Correspondence with an AMI Member

>>Is there a difference between NAMI and AMI?

AMI = Alliance for the Mentally Ill NAMI = National Alliance for the Mentally Ill NJAMI = New Jersey AMI etc.

>>As a family member I resent the fact that if my wife gets >>hospitalized for a suicide attempt, that none of her loved ones may >>know about it.

Yeah and I resent the fact that when I was shipped a few hundred miles from home to a state hospital. Instead of calling my wife (of over ten years at the time) the hospital took it upon themselves to go through my wallet and called my mother out-of-state. My mother was an abusive wench who had caused much of my psychological problems and I had not had any contact with her in years. That little trick of theirs caused my wife and I years more grief in my struggle to recover. Confidentiality laws are there to protect us and not to aid family members. Try using an Advance Directive to state who and who may not be included in the process of hospitalization and treatment.

>>Family members are always shut out of the "Wellness" equation.

No they aren't. Often, with the best of intentions, hospitals will try and include family without first ascertaining whether that family is "toxic" or not.

>>Equal Partnerships are the only true solutions, but the health >>profession must give up it's power and involve both the family and >>consumer in treatment.

There is no equality in an involuntary situation. It isn't up to the health profession to make a partnership between consumer and family. That partnership is up to each individual. If I decide to shuffle off of this mortal coil, I hope that my loving partner will support my decision and if not, whose interests are served by forcing me against my will to stick around?

>>As a consumer, there's no way I will allow my treatment options >>be dictated and forced upon me by my parents or my ignorant brother! >>My wife can at least relate and carry out my wishes. She knows that I >>do not wish anti-psychotics or ECT, but tranquilizers are ok for me and >>I know she'll do what's best for me.

The mental health system and the various AMI groups have been deciding what's best for others for a long time. I think it is up to each individual to decide for him or her self. If you are unable to provide what you would like in your express interests, there are Advance Directives to help.

I think I should have the freedom to make choices which may *not* be in my "best" interests. I should have the freedom to make wrong choices and even to make mistakes but, at least, the choices should be mine and mine alone. My body, my mind, my choices, my life!