A vision to save lives becomes a reality


BROOKLINE — Inner Fire, a non-profit healing community, has completed of the first phase of its $2.7 million residential therapeutic facility designed to support healing of the mind, body and spirit without the use of psychotropic drugs.

"Inner Fire was founded with the sole purpose of saving lives by offering the choice to avoid or to safely taper off addictive, psychotropic drugs," Executive Director Beatrice Birch said in a statement. "We are not anti-medications, but believe in choice. From the beginning it has been our dream to build a family-sized, fully-licensed residential facility that would be a healing, nurturing, comfortable and safe environment with spaces for creative arts, gardening, forestry and more."

The Inner Fire campus sits on a leased portion of a 43-acre site in Brookline, that on completion will include three main buildings, along with an art and drama barn and several smaller therapeutic studios, gardens, paths, green houses and workshop spaces. Toward the completion of an individual's stay, the option of living in a creative living community where one can practice all one has learned and receive help in finding meaningful employment will be offered.

The completed East Wing accommodates eight seekers/residents and one or two guides. It includes nine bedrooms, three baths, and a common area, full basement for mechanicals and storage, solar panel, heat pumps, water sprinkler and alarm system.

The non-profit will celebrate the completion of the East Wing at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, at the Inner Fire Campus. Journalist Robert Whitaker, who has written two books about the history of psychiatry, "Mad in America" and "Anatomy of an Epidemic" and co-authored with Lisa Cosgrove, "Psychiatry Under the Influence," will speak. He is also the founder of madinamerica.com. In addition there will be a guided tour of the facility. Anyone interested in attending must RSVP in advance at 802-221-8051.

Inner Fire retains professional staff and therapists and works with a homeopath and anthroposophical medical doctor as well as a psychiatrist and registered nurse who are all committed to facilitating the healing process through respectful, holistic, high quality care for the participants.

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While antidepressants are designed to decrease the symptoms of depression, Inner Fire says these and other psychotropic medications too often have the opposite side effect and can increase suicidal thoughts and actions with people of all ages. Inner Fire notes that suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States, and the eighth leading cause of death in Vermont.

"For too many people, antidepressants and other psychotropic, mind altering medications avoid important issues by numbing and disconnecting the individuals from what makes them human: clear thinking, heartfelt feeling or directed willing," the nonprofit says. "Feelings of despair and isolation typically increase suicidal thoughts and actions. The impact suicide has on the lives of family members, friends, co-workers and the community is devastating. The loss of human potential is enormous."

Inner Fire has raised over $1 million to complete the East Wing, which includes general site work, architectural design and engineering, all state and local permitting, site grading and trenching, access road and driveway, well and water storage, septic system, underground electric communication services and other utilities, solar panels, heat pumps, water sprinkler and alarm system, and soon will start on the West Wing. The entire campus is scheduled for completion by January 2021 with funds raised from donors all over the country.

"We've already heard from health professionals and struggling individuals from the USA and around the world interested in the Inner Fire model. The Brookline initiative is just the beginning of a movement aimed at deep healing," says Birch.

For more information: www.innerfire.us

Birch founded Inner Fire in 2014 to offer a choice to striving individuals seeking to be proactive in their healing process without the use of psychotropic drugs. Through her years of practicing, she'd met too many young individuals who hated being medicated and chose suicide rather than live in a fog of pain. Birch is a leading practitioner of Hauschka Artistic Therapy and has worked in Europe and Asia in treatment facilities and training institutes. She has applied knowledge from 35 years of professional practice in prisons, inner cities, residential facilities and her own private practice.

For more information about Inner Fire's new campus for healing, visit: www.innerfire.us


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