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"International Recovery Perspectives: Action on Alternatives"

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This conference will offer an opportunity to hear from distinguished researchers, advocates, activists and clinical practitioners on creating alternatives for mental health recovery.

  • Meeting
When Jun 05, 2008 01:00 AM to
Jun 06, 2008 01:00 AM
Where Hart House, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
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The “International Recovery Perspectives: Action on Alternatives” conference offers participants an opportunity to hear from distinguished clinical practitioners, researchers, advocates, authors and activists who are renowned for their work in alternatives for recovery.  The conference is a collaborative initiative between the Leadership Project (Toronto) and the International Network Toward Alternatives and Recovery (INTAR).  This is a rare opportunity for Ontarians and our neighbours to meet with, and hear from the members of INTAR and the other international guests who are working to create alternatives to psychiatric treatment, and who are pressing for meaningful change at the local, national and now, international levels.

The conference themes aim to:

•    affirm that people with serious mental health problems can, and do recover;
•    address new ways of thinking about, and therapeutically responding to ‘psychosis’;
•    consider the ‘caring community’ as the basis for creating and nurturing alternative supports;
•    create a critical dialogue about the excessive use of medication and the neglect of psychology, especially as it relates to the increased focus on youth;
•    critique the emergent ‘first episode’ service modality and pose alternative approaches that support choice, empowerment and wellness/recovery;
•    highlight the need for a harm reduction relationship with traditional psychiatry, one that asserts the need for consent, choice and autonomy;
•    address the progressive alliances being built amongst consumers/survivors, families, and service providers who are cooperating to improve mental health services;
•    examine peer support/wellness as the emergent ‘best practice’ in mental health and consider strategies for broader acceptance and funding of peer support/services;
•    show the vital interconnection between the human sciences, advocacy and activism;
•    pose community development, advocacy and anti-oppression as defining characteristics of an alternative treatment resource/service;
•    provide a platform for critical psychiatry with the view to a new practice that is more reflexive, less defensive, more compassionate and less imperious;
•    call for mental health care that is respectful, non-coercive and anti-oppressive; and,
•    celebrate the spirit and resilience of the people who ‘survive, thrive and give back’.

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Laura Delano - Psychiatric survivor blogger activist

Laura works as a peer specialist in the traditional mental health system and writes a blog at, where she is sharing her story of recovery from psychiatry. After living with psychiatric labels for 13 years and taking psychotropic medications for ten of them, Laura says she found liberation in 2010 from her psychiatric diagnoses, from her reliance upon the mental health system, and from the once deep-seated belief that she was sentenced to a life-long "mental illness." Laura says, "I am proud to be a member of the MindFreedom International community for all MFI does to promote equality, justice, and civil rights for people who have been labeled 'mentally ill.'" (See 'Related Content' links below for link to Mad In America web site where Laura's blogs.)
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