Government News
Major Milestones in Self-Help Movement
Psychiatric News
Volume 37 Number 6 page 46-46

The modern form of the consumer/survivor self-help movement began approximately 30 years ago, according to "Consumer/Survivor-Operated Self-Help Programs: A Technical Report," a publication by the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) that reviews the history and discusses the concept of self-help. Key values identified by the publication are empowerment, independence, responsibility, and choice. The movement promotes the idea that people can recover from traumatic experiences (Psychiatric News, June 1, 2001). Here are some of the major developments of that movement:

• In 1978 Judi Chamberlin published On Our Own, which provided details about the movement and was an introduction to it for many consumer/survivors.

• In the 1980s, through its Community Support Program (CSP), the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) began to support technical assistance to further develop the self-help model for consumers.

• In 1985 CSP funded the first national conference of consumer/survivors. NIMH or CMHS has funded an "Alternatives" conference every year since then.

• In 1989 the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors adopted a formal position endorsing consumer contributions to mental health systems.

• From 1987 to 1992, CSP funded community-based consumer/survivor demonstration grants. In 1992 CMHS began its funding of five technical assistance centers.

• In 1995 CMHS hired its first consumer affairs specialist.

• In 2000 CMHS appointed a consumer/survivor subcommittee to its National Advisory Committee (Psychiatric News, April 20, 2001).

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