Wall Street Journal editorial on SAMHSA “shameful, deceptive, and untruthful”
April 06, 2014
April 06, 2014
Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal published an unsigned editorial in their review and outlook section that eviscerates SAMHSA for how (as they state) “undermines treatment of the mentally ill.” Needless to say, there has been both outrage and support, especially in the midst of the current discussions around HR 3717 – Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. Read the Wall Street Journal article and then read the Morning Zen post below from Guest contributor Jonathan Delman. Please share your comments on this most important topic!
Guest blog post ~ Jonathan Delman
This editorial is shameful, and even worse deceptive and untruthful.
I know many people like me with multiple hospitalizations, lived in a halfway house for years, multiple meds (still on some of these) and ECT, having been on SSDI, and have achieved what I call a “solid state” of recovery, but clinical work got me only so far, with decent stabilizing improvement I was still miserable with suicidal ideation., etc. …. I got into the recovery process for several reasons, a few most relevant ones I will state here:
I must say that when I look at people in recovery from or otherwise put living meaningful lives with severe mental illness, the keys are:
Difficult to address the latter, but it’s SAMHSA that has been phenomenal on the first two. And with peer specialist opportunities, I have seen people with severe mental illnesses change their lives dramatically.
The question raised here is “Which groups of people with SMI recover?”, if they do “What are the factors”, and if not “Why not?” We know something about this through the studies of Courtney Harding, Martin Harrow, et al.
These are fair questions, but this ghost written “editorial” is simply a long term public relations ploy of involving people quoted in the article.
Here at UMass. We have developed the Program for Recovery Research to address in a systemic and thoughtful way these question, but we’re new and will take a bit to get to them.
As a consumer and person in recovery, I greatly appreciate the work of SAMHSA (even if I don’t always agree) and this council in recognizing the psychosocial factors that in my view are almost necessary for recovery. We KNOW (through high quality research and personal reports) that many people do recover from severe mental illness (Maybe they should have talked to Ely Saks or Moe Armstrong). To attack supporting that reality is despicable, and there is no way mental health care would have prevented 90% of these terrible shootings.
With great respect,
Jonathan Delman, PhD, JD, MPH is an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, and a principal at Reservoir Consulting Group. At UMass, Dr. Delman is the Director of the Program for Recovery Research, and the Associate Director for Participatory Action Research at the Transitions (to adulthood) Research and Training Center. Dr. Delman, himself a person with a mental illness, is considered a national expert on recovery-oriented care and measurement, peer support services, community based participatory action mental health research (CBPR), activating consumer participation in both treatment decisions and policy development, and transition age youth. He has regularly advised SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration), NIMH, and the state Department of Mental Health on these matters.
Dr. Delman is a 2008 recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leader award, one of ten awarded nationally, for “individuals who overcome daunting obstacles to improve health and health care in their communities.” He has received several awards from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health for “Distinguished Service”, and is a member of the editorial board of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. Most recently, he was appointed to the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Developing Evidence-Based Standards for Psychosocial Interventions for Mental Disorders.