The International Network Toward Alternatives and Recovery gathers prominent survivors, professionals, family members, and advocates from around the world to work together for new clinical and social practices in response to emotional distress and what is often labeled as psychosis. Based in leading edge research and successful innovations, INTAR believes the prevailing biomedical overreliance on diagnoses, hospitals, and medications has failed to respect the dignity and autonomy of the person in crisis, and that full recovery must be at the center of ethical care.

INTAR promotes alternative settings to hospitals and institutions, so that people in crisis including what is called “schizophrenia” and “bipolar” can find the care, connectedness, respect, and interventions they need and elect to use. We understand “madness” and extreme states of distress from a social, holistic, and humanistic perspective. Our backgrounds range widely, from peer/user organizing to biomedicine and psychoanalytic training to Eastern meditative disciplines, family advocacy, and academic research. Through this diversity we are committed to building safe spaces and positive relationships, wherein the ordeal presented by extreme states of mind can be met with proven tools and seasoned presence. This includes people who have been through it before and know how to offer the steadfast support needed. As an international network, we undertake to document the effectiveness of such alternatives, to refine and expand their use, and to make them more accessible to people who need them.

Since 2003 INTAR has created close collaborative relationships in several countries, bringing together individual recovery leaders to share experiences and establish working partnerships. INTAR believes this unique, face-to-face approach is the most effective way to create real impact, and many INTAR members report forging vital professional ties through INTAR that have proven crucial to their work. (One recent example of the fruits of this face-to-face networking is the creation of a peer run hospital alternative in Santa Cruz California.) Culminating this networking are INTAR’s periodic international conferences, dynamic settings where the latest research comes together with recent practical experience to forge a collective strategy for change.

Find out more about INTAR Coordinators on our Coordinators Profiles page.