For all that I've bagged old-school print media, I was interested to see this article in the Weekend Herald about a new model for mental healthcare. Mind and Body Consultants employs people who have experienced clinical mental illness, and are now in good shape themselves, to do peer support with people who have more acute clinical illnesses.
I found the model presented really intriguing because, having had several really good friends suffer through various mental health issues, I've noticed that recovery seems to be determined to a huge extent by the ability of the person to own and manage their own experience, in spite of what other people think is normal or appropriate. In the case of my friends, medication and sympathetic healthcare were part of getting to that. However the ability to operate well day to day in an ongoing way seems to come through a strange sort of self-driven boot-straps haul up from a place of being hugely fucked to somewhere better. The person has to do it themselves, and to get there they have to somehow get their heads around the idea that they can. What could be better for that than talking weekly with a living breathing example of someone who has already made the journey?
There was a post and comments at The Standard a few weeks ago about throwing more resources at the issue of mental health and the peer support model would seem like a valid one to consider when allocating whatever pitiful cash is available. It would be nice to see something more than the ambulance at the foot of the proverbial in this country. I've seen this approach at work and in one instance it was a set-back and in the other it ended in suicide.