In the course of their day, psychiatrists attend to the diagnosis and
treatment of psychiatric illnesses and the numerous barriers to care that
patients encounter that prevent them from getting well. Increasingly,
psychiatrists are now focusing attention on what is the most important phase
of illness to psychiatry patients: recovery. APA's Institute on Psychiatric
Services will do just that this fall by holding a festive gala known as
Celebration Recovery in which people who have struggled with mental illness,
along with their friends and relatives, will come together with psychiatrists
and others attending the institute, as well as representatives of numerous
Chicago provider and advocacy
Celebration Recovery event in Austin, Texas.
This extraordinary event at the institute will be held on Saturday, October
4, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Palmer House Hilton. The
free, two-hour celebration will feature music, games, inspirational talks,
dancing, food, and information booths.
The keynote speaker will be Moe Armstrong, M.B.A., M.A., the founder of the
Peer Educators Project. A Vietnam veteran and self-identified consumer of
mental health services, he is a former chair of the Veterans' Subcommittee for
the National Alliance on Mental Illness National Board. The National Council
for Community Behavioral Healthcare recently honored him for "his
life-long commitment to promoting community-based and peer-support services
for people living with serious psychiatric conditions."
Celebration Recovery is being presented by the Irwin Foundation in
collaboration with APA and co-hosted by Thresholds Psychiatric Rehabilitation
Centers. The Irwin Foundation, which receives sponsorship from a wide array of
private, public, and voluntary entities, develops programs to further the
vision of recovery from psychiatric illness and develops recovery-focused
workshops and symposia.
Celebration Recovery highlights an emerging concept in psychiatry that
emphasizes person-centeredness, respect, responsibility, hope, choice, quality
of life, consumer and family agency and empowerment, self-help, partnership,
diversity, and community inclusiveness.
Recovery from mental disorders should be an expectation, yet the reality of
recovery is too often contradicted by stigma, disempowerment, diminished
expectations, custodial care instead of active treatment, and pervasive
The recovery vision is increasingly informing mainstream psychiatric
initiatives. The 2003 report of the President's New Freedom Commission on
Mental Health called for a recovery-focused, consumer- and family-driven
transformation of mental health care in America, such that "adults with
serious mental illness and children with severe emotional disturbance [can]
live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities."
The vision of recovery has been adopted by most public mental health
authorities. In December 2004, more than 100 leaders, including mental health
and addiction recovery experts, consumers and families, advocates, community
and state officials, national-association staff, and public officials, joined
forces at the consensus conference "Mental Health Recovery and Systems
Transformation," sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration. Its goal was to define recovery, reach a consensus on
its key principles and elements, and identify recovery implementation
strategies that work.
The Irwin Foundation was created in honor of Irwin B., who had a severe
mental illness. While he eventually benefited from treatment advances,
enabling him to end a relentless cycle of hospitalizations, he continued to
struggle with stigma and nonacceptance. The foundation is designed to
commemorate his courage and determination to eliminate stigma and to create a
better future for those recovering from mental illness.
Since 2001, the Irwin Foundation has held Celebration Recovery events
across the country, including at the Institute on Psychiatric Services.
More information on Celebration Recovery is posted at<www.celebrationrecovery.org>