Bearing Witness, Spring 2014, Final - page 34

Volume 2 - Spring ‘14
with a medical model in which the person was devalued and rarely consulted on his
or her treatment, and where recovery was not even thought to be possible—or that
people could recover or get better in their communities. People in the early days of
the consumer movement did in fact feel disempowered and dispossessed and were
without allies, but a societal shift occurred in the 1980s and ever since. Back in the
‘60s and even before then, mental health reform was on the radar, beginning with the
Commonwealth’s own Dorothea Dix and the founder the Mental Health Association
of America, Clifford Beers.
What are some of the movement’s major achievements?
Some of the movement’s major achievements in my view are the development of
state consumer affairs offices across the nation; the development of a federal office
of consumer affairs and the promotion of that individual to the current head of the
Center for Mental Health Services; and the development and federal support of
consumer grassroots organizations including the Commonwealth’s own National
Empowerment Center. There are many others I could mention. In the context of
the law, I think both the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and
the Olmstead Decision have been watershed moments in removing discrimination in
most sectors of American life to include parenting, education and employment. What
I have learned and tried to emphasize in my work is that we in the movement must
always endeavor to model the behavior we expect other to assume, and in doing so
we help reduce disfavor in the community.
Russell D. Pierce
Director of Recovery and Empowerment
Department of Mental Health
Those who are trained in the
rigors of the law are equipped
to lead organizations, draw
support from their profession
and serve as allies to those who
are distressed by mental health
1 in 4
people are affected
by a mental health
problem each year.
1...,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33 35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,...70
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