News stories from Counterpoint

New Grant Program Targets Youth Mental Health

New Grant Program Targets Youth Mental Health

Starting in July, the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) will administer a two-year program whereby, in consultation with the Department of Mental Health (DMH), it will disburse grants for youth programming in schools and community settings. Legislation passed on April...

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Howard Center Union Signs New Contract

Howard Center Union Signs New Contract

A new collective bargaining agreement between Local 1674 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Howard Center, Chittenden County’s designated agency for mental health, went into effect on March 20, according to a union...

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White House Pledges Nationwide Peer Certification

White House Pledges Nationwide Peer Certification

While President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address on March 1 focused primarily on Ukraine, COVID-19, and inflation, the speech also touched briefly on the issue of mental health, which the White House has promised to address, in part, by promoting peer...

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Arts and commentary from Counterpoint

Walking Through Depression

Walking Through Depression

Prose by Amanda Perry (North Hartland, VT) I walk through a darkened path only large enough for me to fit through. I move side to side, I feel the rough bark of the trees next to me. Turning my head toward the sky I see nothing but darkness. The trees are so dense and...

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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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