ALTERNATIVE HEALTH CARE MODELS
–The Gesundheit! Institute is a model for a health care system that is based on friendship, humor and play and is completely free, eliminating the idea of debt in the medical interaction. Patch Adams and friends ran a clinic based on these ideas for 12 years out of someone’s house. They are now raising money to construct a free hospital in West Virginia. Read about Patch’s vision here: http://www.patchadams.org/en/hospital-paper
–The Rock Dove Collective (New York City) – a radical community health exchange that coordinates a network of health practitioners who provide accessible and anti-oppressive care (physical, mental, sexual, emotional, social and spiritual). Many of their practitioners accept mutual aid in exchange for their services.
–Pomegranate Health Collective (Chicago) – a group of DIY health care activists committed to making health care accessible to EVERYONE. They do outreach and education to encourage people to make informed, empowered decisions about their health. They are anti-racist, feminist, pro-choice, queer- and trans-positive, (safe) sex positive, and body positive, and they support informed consent.
–The New Orleans Women’s Health and Justice Project (a project of INCITE! New Orleans) – a community-based volunteer collective of women feminists, health practitioners, organizers, and researchers that is multi-racial, women of color led and mostly compromised, offering care on a sliding scale. They work to equip women with the means to control and care for their own bodies, sexuality, and reproduction by providing quality, affordable, and safe health care services to low- income and uninsured women of color in the area through a holistic, community-centered well woman approach to primary health care integrating sexual health and reproductive justice. WHJI integrates a consciousness of the impact that violence, poverty, gender inequalities, trauma, coercive sterilization policies, and the harmful effects of toxic environments have on women’s health and well-being.
–The Dicentra Collective, based out of Portland OR, is a group of folks working around issues of care and support. They are involved with everything from harm reduction, to chronic pain, to community response to sexual assault, to prisoner support. Videos of the events they have hosted are posted on their website.
–Preservation of Equity Accessible for Community Health (PEACH) is a federation-wide program of self-insurance of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities that covers catastrophic health care costs.
–Common Ground Health Clinic (New Orleans) – A free conventional and alternative health clinic provided to underserved communities in New Orleans. (The clinic is a separate entitity from the Common Ground Relief, which is the organization that does construction and bioremediation.) Also at www.cghc.org.
–Berkeley Free Clinic – A clinic in Berkeley, CA offering completely free general medical and dental care, with an emphasis on health education and prevention. It has a long history — it was founded in 1969 and has been running ever since — and operates as worker collective.
–Hesperian Foundation – An empowerment oriented non-profit that publishes books on community health care. The books they publish are simply written and heavily illustrated and designed so that people with little formal education can understand, apply and share health information. Their publications also address the underlying social, political, and economic causes of poor health and suggest ways groups can organize to improve health conditions in their communities. They have a multi-faceted distribution strategy to ensure the books arrive where they’re most needed. As part of that, you can download some of their books for free here.
–Ithaca Health Alliance – facilitates access to health care for all, with emphasis on the needs of the uninsured. Their Free Clinic offers 100% free conventional and holistic healthcare services for anyone without health insurance, with a staff of volunteer physicians, herbalists, acupuncturists. They also offer grants to Health Alliance members.
-The Northeast Radical Healthcare Network (RadHerb) is a network of radical healthcare providers, herbalists, organizers, and health educators based out of the Northeast U.S. Among other things, they organize an annual healthcare conference with a social justice and anti-oppression focus. They hope eventually to create an on-line library page for writings and art related to healthcare, a directory or database of affiliated people and groups, a forum to create open discussions around issues of social justice and healthcare, space for the description and updates of regional and bio-regional healthcare projects or events, and an on line apothecary that allows folks to share surplus medicines with others in need.
-The Southeast Radical Herbalist Network, which is still in the beginning stages of organizing, is modeled on the Northeast Radherb model. Sign up to the listserv to get involved or find out more.
DESIGN TOOLS FOR COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS
–Re-Designing the US Health Care System by Susan Parenti, health care activist and a key organizer with the folks at the Gesundheit! Institute. A MUST READ! To fundamentally change the current “disease management” system, we must design a whole new system, not just change the funding structure of the existing system.
–Re-Designing the Character of the Care Actor, also by Susan Parenti. Another must read! Parenti stresses solidarity between patient and caregiver, and making care bi-directional, so that the receiver of care is not structurally constituted as a burden. We must recognize both the giving and receiving of care as needs.
–Ideal Medical Practice – Doctors meet with communities to design the medical community of their dreams. Create a clinic in yr area!
–How to Start a Free Clinic – from the folks at the free clinic foundation.
–A Community Guide to Environmental Health – free download from www.hesperian.org
–Safe Handling of Health Care Waste – also from the folks at hesperian.org
–Going Green: A Resource Kit for Pollution Prevention in Health Care – from the folks at noharm.org. Check out www.practicegreenhealth.org for lots of info on how to make health care provision more environmentally safe. A lot of this sounds like greenwashing, though if people are needing standard biomedical practice, these resources will at least help diminish its impact.
DESIGN TOOLS FOR COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEMS
–Friends Make the Best Medicine: A Guide to Creating Community Mental Health Support Networks from the Icarus Project.
–Light and Shadows: Interpersonal and Group Process in the Sharing Lifestyle. Includes a section (Shadows) on ways to recognize and address community health issues.
–Re-evaluation Counseling is a peer-to-peer counseling model that anyone can learn. Tons of free info on basic theory, listening, techniques and how to begin.
See below for more resources on mental health.
COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH CARE WORKING MODELS
–The Icarus Project – A radical mental health project, with links to resources and working groups. Under ‘Resources,’ you can find free downloads of their book ‘Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness’ and their Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs, among many others. Their Emotional Trauma First Aid handout is useful for people coming out of traumatic situations or those who are being triggered. Also articles, extensive forums, etc.
–Freedom Center is a support and activism community run by and for people labeled with severe ‘mental disorders.’ We call for compassion, human rights, self-determination, and holistic options. We create alternatives to the mental health system’s widespread despair, abuse, fraudulent science and dangerous treatments. We are based in pro-choic harm reduction philosophy regarding medical treatments, and include people taking or not talking medications. (They have a hearing voices group — part of the international hearing voices movement — offer free acupuncture, yoga, etc. Lots of links on the site.)
–Bay Area Radical Mental Health Collective – A grassroots group of political activists, who see an urgent need for addressing emotional and mental crises in the radical left community. Also home of LunAcy Zine Distro, with tons of wonderful zines about mental health.
HERBS & SELF-CARE FOR MENTAL HEALTH
–Herbs for Trauma – A zine on herbs for trauma, with a focus on sexual trauma.
–Healing in the Woods Around Us: Medicinal Plants for Mental Health Support. This zine focuses on medicinal plants that grow in the piedmont region of central North Carolina, United States, but most of them can be found or grown all over the place.
–Counterbalance a zine on activism, mental health, and burnout.
–The Worst: A Compilation Zine on Grief and Loss – A zine on grief and loss in radical communities, with stories, info on DIY grief support groups and self-care, and an extensive resource section.
-Aftershock: Confronting Trauma in a Violent World, a Guide for Activists and Their Allies by pattrice jones – This book talks about activism and mental health, how to heal from trauma and how to take care of yourself and avoid burnout. The first chapter (which is well worth the read) can be found here.
-The Survivor’s Guide to Sex by Staci Haines – This book teaches you how to safely feel traumatic emotions in order to bring them up from suppression, process them, and then heal them. It also talks about things like how to have embodied consent in relationships. A new edition was released in 2007 under a different name: Healing Sex. Previews and long excerpts of this book available at http://books.google.com/
-Trauma Stewardship by Laura Van Dernoot with Connie Burk – ‘This book is written for anyone who is doing work with an intention to make the world more sustainable and hopeful—all in all, a better place–and who, through their work, is exposed to the hardship, pain, crisis, trauma, or suffering of other living beings or the planet. This book is for those who notice they are not the same people they once were, or are being told by their families, friends, colleagues, or pets that something is different about them.’ http://traumastewardship.com
HERBALISM & GENERAL SELF-CARE
–Master Herbal Article Index – Jim McDonald’s massive trove of herbal articles available for free on the internet, all hand-picked and by herbalists who honestly know what they’re talking about. A wide variety of perspectives represented, with articles arranged by topic on nearly every subject related to herbalism you could imagine.
–Michael Moore’s website (that is, the herbalist savant not the documentary-maker). He has for free download TONS of information, including full scans of a number of classic 1800s herbalism texts, and his own writings on things like constitutional herbalism, useful herbal formulas, materia medica, and so on. One of the best free herbal resources available anywhere. For more serious practitioners of herbal medicine, Michael Moore’s brief treatise on constitutional medicine is *the* text to go to for those who want an approach to constitutional medicine that comes from a contemporary Euro-American perspective instead of an Ayurvedic, traditional Chinese, etc. perspective. The entire text is published for free.
–Herblist on ibiblio.org – List of free listservs about herbs and herbal medicine. Wide variety of topics, all reputable.
–Herbal Remedies – Quick reference chart of common ailments and herbs to help heal them.
–Herbwifery: Herbalism from the grassroots – Excellent online forum about community-based herbalism, with tons of good information on all sorts of topics.
–Plants For A Future – A database of 7000 edible, medicinal and useful plants.
–Where There Is No Doctor – free download from hesperian.org
–Where There Is No Dentist – also from hesperian.org
–Doctor Yourself! – website of Andrew Saul, author of Doctor Yourself! Natural Healing that Works, and Fire Your Doctor!
–Best Home Remedies – Browse a collection of simple home remedies and alternative herbal medicine, available from the average kitchen shelf. Discusses the use of common plants for common ailments.
–Home Remedies wiki from wikihow.com
–The Restoration and Maintenance of Health Library – tons of free e-books on alternative medical therapies, longevity and nutrition. Part of the Soil and Health Library.
USEFUL COMMERCIAL SITES
–Horizon Herbs – An excellent source for medicinal plant seeds, run by Richo Cech, the seed catalog (both online and in print) is a great source of free information on how to grow particular plants from seed.
For those who have not yet organized community health care systems in their local areas.
Before using these resources, check out the helpful handout from the Rock Dove Collective, Getting the Most out of Free Care
–National Association of Free Clinics – a nonprofit with some listings of free clinics throughout the US. Also offers discounted medical supplies.
–The Free Clinic Foundation has a directory of free clinics.
–Free Medical Clinics/Camps all over the country, including free dental clinics.
FOR FEMALE-BODIED INDIVIDUALS
–Where Women Have No Doctor – free download from Hesperian.org
–A Book for Midwives – also from hesperian.org
–Hot Pantz: Herbal Gynecology through Scribd. A SUPER resource.
–Living With Our Fertility: A Women’s Guide to Synergistic Fertility Management – Website on fertility awareness, herbal abortion, and herbal contraception.
–It’s Ok to Peek! How to Perform A Gynecological Self-Exam
–Self-Help Home Remedies – a feminist self-help classic, from the Feminist Women’s Health Center in WA. Check out their badass book list as well.
–Herbal Abortion – A Women’s DIY Guide
–Fertility Awareness for Non-invasive Birth Control – from Arthouse Coalition
–Regaining Control: Taking Health Care into Our Own Hands – article by Liz Highleyman on herbal abortion and more. Inform yrself well and be very, very careful.
The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service by Laura Kaplan
A Woman’s Book of Choices: Abortion, Menstrual Extraction, RU-486 by Rebecca Chalker
FOR MALE-BODIED INDIVIDUALS
–Male-care – testicular and breast self-exam, support and more. Please add to this list!
CARING FOR PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
–Camphill Communities, dedicated to social renewal through community building with children, youth, and adults who have developmental disabilities.
–L’Arche International Federation: Communities for the Mentally Handicapped by Marty O’Malley and Lisa Cigliana
–Innisfree: Lifesharing with Adults with Mental Disabilities by Marianne Roberts