Psych Respite Run By Staff Who’ve ‘Been There’

“Locked away in a psychiatric ward, he felt trapped, helpless. Isolated from his loved ones and worthless to society. He was terrified of the injections forced on him. More than anything, he wished someone helping him could have said, ‘I’ve been there. I know what it’s like.’

It was forty years ago that Dr. Daniel Fisher, then a neuroscience researcher with a doctorate in biochemistry, was confined three times to the hospital, during tumultuous psychiatric crises that sank him into psychosis and catatonia. As he slowly recovered, he recalls, ‘All I could think of was, ‘I’m going to become a psychiatrist and create alternatives to psychiatric hospitals.’

He did become a psychiatrist. And now, Massachusetts is on the verge of creating a new institution that fulfills many of his long-ago wishes, and aims to correct many of the problems with psychiatric hospitals that he encountered.

It is called a ‘peer-run respite’ — peer-run because the staff will be ‘peers’ with their own personal experience of mental illness, and respite because it is meant for short-term retreats where people can rest and recover without entering a locked facility …”

You can read more here.

And here is a 3 minute video from Dr. Fisher:


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