Category Archives: advocacy

Ice Bucket Challenge for Your Passion?

Word Press Post A Day – The internet has recently been swept up by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Is there a cause — social, political, cultural, or other — you passionately believe in? Tell us how you got involved — or why you don’t get involved.

 

I’m a day late on this.  I have been taking a bit of a break from blogging as I haven’t been feeling too well.  But I have thought about this ice bucket challenge for a bit since it started – seeing the positive and negative comments in response to it.

I think it is great that it has raised so much money towards ALS.  I first saw the challenge back in January, by some friends in Indiana.  It wasn’t for ALS though – it was for their own personal favorite charities.  I thought that was a great idea, since it wasn’t dedicated to a certain charity and it was kind of spread out to whatever they felt passionate about.

I am very passionate about a lot of different beliefs.  One thing that I am super passionate about though, which my blog is about, is mental health issues.  Being affected by mental illness, I strongly support almost any mental health organization that works towards awareness about mental illness.  My personal favorite is NAMI (National Association on Mental Illness), as I have been most involved with them; however, all organizations that are so many that work towards awareness.

So, if anyone out there ever gets nominated for an ice bucket challenge — I am not saying to not donate to ALS, but think about donating to a charity of your choice too — challenge people to think about what they are passionate about and to donate to that.  Create some awareness about what you are passionate about.  Perhaps create a new viral sensation about your passion to raise awareness?

 

Be Proud

Be proud of who you are and everything you have overcome.

Daily Post – Writer’s Block? Nope, Writing Helps me Cope

Word Press Post A Day – When was the last time you experienced writer’s block? What do you think brought it about — and how did you dig your way out of it?

I just started doing these Post A Day things from Word Press – I thought it might help me expand on my topics – bring in new ideas to relate to mental health…which is what my blog is about.  For the most part, I think it has helped a bit.  I think most of them I have been able to relate to mental health/illness in some way, even if it has been a bit of a stretch at times.  Except Unlikely Pairing – that one, nope, I just couldn’t tie in.  I wrote about it anyway, just to write.

I am passionate about mental health though.  I have been affected with mental illness my whole life.  There is so much stigma associated with mental illness though.  You rarely hear about the great people that have mental illness, just the horrible stories related to it.  Everyone just gets a bad picture.

I created this blog to show my struggles, but also my triumphs over my disorders – my bipolar, my borderline personality disorder, and my PTSD.  All of which I struggle with daily.  I also overcome it everyday though.

Each day I get up, I write on here.  I write about what mental illness is, or how to cope with it,  quotes related to it, how it has affected me, how it might be affecting me that day, what I am going to do in the future to overcome a challenge that I faced because of it, suicide, sexual abuse, past traumas, therapy, etc.

I’m sure I had writers block in high school related to some silly essay my AP English teacher wanted me to write.  When it comes down to something that I am interested in though, something I am passionate about – no, I haven’t had it.  I am sure it might come eventually, but so far, it hasn’t hit me.  I hope it doesn’t because this is a topic that needs to be spoken up for and needs to be heard.

This is my coping skill.  It’s keeping me mentally healthy right now.  Or as much as it can anyway.

Crisis Intervention Team – Importance of Having CIT Trained Law Enforcement

Recently on The Journey of Kylie, she blogged about a situation involving the cops handcuffing her in a rough, violent manner during a mental health encounter when she was not violent or resisting them in a violent manner at all.

This got me thinking about CIT officers.  CIT officer stands for Crisis Intervention Team.  These are officers within the police or sheriffs department who are trained to interact and deal with individuals who have mental health illness. 

I have personally dealt with CIT officers when I was in college, on many occasions.  All of my interactions with them were very positive.  In my city, the majority of officers were trained in CIT.  In fact, when they were trained, part of their training was to go to the local psych hospital and talk to the patients and get our perspectives on how we were treated by police officers when they were called to our apartments/houses.  I was in the psychiatric hospitals multiple times, so I talked to those going through training about 3 or 4 times to help them understand what would help me if they came to my apartment, and what would not help me, and my past experiences were like. 

Not everyone has positive experiences though.  As you can tell from The Journey of Kylie, interactions with cops during a mental health issue, is not always positive.  And not every city has CIT trained officers.  In fact, a lot of cities don’t.  There are actually countless stories of people with mental illness being shot and killed by cops for one reason or another when it could have been prevented if another tactic could have been used to help them rather than kill them. 

It is really absolutely reprehensible that these things are happening.  People with mental illness should not be treated like this.  If we are not an active threat to someone else.  If we are not an active threat to ourselves.  Holding a gun.  Holding a knife.  Holding something that could be used as a weapon and actually dangerous.  If we are not resisting arrest and causing problems.  Why are we being shot and killed?  Why are we being slammed against walls and handcuffed? 

Yes, I have been taken to a hospital in handcuffs.  But my hands were cuffed by my sides or in front of me.  I accept this and understand why this was done.  It was explained to me and done in a dignified manner.  While I did not really see the need for it as I was not resisting and was voluntarily going, I was treated respectfully at least.  But these awful treatments of people with mental illness are completely unacceptable.  They are not and should not be accepted by anyone. 

If you do not have CIT officers in your city, talk to your criminal justice department about implementing it, I have listed some resources that you could contact about it at well:

CIT International

NAMI – CIT

Mental Health Crisis Institute – Law Enforcement CIT Training

FBI – CIT Article

 

 

 

Mental Health Organizations Promoting Advocacy

I have talked quite a bit about NAMI on here.  But there are a lot of other good organizations that promote mental health advocacy out there. 

Here are a few of them:

To Write Love on Her Arms – I really love this organization. A little bit about it, per their website – “To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery.
To Write Love on Her Arms began in Orlando, FL in 2006 when our founder, Jamie Tworkowski, wrote a story about a friend who struggled with self-injury and addiction and the five days preceding her entry into treatment. The story, which was entitled ‘To Write Love on Her Arms’ went viral, and T-shirts were initially printed and sold as a way to pay for that friend’s treatment. Since then, TWLOHA has become a non-profit which serves as a bridge to hope and help for people facing the same issues.”

Rethink Mental Illness – This is an organization based in England.  They help provide advice and information to those affected with mental illness. They provide support groups (150 across England!) and have 200 mental health services.  They campaign for policy change and run the Time To Change campaign.

Active Minds – Is a great organization that is developed on college campuses.  It promotes those on University’s across the nation to get involved in educating others about mental health and encouraging people to seek help if needed. This organization aims to remove the stigma associated with mental illness by educating the minds of college students and the communities they are in by creating open conversations.

Bring Change 2 Mind – This organization is aimed at ending stigma and discrimination by distributing public education materials which are based on the latest scientific insights.

The Jed Foundation – This organization is aimed toward college aged students by promoting mental health and suicide prevention. They work with the public and those involved in higher education to teach them about the knowledge and warning signs of suicide, importance of mental health, how to encourage help-seeking behaviors, and promote awareness and understanding among them.

 

Of course there are others too.  If you know of some, feel free to leave them in the comments section for others to see and I will add them on here too!