strong>Here is the letter my staff and I sent to WSJ in response to their hateful editorial:
As a psychiatrist and also someone in recovery from schizophrenia, I strongly object to your assertion that only “people with minor mental illness” can recover.
Over the last 20 years, the concept of mental health recovery for ALL has become part of mainstream thought and practice. At the last Alternatives Conference – which your editorial criticizes – I asked people at a plenary session to raise their hands if they had ever been diagnosed with severe mental illness. Hundreds of hands
went up. These individuals – many of whom have been homeless, heard voices, and have been incarcerated – have found a path to recovery and hope. They have benefited significantly from the thoughtful, evidence-based, SAMHSA-funded programs that your editorial dismisses as “insanity.”
Peer-operated and -delivered services – services designed and delivered by people with experience of serious mental health challenges and recovery – are recognized nationally and internationally as an evidence-based practice.
The problem is not that SAMHSA programs do not help people diagnosed with severe mental illness; they do. The problem is that, due to lack of political will, these peer-delivered programs are not adequately researched or funded. We need more, not less, voluntary, community-based supports for individuals and families struggling with mental health challenges.
The voices that haven’t been reflected in these national debates about violence and mental illness are the ones represented at the Alternatives Conference. We have innovative and sustainable ideas for addressing the serious crisis we face in this nation. But some of the most promising innovations in mental health service delivery would be cut under the Murphy Bill. Now THAT is insanity.“