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Brainstorm of our favorite alternatives from Opal Meeting in Lane County, Oregon, USA

Psychiatric survivor and vet Hugh Massengill addressed the sixth meeting of the Opal Network in Eugene, Oregon on 29 July 2008 about moving from madness to mental wellness. The Opal Network brings together advocates for empowerment of people in mental health system in Lane County. Moderators Bjo Ashwill and Tom Wilson led a brainstorm about our favorite methods to reach and maintain mental and emotional well being. Here is a draft based on notes by David Oaks.



What helps your mental and emotional well being?


  • Opal Whiteley is remembered in this mural in downtown Cottage Grove. Smiling.
  • Breathing.
  • Community and tribe.
  • Relationship with therapist.
  • Getting involved.
  • Vitamins and nutrition such as fish oil.
  • Humor.
  • Nature.
  • Trauma Healing Project.
  • Biz.
  • Showing up.
  • Singing.
  • Hope.
  • Oregon Consumer/Survivor Coalition.
  • Self-education.
  • Small groups like this.
  • Internal locus of control.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
  • Awareness in community at large.
  • Exercise.
  • Friendships.
  • Spiritual connection.
  • Stepping into abundance.
  • Realizing I deserve happiness.
  • Focus on how we raise children who are in mental health system.
  • Learning what babies want: love.
  • Friendship.
  • Social networks.
  • Believe we make sense and find others.
  • Self acceptance.
  • Pride.
  • Sanctuary.
  • Yoga.
  • Move your body.
  • Light.
  • Do good, avoid evil, purify yourself.
  • Joy leads to smiling, smiling leads to joy.
  • Uplifting music that connects to your gut, emotions.
  • Meetings like this.
  • Creating something.
  • Baths.
  • Drawing.
  • Criminalizing normality!
  • Sketch, draw, paint, play, act, compose, sculpt, music.
  • Reject conformity.
  • Dialogue.
  • Skits.
  • Garden.
  • To be deeply loved.
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Samantha Johnson, psychiatric survivor, MFI intern

Samantha Johnson is a 22-year-old psychiatric survivor who is interning at the MindFreedom International office. "I was absolutely in disbelief at how the people were treated at the hospital. It was an environment of emotional abuse interspersed with 'treatments' and 'policies' that could be more accurately described as assault. The tragic thing is that there really are some good people working there, but they are unable to provide people with the help they need inside a system that prioritizes profits over people. It might take five years of counseling for someone to truly recover from a mental health crisis, but it takes five minutes to tranquilize them. This is why I started working with MindFreedom. For 25 years MFI has been challenging the mental health system to see us as human beings- to treat us as human beings- through peaceful activism. At MFI we emphasize individual choice, empowerment, and compassion as necessary aspects of a true healing process."
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