Authors: Rufus May, UK
Event: 2009 TheMHS Conference
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: This paper is about how we can best promote the spirit of recovery. I believe everybody with mental health problems can heal and recover a meaningful life if they get the supportive contexts that will enable this. In the main body of the paper I will give examples of the many languages we need to be aware of and be able to use if we want to promote growth and development rather than ‘stuck-ness’. I see mental health problems as different ways of responding to emotional trauma. Behaviours that are so often viewed as symptoms of mental health problems are therefore messengers about buried griefs and experiences of injustice. Promoting recovery is very often about a truth and reconciliation process. We need to decode the experiences of voice hearing, or depression, or confusion, and listen to the buried truths that these problems represent. This truth and reconciliation process needs to occur on both an individual and a societal level. People go crazy when they find themselves in impossible circumstances: where their safety making strategies no longer work to protect them from social exclusion and alienation processes. We need to help society become more respectful of the value of distress; acknowledging vulnerability allows us to understand each other better, ignoring it causes us all to become more isolated from each other. The more ways we find to tell our stories of experiencing and transforming distress the more understanding society will become. We have to speak up in many different ways.