By Rossa Forbes – Let’s not demonize parents, and work together

NAMI started when it became too common to demonize parents for their children’s problems.

This originally came from a post on Mad In America, about Jani, a six year old with a schizophrenia diagnosis, who has gotten much media attention which was sought by her parents. The comments link to the parents’ admission of child abuse, which may have pre-dated the psychosis.  But the question is, is it fair to publicly criticize these parents? Is it fair also to put a child’s health information online?

My blog is directed at parents, not ex-patients who are well-represented in the recovery

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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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Maria Mangicaro – Can Mental Health Advocates Advocates Agree on a Message?

This is a comment originally posted on http://MadinAmerica.com that deserved some further attention.

If we consider the broad spectrum of issues regarding mental/behavioral/emotional health care, we start to realize there are many shades of grey in the “mental illness” epidemic and debate.  But what if mental health advocates could identify certain issues that are  purely black and white, right or wrong, and focus on just a few we agree on?

Mental health advocates should unite around a few issues they agree on.

We could start to create transparency among advocates.  For example, I am sure you are familiar with the war of

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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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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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Are Bipolar and Creativity Caused or Linked by Our Genes? Part 2 of 2

Is a gnetic cause of bipolar and creativity hidden along these chromosomes somewhere

Is a gnetic cause of bipolar and creativityin these chromosomes?

I used to think – only half seriously — that there was a genetic link between bipolar and creativity.  One element of the theory made my friends with biology training laugh out loud.

My idea was that so many people with bipolar are also very creative, and bipolar is a genetic disease.  So creativity must be nature’s way of helping some people with the bipolar gene live long enough to reproduce.  “Live long enough to reproduce” is what made biologists laugh, an essential principle in biology absurdly applied.

I

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Talking Back to The Language Police

Language police control ideas as well as words

Recently, I got “beat up” by the language police in a bloody Facebook fight.  I was charged with:

1. Using the term “SMI” to refer to the “Seriously Mentally Ill” population.

2. Asserting that conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were “organic brain disorders,” different than situational issues such as trauma-based depression or stress-related anxiety.

The “language police,” aware of my personal history with traumas from hospitalizations and misdiagnoses, blasted me for my “hypocrisy,” and “holier than thou” attitude. Many people shared stories of having been traumatized by narrow-minded or inaccurate

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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

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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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Why forced medication doesn’t work for mental health prevention

Mental health prevention means people in emotional crisis don’t need labels and medication: One of the groups giving out a different story about mental health prevention is the Treatment Advocacy Center. Wellness Wordworks is focusing on solutions and not problems, so we are talking about these people to emphasize the importance of entrepreneurship and reframing the mental health prevention discussion.  The answer is that we can’t  use the same tools of money and political influence as people like these. We have to compete with our numbers, our creativity, our artwork, our passion, our honesty. Here’s an awesome speech about

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