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National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery | NCMHR

Consumer/Survivor Coalition Calls for Voluntary, Peer-run Alternatives
to Force and Coercion in Mental Health Treatment

WASHINGTON, DC (10/6/09) – Lauren Spiro, director of the National Coalition of Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Organizations (NCMHCSO), which represents individuals with psychiatric histories, will promote self-determination and community integration through peer-run alternatives to involuntary mental health treatment at a Capitol Hill briefing entitled “Facing Mental Illness: Policy Lessons from Minds on the Edge” on Wednesday, October 7, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., at the Reserve Officers Association, 1 Constitution Ave., NE, Washington, DC. To read the NCMHCSO position statement, click here: http://www.ncmhcso.org/policy/AlternativesToForce.pdf.

Ms. Spiro was a Minds on the Edge panelist, and had hoped to share NCMHCSO’s vision of recovery-oriented, consumer- and family-driven systems of care, as called for in the 2003 report of the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. Upon seeing that this recovery orientation was not included, Spiro wrote to the producers (click http://ncmhcso.org/communication.htm for the letter) to express her disappointment that the pro-force-and-coercion perspective was given disproportionate representation during the taping, and expressing her hope that the final version of the program would address this imbalance. Unfortunately the final version perpetuates the myth that persons with mental health issues cannot make their own decisions.

Daniel Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the President’s New Freedom Commission and the NCMHCSO Steering Committee, noted: “Research indicates that forced psychiatric treatments are usually traumatic, resulting in people becoming fearful of seeking help. NCMHCSO calls on Congress to fund evidence-based, recovery-oriented, cost-effective, voluntary, peer-run crisis respites. These respites are based on the values of trust, choice, and person-driven treatment planning.”

“In order to have a balanced dialogue, the public needs to know that people recover through self-determination and trusting relationships, rather than by force and coercion,” said Spiro. “Such dialogue would generate widespread support for transforming the system to better meet people’s real needs.”
For information about mental health peer-operated crisis alternatives, visit www.power2u.org/peer-run-crisis-alternatives.html

The mission of the National Coalition of Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Organizations (NCMHCSO) is to ensure that consumer/survivors have a major voice in the development and implementation of health care, mental health, and social policies at the state and national levels, empowering people to recover and lead a full life in the community.