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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10 Easy Ways to Reduce Mental Health Care Costs AND Improve Outcomes

Right now many Missouri and Kansas mental health centers repeatedly face huge budget cuts.  In fact, this is true nationwide. We simply can’t afford as a society to keep spending as much money on useless mental health care costs.  Right now the mental health system faces a choice that is also being faced in the energy, agriculture, freshwater supply, transportation, and education. In all of these areas there are market failures causing a re-allocation of resources away from science-based, effective, low-cost solutions. We are subsidizing unsustainability by pouring money into these systems in directions that make problems worse, not better.

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By Faith Rhyne – Peer Support in Disease Model Agencies: A Compromise that Helps Many People, Part 1 of 2

Peers at a recovery conference in Kansas

I think it’s best if I begin by acknowledging that I have pro-Peer bias and conflicted feelings about my job doing Peer Support in a disease model agency.  I believe most state-funded community mental health centers (CMHC’s) provide poor and harmful disease model care.  People in those systems do not support recovery if they are complicit with harm, such as coercive or non-informed “treatment” with dangerous medications and the use of clinical language that supports stigma.

Peer Support in disease-based agencies can challenge the medical model or reinforce it, depending on

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By Diane Engster – The Trouble with Judgmental Mental Health Words, Part 1 of 2

Mental Health Words: "SMI"

Judgmental mental health words, like “high functioning” prejudice care givers and prevent recovery when people believe and internalize them.

Stop using mental health words like “SMI” (severely mentally ill) or “high-functioning” or “low-functioning.” Sitting in judgment of others is not part of your job description. You can hardly give hope if you hold others in such low regard.

If you’re too busy passing judgment on others, applying mental health words, you won’t have time to engage them and find out their hopes and dreams and what happened to them to shatter those hopes and dreams.

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Increasing Peer Support: A Radical Proposal for a Governor

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch could save a ton of money by increasing peer support.

Damien Licata, chair of the NH Mental Health Consumer Advocacy Council (my old job) asked me for some thoughts prior to his meeting with NH Gov. John Lynch, whose “broken” mental health system is being sued for civil rights violations by the U.S. Justice Department and others.

Here is what I told a friend to tell the governor about increasing peer support:

Public mental health systems all over the country are becoming economically unsustainable.  State governments can’t afford to give everyone with a problem

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Michelle Barrett – Safety Nets My Mental Health Community Needs

Michelle Barrett is a social work grad student who has been encountering opposition for her story exploring the mental health civil rights movement. Her is her story about the penalties she’s faced for exploring the problems with our current mental health community building programs.

Her is her vision for a mental health community:  I am still trying to carve out a place where I can provide a service that meets the unmet needs of my mental health community.

Sybil Noble and her husband Jerry Armstrong founded Ark of Friends, the first mental health community run by peers in Kansas City.

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Why people in recovery might know more mental health outcomes research than professionals

Self-education about mental health outcomes might be better than school training

My memorial collage for Al Henning who died of depression. If he had known of true mental health outcomes, he may not have given up.

As I’ve learned more about the problems with the mental health outcomes literature, I’ve explored ideas about the disease model of “Mental illness” compared to other approaches. I’ve been struck how much of my education is coming from peers in recovery and not professionals.  Why is it that so few of them know that medications help some people, but not everyone, and may

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What good peer support looks like

Randy Johnson (blue shirt) in a team building exercise to build good peer support in Kansas city

A story with an example of good peer support: Lots of people ask what really good peer support looks like. Here’s Ken Braiterman, our board chair’s story of how he build himself a great peer support team: http://kenbraiterman.com/how-i-built-the-ability-to-be-happy/

This post is a three way conversation that kind of started between Corinna West, and Adinah, our volunteer coordinator, and John, her good friend who is also a psychiatrist. We’re posting this conversation below to illustrate four things. 1) Good peer support has to be

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What to say instead of “mental health consumer”

Many people are now getting away from using the term “Mental health consumer” to talk about a person in recovery from a mental health diagnosis.

I learned in my certified peer specialist training that my recovery was not from the illness, it was from the diagnosis. Recovery from the illness only includes eliminating symptoms. Recovery from the diagnosis means rebuilding from the judgements that you and people around you might have made about your limtations and abilities. For me, it was learning that I can dream again, which is my my recovery story is called, “Taking back the dreams.”

I stopped saying

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Kevin Haggerty: How to improve police mental health interactions in Kansas City

Kevin Haggerty explains how to improve the interactions for police mental health contacts

Kevin Haggerty has been involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses (NAMI)  Crisis Intervention Training for over ten years.  This is a program that basically says that police officers will be safer by treating people with mental health crisis differently than people who are criminals. Criminals respond to authority, decisiveness, and the display of

Kevin Haggerty, a police mental health interaction specialist, with Helen Minth, founder of the Heartland Consumer Network

power. However, many people that are in emotional crisis react with intense fear to

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