Saturday, 15 August 2020

Sera Davidow

sdavidow 1Sera Davidow resides in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts where she has been a part of the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC) since its visioning process, serving as Director since it became funded in 2007.  There, she has gained over a decade of experience in project development and oversight, grant writing, public speaking, curriculum development and training, and supervision and leadership, among so many other things. She also worked as a lead trainer for the state's Certified Peer Specialist program for nearly ten years, is a founding member of the Hearing Voices USA Board of Directors, and blogs regularly on Mad in America. (Additionally, Sera is well versed in the ins and outs of being a Mystery Shopper but that's a job for a different story!)

Sera received her first psychiatric diagnosis as a teenager, accumulating a handful more by her early twenties.  That, along with a lengthy history of self-injury and emotional distress, led to her first hospitalization against her will at the age of 22, and an array of prescriptions for psychotropic drugs.  However, it was her ‘non-compliant’ and rebellious nature that paved her way down another path and to a full life where she re-defined herself as a survivor and has found success without any diagnoses or psychiatric drugs.

Her employment journey first brought her to a position in the conventional mental health system, but she soon found her way to peer-to-peer support communities, advocacy and social justice efforts. Through this work, she has gained a range of experiences including starting up a peer respite (Afiya), opening resource centers, and producing educational materials (including co-authoring handbooks on peer respites and developing peer roles).  She has also developed a passion for filmmaking, beginning with ‘Beyond the Medical Model’ in 2013. 

More is available about Sera, her story, and her work in this 2017 article from Sun Magazine: An Open Mind - Sera Davidow Questions What We Think We Know About Mental Illness

Sera speaks on a wide range of topics including (but not limited to):

  • Trauma
  • Self-injury
  • Language
  • Challenges within the system
  • Starting a peer respite
  • Developing peer roles

Samples of Sera's writing are available below:

Mad in America

Foundation for Excellence


Samples of Sera's speaking:

Madness Radio - 'Politics of Language'






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