These meetings always begin with introductions and new stories of recovery. The stories are all about the day to day process of recovering. There are always many of them pointing to small real steps. Sometimes the stories are clearly about rights. For example, there was a strong response to a Kalamazoo paper article that spoke against the marriage of two persons with schizophrenia. There was an immediate response with letters, and an Op-Ed in a couple of weeks.
The Recovery Movement has begun to infiltrate senior programs and will be a part of senior services conference this spring.
Also, Pam Werner expects the number of Peer Support Specialiss to break 300 after the next test (this week).
MDCH will use the measure of recovery called the Recovery Enhanced Requirement, which was recommended to the Department by the Recovery Council.
Key chain tag with the principles of Recovery on it? What do you think? The proposal is to have them for all consumers and staff, and have them available at consumer and other conferences.
Marti reported on NAMI's national consumer issues:
- There has been an upsurge in taser use and deaths of persons with mental illness.
- There is a spreading criminal ization of mental health issues, with the use of handcuffs as a substitute for treatment. JACHO rules on restraint has weakened substantially (though this doesn't affect Michigan which has a higher standard).
- The recovery movement has stalled nationally. Marti referred to the dynamic as "pockets of excellence".
- There have always been peers in the system, but who may not have self-identified. Now, people in the system are self-identifying, but there past behavior and stance on consumer issues. There is a yahoo group called 2hats that includes some people
- Marti feels that there is too much narrowing of service availability and choice because of turf fights and factions. Her point is there must be an answer for everyone. Politics is making valuable choices unavailable.
- Medication availability, use, judgments of who takes and don't take, etc. Lots of states have closed formularies, which can have devastating impacts on persons who take medications for mental illness. Even generics can produce problems for the shift from brand names. Finally, the Medicare donut is causing unfair choices about work versus medication availability.
- There was a discussion of the use of physician assistants and nurse practitioners providing medication to people. In areas where there is no effective psychiatric services, it may well be the only alternative, and Marti felt they were effective, but she asked for stories of problems.
- It was pointed out that cuffs were the standard for everyone.
- Pam raised the issue of peer supports being paid low wages, and the impact of poverty on the Recovery Movement. She also pointed out that 300 PSS doesn't begin to meet the need of the 120,000 persons who receive services. Pay must be high enough to constitute a real living.
- Liability fears drive CMH use or non-use of drugs rather than individual response. Also, brand names powerfully impact the distribution of GF funds which are capped. Hence, persons who aren't eligible for Medicaid and Medicare are getting generics.
- The new Director of State NAMI reported that some CMHs are dropping back to early anti-psychotic medications because of formulary pressure.
- There were also conserns about the loss of support that PSS experience when they change roles.
- The Peer Brochure is in the works and a draft will happen soon.
- Rules that restrict work or pay with loss of benefits may dictate individual solutions.
- The website for the National Association of Peer Supports has information from Michigan about satisfaction with pay and jobs.
- Is there a way to take on the responsibilities of a Special Needs Plan that could simplify the access to medications?
- Finally, there was a call for solidarity and alignment for the recovery movement as a whole. Think about the NAPS conference.