About

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About Dr. Mark:

I am a recovery-based psychiatrist.  After 27 years working as the Medical Director at the MHALA Village in Long Beach, California, an award-winning model of recovery based mental health care, I moved on in 2017 to be the only psychiatrist at CSU Long Beach providing innovative psychiatric services for the students there.  I also continue to work as an independent trainer, consultant, speaker, writer, and transformation leader in the Mental Health Recovery Movement.  

 

I believe that:

  • My work should be person-centered, working to help people grow and develop into the person they are meant to be, not just to treat mental illnesses or conditions.

  • My relationship with the people I work with should be collaborative and client-driven working on your goals, rather than pressuring for compliance with my treatment.

  • People recover because of the strengths and resilience that they use and develop, not because I took care of them and fixed what was wrong with them.


I am one of the true pioneers and leaders of person-centered, recovery-based psychiatry.  Over the years I has been very active in promoting system change focusing on integrated services, rehabilitation, and recovery for people with serious mental illnesses.  Countless numbers of people have come to experience the work that was being done at the Village first-hand and I have been a consultant to a number of recovery-based transformation efforts.  I am a creator of MHALA’s Milestones of Recovery Scale (MORS) and The Recovery Culture Progress Report tools.

 

I have given hundreds of presentations and lectures to wide ranging audiences and spoken at numerous conferences nationally and internationally, ranging from Singapore to the Czech Republic, from New Zealand to London, from Tokyo to Jordan. I have taught classes for and mentored psychiatry residents, nurse practitioner and social worker students, counselors and psychologists.

 

Most of my writings are posted on this website, including my short book A Road to Recovery, which has been translated into Japanese, Korean, and Czech. I have also written several textbook chapters about recovery.  My new book, Journeys Beyond the Frontier: A Rebellious Guide to Psychosis and Other Extraordinary Experiences, is based on the true stories of more than 30 years of clinical work with some of the most underserved and difficult to engage people in our community.

 

I was featured in Steve Lopez’s book The Soloist assisting him with his work with Nathaniel Ayers.  I have also consulted with Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. regarding the portrayal of people with mental illnesses in the media.  Probably the most poignant line about me was written by investigative reporter, Art Levine, in Newsweek, “If a doctor like Ragins was in charge of my mother's psychiatric care at that Long Island hospital years ago, I've come to believe, this balanced, caring, nuanced approach to therapy and psychiatric medication could have saved her life.” 

 

Over the years, I have won a number of awards including the American Psychiatric Association’s Arnold Van Amerigan Award in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association’s John Beard award for my outstanding lifetime contribution to psychiatric rehabilitation, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) California’s recovery practitioner of the year, as well as being honored by Mental Health Advocacy Services for my lifetime of advocacy efforts on behalf of people with severe mental illnesses and selected as a distinguished fellow by the American Psychiatric Association.