03/09/2008 7:45 AM
Ghandi said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win"
We (consumers) have been ignored for centuries ... ask all of those who had gone before us.
Laughed at for years ... ask anyone who has been a token at any decision making table in the last half of the 20th century. Or anyone who has asked for money to support their peers within the community and have been offered a pitance of support compared to other community based organizations.
We are now fighting for our place ... views are changing, people are speaking out who have always been afraid of the stigma to do so, there is recognition that recovery is possible, but with our empowerment as a community, there has to be a loss of power somewhere on the continuum... that is where the fight will come from... there will be a fight to retain old values, knowledge and process. Change is difficult... just as it is difficult for our movement to move into a true state of empowerment, it is difficult for those who have had power over us, to see us as equals, as their peers.
One day we will all win.... Winning will mean that our folks will have a better quality of life.... they will have the most basic things we are fighting for such as; informed choice, community inclusion, and a recognition that they are not to be feared because they have the label of an illness... people will be offered hope and recovery instead of a loss of hope and a failed life which has been their offering for years.
At the end of the day, it is my view that we are all in this change process because of our need to support those that will come after us with the best possible mental health system of support possible. We need to bring everyone working within the continuum of mental health/illness to middle ground where we an all be focussed on the end result of recovery.
Constance McKnight, CAE
National Executive Director
National Network for Mental Health