, though many children are helped by medicine in the short term.

Medicating troubled teens and younger children has gone on long enough to study long-term outcomes, which look increasingly disturbing.

Outcomes of Medicating Troubled Teens

In the award-winning Anatomy of An Epidemic (2010), Robert Whitaker says, “Twelve of 15 studies of SSRI’s,

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How I Overcame Emotional Distress vs. Disease

Ken Braiterman, Board Chair of Wellness Wordworks, a proponent of emotional distress vs. disease

My experience of learning how to handle emotional distress vs. disease

Welcome to Wellness Wordworks’ site. My name is Ken Braiterman, Wellness Wordworks board chair. I’ll be blogging at this site about overcoming emotional distress vs. disease. Our business is changing the mental health system from a “disease model” to a “distress model.”

I will also write about my personal recovery from being a homeless, psychotic, traumatized cab driver in New York City. I journey through being a mental patient, to a recovery advocate, and

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