Of all the misinformation people report hearing from the mental health system, one of the most outrageous and potentially damaging pieces is the claim that people diagnosed with conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder should expect to have these problems for a lifetime. This claim is really helpful if one’s goal is to market medications, and to prevent any attempts at discontinuation of the medications, but it is profoundly unhelpful if one’s goal is to create hope and to inspire people to take action on behalf of their own recovery. Because a person who believes real recovery is impossible is very unlikely to exert effort to accomplish it.
As Rufus May put it, the mental health system typically makes people feel they are “the passive victim of an active illness.”
While no one can guarantee anyone a recover from mental and emotional distress, everyone deserves to hear that such a recovery is possible, and more likely if people do make personal efforts.
Yesterday, MindFreedom International launched a new campaign to fight back against mental health system induced helplessness, and to support the creation of hope and empowerment. This campaign is called “I Got Better.”
“I Got Better” is an ongoing project defying the all-too-common message that recovery from mental and emotional distress is impossible. The “I Got Better” campaign will make stories of recovery and hope in mental health widely available through a variety of media.
Any and everybody with a stake in mental health in our society is welcome to participate, including people who have used mental health services, psychiatric survivors, as well as their friends, family members, colleagues, and mental health workers. To get involved, please complete the brief, confidential introductory questionnaire at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/mfi-igb-intro . (This will take less than 5 minutes to complete.)
Respondents to the survey wishing to share additional knowledge will be invited to take an optional follow-up survey about impressions of hope and hopelessness in mental health care, and successful strategies for recovery. Some survey respondents will be asked to share their story on video.
David Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International, said, “When I was in psychiatric care in college, I was told it was forever. Your experience of hope and hopelessness in mental health care could help youth and young adults receiving a psychiatric diagnosis for the first time. Hope could save a life.”
The Story Behind “I Got Better”
The title of the campaign is inspired by the successful “It Gets Better” viral media effort led by columnist Dan Savage that “shows LGBT youth the levels of happiness their lives can reach.” While these two campaigns are independent, Dan Savage has enthusiastically endorsed “I Got Better.”
The “I Got Better” campaign is funded by a grant from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care to MindFreedom International. MFI is an independent nonprofit coalition founded in 1986 to win human rights and alternatives in mental health. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the MFI office at 541-345-9106.
To take the brief, confidential introductory “I Got Better” survey, which will be active through 15 October 2012, click here now: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/mfi-igb-intro Also please do share the survey link freely via email, facebook, twitter, blogs, etc.