Monday, 27 May 2013

let's have mind and body crisis alternatives, peer led and flexible

my response to a recent government consultation:

"We need alternative ways of working with people in mental distress.  Peer led crisis alternatives, non-medical, non-clinical, places where people can talk about their problems and be listened to.  A place on the high street in towns where folk could drop by, drop in, have a cuppa, pick up leaflets, join a group without having to get a referral, fill in forms, give their life story, be labelled.  

A place where people with lived experience of mental distress are paid or do voluntary work, help others the same as themselves, to discuss whatever and to discover ways of coping or of overcoming.  No-one in uniform or with badges but a welcoming atmosphere and a feeling of acceptance for who you are. 
The alternative place could also have ordinary things going on, not mental health specific but more about keeping well, something like a community centre but more holistic, mind and body stuff.  Offering respite, a day's break or an overnight or two, away from the usual, to relieve stress and have opportunities to talk and be quiet.  Churches do stuff like this, retreats, that people benefit from.  But I'm thinking more of a mind and body resource, an alternative to the (bio)medical model.  

It wouldn't be called a crisis centre but it would have a respite element within it.  It would have to be voluntary sector run, to incorporate paid and voluntary staff, allowing for a variety of input and skills.  I've seen this work well in other settings and have often done this type of work, sometimes being the only paid person working with volunteers who I've recruited, trained, supported and supervised."


  1. Sounds wonderful: exactly what one would need in time of crisis. Reassurance and someone to talk to without being forcibly drugged and left to pace the corridors for days on end.

    1. Thanks for commenting. Yes I agree, no forced drugging/medication and the resulting restlessness that occurs through side effects and being in a strange place, caged.