Welcome to the first blog post of the ITE/MH’s new blog, Spotlight On!
One of the first questions we get is, where did the message “I’m the Evidence” come from, and how did the Campaign start? So here’s a brief history. In the 2005 Publication, Measuring the Promise: A Compendium of Recovery Measures Volume II, Judi Chamberlin, an American activist, leader, organizer, public speaker, and educator in the psychiatric survivor’s movement wrote, “Since recovery-based programs, such as peer support and self-help, are barely researched, there is little opportunity to develop the evidence that they work. Nonetheless, consumers and survivors who have lived their own recovery experiences know that such supports as help from peers, permanent integrated housing, educational and work opportunities, and, for some, medication and therapy, can lead to real changes that go far beyond maintenance. As people who have recovered often say: ‘We are the evidence!’”
From Judi’s message, “We are the evidence,” individuals who were supporting others in their recovery began proclaiming: “I’m the Evidence.” Inspired by those words and seeing the value of hope in the recovery process, Karen Morton, of Support the Journey, wrote the poem “I’m the Evidence” that became the foundation for the ITE/MH Campaign.
Prompted by people who were inspired by the poem and wanted to share the messages with others, Support the Journey and MHAPA came together in partnership to create the ITE/MH Campaign. Working with individuals in recovery and their supporters from around Pennsylvania, the Campaign’s goals were established to:
- Increase awareness that people recover from mental illness;
- Engage individuals, organizations and communities in the support of recovery, by honoring human potential and inspiring hope, creating opportunities and offering encouragement; and
- Celebrate people who are the living examples of recovery, and the individuals, organizations and communities that support recovery.
And here we are, four years later, excited to re-invigorate the Campaign with a new website and this blog to put a Spotlight On the people who are the living Evidence of mental health recovery and the individual’s, organizations, and communities that support them.
The ITE/MH Campaign has been and continues to be a grassroots Campaign. It’s all about you and others who are the Evidence. Join us on our journey to promote and celebrate recovery, and acknowledge others—how has someone supported your personal recovery? How has an organization or business in your community taken action to help someone in finding a job or a home? Comment below or email us and let us know. Or post to our Facebook page. Help us inspire and support others on their recovery journey! We can’t wait to hear from you!
Sue Walther is executive director of the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania (MHAPA) and Shelley Bishop is an ITE/MH Campaign consultant.