Participatory Concepts: A Driving Force, Part IV
The Survivors’ Movement: Empowered patients making a “Call to Arms”
Whereas, empowered patients of the Participatory Medicine movement are viewed as equal
partners with their providers, empowered patients of the Psychiatric Survivors’ movement have spent several decades challenging the use of forced psychiatric intervention through grass-root efforts and legal strategies. Many advocates involved in this movement are ex-patients who experienced negative impacts in their life from forced institutionalization, forced drugging and forced electroshock therapy.
While the internet is a key factor for many patients to become enabled, engaged and empowered in their healthcare options, the rate of empowerment for the vast majority of mental health patients may come at a much slower pace because of the marginalized population who are in jails, prisons, psychiatric wards, or homeless. Advocates who are involved in the Psychiatric Survivors’ movement play a critical role as a peer-voice in speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves. The stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness are a world-wide problem and advocates have a global agenda.
In light of the emerging Participatory Medicine movement and an increased emphasis on patient choice in healthcare, providers are beginning to identify with the e-Patient movement. The Participatory Medicine movement may provide the catalyst of social change, along with the advancement of education, awareness and technology needed to support the growth of empowerment for mental health consumers. This effect could have a positive influence on the criminal justice system as well.