Pat Risser – I Used To Be Low Functioning — Not Any More!

Low Functioning?

I was labeled “low-functioning.” Of course that was a punishment label.

If you can’t help others because labels, like “low functioning,” and treatment plans, are in your way, you should step aside and find some other calling. Not everyone is cut out to do this work.

I’ve known many doctors (MD and Ph.D.) who should never have any human contact because their people skills were so meager. They should be in some back room laboratory somewhere, torturing poor rats. At least they’d never get to torture us with their holier than thou attitudes.

Mental Health Experts

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David Dodd – Treating the Mental Health Industry as a Criminal Enterprise is Self-Defeating

Labeling in The Mental Health Industry

One of Wellness Wordworks’s goals is to create dialogue with those in the mental health industry, to help shape how they approach their work.

Dialogue will be much easier if we treat the mental health industry as an institution with worthwhile goals it is having trouble meeting, not a criminal enterprise that has chosen to prey on the vulnerable for no reason other than sadism and profits. Because they know that those labelled mentally ill have been subjected to rape, butchery, and genocide in the past, many practitioners in the mental

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David Dodd – Healing Crises Requires Understanding of Human Emotion

One way to talk to people who are comfortable with the disease model of mental illness about how limiting it is, is to point out that there are many missing links in the relationship between current psychiatric medications and science’s understanding of human emotions. Just because a model suggests a course of treatment doesn’t mean it is a completely scientific account of what’s going on with the person who is suffering.

Incomplete Understanding of A Disease Kills People

Will some future science of human emotions ever make psych meds look as primitive as bloodletting?

The medical profession has

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Clif Wright – Helpers Must Love and Listen

Helpers must love before they help

I would say to anyone wanting to become any kind of helper, no matter what their title, is helpers must love and listen.

This is manifest over and over in interactions with so-called consumers, clients, people in trouble, at risk, in transition, recovery, well and not so well. Folks like you and me trying to find their way.

Each of us is whole and complete and able within ourselves, capable of finding solutions within ourselves, finding a way to navigate our troubled waters, Though the solutions we are within us, sometimes we

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Marian Goldstein – Dehumanizing the Oppressors Can Lead to Permanent Victim Status

Marian Goldstein posted an excellent comment on a thread on Mad In America that deserves to be reposted as an independent blog. She consented to this repost. It starts with a comment from another person:

The men and women who raped me and then drugged me for complaining about being raped, calling me awful names like “Borderline Personality,” wrecked my beautiful brain and body with their poisonous neurochemicals.

They are NOT human beings just like me. I never forced anyone to do anything, except make my kids do the dishes. I never told lies to make myself powerful and wealthy.

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Michelle Barrett – Safety Nets My Mental Health Community Needs

Michelle Barrett is a social work grad student who has been encountering opposition for her story exploring the mental health civil rights movement. Her is her story about the penalties she’s faced for exploring the problems with our current mental health community building programs.

Her is her vision for a mental health community: I am still trying to carve out a place where I can provide a service that meets the unmet needs of my mental health community.

Sybil Noble and her husband Jerry Armstrong founded Ark of Friends, the first mental health community run by peers in

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Douglas Coulter: PTSD is a reaction, not an illness

Lasting Emotional Reactions to War, Rape, or Crime Are Not A Disease

A PTSD reaction is not an illness. Trauma is an event that requires adjustment of human thinking and life, moving and adapting in a survival situation. Combat, prison, rape, burns, and many other events can force us to reevaluate our boundaries and self image.

Douglas Coulter rode this rig halfway across the country to Alternatives 2011, the national mental health recovery conference. Here is his story of a PTSD reaction.

Here is my story:

“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted…” Matthew 5:4.

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Anonymous – My epiphany on DBT, Trauma, and Undiagnosing Emotional Distress

Undiagnosing Emotional Distress as an alternative approach for mental illness seems to be the issue.

I attended a presention by the DBT guru at my local community mental health center. DBT stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, a type of mental health talk therapy treatment that focuses on mindfulness or being in the moment, tolerating distress, and developing people skills. The founder of DBT, Marsha Linehan, is a person who is herself in recovery from mental health diagnoses. She recently shared her story for the first time in the New York Times.

The pillowcase project from Fulton State Hospital

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Windmill Tilter – Being a gay teenager is not a mental illness!

Or …how gay teenagers might fare in our modern mental health era.

I help moderate a Facebook discussion group called UnDiagnosing Emotional Distress where we are working on formulating language and solutions to mental suffering. It turns out that labels and medications may help some people, but often harm many others. Often people get mental health labels for normal human emotional distress to normal human situations like grief, trauma, bad relationship with parents or significant others, poor job fits, or poor exercise or nutrition, or messed up sleep patterns. We’d love for everyone possible to join our discussion on Twitter

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Edward Duff – trauma after natural disasters – Joplin tornado a year later

How to fix trauma after natural disasters

Edward Duff is a Joplin tornado survivor and has an incredible story about trauma after natural disasters. Joplin is about three days by bike or three hours by car from Kansas City. On May 22, 2011, 5:41 pm, Joplin was hit by a huge tornado that wiped out an entire half mile by one mile strip of the city and damaged up to 70% of the buildings in other parts of the city. Edward says, “The worst thing about that tornado was in the aftermath, we’d be walking around what used to be

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Ira Stamm on Depression – It’s always been about self-care

Depression self-care was important ten years ago, too.

Recently I was doing advocacy work with the Kansas Mental Health Coalition. At some point I realized that mental health providers were not my core audience and my time would be better spent focusing on building a business to provide market based mental health solutions. But during my interaction with that group, I connected with Dr. Ira Stamm, a psychologist with a whole career working in mental health who liked our approach and offered this guest blog showing a glimpse into the cutting edge of depression self-care about ten years ago at

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Paul Cumming – Building mental health solutions is our best approach

I suggest stop wasting valuable time and energy talking about meds. We’ve known since the meds came out that they had problems. The side effects are listed, although maybe not shared complete honestly. The lower efficacy was well known from the release of each medication, although maybe not shared completely honestly. Rather positive energy can be used to create, and/or promote mental health solutions. We need programs and treatments that consumers can choose to utilize. With no choices there is nothing to choose!

Look at Mary Ellen Copeland, she created a program, packaged it for sustained growth and in due

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Susan Kingsley Smith – Focus on mental health solutions

The mental health solutions matter, not who’s wrong or right: I’ve been noticing more in more in mental health advocacy that things aren’t always black and white. I’m noticing lately that in the work of many advocates is that in order to be “right” someone has to be “wrong”.

Susan Kingsley-Smith talking about mental health solutions at dinner at Alternatives 2011 with Andy Grant, Peter Lehman, Amy Smith, herself, and Rita Brooks.

And this I believe is a source for much unnecessary contention and conflict. There is a difference, perhaps subtle, between advocating change and creating change. Both

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Anonymous – Mental health from an outsider’s point of view

How does you involvement in advocacy look from an outside view of mental health? Check out this short essay.

I meet a lot of people out riding my bicycle. Once I was out and I starting talking to this guy on his way home from work. I had an open mic contest that night and practiced my poem for him. I think it was The Grassroots Manifesto that night. Well, this guy and I became friends and I see him now and then in one of my good social circles and he told me he’d be interested in sharing this

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Jennifer Wilding: Consensus Decision Making might fix fear based mental health funding

Wellness Wordworks has been working with two different organizations lately using Consensus Decision Making.

Corinna West with Thomas Hernandez, one of our partners for Consensus Decision Making. He says, "Medications really helped me recover." This difference helps balance our personal experience.

Consensus Decision Making is a powerful process that theoretically allows for minority opinion areas to be heard in a group. One group doing this that Wellness Wordworks collaborates with is the Kansas Mental Health Provider Coalition and one is Consensus KC. We’ve learned that most public consensus decision making is unconscious. It’s not based on data,

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