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Showing posts from March, 2010

Feedback on Radio Interview

(Sorry for delay). I just posted my radio interview with Kim Iverson from January 29, 2010. If you skip ahead to the blue dot, on the box to the right, that says schizophrenia or at about 23 minutes you could listen to the interview.

To learn more about schizophrenia visit Embracing My Mind, Inc., the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).

Addiction and Mental Health

Just came back from mentoring a NAMI Peer-to-Peer class. We had another great class. This time we discussed addiction and mental health. We talked about the history of 12 step programs and various addictions. I had a really good time with the group, and I look forward to next week's class.

To learn more about schizophrenia visit Embracing My Mind, Inc., the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).

Overcoming Stigma One Story at a Time

Because of stigma, some people still want to see consumers (individuals living with a mental illness) institutionalized (i.e., in jail or in a hospital). This is ridiculous! Consumers can and do get better so why should We be put away, out of sight, and out of mind?!

In fact, I was once institutionalized for a situation I created as a result of my untreated, (and during that time, unknown) mental illness. I experienced a plethora of schizophrenia symptoms, yet I did not understand what was happening, all I knew was that I was extremely confused, disoriented, and scared.

I saw strange people following me, an old man on an antique bicycle and a crowd of people, heard demeaning voices (which I thought was someone playing a prank on me and was coming from my cell phone because the voices sounded like an exaggeration of mean cartoon characters). I thought I has special gifts from God like the ability to read minds and decipher evil spirits and good spirits in people. I thought I was a prop…

Discussion-Based Groups and Coalition Meeting

Today, I observed a new support group in order to build rapport with the clients. Soon, Embracing My Mind, Inc. will provide peer support services at this facility. We discussed self-esteem and low self-esteem. We had a great discussion.

By observing someone else's facilitation style it gave me ideas on how to improve on my own mentoring abilities. The group was discussion-based with no handouts or note-taking necessary. I think it was very relaxing for the clients they were able to relate the discussion to personal experiences. I will try to focus on having more discussion-based groups in order to have a more laid-back setting and to get even more participation.

Also, I participated in a coalition meeting. We discussed recovery and addiction. Groups are forming to develop some type of peer specialist for addiction and recovery, like mental illness, I am very excited about this new approach to recovery. I do not have a substance abuse concern, however, dual diagnosis or a combinati…

Review of the Movie A Beautiful Mind

We finished watching the movie, A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe. After the movie I asked some questions such as:

1) What type of symptoms did John portray?
2) Why did he stop taking his medicine?
3) Is he violent towards himself or others?


The main character, John Nash, experienced hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia as a result of his illness schizophrenia. His hallucinations included his roommate Charles, Charles' niece Marcy, and government of defense supervisor William Parcher. His delusions led him to believe he was more than a professor, he believed he was a spy and could break codes by review of specific magazines and newspapers.

He stopped taking his medicine for several reasons: he could not do his work, could not respond to his wife, and could not help out with the baby and the house. Other reasons why an individual with a mental illness may stop taking their medicine may be because they believe they are cured, don't want to endure the harsh side effec…

Checking In on My Health

The other day I spoke to a relative and they told me I sounded very well. They asked me how everything was concerning my medication and how was school. I am doing very well, the medication I am on helps tremendously and I am thankful to have my mind back and am able to do activities I enjoy doing such as participating in groups and leading group sessions. I plan on starting school this fall. I know I keep pushing it back, but I am hopeful that I will actually start college again soon.

When I start school I plan on taking two classes at the most and leading one to two peer groups on the side. If it is too stressful I'll just drop one course and focus on the one course and my groups. It sounds like a lot I know, but I think I will be able to manage it if I continue to participate in group therapy and communicate with my support system (i.e., people I trust and can rely on such as my family, therapist and doctor).

I want to make something clear schizophrenia or any illness for that ma…

International Medical Volunteerism Conference in Atlanta, GA

The International Medical Volunteerism Conference is a free conference and is open to the general public. The Conference is on April 16th-18th, 2010 at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Also, Embracing My Mind, Inc. will be an exhibitor, so join us! For details on Conference registration, speakers, and exhibitors click here.

To learn more about schizophrenia go to Embracing My Mind, Inc., the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).

What is Stigma?

First, stigma relates to negative perceptions often fueled by lack of education about schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. According to Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity, A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2001 stigma "refers to a cluster of negative attitudes and beliefs that motivate the general public to fear, reject, avoid, and discriminate against people with mental illness." Stigma can pronounce itself in self-image. The Report also states that stigma leaves such a negative impact on consumers (individuals living with a psychiatric disorder) that some people have low self-esteem and less access to resources such as housing, employment, and even mental health treatment because of the stigma associated with the illness.

The Report goes further to examine the extent of stigma in Asian cultures where "mental illness is thought to reflect poorly on family lineage and thereby diminishes marriage and economic prospects for other…

PASS Program for SSI Recipients

After a friend told me about the Plans to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) program I did some research on it and it is a great program. The program benefits people who have Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

PASS allows SSI recipients to earn additional resources or income and put it aside to pay for education, to start a business, to fund training, etc. Under the program, the person will not lose their SSI benefits, and their SSI will not be reduced. To learn about the program click here.

To learn more about schizophrenia check out Embracing My Mind, Inc., the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).

A Beautiful Mind- The Movie

Group sessions are going very well, we get participation from most of the group members. Last week we studied schizophrenia- what it is, its types, and symptoms. Moreover, we started watching the movie, A Beautiful Mind, with Russell Crowe. We plan on finishing the movie this week.

I highly recommend the movie because of its uniqueness, in that it shows how the person with schizophrenia views reality. I would tell you lots more, but I don't want to spoil it for those of you who have not seen it... Rent it, buy it, download it, etc.- it is a must see if interested in schizophrenia.

To learn more about schizophrenia visit Embracing My Mind, Inc. (EMM), the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).

Peer Program/Mental Health Day at the Capitol

I participated in two events this week: 1) Fulton County, Georgia Commissioner's meeting and 2) Mental Health Day at the Capitol orchestrated by Behavioral Health Services Coalition.

I spoke at the Commissioner's meeting yesterday to advocate in favor of the Peer Program at South Fulton Mental Health Center in East Point, Georgia. The county wants to close the Peer Program, and myself and other peers spoke against this consideration.

Today, I attended Mental Health Day at the Capitol and distributed business cards to introduce my non-profit organization, Embracing My Mind, Inc. The program discussed advance directives, Georgia's budget, children and adolescents with mental health concerns, a personal story, and an overview of Olmstead.

Advance Directives are plans for consumers in the event they cannot make decisions on their own, it is kind of like a crisis plan that describes medications desired to get well again, and who may make decisions on behalf of the consumer.

A sta…