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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The Importance of the New Collaborative Model

The new collaborative model

Collaboration is a good idea with something underlying.  Some people are torn between the traditional ideas of the industrial marketplace, and the newer, more collaborative model. Trying to put those traditional ideas inside this new collaborative model creates a lot of stress and friction.

The most powerful place to live within this competition between old ides and the new collaborative model is also the brightest hope for entrepreneurs and free enterprise.  The new collaborative model is NOT the marketplace model.

How do people  get compensated for their work, while doing good in that world?  

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Having Your Own Website, Part 1: Learning to Speak “Website”

It’s best, before you start your own website, to state in one or two simple sentences what it will be for.  You can always change, add, or subtract from that, or have more than one purpose, but starting a big, ongoing project without some goal or direction is a good way to drift or get lost.

Hosting your own website amplifies your presence

People are more likely to become regular visitors to your site if they can identify its purpose(s).

Hosting your own website is fun and empowering.   Many people are terrified of the idea, and see website

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At Wellness Wordworks, We Practice Collaborative Editing, Part 2 of 2

Collaborative editing

A good editor sands and polishes writers’ work, so their ideas and personal writing styles shine through.  He or she does not impose his ideas or style on a writer’s work.  Collaborative editing is  between the writer and editor gives the best results.

All writing needs editing, whether the writers do it themselves, get help from an editor, or both. Nobody writes perfect copy the first time through.

Collaborative Editing on the Opening

Occasionally, editing involves reworking a writer’s opening to make it more likely to catch the reader’s interest, or reflect more accurately what the blog

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Free Yourself From Your Inner Grammar Police, Part 1 of 2

Most people have interesting stories, information, experiences, and strong feelings we want on our Wellness Wordworks website as guest blogs, even from people who are not polished writers.  Mental health advocacy is often about polishing your story until it has the impact you want.

Writing is choosing words and arranging them in sentences.  Good writing is choosing strong, concrete words you use every day to create sentences that are easy and natural to say out loud.  It’s really that simple.

Why so many people have inner grammar police that tell them they can’t write:

Everyone can be a poet

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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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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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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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David Hilton, Part 2: Good Anger, Bad Rage

David Hilton Would Not Take Care of Himself

My Mentor Was A Giant in the Mental Health Empowerment Movement

Note: David Hilton, Part 1 looks at David Hilton’s contributions to the mental health empowerment movement, and being my mentor and partner in New Hampshire.

http://wellnesswordworks.com/david-hilton-part-1-activism-friendship-anger/

David Hilton

When facts and experience contradict an ideology, rational people question their ideology.  Ideologues deny the facts and cling to their ideology.

My best friend, colleague, and mentor in the mental health recovery and empowerment movement, David Hilton (1953-2003), repeatedly ignored his own experience, and followed his anti-medication ideology  to repeated episodes of

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Ira Stamm on Depression – It’s always been about self-care

Depression self-care was important ten years ago, too.

Recently I was doing advocacy work with the Kansas Mental Health Coalition. At some point I realized that mental health providers were not my core audience and my time would be better spent focusing on building a business to provide market based mental health solutions.  But during my interaction with that group, I connected with Dr. Ira Stamm, a psychologist with a whole career working in mental health who liked our approach and offered this guest blog showing a glimpse into the cutting edge of depression self-care about ten years ago at

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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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We are not anti-medication critics – we are pro-informed choice

Many mental health advocates are for careful and judicious use of medications, not the anti medication critics we are assumed to be. 

Many times when people in the recovery movement criticize medications, people accuse us of being anti-medication. Recently, our UnDiagnosing Emotional Distress Facebook discussion group decided to recreate our mission. We now focus on social messaging around sharing complete recovery based on knowing that emotional suffering is a normal response to abnormal events.  This is part of our move to solution based advocacy, where instead of critcizing the current paradigm, we are creating a new conceptualization of emotional distress with completely differnet treatment options.

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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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Jennifer Wilding: Consensus Decision Making might fix fear based mental health funding

 Wellness Wordworks has been working with two different organizations lately using Consensus Decision Making.

Corinna West with Thomas Hernandez, one of our partners for Consensus Decision Making. He says, "Medications really helped me recover." This difference helps balance our personal experience.

Consensus Decision Making is a powerful process that theoretically allows for minority opinion areas to be heard in a group. One group doing this that Wellness Wordworks collaborates with  is the Kansas Mental Health Provider Coalition and one is Consensus KC. We’ve learned that most public consensus decision making is unconscious. It’s not based on data, it’s based

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6 lessons for mental health advocacy from the Google Gigabit Challenge Finale

What Psychiatry and Mental Health Advocacy can learn from the Google Gigabit Challenge Finale in Kansas City

Our business, Wellness Wordworks, was nominated as a semifinalist for Google’s Gigabit Challenge. Our mental health advocacy business plan creates care so efficient that people in distress can pay for it themselves. Wellness Wordworks’ product/service plan will use a video call in support line employing people who have moved beyond their diagnoses to help others get unstuck. We’ll also help people increase their online presence and get online for the first time. Our video based call in line will be a favorite resource

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