Thursday afternoon, June 21 from 2-3 Pm EST, I am presenting a free webinar, open to all, on the Advance Directive or Crisis Plan. I do these webinars because I want everyone to understand that personal responsibility is key, actually one of the key concepts I discovered in my early studies, to recovery and wellness. Basically, if you, like me, experience mental health challenges in your life, it is up to you to do whatever you can to help yourself get through this hard time. We now know that these difficult times are episodic. The question is how do we successfully maneuver through these times and help ourselves get back to being the kind of people we want to be and doing the things we want to do. You have probably, like me, been “told” or even forced, to use the system and the treatments they provided. Now we are learning that the medications we have been told we must take are actually harming us, even worsening future episodes, and we know that many of us have been traumatized by the system, treatments, facilities and people who were supposed to be helping us. You may be thinking, “Now what do I do?”, “Who do I turn to?”
The answer for me, and many others has been to take personal responsibility by looking to the resources we have ourselves and the people we have come to trust over time and doing everything we can to manage our lives and live well, to prevent recurrences of mental health difficulties and to safely navigate through the difficult times. It means making good use of the times when we are well to put plans in place and take action that will ease our way, and protect us, through future difficulties.
Over the years, I have devoted my efforts to learning from people who, like myself, experience mental health difficulties. There is plenty of information about what we should do and how we should do it from people who have never, or claim to have never, had mental health difficulties. But, when I began my search for answers to my own issues, there was nothing from the people I felt were the experts, people who had a lived experience similar to mine. So that has been my focus. It has become my passion—to find out how people like me get by, be the kind of people they want to be and live the lives they want to live.
To get this information to as many people as possible, I have written books and curriculums, developed a group model that has been integrated into mental health programs around the world, made videos and CD’s, developed computer programs and on-line courses, given numerous addresses, led many training events, developed an educational website, sent out bi-weekly educational e-mails and sent out a quarterly newsletter. I set up the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery to insure that the information I have learned would continue to be shared over time.
I have discovered that a new technological innovation, WEBINARS, is a great way to reach people, lots of people, free, with information that could help them help take personal responsibility. Lots of people attend these webinars. Even more people go back to the recordings of them that are on our website. Some of the earlier recordings are more difficult to navigate but the more recent webinars are easily accessible. In one hour I can reach lots and lots of people with something I have learned has been helpful to others. And the availability goes on and on and on.
Thursday I chose to do a webinar on Advance Directives or Crisis Plans. In April I did a webinar that was an overview of WRAP. In May I did one on Living WRAP. Responses indicated that people wanted a webinar on Advance Directives.
I personally feel that having a solid Advance Directive is key to taking personal responsibility and doing what you can to insure that the people you want to take over for you will take over if you cannot take responsibility for yourself, and that they will give you the “help” that really helps you get through this hard time.
When I first developed an Advance Directive format based on what people with a lived experience said they want and need, I was told that it was too long and that doctors wouldn’t have time to read something like that. They said it should be on one side of one sheet of paper. Imagine. I was appalled. There is so much more that a support person needs to know to walk you through and out of a “crisis”. I don’t get complaints about the WRAP Crisis Plan form anymore but I still see that single-sided sheet of paper that everyone is supposed to have. In this webinar, I will be describing the process of developing an Advance Directive or Crisis Plan that really works for you. If you can’t join us, the recording with the Powerpoints will be on line a day or two after the webinar http://www.WRAPandRecoveryBooks.com.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.