Dear 7th Hearing Voices World Congress,
Warmest greetings from the Critical Mental Health Nurses’ Network as you embark on the 7th World Hearing Voices Congress in Madrid. The 6th Congress in Thessaloniki produced a declaration which we hold in the highest regard and re-publish below. We eagerly anticipate all that you may teach us about your experiences as we work to see the demands made in your declaration come to full realisation.
The Critical Mental Health Nurses’ Network
“It was worth existing, so that we could meet” G. Ritsos
We met in Thessaloniki because our lives have value. Our voices have value and acquire meaning when they encounter other voices. We demand and we create safe spaces for our dignity and our quality of life together with others and not against others. We consider ourselves a part of a living movement of solidarity and mutual respect, which comes as a response to the one-sidedness of biological approaches. We are, thus, a political and a multi-cultural movement. The experience of voices is not a personal, but a collective matter: it concerns family, friends, professionals, the whole society.
We live in a continuously changing world, with precariousness spreading to all aspects of our lives. Particularly in Greece, at a time of complete collapse of the public health services, the empowerment and participation of persons with psychiatric experience at all levels of human rights advocacy, influencing policies and decision making is of outmost importance.
Safeguarding human rights in the field of mental health
Adopting approaches which focus on experiences and their meaning
Abolishing stigmatizing and un-scientific terms, such as schizophrenia
Developing a simple and experiential discourse, that can describe our experiences without labels and diagnoses
Undoing the myth of the omnipotence of psychotropic medication
Information on alternative ways of managing our experiences
Possibility of choice of the care, support and treatment we might need
Connecting up with other social movements
Our struggle is a struggle for the self-determination of our lives.
We walk together in crisis, we seek common paths of recovery in an Odyssey where the personal becomes collective and the collective becomes personal.