Psychiatric Drug Facts via :

“Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems… Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision.” Dr. Peter Breggin

Oct 22, 2010

What is Advocacy?

I am a former user of the mental health system and the parent of 2 sons, my youngest son has needed a high level of mental health services since he was in pre-school.

I am a passionate advocate for my son and for individuals and families who are struggling to find solutions to difficulties they are experiencing.   There is a Mental Health Transformation going on in this country and around the world in which Consumer/Survivors are continuing to find their common ground and work cooperatively with those who supportive of the goal of "care without coercion," or force of law.  We have allies both inside and outside of the present system and with all of us working together, we will, working together be able to effect real change.  This movement has been around for decades--but was muted by the Big-Pharma funded "advocacy" movement, the unethically reporting of research results and the  media machine which continues to disseminate it's fundamentally flawed distorted message across the country.  This message is divisive,  in that those who may have good intentions, desirous helping those who are perceived by them to be "less fortunate" often develop strategies which cause those whom they are trying to help, further harm.

This approach adds to the stigmatization of those who experience traumatic interpersonal life events and extreme states, which manifest in a wide array of neuro-diversity; by determining that these conditions are evidence of brain diseases.  Those who are "advocated for" are separated out for special treatment which often does not include them, or the people whom they choose to support and advocate for them in it's planning.  This strategy of telling the public that "mental illness" is just like and other disease, was a strategy developed as an anti-stigma campaign, not because it was a fact, but it was believed that it would help the anti-stigma effort.  Ten years into this effort to "stomp the stigma," it has been reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry and Science Direct, the compaign has failed to do what it was intended.

This in fact leads to further trauma and mistrust.  Those who are advocating for what they perceive to be in "The Seriously Mentally Ill's best interest," are at a disadvantage of actually doing so if they ignore scientific evidence because it does not validate their agenda as thus far put forth and implemented. If the advocacy does not put forth the  agenda or concerns of the "seriously mentally ill" people themselves; or even acknowledge differing opinions and experiences among consumer/survivors, it will in fact continue to cause harm and the alienation of those most in need of kind, compassionate care and assistance.  The self-appointed advocates say they must take these actions due to the  "lack of insight" on the part of those who are in fact experiencing extreme states, to protect the general public from them.  There does appear to be a lack of insight, but it is on the part of advocates who do not understand that to truly advocate for another person, you must gain their trust, so the person or group of people one wishes to help will share what it is they need.  Then an advocate must put forth these stated needs as the agenda for which they are advocating.  To advocate for others does not mean determining what it is you think they need--without their input. 

Thanks to the dedication of organizations like Mind Freedom International, Psychrights and the National Empowerment Center to name a few, and events such as The Alternatives conference, Psych Out, and Mad Pride Marches we are continuing to put forth a message of hope and recovery which many have found outside of the "traditional" mental health care system.  The basic message is that all need to be respected, validated and included in the Transformation process.  People need to be provided with  accurate information, based on research that is ethically done and reported; then supported in determining  what are the most appropriate services which would enable them to achieve recovery.  Collectively, and individually we will be heard, if we support one another.

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