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Implementing Recovery-based Care: Tangible Guidance for SMHAs - page 34 / 44

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NASMHPD/NTAC e-Report on Recovery – Fall 2004

to say what I want to do with my life, and the resources I need to achieve that end. When my needs are converted into special needs, then somehow it becomes the prerogative of specialists to address my special needs. Then we are talking about specialized placement. I don’t want to live out my life in the netherworld of ‘human service land.’ I want to live out my life in the real world with all of the stress and struggles and the wonder and complexity of it all. We’ve got to get off organizing models of service and instead start talking about supports for living real life. I think consumers can provide an enormous help because I don’t believe that systems can care. Some systems throw up roadblocks and impediments to recovery. There are also marvelous models of innovation in person-centered recovery that show us how to get rid of those obstacles so we actually have support. In a transformed system, it will be the establishment of our humanity as a common ground from which all work and all care can possibly emerge.

Jensen: Consumer/survivors can help mental health professionals facilitate the transformation in several ways. From my informal survey of consumers, they say that if consumers could be volunteers in state hospitals, working with the patients on recovery issues, then the staff would be able to see positive changes. Additional ideas would be to become partners with academics, professionals, researchers, and mental health service organizations in order to co-develop, co-lead, and co-author efforts. An example of this from Illinois would be the Recovery Assessment Scale. This scale looked at perception of recovery from the service user’s point of view. It was a partnered effort by researchers, administrators, and mental health consumers. Other ways would be for consumers to seek inclusion on boards of mental health service organizations, local chambers of commerce, church boards, library boards, etc. to promote education in the area of mental health recovery. Another way is to seek to learn and lead recovery education groups, such as Mary Ellen Copeland’s Wellness Recovery Action Plan [WRAP], and try to change the culture from within. Another idea is to use that same WRAP approach through organization development, and this could be also be co-lead by people with lived experience and organizational experience. Another idea is to create groups to provide services to peers. This could be a non-profit group for educating, or it could be a support group, transportation assistance, companionship – there are all kinds of ways to develop peer services. Also by providing peer crisis services, and peer hostel services, peer hospice services, or peer support services. The next item would be to learn how to break the silence, which Pat Deegan talks about, whenever disrespect occurs, to come to the aid of people who need it rather than being silent. People can influence micro-aggression [Editor’s note: see Deegan’s answer under #3] right where services are being delivered. Consumers can learn how to break the silence about macro-problems in this micro way. They can break the silence about how restraint and seclusion occur.

Knight: I think that receiving a serious mental health diagnosis is what Andrew Phelps calls, a “social death sentence.” I think the workforce should listen to consumers very carefully so consumers can present the social death sentences they’ve received, and also present what’s been helpful in overcoming these sentences and regaining meaning and purpose. We as consumer/survivors have kept recovery on the agenda, and our political clout has been great, enough to keep it on the agenda. There have been a number of attempts to move recovery from the agenda, including the narrowly defined evidence-

NASMHPD/NTAC e-Report on Recovery – Fall 2004

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