The Idea of Self-Management

In the first sentence of his article in Perceptions 4 David Martyn refers to Self-Management as proceeding from the “Recovery Model” which I understand proceeds from the psychiatric profession. However I understand also that a lot of the ideas that the “Recovery Model” is based on originate from the user movement. Self-management as a concept originates, in any really organised form, from the Manic-Depression Fellowship which is a user-led organisation. Voices Forum took up the idea and has held three self-management conferences of its own, the written work about which I understand was given to David; however he has made no mention of it.

The “Recovery Model” is a newer development than self-management. There is a view held by many of those in the user movement that many of the progressive ideas in mental health in recent years have originated in the user movement and then become adopted by other sections of the mental health world with no credit given to their origins. We do not get heard that widely compared with NSF, the psychiatric profession and others, so the good ideas we have come up with are effectively prevented from being associated with us when the establishment adopt, and it is important to stress, adapt them. Credit should be given where it is due.

Furthermore, when the establishment comes to own our ideas after plagiarising them it turns them into something entirely different for its own ends. It is important that Voices holds on to its own self-management agenda even if the audience is small.

What I can say is, that as I understand it, true self-management is what I decide to do. What someone else tells me to do (“suggests” that I do) is management. Certainly ideas can be shared but the idea of a “self-management model” horrifies me!

Yours sincerely
Chris Barchard.