|Sera Davidow resides in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts with her family, including her two children, ages 15 and 6. She has been a part of the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC) since its visioning process, and has served as Director since it became funded in 2007. She is also a founding member of the Hearing Voices USA Board of Directors, and blogs regularly on Mad in America www.madinamerica.com/author/sdavidow/).
Sera received her first psychiatric diagnosis as a teenager, accumulating a handful more by her early twenties. That, along with a lengthy history of self-injury and emotional distress, led to her first hospitalization against her will at the age of 22, and an array of prescriptions for psychotropic medications. However, it was her ‘non-compliant’ and rebellious nature that paved her way down another path and to a full life where she re-defined herself as a survivor and has found success without any diagnoses or psychiatric drugs.
Her journey first brought her to a position in a traditional role in the mental health system, but she soon found her way to peer-to-peer support communities, advocacy and social justice efforts. At present, she focuses much of her time on grant writing, oversight and project development. Through this work, she has gained a range of experiences including starting up a peer respite, opening resource centers, and producing educational materials (including co-authoring handbooks on peer respites and developing peer roles). She has also developed a passion for filmmaking, beginning with ‘Beyond the Medical Model’ in 2013. More about Sera’s story and work can be found in a full-length interview featured in Sun Magazine’s April, 2017 issue www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/496/an-open-mind.