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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Consensus KC Mental Health Forum

This was Corinna's brainchild a couple of years ago, kind of became her albatross more recently. I attended one of the planning meetings with her when I was off work after my surgery and it's astonishing anything can get done with such a large and diverse steering committee.

Secretary Sebelius was on hand, as were the mayors of KCK and KCMO, and various luminaries from local media outlets and whatnot.

And because of the nature of the topic (mental health), there was a very real risk the whole show would be about how fantastic pharmaceuticals are, how people should be accept their diagnoses as lifelong conditions requiring those fantastic drugs, and how maybe we should go back to the days of easy forced medication and involuntary committals just to see if it maybe knocks down the number of shooting rampages in our country.

Those messages were presented, of course, but recovery movement messages got heard, too, largely thanks to Corinna's relentless efforts.

She got to deliver part of the message herself, that full recovery is possible. After outlining her own experience of diagnoses, prescribed drugs, suicide attempts, shock treatments, she was like, 'So I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt.' At which point she started throwing some of the shirts I designed for her business out into the crowd. I didn't see Sebelius speak, but I hear she went for a half hour and I guarantee she didn't get the kind of reaction you get when you throw radical propaganda on t-shirts into a crowd that's partly already radicalized.

Mo had fun with the art wall, and with the snack bars along the edge of the ballroom, which were rich in lemonade, fruit and granola bars.

As far as those mass shootings go, people are often at pains to say that folks with mental health diagnoses are mostly harmless, but the thing is almost everyone at some point in their life is eligible for one of these if they get in the right doctor's offices when they're in the right situations. Could you reduce mass murders by locking up everyone who ever got diagnosed with something (including me)? Sure, I suppose you could but then you might have pretty good luck locking up everyone who's ever eaten at McDonald's—I'll bet you somewhere near 100% of all violent criminals have.

I guess you have to ask how strong the correlation between having a Big Mac Attack and going off with a 30-round magazine is.

I'm not really being all that facetious here. If you wanna lock up everyone who might have a touch of PTSD for the safety of everyone else, I have to wonder who's going to hold the key? Because we all have a touch of it.

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