During the past year, we at MIA have been working toward a series of Mad in America Continuing Education webinars on a vital topic we haven’t focused on enough. That is how to make changes in real-world programs that reflect the progressive reform agendas that embody a “green” revolution in mental health care.
Starting on September 17, we will be offering a series of monthly webinars that we believe promote this kind of system change. The webinars will cover 10 topic areas, each one led by nationally and internationally recognized experts in these subjects. We will be discussing both what’s worked and what we need to learn from what hasn’t worked. We believe that this is an essential course for anyone interested in radically improving mental health care.
Topics will include:
- true recovery-oriented integrated health care
- expanding supported employment to every person who wants it
- counseling in schools to prevent children and adolescents from being prescribed toxic medications
- making trauma-informed care universal
- how to make these kinds of changes at local, regional, and state levels
- using research to promote system change
- addressing the major challenges in reforming state hospital cultures
- decreasing the prescription of psychiatric drugs to children and adolescents
- serving children and their families in community programs rather than institutions
- seeing that peer supports are implemented in all programs
We are targeting two audiences. This webinar series is for those who are already on board with the need for radical change but who need practical assistance in making these changes happen (instead of just talking about them). It is also for those who may know little about Mad in America, but sense something is wrong with the standard “care” today and thus are open to a paradigm shift in mental health care.
A real paradigm shift will require reaching beyond the choir to those who are beginning to shift their thinking about conventional approaches. We settled upon the theme of system change after some open dialogue with a major national organization that we believe is the most progressive of its kind. We have also promoted course registration with a number of other organizations, including the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors–my old “club” as a state mental health commissioner.
So now my plea to all MIA readers: As we are trying to reach beyond the choir, please help us do that. Speak to leaders of organizations that provide mental health services and encourage them to investigate this course. Tell them we will provide a reduced, group rate for their members who attend. Our goal with this course is to get national organizations to market these webinars to their members and, in turn, help prompt them to question conventional practices such as regularly prescribing psychiatric drugs to children and adolescents.
We hope you see this goal as we do: An issue of paramount importance. Please write to me at bobni[email protected] with any questions you may have about this course, and tell us too of organizations and providers you could help us connect.
We need your help to plant what we hope will be a seed of real change.