Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 7:35 EDT

Coalition of Individuals with Mental Illnesses Is Working to End Discrimination and to Promote Community Inclusion

May 22, 2012

WILMINGTON, Del., May 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A statewide organization of individuals who have worked to recover from mental health disorders is gearing up to make a difference in the lives of those who, like themselves, have been labeled with psychiatric diagnoses and who have routinely been discriminated against and marginalized.

The Delaware Consumer Recovery Coalition (DCRC), which was created about five years ago, has just hired its first Executive Director. Bryce Hewlett, a 27-year-old community organizer, hopes to help the DCRC gain “a seat at the table” as Delaware works to reform its mental health system. The reform effort has been required by the U.S. Department of Justice, which says that the “vast majority” of patients at the Delaware Psychiatric Center – Delaware’s only state hospital – should be living in the community. (The “community integration” mandate of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act was upheld by a 1999 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C.)

Hewlett noted that the organization is focused right now on making sure that it has an impact on the systemic changes that are under way in the Delaware behavioral health system. “We hope to be an active voice which contributes to the quickly transforming mental health system in Delaware,” said Hewlett, who identifies himself as being in recovery.

Another DCRC goal is to ensure that individuals with psychiatric conditions are informed of their treatment options so that they have the opportunity to provide “truly informed consent.” “People have an absolute right to know the risks and benefits of a treatment before agreeing to it,” Hewlett explained. He is in favor of an approach called “shared decision-making,” where doctors and their clients work together to make treatment decisions based on the most complete available evidence, and where client autonomy is respected.

The DCRC also hopes to promote the concept of peer support as an indispensable component of helping individuals with mental health conditions work toward recovery.

“We hope to form a strong coalition of individuals who are in recovery from mental illnesses who can mutually support each other on each person’s unique recovery journey,” Hewlett concluded.

Contact: Bryce Hewlett, Executive Director, DCRC, 302-689-3272; deconsumerrecoverycoalition@gmail.com

SOURCE Delaware Consumer Recovery Coalition

Source: PR Newswire