visioning Soteria in radical mental health

Today we’re having a visioning about soteria houses, which are home-like alternatives to hospitalization for people who are in psychiatric crisis.  We’ll discover what we really want, opening up to our truth without judging it.

Creating a soteria house has been a dream of the Las Vegas Radical Mental Health Collective since its beginnings four years ago.  Soteria is important as a place of freedom and healing, an alternative to the harm many of us find in institutions and hospitals that do violence in the name of help.  The values of soteria houses, which include no forced medication and unlocked doors, respect our bodily autonomy and worth as valid people.

We’ll be led by artist Glynda Velasco, who is a member of the Las Vegas Radical Mental Health Collective.  Glynda will facilitate our visioning over zoom.

Please get in touch for the link and password, if you would like to join us.  All are welcome who agree to our safer spaces policy.


the tale of the purple sketchbook

Gather near, collectivers and friends, and I will tell you the tale of the purple sketchbook.

It was long ago, circa 2017, before the pandemic–back when we could nonchalantly hug people, share snacks, share juice, and use the same markers and sketchbook.  How innocent we were!


I went to bed one night and dreamed the Las Vegas Radical Mental Health Collective had a purple sketchbook–dreamt it back then, in 2017.  People enjoyed writing and drawing in it, during meetings, as a thing to do with our hands.  A calming activity, one choice of many.  It was magical, and its purpleness was important to the collective’s success.

So Ming took me to a craft store, so I could buy a purple sketchbook.  (This was before I understood that I can make my own sketchbooks.) But there were no purple ones.  We ended up choosing a white sketchbook meant to be colored, and purple paint to paint it.


Then, yes, like the dream, it was a thing we brought to all the meetings, with markers.  Many people drew in it–doodles, mandalas, symbols, arts.  I wrote poems in there.  The purple sketchbook became a comfort.

Mostly the art is unsigned.  Whoever showed up that day and left their mark, blessing the collective in their unique way.

I photocopied some sketchbook art for the radical mental health collective’s first zine, Radical Mental Health is for Everyone.  Please reach out if you would like a copy!


The future of the sketchbook?  It’s waiting for covid to end, I guess.  When we meet again in person, hugging again.  Sharing snacks and markers again.

Maybe I could bring it to an online meeting to show, just for fun.

Thank you for hearing the tale of the purple sketchbook.  I hope you write in it again, one day!  The paper is thirsty for the ink you want to share, dreaming of your attention and time.  Mad love to all artists everywhere, but especially the open-hearted crazy ones.