News stories from Counterpoint

Group Reviews ONH Laws

Group Reviews ONH Laws

A study committee reviewing whether to recommend changes in Vermont’s involuntary outpatient commitment laws has met twice but not yet decided what to put in its report to the legislature.

The committee is scheduled to have two more public meetings to review involuntary outpatient commitment orders – called an order of nonhospitalization, or ONH – before its report is due on November 1.

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UVM Promises Input on New Beds

UVM Promises Input on New Beds

BERLIN – The University of Vermont Health Network says it plans to assemble an array of interested parties, including those who use services, by September to get input for the new inpatient psychiatric unit being planned for the campus of Central Vermont Medical Center.

In the meantime, it has reported to regulators that it is already analyzing data to make preliminary decisions by November on the size and type of facility, using a “measure of need” definition of “patients currently unable to promptly access inpatient psychiatric treatment when clinically appropriate.”

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Is Peer Support at Risk as it Grows?

Is Peer Support at Risk as it Grows?

Can peer support offered within the mental health system still allow for the mutuality of relationships that is the core of peer support? Or can it only happen within peer-run agencies?

Is certification for peer support specialists a step forward that will expand access and improve professional acceptance? Or does even being paid for providing peer support destroy the level playing field of a relationship between peers?

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Commentary

Coercion in Survival Benefits

Coercion in Survival Benefits

At this year’s Alternatives conference in Washington, Calvin Moen, Kaz DeWolfe and I gave a presentation on the elements of psychiatric coercion that members of our community face in accessing survival benefits.

This was an effort on our part to broaden the scope of discussions that occur in the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement to consider coercion more broadly.

All the people who attended our workshop were recipients of survival benefits and had a great deal to contribute to the discussion. They spoke to the precarious nature of life on benefits, as well as to the degree to which participation in the benefits system limits their ability to determine the conditions of their care.

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“Alternatives” — Plural

“Alternatives” — Plural

This was my second consecutive year attending the Alternatives conference. Like last year, I distinctly felt that there were (at least) two separate conferences happening concurrently.

One of these conferences centers the experience and perspective of a user of mental health services who is in recovery from a mental illness and has joined the peer workforce to serve others who are experiencing what they have gone through.

The other conference centers the experience and perspective of a survivor of psychiatric harm who works to resist and dismantle the coercive and forceful psychiatric system and to reinstate the human and civil rights of those who have been deemed mad.

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