National Empowerment Center

Our Mission: To carry a message of recovery, empowerment, hope and healing to people with lived experience with mental health issues, trauma, and extreme states. We carry that message with authority because we are a consumer/survivor/expatient-run organization and each of us is living a personal journey of recovery and empowerment. We are convinced that recovery and empowerment are not the privilege of a few exceptional leaders, but rather are possible for each person who has been labeled with lived experience. Whether on the back ward of a state mental institution or working as an executive in a corporation, we want people who are mental health consumers/survivors/expatients to know there is a place to turn to in order to receive the information they might need in order to regain control over their lives and the resources that affect their lives. That place is the National Empowerment Center. Information and Referral | Networking | Conference Planning | Lectures, Workshops and Consultation | Publishing and Media | Policy Issues | Representation on National Boards | Research | Development of Educational Resources| Development of Self-Help Resources Read more here: Continue Reading…

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“The Importance of User-Controlled Research on Coercion” – Jasna Russo

Coercion in psychiatry is one of the main topics in user/survivor movement worldwide. At the same time, user controlled research in this field is almost non existent. The reasons for this situation will be analysed, the need for research on coercion and the obstacles that research done by users/survivors faces. The presentation will also outline possible methodologies, their advantages and their potential. Read more here: Continue Reading…

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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study

The ACE Study is an ongoing collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente. Led by Co-principal Investigators Robert F. Anda, MD, MS, and Vincent J. Felitti, MD, the ACE Study is perhaps the largest scientific research study of its kind, analyzing the relationship between multiple categories of childhood trauma (ACEs), and health and behavioral outcomes later in life. Read more here: Continue Reading…

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Center to Study Recovery in Social Contexts

The Center to Study Recovery in Social Contexts is an NIMH funded grant to investigate the well being of people with serious mental health issues, especially those who use publicly financed services in New York State. The Center applies a perspective used in economic development, Sen’s Capabilities Framework, to guide research on recovery. We examine real opportunities that people have to do and be what they value within the social contexts of resources, law, custom and policy, taking a Community Based Participatory Research approach that involves members of the mental health community in formulating research questions, designing methods of inquiry, and interpreting findings. Read more here: Continue Reading…

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Beyond Meds website

Online support for psychiatric drug withdrawal: This blog is, in part, a documentation of my journey off psychiatric medications as well as an introduction to alternative forms of care for mental health disorders regardless of whether one is on medications, off medications, or coming off medications. This blog also deals in general with socio/political and spiritual issues as they pertain to mental health and human rights issues surrounding psychiatry. For additional collections of such themed posts look at the tabs on the top of the page. It makes navigating the rest of the archives much easier. This blog also serves as a source of critical information about psychopharmaceuticals. This blog may be appropriate for anyone with any psychiatric diagnosis. All diagnosis can potentially respond to natural treatments. It’s possible for anyone to consider life without medication. This blog is a contemplation about healing ourselves through means other than medication whether you’re on medications or not. And I might add whether you choose to stay on them or not. Along with documentation of my experience this blog covers the journeys to drug freedom of many other people as well as information and resources about alternatives to standard psychiatric care. It also covers the news about drugs that allow for consideration of other options. Often drugs are most useful in crisis, but not for long-term care. Once one is aware of options one has a real choice. I didn’t have such information to make a choice when I entered the mental health system. It’s my hope that I can help people see that there are choices and alternatives. This site is in no way intended to be someone’s sole source of information for withdrawing from psych meds or for taking care of oneself with alternative means. I speak only from my own experience and am not offering advice that should be taken without professional help. That being said there is lots of Continue Reading…

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Factors Involved in Outcome and Recovery in Schizophrenia Patients Not on Antipsychotic Medications: A 15-Year Multifollow-Up Study – Harrow & Jobe

This prospective longitudinal 15-year multifollow-up research studied whether unmedicated patients with schizophrenia can function as well as schizophrenia patients on antipsychotic medications. If so, can differences in premorbid characteristics and personality factors account for this? One hundred and forty-five patients, including 64 with schizophrenia, were evaluated on premorbid variables, assessed prospectively at index hospitalization, and then followed up 5 times over 15 years. At each follow-up, patients were compared on symptoms and global outcome. A larger percent of schizophrenia patients not on antipsychotics showed periods of recovery and better global functioning (p  .001). The longitudinal data identify a subgroup of schizophrenia patients who do not immediately relapse while off antipsychotics and experience intervals of recovery. Their more favorable outcome is associated with internal characteristics of the patients, including better premorbid developmental achievements, favorable personality and attitudinal approaches, less vulnerability, greater resilience, and favorable prognostic factors. The current longitudinal data suggest not all schizophrenia patients need to use antipsychotic medications continuously throughout their lives. Read More Here: Continue Reading…

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Treating schizophrenia without drugs? There’s good evidence for it – Tim Calton

There is certainly a wealth of historical evidence supporting a non-medical approach to madness ranging from Geel, the city in Belgium where the ‘mad’ lived with local families, receiving support and care that allowed them to function in the ‘normal’ social world despite the emotional distress some experienced (Goldstein, 2003), to the so-called Moral Treatment developed at the York Retreat by William Tuke towards the end of the eighteenth century (Digby, 1985), which advocated peace, respect, and dignity in all relationships, and emphasised the importance of maintaining usual social activities, work and exercise. These approaches, predicated as they were on a gentle and humane engagement with the vagaries of human experience at the limits, and invoking respect, dignity, collective responsibility, and an emphasis on interpersonal relationships as guiding principles, have much to tell contemporary biomedical psychiatry. In the modern era, non-medical attempts to understand and tend to ‘psychosis’ have coalesced into a tradition counterposed to the biomedical orthodoxy. The richest seam of evidence within this tradition is that relating to Soteria House , the project developed by Loren Mosher and colleagues in San Francisco during the early 1970s (www.moshersoteria.com). Here, people diagnosed with schizophrenia could live in a suburban house staffed with non-professionals who would spend time ‘being’ with them in an attempt to try and secure shared meanings and understandings of their subjective experience. Comment: PsychMinded, by Tim Carlton, April 24, 2009 Read More Here: Continue Reading…

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Antipsychotic medication, mortality and neurodegeneration: The need for more selective use and lower doses – Weinmann & Aderhold

Abstract Introduction: Although a range of adverse effects of antipsychotic medication are well documented, less attention has been paid to the issue of reduced life expectancy. Method: The medical literature was searched to identify studies assessing severe somatic side-effects of long-term antipsychotic treatment with a possible impact on mortality, and studies evaluating antipsychotic-associated brain structure changes. Conclusion: Antipsychotics should be used more selectively, for shorter durations and with lowest possible effective dose. Greater use of psychosocial interventions that have been proven effective should be an integral part of facilitating reductions in frequency, dosage and duration of antipsychotics. Psychosis, Volume 2, Issue 1 February 2010 , pages 50 – 69 Read More Here: Continue Reading…

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Reversal of Schizophrenia Without Neuroleptics – Irwin

It is commonly believed tha t reversal of schizophrenia is accomplished primarily through neuroleptic drug treatment, but this belief can only be maintained by ignoring a great deal of material published in the scientific literature. Randomized studies comparing psvchosocial treatment programs without neuroleptics to drug-based programs were sought out for review, and six were found. Long-term out comes were statistically equivalent or superior in the nondrug group in all six studies, even those where the quality of the psvchosocial treattment was questionable. In studies with psychosocial interventions that appeared to have higher quality, both short- and long-term results were equivalent or superior without neuroleptics. These findings suggest that neuroleptics interfere with long- term recovery and, if appropriate psychosocial interventions are available, are not even necessary for short-term behavior control. Matt Irwin, Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 6, No. 2, Summer 2004 Read More Here: Continue Reading…

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