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Recovery is about healing
Recovery is about understanding
Recovery is about hope
Recovery is about helping
Recovery is about love
Recovery is about …
Whats your recovery about?
Today I read that Bruce Springsteen has come out about suffering from clinical depression. Way to go Bruce! When famous people come out about their own mental health struggles it shines a bright light into the shadows hiding in the corner called “stigma’. When someone famous says, ” I too suffer from mentla illness.” it makes it easier for the rest of us. I applaud you Bruce Springsteen for opening up!
In the wake of the tragedy in the Colorado theatre shooting, the message that mental illness, guns and violence has come up again. Just like it did in the senseless Arizona shooting. Our hearts go out to all of the vistims and their families. I was sent a link to another blog from NAMI about the incident and I really don’t think I could add anything to it.
Please take a moment to read
91% of all MPN members surveyed said Advocacy is most important to them in a state wide consumer organization.
SAMHSA’s Promoting Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint through Trauma Informed-Practices is pleased to sponsor the webinar:
Understanding Unique Needs of Males with Trauma and Treatment Implications
with Mike Skinner, David Washington, Christopher Anderson and Jaime Romo,
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Eastern Time.
National Recovery Month is September
MPN and MHA of MT are going to launch “Mental Health TV”
the first two episodes will air on HCTV Channel 11 starting in September!
Check it out!
September 23 is our Annual Member Meeting in Helena!
Let us know if you would like to attend, we are planning on having food, music, information, giveaways and speakers. The meeting will be in the evening after NAMI Walks that morning/afternoon. More information will follow!
Call the office or email if you are interested!
Montana PBS ran an older film last night.
” Unspoken: Suicide in Montana” here is the link to it http://watch.montanapbs.org/video/1499350587/
it was really good. it is from a few years back but has a variety of stories and has a really good message.
Check it out if you get a chance!
“I’m still learning about myself…This actually helps me in telling my story so I can continuously improve myself, stay mentally stronger and not let stuff bother me as much as it used to when I was younger. I still make mistakes.”
Lakers forward Metta World Peace, aka Ron Artest, was honored at the SAMSHA Voice Awards. Click the link below to learn more about the basketball star’s road to recovery and mental health advocacy work.
How to start a peer support group in your community.
It only takes two people to start a support group so find another person who is interested in peer support. If you have more, wonderful. Eight is the ideal number
Agree with other attendees on some ground rules for the meeting. What can and cannot be discussed. Keep it positive and recovery focused
Find a location that is safe, conveniently located and free of charge
Agree on a time and day of the week that works well for both of you. Usually peer support meetings last 1 hour
Contact your local paper about a free listing for your support group
Make up a few flyers to post on free community bulletin boards around town
Show up to the meeting on time and keep it consistent. This is very important
Warmly welcome every new person to the meeting
Each meeting should have an introduction and a closing. This should be read each time without exception. Keep a format for the meeting lets people know what the meeting is about, the format, the topic, and when it is over.
Don’t forget to smile
Had our Annual member Meeting yesterday
Thanks for all of you who turned out!
We debut our ” Vision of Hope” Documentary and our first two Mental Health TV episodes!
Lots of fun food and new members.
Go to our Media page to view Mental HEalth TV episodes!
Hey check out Stan Popovich’s Blog at http://managingfear.wordpress.com/
We are at Alternatives Conference 2012 in Portland this week!
Doing lots and lots of networking with other peer networks from across the country, learning the latest in peer support and eating lots of good food. Portland has some great ethnic food! We have met folks from MN, ND, IL, NV, MI and so many gther great programs. Lots of good stuff happening across the country. Today we learned about Health Care reform and “WHole Health Navigators” . The way of the future it seems.
Hello from Portland, OR
Another day at Alternatives Conference 2012. Well we went to a number of workshops today, tons of good information. I met Mary Ellen Copeland today. We had dinner with Dan Fisher last night. But the star was the workshop on Peer Support Supervision by Johnathan and Ciela from NY. It was outstanding presentation, information and even some role plays. Great audience interaction top notch discussion around the real issues with peer support specialists in the workplace. This is a unique issue, its difficult work and self care in very important.
Take care check back!
Written by Liza Long, republished from The Blue Review
Friday’s horrific national tragedy — the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut — has ignited a new discussion on violence in America. In kitchens and coffee shops across the country, we tearfully debate the many faces of violence in America: gun culture, media violence, lack of mental health services, overt and covert wars abroad, religion, politics and the way we raise our children. Liza Long, a writer based in Boise, says it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
While every family’s story of mental illness is different, and we may never know the whole of the Lanza’s story, tales like this one need to be heard — and families who live them deserve our help.
Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.
“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.
“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”
“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”
“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan — they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.
That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.
We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.
At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.
Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district’s most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can’t function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.
The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, “Look, Mom, I’m really sorry. Can I have video games back today?”
“No way,” I told him. “You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly.”
His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. “Then I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I’m going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself.”
That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.
“Where are you taking me?” he said, suddenly worried. “Where are we going?”
“You know where we are going,” I replied.
“No! You can’t do that to me! You’re sending me to hell! You’re sending me straight to hell!”
I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”
Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer.
The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork — “Were there any difficulties with… at what age did your child… were there any problems with.. has your child ever experienced.. does your child have…”
At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You’ll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.
For days, my son insisted that I was lying — that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, “I hate you. And I’m going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here.”
By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I’ve heard those promises for years. I don’t believe them anymore.
On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”
And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.
I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.
When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”
I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise — in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.
With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill — Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011.
No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”
I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.
God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.
(Originally published at The Anarchist Soccer Mom.)
It is time for us as a nation to have a serious conversation about mental health services across the nation. I am struck by the fact that a special allocation of 32 billion dollars is going to help those affected by Superstorm Sandy but there is not such special allocation for mental health services.
How many of these tradgedies have to happen before we take mental health out of the shadows?
I encourage you to contact your local elected officals, attend your Local Advisory councils and begin this conversation in your own community.
2013 Montana Legislative Session is beginning in early January. There are many mental health related bills on tap. We need your support, we need your voice. Please visit mt.gov to track bills, legislators and opportunites for public testimony. This is how we make change in Montana.
I am in a relationship with someone who has a mental illness and addiction issues. Is there a peer to peer support group for those who love someone with a mental illness? I have done the NAMI family to family and also their support group, but wandering what else is out there. Any ideas? My boyfriend will be coming back to town soon to a group home, and I want to learn as much as I can so I don’t enable him or be in the way of his recovery.
Recovery is a journey through and through. It is a deep dark valley and the mountain top in others. I have learned through years in recovery that I can overcome whatever is set in front of me. But that learning has not been easy. It has come from years of hard work, humility, pain and suffering. It has come from years of learning. Even on the darkest day I can see the light and that comes from experience. My experience. My unique experience. And it is all mine.
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Calendar by Kieran O'Shea