Striving For Excellence
Centering those Most Marginalized
By centering the most marginalized, we begin to craft antidotes to all the forms of ill-health made manifest in a society based on war, impoverishment, exploitation, racism, hetero-sexism, and colonialism. By supporting those most impacted in the healing process, our pain can be transformed into a powerful force for transforming our entire society.
We strive to illuminate the connections between oppressions along the lines of race, gender, class, sexuality, ability and nationality, and individual experiences of mental health. These connections must be unraveled and understood in order for full healing to occur.
We recognize that access to quality mental health care is not equal across society. Therefore we work to promote access to our offerings through financial scholarships, access for people with disabilities, and through our outreach methods. Mental and physical health must be a right, not a luxury.
We understand that mental and emotional pain can be attributed to many different roots and causes. Each individual should be able to determine the ways in which their experiences are described, understood, and addressed. Each individual is an expert in their own experience and must have the agency to represent themselves in their mental health care and in all situations that affect them.
We believe in the human ability to transform and heal through self-awareness, supportive communities, holistic care, and reclamation of personal and collective agency. Lasting healing and transformation happens on each of these levels simultaneously: in our selves, our communities, and our society at large.
Healing is a Creative Act
There is no need for mental health care to be sterile, punitive, or oppressive in any way. Rather, caring for ourselves and one another is a deeply creative practice which affords us the opportunity to reinvent our relationships to our experiences, our bodies, our past, present, and future, and one another.
Health is A Continuum
We do not see mental health care as a stigmatized practice to be undertaken only among those labeled “extreme”. Rather, we recognize that in a fundamentally unhealthy society, transformative recovery and mental health care can be practiced in all communities among all people, as a part of daily life.
We value democratic, non-hierarchical ways of organizing, in which no single perspective of mental health is valued over others. We aim to be “inclusive by design”, meaning we create space for all voices and continuously obtain feedback and insight from the communities we hope to support. Within IDHA we practice:
Transparency: We share all necessary information with one another regarding our work through the Institute. Decision-making processes are clear and designed to maximize democratic participation.
Equalizing Power and Resources: We share our access to different forms of power for the benefit of the project, and leverage resources to promote leadership of those with least access to institutional power.
Building Trust and Cultivating Healthy Relationships: This is a long term project we all have reasons to be deeply invested in, and we know that it’s imperative to build trust and camaraderie as members of a core collective.
Commitment to Personal Care and Transformation: Our work to promote transformative care for others can only be as successful as the care we can provide for ourselves. We are all continually learning and growing as we bring our full selves to this work.
Modeling Our Values: Our work will only embody our values to the extent that we are able to model them on a daily basis. Therefore working to combat all oppressions and inequities is a daily practice for us and not mere words on paper.