Alternative Mental Solutions

November 15, 2011 at 6:00 am 1 comment

I read today about alternatives to mental health hospitals. Here is an one potential alternative

“What if instead of psychiatric hospitals, we created spirit-healing camps?

Not long ago I wrote a post proposing that Mental Health Day be renamed Spiritual Health Day. In that essay I explained how it seems to me that spiritual malady would be a more accurate and less damaging label than mental illness. With that in mind, I submit we should work to create crisis centers that nurture the soul.

Whenever people felt crushed by unrelenting sorrow, or burned with too much energy for normal life, or heard persecuting voices, or felt like God’s chosen child, they would be offered escape to a pleasant retreat in the countryside. Once onsite, they could work in an organic garden, or staff the stables, or help build a new lodge. They could ride horses, paddle in canoes, and play frisbee on the lawn.

They could come and go when they pleased. They would learn about the brain, and about psychiatric problems, but they would also hear how mental conditions have been positively viewed by other cultures. They could attend meditation sessions, practice a spiritual tradition if they chose, and they could make art of all kinds. Groups would play music and sing in the evenings. There would be no television, and no computers, but lots of books and endless craft supplies.

The tenants could choose whether to stay in dormitory-style lodges or camp alone in the wild. They would be encouraged to keep regular hours, to exercise, and to participate, but they would never be coerced. And each day a bus would arrive to bring in newcomers and let those who wanted to depart go home.”

It sounds like a dreamworld. A utopia where that we wish for those traumatized. People that deal crushing memories of wars and other trauma would be able to properly heal from their wounds and scars of the post.

Here are some more thoughts on this issues

“Or consider that when people feel powerfully moved at weddings we don’t hand out Ativan; we encourage the full expression of Bliss.

When emotion occurs in a group setting it becomes a shared and sacred event. Even tragedies like earthquakes and terrorist attacks bring this quality to light. Look at the rituals and monuments built around 9/11.

So why can’t we use the same tactic to deal with the isolated breakdowns and breakthroughs that occur sporadically every day in every culture? Why not emphasize the power of these experiences rather than their pathology? Why not offer the suffering a setting where they can be safe while they rattle their mental cages and seek a path toward peace?

Mental turmoil can be used as the base metal for an alchemical transformation of spirit. Agony can turn to insight with the right support. Maybe what I’m suggesting isn’t the best answer, but to me it sounds better than Bedlam.”

It could a model for a better health in this country and we should perhaps take a look at the model of mental



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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jose Carlos  |  November 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm


    Theres a lot of alternatives to mental or psychiatric hospitals.

    I have a Blog myself about Mental Health Solutions

    Check it out if you want



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