Recovery and the Consumers Movement
During the Kennedy administration, laws protecting the rights of people with mental illness and laws and practices for the administration of services to these people were enacted. (Federal) The Community Mental Health Act of 1963 à (State) The Michigan Mental Health Code Act 258 of 1974
During the period after 1963, before a standardized way of providing mental health services was developed (the Michigan Mental Health Code was enacted), "the system" and the consumers it served were in a state of chaos. People were beginning to be released from institutions but often had nowhere to go, no access to medications and no services to help them survive among the rest of society. Many ended up homeless or in jail/prison. Recipients began the Consumer/Survivor/Ex-Patient Movement which campaigned against forced detention and for more choice and improved services and user-led alternatives. Though "politically correct" terminology continually evolves with social and political events, the philosophy behind the Consumers Movement continues to be the philosophy behind modern-day Community Mental Health services – the services are directed around the goals and desired outcomes of the Recipient.
The mental health system also transitioned to emphasize recovery for recipients. With the help of psychopharmacology and new legislation and services, institutionalization was greatly reduced and recovery became a real possibility for those suffering from mental illness. (First psychotropic drug: Thorazine, 1952)
Each person’s journey to recovery is unique. Some people have not yet begun that journey because of serious disabilities, but many do recover and “graduate” from the mental health system.