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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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 ideas.

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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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FAQ about the Distress Model

These are questions that came up from one of our most thorough critics. We thought we’d reproduce them as a blog for anyone who has questions about our approach.

1. Our system is broken and people are dying: and veterans are dying: I know this too. This is why I feel like we need a whole new system, not just fixing the old system. But getting a very clear handle on what is broken and what works is useful. Also, I don’t think I’m leaving people in the lurch by building an alternative, because I’m not tearing down or working

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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

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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

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Paul Cumming – Building mental health solutions is our best approach

I suggest stop wasting valuable time and energy talking about meds.  We’ve known since the meds came out that they had problems. The side effects are listed, although maybe not shared complete honestly. The lower efficacy was well known from the release of each medication, although maybe not shared completely honestly. Rather positive energy can be used to create, and/or promote mental health solutions. We need programs and treatments that consumers can choose to utilize. With no choices there is nothing to choose!

Look at Mary Ellen Copeland, she created a program, packaged it for sustained growth and in due

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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.

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

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