This section of the Mad in America website is called Family Resources, and one of the most important resources we have is…each other. That’s why, when we launched the section in 2018, we created two online parent support groups, one for people in the US and Canada and the other for those in Europe. In these confidential spaces, parents can share information and experiences to foster a dialogue beyond psychiatry’s medical model of diagnosis and treatment.
There is clearly a need for these groups: Our total enrollment has grown to nearly 300! But different folks have different concerns that the groups, focused on the Open Dialogue approach to mental healthcare, can’t always address. Nor should they have to: We always hoped that parents and family members would create independent, issue-specific, peer-support-based spinoffs. And that is happening!
One online group has already formed and another is in the works. Both aim to become a positive alternative to (heavily pharma-funded) NAMI, and welcome your participation.
Advocacy & Activism Group
The Family Alliance for Humane Mental Health Care (FAHMHC) is an advocacy and activist group started by parents whose children were harmed by psychiatric treatment. Their mission is to “promote humane alternatives for supporting loved ones experiencing psychosocial distress and extreme states by providing education and working to create a holistic approach to mental health that will ultimately impact a higher standard of care while exposing the harms of psychotropic drugs, electroshock, and coercive psychiatric practices.”
Their vision: “to create positive change on a societal level, take action to support individuals whose civil/human rights are being violated under the guise of ‘psychiatric treatment,’ and share hopeful stories of loved ones who have found successful alternatives to biopsychiatry.”
The group currently meets Thursdays at 5 pm Pacific time; for more information, email Russ Stence at [email protected].
Spouse/Partner Support Group
MIA blogger Sam Ruck is launching a Healing Companions Support Group. Based upon the lessons of his 15 years of walking with his wife through her early childhood trauma, extreme dissociation, and extreme states, this group seeks to train, empower and support spouses and significant others of individuals struggling with mental distress. Sam’s family has achieved healing outside the mental health system and without drugs while emphasizing attachment concepts.
The group will use his book, available for free download, as a springboard into the many issues that face families as they journey together while learning to respect the agency and voice of everyone in the relationship. The date and time of the first meeting are yet to be decided. Contact Sam at [email protected].
If you would like to organize your own issue- or process-specific online support group, please let me know at [email protected]. While MIA cannot formally co-sponsor any groups at this time, we are happy to announce it in the Mad in the Family monthly newsletter to help you tap into our network of readers.
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.