This is the 100th article posted on Mental Health Affairs. All of us at Mental Health Affairs have aimed to bring readers the most critical and rigorous analytical commentary on the status of medicine, psychiatry, social work, psychology, and allied fields intersecting with mental health care today in the United States. Mental Health Affairs evolved from a recommendation to me that I should cross pollinate the peer perspective with clinical research and my experience practicing in the system-of-care in the New York State where I have been working professionally and been treated for a mental health diagnosis. This blog was an experiment in many ways. I was charged with the task to merge and marry two worlds and produce a cogent product that spoke to both consumers and practitioners alike. In many ways, I have been successful in merging the two worlds, and in others, less effective than I originally set out when writing some of the articles over the past two years.
Given the blogging platform allows me to track stats, and the numbers of readers, their country of origin, and visits to the site, I have been evaluating the trends and resultant outcomes after each post. To give you all a little more background on the evolution of this blog, it all began with a vision on how the two worlds would merge. Indeed, the common theme I settled upon was self-management. Under the heading of self-management, I believed, and still do, that both clinicians and peers can benefit from learning how to teach, and self-employ techniques to better regulate their emotional and behavioral health. So, after the initial launch of the blog back in Autumn of 2016, I began posting articles on the topic of self-management. Without question, there was more work to be done to successfully merge the two worlds. The plan moving forward from posting articles on self-taught skill building recommendations and information, both clinical recommendations to impart these skills to consumers, and peers to better cope with their condition signaled a new challenge to the blog.
Indeed, if self-management was the overarching theme, how could each article speak to both consumers and practitioners without losing sight of the overall goal and mission to be successful in disseminating accurate and cogent information to everyone. With this said, I knew I had to truly get underneath the issues, and paint the frontier between both worlds in colors which wouldn’t bleed out the information and lose both audiences altogether. So, I went deeper, and underneath self-management, at the ground floor of the mental health problem was the issue of language and its inherent instability to bridge the many intersections that would heal the mental health system and finally challenge the stigma existent in our country. At that moment, Mental Health Affairs took shape and grew boldly among the many blogs circulating the internet and soared above its infancy, becoming something much bigger and more profound than the narrow-focused literature disseminated in the past.
As early as 2017, articles were posted regularly and often over the internet and available on Mental Health Affairs for viewing. From psychosis skill skill kits to readiness for psychiatric hospitalization, articles merged the peer world and the practitioner realm for clinical practice. Articles on medication, injections, and the mental health system, diagnosis were widely received by readers, even circulated on other blogs, re-posted, and published in academic journals. During this successful period of publication, the aim, mission, and vision were truly articulated to readers.
I have always believed that “hope & healing” for mental health conditions was not only the attitude peers and practitioners required to bring about better outcomes, it was the approach needed and yet left conspicuously absent from the system despite the fact it is the very slogan championed by the state mental health system. Without question, I attribute this to the limitations of the system and the constraints placed upon its participants due to beholding biased perspectives and approaches to treatment that included the furthering of stigma in the system-of-care. For this very reason, this blog will continue to take up arms, and arm readers alike with information to dismantle, repair, and revise the system-of-care at every level that it intersects with the treatment of people with a mental health diagnosis.
Mental Health Affairs will therefore continue to need readers like you who will listen and filter out commentaries laden with stigma and listen to the reason voiced in this blog and in its articles. The public has a choice moving forward, as were are at the greatest cross-roads in Mental health treatment today more than ever. Rising school violence and crimes in the community are signaling that we cannot ignore the gaps in car. The broken system simply isn’t doing the work to help those in crisis, and give people in need of the right information, skill-sets, and culture around Mental Health to feel safe and comfortable in their own shoes, let alone their neighborhoods where available services are either inaccessible or a bad treatment fit for their particular needs.
Ultimately, this blog will begin ramping up its call for full community access and integration to treatment. I fully believe so much of today’s problem can be addressed and resolved when people have access to treatment, psychoeducation, and services in their own communities. This blog cannot bridge the gaps in care forever, and is not designed to be the long-term solution to the mental health crisis in the country. Instead, it is a rallying call for people to begin to demand from their government and leaders in power that the mental Health crisis be resolved once and for all.