"If the mental health system wants to help people rather than control them--if that system truly exists for its clients rather than for itself and its own self-perpetuation--then I challenge the system to read this book, take it seriously, and follow its directions. I appeal to mental health professionals: Read this book, listen to your clients, and work with them as empowered, equal partners to plan the future mental health system. Make it a system that truly helps, not the existing one that hinders. Make it a system that reflects what is best in our society, rather than controlling and hiding away what society most fears." --From the Preface by Howie the Harp, Mental Health Consumer "Systems and agencies that have been professionally controlled for the last century are on a collision course with the growing consumer/ex-patient advocacy movement, which asserts quite simply that people with psychiatric disabilities are people first, with fundamental rights to control their services, their basic life choices, and their aspirations." --from Chapter One RETURN TO COMMUNITY is an impassioned call to action that provides a comprehensive, practical approach to fully integrating people with serious mental illnesses into the community. It offers all the substantive information readers need to begin organizing for change in communities and service systems. Drawing from resources not currently available in the professional literature--primarily the voices of mental health consumers themselves as well their families--this path-breaking work lays the groundwork for a critical rethinking of how we view people labeled "mentally ill." Defining "community integration," the author examinescurrent and past approaches to meeting the needs of people with psychiatric disabilities, demonstrating how they have been inadequate. Carling then maps out a pioneering paradigm for community integration, which consists of a
"If you're looking for a compelling analysis of the need for consumer input and leadership in mental health service systems, and analysis that goes beyond the all-too-typical fatuous writing about consumers and empowerment, this may be your book. The first three chapters lay out the rationale for consumer participation and community integration in a way that is unequaled by anything I have read in the mental health services literature." --Thomas J Powell, University of Michigan, Social Work "The book woke me up. It is, in many senses, a work of personal passion, and this passion, provocative, and precious is engaging. The chapter describing the consumer self-help movement could be an especially valuable tool for teaching psychiatric residents and other trainees about the consumer perspective...the volume lays out Carling's enlightened, informed, inspiring perspective, buttressed by data and practical experience. It is extremely valuable for consumers, professionals, family members, and all others whose private or public lives are touched by the disability of mental illness." --Lisa Dixon, MD, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease "Well-constructed and easy to read it is a primary resource on the consumer movement and on models of contemporary mental health service delivery. Psychologists, especially those who work with persons with major mental illnesses, will be enlightened by its empirical examples of the power of dignity and choice and its refreshingly operational approaches to solving the basic pragmatic (and therapeutic) issues of community living." --Harriet P. Lefley in Contemporary Psychology "This book is a comprehensive guide for those who seek to include people with psychiatric disabilities in the planning and implementing of services.... The book is thoroughly researched and referenced and... the ideas are clearly presented and easily applicable." --Sally Davis, the University College of Ripon and York St. John. "Paul Carling has clearly and concisely, yet comprehensively, captured in words two decades of the achievements, challenges, policy issues, controversies, and practical realities of the community support movement in this book. He has done so with attention to the human dilemmas and obstacles faced by the intended recipients of supports, persons with psychiatric disabilities, and their families. He gives us practical suggestions and applications for revamping community support programs, and he is convincing in his reminder that integration for persons with a psychiatric disability has not yet really happened, ' and that stigma is alive and well. Most importantly, he makes a strong case for the lived experience' of mental illness inextricably linked to our success in achieving community integration." --Martha B. Knisley, Formerly the Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Deputy Secretary of Mental Health in Pennsylvania "All of us are confronted with the challenge of integrating people with mental health difficulties in our communities. In Return to Community, Paul shares with us a vision of community which is built on the principles of community integration and empowerment. He shares the experience of communities in the process of making this vision a reality, as they struggle with the critical issues of employment, housing, and social networks. Paul courageously shares a vision which draws on a wealth of both experiential and academic knowledge learned from his own life and the lives of others. His life is a model, for all of us, of a change agent committed to developing communities which embrace persons with mental health difficulties. The underlying message that Paul communicates is one of hope: Community integration and empowerment can be the 'lived' reality for people with mental health difficulties. Personally, we are challenged to continue to believe in and take steps toward realizing this 'shared' vision of community. In so doing, we will continue to plant 'seeds of hope' in what has in the past been deemed a 'hopeless' situation." --Susan Hardie, Hon.B.Sc., B.Ed., Coordinator of the National Network for Mental Health (Canadian network of persons with mental health difficulties) "Paul Carling is a man of passionate beliefs and boundless faith. Return to Community reflects his fundamental commitment to the principles of self-help, community integration, and empowerment for people with psychiatric disabilities. Anyone involved in the current 'quiet revolution' will value this book for its step-by-step strategies, practical examples, and tone of confidence in the future. Return to Community provides not only the road map for getting there, but the inspiration required to sustain the journey." --Bonnie Pape, M.Ed., M.E.S., Director of Programs, Canadian Mental Health Association, National Office "Return to Community is a book that will change the reader, and cause a rethinking of attitudes and assumptions about mental health treatment....This book goes beyond the common abstractions about consumer empowerment' and community integration' to make these concepts real....A wealth of examples to make his ideas come to life. The people with psychiatric disability who speak in the book are the same people whom I know from my own clinical work, but they are presented in a new light that makes me want to go out and look at my own clients somewhat differently....The author addresses the difficult issues of limited resources, living with a disability, and competing agendas from other parts of the community. The core issue, however, is the role of stigma and how it has influenced society's treatment of persons with psychiatric disability. Primarily, however, this is not a book about problems but about hope. The author combines information from available research with a large dose of common sense--and in the end suggests new kinds of answers. It is a book about a paradigm shift--about coming up with new answers by asking very different kind of questions. It is a book that offers concrete suggestions about how we can do things differently--how services can be organized, how housing can be developed, and how true community integration can be facilitated. It is a book that suggests new ways that we as mental health professionals can work with our clients." --Ronald J. Diamond, M.D., Medical Director, Mental Health Center of Dane County and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin "Dr Carling once again has confronted issues facing the future of mental health as it moves into a new or perhaps renewed era of consumer-directed services. His numerous publications on empowerment, community integration, and rehabilitation have addressed some of the more important issues in the development and delivery of services for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. The current book synthesizes many of his ideas and insights in a well-organized and thought-provoking discussion of how to achieve community intergration and community support for these individuals. But unlike other books that present only the hopes of what could be, Dr. Carling presents a blueprint for specific actions necessary to achieve these goals....an important and timely book. Changes in the political and economic climates and the growing voices of consumers and families are forcing mental health professionals to think differently about all aspects of service development and delivery. This book provides a wealth of suggestions and examples that mental health professionals from all disciplines will find helpful and enlightening." --" Psychiatric Services" .,."a very timely book indeed....a powerful and comprehensive argument for the community process approach and its natural end point; community integration....Carling has produced essential reading for those in the community mental health movement....The discussions of strategies for promoting change are refreshingly practical....the book is rich with program examples and good stories....an informative, entertaining, and passionate book." --"Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health"