Saturday, November 27, 2010

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is changing. From the left-most US city, we are moving towards bigness, dealing with a smaller economy by setting hungry policies for the dollars of others and withdrawing support for the values of innovation, creativity, smallness, and volunteering. By implementing the plans of the Community Programs Committee, we will be concentrating power in large professionalized service delivery agencies.

We are not learning lessons from the national failures.

I'm discouraged by the short-sighted survival mode that the funding guidelines committee has approved especially here where there is so much involvement in spirituality and holism and ecology.

When pragmatism trumps the values of community and connection to create a professionalized safety net, the quality of life here will degrade.

An example of the kind of exclusion is in the city's new health focus area where the old-fashioned physical and mental health silos prejudices against people who experience moods swings, fear, voices and visions by segregating mental health from physical health. A result of this segregation has been, on average, 15 years of potential life lost.

By assuming emotional well being is somehow separate from diet and exercise and cancer, separating things we can touch prejudices against feelings and fears. Just consider all the effort to get people to go for help which they are ashamed of wanting, ashamed because of the selfishness behind the carve out, carved out to get separate funding by separating out the people who would be helped. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Can you feel stigma?

Sometimes people don't ask for help because of prejudice, because of concerns about discrimination, because of shame. Mostly it's because of shame. I think using real words that connect with real feelings would set an example for someone feeling as if life had lost all value. I don't think many people *feel* stigma. Stigma is a concept from sociology that carries no emotional burden, makes it easier to distance ourselves from shame. The mental health field uses it all the time, for distancing. I think changing the language of campaigns would ground them in real experience and further the willingness for people to reach out.