Patients and Former Patients In The Classroom

As a psychiatric survivor one article of note caught my attention recently, Listening to patients transforms psychiatric care at GHSU.

Much as I’ve tried to open a dialogue and educate people in higher education about the mental health system unsuccessfully due to their prejudice against people with psychiatric histories, I’m amazed that some place is actually listening to people who have known life from the inside.

Psychiatric care and teaching at Georgia Health Sciences University has been transformed by listening to an unusual source: the patients and former patients.

This unusual source consists of the very people they should be serving when they graduate. Why, one has to wonder, are most schools unwilling to listen to this very source? In some if not most instances they continue NOT listening to this source after they’ve graduated.

The Department of Psy­chiatry and Health Behavior at GHSU will be honored today with the Award for Crea­tivity in Psychiatric Edu­cation at the American Col­lege of Psychiatrists’ annual meeting in Naples, Fla.

Assuming they are actually listening, and that they aren’t just pretending to listen, or listening to cherry picked patients and former patients, this should be an Award they richly deserve.

The department is being honored for its Georgia Re­cov­ery-based Educational Ap­proach to Treatment (GREAT) program, which emphasizes the recovery model of care.

Let me tell you, the recovery model of care is a great improvement over the non-recovery model of care. I just hope that someday the full and complete recovery model of care, with recovered as the actual end of treatment, will be on the agenda. I hate to keep hearing from mental health consumers who feel they are stuck in their recovery. There is, after all, a “wellness” on the other side of any “sickness”.

Hopefully other university and schools of higher education have their antennas up and operating, and they are saying, “Hey, GHSU is listening to its mental health service survivors and consumers; maybe we should start listening to our mental health service survivors and consumers, too.” I’d really like to see more of this kind of thing developing into something of a trend. If it were to do so, maybe it would eventually even seep down here to the university town where I happen to reside.