blog. Eventually and sometimes simultaneously, she began to know and value herself in this new reality. She moved toward identifying and achieving her goals which included a strong commitment toward social justice. The memories of the inequalities we witnessed in the mental health system strongly influenced her. It has been amazing to watch her find her voice and to use her power. As she joins a large and national movement to eliminate the stigma of mental illness and assure understanding, support and resources for others she has become confident and powerful yet has maintained her humility and kindness. (Check out her post as a writer on the BringChange2Mind blog.)
The National Empowerment Center actually conducted research on the definition of empowerment in the mental health world. It includes 15 qualities of empowerment. An example of just 5 of the 15 include: 1. decision making power, 2. access to information, 3. feeling part of a group, 4. changing others' perceptions of one's competency and capacity to act, and 5. change that is never ending and self-initiated. Linea demonstrates all 15 of the qualities defined in this research. I am not sure how she moved from the initial diagnosis to empowerment. It is certainly a developmental process and support, resources, opportunities and her own temperaments and brillliance likely figure into this. Although not everyone has these opportunities I do believe we should ensure that all of our young people (and others) have the opportunity to be not only self-determined but empowered within their own lives and in their communities. This occurs through small, individual changes with a big impact on the world at large!