Sunday, 23 February 2020



Voice Dialoguing Workshop

with Rufus May and Elisabeth SvanholmerVoice Dialoguing Flyer
A Two-Day Workshop for Clinical Providers, Peer Supporters & More.
Monday, May 23 to Tuesday, May 24
10am to 4:30pm (registration at 9:30)
Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, MA
What is Voice Dialoguing?
Many people who hear voices have at least some voices that say difficult or challenging things at some of the time. Conventional training suggests teaching people to distract themselves or ignore those voices. However, many have found that a turning point for them has been finding different ways of understanding and even talking with those voices.
Individuals who attend this training will learn about and explore a "Voice Dialoguing" approach that supports people to:
~ Explore the motives and meaning of voices
~ Re-define the relationship between a voice and voice hearer
~ Reduce the sense of powerlessness that some voice hearers experience
~ Reduce negative impacts of voices on daily life
Open to local & national applicants.
Space is very limited and sign up is required by completing and submitting
a registration form by Friday, May 1st (or until the training is full)
by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or fax: 413.536.5466.
For more information, or to get an application, click here or on the image above.

New Holyoke Writing Group - Write For Your Life

November 2nd, 9th, and 30th, 4:30-5:30pm
187 High Street, Suite 303, Holyoke

The "Writing Towards Recovery" group is guided by the framework that we can all benefit from writing as form of therapeutic expression. Each group starts with a 10 minute free-write where individuals are encouraged to write non-stop about anything and everything that comes to mind, as a sort of cleansing ritual that readies the participant for the challenges ahead. 

The rest of the group is a combination of focused writing prompts and sharing among the group. The prompts range from creative, to non-fiction, from poetry to group-thinks. All participants are encouraged to share their writing, though no one will be forced if they feel uncomfortable. While it's not mandatory to share each time, the group is a safe space where sharing is an integral part of the process. 

The ultimate goal of the group is to create an environment where participants feel motivated to write, journal, and share their words outside of the group and within the space of their own lives. 

Updates on the Murphy Bill

As of September 15, H.R. 2646 (‘Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis’ Act or ‘The Murphy Bill’) had 118 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, including 83 Republics and 35 Democrats.

Meanwhile, Representative Tim Murphy continues to make the rounds, taking advantage of tragedy to push the bill’s regressive reforms which include:

  • Re-directing funds from community supports to an increase in hospitalization and institutionalization
  • Increasing the use of force (for example, Involuntary Outpatient Commitment [also referred to as Assisted Outpatient Treatment or AOT]) which allows for people to be required to take psychiatric medications, attend therapy, attend day programs, etc. at threat of loss of freedom if they refuse)
  • Increasing controls on and limiting the use and impact of peer supporters
  • Decreasing access to advocacy and rights supports provided through places such as the Disability Law Center
  • Loosening privacy protections so that personal information can be much more easily disclosed to family members and others who identify as ‘care providers’

Have you spoken to your state Representative? Even Representatives who have already signed on as co-sponsors are able to withdraw their names, so it’s worth speaking to them either way.

Click "Read more" below for some ideas of things to say!

Read more: Updates on the Murphy Bill

Introducing This Year’s Career Initiatives Grantees

The Western Mass RLC’s 2015/2016 Career Initiatives Grants were awarded and officially began in September, 2015. These grants are intended to support individuals who might otherwise not have access to the needed resources to pursue independent projects or start small businesses. This year’s awards are as follows:

Andrea A (Franklin County)—Andrea is continuing her project to raise awareness of lifestyle and community spirit through photography. This project is an artistic and professional photography pursuit with an intensive concentration on photo-editing and creating prints.

Tom B (Hampden County)—Tom will be developing a do-it-yourself production of T-shirts with green-centered production values and accessibility to the homeless community. These T-shirts will be original works of art that will be made available in person and online.
Ursula C (Franklin County)—Ursula will be developing a collection of audio/radio stories that focus on people who identify as psychiatric survivors. Through personal testimony and documenting moments of joy, pain and resilience, this collection of stories aims to add to the complicated and nuanced conversations about mental health.
Debra D (Hampshire County)—Is continuing to develop an in-home private dog-training and dog-sitting services, expanding the marketing and reach of the business.
Sam H (Hampden County)—Sam will be building community through an extensive video recording and archival of our vibrant local music scene.
Charles K (Hampden County)—Charles will be working on a project called ‘Saving History and Creating the Future.’ His goal is to obtain, rehabilitate and have people occupy older buildings, so that working people can live in their own homes, and advance to a better life from a stock of neglected and abandoned structures in the area. He will then work to create and share the findings/learnings in a handbook so others can do the same.
Vanessa L (Hampden County)—Vanessa will be developing a multimedia project/photo exhibit (B1M: Return of the Matriarchs) as an act of decolonization. It encourages those who come into contact with it to question     where they stand in the ongoing colonization of the earth. It is deeply influenced by a personal trip to Barbados, in which the artist/activist traces her roots to her grandmother, and all of the strong black women who have thrived despite constant attempts to suppress their deep magic. It is in honor of the ancestors and the land which sustains us all. (See page 6 of our full newsletter for additional details on an upcoming showing of Vanessa’s exhibit.)
Cindi O (Franklin County)—Cindi will work on advancing her skills as a teaching artist in order to supplement income as an independent artist, and provide quality art instruction to adults in the Greenfield community.
Theresa T (Hampden County)—Theresa will work on a project called ‘Creating Healing Images of Light and Hope.’ Through photo-journaling and formal studies, this project aims to explore, document and share personal and professional growth as an artist, photograph and social activist.
Joseph S (Berkshire County)—Joseph will be working on the expansion of the quantity and quality of an already established lawn care business. He will seek to further skills in business management and sustainability.

Psychiatry Under the Influence

Psychiatry Under the Influence Book CoverTuesday, December 1
7 to 9pm
Greenfield, MA
Location TBA
Join the Western Mass RLC community for this public talk with Robert Whitaker where he will discuss the content of his new book, ‘Psychiatry Under the Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform.’
This book, co-authored with Lisa Cosgrove, takes an honest look at the current state of psychiatry and how it has been influenced by the pharmaceutical industry and more.
“This timely book is a careful and thoughtful analysis of institutional and political influences on the way psychiatry works today, and it provides a scholarly exploration of a problemthat has consequences for all of us. Whitaker and Cosgrove's passionate critique gives us the resources to develop solutions and to mobilize voices for an authentically liberating response to questions of mental health."
- Ian Parker, Professor of Management, University of Leicester, UK
"Psychiatry Under the Influence is a thoughtful and well-researched expose of the current framing of mental health and illness, using the lens of institutional corruption to examine the dual influence of psychiatry's financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry and professional protectionism. This is a profoundly humanistic critique of how the scientific evidence supporting newer psychiatric drug treatments could be so poor, yet have 'street cred'. This a 'must read' on the medicalization of modern life."
- Barbara Mintzes, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney, Australia
RSVPs encouraged to 413.539.5941 x 301 or
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.         
We will also be co-sponsoring a second talk with Advocates, Inc. as follows: 
Thursday, December 17th, 2pm to 4pm
Advocates, Inc.
1881 Worcester Rd,
Framingham, MA

UPDATES: Operation Save RLC Greenfield

Greenfield Center

The Western Mass RLC will be losing its funding
for the RLC’s Greenfield Center at the end of December,
when the fifth cycle of the Greenfield Community Development Block grant the RLC has shared with Recover Project comes to an end. This funding has gone primarily toward supporting our space at 74 Federal Street, as well as some additional hours for team members. (A handful of other team member hours based in Greenfield will continue to be funded through the Department of Mental Health.)

While the RLC is firm in its belief that our community is about people and not spaces, our Greenfield Center has served as an important gathering point. It has been a place for us to come together to cocreate a healing environment in which we can gather strength with and from one another.

The space itself is also a visual representation of the power of our community when it comes together. Indeed, it was members of our community in collaboration with members of the Recover Project community (often one and the same) who came together to turn an old broken-down comic book shop with holes in the wall, and stained carpet, into the beautiful space that it has since become. 

Beginning on Monday, November 16 and continuing through Sunday, November 22nd, the RLC community will embark on a week-long fundraising drive called Community Gives Week’. During that period, we anticipate having an online drive with special prizes available to people who donate, as well as at least one in-person event in our space on Federal Street
(stay tuned for more details on that!).
 We are excited to begin rolling out our plan to save the center. This will include:
Community Gives Week (Monday, November 16 to Sunday, November 22):
Community Gives week will be a week-long fundraising drive
following a model similar to that of Valley Gives.
Public Talk with Robert Whitaker (early December):
Journalist Robert Whitaker will join us in the Greenfield area for a fundraising
event and public talk on his new book, ‘Psychiatry Under the Influence.
Our Current Fundraising Goal is $20,000!
We know everyone isn’t in a position to give financially, but everyone
CAN help share about these fundraising efforts in person and/or on-line!
How can YOU help us get the word out?



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