Been there, done that-attachment0

Been there, done that

The concept of peers helping peers is nothing new in health care, but in Buncombe County the interest in peer support specialists is growing. Known informally as PSS, these people help others navigate the mental health and substance abuse system. However, peer support specialists have a unique perspective: They’re in recovery from mental illness and/or substance abuse themselves. As of March 21, there were 838 peer support specialists in North Carolina, 65 of them in Buncombe County.  (Map courtesy of the Peer Support Specialist Program at UNC-Chapel Hill)

Rethink “Rethinkin­g Mental Health”

In your Feb. 6 article, Rethinking Mental Health, the overall tone was quite critical of modern psychiatry and the use of psychoactive medications to treat various forms of mental illness. While it is clear that many psychiatrists, and physicians in general, are too quick to prescribe potent medications without exploring other approaches to treatment, it […]

I am a poster boy for mental-health legislatio­n

I am a prime example of why North Carolina needs a “need for treatment” mental-health law that will allow for the forced treatment and forced drugging of mentally ill individuals who, while they may not be dangerous, are in need of treatment. I should be in mental-health treatment, seeing a psychiatrist, receiving long-acting antipsychotic injections […]



Buncombe County struggles with a high suicide rate, and though old wives’ tales say that letting someone talk about killing themself will make them more likely to do it, local health experts disagree. “That is not true. It’s actually the opposite,” says Sue Brooks, executive director of All Souls Counseling Center at 35 Arlington St. […]

When illness strikes, help is necessary

I guess, at some point, the mentally ill should take personal responsibility for their own recovery [“The Sick Must Heal Themselves?” Nov. 17, Xpress]. I am sure [the writer] was well intentioned, and that there are people who can and should take stronger roles in their own well-being, but regardless of the illness, there are […]

Cansler, Nesbitt forecast better days for mental health

Lanier Cansler, North Carolina’s new secretary of health and human services, minced no words, proclaiming, “I’ve made it clear: Mental-health reform is over.” Citing a pattern of “constant change and problems” since 2001’s failed attempt to transition patients from state hospitals into community-care networks that never adequately materialized, Cansler declared, “We’ve got to create the […]

Males, war and PTSD

Our VOINCAs the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan grind on, another threat is growing here at home. And though it’s invisible, it has the same potential to spawn abuse, maiming and death. This threat targets the families and loved ones of untreated or poorly treated soldiers suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder and other emotional conditions […]