PSAN Recovery Speaker Series – Dan Fisher
July 20 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Heartbeats of Hope by Daniel Fisher,MD,PhD
Dan will describe his recovery from several episodes of psychosis, for which he was diagnosed as schizophrenia. However, instead of being a life ending experience Dan was able to turn the adversity into an experience of healing.
In his twenties Dan had set out to solve the chemical puzzle of severe mental health conditions. He was hoping he could assist his sister who had suffered from mental health challenges starting in her childhood. He obtained a PhD in biochemistry and pursued neurochemical research at NIMH. There he made discoveries about the regulation of neurotransmitters. However, in the course of carrying out the research, he delved so deeply into the nature of his chemistry that he came to believe he was the enzyme he was studying. During his second psychiatric hospitalization, at Bethesda Naval Hospital, he decided to become a psychiatrist and humanize the mental health system. He worked as a community psychiatrist for 30 years, but was disappointed to learn that though psychiatrists are powerful within the psychiatric hospitals, they are not powerful in the political realms that must be reached to carry out transformation. So he founded and ran a policy and training organization, the National Empowerment Center, 31 years ago. His work in promoting change was recognized by his being appointed a member of the White House Commission on Mental Health. He was able to get the commission to promote a vision of “a future when everyone will recover from mental illness.” More recently he has helped found a national advocacy organization, the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (www.ncmhr.org), and published a book describing his journey and his recommendations for improving the system, “Heartbeats of Health.” He is now working to shift societal attitudes towards emotional distress by developing the evidence-based training program, Emotional CPR (www.emotional-cpr.org). He considers eCPR one of the most important ways to prevent severe mental health conditions by teaching everyone in society to help each other through emotional crises. eCPR can also assist in recovery from trauma-induced states such as mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
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