The history of the recovery movement is the history of the elimination of stigma. Mental health still needs to be made a priority today. Language will and has played an important part of the anti-stigma movement. Education and knowing the facts help people to understand mental health. Groups like Family to Family educate family members about understand mental health conditions and learning how to be more sensitive to the person experiencing the mental health condition.
How do we do this? We need to bring more funding down into the organizations that are serving the people in the community. That's a financial aspect. We also need to educate and learn from each other. Peer groups like NAMI Connections and Peer to Peer are effective because they are facilitated by people with lived experience. We need more programs and they need to be available in communities that are impoverished and lack resources. We need to spread the word and create new way to help people recover. Living Rooms are on the rise as well as mindfulness. We need organizations that help people meet their holistic health needs. These people need to be treated like human beings.
The recovery movement is important. It is also alive and well!
There are old traditions that are still alive in the mental health field and in the realm of the government. There are ideas that people should be locked up without a chance if they have a mental illness. Or that they should simply fix the problem themselves. Or the problem is ignored. There are more important things to focus on in the government other than people's mental health. These ideas have been there for centuries and some still believe that people who have mental health conditions are insane and need to be in insane asylums. They are too violent and the cause of crime in the community.If we could only see the link between the conditions in communities and mental health we would be able to understand. And with that understanding people's mental health would be improved.
Written by: Jeffrey Shapiro, CRSS