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At Opal 6 we brainstormed about what helps us reach mental wellness.

Hugh Massengill addressed the sixth meeting of the Opal Network in Eugene, Oregon on 29 July 2008 about moving from madness to mental wellness. 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, which we will add to from participants in the meeting. Sorry if we missed your favorite, but we're sure there are thousands!



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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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: www.TheOpalProject.org and www.etrash.tv
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