Alternatives 2000, Nashville Tennessee: very brief notes and news bytes
Alternatives began for me at the Dallas airport where another Californian was boarding the same flight as I. The next two people I introduced myself to, in the hotel registration line in Nashville, were also from California, Gloria and Charlene. That was the beginning of greeting many familiar faces and saying hello to some new ones. The tone of the conference was very warm, folks seemed to bond immediately, there were lots of newcomers who immediately were folded in, most everyone had business cards and they were being exchanged right away, I have the sense that we are at a next stage in movement development.
Peter Lehmann noted that in Europe, because of the many, many native languages "we are aware we don't understand each other" and we ask questions and clarify. I am learning a lot from the process and values of the European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry.
PACT - combining information from many sources and making some assumptions, it appears
to me that it was Nelba Chavez's order to include families that turned the NAMI
consumer-supporter state networking grant into a grant to develop and standardize PACT.
CMHS' promotions of PACT is a done deal, "PACT is coming," "we are
going to do it." In addition to the consumer-supporter grant, practice
guidelines will be released directly from Mike English's office. CMHS is not clearly
differentiating between PACT and ACT and is not explaining the appropriations language
that appears to be behind this. I will continue to ask questions about this and
would appreciate any leads or facts you have. Since this has happened without us, a
strategy Joe suggested was to insist on "equal time," to balance all dollars
that got to PACT development with the development of consumer-operated services and to
balance all dollars that go to providing PACT services with dollars for peer-run services.
New Jersey has created a consumer/provider association.
CMHS is planning a conference about discrimination in the spring.
Pat Deegan's powerful presentation will be available on video. She noted that Action T4 was the initiative in Germany to kill people with psychiatric disabilities. In the building where 861 people were killed, over the gas chamber, there is now a psychiatry clinic, and in other building there is a new psychiatry clinic unit numbered T4.
A possible way to unify the movement factions would be to begin collaborations with like-minded non consumers. The consumer/survivor factions would be balanced, supported, and kept on track by at the same time working with disability groups, human rights groups, ...
Listening, meeting, sharing evoked the success of the our work. It also re-evoked the pain. After conferences, I have to restore myself after revisiting old wounds. I'm pretty fragile for a while. One of the very nicest parts of this conference was lots and lots of hugs.