Adventures in Psychiatric Reform: 6 July
Lived Expertise interviews, legislative visits, crisis support web app plans
Welcome to the update newsletter portion of the psychcrisis.org Substack. This is where I document progress on building an organisation from scratch that is as high-leverage as possible, working to make psychiatric crisis care compassionate and humane. Reflections, advice, and encouragement always appreciated!
What did I try?
I did 10 cognitive task analysis interviews with Lived Expertise Project participants. This was surprisingly fun, although I think my conclusion is I need to take a slightly different tack in the future.
I met with two CA legislative teams to figure out what they need to know to make better policy about crisis care. This was at a mental health peer conference in Sacramento, where I also met leaders from most of the peer-run mental health organisations in California.
I completed suicide hotline volunteer training, and I start as a volunteer soon.
I met with people from Recidiviz, a nonprofit I deeply admire doing similar systems change but in prison reform. This made me breathe a sigh of relief—I’ve been looking for model organisations and they seem to be it! Looking forward to learning more from them in the future.
What happened? What worked? What did I learn?
The Lived Expertise interviews have felt super rewarding. However, there’s a paradox: people who are thriving often haven’t had enough crises personally to have had the chance to develop expertise at responding to them, or to have been forced to test their skills. This seems particularly true for suicidal crises, but still somewhat true for manic/psychotic crises. This has made me very interested in directing my focus next to clinicians, who just see a very high volume of cases compared to individuals. I won’t talk too much about the learnings around expertise in this update; if you’d like to know what these thriving people do, come to the Aug 4th event!
The CAMHPRO conference in Sacramento was my highest ROI conference yet; I’m glad to have met with Senator Wiener’s team and also to have met several teams working on crisis response locally. I met of potential collaborators and supporters within the peer mental health movement.
I’ve been working on narrowing my focus for active, immediate projects, and the current next priority after the Lived Expertise interviews are wrapped up is alpha versions of a crisis support web app, initially focused on helping someone else going through a manic episode. I plan to use what I learned from the Lived Expertise interviews of participants with experience of mania in the alpha versions of the app. The next step is alpha testers; if you’d like to help give feedback on the web app experience, sign up here.
What am I doing next?
Interviewing clinicians with an excellent track record of treating people through manic and psychotic crises. Do you know of someone I should talk to?
Presenting Lived Expertise findings on Aug 4—join us to learn and give feedback!
The double-barreled combo of recruiting team members to work on web app design and recruiting funders to fund it. This project is at an extremely early stage but it has the potential to markedly improve the decision-making ability and resourcefulness of every person supporting a loved one through a manic crisis. Broadly, I’m looking for frontend/design, SEO marketing, and advice from psychiatrists with crisis experience. If you’d like to discuss getting involved as a team member or funder, reach out at email@example.com.
How can you help?
Sign up to be an alpha tester for the crisis support web app in the next ~ 2 months. This involves doing a walkthrough with me over zoom and offering your experience of it and feedback. Sign up here!
Join the Lived Expertise findings event on Aug 4 to learn how people succeed at managing their own crises and what implications this has for system reform.
Connect me with clinicians with a demonstrably excellent track record of treating people through manic/psychotic crises.
This project is wide and ambitious. One of my hopes in the next few months is to settle into a much clearer feedback process for understanding how well what we’re doing is achieving our goals. That has already gotten better, but I’d like to be much, much clearer.
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