together, mutual support, communing, schizophrenia, psychosis, mental health

            Treatments

Mutual Support and Peer Counseling

There is a strong and vocal movement of individuals and organizations which provides mutual support, including peer counseling, information about reduction of medications, and discussions about hearing voices, to people who have experienced psychological trauma. Perhaps the best way to get a flavor for this diverse movement is to describe some of the leading organizations.
 

MindFreedom is a nonprofit organization that unites 100 sponsor and affiliate grassroots groups with thousands of individual members to win human rights and alternatives for people labeled with psychiatric disabilities. It provides perspectives of people who have been labeled with psychiatric disabilities, as opposed to the perspectives of the medical authorities. More information can be found at their website, located at http://www.mindfreedom.org

 

Fountain House is a clubhouse, a community-based center that offers members opportunities for friendship, employment, housing, education, and access to medical and psychiatric services through a single caring and safe environment, so members can achieve a sense of belonging and become productive members of society. Fountain House believes that members are partners in their own recovery, rather than the passive recipients of treatment, and that meaningful work and relationships are integral to mental health. It provides housing with 24 hour staffing, as well as assistance in finding housing with lesser degrees of involvement. Peer assistance is key in providing assistance and services. More information can be found at their website, located at http://www.fountainhouse.org

 

Other clubs in the US and around the world and can be found at the Club House International directory: http://www.iccd.org/clubhouseDirectory.php?country=USA

 

The Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC) creates conditions that support recovery at both the individual and community level through trauma-sensitive peer supports and the development of a regional network. More information can be found at their website, located at http://www.westernmassrlc.org
 

The Icarus Project consists of a network of people living with and/or affected by experiences that are commonly diagnosed and labeled as psychiatric conditions. They believe these experiences are mad gifts needing cultivation and care, rather than diseases or disorders. By joining together as individuals and as a community, the intertwined threads of madness, creativity, and collaboration can inspire hope and transformation in an oppressive and damaged world. Participation in The Icarus Project helps overcome alienation and tap into the true potential that lies between brilliance and madness. More information can be found at their website, located at http://www.theicarusproject.net
 

The Hearing Voices Network (HVN) USA is one of over 20 nationally-based networks around the world joined by shared goals and values, incorporating a fundamental belief that there are many ways to understand the experience of hearing voices and other unusual or extreme experiences.  It is part of an international collaboration between professionals, people with lived experience, and their families to develop an alternative approach to coping with emotional distress that is empowering and useful to people, and does not start from the assumption that they have a chronic illness. Goals of the Hearing Voices Network USA Include: "Raising awareness about voice hearing, visions and other unusual or extreme experiences; supporting anyone who has had these experiences by providing opportunities to talk about them freely and without judgment amongst peers; supporting anyone who has had these experiences to explore, understand, learn and grow from them in their own way; supporting individuals providing treatment, family, friends and the general community to broaden their understanding and ability to support individuals who have had these experiences.” More information can be found at their website, located at http://www.hearingvoicesusa.org/

 

The Freedom Center is a support and activism community run by and for people labeled with severe 'mental disorders.' They call for compassion, human rights, self-determination, and holistic options. They also "create alternatives to the mental health system's widespread despair, abuse, fraudulent science and dangerous treatments". They are based in pro-choic harm reduction philosophy regarding medical treatments, and include people taking or not talking medications. More information can be found at their website, located at http://www.freedom-center.org