MentalHealthRightsYES - for Mental Health Rights

                                    BEYOND SOTERIA
          (Coming Soon: Beyond Soteria Website and Facebook Page)

Soteria is our inspiration! Beyond Soteria is our next step… supporting people living in the community and in community, while withdrawing from  psychiatric drugs.  

The Soteria Experiment proved that young adults experiencing their first psychosis could be successfully treated in a family like supported home setting, with little or no drugs . The key was acceptance, being with, and believing in the possibility of real recovery for the person. Thus Soteria is our Inspiration!  

Beyond Soteria is Needed Because So Many People Today Have Been drugged!
Today, our communities, jails and hospitals are filled with individuals who have experienced psychosis or other intense emotions and have been placed on psychiatric drugs.  Many have experienced these drugs as harmful and preventing recovery. People, experiencing devastating health and emotional effects from these drugs, are often criminalized or committed for drug-induced behavior, which can include, confusion, aggressiveness, violence,  mania, homicidal and suicidal tendencies.

Beyond Soteria is Needed Because the Withdrawal Can Be Dangerous!
People who have tried to withdrawal from these drugs find they experience severe addiction withdrawal symptoms and debilitating illnesses that often endanger themselves, their loved ones and their community. One of our nation’s leading psychiatric, withdrawal experts, Dr. Peter Breggin, states the greatest mental health need in our nation today, is drug withdrawal programs. However, even he cites the dangers inherent in drug withdrawal that can cause severe reactions and will not treat anyone who does not have a strong long term support system to help them through the process.

Even Drug-Induced Behavior is Criminalized and Can Block Housing Opportunities
Most supported housing and public housing decline applications of people with mental illness who have extensive criminal records. They do not factor in that every psychiatric drug has side-effects that often does induce bizarre unusual behavior, aggressiveness, violence and even murderous and suicidal tendencies, and these acts are often criminalized.

Most Housing Will NOT Support or Allow purposeful Withdrawal from Drugs!
Also most supported housing, and private and public housing, definitely do not embrace the fact that the violent or aggressive behavior exhibited when a person attempts to slowly go off these drugs, can often be attributed to the excruciating debilitating withdrawal effects. Instead the blame is placed on the person, and it is believed that the symptoms of the illness are not withdrawal induced, but returned due to the medication being stopped. Therefore most supported housing will not, and others cannot, legally support or tolerate desires or attempts to withdrawal from these potent addictive drugs. For some the choice often feels like no real choice at all; remain on drugs that feel like they are destroying your mind, body and Soul, or lose your housing and become homeless.

Often even families are overwhelmed with the support needed to withdrawal a loved one from psychiatric drugs and keep everyone safe. The Soteria Model, for today’s individuals, who often have been heavily drugged for years, as well as institutionalized and traumatized, is not enough; IT DOES NOT ADDRESS THE INCREASED DANGER OF LONG TERM DRUGGING AND TRAUMATIZATION.  And so we are embarking on a project we are calling Beyond Soteria!

More About Beyond Soteria! Two Houses and A Peace Team!
The core values of acceptance of the person where they are, being with, and believing in their resilience to recover, like the original Soteria model, are still at the center of our Beyond Soteria project. What we have added is A model that includes two (preferably side by side) neighborhood co-op houses and a Peace Team! (Although realistically you may need to start with one house and a neighborhood peace team)

The Peace Team:
Community Builder and Crisis Response Team for the Neighborhood Too!
One house of 5 people are peers and allies who are passionate about life and bring their gifts and talents to share to support the healing and integration of the person in the second house, into the community, as well as the healing and integration and education of the community back into wholeness and integration. They will be known as the Peace Team. As a Peace Team (the peace team will also include neighborhood members who do not live in the co-op house) they will bring gifts such as a passion for  permaculture gardening, knitting, music, arts, mindfulness,  bicycling and bicycle repair, healthy eating and living, natural building, entrepreneurship, as well as advocacy work, such as helping to craft and educate the community on a Community Bill of Rights etc­­. They will initially participate in a 3-hour weekly 6 week training, which will include de-escalation techniques, being with, restorative circles, and on-going trainings such as Non-violent Communication. They will also often lead ongoing trainings, house meetings, and community gatherings and be a part of the evolution of this model. Key to this model is that the coop house members and other neighborhood members will be trained as neighborhood Peace Team members and specialize in non-violent de-escalation. In essence they are the crisis response team for the core house and the neighborhood crisis team for certain types of crisis, and community builders. Of course what type of crisis for the neighborhood and other important details will be defined as the group comes together and strengths and weaknesses are assessed and training determined.

The other house of 3 includes a person who has explored their options carefully and has thoughtfully made the decision to try and live a drug free life. Professional support, as well as the help of people with lived experience and knowledge of the withdrawal, as consultant/s will be critical to supporting this individual The other two housemates living in the second house are of the same mindset as the other supporters in the house of 5, but have made a commitment to be the closest supporters, living with the person in recovery and withdrawal. It is possible that a rotation schedule might work as well with the other 5.

These houses are co-op and will not have any licensing requirements. Every effort will be made to befriend and educate the neighbors, city council, the community police and build a sense of collaboration and support.

Ideally the houses would be purchased by investors, who may just be looking for a good investment in property, and to whom we would pay rent and have a long term lease. The housing investment would be solid, and separate from the project.

Because they are co-op, there is no paid staff, and volunteer co-op housemates would each pay approximately $400 in rent. It is hoped that the rent would be uniformly subsidized, by donations to lower the rental rates, but would be self-sustaining from the beginning by the expected rent income.

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