Tuesday, July 24, 2007

SOME OF THE REST OF THE STORY

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BLOG I: http://projectdreamagain.blogspot.com
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BLOG IV: http://www.7villages.com/FamiliesoftheMentallyIll



SOME OF THE REST OF THE STORY



I received another email from my friend Jana in reply to my last blog about “supported spirituality”. I think her reaction may reflect the honest gut feeling of many of us. I thank her for allowing me to share her words here on this blog.

“Yea. That's all we need, mental health professionals supporting us in our spirituality. Thank you very much, doctor, therapist, case manager, for giving me permission to pursue God. Without your permission and your support I don't know if I could do it. Then again, I'm a mental patient, so I need your permission for anything I do in my life, don't I?
At this point, in conversation, is when I would let out the four letter word. “

Jana


I am glad that the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal devoted an entire issue to the topic of spirituality and recovery. I sincerely hope it opens up the dialogue the editors of the issue invited and seemed to hope for.

In Dr. Andrea Blanch’s article you will find the following words, “A few courageous clinicians and consumer/survivors have been working for change, and some advocacy organizations have started to get involved (NAMI’s ‘Faith-Net” is a notable example) but the situation remains basically unchanged.”

Maybe Dr. Blanch was unaware that going back to the early 90’s NAMI had a RELIGIOUS OUTREACH NETWORK which published the LUMEN, a quarterly newsletter of the network. I was Associate Editor of the LUMEN and National Co-Chair of the network for awhile in the early nineties. At that time Duane Glasscock was the other Chair and Claire Griffin-Francell was the network’s NAMI Board Liaison. I am not sure of the year the network started, but the LUMEN was first published in 1991. Laurie Flynn, Executive Director of NAMI in those years, was very supportive of the Religious Outreach Network.

The 1989 Spring Conference of the North Carolina AMI was called “The Mental Illness Awakening: A Call to Compassion.” The materials about the conference read, “The 1989 Annual Conference of the North Carolina Alliance for the Mentally Ill is designed to provide an opportunity for consumers of mental health services, family members with mentally ill relatives, professionals working with mentally ill persons and caring leaders of religious communities to join together to:
1) Understand the nature of mental illness
2) Learn about appropriate treatment and services
3) Devise strategies to advocate for mentally ill persons at all levels of government, within society, and within religious communities.”


John Baggett was Executive Director of NCAMI then and together we did a special Friday evening presentation called “A Ministry of Compassion With Mentally Ill Persons and Their Families.” There was special music by the A&T Fellowship Gospel Choir and also a Panel of Religious Leaders.

My point here is that there has been much done by NAMI for almost as long as there has been a NAMI to encourage a discussion about spirituality and recovery. Some of us have been working within NAMI since 1989 on this very issue. So now you know some of the rest of the story.




You can reach me directly at eecoop_2000@yahoo.com
HOMEPAGE: http:// www.geocities.com/eecoop_2000/ed.html

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