Monday, June 27, 2011

Carmichael's Photo-Journalism of NC Mental Hlth Reform : Its the LONELINESS That Is Life-Annhilating: Argument for Self-Empowerment for Those w/ MI

Here is a wonderful piece of photo journalism, a master's thesis, by J. Chris Carmichael as pertaining to the effects of NC mental health reform. One of the issues, well evidenced here, which seems a persistent issue for clients of mine w/ mental health challenges, is that they are LONELY in their isolation and the stigmatization of mental health challenges certainly contributes to that.

What this photo-journalism piece speaks to is the need for community which has been found as associated w/ several clubhouses----a model creating community for people w/ mental health issues, both in Europe and spottily, in the US. I know of no clubhouse in western NC. What we have is a more advanced (?) model, namely the Recovery Education Center at Meridian Behavioral HealthCare in Waynesville, NC, which is a good resource for learning about issues impacting mental health. I question this as it is run by good-meaning professionals and para-professionals but there is limited impact of the the clients/ consumers to determine what happens there.

Moreover, a recovery model has as its underpinning that the person can completely 'recover' from a mental health challenge when the fact is that there will be ups and downs throughout one's life. A model which has as an underpinning the empowerment of the impacted people----and that would be a clubhouse model I think----is more appropriate to the phenomenon associated w/ Severe Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI).

I was acquainted w/ a clubhouse in downtown Atlanta. It was always run-down, spilling over w/ people who had no where else to go. Best I know, it is no longer there after some decades of serving that community. There, some people were inside learning computer skills but the overall gist of the place was, as Carmichael seems to allude to, that this is the 'Last Exit' for many of them.

A client of mine yesterday, w/ her own demons re: narcotic addiction a few years ago, is struggling to make clear to her primary care provider how she does not want to become re-addicted, but at the same time knowing that somebody/ somehow has to address her chronic pain. From my experience, chronic pain, a significant stressor exacerbating mental health issues, such as depression, can much of the time be linked to sexual/ emotional/ physical abuse histories (this is well researched) but the story is deeper than that and just the wear and tear on a human body----particularly women re: child bearing-----has been vastly overlooked.

Last Exit – Chris Carmichael | Visual Journalist | Chapel Hill, NC
Last Exit is a component of my master's thesis “In Shadows: Hardship and
Hope in Mental Health,” which examined mental health reform in North
Carolina seven ...


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