Daniel Fisher was a young, idealistic man in his mid-20s, enjoying life in a hippy commune, when he was hospitalised for four months in 1970 and diagnosed with schizophrenia. During that stay in hospital – his second of three on psychiatric wards – friends came to visit with a copy of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the bestselling Ken Kesey novel – later to become an Oscar-winning movie – about life on an Oregon psychiatric ward. He recalls fondly: "They said: 'Man, this is crazy. You gotta get out of here.' It was just a different era. We are in a much more conformist era."
Fisher, a prominent psychiatrist who is advising the Obama administration on mental health issues, has been on a personal mission for two decades to change the way wider society understands and reacts to mental illness. An advocate of the "recovery model" – which posits that a diagnosis of mental illness is not for life, and that people can recover completely – Fisher is an outspoken and controversial figure in the US, campaigning vigorously for the rights of people diagnosed with a mental illness. Much of what he does is rooted in his own experience. "Human rights doesn't even begin to grasp it," he says. "It goes much deeper than that."
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Radical US psychiatrist says mental illness is not a life sentence | Society | The Guardian
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