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A College Student Forum Brainstorm

Share your story and/or reflections on college mental health: experiences, services, trends, concerns, myths, and more.

A College Student Forum Brainstorm

Postby scatter » Jun 28, 2007 11:40 pm

so over the past couple years we've gotten quite a bit of feedback from college students we were working with that the icarus forums were overwhelming to them and that it would be great to have a space that's specifically for kids in school to talk about their issues which can be a bit different from the ones people here go through.

for example - definitely not all, but most of the college students i've crossed paths with in doing icarus outreach have never actually been diagnozed with a mental illness and haven't had the experience of being put through the psych system. so it's not an immediate jump to identify with the 'mad' label. this place can be intimidating for folks who are just stepping into the world of radical mental health.

i want to have a space for kids who are questioning, who are unsure of where they stand but what to talk about it. i never thought about the 'questioning' thing like this before but that's the same language the LGBT folks use in talking about in their world of allies. we have SO much to learn from the example of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community in how they organize on campuses. it's all about education and building alliances.

i want to have a space to talk with folks specifically about campus organizing strategies - a place i can direct people who are interested in getting involved.

one of our allies, dr. brad lewis at NYU, was suggesting a couple weeks ago that we actually set up another website we could link to this one that would be called Campus Icarus or something like that, and have a bunch of college related materials that could be downloaded as pdfs and then links to a bunch of the relevant stuff that's already on this site.

at the moment, i'd just be psyched to have some space to brainstorm about it.

before we actually just create a new forum, it seems wise to seed it with really good information and thought provoking questions and get all the college students we know to watch out for it and help it grow. i have a bunch of college student friends that are psyched about icarus theoritically or have been interns for us in the past and really involved but most of them don't use the site. what could we do to change that?

at the moment i guess i'm picturing a forum with a bunch of sub forums.
like space to talk specifically about alienation from school, campus life, sexuality, meds, crisis plans....

anyone out there have thoughts?

and while we're at it, what do folks think about a forum specifically for teens?
Last edited by scatter on Sep 18, 2007 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Bipolar I with Psychotic Features", but somehow that just doesn't seem to capture the essence of the whole dilemma.
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Postby deparanoia » Jun 29, 2007 10:41 pm

Hey Sascha,

Looking back I think there should have been a youth league in the Marxist organization I was in. The thing is, that in their case, at least back when I was a member, the youth organization should have kept their members there until they reached their thirties and that still might have meant setting the bar too low (I'm not being self righteous, I was probably really immature at the time too).
So a teen forum for this organization is a good idea, but here we don't have to set the bar too high, since we are always dealing and helping each other with our emotional problems and not acting like semi-robotic militants. That's something that really helps the young mature a bit faster.
Also, teens have different emotional needs and they are beginning to experience a lot of new things. So maybe a forum just for teens would be good as long as they can still ask older members for advice on the many new experiences they are going through.
In fact, a culture of appreciation is really needed in high schools, instead of purging rituals of harrassment that seem to be part of a rite of passage. How come there are sexual harrassment laws in colleges and the workplace and not in high schools? Is the psychological abuse that teens inflict on each other in school an important socialization process to enter and function within the status quo?
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Postby scatter » Jun 29, 2007 10:52 pm

here's the text of an email i sent out to a bunch of people last night and david oak's awesome response :


From: scatter@theicarusproject.net
Subject: [icarus-collective] Icarus Organizing on College Campuses
Date: June 29, 2007 1:35:40 AM EDT
To: icarus-collective@lists.riseup.net

hey old friends and allies and co-conspiritors -
i'm sending this out to the national collective but i also dug up addresses of folks i've specifically worked or talked about working on campuses with over the last three years. this coming fall is going to be a really interesting time to do radical mental health organizing on college campuses and i'm personally very excited about it. in the wake of the virginia tech tragedy and everything that's come out over the past year about pharmaceutical company coverups and then just the backdrop of the generally terrifying political situation in this country at the moment, it's a great opportunity to do a bunch of creative mental health outreach and peer support networking, icarus style. the kids really need it. the colleges are desperate for it. the time feels right.

there's been a bunch of talk on the site and amongst the tip staff of orchestrating a Mad Pride/Radical Wellness Week sometime in october and creating a bunch of materials (posters, flyers, postcards, stickers, brochures) to be distributed far and wide amongst our peeps. we've also gotten a lot of feedback from students about the need for topic discussion guides and straight forward and compelling materials to organize and facilitate successful events. a lot of our materials are close to being completed shy of a little design work, and it's going to feel so good to get them out into the world! our intentions of a national tour have been scaled back in the interest of sanity and strategy, but there are still a whole bunch of folks all over the country that want to connect with each other and build the network. things are feeling really hopeful and positive in icarus land these days. we've even been discussing the possibility of trying to raise some money to pay someone to staff our office, build our database, and coordinate the information flow. a lot of this we'll do even if we don't raise the money or find anyone else, our co-worker alicia has been doing an awesome job of coordinating our distro and contacts, but it would be great to get some more enthusiastic and self-motivated folks to put some love into this work. the college organizing is going to be tricky because right now we don't have anyone specifically working on it besides me, and i'm just some 32 year old guy with a laptop that dropped out of college when he was 19 but who luckily has a bunch of friends all over the place, whose writing after midnight from a quiet farmhouse in the hudson valley...

thankfully it's still the end of june and we have some time to get things going. i just started a new thread on the site which you are cordially invited to...
A College Student and Teen Forum Brainstorm
http://www.theicarusproject.net/communi ... hp?p=61462

for those unfamiliar with the current icarus topography, this is the part of the site where all the organizing is going on:
http://www.theicarusproject.net/communi ... m.php?f=39
it's pretty amazing to behold, i highly recommend checking it out and poking around.

it's easy to register on the site but if you're not registered on the site and you don't feel like bothering right now you but you still want to talk about this stuff you should write me back and we can talk. though the grand national tour plans are on hold for the moment, i'm thinking seriously of doing a solo-ish tour specifically of colleges in september and october. i'd love to talk to you about it.

and if you know others who might be interested please send them our way. we could especially use folks with experience organizing on college campuses and folks who would be interested in taking some of our organizing materials and editing/elaborating/generally adapting them to work specifically for students. and anyone who has graphic design skills and would be into putting them to use on our new line of materials, it would be so appreciated! also, if you generally have ideas about how to get the word out that you think might be helpful please get in touch.

i hope you're all having a wonderful summer, it's nice to remember you're all out there in the world doing the good work. peace to all the folks at the USSF.
mad love and the sound of paradigms shifting, sascha


Sascha Altman DuBrul The Icarus Project Organizing Collective
scatter@theicarusproject.net http://theicarusproject.net http://germantowncommunityfarm.blogspot.com
Building Radical Community-Based Mental Health Support Systems in a World Gone Mad


____________________________________________

From: oaks@mindfreedom.org
Subject: Re: Icarus Organizing on College Campuses
Date: June 29, 2007 2:04:57 PM EDT
To: scatter@theicarusproject.net
Cc: icarus-collective@lists.riseup.net, alli@riseup.net, stevie.nasco@gmail.com, tms4@nyu.edu, abr269@nyu.edu, djb351@nyu.edu, lizzblake@gmail.com, and 15 more...


Thanks Sascha!!! Go go go!! Yes!! Anything we can do to help given our low resources and activities, let us know. You are amazing, as I hope we all know! Let's talk about something especially October!!!!!!!!!!!

I have only a moment here, let me sum up some stuff that maybe our groups can possibly work on together (for those new to us, MindFreedom International focuses on human rights.... Icarus is a very dynamic sponsor of about 100 sponsor and affiliate groups in MFI).

By coincidence my wonderful agent David Zupan (a anti-corporate media activist by the way) just confirmed another campus speaking gig -- I'll be a speaker at West Chester University in Pennsylvania on 9 October 2007, near Philly. We'll be announcing details via our MindFreedom e-mail announcement list when it's out. If anyone receiving this is not on that, it's a low-volume one-way news list, you can get on here:

http://www.intenex.net/lists/listinfo/mindfreedom-news

(I'm toying with the title, "I Was a College Student Mental Patient!" in order to have some fun, gotta have some fun... and no I don't use term 'mental patient' when being serious.)

In any case, it will probably be similar to my campus presentation at Roosevelt University last month in Chicago, some great organizing going on there... I have a nice powerpoint, I do a normality screening in costume, etc.... and of course I will plug the heck out of Icarus as I did in Chicago:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/as/act/us/mf ... oland/oaks

Also let me introduce here Martin Rafferty who is our office manager and is our youth coordinator, he's a 20 year old psychiatric survivor activist. He's working very closely with youth groups here, such as the Wayne Morse Youth Program here in our County. These youth groups really want to do something together. I'll copy this to Martin at office@mindfreedom.org. Martin will be announcing revival of the MindFreedom Youth Committee in next few weeks. He uses Icarus site, and also intends to register there.

One more thing about the above 9 October gig in Pennsylvania... I'm staying in area a few days in Philly and/or D.C. because I am also a keynote speaker at the ICSPP conference in D.C. on 13 & 14 Oct. Yes, this is mainly mental health professionals ... and yes, some see this issue more of a civil war (talk v. drugs), when we view it as a nonviolent revolution (choice v. no choice!) but there are a lot of heroes in that group: http://www.icspp.org

Anyway, let me brainstorm for a while... I will have a few days there in between these two gigs, when I'll be in the Philly and D.C. areas... Plus these include a couple of days that are supposed to be World Mental Health Day (10 Oct.) and National Mental Health Screening Day (11 Oct.). I'm toying with proposing to MFI board (haven't yet) about some kind of fun, creative, nonviolent guerilla theater even a small one in front of the APA headquarters during one of those days (screen APA headquarters for normality with enactments of alternatives), and encouraging them to have a dialogue with us.

Finally... if something is cooking in October, like calls for national activity, a tour, etc. an almost "instant" way to include another national event is that the Alternatives 2007 conference is going on in St. Louis. I will NOT be attending this year, especially because of the DC travel. For those new to Alternatives it is an incredibly warm event with hundreds of "us" there, but because of the federal funding there are challenges such as that actual organizing events are prohibited by feds. So MFI actually rented an independent exhibit room last year. Dan Fisher actually rented a nearby room to launch their national coalition of state-wide consumer/survivor groups, etc. Anyway, my point here is that if there is some kind of October activity... I would bet that some of our members attending Alternatives in St. Louis would love to 'plug in' and do something in St. Louis too... An example: Something as easy as a creative event out front of the conference center during a break... take a digital photo and/or video... upload it on Internet... and presto. This viral video kind of thing will be great for IAACM, see below...

Example of Mad Pride events, which are indeed stretching into October (e.g. Brussell's first Mad Pride event is in October... note that it's warmer in Australia then than during winter which is nothern hemisphere's summer), see:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/campaign/madpride/

By the way... I read a recent news article about how a lot of college campuses now have underground "disinformation" guides that are created independently and handed out to students on various campuses both in paper and online... I understand they especially talk about how some communities of students (Islamic, gay, etc.) may feel excluded. I'll bet a bunch of these editors are hungering for an article about mad students especially given the Virginia Tech tragedy which has made college campuses one of the very centers of the storm on these issues.

Okay, enough for my "short" note... my main message is I hope one of enthusiasm and support for activism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Sascha go Icarus, go go go, let us know what we can do!!!! We can devote some time at the MFI conference next month to cheering this on too, especially in terms of launch International Association for Advancement of Creative Maladjustment... which ANYONE can be a leader of... but I think my "ideas per paragraph" rate is getting a little up there.... see our web site for more info on IAACM, especially on 14 July launch....

In support

David


David Oaks, Director
MindFreedom International
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Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA

web: http://www.mindfreedom.org
email: oaks@mindfreedom.org
office phone: (541) 345-9106
fax: (541) 345-3737
member services toll free in USA: 1-877-MAD-PRID[e] or 1-877-623-7743

United Action for Human Rights in Mental Health.

MindFreedom International is an independent
non-profit uniting 100 sponsor groups
to win human rights & alternatives in mental health.
Accredited by the United Nations as a
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with
Consultative Roster Status.

Join now! http://www.mindfreedom.org/join-donate

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creatively maladjusted." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Bipolar I with Psychotic Features", but somehow that just doesn't seem to capture the essence of the whole dilemma.
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Postby scatter » Aug 29, 2007 12:32 am

hey y'all - i'm digging up this thread which has been dominated by me and my rambling self but hopefully won't stay that way. this is a message i just posted on the organizers list in response to will rightly thinking this should be a more public dialog. con alegría lunática, sascha

From: scatter@theicarusproject.net
Subject: [icarus-organizers] theicarusproject.net/campus!
Date: August 29, 2007 12:16:40 AM EDT
To:icarus-organizers@lists.riseup.net
Reply-To: icarus-organizers@lists.riseup.net

On Aug 28, 2007, at 11:04 PM, will hall wrote:
let's have this whole discussion - esp with others.. i really don't think it makes sense to create a seperate organization or separate website, that is like self-dividing. why not campus.theicarusproject.net or theicarusproject.net/campus or something? what exactly is gained by creating image of greater separation?

la repuesta:

hey will - i'm really sorry if it feels like i've been charging ahead without enough discussion from the community, i'll try a little harder to temper my enthuiasm about the campus organizing with asking for more feedback from the whole group -- it's cool you opened this up to the organizers list (though i'm going to paste some text in at the bottom that hopefully will fill in more of the context!)

just so it's clear: the idea with 'campus icarus' isn't that it's a separate organization from the icarus project at all, just a separate space online that's specifically for students and folks organizing on campuses. and most of the content is just going to link right back to the main site. i'm cool with having the official website be 'theicarusproject.net/campus' if you think it's better, as long as we also pay for 'campusicarus.net' and have it routed there cause if there's a really cool logo popping up all over the place that says "campus icarus" then people will probably look there even if it says in small letters at the bottom: http://theicarusproject.net/campus, you know? and we have that great idea for the logo to be an open book with wings with 'CAMPUS' on one page and "ICARUS' on the other. it's gonna be sweet.

what i've been envisioning is that the site, wherever we put it, is going to be a gateway for a bunch of new folks to find out about the icarus project. and this is some text i was sending out to some student organizers in new york today:


1. i'm excited to say that within the next the month we should have a whole new section of our website called Campus Icarus (http://campusicarus.net) -- linked from the front page of our site with a whole new forum for student organizers (NASCO, SDS, LGBT, Active Minds etc.)/mad allies and just questioning folks who are interested in alternative viewpoints about mental health issues. there are also going to be a bunch of essays and pieces from all the nyu interns we've had and other students that have been writing about us and mental health struggles at their schools. i've been corresponding with half a dozen students that are submitting material and/or talking about starting new groups on their campuses and i have a feeling that as soon as we put it up and start getting the word out that it's going to take off. the time feels right. i really like the idea of having materials up on the site for folks who are interested not only in organizing at their schools but in writing for their classes about the kind of work we're doing.

2. there's a crew of kids at the University of Minnesota that are trying to start a SDS/Icarus Project student group and they just compiled a zine about dealing with activist burnout and i think are planning to put out a similar disorientation type guide. i think maybe they've been in touch with you already. i've also heard there's a group of students in berkeley, ca doing the same thing. do you know of others? - it would be great if we were all talking to each other.


anyway, some weeks ago when we were talking about this issue of how to get onto college campuses jonah had some great phrase borrowed from capitalist marketing lingo i believe - product differentiation - or something like that. what i mean is i envision nice looking flyers we can send to campus counseling centers for them to put on their walls and when folks go to the web link it immediately goes straight to the issues they're concerned with..as far as trying to make it past the culture guards it seems wise to create a slightly different looking face. i don't know, what do you all think out there? let's open this discussion up.

and for anyone who doesn't know the context (which i suppose is probably a lot of you!) most of my work personally for the icarus project in the last two years has centered around organizing at new york university with the intention of learning lessons and creating a national network of mental health support groups on colleges campuses based on icarus values and ideas. it's been really successful in a lot of ways and the political climate in this country at the moment is ripe for taking our ideas and resources and putting them in the public arena. there are a lot of people talking about the mental health of college students, especially after what happened earlier this year at Virginia Tech. the idea of creating a new section of the icarus website devoted to campus organizing is so exciting to me because
a. we can showcase some of the awesome awesome writing students have been doing about icarus in the last two years
b. put up organizing materials (which mostly don't exist yet) that are specific to campuses which can be downloaded by anyone interested
c. most importantly -- we can have a new forum with a bunch of subforums (which can just go where the others are now and have a link) where students can start talking to each other and building the kind of relationships that we see happening on the main site.

it feels a bit similar to when we started the icarus website: there were all these people who were sending me emails (after i wrote the bipolar world story) and really they needed to be talking to each other, not just sending me their life stories and saying how lonely they were. it's a really intense position i find myself in sometimes -- feeling like a human switchboard, you know? in this case with the campus organizing i've pretty much sought everyone out, but i'm so ready to put the mechanisms in place for the dialogs to be happening without me. i can't wait to be on the sidelines cheering everyone on. i think, really, that's the source of my kind of hypomanic excitement -- i'm seeing an end (and a new beginning) to something i've been working on for years. i'm so ready to not be the person who has a fucking revolution going on in my head that no one else sees all the pieces of. people give me shit sometimes because i'm so positive and enthuiastic, but when you see me smiling big like that it''s because along with how fucked up everything is, i can take all the puzzle pieces in my head, all the people i know all over the place doing all this amazing, paradigm shifting stuff -- and play out the scenerios and i know us and all of our badass friends out there are going to serious shake shit up in the coming years. it's so obvious to me. and it makes me fucking laugh really hard like from deep in my belly, because we're so in need of some change.

anyway, will - i really apologize if i skipped a couple steps. now this is public, let's talk about it!


Sascha Altman DuBrul The Icarus Project Organizing Collective
scatter@theicarusproject.net http://theicarusproject.net germantowncommunityfarm.blogspot.com
Building Radical Community-Based Mental Health Support Systems in a World Gone Mad
"Bipolar I with Psychotic Features", but somehow that just doesn't seem to capture the essence of the whole dilemma.
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Postby will » Aug 29, 2007 7:21 am

the idea of creating a new section of the icarus website devoted to campus organizing is so exciting to me because
a. we can showcase some of the awesome awesome writing students have been doing about icarus in the last two years
b. put up organizing materials (which mostly don't exist yet) that are specific to campuses which can be downloaded by anyone interested
c. most importantly -- we can have a new forum with a bunch of subforums (which can just go where the others are now and have a link) where students can start talking to each other and building the kind of relationships that we see happening on the main site.


this sounds cool, i think we should have a teen forum as well. also, where you say:

put up organizing materials (which mostly don't exist yet) that are specific to campuses


i think this is where we should break it down into specific tasks and prioritize things.

also, this is kind of commercial but check it out:

http://www.campuscalm.com/

i like how it is pretty non-pathologizing, like 'everyone struggles with stress'.

also, i think the rates of college students on psych drugs or with a diagnosis (anyone who bills insurance for a therapy session has a diagnosis) is pretty high, like definitely higher than 20%, but apparently no one has statistics like this; check out the attached JAMA article. there was a spate of articles last year about how the rates are soaring (very few of them talked about pharma media advertising saturation).

also, tie this together with the Local Groups Not Working thread (a lot of those people in local groups are college students), and we should have a discussion on what the focus of campus groups is (since we are working on the focus of local groups in general).

Arent there plenty of questions to address already rather than starting a whole new area of work and then having to face the same questions, just later on? maybe we should prioritize things? does it feel like the 'startup syndrome,' where the excitement of new opportunities is more appealing than the hard work of following through?

for example -- a puzzle we've faced already is t-shirts? when you talk about campus organizing, i wonder, isn't the t-shirt issue related to campus organizing? isn't that a quesiton/problem we've been facing for a while... in fact, i can't think of a single problem or question we are already facing that isn't related to campus organizing. there seems to be a few things that are unique to campus organizing, but aren't the things that are overlapped with icarus as a whole a lot of things? for example, the icarus brochure?

--will
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Postby mental_meanderings_2 » Sep 03, 2007 4:18 pm

reading through this discussion, i decided i needed to refer to the thread on local organizing and the problems most frequently encountered. Will, your post was particularly insightful, so there are a few topics from your writing that i chose to bring into the context of this campus organizing brainstorm session:

I think that the problems that Icarus groups have fall into three categories -- the problems unique to mental health organizing, problems specific to icarus, and the problems that every activist group runs into.

annoying, domineering people taking over groups that don't have strong facilitation and policies for preventing this is a problem all groups face: trying to be too nice and inclusive and democratic, in the name of anti-hierarchy can get you into problems.


I think later on you suggest (perhaps inadvertently) a potential antidote when you discuss support groups and the need for more trained facilitators:

it takes a very special mix of people to pull off a support group -- for the reason i have seen that people stop coming when they feel better, so you have the group attracting people who might not be in a good position to organize and facilitate the group, and people who are in a better position to organize and facilitate not really needing to come to a support group. we had a good run of very unique organizers who really feel nourished by going to support groups even when they don't need support, and talking with people who do. but that seems to be ebbing right now, and i think it is a difficult model, so we are looking at stipending some more trained facilitators.


My question is concerning where and by whom this training is done. Pardon my ignorance, but is this akin to the kind of racial sensitivity training required for students becoming RA’s? If so, this seems a reachable goal particularly within the university context where campus organizations like LGBT along with residence advising/assistance training have institutionalized this kind of practice.

In another part of your post you express preference for discussion and popular education groups rather than support groups. I especially agree with you when it comes to campus organizing. I think that icarus as an educational group is most appropriate to an academic setting, and that inevitably from the exchange of academic ideas and political discussion it could evolve into more of a support-type group. This would of course depend upon the preferences of the individuals involved, but it seems the discussion would naturally come to foster a safe and comfortable environment for peer-support.

Also, I think burnout is a critical issue to address. Two possibilities for circumventing the fatigue come to mind: 1) allow the aims of the group to be mixed; in other words, socializing can be considered an integral aspect of the organization, and there should be events devoted solely to pleasurable recreation; 2) create accountability; while hierarchy seems to contradict the value-system of icarus, I think it’s logical to give more responsibility to those who want it and to therefore grant them recognition for their labor; this doesn’t mean creating a formal hierarchy, though (pragmatically speaking) it does tend to mean that those with greater responsibility have more influence in the decision-making process.

sascha, i'm so glad you addressed the issue of hegemony when attempting to infiltrate the college atmosphere. i believe you're so right on in thinking about this in relation to how icarus presents itself in terms of its artication and aesthetic style. i'm referring to this quote:

some weeks ago when we were talking about this issue of how to get onto college campuses jonah had some great phrase borrowed from capitalist marketing lingo i believe - product differentiation - or something like that. what i mean is i envision nice looking flyers we can send to campus counseling centers for them to put on their walls and when folks go to the web link it immediately goes straight to the issues they're concerned with..as far as trying to make it past the culture guards it seems wise to create a slightly different looking face. i don't know, what do you all think out there?


i concur. sometimes the most effective form of cultural resistance is the kind which resists from the inside, and gettting to the inside means first by-passing those culture guards.

let's keep talking. all my respect, m.
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Postby mcsquared » Oct 14, 2007 9:40 pm

Hi there. I just joined. I'm currently studying medical anthropology in the Dallas area and recovering from a forced hospitalization/drugging experience that left me stunned that such brutality and cruelty is still going on and am still in fear of my freedom. I'm applying to PhD programs in Human-Computer Interaction with a minor in medical anthropology hopefully so I can do research and continue to publish on ethics and technology in the mental health field and get started with activism to prevent this from ever happening again. I'm hoping to band together with other students for support in both my academic and personal endeaviors.
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yes--colleges can be lonely places (esp. CUNY)

Postby koffeedeath » Nov 08, 2007 12:41 am

hi,
I'm a current student at CUNY (hunter). I think that the idea of branching into the school systems is great. I am both in need of something like that and also trying to be involved in providing that, professionally...

Some people obviously have the social networks and access to talk to each other and find their communities outside of class, but for those of us that don't have that, we are basically going through the halls w/no one to relate to.

I have spent years of being alone my depression and desperation, and it really came to a climax recently when I failed the expectations of my field placement due to depression. Now that I have some free time (I'm no longer going there) I can probably do something about this...

Before that happened, I sought personal counseling and was told that even though they have an office set aside for it, no one was there to see me, and also they are "de-emphasizing" anything but extremely short term counseling. I didn't go back.

What do you do if you don't feel suicidal, but you don't have anyone to talk to? (I am the type of person that if I feel suicidal, I don't talk about it... I just do it.)

I sought medication recently for depression too, but there was no one who could tell me how to do it w/out insurance. I'm still looking...

I would actually much prefer a supportive space and a group where I could relate to my fellow students in an open/affirming way, to talking to someone who I am probably not going to talk to again... but there is no such thing (yet).

The good thing about CUNY (and I suspect other schools in the NYC area) is that they offer block grants to student-run groups that have coherent proposals. So if the students get together and organize a group, the student body will give us a grant, out of the student budget.

Other groups have gotten rooms that they use, sometimes permanently... so, for example, we have a lot of ethnic- and cultural-based groups and a few arts and politics groups. But obviously it takes a really organized group that will relate to the concerns and issues of many people at the school. That we do have, but we need to do some of the outreach.

Is there any CUNY student here who wants to get in touch w/me? We can get together to brainstorm about the possibility of organizing something which can make Icarus available to the school body as a resource, and / or alliance.

I also know that the Hunter School of Social Work has a number of alliances, and I was thinking (before all this happened) that maybe I should start a mental health alliance for the school.. They have LGBTQ alliances, POC alliances, etc. but nothing so far for mental health. The Student Board of the school, which administers the funding and so on for the student alliances, was very supportive of my suggestions. But unfortunately I never was able to get it off the ground because isolation and time managment issues got the better of me. Now's the time to get started... although I am not expecting that anyone here is also a Hunter SSW student... but I would like to work with anyone at CUNY.

I'm currently a master's student at the Hunter school of social work. I'd like to meet anyone in the NYC area currently working in social work, especially..
best, Cory
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Postby scatter » Nov 08, 2007 1:23 am

Is there any CUNY student here who wants to get in touch w/me? We can get together to brainstorm about the possibility of organizing something which can make Icarus available to the school body as a resource, and / or alliance.

I also know that the Hunter School of Social Work has a number of alliances, and I was thinking (before all this happened) that maybe I should start a mental health alliance for the school.. They have LGBTQ alliances, POC alliances, etc. but nothing so far for mental health. The Student Board of the school, which administers the funding and so on for the student alliances, was very supportive of my suggestions. But unfortunately I never was able to get it off the ground because isolation and time managment issues got the better of me. Now's the time to get started... although I am not expecting that anyone here is also a Hunter SSW student... but I would like to work with anyone at CUNY.


hey cory i'm so glad you found us. i actually have a good friend in the hunter social work school that used to do a lot of icarus organizing though she's taking a break from it these days. i'll let her know you're around and maybe she'll get in touch. i'd love to help however i can, definitely have some ideas though i'm on tour right now and won't be back east till december. stick around!
"Bipolar I with Psychotic Features", but somehow that just doesn't seem to capture the essence of the whole dilemma.
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Postby merryloo » Nov 08, 2007 2:11 pm

um, yes, cory, i'm actually writing from the hcssw library right now. private message me and let's have lunch sometime soon. i don't know how much space or energy i have to start an alliance here right now, but i can damn sure offer some commiseration and support around being a depressed radical social work student. and could use some of the same.
i am also doing as a part of my field placement work with the entire cuny system around better meeting the needs of veterans. some of it will be professional development to better understand things like "ptsd" and tbi and how to interact in a non-pathologizing or patronizing way. it's had me thinking about y'all and how icarus-based staff sensitivity trainings on college campuses could be amazing and could also be a great source of income for tip. some of the wishy-washier schools like oberlin and such would probably already be down to pay y'all a hunk of cash.
just a capitalist-funded revolution idea.
i miss y'all you know.
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Postby scatter » Nov 08, 2007 4:28 pm

nice to see you up here m. i'm glad to hear you're already scheming on how to make the system work better at hunter.

and yeah,
icarus-based staff sensitivity trainings on college campuses could be amazing and could also be a great source of income for tip.


i know it i know it. you know that i know it. i'm still pretty obsessed with helping to create a training modeled after the LGBT safe-zone program, would still love to be involved in that discussion. really looking forward to having some time to work on that project in the coming months with interested folks, there are already a lot of ideas floating around and a bunch of years of experience under our belts. i think you're right about starting with the oberlin type schools (we actually met a bunch of awesome oberlin students at the NASCO conference last weekend) and this is a network of them i've been thinking about reaching out to for awhile: http://www.cielearn.org/

but considering we've got all this energy going on in new york at nyu it seems like a great idea to start making new friends and connections at the other schools and mixing up the scene. mad love
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here's a few ideas

Postby koffeedeath » Nov 09, 2007 4:11 am

hey merryloo,
this is something I wrote a while ago. It's social-work oriented, but it may be relevant to other college or study group people..

Hunter College Mental Health Alliance proposal

An Ongoing Group, to help us
1 Reflect on personal motivations to enter social work
- our desire or need to address interpersonal and psychic needs in our selves. The fact that many of us have maladaptive personality qualities that may interfere with our work. Do we project our feelings upon the people we work w/? etc..
- our desire to change activism and radical visions into something more socially supportive

2 Reflect on personal experiences in the mental health system; provide supportive space for personal reflections between students about our own mental health and how this affects our experiences as social workers

3 Support each other socially, emotionally and academically as students

4 Promote interests of survivors/patients in authoritarian and state-oriented psychiatry—what are the alternatives?
- Form political contacts w/other alliances insofar as they may have insight into specific situations, e.g. gay/lesbians in the psych system, etc.

5 Engage in Activism for a better and more respectful mental health system.

6 Facilitate speakers who are mental health consumers, ex-patients/survivors to speak about the mental health system

7 Examine the principles of an “alliance” and “cooperation” and how we may change the hierarchical dynamic of case-work to fit a more self-determination, harm reduction, nonjudgemental model; how principled and effective “social work” involves ceding some of the authority/responsibility to consumers, peers, etc.

8 Publicize and offer events related to mental health and social work

9 Group makes decisions collectively on a consensus basis

Ideas for Alliance:
- A special call-out to people with first-hand experience in the mental health system.
- Outreach for POC and LGBTQ and allies to share their experiences in mental health system (see other alliances)
- Speakers in the psych system: social workers as well as clients may give presentations or facilitate discussions on various topics.
- Examine ideas of boundaries: how to negotiate boundaries non-hierarchically
- Conversely, how to negotiate boundaries hierarchically, as they are unavoidable, and consistent with principles of social work
- Negotiating positions of power as staff members of the mental health system, in accordance with principles of social work.
- Pharmaceutical and medical industries: What position are social workers in, and what principles should we adopt or practice?
- Methodological problems: is casework/clinical social work inherently “positivist” (i.e. concerned with the existing subjective “facts” and “truths,”) e.g. “this person is psychotic, danger to others, must be medicated and locked up in order to be safe.” Philosophically, this is problematic in many ways.
- How should psychiatric social workers consider this ethically? How do we feel about it?
- How are we to work in accordance with a long-term vision that considers the freedom, imagination, talent, and perspective of the patient/client? If the short-term goal is contrary to the long-term goal, how much are we to sacrifice of the long-term? How can we keep the long-term goal in mind given the constraints and dictates of managed care and Pharmaceutical industries?
- How can we as social workers work within and at the same time to reform the psych system? Inpatient / Outpatient?
- Finally... what do we think about the general concept of “mental illness”? How can we work to promote alternative concepts of mental health and alternative projects for mental health awareness?
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Postby scatter » Jul 03, 2008 11:42 pm

this thread just came up in a search for 'NASCO' and it's really thick and full of ideas but kind of got buried in the midst of koffeedeath's ideas about organizing social workers at CUNY. just felt like bringing it back up in case someone out there gets excited. what treasures lay buried in these threads!
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Postby jobsnotbombs » Sep 23, 2008 6:38 pm

hey this is Christine ,

I would really want to help and educate students and adminstration on what it's like to have a Dx and icarus....


how can i help?????


much love!
peace, love and chicken grease!!!!
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Campus Icarus Position

Postby nmg235 » Sep 24, 2008 8:00 am

Yo to Christine, and all others interested in radical mental health work specifically with students and college campus groups: we have an opening for a part time position as the "Campus Icarus Coordinator." We would be especially pleased to have anyone already involved with TIP apply: Please check out the link on craigslist: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/edu/845224081.html
-Neil
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Postby jobsnotbombs » Sep 25, 2008 2:07 am

hi Neil, thanxs for letting me know. I been part of NYc Icarus since 2005 ish i believe, though the campus coordinator sounds really cool, it sounds overwhelming task for me

is there any other way i can help or be involved?
peace, love and chicken grease!!!!
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