On being sturdy in life

July 31, 2014 by


From the archives

Originally posted on Hopeworks Community:

To be sturdy means to have a combination of good balance and strength that allows you to deal with efforts to knock you down and keep you from going anywhere.  Much of how well we live depends on how sturdy we are.

How sturdy we are depends primarily on how we deal with 3 issues.  Success on one helps you to be successful with those that follow.  If we try to deal with one of these issues without the foundation of success on the ones that precede them we normally find that life is little more than overwhelming stress and nothing seems to ever work out.

  1. Taking care of yourself.  Getting from the beginning of the day to the end without disaster.  The first hurdle is to figure how to manage the stress of everyday living.  There are many tools (like WRAP) to help with this task.  It means becoming…

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How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are

July 31, 2014 by

Andrew Solomon: How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are #TED : http://on.ted.com/j0MnQ

Human beings are works in progress who think they are not

July 31, 2014 by

Dan Gilbert: The psychology of your future self #TED : http://on.ted.com/p018G

The Murphy Bill as a bad western

July 31, 2014 by

It was not until I read the recent posts by Pete Earley that I realized the Murphy Saga was very much like a bad western.

You have the white hats and the black hats. Marshal Murphy with his small posse has rode into town to clean it up. He is pure in motive and pursues the good and the right purely for the sake of the good and the right. Neither he nor any member of his posse have anything to gain from his mission other than the simple pleasure of doing the right thing.

The opposition is gunning for them. There are the extremists who are mean and vicious. They are continually complaining and threatening dire consequences to anyone who dare support the sheriff. But the even greater danger are the countless public figures who support the current sad state of affairs simply to get rich and maintain their power.

But life is not a bad western. The door to the OK Corral was long ago locked. People sometimes disagree simply because they disagree. They think you are deeply and basically wrong. And trying to dismiss them based on the color of hat you think they wear is foolish and simple minded. People might think you are wrong because you are.

Politicians have a tendency to be in love with their own importance and to be overly involved with trying to convince others of their possession of the truth. Rep Murphy may annoint himself as a national leader for mental health reform but leaders listen and they listen to people who disagree with them and he doesnt.

Rep. Murphy has a small tent… a noisy tent, but a small tent. Right now it seems inadequate to the task.

The 68th letter: Freedom

July 30, 2014 by


Is Big Pharma Testing Your Meds on Homeless People?

July 30, 2014 by

Is Big Pharma Testing Your Meds on Homeless People? — Matter — Medium
【from Next Browser】

Who is important

July 30, 2014 by

Treatment is to often about the importance of professionals working with you.  Recovery is always about your importance.  Dont forget who the most important person in the room is.  Dont let them forget either.

The 67th letter: poverty

July 30, 2014 by


The 5th letter: what would you do

July 29, 2014 by


People With Mental Illness Need a Stonewall Inn

July 29, 2014 by

People With Mental Illness Need a Stonewall Inn | Psychology Today
【from Next Browser】

On the mental health system of poor people

July 28, 2014 by


This post was written a couple of years ago about the closing of the state hospital in Knoxville. Many of the points are still relevant to current issues.

Originally posted on Hopeworks Community:

Everything affects everything else which affects everything else. The
post below was written about the mental health system in Tennessee for poor people and how much being placed in a state hospital is as much a function of poverty as it is a function of mental health. It is a double edged sword. Mental health issues do play a role in poverty, but poverty plays a major role in mental health issue. What the post does not say that it would say if I wrote it know is that a major reason that we do so little about the mental health issues of the poor is that we do so little about them being poor. The gap between rich and poor is greater and all we do is dismiss them for “being lazy.”

We too have our “poor houses”. They are called hospitals, jails, homeless shelters and the streets. The…

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On the fraud of Murphy

July 27, 2014 by

The Murphy Bill has gotten a free pass on one issue, both by those who have issue with it and those who support it.  He paints the crisis in the mental health system in the broadest strokes with incredible numbers…. 300000 “mentally ill” in jail etc.  Then he offers his solutions.  Some of his ideas are other peoples.  He has tried to “buy” support by including ideas that have a lot of support like the Garrett Smith legislation.  The ideas that are his are the core of the problem:  Nationalization of AOT, increased psychiatric hospitalization, destruction of SAMSHA, and destruction of protection and advocacy programs.  The fair question (putting aside questions of the ethics of his bill) is does what he recommend have any likelihood of really affecting a problem the magnitude of what he describes.  The answer I think is a clear and resounding no.  His bill is a fraud, at best a pseudo solution that is likely to make real solutions even harder.

AOT in New York serves 2000 of the 685000 people in the system.  If you do the math that turns out to be 1/3 of 1%.  That would seem to indicate a couple of things to me:

1.  The biggest problem is not people refusing treatment.  That doesnt even begin to account for the amount of “mentally ill” in jail.  It is simply a distortion of the truth to claim otherwise.  If it shows anything it would seem to indicate that the treatment many have received is not always very effective.
2.  It would also seem fair to ask if criminal behavior is something more than a symptom of “mental illness”.  If it is for people without mental health issues is it not also true of people with mental health issues.  Doesnt it seem remarkably simple minded to ignore issues like poverty, unemployment, racism, gang involvement,  and many others and insist it can all be taken care of by the right medication.
3.  It costs 32000000 dollars a year to serve 2000.  What would it cost to serve many times that amount and in the end would that money not have to be taken from already existing programs.  And how then can the issue of developing more effective services even begin to be addressed?
4.  There is no indication in any of the 44 states that have AOT that it can ever be anything than a minimal part of the mental health system or that there is a need for it to be more than a minimal part of the system.
5.  Rep. Murphy has gotten a free ride with his dubious use of statistics.  He claims that 50% of those with serious mental illness  have anosognosia.  You look at New York and do the math with Murphy figures there should be 380000 with anosognosia.  There are 2000 in AOT.  Where are the other 378000?  People who spout nonsense with a phd behind there name are still full of nonsense.
6.  It matters what you commit people to.  There is nothing in the Murphy bill that recognizes that.  Committing someone to ride in a car with no gas will not get them anywhere they want to go.

Psychiatric hospitalization is an equally questionable answer.  It is way too little bang for way too little buck.  It costs way too much and does way too little for way too few.  The Tennessee experience is that it leaves the community system in poverty and stripped of resources.  Even the people who work in state hospitals would quarrel with the idea that more beds are the answer to what ails.  The psychiatric hospitalization ship sailed a long time ago.

Murphy is a lie for Tennessee.  If it passed tomorrow nothing would  be better.  You see Rep Murphy has no idea what is wrong.

Gun Violence? Blame the “Frustrated Entitled” | Trauma Informed Systems

July 27, 2014 by

Gun Violence? Blame the “Frustrated Entitled” | Trauma Informed Systems
【from Next Browser】


July 27, 2014 by


From the archives

Originally posted on Hopeworks Community:

Hafrada is a Hebrew word. It is a word for seperation and withdrawal. It refers to the Israeli policy of seperating the Israeli population from the Palestinian population by means of a big wall. We also have our walls. If actions speak louder than words then our actions say we believe in Hafrada. We believe in it every day.

Some of our walls are obvious. We use them to keep people in their place. Every black person in this country knows about hafrada. Every poor person does too. Some groups are perhaps slowly coming out from behind the walls. For some the walls have been there so long that people cant even see them anymore.

The mental health policy of this country was historically built on hafrada and in many ways it still remains.

The psychiatric hospitals of the past were tools of segregation. People went there to live and…

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Both/And: Dbsa President Allen Doderlain visits Tennessee

July 27, 2014 by

Over the last 3 days DBSA president Allen Doerderlain has visited Tennessee. Linda and I have had the pleasure to be his traveling companions over the much of that time.

More than anything it has been a conversation about community. So much about the conversation is either/or. It is about protecting the rights and ensuring a chance for better life for “consumers” or addressing the concerns of family members who feel hopeless to deal with the suffering of their loved ones and themselves. So much of the debate has been about how to help one at the expense of the other. There is a national debate right now about the Murphy Bill which makes me wonder if any solution that is either/or will really ever solve anything.

Allen met with people in Chattanooga, Maryville, and Nashville. Today he goes on to Jackson and Memphis. Everywhere there have been both family members and “consumers.” What has been most impressive to me has been nothing that he said to anyone although what he has had to say has been very important. It has been his commitment to speaking with people and his clear message that his trip is not about his importance but theirs.

He talked about information, empowerment, and inspiration. His message was about more than the fragility of survival. He spoke of the reality of thriving. It is, he said, possible for life to be easier, but that even when it was hard it could be better.

He talked about the power of information– that everything began with what you knew. That doesnt mean much without empowerment, the certain knowledge that you can and do have the right to make decisions about how to use that information to build the life you want. And finally inspiration: the faith we give each other and ourselves that choice makes a difference.

There was a lot of discussion about the reality of injustice as a fact of daily life for those with psychiatric labels. But, particularly, in Maryville, their was a lot of discussion about the pain of not knowing how to help the suffering of people you loved.

I saw a clear recognition, from many people I would have thought would never see, that a real solution had to be both/and. The real enemy was not “consumers” talking about their “rights” or family members talking about their pain. It was a society, a system that that sometimes does more harm than good, a system that often seems so inept and counter productive, and sometimes blind and uncaring. It was about a journey that we must all take together…. a journey today and tomorrow and the days after that. It is a journey about much more than Tennessee. It is a journey about you and me…. a journey everyday. It is a journey of hope…. a journey of realism…a journey for better life.

It has been a good few days. I have enjoyed the traveling. I look forward to the journey ahead.


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