Are we ignoring mental illness? 

Mental illness is an equal-opportunity illness.  Every one of us is impacted by mental illness.  One in five adults are dealing with this illness, and many are not seeking help because the stigma prevents that.~ Margaret Larson

Depression.  Anxiety.  ADHD.  BiPolar.  These are some common words were use or hear almost daily in our conversations, on the news, or on our favorite television shows.

We are hearing more about the importance of mental wellness, and self-care.

We see the green awareness ribbons and read the stories about our veterans’ suicide and PTSD rates.

We are hearing and seeing more and more about mental illness, mental health, and mental wellness more than ever before, but what are we doing with this information?  According to a report by Mental Health America (MHA), a non profit organization, Americans are not getting the treatment they need.  Many people may immediately say that there is a lack of access to the help they need, however the report’s findings disagree with that.  The report entitled “The State of Mental Health in America” gives facts, statistics and other data on mental health from across the United States.  The report also list the best and the worst states for mental health care, and Connecticut is at the top and Nevada is at the bottom.  Even though Vermont is the 3rd best state, 43% of adults that have been diagnosed with a mental illness did not receive treatment.  This number is just under the national average because 56%
of Americans with a mental illness did not receive treatment despite there being more access to insurance and access to treatment. Continue reading “Are we ignoring mental illness? “


3 Signs It’s Time To See a Therapist

The was originally written in 2014, and posted on a personal blog.  Kara of  The Frugal Feminista came across the post on Twitter and shared it on her site.  This is one post I will continue to share because the question of ‘should I see a therapist?’ is one that continues to be asked. The energy of the mind is the essence of life~Aristotle     … Continue reading 3 Signs It’s Time To See a Therapist

Dignity &Mental Helath

Dignity & Mental Health; Why awareness matters!

I wrote this last year for  The Frugal Feminista, but I felt it was important to share again.  Saturday,  October 10 was World Mental Health Day and this year’s theme was Dignity and Mental Health.

Dignity is defined as “the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect”, and one of the least respected groups of people in our society are those who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness.  They are often the butt of jokes and we believe that we should be afraid of them.  They are pushed into a corner and not discussed until a tragedy happens.  Although mental illness affects 1 in 5 Americans, it is still one of the least discussed and underfunded health issues, especially in minority communities.

Words like “crazy”, “psychotic”, and  “lunatic” are often used to describe people that have been diagnosed with a mental illness.   Many people do not know that serious mental illness is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain.  Just like any other major organ can become defective, so can the brain.  Sometimes this imbalance is due to biological factors, sometimes due to environmental factors.  Can you imagine forever labeling someone as “lazy and undisciplined”  that had a heart attack as a result of bad eating habits and lack of exercise?  No matter what the cause of the illness, the fact remains that members of our society that have become ill.  We often sympathize and hope to cure lung cancer, even for the person that smoked a pack a day for 20 years, however when it comes to the person with paranoid schizophrenia we want to lock them up throw away the key.  The ability to empathize and support those with cancer, heart disease and even some mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s came from being made aware of these illnesses-the who, what, & whys.  It was because of knowledge, understanding and maybe personal experiences that we all came to know about the dangers of breast cancer and heart disease.  Let’s begin to increase our knowledge of mental illnesses. Continue reading “Dignity & Mental Health; Why awareness matters!”

An Open Letter to Moms & Dads

An Open Letter to Parents

Parents are the ultimate role models for children.  Every word movement and action has an effect.  No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than a parent. ~Bob Keeshan

Dear Parents (mom, dads, and those who take on the role),

You have the pleasure of having one of the most important jobs, you’re a parent.

You are your child’s first teacher, friend, and confidant.  

Your children have changed your life ways you never imagined.

Your children have shown you the true definition of unconditional love.

Parents did you know that your child could have a mental illness, by as early as 14-years old.  According to the National Institute on Mental Health, “…half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14.”  If an illness has an onset at 14 years old, it is highly likely that a diagnosis will come years later.  The symptoms of a mental illness may be difficult to notice for 3 reasons:

  1. They are teenagers!  This is a time when your child’s body and brain goes through so many changes.  Puberty brings not only physical changes but emotional changes as well.  Ask almost any parent that has a child that has been diagnosed with a mental illness and they will tell you that they thought their child was just acting out, or that they would grow of the behavior.  
  2.   Parents don’t know what they don’t know.  Often parents do not know the history of mental illness in their own family and are unaware of the early symptoms.  We may think that since children are resilient that they are immune to trauma, they are not.  Many parents are unaware that mental illnesses has an affect the brain, and there is no amount of punishment, spanking, talking to or prayer  that can change that.  
  3.   Mental illness carries a stigma.  The stigma of mental illness is so great that many refuse to believe that their child could be ill. It is natural that any parent would not their child to face discrimination and be shunned by friends and family.  There is also a natural fear that they will be shunned because they have a child w/a mental illness.

Continue reading “An Open Letter to Parents”


Could you survive Schizophrenia?

Imagine seeing black spots on a wall, but no one else can see them?  What if you heard someone calling your name, but you were home alone?  What if your family was trying to poison you or your friends were trying to harm, or so you thought?  This is the reality of someone who has schizophrenia.  Literally the reality they experience, the sights and sounds, are not real at all.

Learning more about his illness changed my life.  Growing up with a family member with this illness wasn’t easy, but Surviving Schizophrenia changed my life.  NIMH, the National Institute on Mental Health, describes schizophrenia  as “a chronic, severe, and disabling, brain disorder that has affected people throughout history”.  While I don’t have the illness, I am at risk  for it.  I had to learn  about it and learn to live with Schizophrenia because my mother has it.  The challenges a family goes through trying to support a loved one with this illness are difficult to describe.  I believe the only way a family can survive these trying times, is to first learn about the illness.  There are many books that help you understand this disorder.  Also, learn about local resources: your local NAMI chapter, your local hospital, and even reach out to a therapist. Once I learned more about the illness, I had I began seeing a therapist, and I would recommend it for  anyone that is close with someone suffering from Schizophrenia. There will be incredible highs and lows, and self-care must be a priority.   I strongly suggest that if there are children involved, they are educated on the illness given additional support.   What I’ve learned about the illness so far: Continue reading “Could you survive Schizophrenia?”

Black. Female. Bipolar Disorder

Black. Female. Bipolar Disorder.

Black.  Female.  Bipolar Disorder. A story that is long overdue.

Nina-“I can’t even describe it…It was  like his d**k just talked to me”

Josie-(with a dazed look) “What did it say?”

Nina-(whispering loudly) “Ninaaaa”


-The cab scene from Love Jones

The conversation between Nina and Josie in the cab is one of my favorite scenes from Love Jones.  This conversation is the epitome of “girl talk”, in my opinion.  Josie, who was my first hair crush, was played by Lisa Nicole Carson.   She also starred in Ally McBeal and ER and also had roles in Jason’s Lyric, Eve’s Bayou, and Life. Sadly, Lisa would disappear from the spotlight.

A week or so ago a friend sent me a link to an Essence magazine article.  It was a story about Lisa Nicole Carson aka Josie opening up about her mental illness.  The article will appear in the July issue of Essence, just in time for Minority Mental Health Month.

Lisa opening up and speaking candidly about her mental illness and how it has affected her life is HUGE!  Today we see more articles, more new stories, and more about mental illness in the mainstream media, but the sharing of her story is different.  The sharing of her story is important.  The sharing of this story is necessary.

Many of us have heard of and know a little bit about bipolar disorder.  In the hit Fox series Empire, it was revealed that the oldest son, Andre, had bipolar.  While it should have been praised that mental illness in the Black family was a part of the storyline, there were many debates about the accuracy of the symptoms displayed.  The Essence magazine article doesn’t leave room for debate.  It is Lisa telling Lisa’s story.  Continue reading “Black. Female. Bipolar Disorder.”