Tuesday, October 6, 2009

System Reform

Center of Healing Arts, Recovery,Growth, Empowerment

NAMI Marches Forward

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      The National Alliance on Mental Illnessheld it's 5 K Walk on Belle Isle and even the weather cooperated and it was a nice day. There were 2992 wristbands given out. The camaraderie was off the hook, plus I got to see old friends and make new ones. Veda Sharp(Detroit Wayne County CMH Director) Cindy Dingell (Board Chair/D-WCCMH)and Dr. Michelle Reid(D-WCCMH/ Medical Director) Were also in attendance. The cool thing is that they camenotas leaders, but as partners and supporters.

As we work toward system change we are thankful for progressive leadership and for organizations like NAMI. For far too long mental illness has been sort of Swept under the rug, even though it exists in every community nationwide. NAMI is getting the word out that we are the same as anyone else with an illness. With the proper support we are capable of doing some amazing things on top of becoming contributing members to society.

Recovery and the Arts

The system has grown to the point where there are tons of vital programs that teach us how to manage our illnesses. Adult Well Being Services(AWBS) Is making allowances for CHARGE to be an antonymous consumer run group. They are moving from a position of leadership to one of support and guidance for consumers seeking to move further along in recovery. This is how AWBS is helping transform the system from one of maintenance to one of recovery.

CHARGE is by no means just an art

Dinora Sikes has a food addiction and at one point she was obese. She decided to take charge of her life and dramatically reduced her weight. She then developed a program 'UPRISE' to help others suffering from physical health problems. Her program is centered on utilizing the mind, body and spirit in the recovery process. Since folks with disabilities die an average of 25 years earlier than the general population, and Health

During the early 70's Willie Waller was nationally recognized as an up and coming artist until he became ill. His family boxed up his artwork and put it in the attic where it stayed until 2004 when Willie got into recovery. He is now a Peer Specialist and his talents are art and giving other consumers hope. At CHARGE he will be further developing his art and encouraging others on their road to recovery.

I first met Patti Charleston at the Wayne County Peer Training and some of you may remember her choir's outstanding performance at the 3rdannual Empowerment Day. Patti has wanted be a choir director since she was a child. Patti is an assistant choir director at the Detroit Rescue Mission and to see and hear her one would never guess how far in life she has come. Patti is the CHARGE and vocal choir director.

Those in recovery must be in leadership positions in a recovery based system, and we thank Detroit Wayne County CMH, and the Department of Community Health for making it possible for consumers to design, build, and operate a program from a consumer perspective. We owe a particular debt of Gratitude to Adult Well Being Services for their guidance and support.

Gerald Butler

Do not forget the 'Disabilities Expo at Cobo Hall on the 16thof this month! It's free and informative

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