How To Make SAMSHA’s “Health Homes” Work for the Homeowners

SAMHSA defines health homes as “a team-based clinical approach that includes the consumer, his or her providers, and family members, when appropriate.” Done right, they could provide a needed “home base” for people with chronic health conditions or impairing mental health conditions to coordinate care. This includes organizing multiple services from multiple providers. But as with any new major system, there are challenges.

Cultural Concerns

Why We Control “Touched” People Instead of Asking “What’s Wrong?”

When I grew up in Southern Appalachia, it seemed like everyone had a family member or knew someone who was a little strange -- “quare” or “teched,” we said in deep accents.  So long as they didn’t behave in ways that were dangerous, these “teched” people were tolerated.  You could be a little (or maybe a lot) different, and as long as you knew your place, played nice, and didn’t cause too much trouble or embarrass people too badly, you could make do. It’s been said that if you put a fence around the South, you’d have an asylum. But in the days when there was more space between people and places, there was also more tolerance for the “local eccentrics” – they were just neighbors and family members.

Cultural Concerns

Trauma, Spirituality & Faith: Webinar for All Organizations Dealing With Traumatized Refugee Populations

Is your organization equipped to deal with the aftermath of trauma in refugee populations?

In 2010 the State Department admitted 48,282 refugees to the United States. In 2013 the number was 69,926. Look around the world: from current conflicts and historical hot-spots, people are seeking shelter and safety. These people have experienced trauma and they are dealing with its aftermath. Increasingly, they are dealing with this aftermath here in the...

Cultural Concerns

Breaking the Silence About Mental Health

I’m breaking the silence.  I’m talking about Mental Health.  Radical that I am, I talk about it every day.  Every. Day.  Not just on its named day.
I talk not about the horrors of untold demons, or weeks of unrelenting flashbacks, or being unable to summon the life to turn over in bed. We all know about that.  I don’t talk about biological brain disorders, because few (if any)...

Cultural Concerns

A Trauma-Informed Perspective on Oscar Pistorius

How is it that Oscar Pistorius’ case of “shoot your girlfriend and get away with it” isn’t evoking universal outrage?  There is no doubt that bullets from the gun he fired killed his girlfriend.  There is no doubt that her parents and many others are enraged with grief and want someone to pay.  That’s the normal, predictable reaction.

Even the legal beagles of South Africa are adopting enraged positions. In a Tweet, James Grant, Wits University criminal law professor said, “Masipa doesn't accept that accused intended to kill anyone. Huh? His defence was he didn't intend to UNLAWFULLY kill.”  He Tweeted again, "How can you voluntarily fire four shots into a toilet cubicle & not foresee the possibility of killing whoever was in there."

But this outrage hasn’t leaked into the public consciousness – family and law professors can and are shouting to the high heavens, but the public seems uncharacteristically accepting. Why?


Before You Medicate, Read This

Image: Flickr/NeilsHeidenrich cc license

Yesterday I wrote about the pros and cons of psychotropic medicines; basically, I’m all for drugs that make people feel better quickly. But the physical, mental, emotional and financial costs of these drugs as currently prescribed so often outweigh their benefit. Yesterday after I clicked “publish”, I started thinking about a couple things I wanted to say – you know, like coming up with the...

Cultural Concerns

The Pros and Cons of Psychotropic Medications

Image: Flickr/Sam_Catch cc license

Many people think I am anti-medication.  In some ways, I am—and in many others, absolutely not. It’s a tricky balance – one that takes into account wanting to feel better quickly, but one that also takes into account the risk and cost of medications and even the risk that comes with feeling too good, too fast. Here’s how I see it:

Here’s where I am “against medication”:

A lot...