I’m a mental health activist because I think a lot of traditional treatment options fail the people they’re supposed to help.
The traditional drug rehab treatment center industry is not regulated. How can it help a person that keeps going into the same centers over and over and relapsing? There are only a few treatment centers using evidence-based practices. And too often traditional rehab centers fail individuals who have a co-occurring mental illness. You can read about this in the book Clean by David Sheff that I reviewed at HealthCentral in September 2013.
Too often, traditional “day programs” fail young people with mental illnesses too. These programs are often little more than babysitting services. They fail young people who have the potential to do so much more after they’re newly diagnosed with schizophrenia or another mental illness.
Thus I don’t consider myself to be an “advocate” for traditional community mental health centers like the followers of the current “recovery movement” claim are the best options for treating people with mental illnesses.
I’m an activist who wants to see better options available for everyone who first experiences emotional or mental distress. I will continue to fight for the right of everyone to get the right treatment, right away when they have a break.
Doing nothing is not the solution. Turning people away from the hospital doors is not the answer. Using consumers as cut-rate labor is not the answer. Having anti-psychiatry consumers advise our loved ones not to take medication and to refuse the treatment that would help is not the solution either.
Social skills training and cognitive remediation are best-practices treatment that can help individuals with schizophrenia resume having a normal life.
Going off your medication and getting sick is not in my estimation the way to resume having a normal life. Denying you have an illness is the sure-fire way to become ill. Ironic, yet true.
Business-as-usual hasn’t worked for years. I’m an activist because I don’t “advocate” for the “right” to be psychotic. I don’t “advocate” for a person to accept having symptoms, when getting the right treatment quickly will enable them to live symptom-free or with minimal hardship from minor symptoms.
I had a doctor tell me that “total symptom relief” was the only acceptable outcome for my treatment. No kidding. He set the bar that high.
We need to set the bar higher for the kinds of outcomes we can expect for people newly diagnosed with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
We need to set the bar because no one should have to endure years and years if not decades of hell from ongoing symptoms, all because their treatment was delayed for too long.
The earlier a person gets the right treatment, the better the outcome is. That’s the bottom line.
I will continue to fight for everyone to have quick access to the right treatment for their needs. I will not join the chorus of haters bashing psychiatry and advancing their no-medication-no-treatment-at-any-time agenda.
Setting the bar higher is an idea whose time has come.