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Showing posts from November, 2018

Psychiatric Advance Directive (PAD): Discuss With Your Therapist and Loved Ones

Living with a mental illness can be challenging, however, with insight and proper interventions we can regain control of our lives, dignity, and independence faster by planning ahead. Over the course of 11 years in recovery from schizophrenia I was hospitalized twice;  at age 20, and age 31. I was single during my first hospitalization. However, I had much at risk during my second hospitalization; my family, home, and thus, livelihood. My experience will further support both newly diagnosed peers, and fellow peers already in recovery who can attest to the disruptions of crisis and hospitalization that may have been handled better had a post-crisis plan and intervention been in place. From experience I learned an even greater lesson than 'take your medication.' The lesson I learned is simple, and not an innovative idea, but sadly overlooked across treatment planning and visits, which is to plan ahead and document it! The psychiatric advance directive (PAD) much like the adv

Re-play on Janssen's Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Stigma- Panel Discussion

Shade. Labels. Darkness. Negativity. Secrets. Shame. Guilt. Hiding. Discrimination... I am referring to the stigma of mental health conditions that plagues conversations, worsens our reality of living with a life-long health concern, and prolongs suffering, and silence.  Janssen Pharmaceuticals' panel discussion about stigma, and art opens the conversation to so much! Dr. Adam Savitz (panelist, psychiatrist, Janssen), Jeff Sparr (panelist, Peace Love), and myself (panelist), and Vickie Mabrey (moderator) held a lively hour-long discussion, Tuesday, November 13, 2018, on a range of concerns impacting people living in recovery, and coping strategies. We spoke first-hand experience on how we cope through artistic means, therapy, and self-expression, and the role of creativity, specifically painting and writing. The arts play a significant role in the healing process of recovery living with mental health conditions including obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and schizophrenia. 

Recap on Virtual Panel Discussion Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Stigma

Last night I participated in a virtual panel discussion to promote Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Stigma, which is a an online gallery, and campaign that brings awareness to coping skills through the arts of self-expression. This website is a great resource for peers like myself living with a diagnosis, caregivers, and individuals seeking awareness on mental illness, and recovery. The discussion was moderated by Vickie Mabrey, who I had the pleasure of meeting and working with through Mona Terrell & Associates, The National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ), and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, in the past. Vickie Mabrey is a former ABC News Nightline Correspondent. I enjoyed working with her again on this important discussion, because it covered an array of information that the public should become familiar with such as coping through artistic means, and expanding our support system.  Our discussion mentioned support groups, which the National Alliance on Mental Illness

NOV. 13 - Virtual Anti-Stigma Panel Discussion

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 7-8 PM Eastern Time I will participate in a virtual panel discussion sponsored by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, "Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Stigma." This will be a lively conversation that I don't want you to miss! This event is important to me because people living with a mental health conditions like myself cope, and manage, our diagnosis in diverse ways including artistic means. The Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Sti gma is an anti-stigma campaign by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, who I support and worked with in the past through a documentary, Living with Schizophrenia: A Call for Hope and Recovery (available to view on YouTube). As an advocate, peer, and writer I am looking forward to this conversation to share the truth about mental illness, which is recovery is possible despite stigma and setbacks. Individuals living with mental health conditions can overcome silence and stigma by coping within the

International Survivors of Suicide Day- November 17, 2018

In 2016, "[s]uicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54" (National Institute of Mental Health). Untreated mental illness could lead to premature death, suicide, for anybody despite age. Suicide is not a wish, it's relief to seemingly limited solutions, tormenting states of mind, and a range of different signs and symptoms associated with mental illness. Suicide is not always related to mental illness. However, I will focus on the mental illness and suicide connection. Everybody has a breaking point where one experiences a catastrophic event or events. Many may seek refuge, but do not get what they need in time for recovery. Common problems leading to suicide are financial issues, broken relationships, and trauma, and untreated mental illness. Having such problems coupled with minimal healthy coping strategies, and limited access to r