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DISABILITY-RESEARCH  June 2002

DISABILITY-RESEARCH June 2002

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Subject:

Re: Mental health surviours becoming professionals?

From:

Mary Ennis <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Mary Ennis <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 19 Jun 2002 08:51:33 -0230

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (140 lines)

I support Patti's comments 100%. I too have disabilities and am extremely
active in the disability rights movement in Canada. Dignity, choice and
risk, as referenced by Patti, are basic principles of independent living,
the foundation of the consumer movement in this country. We are the experts
on our own disabilities and, given adeqaute and appropriate information and
support, we have the right to make our own choices and take our own risks.
(It's been a while, Patti. Hope all is well.)

Mary

----- Original Message -----
From: "Patti Bregman" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, June 15, 2002 8:56 AM
Subject: Re: Mental health surviours becoming professionals?


> I am a lawyer in Canada with exeprience working both with a legal
> clinical on disability rights issues, and in the charitable health
> sector.  The bottom line for me is that every profession should be open
> to anyone with the skills and interests. In terms of the comments from
> your colleague, I guess would respond as follows:
>
> -the disability rights movement is about dignity, choice and risk.  It
> is no less of a barrier to equal opportunity to pre-determine that
> people should not take certain jobs on the basis of their disability
> than if the employers refuse to hire.  It is fair to raise the issue of
> oppression and other concerns so that a person can make an informed
> choice, but it is not fair to use that as a reason for maintaining
> barriers, nor is it fair to assume that everyone sees these professions
> as oppressive.  The person with a mental illness will certainly have had
> experience in the sector and have their own opinion of the profession.
>
> -If you look outside of the mental health field, a lot of the disability
> rights movement (I am a person with an invisible physical disability)
> has been about finding ways for persons with disabilities to enter and
> run the service sector to change the culture of that sector.  That is
> similar to the activities in women's rights movement where there was
> pressure placed on the medical profession to open the doors to women
> with the hope that rather than maintaining the culture, they would
> improve it and create opportunities for better care.  There is no reason
> to think that a person with a  mental illness who enters the health
> professions cannot play a role in changing the culture.
>
> -There are already may people with mental illness within these
> professions - they either did not disclose when they went into the
> profession or they developed a mental illness after they were employed.
> To follow the argument that people should not enter into the field
> because it helps sustain oppression,could lead to the argument that
> people who become mentally ill should leave their profession.
>
> -the biggest problem is having the profession accept a person with a
> mental illness.  There have been a number of instances where there is
> clear discrimination.  I have friends who are leaders in the
> consumer/survivor movement who are moving into the mental health
> professional roles who have had a great of trouble getting placements,
> etc. because of concerns that they will "overidentify" or not be able to
> separate their own experience from their professional obligations.  This
> is the issue that I hope the UK will tackle and provide leadership for
> the rest of the world.
>
> I would certainlty be interested in seeing what happens in the UK.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: The Disability-Research Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Philip Scullion
> Sent: June 15, 2002 4:59 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Mental health surviours becoming professionals?
>
>
> Dear Colleagues
>
> Would any care to explore this issue with me?
> At last weeks SDS conference in Oakland I discussed
> the issue of people with mental health problems /
> experience moving on to joining one of the health care professions e.g.
> Psychiatric nursing.
>
> In UK the Department of Health are likely to publish a
> positive statement encouraging this on the grounds of
> equal opportunity in employment and the positive
> contribution such experiences may bring to a role as a
> health professional.
>
> The RCN (London 3rd July) conference, in a few weeks
> will be examining the role of health professionals in
> the disability rights agenda- in essence I will argue
> that one way of being with disable people on this
> agenda is to open the way for them to become health professionals.
>
> One respected colleague at the SDS however was fairly
> adamant that the effect of a mental health survivor
> becoming a psychiatric nurse for instance would be for
> them to simply take on an oppressive role seen as characteristic of the
> so-called 'helping profession' as whole.
>
> View, experiences and research welcome.
>
>
>
>
> =====
> Philip Scullion
> Senior Lecturer
> Health and Social Sciences
> Coventry University
> UK
>
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