Pharmaceuticals Anonymous

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Voices From the Street

From Canada, a collection of articles by and about activism in mental health and consumer-survivors of psychiatric treatment.

Voices From the Street is comprised of individuals who have had direct experience with homelessness, poverty, and/or mental health issues. The organization works to put a human face to homelessness and involves people with direct experience as leaders in a public education process.

Each spring, twelve to fourteen individuals are chosen to take part in a training program—three days a week over a four-month period. The curriculum includes workshops on developing a personal narrative, public speaking skills, conflict resolution, developing key messages, facilitation skills, and diversity training. Pat Capponi, a well-known author and activist on issues of poverty and mental health, is the lead facilitator. Akua Benjamin, a professor and specialist in diversity training from Ryerson University, and John Stapleton, an expert on policy issues, are among the many trainers who work with the participants. In addition to public-speaking skills, graduates of the program have an understanding of policy issues and the need for systemic change.