The ERNI Movement seeks to collect Human Rights allies who wish to take a position on the way in which distress, including extreme distress, is routinely understood and responded to across the globe. These may be people who have used mental health services or who currently use mental health services along with Teachers, Social Workers, Psychologists, Mental Health Nurses, Community Workers and University Lecturers. The ERNI Declaration is a shared position statement that posits that EMOTIONS ARE NOT ILLNESSES. It states that ‘people experience a range of emotional distress including misery, a sense of failure, despair for the future, self-loathing, worry, loneliness, heart-break (and so on).
Aims & Objectives
To connect and make the voices of ERNI-minded professionals more audible
To connect and make the voices of ERNI-minded users of services more audible
To make the principles of ERNI more visible
To influence the development of services
(a) we support a history and context informed approach to distress that invites everyone to make connections between life events/situations and the various ways distress is expressed. Sense can (and should) be made of distress and we do not need scientifically unsupportable narratives of abnormality to provide explanation.
(b) implicit within this paradigm is a move from ‘Illness & Diagnosis’ to ‘Personal Narrative and Understanding.’ We ask ‘what has happened to you?’ rather than ‘what is wrong with you?’.
(c) redundant therefore are ideas that distress (even extreme distress or psychosis) are:
- Chemical Imbalances
(d) we believe in the need for a move away from the concepts of treatment and cure to those involving helping people understand the impact of psychological injury and the role of many different types of adversity.
(e) we believe people experience a range of emotional distress including misery, a sense of failure, despair for the future, self-loathing, worry, loneliness, heart-break (and so on). These things can and do result in great suffering, but they are not illnesses. This medicalisation of distress is largely responsible for the unacceptably ineffective mental health services we currently have.