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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
Contact Name
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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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Lauren Tenney, psychiatric survivor activist from New York State

First involuntarily institutionalized, at 15, Lauren Tenney is a survivor of psychiatry. She has been involved with the user and survivor movement since 1992. Her goal is to help stop forced psychiatric procedures, detainment, and confinement, human rights violations, psychiatric abuse and torture. Of particular concern are the elimination of forced electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) on people of all ages, but particularly children and senior citizens, forced drugging, restraints, seclusion, behavioral interventions, and coercion of any kind. Lauren, a Mad-Activist/ Artist/ Author/ Academic/ Adjunct Professor is coordinating The Opal Project, an outcome of participatory action research she coordinated for field research in the PhD program in Environmental Psychology at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her dissertation topic is: "The Institutionalized "Community." She became involved with WE THE PEOPLE when the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights and MindFreedom International needed someone on the ground in Brooklyn, New York to coordinate a response where Esmin Green was murdered-by-neglect. She now lives in Albany, NY with her service dog-in-training and cat. For more info: and
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