Fresh Thinking About Mental Health

Bringing together different perspectives

These pages capture my thoughts on recovery, healing and transformation, as well as good mental health practice and system reform.

I welcome your comments!


Thinking about my experiences

My Recovery Story

We all need a place to tell our story … and this is mine. This story describes my own journey through madness and recovery.
For everyone: if you’re interested in my history, learning about what helped me with recovery, and/or what stood in the way.


Role Reversals, Responsibility and Recovery

My own experience of the importance of social roles and personal responsibility in contributing to identity and recovery (TheMHS Book of Proceedings, 2009).
For workers, carers/family and people with lived experience.


Thinking about recovery, transformation & healing

Why is there so much pain?


Some thoughts about why there is so much pain in the world, and some ideas about ways to ease suffering.
For anyone struggling with distress.


Thinking about good practice

Should we be a trauma-informed service?

A four page outline of why all mental health services (clinical or community) should now be using trauma-informed practice. This flyer is a response to those workers I have met in my talks and training who tell me that their services think they are ‘not supposed’ to talk about trauma to consumers. Trauma-informed practice is an intrinsic part of having a recovery focus, is near the top of the list of consumer concerns, is on the government’s reform agenda, and is outlined in the Victorian Chief Psychiatrist’s Service Guideline on Gender Sensitivity (2011). There is now also indisputable evidence as to the widespread prevalence and impact of trauma on people with mental health diagnoses.

Principles for Trauma-Informed Care in Inpatient Settings

A two page summary of the principles I think most consumers want to see enshrined within inpatient settings. Also includes a one page summary of barriers to trauma-informed care.
For clinical services and policy makers.


Thinking about mental health reform

A New Mental Health Act for Victoria? Better, but not good enough.


My first review of the proposed new mental health act for Victoria. While many of the changes are positive steps forward, I do not believe most of them go far enough. In particular, the proposed new act presents an inherent conflict within itself. On the one hand it talks about recovery-based, trauma-informed and evidence-based services. On the other hand it still retains ‘treatments’ which have no therapeutic evidence-base, compound the impacts of trauma, and present barriers to recovery. Further, and despite saying it has been considered, the proposed changes do not seem consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I look forward to the coming year to debate these proposed changes, and I am interested in your comments.
For everyone impacted by the mental health act – consumers, workers and bureaucrats, and those interested in human rights.


Walking the Peace Road. Thinking about mental health reform in the context of anger.


I am very interested in the role and impact of anger on recovery – but also in terms of how anger presents challenges to mental health reform. I frequently witness anger provoking defensive rather than collaborative responses, and this article is my first attempt to explore the issue, and some possible solutions. I am particularly interested in exploring this topic with others, and look forward to hearing from you about your thoughts.
For anyone interested in anger, and/or in achieving collaborative reform and relationships.


“I Have a Dream…”

Recently published article about why consumer leadership is so important in mental health, and what the community managed mental health sector can do to enable it. (New Paradigm, Spring 2012, 9-14).
For services who want to get better at promoting consumer leadership – and those of us who are passionate about taking on leadership roles.


A Short Meditation on Mental Health Reform

Some of my thoughts about the big picture changes we need in the mental health system.


Smoking Mad: Forced Smoking Bans in Psychiatric Hospitals are a Human Rights Issue

An examination of the issues surrounding smokefree involuntary psychiatric services, and why this is such a big issue for so many consumers – including me (Our Consumer Place Newsletter, June-July 2011).


Links to Other Thinking

There are so many extraordinary thinkers out there in mental health. These are just some of my favourites…


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