RECOVERY THROUGH VOICE AND DIALOGUE
In an effort to uncover the biochemical basis of mental illness, Daniel Fisher obtained a PhD and carried out neurochemical research at NIMH. He writes: “I uncovered the mechanisms of dopamine and serotonin biosynthesis. However, during that research, the reductionist approach to life it was based upon caused me great despair. As a result, at the age of 25, I withdrew into my own world. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia and hospitalized on 3 occasions. During the next 5 years, I recovered from what is described as schizophrenia, and dreamt of humanizing the mental health system. To fulfill that dream, I earned a MD, and completed psychiatric training at Harvard Medical School. I have practiced as a board-certified, community psychiatrist for 30 years.”
His passion has been to bring the hope to all who suffer that they can recover a life and become experts by experience. To transform national mental health policies from fear to hope, Judi Chamberlin, Pat Deegan, Laurie Ahern, and he co-founded the National Empowerment Center. He was a member of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2002-03), and through that position was able to bring hope and recovery to national awareness. Then he helped organize the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, to make recovery a reality.
Recently, he has been promoting peer-run crisis respite alternatives to hospitalization. He has also helped develop emotional CPR, a program teaching community members how to help each other through an emotional crisis.