MOE ARMSTRONG ACCEPTS
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Sometimes, we just
have to help other people. There is a lot of talk today about Recovery. I
should feel recovered. While having schizophrenia and PTSD from the Vietnam
war, went to college and earned two Masters degrees. Held good jobs for over
twenty years. However, I did not do this on my own. I am a person who is the
result of mentoring care which I received from the public mental health
system. From people like you. I want to thank you. I would not be here today
if not for people like yourself.
That is the message that I want to bring. Our system does work. Our system can work better. I believe in having staff competencies in Psychiatric Rehabilitation and striving for realistic levels of Recovery. Yet, I also believe we will need a mental health system which is always there. Mental illness or the Psychiatric Condition will not go away. People need to be there to work with other people. This is what really works. People working with people.
For me and many others, effective medication is only twenty per cent of the success. Eighty per cent of our realistic recovery comes from mental health programs and people like yourselves. We must become believers in our mental health system. We must regain lost ground in our mental health system for funding our programs. I have come to ask you that peer support become an important part of the present and future rebuilding of our mental health system.
I have come to believe in the Each One, Reach One, Teach One model of peer support. Many of who live with mental illness need more help than we have gotten. Many of us need more help than you were funded to provide. We must become an army of demanders. Demanding mental health services from our states and federal governments.
This current war in Iraq will bring home many psychiatric casualties. I was once medically evacuated on an airplane from Vietnam with mental illness. I know the story. I also know what needs to be done. A system needs to be in place which is oriented toward keeping a person in a home environment with lots of follow up. That type of system with that level of follow up will need a lot of peer support. Mental illness is devastating. You who work in mental health know that you can not do everything and do everything for everyone. Peer Support will be the glue that can fill in the cracks. People do not have to fall through the cracks.
Also, Peer Support is a way that can bring out the best from the people in our programs. They can have meaningful jobs working with other people. They can also be in a place to advocate for expanded programs and services. Peer Support can also be a recruitment vehicle to establish a pipeline for many people to testify that the mental health system works for them and with proper staff coverage can work better for more and more people. Those of us with mental illness will gradually become the new staff of the future mental health system. Each One, Reach One, Teach One.
We can work together. We can learn together. We can help each other. My name is Moe Armstrong. Over Forty years, I have needed and gotten help. I still need help. I also can give and have given back the help which I have gotten. I can also advocate for more ample funding for mental health services. Mental health works. My life today is result of the public mental health system. Let us work together to make sure that mental health work for others. Good mental health services need to be in place for many or our returning troops who will also need quality mental health care. I am at your service. You are a wonderful organization. I am honored that you have given me this award. I am honored that I had the chance to work with a quality provider of mental health services like Vinfen, Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I look forward to working with the Veterans Administration at the Ererra Community Care Center in West Haven, Connecticut.
Thai you for selecting me for this Life Time Achievement Award. I hope I continue to live up to your expectations. I look forward to working together and keep building the mental health system of tomorrow.