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GAM is first and foremost a process of learning and understanding medication and its effects on all aspects of a person’s life. It is a process of questioning one’s needs and wants with respect to psychiatric medication.  In this sense, GAM is not an end in itself, but part of the person’s path toward improved well-being.  This process of empowerment with regard to psychiatric medication is facilitated by support from providers, family members and peers.  Moreover, by acknowledging and exploring the multiple, contradictory and changing meanings we all attribute to medication (its symbolic aspects), we learned that one  is able to move beyond  the opposites of “being for or against medication”.  Over the years, we have deepened our understanding for the integration of GAM in various community agencies and hospitals.  Creating spaces of open dialogue about medication in various organisations, was and continues to be pivotal for the success of the endeavour.  Last year’s GAM highlight was the holding of our International Forum on GAM practices entitled, “Psychotropic medications – the answer to suffering?”. Taking Back Control – My Self-management Guide to Psychiatric Medication, one of our documents translated into English, is starting to make inroads outside Québec . Last but not least, GAM is right in line with the exercise of free and informed consent.

In the panel presentation and workshop, 15 years of GAM development will be covered and will include:  a description of the approach and tools; its history; an overview of research results and the winning conditions for implementing GAM.


Hearing [Our] Voices: A Participatory Study on Schizophrenia and Homelessness

Barbara Schneider. Communication and Culture, University of Calgary

Laurie Arney. Adult Unsung Heroes Support Group for People with Schizophrenia, Schizophrenia Society of Alberta, Calgary Chapter

Hearing [Our] Voices: A Participatory Study on Schizophrenia and Homelessness

This is a proposal to show a 30-minute documentary film based on a participatory action research project on Housing for People with Schizophrenia. This powerful and evocative film draws on interviews conducted with nine people with schizophrenia, who took part as co-researchers on the project. They initiated the project, developed the research question, conducted the interviews and focus groups, and now are disseminated the results. The project was led by Dr. Barbara Schneider who also appears in the film. The film has five sections. In the first section, research team members describe their experiences with schizophrenia. In the second section they describe their involvement in a support group for people with schizophrenia. In the third section they talk about their involvement in the research project. The fourth section is a segment from a dramatic performance woven from the interviews and focus groups that were conducted for the study. In the fifth section, research team members reflect on what it has meant to them to

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