Editor's Note: This letter is in response to the article published Saturday on Middletown Patch, Middletown Woman Helps Lead Protest Against JI Editorial Targeting Mentally Ill
To the Editor:
I am all for people having an opinion, free speech, etc., etc., but what really stands out to me is — what exactly are the mental health qualifications of Heather McDonalds and others at Focus on Recovery-United to truly discuss, treat, and champion mental health issues?
Now before everyone goes on a tirade, let me say that if this program works for you, FANTASTIC — I’m not bashing the program or the facilitators. The point I am making is that I am very concerned about the well-being of individuals with severe mental illness who may be substituting this type of “treatment” over proper medical care (by that I mean mental health care, by a professional).
I went to Focus of Recovery’s website and could not find anyone listed with any medical credentials to even practice any type of “mental illness” treatment. Focus on Recovery uses the Wellness Recovery Action Plan® established by Dr. Mary Ellen Copeland to develop, distribute, and make available to everyone the recovery and wellness skills and strategies, including the Wellness Recovery Action Plan, that she discovered through her research.
This is a self-help program, not a certified mental health program overseen by certified mental health professionals. Per Focus on Recovery’s own website, groups and programs are run by WRAP-certified facilitators.
What is a WRAP-certified facilitor, you ask? (I did, too). Basically, it's anyone who is willing to drop $350 (for Connecticut residents and $650 for out-of-state residents. The usual cost at a Copeland Center training is $1,200 and participants endure a five-day Intensive Seminar-II Training for Recovery Educator and WRAP Facilitators certificate.
This seminar trains participants (in just five short days) to facilitate recovery and WRAP groups, presentations, workshops, and equips them with all the skills and materials they need to facilitate in their communities.
Again, if this program works for you, FANTASTIC — I’m not bashing the program or the facilitors. However, I again find myself questioning the well-being of individuals, with severe mental illness, who may be substituting this type of “treatment” over proper mental health care.
Proper mental health care CAN NOT be learned or taught in just five days.
David A. Greaves, Middletown