My Riverbend Mental Health Center Acceptance Speech

Editor’s note: This speech was delivered last fall by Ken Braiterman, my adopted dad and advocacy mentor. More of his writing can be found at KenBraiterman.com, and at MadinAmerica.com

When I found out I was getting a lifetime achievement award from the Riverbend Community Mental Health Center, I laughed out loud. I’ve been working since 1995 to close it down, or change its treatment mode from meds first to meds as a last resort when alternatives fail. I thought of rejecting the award, but that would be a small spiteful gesture.

Then I realized that the award made me feel

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24 tips to increase Peer Leadership In Your State

Here are my thoughts on some innovative ways to increase peer leadership in your state. This was a conversation that came from SCOPE, an organization of peer in Missouri. The acronym stands for Support Consumer Operated Program Enhancements, but unfortunately, leadership didn’t do a good job developing joint problem solving capacities of the members and it just turned into a reporting mechanism for the state to monitor the peer programs. They put out a call for ideas and I sent them this and got no response. So this is re-post so that other people may be able to use the

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An open letter to Jabulani Leffal and KCUR Central Standard Time

An open letter to Jabulani Leffal and KCUR Central Standard Time in Kansas City,

We met at the Kauffman Foundation after the Global Women’s Entrepreneur’s summit. I’m building a business to help people learn accurate information about the psychiatric system, namely that mental health treatments are not evidence based, and psychiatric labeling often does more harm than good. I thought you knew some of this research based on our conversation.

I thought you understood that psychiatric survivors have a different approach than disease marketers.

Peggy Swarbick and Laura Ostrow are psychiatric survivors, here at the Carter Center

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10 Easy Ways to Reduce Mental Health Care Costs AND Improve Outcomes

Right now many Missouri and Kansas mental health centers repeatedly face huge budget cuts. In fact, this is true nationwide. We simply can’t afford as a society to keep spending as much money on useless mental health care costs. Right now the mental health system faces a choice that is also being faced in the energy, agriculture, freshwater supply, transportation, and education. In all of these areas there are market failures causing a re-allocation of resources away from science-based, effective, low-cost solutions. We are subsidizing unsustainability by pouring money into these systems in directions that make problems worse, not better.

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Is Permanent Supportive Housing the Gold Plated Solution to Homelessness?

This is an article that talks about how the Occupy Movement could show that living in tents in tent cities could be a viable way to handle homelessness. Right now our best solution for homelessness is permanent supportive housing, where people are placed into long term living situations with peer support to help them resolve issues that may cause them to lose their housing. Permanent supportive housing is cheaper than the default situation or the current status quo, where homeless people get support in jails, homeless shelters, and emergency rooms. It’s cheaper and much more effective than the current situation,

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Dee Jacobsen – Why We Need More Peer Involvement

We need more peer involvement in decisions that affect consumer/survivors of mental health services, treatment, and the mental health system. Otherwise, corporate interests driven by a profit motive will be the only voice decision-makers hear on decisions that affect us.

We need more peer involvement in policy making

We must have more peer involvement at the tables of decision-making organizations, more outcomes-based research institutions, policy and regulatory domains, as well as educational institutions!

I attended the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) public input event earlier this year. There were only TWO of us Mental Health Peer Advocates

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Audit Requested of California’s Mental Health Recovery Services, and Special Tax That Pays for Them

In 2004, California voters initiated and passed a new far-reaching Mental Health Services Act (called Proposition 63 in Calfornia) to upgrade its obsolete, notoriously underfunded mental health system. Since it was enacted, MHSA has raised more than $8 billion for mental health services, Valley Public Radio reported Aug, 9, 2012.

The services are paid for by existing mental health funds, plus a “Robin Hood tax.” People who make more than $1 million per year pay one percent of their income, earmarked for “recovery services” for folks with mental health labels.

Now, a Republican lawmaker is calling for an audit of

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How to Work, Earn Money, and Keep Your Benefits Unchanged

Earn money and keep your benefits unchanged

If you are collecting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or living in subsidied housing, the law allows you to work part-time, earn some money, and keep your benefits unchanged.

Your Medicare continues for three years after you go off SSDI, to make the transition to full-time employment a little smoother. You can take a job that does not include health insurance right away.

And SSDI lets you earn $1,010 per month, and leave your benefit unchanged. That number changes a little every year according to the cost of living. It

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Some Mental Health Advocates Disagree with “Reservation” Attached to Disabilities Rights Treaty

CRPD, the UN disabilities rights treaty, needs 67 votes in the U.S. Senate

On July 26, 2012, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to recommend that the full Senate ratify the International Convention on Human Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), with a reservation that the treaty requires no change in state of federal law.

Like all foreign treaties, this disabilities rights treaty requires a two-thirds majority (67 Senators) of the full Senate to become law.

Over 300 disability organizations support this treaty, also 21 veterans’ groups, including Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Disabled

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By Su Budd – Closing SAMHSA is Wrong; People Who Favor It Spread Irrational Fear

This letter to the editor by Su Budd, one of the founders of the mental health civil rights movement, is an answer to an op-ed in the Washington Times by D. J. Jaffee of the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC). Jaffee calls for closing SAMHSA (the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) for not “doing its job” of protecting people from violence by dangerous people with untreated mental illness. Jaffee, TAC, and its founder, E. Fuller Torrey, MD, support forced treatment and confinement.

Dear People,

E. Fuller Torrey M.D.

I am very concerned about a proposal

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Please join the debate calling for choice for anti-psychotic use

Subject: Antipsychotics: Time to introduce choice?

Dear Friends and Colleagues

We (Tony Morrison, myself, David Shiers, Doug Turkington) are trying to start a debate around anti-psychotic treatment and choice, drawing attention to what we perceive as a changing cost-benefit ratio. Please find attached our paper published today in BJP, together with a companion piece by the editor, Peter Tyrer.

Whether you agree with our arguments or not, please do consider contributing to the debate: http://bjp.rcpsych.org/letters/submit/bjprcpsych;201/2/83

*Service-user opinions will be particularly important here.*

Please also consider distributing this email and the attached papers around your networks – I’d be particularly grateful

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By Elvia Knoll – My Most Needed Mental Health System Reforms

Access to fresh. organic food is a needed mental health system reform.

These are some of my opinions about what should happen in Mental Health Reform NOW…. and what I’m trying to get our group to have an impact on. These are broad sweeping statements focused on the overall objective and outcome- they are ambitious and they will require community involvement and organization.WHOLE BODY HEALTH & HEALING:

1. MEDICATION TRUTHFULNESS as a partial, transitional solution, rather than as the sole focus of treatment.

a. MEDICATION FREEDOM. the right of individuals to choose to take or not take

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My Personal Position on Forced Psychiatric Medication

Any forced psychiatric medication treatment should be an extremely last ditch effort, when lives are truly at stake.

The force should be as little as possible, with huge inputs for full peer oversight, full reversal and appeal processes, full knowledge that psychiatric medications are painkillers and addictive, not effective in the long term.

A lot of academic literature shows that fasting and hunger cause biochemical and emotional changes that make people want to keep fasting. I know this from personal experience as well. So this means decisions are affected by this chemical and emotional state that does not accurately

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By Yvette McShan – Let’s Stop All Forms of Abusing Psychiatric Patients, Part 2 of 2

Restraints are just one form of abusing psychiatric patients

America must stop abusing psychiatric patients. Forced treatment is cruel, and should not be tolerated. It needs to stop in America, and any country, for that matter. We must stop abusing psychiatric patients that way.

What about organizations that do not believe in forced treatment, but get medical dollars to diminish people in the mental health system, to document consumers are getting better — when they are really being set up to fail, and will more likely end up more traumatized. That’s a another form of abusing psychiatric

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By Yvette McShan – How to End Racism and Mentalism in the US, Part 1 of 2

My desire is for people to end racism in America peacefully, as human beings. I believe that most human beings in America want to end racism for real — White, Red, Brown, Yellow, and Black. I wish I could end racism all by myself, or with the Victorious Black Women (VBW), but I can’t.

But can we start to end racismamong ourselves, if no more than in dialogue. That’s how movements get started. Right?

End Racism

We Can’t Afford NOT to End Racism

I and other African Americans, and people of color, have been personally affected by

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