I am sad to say that The WIC will be closing for good in June 2014. We have had a good run. As Spock said in Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan, ” The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” The money that has been given by The Alaska Mental Health Trust for our club house like model will go to strengthen other peer run organizations while our services will be absorbed into Anchorage Community Mental Health. The Alaska Mental Health Trust and The AK Division of Behavioral Health will be focusing more on employment for people with mental health disabilities, particularly individualized supported employment in community businesses. We hope to help with that in some way.
If you look at our calendar page you will see that we still have some events going on for May. The Drama group will perform at the Arts and Disability Forum at the BP energy center at 11:45 am on Monday May 12th. We will have a cookout on Thursday May 15th and a final cookout on Thursday June 5th. That will be our final hot lunch. Sandwiches and sodas will be served Tues, Weds & Thurs June 10-12th for those who come to help us clean up.
What will we miss about the WIC? That will take at least another post!!!
Call us crazy, no don’t do that, call us people in recovery, but we have lots of projects going on at The Wellness Innovations Center and here’s one more!
Spring Drama Project
The History of Psychiatry –Abbreviated
Writing and rehearsals begin
Weds. March 5th 12:15 pm
at The WIC
2735 E Tudor Road
Please call Joan at 762-8652 for more info
We are going to create this one and take it on tour! We need the help of anyone in the recovery community who would like to help. It could be a musical, it could be based on a book like The Suitcase Project. We are going to see what fits best with the group we have. Even if you can only come once or once in a while, come check us out. There is no fee for this group as it is a recovery project funded by The Alaska Mental Health Trust.
Mental Health First Aid Training For people in recovery
Thursday January 23rd & Friday Jan 24th
From 10:00 – 3:30 pm both days
Lunch is included
This is an 8 hour course and you must attend all 8 hours to receive a certificate.
Mental Health First Aid is an in-person training that teaches you how to help persons developing a mental illness or in a crisis.
Facilitators will be Joan Cullinane & John Sperbeck
Please call Joan at 762-8652 to register
Any time I read an article or better yet a comment on an article which is “know it all” or negative I try to move on and not obsess about it. Sometimes these issues come back over and over again then I think – what is my part in this.
I read this article the other day in which the author sounded very concerned about the future of mental health being in the hands of people who are in denial of their own illness. It is a critique of the Alternatives Conference which is an annual mental health consumer run event. I have not been to this conference but I have been to several like it. If you have been to any conference in the world you would know it’s a take what you like and leave the rest experience. I think it’s healthy to critique peer run activities because if we don’t then we identify ourselves as fragile. What we do with the critique is essential to our progress. Here is the link so you can look at the article yourself.
1. I have no idea what causes or cures mental health issues. I don’t think anyone except people who are somewhat full of themselves does. Some say it’s trauma. Gee , I have no trauma history but I do have a mental illness. Some say it’s genes, I can see some links there. Some say it’s allergies – not me. Some say it’s a spiritual crisis – okay. Some people say it’s the culture and the system and the people we label are actually not ill – that’s fine but please don’t expect that the system is going to change unless we are employed and/or networking making alliances in the community at large. The more we alienate others by blaming, the less energy we have to move forward. Think Nelson Mandela. let’s work together people not cause a war about this.
2. I think that the choices people make for conference presenters are often weak and/or misguided and the conference committee may have to up their game. They are under pressure to find something that makes people feel good. People want an easy answer. I know I do. I have presented at several peer conferences. My workshops always involve humor so I usually get in! It’s easy to get fooled by people who have published several books and have lots of misleading evidence about how their diet is going to change your life. If even two or three people believe it has and they testify it’s hard to make a contrary comment. I have walked out on several keynote speakers who were way out in left field. Are they really any worse than the pharmaceutical companies though? I may have to get myself on an upcoming conference committee. I’ve done this before for recovery events and it was difficult but I lived through it!
3. Do I care who gets government money? I figure the people at The Alternatives conference get government money because they may come up with a great idea just as easily as a drug company might. I’m sure that there are worse things in the world than some people trying to come up with answers to their own issues even if they don’t think they have any!
Due to some technical issues we have taken a break from posting as we did not want to nurse a negative tendency towards our computer involving a hammer. The December calendar has been posted somewhat belatedly.
Our craft fair and holiday party are over but if you are feeling isolated next week we will be seeing people for employment appointments on Monday and will be open from 9 am- 12 noon Christmas eve then closed Christmas and open again full time Thursday and Friday.
We will be hosting a Mental Health First Aid training on Thurs Jan 23rd and Friday Jan 24th from 10 am- 3:30 pm (with breaks). This is an 8 hour training which helps people understand how and why they might approach and offer support for someone showing signs of mental distress. This training is being offered through Anchorage Community Mental Health Services specifically for people in mental health recovery to help them feel comfortable using their recovery skills with others. Please call Joan at 762-8652 if you are interested. The training will be facilitated by Joan Cullinane and John Sperbeck.
Here is a collage called Recovery Road which combines my love of travel with my experience of recovery as a winding road which will take me interesting places. Sometimes I get off the road but I can always get back on.
We had our first meeting with 7 people, two of whom have had training in peer support. Everyone who attended has supported The Wellness Innovations Center in some way and is working on their recovery goals.
We have a starting curriculum and talked about what peer support is. Topics such as balance, acceptance, and commitment came up. If you are interested in building a support community in your life, we would love for you to join us in our exploration of what this means to you and how we can help make it a reality here at The Wellness Center and across the community.
We are also willing to share our curriculum with you, once we get it in a little better shape. It involved more discussion and exercises and less reading than most but will probably change each time we meet.
We have decided that our next meeting will be at 12 noon on Friday August 16th. That way all the cookies will be baked!
August is a wonderful time to appreciate the energy of summer without the huge hit of sunlight and sleeping issues it can cause. I feel more relaxed because I just got back from vacation but also because I know that I can focus more on recovery goals and less on trying to fit everything into 23 hours of sunlight. Now I start moving back into more realistic expectations which is what recovery is all about anyway.
Here at the WIC, August events will include our annual trip to The Alaska State Fair on Thurs Aug. 22nd which is $2 Thursday with a can of food. We will also have an almost end of summer cookout on Thursday August 29th.
Other things in the works, The stop smoking group will probably move to Wednesdays right before lunch.
Drama group will resume on Thursdays after lunch as we have put in a proposal to perform at The Alaska Social Workers conference in October. We need performers and writers who have something to say about recovery and who like to interact with the audience. You don’t have to have any acting experience. This group is a good way to practice working with others on a goal with a completion date. We usually have lots of fun and wind up using much of the stuff we do in rehearsal in the shows. Please call Joan at 762-8652 or show up at 2735 E. Tudor Road at 12:30 on Thursdays to check us out. Remember our center is free thanks to a grant from The Alaska Mental Health Trust.
We are looking into speaking our recovery stories to counseling students in the area again. If you are interested in coming with us and helping people who are going to be counselors learn about recovery then give us a call again, 762-8652 and we will let you know the dates.
Finally we are working on starting a group which will address peer support on a beginning level for anyone who is interested. This is not a certificate program for employment but a group to build skills that will help anyone grow in building a support network and acting responsibly as a listener, referral agent and all around supporter for their peers. This will be a weekly group that people can drop in and out of but will also emphasize the commitment and practice needed to engage in this step of recovery.
It was fun to attend a meeting of my support group in Iceland. I hope you all have the opportunity to meet people in recovery wherever you roam. We are a bigger group than you might realize. Let’s talk to each other!