Alliance for the Mentally Ill

Social Role Valorization teaches us to consider the image messages sent by certain practices, including how we name our services and programs. We should consider for example: Do service names send messages that the people served are more like socially valued people or more unlike? Do program names send messages that the people served are competent or are incompetent? Do service names send messages that the people served are in valued roles or in devalued roles? And so on.

One PASSING rating (R1432 Serving entity, program, setting, and location names) explicitly covers this issue (Wolfensberger, W. and Thomas, S. (2007). PASSING: A tool for analyzing service quality according to Social Role Valorization criteria (3rd rev. ed.) Syracuse, NY: Training Institute for Human Service Planning, Leadership and Change Agentry (Syracuse University)).

SRV and PASSING also help train us to look for the presence or the lack of consciousness behind any particular service practice, including how we name our services.

A recent example: I read an obituary a few weeks ago for Mrs. Harriet Shetler, 92 years old. The obituary reported that Mrs. Shetler helped

start a national organization to address mental health needs.

The obituary went on to report that

Mrs. Shetler suggested a name, Alliance for the Mentally Ill, partly because its acronym meant ‘friend’ in French.

Acronyms are one element, though not the only element, to consider when looking at service and program names from an SRV perspective.

According to the obituary, Mrs. Shetler died on March 30, and her husband died on March 21.

Posted on April 29, 2010 at 3:57 pm by MTumeinski · Permalink
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