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Reply to e-mail from Rob Rockstroh to MindFreedom Lane County

Here is a brief dialogue between a leader of Lane County's health and human services department, and MindFreedom Lane County, about empowerment guidelines. Background: On 30 January 2010, MindFreedom Lane County e-mailed to Rob Rockstroh, director of Lane County Health and Human Services, asking for feedback about the timeline of events about developing guidelines for empowerment of mental health clients in Lane County. Rob Rockstroh replied on 1 February 2010. On 11 February 2010, Ron Unger, coordinator of MindFreedom Lane County, replied.

 

 

 

 

Below is a reply to a 1 February 2010 e-mail (copied at bottom) from Rob Rockstroh to MindFreedom Lane County.


~~~~~~~~

11 February 2010

To Rob Rockstroh, Director, Lane County Health and Human Services

From Ron Unger, coordinator, MindFreedom Lane County
e-mail: lane@mindfreedom.org
web: http://www.mindfreedom.org/lane

To Bruce, Al, and Rob:

It certainly seems there are two "world views" colliding here.  I think it would be helpful if all of us recognized that both views exist, and also tried to sort out which one might be more accurate.

In one world view, the county leaders are attempting to do a reasonable job of balancing respect for the wishes of consumers with respect for other stakeholders who are represented on various committees and groups.  The county leaders are committed to having the interests of consumers be represented in some form, though of course the consumers will have to be willing to compromise with others about the way this is done.  County leaders deserve strong acknowledgment for these efforts , especially since they are showing more respect for consumer interests than do the leaders of many other counties.

In the other world view, the issues at stake are ones of fundamental human rights and the need to eliminate mental health system induced harm, harm which is as serious as disability and even death.  If there exist any committees or stakeholders within the county system who don't recognize the importance of these issues and the need to take action, then there is something wrong with those committees and stakeholders, and whatever is wrong with them should be challenged rather than used as an excuse to hold up or water down progress on these important issues. The fact that other counties may be even worse in their disrespect of human rights and imposition of harm within the mental health system provides zero justification for Lane County to do the same to a lesser degree.  While lesser degrees of abuse are certainly better than more severe abuse, pressure will have to continue to be brought to bear on county leadership until we have a system that actually respects human rights and does its best to eliminate mental health system induced harm.

We recognize it is very awkward for any kind of leaders who are caught in the middle between activists pressuring for change and a system that does not really want to change.  We acknowledge the human difficulties this causes you.  However, we really can't back off from asking for the changes that need to happen, because our concern for those harmed and disrespected for the system outweighs our desire to make things comfortable for you.  So we want to thank you for the ways you have been helpful, but then confront you about the ways you have not yet come through to solve the very serious problems that remain, until those issues are adequately addressed.

A final note on Rob's assertion about the relationship between the LaneCare survey and the guidelines:  We have never heard an adequate explanation for why there should be a perceived logical connection between what is reported on such a survey and the content of guidelines meant to protect consumer rights.  We think all of us could recognize that, for example, even if a survey of Lane County employees found that no one reported being sexually harassed, this would not be an argument against having guidelines that prohibit sexual harassment.  All that is needed to justify guidelines against sexual harassment is the knowledge that it is something that happens sometimes in the world, and that it is definitely wrong and harmful.  A survey on sexual harassment may be helpful, but only as part of efforts to see what may be necessary to implement guidelines, not to decide whether or not they should exist.  We continue to wait to hear any explanation for why guidelines should have to wait for a survey.

While the survey is a good idea, to collect a bit of information, we also hope the results are interpreted with a realistic sense of its limitations.  For example, question 14 asks consumers whether they have adequate information to understand the possibility of any risks and/or benefits.  The obvious problem with such a question is that most consumers who have not been adequately informed will not know that they have not been adequately informed, because they won't know what they weren't told.  Other questions have other problems, and a great many relevant questions were not asked at all.  A survey badly interpreted can be more misleading than helpful, and we hope everyone keeps this in mind as well.

Thanks for your consideration of these points of view.

on behalf of MindFreedom Lane County
e-mail: lane@mindfreedom.org
web: http://www.mindfreedom.org/lane

On 1 Feb 2010, at 7:09 AM, ROCKSTROH Rob A wrote:

I think they are your "facts" with your spin, David.  We're probably not going to change your version of history. But I will give you credit for pushing the system forward.

The fact is that we have been committed to guidelines (not "vague" at all) and the fact is that we have adopted guidelines through our various LaneCare committees: Quality Assurance, Operation Council, Consumer Council, and the Executive Committee.  There was plenty of process that allowed for disagreements.

The fact is that you and Ron have taken point on being the primary persons who don't like the revised guidelines. As you know from our Mental Health Advisory Committee meeting last week, we will revisit the guidelines but after we see the input from the consumer survey.  We are hopeful that the consumer survey will assist all of us in looking at the needs of our clients. Rob 

-----Original Message-----
From: David W. Oaks [mailto:oaks@mindfreedom.org]
Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2010 3:58 PM
To: ABEL Bruce C; LEVINE Al; ROCKSTROH Rob A
Cc: Ron Unger
Subject: timeline feedback?

Hi Bruce, Al, Rob,

At the MHAC meeting this week there were some questions about TIMING.

So we're trying to sum up some of the history of the last five years 
of MindFreedom Lane County and allied groups asking for change from 
Lane County Mental Health and LaneCare.

I realize of course we may disagree on some or many of the opinions... 
but it would be good to agree on some of the FACTS first!

Being able to disagree well is a good sign of mental and emotional 
well being, after all!

So, would you all mind taking a look at this summary of the last five 
years, and let me know if we have anything inaccurately, before we 
announce it publicly?

Thanks:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/as/act/us/or/lane/lanecare-lane-county-mental-health

Please copy any reply to Ron.

I think one thing we can ALL agree upon: After all these years it's 
getting urgent to have strong clear guidelines for Lane County, and 
we're looking forward to that!

David

David W. Oaks, Executive Director
MindFreedom International
454 Willamette, Suite 216 - POB 11284
Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA

web: http://www.mindfreedom.org
email: oaks@mindfreedom.org
office phone: (541) 345-9106 fax: (480) 287-8833
member services toll free in USA: 1-877-MAD-PRID[e] or 1-877-623-7743

Unite for a Nonviolent Revolution in Mental Health.

Join now! http://www.mindfreedom.org/join-donate

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."
- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.


~~~~~~~~~

 

 

For the very interested, below is David Oaks's reply to Rob's e-mail:

 

Dear Rob,

 

Rob, I appreciate you speaking up in the January meeting of the Lane County Mental Health Advisory Committee to support hearing from a Lane County Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Council representative about their concerns regarding Lane County's 2008 guidelines for empowerment of mental health clients.

 

As you know, because of its concerns the Consumer/Survivor Council unanimously endorsed its own revised guidelines, one year ago.

 

Links can now be found in our 'gateway' about MindFreedom Lane County, so that anyone can easily compare these two guidelines, and read the timeline, here:

 

http://www.mindfreedom.org/lane

 

 

As you know, in that MHAC January meeting, several MHAC members suggested postponing hearing the Consumer/Survivor Council perspective at this month's February meeting, even though MHAC had agreed to this back in December.

 

I really am glad you, Steven Bruce, Tim Mueller, Al Levine, and others spoke up clearly to say that it's okay, and even important, to hear dissenting opinions, from the Lane County Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Council.

 

We need allies like that, who stand us publicly to hear about change, and not take calls for change as a personal affront. I have an essay about the importance of allies being public that was published in a Northwest Alternatives magazine, here:

 

http://www.mindfreedom.org/campaign/media/mf/loren-mosher-david-oaks

So, thanks for speaking up, this item is on the MHAC agenda, 25 February, as originally planned.

But to clear something up, I e-mailed to you, Al, and Bruce, on 30 January (copy at bottom) seeking feedback about the facts in our timeline about the debate over Lane County empowerment of mental health clients.

We created such a timeline, because during the last Mental Health Advisory Committee, a member stated he had questions about the lack of clarity on the dates of the two versions of the guidelines.

Of course, we all may have differences of opinion about whether or not the current Lane County guidelines are adequate.

And we may have disagreements about whether or not the status quo of the current mental health system, including in Lane County, is inherently and significantly harmful.

However, my intent with my e-mail to you three was to just see if we were on the same page about the events, dates and facts.

I was a little surprised that instead of e-mailing back to me any feedback about the dates, you immediately copied a reply (1 Feb., below) to the entire Board of County Commissioners as well as all members of the Mental Health Advisory Committee, that I think was a bit defensive.

Sorry, our intent was not to hurt your feelings, or anyone else's. I think it may be better to discuss that kind of thing by phone or in person, rather than by e-mail. I'm at 541-345-9106 if anyone wants to chat.

I have made one change to the timeline as a result of concerns raised by you, Bruce and Al. I've made sure that a particular opinion about your original response is more clearly attributable to MindFreedom Lane County.

Again, you can now find a link to the guidelines, along with the timeline with that change, here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/lane

In my next e-mail will be a reply from Ron Unger, the coordinator of MindFreedom Lane County, and a great model of an ally who speaks out publicly time and again.

Thanks,

David

On 1 Feb 2010, at 7:09 AM, ROCKSTROH Rob A wrote:

I think they are your "facts" with your spin, David.  We're probably not going to change your version of history. But I will give you credit for pushing the system forward.

The fact is that we have been committed to guidelines (not "vague" at all) and the fact is that we have adopted guidelines through our various LaneCare committees: Quality Assurance, Operation Council, Consumer Council, and the Executive Committee.  There was plenty of process that allowed for disagreements.

The fact is that you and Ron have taken point on being the primary persons who don't like the revised guidelines. As you know from our Mental Health Advisory Committee meeting last week, we will revisit the guidelines but after we see the input from the consumer survey.  We are hopeful that the consumer survey will assist all of us in looking at the needs of our clients. Rob

-----Original Message-----
From: David W. Oaks [mailto:oaks@mindfreedom.org]
Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2010 3:58 PM
To: ABEL Bruce C; LEVINE Al; ROCKSTROH Rob A
Cc: Ron Unger
Subject: timeline feedback?

Hi Bruce, Al, Rob,

At the MHAC meeting this week there were some questions about TIMING.

So we're trying to sum up some of the history of the last five years
of MindFreedom Lane County and allied groups asking for change from
Lane County Mental Health and LaneCare.

I realize of course we may disagree on some or many of the opinions...
but it would be good to agree on some of the FACTS first!

Being able to disagree well is a good sign of mental and emotional
well being, after all!

So, would you all mind taking a look at this summary of the last five
years, and let me know if we have anything inaccurately, before we
announce it publicly?

Thanks:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/as/act/us/or/lane/lanecare-lane-county-mental-health

Please copy any reply to Ron.

I think one thing we can ALL agree upon: After all these years it's
getting urgent to have strong clear guidelines for Lane County, and
we're looking forward to that!

David

David W. Oaks, Executive Director
MindFreedom International
454 Willamette, Suite 216 - POB 11284
Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA

web: http://www.mindfreedom.org
email: oaks@mindfreedom.org
office phone: (541) 345-9106 fax: (480) 287-8833
member services toll free in USA: 1-877-MAD-PRID[e] or 1-877-623-7743

Unite for a Nonviolent Revolution in Mental Health.

Join now! http://www.mindfreedom.org/join-donate

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."
- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.






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Lynne Salvi, psychiatric survivor

Lynne M. Salvi [1963 - 2011] was an activist with MindFreedom Lane County. She experienced 24 years of human rights violations in the mental health system. Lynne said, "Since finding MindFreedom and becoming a member, my life changed dramatically. I found many people who understand through experience without words. MindFreedom feels like a reunion of family I never knew before. This connection and encouragement give me the courage to speak out. I am grateful to find myself using those painful experiences to help others. Today I am medication-free and psychiatrist-free for the first time." See "Related Content" below for writing by Lynne.
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