Jan 4, 2014

Five new rules for mental health

The 2014 update of Defying Mental Illness is built around five new rules for mental health.

1. Simplify the conversation.

Information overload adds to fear, and mental illness is scary enough. People need enough information to understand what is happening and put together a plan.

2. Have everyone do what they can.

It's hard to have hope if you're helpless. Every person with symptoms, and every potential ally, needs a way to pitch in. This builds confidence, promotes safety, and makes hope real.

3. Focus on strengths, not symptoms.

Sickness and stigma steal our attention, blinding us to strengths we retain and to strategies we can use to build capacity.

4. Have recovery mean something.

These days, most people with mental illness regain the capacity to participate in the larger community, and lead a meaningful life. Recovery is social and developmental as well as medical. We deny ourselves a sense of making progress if we overfocus on symptom relief. We deny people progress when we do not help them regain their place in society.

5. Practice nonstigma.

Nonstigma is true inclusion, a belief of the heart that everyone belongs together in the world.  Everyone can work on becoming welcoming, tolerant, accommodating. Nonstigma is more than technique. Nonstigma is a virtue.

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