The Emergence of the Recovery Movement
Are Medications taking a back seat in the road to recovery?
A Special E-Book Report
By Lembi Buchanan
The mental health community is now more divided than it has ever been before with considerable opposition to the biomedical model of illness. This report explores that polarization as the author reviews the intellectual and philosophical underpinnings of the recovery movement as well as the anti-psychiatry influences behind the split. As it stands now, people experiencing severe mental illness no longer have the right to be well.
FROM THE PREFACE:
Access to treatment for mental illness has become more challenging in the United States and Canada than it was 20, 30, or even 40 years ago. The number of acute care psychiatric beds continues to decline although the demand has remained largely unchanged. On the other hand, the number of individuals diagnosed with mental illnesses in our prison systems has grown dramatically.
My husband, Jim is well aware that he is alive today because of legislation supporting involuntary hospitalization and appropriate treatment with medications when he experienced psychotic episodes. In February 1973, we were living in New York City when he was diagnosed with manic depressive illness (bipolar disorder). While in a psychotic state, Jim climbed to the top of St. Patrick’s Cathedral where he waited for a helicopter to take him to God. The police took him to the hospital instead. Jim experienced a relapse in April 1978 when he stopped taking his medication. Jim flew to California because he was expecting an Academy Award for all the good things he had done for God. Instead, Jim was taken to the local hospital following a 50-mile chase by state troopers along Interstate 5 from Los Angeles to Bakersfield.
Anti-psychiatry influences of civil libertarians, human rights activists and consumer survivors are making it increasingly difficult for individuals suffering from severe and persistent mental illness including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and postpartum psychosis to get the treatment they need. The opposition to involuntary hospitalization and treatment betrays a profound misunderstanding of civil rights when people experiencing psychosis, hallucinations and delusions are denied access to evidence-based treatment that will restore their autonomy and prevent further mental or physical deterioration, suffering and death.
Too many politicians on both sides of the border fail to connect the dots between untreated mental illness and violent behavior. With acute-care psychiatric beds in short supply, the criminal justice system has become the surrogate mental health provider for people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder experiencing psychotic symptoms.
As with all disease groups, early treatment enabled Jim to participate in a full recovery. We recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and continue to be grateful for advances in new and innovative treatments and psychiatrists who always protected Jim’s right to be well.
About Lembi Buchanan
Lembi Buchanan is a dynamic mental health advocate working on behalf of persons with serious psychiatric disorders to ensure that they are not discriminated against by government programs and policies. When the Canadian government routinely denied the Disability Tax Credit for people with mental illnesses, Buchanan successfully argued her husband’s case in tax court. When the government appealed, the decision was upheld in the Federal Court of Appeal. Buchanan subsequently spearheaded the lobbying efforts of a coalition of health charities for fair treatment in the tax system for all Canadians with disabilities which led to significant changes in the eligibility criteria in the Income Tax Act. Buchanan continues to speak out for parity in our health care system for people diagnosed with mental illness and their right to be well.
This special report is available on both kindle and kobo for $5.00