I’m back from the SHAC. My first impression is that the consumers are infantilized, they didn’t want to engage the medical director, they wanted to squabble with each other about soda and pizza. Not much dialogue, lots more when is the pizza coming? God! One consumer asked if there could be MORE surveillance, some kind of ID card that says “mentally ill” so that when he’s picked up by the cops they’ll treat him better.
The medical director, Jim Van Norman, who seems like a nice guy, said he didn’t think that would be such a good idea, we are about mental health, right, not Homeland Security.
One consumer did pipe up and say she disagreed with her DX and was told about an appeal process.
Until I raised my 3 questions toward the end, there was no discussion of the shift to a medical model as the rationale for crises redesign. Van Norman was stunned to hear about the fingerprinting proposal and said he would not support it. He said he also doesn’t understand the director’s wish to remove the word stigma from the mission statement, but thinks his rationale has something to do with focusing more on the positive. He emphasized that these are just proposals right now. Think I’ll compile some recent news reports on institutionalized stigma and give that man a packet.
I’m waiting on a call-back from our Protection and Advocacy people so they know about my concerns with the fingerprinting.
We need meaningful, critical consumer involvement in this state. I left wondering how it’s possible for things to be more real in the blogosphere, but it is, and that’s the virtual truth. People like us need to get online.
Meanwhile I ordered some consensus statement brochures from SAMHSA’s website, which should be memorized, handed out injudiciously, and held close to the breast for much needed enCOURAGEment.