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  • Stephanie McMahon

Fighting for Recovery: An Activists' History of Mental Health Reform.

On Friday, October 14, 2022, board chair Phyllis Vine, PhD gave a presentation followed by a book signing for her recently published book, Fighting for Recovery: An Activists' History of Mental Health Reform.

From her website:


"Fighting for Recovery reveals how grassroots activists challenged medical authority and popular opinion to insist upon recovery for people managing a mental illness. Since the middle of the last century, people with a lived experience have upended conventional beliefs that deterioration was inevitable. With an abiding pursuit of choice, they opposed the use of force and built a movement with innovative service options.They focused on person-centered needs, the development of skills with respect for strengths, and situated their work within broad-based fights for equity and social justice.


Readers will meet leaders from California to Maine who campaigned for peer services, who designed non-coercive crisis programs, and who sought respite rather than institutionalization while decrying the injustice of criminalizing mental illnesses. They will discover the charisma of leaders such as Howie the Harp, Judi Chamberlin, Sally Zinman, and dozens more, who insisted on humane services while fighting for recovery."

Dr. Vine's bio on her website includes this description of her professional career:


"After a successful twenty-year career teaching college-level history (University of Michigan, Union College, and Sarah Lawrence College) Phyllis resigned her tenure at Sarah Lawrence College and undertook journalism training (at Columbia University's J School). Informed by a masters degree in Public Health (from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health), she became a full time writer and editor of a website hosting opinions and reader contributions about behavioral health, while aggregating news and information about mental illnesses. MIWatch.org (now defunct) enabled some of the earliest conversations introducing recovery-oriented initiatives into the larger community. Partly due to her family's experience of mental illness in every generation, and partly because she taught the history of health care to graduate students studying health advocacy, writing about mental health is a natural byproduct of her life's journey.

In addition to three previous books, her work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals as diverse as the History of Education Quarterly, American Journal of Orthpsychiatry, to chapters in specialized volumes such as Research in Community and Mental Health. Later, her investigative reporting appeared in City Limits, The Nation and Extra!

She lives in West Stockbridge, Mass., where she and her husband, a retired physician, moved just before the pandemic from Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, where they raised their children and lived for nearly forty years."


To learn more about our amazing board chair, including links to her other publications, such as Mental Health Reform Activists Played The Long Game. Here’s What That Can Teach Us Today which was published on 12/6/22 in Ms. Magazine, then just check out her website or follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter!

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