It is exciting to see people who have experienced mental illness arise to represent some of the best thinking about our issues as ‘consumers’ of mental health services. One of those people is our own Bonnie Schell. Bonnie was the chairman of the NC CANSO board of directors until her recent resignation so she could focus her energies on her writing. Before that she was the Director of Consumer Affairs for Piedmont Behavioral Health, now re-named Cardinal Innovations.
And before that role, Bonnie lived in California where she opened a consumer operated drop-in center focused on helping people to find community and recover. During that time, Bonnie participated in an important study (Dr. Jean Campbell), called the “COSP Study.” (COSP is an acronym for Consumer Operated Service Provider). This study helped to open the door for more development of consumer-developed and operated services across the country. Bonnie was a contributing writer to a book titled On Our Own Together: Peer Programs for People with Mental Illness, published in 2005. It is a “must read” for those who are trying to understand the role of consumer operated centers and services in our communities.
Some might say Bonnie is a feisty thinker and writer. She is certainly motivated by her respect for rights, recovery, and justice. She represents well some of the concerns many of us share about the tenets espoused by the proposed H1737, otherwise known as the Murphy Bill. Just check out this article which was published the other day in the Mad in America web site.
If you know Bonnie, tell her you are proud to have someone like her hailing from North Carolina!