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Alternative approaches to first break situations: key practice models and their operant values.

By Peter Stastny, Rabea Chaudhary, Nazlim Hagmann
Published: April 30, 2012
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I. Introduction: The purpose of this working paper is to identify and describe key alternatives to mainstream psychiatric intervention -- designed to benefit individuals experiencing a first break or early crisis episode (see definition below) -- that are either currently available or have been in operation since the mid 1970s. We focus on the three programs/practice models that are most prominently represented in the literature and that stood the best chance of falling within a set of guiding principles that are based on discussions held by members of the INTAR network during its four preceding meetings (see below). We examine these alternatives in terms of their operating principles, engagement of affected persons and interested others, outcomes, and consumer satisfaction, relying on published data, with the ultimate goal of determining to what extent these programs preserve and enhance existing capabilities, offer means of operationalizing “hope,” and assist participants in early recovery and a return to a viable developmental trajectory. We see this paper as a contribution towards developing a framework to systematically examine current and newly developed alternative modalities with respect to their potential for averting capability deprivation, enhancing recovery processes, fostering individual agency, and safeguarding the dignity and human rights of people experiencing serious mental health crises. We also hope this paper advances the discussion of just what constitutes a viable and acceptable response to a person experiencing a serious, and potentially debilitating break-down for the first time in their life. Read More...

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Bearing Witness

By Eva Scholle
Published: November 6, 2008
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Imagine you are in a small room that is practically bare and you are locked in it.  You bang on the door, nobody comes. You are trapped, for an indefinite period of time, without hope for escape.  Eventually, someone comes and releases you.  You try to tell your story, of your entrapment and what transpired that got you trapped.  Nobody listens.  You force your story to be heard.  Nobody believes you.  They tell you it didn’t happen; you are making it up.  They say it wasn’t so, the person who released you told a different story.  That person is believable, not you.  I ask you to consider:  What happens when one has experienced an extremely difficult situation and no one will hear it?    Read More...

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The Ex-Patients' Movement: Where We've Been and Where We're Going

By Judi Chamberlin
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A complete history of the mental patients' liberation movement is still to be written. Like other liberation struggles of oppressed people, the activism of former psychiatric patients has been frequently ignored or discredited. Only when a group begins to emerge from subjugation can it begin to reclaim its own history, This process has been most fully developed in the black movement and the women's movement; it is in a less developed stage, in the gay movement and the disability movement (of which the ex-patients' movement may be considered a part).

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