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Spring 2010 Newsletter

Transcript of PEERS Pulse

  • W W W . P E E R S N E T . O R G

    PEERSpulse, Spring 2010 1

    PEERS pulsePEERS Participates in California Memorial ProjectBy Lisle Boomer

    On September 21, 2009, the seventh annual California Memorial Project Remembrance Day was held across California at state hospital, and developmental center sites. PEERS attended the Napa Ceremony. Many people are unaware of our history. Most state hospitals and developmental centers once had on-site cemeteries where people who died in these institutions were buried. In many instances, no family member could be located or would take the body for burial. Napa has 4,386 people buried in the cemetery from 1880-1923.

    Another 5,000 people were cremated in the onsite crematorium that was torn down in the 1960s; their remains are in a community grave at a local cemetery. When people were buried in Napa, a numbered redwood cross was used to mark their grave.

    Over the years, these crosses decayed and for the last few decades, no markers have existed. The cemetery is often referred to as a field littered with broken equipment.

    The California Memorial Project -- which relates to two state bills authored by Senator Chesbro -- allows three agencies to take the lead on restoring the cemeteries. These agencies include People First of California, California Network of Mental Health Clients,

    and Disability Rights Californias Peer Self Advocacy Units.

    The goals of the California Memorial Project are:

    To restore the cemeteries at state institutions and developmental centers and other places where patients of these institutions have been interred;

    To record the stories of patients from inside state institutions and developmental centers;

    To document and memorialize the ex-patient/consumer/survivor movement.

    By performing these three steps, we honor our past and restore the dignity to those who have lived and died in institutions.

    PEERS is now working to raise money to help support the efforts of the cemetery restoration, including a memorial to honor those buried there. We would like to invite our community to attend this years eighth annual Remembrance Day on September 20, 2010.

    If youre interested in participating in a Remembrance Day ceremony, please contact Lisle Boomer

    at (510) 832-7337 or [email protected] Alicia Mendoza at (916) 488-7787 or [email protected]

    Save the Date: Disability Capitol Action DayBy Disability Action Coalition

    Disability Capitol Action Day is one of the largest cross-disability events in our country. This year, on May 26th, the Disability Action Coalition will host its seventh annual Disability Capitol Action Day.

    Together we will join in solidarity to recognize the 20-year anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act -- our civil rights act -- on the west lawn of the Capitol.

    Despite the ongoing state budget threat to our rights and independence, we will join forces and educate the legislature on what Californians with disabilities need in order to remain in our own homes and in the community.

    We will hear from speakers who were at the White House during the signing of the ADA and from our brothers and sisters in the disability rights movement who have benefited for the ADA and others who have continued to fight for our rights, programs, and services that make it possible for us to live independently.

    All participants are encouraged to visit with their legislators. Educational materials will be provided to assist you in those visits. A resource fair with over 25 vendors will be open to participants from 10AM to 3PM. Lunch will be provided to 1500 participants.

    Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services A Quarterly Newsletter Spring 2010

    Nothing about us, without us.

    Commonly referred to as The Field, this Napa cemetery houses the remains of more than

    5,000 unclaimed bodies of hospital patients.

    If you are interested in attending,please contact PEERS at

    (510) 832-7337or [email protected]

    Get the latest PEERS news, photos, and updates on our

    Facebook page!

  • P E E R S P U L S E

    2 PEERSpulse, Spring 2010

    Reflections on WRAPBy Helena LiberFrom February 24-26, 2010, PEERS held a three-day Mental Health Recovery and Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) presentation with 25 participants. A light breakfast and lunch were included each day. The facilitators were BJ, John, Lisle, Letty, and Bryan. Khartera was also present.The workshop began with the development of a comfort agreement for a safe learning environment. The entire WRAP program was covered, including a brief history of WRAP, the Wellness World View, key concepts of recovery, and action plan components. Interspersed with the more serious work were fun exercises and games. After an introduction for each section of the WRAP, the participants were able to work on their own WRAP and to share ideas.

    I thought the three-day WRAP was amazing! One exercise that I found particularly great was the five-minute listening exercise. We paired up with another person with the instructions for one person to speak or journal out loud and the other to just listen for five minutes. The listener could ONLY listen, not interrupt, comment, speak, or even touch the speaker. Then the speaker and listener switched roles. We were encouraged to not discuss our partners journaling, even after the exercise was over.

    After the exercise, we shared what that experience was like for us. Some of us learned that we were not as good listeners as we thought. Some of us had a constant urge to interrupt, give advice, ask a question or DO something else, but not just sit there and let the other person speak.

    To be truly listened to without comment or interruption is rare. I realized that I was constantly holding back from sharing because I didnt want judgments, sympathy or advice. The experience of this exercise was profound for me.

    Jeff thought that the effectiveness of multiple facilitators kept everything fresh and well-paced, allowing those who may not connect well with one facilitator to connect better with others.

    The listening exercise was very instructive for Paul, too. He said, I was amazed at how much more you can get from a discussion by hearing out the other person without comment.

    Christal thought the listening exercise was a learning tool to see where you are with yourself -- mentally, emotionally, and psychologically -- when someone is talking and sharing something that is important to them. Christal said, "Believe it or not, you still exhibit a nonverbal response, both in facial expression and body language. How do you respond nonverbally?!"

    Alicia thought the workshop was powerful. The laughter exercise -- where participants put their hands to their toes and then slowly brought them up and laughed -- made a big impression on her. Alicia said, The facilitator had us laughing, and at first I noticed the laughter wasn't necessarily authentic. Yet, the longer the exercise went on, I noticed that guttural type of laughter coming up. I really enjoyed it. I truly believe laughter is one of the most healing things available to us. I try to never pass up a chance to get a good laugh in.

    The workshop had a jaw-dropping effect on participant Quintara somewhat like that of a mystery movie. Quintara commented, What a wonderful way to challenge oneself to grow in the area of enduring and embracing the particular differences about others that one would never attempt in a traditional group setting. I usually feel like the misfit in most groups I participate in, yet in this group I felt as if not only was I not the only misfit--but I was genuinely loved, accepted and appreciated by others. Nice! Where on earth do you find a group of people challenged to look inward instead of pointing at far nowhere but WRAP!!

    Overall, the three-day Introduction to Mental Health Recovery and Wellness Recovery Action Plan was a great way to share and learn from each other in a safe and comfortable environment. I would encourage others to sign up and take advantage of this wonderful resource in our community!

    Hope: We believe there is hope and that recovery is real and possible for everyone who experiences mental health challenges.

    Social Inclusion: A barrier-free community is one free from discrimination and stigma where all individuals are included in our community and treated as equals with dignity, compassion, mutual respect and unconditional high regard. Through community involvement and on-going personal contact, we can make a positive impact on peoples hearts and minds about mental health recovery.

    Self Determination: Self-determination is essential for recovery to occur. We need to be in control of our own lives and have voluntary choices and options in our community. We define our own life goals and design a unique path toward those goals.

    Cultural and Linguistic Inclusiveness: We embrace the richness of our Countys cultural and linguistic diversity and strive to effectively outreach to and engage historically un-served/underserved/inappropriately served populations.

    Empowerment: We believe in increasing the spiritual, political, social and economic strengths of individuals in recovery. This involves developing confidence in our own capacities.

    Personal Responsibility: We take personal responsibility for our own self-development, self-care and journey of recovery. Through actively engaging in our well-being, we increase our personal strengths.

    Strengths-Based: We focus on valuing and building on the multiple capacities, resiliencies, talents, abilities, and uniqueness of individuals. By building on these strengths, we leave the I cant mentality behind and engage in