Hello Intenational Peer Respite/Soteria Summit Participant,
Jim Gottstein here.  Last Friday the Planning Committee unanimously passed a resolution to have MindFreedom International facilitate follow up activities for the International Peer Respite/Soteria Summit (Summit) held during the five Sundays last October, and MindFreedom has designated me as its point person.  MindFreedom is a co-sponsor of the Summit and has decades of advocacy for human rights in mental health, alternatives to the coercive, medical model mental illness system, and educating the public about these issues. I am on the board of MindFreedom. I am also the president of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights), whose mission is to mount a strategic litigation campaign against forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock.  In the United States, one of the legal principles is people are entitled to the least restrictive alternative to psychiatric imprisonment and the least intrusive alternative to forced drugging and electroshock.  Thus, PsychRights has always promoted the creation of non-coercive alternatives to psychiatric imprisonment and forced drugging.  Peer Respites and Soteria Houses are two such alternatives.  I am also the author of The Zyprexa Papers, which relates real-life litigation over alternatives, and you can find out more about me here.
Perhaps most importantly, along with Susan Musante and Dr. Aron Wolf, I was instrumental in the opening and operation of Soteria-Alaska.  Sadly, it closed due to insufficient funding and I have written about the experience in Lessons from Soteria-Alaska
The Summit is laser-focused on the creation and successful operation of more Peer Respites and Soteria Houses around the world.  This includes providing information to the general public about their benefits.  We said we would provide networking and mentoring opportunities for people wanting to open and operate Peer Respites and Soteria Houses, as well as resource materials through a website and "crisply edited" videos. 
In order to do this, we need the help of interested people and are creating various Circles for people to join.  We are using Google Groups for e-mails among Circle members and each Circle will hold their own Zoom meetings. The marvelous Judene Shelley has arranged for the National Empowerment Center (NEC) to generously donate a Zoom account to facilitate such meetings.
Steering Circle.  This will be the continuation of the planning group that organized last October's Summit presentations. They will continue to put on future informational presentations. 
Administration Circle.  There are a number of administrative tasks that need to get done, such as the budget, including fundraising, meeting management, and back office functions. 
Networking Circle.  This Circle will work on different ways for people to connect and work together.  This Circle could be combined with the Global Circle.
Mentoring Circle.  This Circle will recruit and make available mentors for those who want to start and operate Peer Respites and Soteria Houses.  Another term might be technical assistance.  Susan Musante and Kathy Laws are facilitating this Circle and a number of other people who filled out the post conference survey have expressed interest.
Advocacy Circle.  This Circle will concentrate on advocacy to the wider community to promote Peer Respites and Soteria-Houses, such as the general public, governments, and other potential funders.  Jim Bloss and Stan Rossowski have volunteered to facilitate this Circle.
Website Circle.  I would have preferred to have had at least a skeleton of the website done before this e-mail was sent out, but that wasn't possible because we need to decide where to host it and what webmastering tool(s) to use. Fortunately, Judene Shelley of the NEC has developed a web page that was used for the Summit that can remain indefinitely and be forwarded to the new website once it is ready.  This Circle will first need to decide where to host the website and what webmastering tools to use.  Then, presumably members of the Circle will decide on the content and structure and build the website.
Videos Circle.  My thinking is we want to have (1) a documentary style video about Peer Respites and Soteria Houses and the Summit for advocacy purposes, and (2) shorter "how-to" and informational videos about specific topics.  A topic that comes to mind is "being with."
Global Circle.  This Circle will facilitate the formation of groups who want to organize in particular states, countries or regions.  Separate Google Groups could be created to facilitate this.  This Circle could be combined with the Networking Circle.
None of this is locked in stone, but I felt it was good to have at least this much of a structure to get going.
To sign up for one or more Circles, click here.
Emotional CPR Training, March 23-25: During the Summit, the value of “being with” a person was described as an important part of Peer Respites and Soteria Houses. Emotional CPR  is one of the ways people can experience and develop their ability to mutually support each other. The National Empowerment Center is offering this training to parents or family members of someone who experiences or has experienced mental health issues, trauma, and/or extreme states. The 12-hour virtual training will be March 23-25 and is offered free through grant funding, although donations are welcome and appreciated to “pay it forward” for others to take it in the future. Registration is limited and you can sign up here
Finally, donations will be greatly appreciated to support this important work.  To donate, click here and select Peer Respite/Soteria Summit in the "Preferred campaign or program you'd like your donation to support" dropdown menu.
To provide general feedback to the Summit Organizers click here.
Take care,
Jim Gottstein
(907) 274-7686
Author of The Zyprexa Papers