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August 29, 2019 by Bob Nikkel, MSW

System Change Webinars: Promoting Radical Change

During the past year, we have been working toward a series of Mad in America Continuing Education webinars on something we haven’t focused on enough.  That is the vital topic of how to make changes in real world programs that reflect the progressive reform agendas that reflect a “green” revolution in mental health care.

We have a series of monthly webinars starting on September 17 that we believe do this.  There are 10 topic areas with nationally and internationally recognized experts in promoting this kind of system change.  We will be discussing what’s worked and what we need to learn from what hasn’t worked. We believe that for anyone interested in radically improving mental health care, this is an essential course.

The webinars will cover:

  • true recovery-oriented integrated health care
  • expanding supported employment to every person who wants it
  • counseling in schools to prevent children and adolescents from being prescribed toxic medications
  • making trauma-informed care universal
  • how to make these kinds of changes at local, regional and state levels
  • using research to promote system change
  • addressing the major challenges in reforming state hospital cultures
  • decreasing the prescription of psychiatric drugs to children and adolescents.
  • serving children and their families in community programs rather than institutions
  • seeing that peer supports are implemented in all programs

We see two targeted audiences. It is for those who are already on board for the need for radical change, but need practical assistance in making these changes happen (instead of just talking about them). It is also for those who may know little about Mad in America, but sense something is wrong with the standard “care” today, and thus are open to a “paradigm shift” in mental health care.

A real paradigm shift in mental health care requires reaching beyond the “choir,” to those who are beginning to shift their thinking about conventional “care.”

The design of  these topics around the theme of system change was settled upon after some “open dialogue” with a  major national organization that we believe is the  most progressive national organization. We have also promoted registration with a number of other organizations, including the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors – my old “club” as a state mental health commissioner.

So now my plea to all Excellence readers: we are trying to reach beyond the “choir” and so please help us do that.

Speak to leaders of organizations that provide mental health services, and encourage them to investigate this course. Tell them we will provide them with a group rate for their members: our goal with this course is to get national organizations to market these webinars to their members and help prompt them to question their conventional practices, such as regular prescribing of psychiatric drugs to children and adolescents.

We hope you see this as we do: This is an example of an issue of paramount importance.

Please write me with any questions you may have about this course, and tell us too of organizations and providers you could help us connect. You can write me at: bobnikkel@gmail.com.

We need your help to plant what we hope will be a seed for real change.

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