Portland Hearing Voices was founded in 2008 by Will Hall and quickly grew to a broad grassroots volunteer effort. Since then we facilitated hundreds of support groups (up to three times a week with 15-20+ participants) and dozens of community events that served many hundreds of voice hearers, people who experience different realities, trauma survivors, people diagnosed with psychosis bipolar and schizophrenia, community members, mental health professionals, and family members. We created safe spaces, understanding, and awareness surrounding voice-hearing, different realities, vision-seeing and other unique experiences and states of mind. We supported many people to stay out of crisis and the hospital, to find support and friends, connect with resources, and come out of the shadows. We accomplished all this on grassroots volunteerism and donations, without any salaried budget, public contracts, or pharmaceutical company sponsorship.
We've formed many alliances with organizations such as Mental Health Association of Portland, Empowerment Initiatives, Icarus Project, Outside In, Write Around Portland, Portland State University, Zen Peacemakers, Powell's Books, Backspace, and many others. We were covered on KATU tv and on the cover of the Portland Mercury newspaper, and Portland Hearing Voices co-sponsors Madness Radio monthly on KBOO FM, first monday of the month at 11:30am.
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Due to limited resources Portland Hearing Voices suspended our Empowerment Initiatives and Outside In support groups a few years ago, and since then we have been working to develop more readiness in the region for these innovative approaches.
We continue to organize and offer trainings and develop groups, so if you are interested in facilitating or learning to facilitate, please contact Kate Hill, Portland Hearing Voices Director, at kate @ portlandhearingvoices (dot) net.
We are also looking for volunteers and support and resources! You can download our Appeal Letter and spread the word: http://www.portlandhearingvoices.net/files/ PortlandHearingVoices-SupportGroupsAppeal2013.pdf.
You can also read an interview with Portland Hearing Voices Director Kate Hill here and a KBOO interview with Kate here
From our original About Us page and fliers
Portland Hearing Voices is a community group to promote mental diversity. We create public education, discussion groups, training, and community support related to hearing voices, seeing visions, and having unusual beliefs and sensory experiences often labeled as psychosis, bipolar, mania, paranoia, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders. We aim to reduce fear and misunderstanding, question stereotypes, promote holistic health options, overcome isolation, and create a more inclusive community.
We have a mental diversity approach that reaches beyond narrow medical diagnosis and treatments, and we explore creativity, spirituality, trauma, and sensitivity in our experiences. We are proud of who we are and we are not crazy. We help each other learn from and live with our mental differences, and we struggle with emotional distress and pain while also valuing positive sides of what we go through. Non-judgmental; people taking medication, not taking medication, and considering options are welcome.
We ask the question, What do these experiences mean to you? and welcome a variety of diverse personal interpretations and ways of coping. Throughout history the mysterious meaning of "madness" such as hearing voices, wild energy states, visions, and seeing coincidences has defied any final explanation, and we seek to create greater understanding through dialog and community-building in a non-judgmental and respectful atmosphere. Groups and events are donation based and low-income accessible; no one turned away for lack of funds.
We refer people to community resources and counselors who share our perspective and who offer accessible services. We also support people in learning to take greater control of our lives, including exploring coming off medications safely. (Portland Hearing Voices does not offer medical advice or treatment.)
Portland Hearing Voices is led and managed by people with lived experience of hearing voices, different realities, and psychiatric diagnosis. We are currently all-volunteer and seeking funding and resources, Founder is Will Hall; Program Director is Kate Hill.
What are the goals of Portland Hearing Voices?
How can we help Portland Hearing Voices?