From: Andrew Phelps <>


Subject: Re: [s-acc] Introduction and seeking help on a topic

Date: Tue 07/03/12 08:30 PM



I approved your request to join S-ACC.

On Tue Jul 3 15:29, Gda sent:

I started learning about the consumer/survivor movement about a year-and-a-half ago while in grad school. I had been intermittently trying to work through an MSW program for several years. Unfortunately while I completed the majority of the coursework, I had to pull out this past spring before doing my final internship and thesis and therefore earning my degree. I struggle with a variety of issues - things labelled "disorders" such as "OCD," "anorexia," "depression," etc.; my OCD issues, in particular, have become too overwhelming for me to manage school or full-time work in a healthy way.

Many people here have been working at the understanding of our social being as client/survivors (the term 'consumer' is a discriminatory usage) for decades. Many of us have sought to raise our movement to the level of social accountability.

Learning about the consumer/survivor movement has helped me immensely however, and has allowed me to resume at least some measure of productivity. This past year, I have done a significant amount of research into the movement's history and philosophy/values etcetera -

Personally, I have a website HERE which will show some of my own writings. Many others here also have websites which should be strongly recommended.

in part because I was helping try to start a state-funded project (MHSA money) in California that -- if it comes to fruition - will involve visiting post-secondary universities to educate students of mental health about this movement/approach. I was working with the San Francisco Office of Self-Help on this program. Currently continued funding of the program is in question so I am not certain whether it will move forward this fall or not.

Also MHSA is structurally corrupt because it does not engage the matter of transformation in a wholesome manner.

I am also a former newspaper/magazine journalist and am trying to revive my writing career. One issue I am interested in publicizing is the recent happenings with the California Network of Mental Health Clients. To that end I am seeking input here from anybody privy to what actually occurred.

There have been three major breakdowns in the polity of CNMHC. The first was in 1988, the second 1995-97, and the third recently. They each have allied and similar dynamisms. The Social Accountability Work Group was formed consequent on the process of the 2nd breakdown, and in the situation where the concern for social accountability was not being engaged in a serious manner.

I know that some people are resistant to airing this "scandal" in the fear that it makes our movement look bad -- but I strongly feel that approach serves our movement very poorly. As I have told others -- secrecy only fuels rumors, and ends up hurting groups in the long run. To get another network in place, I believe it is paramount that we publicize to other consumer/survivors what happened and try to start anew with more open, honest and visible practices.

We are involved with a human rights movement which piece by piece advances the maturity of its way of engaging the issue. By analogy, the heroic role of Susan B. Anthony in fighting for women's rights was different than that off the feminists of the 60s/70 who were able to change the conversation in a more profound and serious way. Today we need "Madness Studies" in the pattern that "Women's Studies" emerged in the 70s.

I feel grateful to be one of the lucky few to have been exposed to alternative ways of framing and "treating" "mental illness."

And the term "mental illness" is already a reflection of the pre-scientific character of social science today. 300 years ago substances combined according to the action of the "philosopher's stone." Today we have "chemistry" and that's a wiser way to engage the issue. In other words, you are understating the depth of the philosophical concern.

I received a copy, via consumer email, of the audit the state performed on the California network, and verified its findings with the state Department of Mental Health and DHHS. I intend to publish an article on what happened on a new, online publication I am launching HERE.

The site is still in construction. So in short, the article will be made available to the public whether people talk to me or not. I was fortunate to gain some perspective from Su and Dennis Budd on this issue - but since they live hundreds of miles away, they obviously are not privy to what actually happened here in California.

The concern is not simply "secrecy" or "manipulation" but issues of the way people engage social responsibility. Dennis and Su have wisdom in that area, and I've been honored to engage with each of them in various capacities. But you are speaking about stereotypes of what is happening, not about the actual phenomenology.

I want to publish something that is, on the whole, a POSITIVE article - one that provides a starting ground to build momentum for a stronger, more unified movement here in the state. My sense is that the state movement's progress is currently being hurt by internal factions and infighting. But I do not understand WHO the factions are, what their philosophical differences are, and why it's occurring.

And the analytic you are using does not engage the reason for the complexity of the process. There was a manner that the NAACP was formed, when the "Booker T." folks figured out how to talk with the "W.E.B." folks, and vice-versa. "Factions and infighting" was 'symptomatic' of what was happening in the years around 1900, but that also happened because of the prevailing problematic of racism not just "bad attitudes" on the part of the activists.

Please let me know what you think about my request. I would be truly grateful for any information you could provide in helping me understand what's going on re: the current state of the c-word/survivor movement both in California and nationally.

I'm glad you can participate and the topic you raise is timely and efforts to engage the problem positively are already happening even though you are not presently informed, it appears. You might look at the Feb. 2009 post by Carli Scales about the parallel issue as it obtained with the Texas MHC; I have it online HERE.

You might speak to the issue of "making trust."


ABO "Andrew Behavior Object"