Friday, September 21, 2012

The Vermont Soteria Project

Since the psych rights history article I linked to in my previous post mentioned a long-ago conference in Burlington, VT, I was reminded to mention an exciting development there - the establishment of Soteria Vermont:

Soteria Vermont is a project of the Vermont state government, which seeks to be a leader in mental healthcare. When Hurricane Irene washed away Vermont’s state mental hospital, Vermont’s government chose to replace it with a network of smaller, community-based and alternative approaches to mental health care. Citizens of Vermont are legally entitled to alternatives to psychiatric medication; Soteria Vermont will be the second replication in the United States (after Alaska’s) of Loren Mosher’s Soteria project which demonstrated in the 1970′s the efficacy of housing people experiencing first psychotic breaks with sympathetic non-professionals as housemates, in the style of R.D. Laing’s Kingsley Hall. The original Soteria was dedicated to using little or no psychiatric medication, and to using that only in the short term to stabilize a crisis. Repeated analyses of its records show extremely robust and long-lasting recovery from even the most extreme psychotic states.

Here's project Director Steven Morgan (who's not at all what you'd expect ;)) talking about their approach:

And here's a site with background on Loren Mosher and Soteria.

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