Jan 25, 2013

Mental health system dissenters join the civic debate about safety and risk

The mental health community has never had a day without conflict. Our system was invented by 19th Century old-school men with bourgeois values. They had dim views of women and a number of power trip hang-ups. Yes, there has been progress, but even today there’s an undercurrent of conflict with, and sometimes even disdain for, the people the system serves.

One thing the system has been good at is perpetuating fear and stigma. The privacy enshrined within mental health care systems implies that what people share is shameful, and that people have good reason to be afraid to talk. Those who reject the system’s conceits,  and those who have been traumatized by its coercive strategies, find themselves labeled as outcasts. People who disavow the system are shunned. This deprives our larger society of opportunities to hear the truths that system leaders do not want to have made known.

After 125 years of contemporary psychology, we have ended up with two, parallel, sealed up, self-reinforcing mental health communication silos. One is the mainstream system, the other is the world of mental health dissenters. People who have opted out and people who have opted in pitch rhetoric at each other, and flame each other on the internet.

I believe both sides have something valuable to say. At the very least, everyone is safer when everyone has a way to communicate about wellness, safety and risk.

I’ve teamed up with Corinna West and her team at Wellness Wordworks to convene an event that aims to bring dissenting voices out. My part is to listen, and to offer opportunities for everyone to pitch in.

The central hub for what we’re planning is a Cincinnati-based conference weekend February 15-17. See the  Facebook event link that follows this post. I am excited about the prospect of more civic engagement about mental health. I’ll report back in as this progresses.

The Facebook event can be accessed here:

Here is the full announcement.

Doing, Thinking, Feeling: To move beyond emotional distress we must learn to have conversations about stuff we've never talked about. How do we find language and share peer support for this? We are merging mental health advocates with two back to back community engagement conferences in Cincinnati to move peer support out of our silos and across the entire country.

On Friday, February 15, join the audience at the Innov8 for Health Idea Expo. Listen to the best and newest ideas to change health care, get inspired to find your own new approach, and support mental health pitches from Corinna West and Paul Komarek, the event hosts. Afterwards, we’ll gather to dine and debrief.

Innov8 for Health: http://innov8forhealth.com/

On Saturday, February 16, our group of mental health advocates has a special invite to join Cincinnati’s Neighborhood Summit on the campus of Xavier University, where we are learning skills to connect and grow communities in any city.

Neighborhood Summit Information and Registration Linkhttp://www.investinneighborhoods.com/summit.html

On Sunday, we are hosting an Unplanned Unconference: everyone that wants to present something pitches their ideas at the beginning of the day, then we put ideas into time slots and people vote with their feet. Corinna will present about Connect Power, a time banking program that allows 17 way barters and unlimited jobs for peer supporters.

There's lots of time for fun, family, sightseeing in Cincinnati, with many great museums and an award-winning zoo.

Cincinnati Museum Center: http://www.cincymuseum.org/
Cincinnati Museum of Art: http://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden: http://cincinnatizoo.org/

Cost to participate is $25. We are organizing a block of rooms at a local hotel. Free lodging at crowdsurfing.com and cheap lodging at airbnb.com. We hope to fund 6 X $150 travel scholarships through a crowdfunding campaign. Food expenses are on your own except lunches during the local conferences.

This event is limited to the first 36 registered participants - register by RSVPing yes here at this facebook event link and pay using the donate button on http://wellnesswordworks.com/

No comments: