Prepare Ye The Way!

For the Love of the Spirit


(The following is an abridgment of a brochure put out by VOCAL.  Visit their site for more in-depth information.   You may find links to their website in the article below and a link in the sidebar on the right.)

VOCAL is a nonprofit organization of people in mental health recovery.

They are a statewide (Virginia) community, support network, social change movement and self-help education program.  Their organization was created by and for people who have experienced emotional turbulence, mental health crisis, or extreme states of consciousness (commonly called mental illness.)

VOCAL focuses on creating broad-scale social change as well as change in the lives of individuals.  They work to transform the mental health system — and to create alternatives to the system — by promoting mental health recovery, self-determination and peer leadership.

As people who have experienced mental illness, they work to create programs that respect the inherent worth and dignity of all people, regardless of their current or past mental state, diagnosis, or use of medications.

VOCAL does

  • Advocacy
  • Community Building
  • Recovery Education, and
  • Grassroots Programs

Their Values

  • They value and work for the full human rights and self-determination of every individual, regardless of mental state or diagnosis.
  • They encourage individual input into creating a truly healing mental health system.
  • They value each person’s individual process of mental health recovery.
  • They value the worth and dignity of all people.

Hope and Healing

VOCAL has opened up a world of wellness that I never knew existed.  I have grown exponentially since the moment I walked into it — opening myself to become a conduit to share the hope of mental health recovery and healing beyond my wildest dreams.  (Robin H., Roanoke Virginia)



P.O. Box 1248

Charlottesville, VA. 22902




February 4, 2012 Posted by | Social Justice | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Thing Leads to Another

In On Our Own I discussed an organization here in Charlottesville that provides a recovery model for mental illness based on self-help, or what is colloquially called the Consumer Movement.  It is also called the Psychiatric-Survivors Movement and the Consumer-Survivor Movement.

I discussed beginning to volunteer as a Mentor at the local center and gave details from their website and links to their site.

Since the article here was published on January 5, I have put in my first day as a volunteer at the center and have been designated Webmaster for the center’s site.  There are difficulties at present establishing administrative and editorial of the site but the issue is being resolved by Executive Director J. Rose Farber, and I expect that the difficulties will be resolved by the middle of next week.

It is difficult to describe how fulfilling it is to me to volunteer at the site.  In addition to being of service of others, I am also served by the Peer Support paradigm.  All members (which I count myself blessed to be one) of On Our Own of Charlottesville, Inc., are Consumers of mental health services in a peer support environment.  I myself have been a survivor of alcoholism and depression and am greatly benefited by being able to share my difficulties, past and present, with others who are able to emphasize and understand from a first hand perspective.  No individual is above another in importance or position.  We are all equals, and our participation is intended to benefit all including ourselves.

As I continue to grow in this system in general and at this center in particular, I will continue to give my readers here updates.

I have started an ambitious project of writing an academic paper on the recovery model and will publish it in one form or another when it is complete.  I will give updates on the progress of that project here as well.

I will soon be adding links in the sidebar relative to the Consumer Movement as my work researching the subject proceeds.

Stay Tuned.

In Christ’s Love, Michael

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Social Justice | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment