Transformational healing in mental health. Let it be the norm.

It's impossible to communicate hope if one is pessimistic. And this is the foundational problem with the mental health system and most mental health providers within that structure. Most do not know what is possible in terms of transformative healing and cannot help but perpetuate their pessimistic ignorance...it's not even their fault. It simply is what is. (and I might add we are all guilty of this at one time or another because it's part of being human...none of us know the full extent of what is possible in any given situation) That said it lies among those of us who have experience with seeing people find profound healing to help others understand what might be possible so that chronicity among those labeled mentally ill doesn't have to remain the norm. … [click on title to read post]

Professional denial is a form of retraumatization

Anyway -- any mental health professional that doesn't recognize that the mental health system is rife with potential abuse and harm is dangerous to those who've already been harmed and to many who may yet be harmed. There are many folks in the system at this point that actually do understand the reality. Times are, indeed, changing. I see lots of reason to hope. I have many friends who are working in and out of the system as knowledgable and competent professionals. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

Finding the Gifts Within Madness

by Ron Unger When people are seeing the world really different than we do, it’s often reassuring to think that there must be something wrong with them – because if they are completely wrong, or ill, then we don’t have to rethink our own sense of reality, we can instead be confident about that own understandings encompass all that we need to know. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

From Self Care to Collective Caring

As a trauma survivor growing up in various adolescent mental health systems, I learned that my current coping skills (self-injury, suicidal behavior, illicit drug use) were unacceptable, but not given any ideas as to what to replace them with. No one seemed to want to know much about the early childhood traumas that were driving these behaviors. Instead, I collected an assortment of diagnoses. I was told that I would be forever dependent on mediated relationships with professionals, and an ever-changing combination of pills. The message was that my troubles were chemical in nature and largely beyond my control. Care would always be something I would have to accept from others, not to perform for myself. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

A Story of Brilliance and Madness

The Icarus Project, a community based organization focused on radical mental health support, is developing a free toolkit, Mad Maps, to help empower those currently unable to secure appropriate services in our existing mental health system. It is a resource for those wanting to create not only their own paths to well-being, but also to help chart pathways for those who seek to transform the world in which we live. … [click on title to read the rest]

We have internal guidance

When we learn to trust ourselves then we know when and if we should proceed with a helping relationship. This is what needs to be taught as soon as someone begins to seek help. Really it should be taught from the minute we're born, but instead we generally are taught to stop listening to ourselves as our parents too were conditioned that way. …

The Mental (Illness) system and thoughts on alternatives: a collection

I can’t call the current system of care a “mental health system” when it’s so clearly one that generates, encourages and sustains mental illness. And so I’ve often referred to it as a mental illness system. Here I’m underscoring that as it’s important that we make big changes if we want to help not only the most vulnerable people in our society, but also society itself. We create one another. None of this happens in a vacuum.

Breakdown to breakthrough says, Dr. Dan Fisher (psychiatrist who overcame a schizophrenia diagnosis)

Dan Fisher says, those of us who've experienced psychosis and other extreme states are the ones who need to be running the mental health system. Amen, that is the truth and what is now happening in the name of care and treatment is a travesty. We've got a mental illness system, not a mental health system. Why not speak to those who have truly and deeply become healthy. Yes, like Dan Fisher. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

Trauma as a foundational factor in that which is labeled mental illness

This post is not just about children even though the article that is excerpted below is. It's about just about anyone who has been labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis. Children grow up and become adults. When they acquire a psychiatric label it's often for the same reason children get them: trauma. Without appropriate care and integration trauma changes both our bodies and minds for many years and sometimes for our entire lives. Right now the mental health system knows virtually nothing about how to care for people who have been traumatized and in fact often traumatizes them further. It's changing now however. Slowly it's becoming more widely recognized and embraced. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

Mental illness: five hard questions

The questions are: Is there an 'epidemic' of mental disorder? Does the path to understanding mental disorder lie through the brain? What is the role of diagnosis and of diagnostic manuals? Should we seek early identification of those at risk of future mental pathology? What is the place of patients, users, survivors, consumers in the mental health system? … [click on title for the rest of the post]

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