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LOCAL News :: Miscellaneous

Radical Mental Health Icarus project visits Richmond

On Saturday May 7th the Icarus project, a community based mental health project, hosted a discussion at the Paperstreet infoshop. A group of approximately 20 people met with Sascha Scatter and Timothy Kelly of the project to discuss the issues that radical political individuals deal with in establishing and maintaining a mentally healthy life.
The discussion was attended by folks ranging in age from the late teens to early forties and included people with a variety of relationships to mental health issues. Individuals working within mental health related fields, experiencing mental health issues personally or being effected by close family or friends with mental health issues paticipated in a two hour discussion that ranged in topic.

Alternative approaches to establishing mental health, the benefits and criticisms of psyche drugs, causes of psychological distress, and ideas about what needs to be done to create a radical mental health support network were some common themes in the discussion. People with varying experiences sounded off on these topics and posed many thought-provoking questions.

Sascha and Timothy of the Icarus project talked about what the latest efforts by the network are and how it has evolved since its beginning about two years ago. They passed around a book of collected writings they put together and also talked about the art shows that have been put together by different participants in the network. They are currently revamping their website and working on a manual that can be used to start up local icarus projects. Part of that manual will be a list of mental health care providers that respectfully agree to a set of statements compiled by the project.

Also present was one person whose work is to help doctors treat their patients with more respect and acknowledgment during treatment. One person was present who works with a Richmond group known as Mental Wellness Mentors, whose goal is to provide a support network by and for those struggling with mental wellness. The group meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 6:30 pm at 6100 Chamberlayne Avenue. Sliding scale ($10-0?) art sessions are also provided by the DaVinci Project on Saturdays at 10 am in the Artworks building at 320 Hull Street.

It is difficult to summarize all the things that were discussed and touched on at the meeting. I encourage anyone who was there to add comments or thoughts about their experience.

All in all It was a workshop that asked us to look really hard at how to establish and maintain ways to care for ourselves and others, and explore all the options open to us, whether they involve taking psyche meds, getting acupuncture, or creating a supportive community.

If anyone has questions about this article or event, please e-mail me.

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