Sunday, June 21, 2009

we need a drop in ASAP

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Sun, Jun 21, 2009 at 8:15 AM


As I drove home from the Rural Mental Health Conference yesterday, I felt a profound sense of hope and purpose. Federal agencies begged us to take their money in forms of grants. Other rural activists were doing phenonenal things with limited resources. Consumers were advocating for dignity, quality of life and progressive changes.

I went to Clora's house before I checked my place or put away my groceries.

Clora and Kathy, both very active in BHPC LC10, infomred me of the "doings" at the last meeting, of which I could not be a part, as I was in Albq. at the conference.

Lo and behold, Jesse Chaves (our BHC state rep), Lisa Walraven (our admin. staff) and Emory Crawford (our LC chair) had been "back channeling" among themselves with their own agenda.

They want to reduce the number of meetings over the next, 3 months by eliminating individual counties' meetings. They want to do away with $25 stipends to community members who participate in meetings. They want to invite certain community members (BY NAME) who have truly abused consumers in De Baca County's group (One is our bank mgr., who treats us like GARBAGE if we're not middle class and has caused real trauma to some of us). They are considering handing out walmart gift cards rather than stipends.

To this last, I replied with an email last night, detailing some of walmart's contributions to behavioral health crises on a global scale. I also pointed out that OptumHealth is in bed with walmart on a pilot project re: generic psychotropics in the state of New Mexico!

In another email, I have demanded not only minutes from the last meeting, but the tape recording as well. I demanded this and last years' budgets. Some things don't appear on the budget. These include everything from office supplies to snacks for meetings, and I can't guess what else. I also want to know decision-making procedures and laws, regulations, etc., as well as voting procedures.

People have QUIT our local collaborative over the issues at last week's meeting. The agenda was stuffed at the last possible moment, when they KNEW I'd be out of town and unable to attend. Consumers refused to vote until and unless I could participate in discussions, and that was ignored.

I don't remember names well, so forgive this. I met a woman at the conference who lives in Taos. She's very active in Community/peer organizing. She wants me trained as a consumer/peer advoate or whatever ASAP. I think she said trainings happen in Los Cruses and Albuquerque.

Well, Kathy wants training, too. She's so mad and frustrated, she can't see straight.

Clora is devistated and depressed.

When I explained it would be OUR drop-in center, run and staffed by us, with access to resources from all over, that it doesn't need to be open 24-7 and that it won't take away Social Security benefits from any of us in order to operate, even shy, beaten-down Clora offered to staff it a couple of hours a week. Her depression shifted to outrage and her outrage shifted to motivated activism in less than an hour. I didn't influence it; she did it on her own.

When I explained that government agencies came and begged us to apply for grants, and gave specific instructions and contact information to individuals, they both understood that the laziness, apathy, bean counting and paper-pushing of Emory, Lisa and Jesse is NOT NECESSARY for us.

I'm not going to wait for another BHPC meeting to schedule you to come speak to us. You let me know when we fit into your schedule, and I'll find a place we can meet, even if it's my house.
Rogi Riverstone

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