Alternatives Conference to be held in Austin, Texas
December 4 - 7, 2013
The National Empowerment Center is proud to announce Alternatives 2013. The national mental health conference organized by and for those in the mental health consumer/survivor/peer recovery movement, will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, Texas, from Wednesday, December 4, to Saturday, December 7, 2013.
The theme of Alternatives 2013 is Building Inclusive Communities: Valuing Every Voice.
'Psychiatric survivor' says sharing her story put her on path of recovery
Leah Harris, NEC's communications and development director, national peer-support advocate and self-described "psychiatric survivor," said she made a deliberate choice to "live a life worth living" by changing the narrative of her life. Click here for the complete article.
Community treatment orders 'don't reduce psychiatric readmissions'
This study of community treatment orders (CTOs) in patients with psychosis is reported as being the largest of its kind. Its findings support those of two previous trials, which also found no benefit from CTOs in reducing readmissions. Click here to read a summary of the study.
Alternatives to Suicide: Lessons from the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community
Webinar archive now available!
Alternatives to Suicide peer support groups exist because the opportunity to talk about feelings of hopelessness to empathic ears can decrease the inclination to act on suicidal feelings. This webinar, held on April 24, 2013, discussed the need for and development of peer-run support groups for people struggling with suicidal feelings and thoughts. Presenters: Janice Sorensen and Sean Donovan. Click here to access the presentation.
New study shows that people diagnosed with mental health issues more likely to be the victim of homicide than those with no diagnosis
So You Want to Start a Peer-run Warmline? A Guide to Maintaining a Sustainable Warmline
This guide, co-authored by the National Empowerment Center and the Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse, draws on the advice and experience of existing warmlines and provides tips on fundraising, marketing/outreach, training, supervision, data collection, evaluation, and much, much more! Click to view/download (PDF, 12.2MB, 29 pages)
New Study: Compulsory Treatment Unjustified, Does not Reduce Hospital Readmission
This study, published in The Lancet (March 2013), concludes: "In well coordinated mental health services the imposition of compulsory supervision does not reduce the rate of readmission of psychotic patients. We found no support in terms of any reduction in overall hospital admission to justify the significant curtailment of patients' personal liberty." Click here to read the full article (PDF, 274KB, 7 pages)
Obama administration to launch mental health dialogue
The Obama administration is planning a national campaign to encourage the discussion of mental health issues in light of recent mass shootings.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will lead the effort, which will begin within weeks, Sebelius said Tuesday.
"There is no question that the recent tragedy in Newtown broke the hearts of the nation," Sebelius told a medical conference in Washington, D.C. "But it also gives us an opportunity to address some important issues that have gone unaddressed for too long."
The administration called for the dialogue in its January recommendations on preventing gun violence. Four of President Obama's 23 executive actions on the issue addressed mental health.
The Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) Team can assist you in your work through free training opportunities, telephone consultations, email resources, peer learning, webcasts, distance learning, and knowledge products. The BRSS TACS Team is a consortium, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), dedicated to promoting wide-scale adoption of recovery-oriented supports, services, and systems for people in recovery from substance use and/or mental health conditions. Click here to access the TA Request Form (Word Doc, 2 pages).
"Free Your Mind Projects" Radio Show featuring Daniel B. Fisher on Gun Violence, Mental Health, and Emotional CPR
Daniel B. Fisher and Linda Rosenberg testify before the Biden Task Force on Gun Violence
On January 9, 2013, Daniel B. Fisher and Linda Rosenberg testified before the Biden Task Force on Gun Violence. They agreed on the need for the federal government to sponsor a series of community dialogues on recovery. A related topic was the importance of balancing civil rights of persons labeled with mental health issues, the push for national registry of persons labeled, and the problematic nature of forced treatment. Click here to read Daniel B. Fisher's testimony. (PDF, 190KB, 2 pages)
Daniel B. Fisher Publishes Letter in the Boston Globe: Outpatient Commitment would Harm Patients in Need
NEC Executive Director Daniel B. Fisher writes that making outpatient commitment possible in Massachusetts would be the wrong move. Click here to read the letter.
National Empowerment Center (NEC) Calls for Peer-delivered Community Services Instead of More Forced Treatment
"The best means to help people recover from mental health issues is by funding more voluntary, community-based services delivered by people who have ourselves recovered: people who relate mutually or peers. Peers uniquely connect with persons in distress in a non-stigmatizing, egalitarian manner because we have been through similar experiences. Peers operate respite centers, which are alternatives to more traumatic hospitalization, and work as wellness coaches in health centers to help integrate mental health and medical care. Peers also teach the public how to help each other through emotional distress by a peer-developed program called emotionalCPR (eCPR). Also peers are learning community-based, voluntary Open Dialogue treatment from Finland." Click to view Press Release
Wellness Works Initiative 2012 Now Live!
As part of National Wellness Week (September 17-23, 2012), Peerlink, the National Empowerment Center, and the other Consumer and Consumer Supporter Technical Assistance Centers—the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse, NAMI Star Center, and the Family Cafe TA Center – are showcasing your creative works expressing what wellness means to you. Click here to view this year's exhibit and learn more about National Wellness Week.
New Peer-Run Respite Open in Massachusetts
Afiya is the first peer-run respite in Massachusetts and one of only 13 in the country. Afiya strives to provide a safe space in which each person can find the balance and support needed to turn what is so often referred to as a ‘crisis’ into a learning and growth opportunity. For more information, click here.
Personal Empowerment Recovery Coalition of Arkansas Makes Front Page News!
The Personal Empowerment Recovery Coalition of Arkansas (PERC) was featured on the front page of the Northwest Arkansas Times after a showing at a recent University of Arkansas School of Social Work conference dedicated to empowering people with lived experience and transforming the mental health system. We at the NEC have been providing technical assistance to PERC, which is Arkansas's only statewide peer-run organization. First Lady of Arkansas Ginger Beebe made an appearance at the conference (pictured below with NEC TAC Director Oryx Cohen). NEC's Oryx Cohen was the keynote speaker, and Latosha Taylor, Vice-Chair of PERC also spoke [ click here for her talk ]. Taylor and Linda Donovan, PERC Chair, represented PERC on the closing panel.
Exciting new paper by one of the developers of Open Dialogue
Dr. Jaakko Seikkula points out that the Open Dialogue is not just a technique of therapy, it is a way of life... Becoming Dialogical: Psychotherapy or a way of life? Published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, Volume 32 Number 3 2011 pp. 179-193 (PDF, 116KB, 15 pages)
Daniel Fisher writes for Robert Whitaker's blog, about the parallels between the Principles of Open Dialogue and Recovery and proposes a new synthesis of the two: "Dialogical Recovery" to take the place of the monological medical model... [Click to view full article]
So, What's Wrong with Hearing Voices?
Daniel Hazen and Oryx Cohen Featured on Major Provider Website
Recently Daniel Hazen and Oryx Cohen co-presented on the worldwide Hearing Voices Network at an event in New York City. The Editor-in Chief of Behavioral Healthcare, Dennis Grantham, was in the audience and wrote a fantastic article about what he learned. It is now the lead story of their publication, and you can check it out at: www.behavioral.net
Inner voices, inner strengths
Peer-support approach challenges long-held views of mental illness
GLENS FALLS, N.Y.
Brad Morrow had his first encounter with the mental health system when he was in his late 30s.
In the space of 15 minutes, a psychiatrist he’d never met before told him he had bipolar disorder, gave him some prescriptions and told him to come back in a month.
The diagnosis, so quickly pronounced, became “like a death sentence,” more shattering than the psychic pain for which he was seeking help, Morrow recalled. He’d previously considered himself a “really creative person,” but the diagnosis changed that. Now he had a label -- and a stigma.
The message that “mental illness is just a disease”
isn’t reducing stigma. It’s actually making the stigma worse... Instead of
emphasizing how different people with mental disorders are, especially when the
scientific field has many open questions, messages should acknowledge that
everyone struggles with ups and downs. [Click
here to read the full article]
Intervoice Letter to Parents of Children who Hear Voices
Open letter to Oprah Winfrey in response to her program
about “The 7-Year-Old Schizophrenic”
We are writing this letter in response to your program about “The 7-Year-Old
Schizophrenic”. This concerned Jani, a child who hears voices, and was broadcast
on the 6th October 2009.
We do so in the hope we can provide a more hopeful and positive alternative
to the generally pessimistic picture offered by the members of the mental health
community featured in the program, and in the accompanying article on your
website. [Read more...]
Judge in NYC rules that 4300 mental health consumers are unduly segregated
in adult psychiatric homes
New York State discriminated against thousands of mentally ill people in New
York City by leaving them in privately run adult homes, which effectively
replaced state-run psychiatric hospitals more than a generation ago but turned
out to be little more than institutions themselves, a federal judge ruled on
Tuesday. [Click to read full
New Review of 20 studies shows that being labeled with mental illness does
not increase the risk of violence
Psychiatric peer review touted: Care termed a low-cost, effective
People with psychiatric illness get better care from other people with a
psychiatric history than from traditional doctors and psychologists in a
traditional medical setting, according to Daniel B. Fisher. [Click
to read full article]
Consumer-Directed Medicaid Services more Effective than
The above SAMHSA funded study by Ce Shen, Ph.D. and others published in
the November 2008 Psychiatric Services found that self-directed care
works well for persons with mental illnesses. [Read
New research study finds unlocked, mental health consumer-managed, crisis residential program produce better
results than locked, inpatient psychiatric facilities
For adults with severe psychiatric problems, consumer-managed residential
programs may be the way to go, a new study suggests.
Title of Study: A Randomized Trial of a Mental Health
Consumer-Managed Alternative to Civil Commitment for Acute Psychiatric Crisis. [Click