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Joe Kelly is keen to connect. He blogs some favourite online places for mental health issues / 10 July 2010

drawing of a group of faces huddled around the world

Worldwide communications drawing © Colin Hambrook

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When I stood down as Director of Footsteps Arts I made a particular point of getting broadband at home. I realised the power of the internet and it's many advantages. I wanted to develop my research and development capacity and search for new and innovative ideas in the mental health sector.

I realised that communication and isolation was an important issue for service user/ survivors, both individually and collectively. The internet continues to offers new opportunities and new links between people and the chance for real and meaningful change.

For example the WNUSP (World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry) Conference last year in Kampala wouldn't have happened without the ease of the email. Similarly the CRPD (Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities) was made possible with the ease of communication the internet offers.

In my locality Ealing, West London there is a move to get our local CMHRC (Community Mental Health Resource Centre) online, at last. The internet offers the chance to move the many debates in mental health forward. I think it's good for mental health politics.

I think there is an opportunity to serious challenge to the medical model with it's over reliance to medication, ect and the theory of chemical imbalance. Many people want the social model of mental health care with more access to the talking treatments, creativity such as the arts, 'hearing voices groups' etc and some modest use of medication.

Some important websites I can recommend are Madness Radio from Portand Oregan USA presented by Will Hall who does a superb job interviewing the latest thinkers in Mental Health.

Also noteworthy is Gail Hornstein, Psychologist Professor at Holyoke University USA Especially her work to do with peoples personal stories in mental health.

National Survivor User Network NSUN's regular bulletin is excellent. The bulletin keeps people up to date with developments on user choices and user voices.

I also get the newsletter from the National Mental Health Development Unit. Their recent report on Peer Lead Groups in New Zealand Hospitals giving service users/ survivors purchase on their care provision, was extremely interesting.

I think Cooltan Arts and their Largactyl shuffle is a very good idea. I also hear the Survivors History Group are useing a Googlelink to gather ideas about the cuts and threat to people dss benefit and the need to work more effectively

Recently on BBC iplayer I saw a very interesting program about Clown Doctors. Shades of Robin William's Film ' Patch Adams' emphasising the curing power of laughter.

This brief list is a testimony to the power of the internet. I hope you can spare the time to look at these sites. I would also be interested in hearing some of your favourites?

Keywords: cuts to services,mental health,psychosis,survivor movement