We who live with mental illness have stood by long enough while others make demands, decide our fates or take away our freedoms. We have decided that we will no longer stand by while those who know nothing of mental illness determine what is normal or happy for us. This needs to stop and so this constitution will let everyone know what we demand of society for our health and well-being.

  1. Dignity. Those who deal with mental illness demand the same dignity given to any human being. No longer will we allow others to use our mental illness to shame us into silence or pretending we are “normal” for the sake of appearances. We will not be humiliated by our illness and we will be given the same consideration as any other human being.
  2. Treatment. We reserve the right to determine our own treatment. We will seek out the opinions of those in the medical profession who have education and experience in dealing with our particular challenges. However, in seeking out these opinions in no way guarantees we will follow them. We have the right to refuse any medication or treatment we feel is not in our best interest. This does not mean that all treatment is closed to us. This merely means that we will work with medical professionals to seek new options.
  3. Family and friends. We have the right to tell as much or as little about our illness as we choose. We also have the right to ask you to keep your opinions to yourself when those opinions may cause us harm mentally, emotionally or psychologically. We have the right to ask for your support in the manner that we deem most helpful. Lastly, we have the right to remind you that our mental illness is about us, not you.
  4. Work. We have the right to earn a living without being expected to hide or be ashamed of our illness. We have the same right to work as anyone with any disease. As such, we have the right to ask that certain needs be accommodated within reason by the company. Just as you would not ask someone who is sight impaired to drive the company truck, you cannot reasonably ask someone with mental illness to engage in certain activities that triggers them.
  5. Society. We will no longer be labelled within your narrow understanding of who we are, what we believe, how we act or how we live. It is no longer up to us to gain your understanding, it is up to you to extend yourselves.
  6. Safety. We have the right to feel safe within our homes and lives. We have the right to create an environment where we can feel safe as long as it does not jeopardize the safety or well-being of others. We have the right to ask for assistance in creating that safe environment.

By these rules will we live, work and interact with society. We embrace our nature and reject any attempts to shame or humiliate us. We agree not to jeopardize the well-being or safety of anyone else around us but will pursue our lives to the fullest extent which is our right.

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