10 tips for parents of children who hear voices

These tips were posted by Jacqui Dillon on Mad In America. They were originally generated when Oprah Winifrey decided to do a show on “childhood schizophrenia.” The tips were compiled by an international organization of people and children who hear voices. One of their representatives hand delivered a letter to Oprah along with these tips asking her to recommend other approaches besides a disease model for here show on children who hear voices. Oprah made no acknowledgement of them on her show. She just took that opportunity to say that all children who hear voices should be given psychiatric medications

Continue reading 10 tips for parents of children who hear voices

Jared – My Schizophrenia Recovery Story

Editor’s note: We got this recovery story from Jared, the webmaster of SchizLife.com. He’s a true mental health escapee or psych survivor, but we were his first contact with the recovery movement. We’ll repost his blog here with mental health civil rights information in brackets. This will be an interesting note to show the difference between mainstream mental health information, which was all Jared had found to this point. He’s progressing rapidly, though, now that he’s got contact with advocates who know a different type of schizophrenia recovery story.

We Fall to Gain a Frame of Reference – My Schizophrenia

Continue reading Jared – My Schizophrenia Recovery Story

UnDiagnosing Unplanned UnConference schedule

Next week we are hosting a conference in Cincinnati in partnership with Paul Komarek of Defying Mental Illness. He’s helped me come up with conference planning details. This has been an exercise in delegation for me, because he has more of a mental health provider point of view and I have more of a psych survivor point of view. But I also am not in the city and I’m still processing the last of my spiritual emergency so I have to guard my energy levels.

Paul Komarek’s description of the conference:

Doing, Thinking, Feeling: To move beyond emotional distress we

Continue reading UnDiagnosing Unplanned UnConference schedule

Ann Burgess – We all need to contribute to society

It is critical to remind each other and ourselves as often and with as much charitable love as possible of how “whole” health requires being a critical cog/voice/contributer to something greater than ourselves. I have not yet found the basic ways to “realistically” ever be a parent quite yet.

I have not totally given up, it’s not all that matters to me, but I’m getting a little bit old to be a brand new parent. This is in spite of getting younger in so many practical ways as I learn more about how to contribute to society… As tough as

Continue reading Ann Burgess – We all need to contribute to society

Psychiatric survivor stories saved our lives

Psychiatric survivors are people who have survived mental health treatment. We did not survive our illness, we survived psychiatry. The difference between people with “consumer” stories and psychiatric survivor stories are just how you self-identify. If you feel comfortable saying that you survived the treatment instead of the “illness”, then you are in the group that has psychiatric survivor stories. That is all the more complex the distinction is. Some people identify in multiple different ways, according to a survey I did of 54 mental health advocates:

Who has their own psychiatric survivor stories?

Psychiatric survivor stories

Continue reading Psychiatric survivor stories saved our lives

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

Continue reading An open letter to Jabulani Leffal and KCUR Central Standard Time

JRA – The myth of Biological Mental Illness

One of my bicycle mechanic friends told me that every single person who brings their bicycle into the bike shop talks about JRA. I was “Just Ridin’ Along…. and my brakes suddenly stopped working.” OR I was “Just Ridin’ Along, and my tire just went flat….” Out of the blue. The mechanics hear it so often that they just use the acronym JRA. Never mind, for instance, the brakes needed maintenance, or the tire had 1500 miles on it and was so thin that flats started being very predictable.

So the disease model, or biological mental illness, says the illness

Continue reading JRA – The myth of Biological Mental Illness

FAQ about the Distress Model

These are questions that came up from one of our most thorough critics. We thought we’d reproduce them as a blog for anyone who has questions about our approach.

1. Our system is broken and people are dying: and veterans are dying: I know this too. This is why I feel like we need a whole new system, not just fixing the old system. But getting a very clear handle on what is broken and what works is useful. Also, I don’t think I’m leaving people in the lurch by building an alternative, because I’m not tearing down or working

Continue reading FAQ about the Distress Model

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.

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

Bump up the Connect Power Buzz Factor

What is our Connect Power Buzz Factor?

Online buzz is a measure of social messaging impact. It’s the amount of tweets, Facebook shares, You-tube videos, Tumblr posts, and social engagement around a certain issue. For instance, my thought is that this year, the presidential campaign will show us the importance of buzz compared to corporate funding of campaigns. To a large extent, money can’t buy our interest, so buzz is a good measure of which political party is truly grassroots. This might be the first campaign where our aggregate voices are louder than all of the political ads.

You can

Continue reading Bump up the Connect Power Buzz Factor

Why people in recovery might know more mental health outcomes research than professionals

Self-education about mental health outcomes might be better than school training

My memorial collage for Al Henning who died of depression. If he had known of true mental health outcomes, he may not have given up.

As I’ve learned more about the problems with the mental health outcomes literature, I’ve explored ideas about the disease model of “Mental illness” compared to other approaches. I’ve been struck how much of my education is coming from peers in recovery and not professionals. Why is it that so few of them know that medications help some people, but not everyone, and

Continue reading Why people in recovery might know more mental health outcomes research than professionals

Solution based advocacy part 2: The distress model points to complete recovery

Or which solution based advocacy rabbits we’re not chasing any longer……

We’ve been working with various strategy advisors lately as well as learning from many different points of view. We premiered our solution based advocacy approach on Martin Luther King Day. Stephanie Zamorra from Kansas City Sourcelink is one of the best small business development professionals in Kansas City. She heard my business idea right on day 1 of the Fast Trac entrepreneurship training program and told us to focus. She said, “You know the saying, ‘He who chases two rabbits doesn’t eat.’ ”

Lately we’re figuring out which rabbits

Continue reading Solution based advocacy part 2: The distress model points to complete recovery

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,

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

How to Move Beyond Trauma

What is trauma?

One of the buzzwords in mental health care is truama-informed care. Many people don’t understand what trauma informed care is. To put in very easy terms, it’s the idea that maybe our mental health symptoms come instead from our trauma experiences. We can move beyond trauma. This is how.

In alternative circles, we often speak of how to move beyond trauma. Also to move beyond trauma we need to examine the basic concept. We published Edward Duff’s personal story and how he can move beyond trauma last week. One definition of trauma that resonates with me is:

Continue reading How to Move Beyond Trauma

Emotional distress causes psychosis

Sometimes it’s not genetic: how Emotional Distress causes psychosis, and not the other way around

The main reason to talk about emotional distress instead of a disease based approach is that it’s more accurate. The well shared theory is that genetic predisposition causes psychosis which causes emotional distress. However, when you look at the details, you’ll find that instead it’s the other way around. Emotional distress causes psychosis which causes genetic change. Many times the root cause is not genetic at all.

Genetic research leads to evidence that emotional distress causes psychosis

The claim that’s been made for many years

Continue reading Emotional distress causes psychosis