Tag Archive | Suicide Prevention


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     The following is a repost blog to encourage everyone to stay ignited to vote [in future elections] even if you have a mental illness and to keep living in your community to achieve mental health recovery and fulfill your Dreams!  We will unite to DEFEAT Murphy Bill H.R. 3717 or anything that evens resembles it and make this country stronger with our contributions. 

This blog is from the election day of President Obama in 2008….. stay encouraged!

With the tremendous progress he has made, we should be burning up  the voting booths  in November!  amen, Amen?  AMEN!



At 6:45 a.m. I left my home to travel about six blocks to the voting polls. I had taken my medications and I was feeling very excited about voting. My mind was calm and I was thinking over the day’s schedule.  At about 7:00 a.m. I turned into the block of the voting polls and noticed the cars immediately. Then I remembered school was closed in my district so many parents were probably home with their kids.  Another block closer to the voting poll place, I quickly took my eyes off the road and turned up the dial of the radio. The song playing was, “Halleluia, He’s the Great Jehova.” (I love that song). I looked back up and it took about a split second to hit me. Beyond my windshield was a sea of people standing on line and wrapping around the polling place. Instantly, my mouth dropped open and tears began flowing. “Oh, my God!”  As I creeped along, people were walking from their cars to stand on line to vote. Some cars were blasting music and the people were just emotional and showing neighborly love. It was a moment I had never experienced before and those feelings will probably never surface like that again.


I continued to creep through a maze of people and cars as I had no idea so many people lived in my community (’cause I’m always on the pc…teehee).  By the time I found a parking place, I was a bubbling mess and I walked about another six blocks back to the polling place to get on line. The line had grew even longer. I began standing on line and chatting with folks and laughing and talking and nobody was worried. Nobody was worried. Everybody was patient with the process of standing and elated to be voting in such a historic time. Oh, the stories that were shared…and one person’s declaration, “Pancakes at my house, y’all!” Aaah, it was going to be good day.


An hour into the wait, it hit me that I had a doctor’s appointment in another hour. Quickly, I decided…whatever, I’m not budging.  Another hour into the wait, I reached the building of the voting booths. It was welcoming to feel the heat escaping. Smile. Fifteen minutes later, I was inside the building and much to my surprise, the line was wrapping around the red-bricked interior deceitfully. Smile. A half hour later, I was checked in by the pollster and about seven minutes later, I was voting!  Obama/Biden, No for slots, Yes for various expansions to the roadways, parks, etc., yes, those three judges should stay in office, and then those magical words that would carve out history for us all, “CAST YOUR VOTE.” Click!:)  Then I raced back to my car and worked my way to the doctor’s office. I did not care if I had to reschedule because I was on a different mission.


I wanted more than anything to closely observe my fellow citizens with various mental health issues. What I noticed was remarkable.  YES, indeed, everyone waiting to be seen knew the significance of the election. They knew the issues and promises of Obama! They knew he was black! They knew America must change! There were countless complaints about costly medications and housing. Some had voted already and others were on their way to vote after their appointments. Some were taking cabs to voting places, some had rides with family or friends. A few were traveling by bus. 


In between discussions about politics, there were stories such as one woman’s cat who had delivered 4 kittens in the midnight hour. Hilariously, she talked about getting her prescription for refills because she knew she was manic and she also knew she was evicting the cat in two “dang” weeks whether the “little kitties were still ‘suckling’ or not!”


Then another revealed her anger over purchasing food with cash because her “Food Stamp” card was not enough.  There was a patient having family issues with an offspring and crying over the details. A nearby gentleman began praying for her aloud.  Another individual spread out his breakfast on the table in the waiting room while two other individuals fussed about it.


In between that, Psychiatrists walked back and forth with medical files and the receptionist appeared periodically to call an individual to be seen.   Eventually, my doctor walked out and noticed me and asked, “What are you doing here? Where’s your notebook?” We laughed and I responded asking him to please see me because I did not want to reschedule.


“Sure. Why not? Are you checked in?” (Whew)  


After seeing the doctor, I walked out into the waiting area and many of the people were gone. There were some folks still engaged in political discussions and the man praying was now on his knees. Of course, I wanted to ask, “Who or what are you praying for now since the lady with the family issue was gone?” (Could it be for us?) I did not, however, I walked through the glass doors and onto the street. I inhaled deeply and thought to myself, “Thank you, God, for the sanity to be a part of that day and my “extended” family. Amen? Amen!”  

Ps. 100 KJV/NIV


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Subscribe to the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law [http://www.bazelon.org/What-You-Can-Do/] and stay informed about this and other important news and  information affecting the Mental Health Community.


Personal Dev.


The fight to live in the community:  I wanted to share with you about another part to the Bazelon article and I will probably make a blog series for everyone to hopefully keep up with.  As I explained a week or so ago, one of the main reasons persons do not seek mental healthcare is the fear of admitting a mental health problem and then being carted off to a mental institution and forgotten about.

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is one of the well-respected organizations that fought for persons to live in the community.  NAMI is an advocacy organization that also fought for persons with a mental health condition to live in the community as a constitutional right to do so with being discriminated against.

When I first began advocating for persons with a mental  health diagnosis, I learned that a landmark case in New York opened the door for institutions to close and persons with mental illness to be able to live in communities.  There are a couple of things that stigma and stereotype hasvbeen used to create certain myths:  (1) Persons with mental illnesses are dangerous and cannot live in the community like a normal person and (2) persons with a mental illness cannot vote! 

For example, untreated mental illnesses can be caused by untreated Depression which can lead to suicide.  Untreated mental illnesses can cause a person to not be able to function with daily life skills.  TREATED mental illnesses help persons with a mental illness live a normal, quality life meaning he/she can function with daily life skills.

When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I lost all motor skills.  After beginning a medicine regime, I had to re-learn those motor skills (reading, writing, bathing, cooking, yelling at my kids who were taking clear advantage of me on the sofa all day eating Oreo cookies!).  Anyhow- the stronger I became, the more I learned how society will not want you to become well.  You see all sort of negative labels blocking you from getting back in society successfully even within the family. As with all experiences we have, we learn and grow from them and we should want to help others coming behind us. This is progression.  We should never settle for regression. I never wanted to go out in the community and start shooting at persons and in my mind, I wanted family and friends to know that persons with mental illnesses have normal thoughts, too.  Thoughts of continuing in life with purpose.  Wanting to be respected.  wanting be considered a valuable member in  society. 

When Healthcare Reform came along, it was absolutely necessary for me to get involved for many reasons.  I often believed it was because God heard my pleas in that Vanilla Room and favored me alone.  God loves us all, we know.  Now, the other thing I discovered about mental illnesses is that … how should we say, the opposition does not mean for us to know we are still valuable.  This is saying in other words that persons with a mental illness also have a right to vote!  This is discussed in the Bazelon newsletter which is a part of the Affordable Care Act!  Once, I actually blogged about persons in nursing homes even having the right to vote, too.  I had read an article stating that persons in nursing homes read the newspapers and watch the news ALL day long.  They have opinions that make them worthy to cast his/her vote on and the same thing for persons in the community at-large. 

As family and friends of persons with a mental illness, we need to engage him/her about politics and see what we learn.  We need to listen to his/her dreams and goals and see what we learn.  This is how we begin to defeat stigma and stereotypes in the family.  When it starts in the family it spreads into the community.  This will lead to increased voting opportunities! 

We have to read information from organizations who work hard to help us and our families, ministries, and congregations, too.  This is because of the positive affect it will have in improving our communities and saving lives before there is a tragedy and everybody wonders, how did this happen?

So, persons with a mental illness can live in the community


have a right to vote.  I want to encourage everyone to not talk around, above, or under persons who have a mental illness.  Break that mindset that they have nothing worthwhile to contribute.  That is a goal of labeling persons. Instead, engage them in conversation and you will discover they have a passion waiting to be released that is valuable to building a stronger family, community, nation.  This increases esteem, self-determination, responsibility, hopes and reinforces dreams.  The youth and young adults in your family, circle, etc. will see positive changes and participate, too.  This teaches respect for all persons which is a moral issue.  Youth will take this into adulthood!!


Of course, having access to healthcare is a real beginning to mental wellness in many ways.  A person may feel more confident and trusting of a healthcare professional without judgment over time.  That could very well lead to accepting mental healthcare to complete the puzzle.  As the days wind down for the deadline to buy healthcare, commit to doing just that by visiting Healthcare.gov.  If a person is eligible for Medicaid, there is no deadline because enrollment is open ALL year, but encourage enrolling in it to gain access to healthcare and mental healthcare.  Set a family goal with encouragement, support, and love for the community you want to live in by ending stigma, stereotypes, and myths in the family.  GET Covered!

Lastly, now, what do you think of the Bazelon article and H.R. 3717?  This is an ACTION ALERT which means to do something so please spread the word in your circle and tweet “NO!” to U.S. Representative T. Murphy, too!!!!!  If he were to have it his way, people will be institutionalized and votes will be taken out of the community.  Persons will be unfairly and unjustly “put away….!” Putting labels on people indicating they are valueless and should be hidden and their voice (vote) silenced is








Personal Dev.DREAMS DON’T DIE, LABELS DO! (Part 5)


One of the biggest challenges I faced since being diagnosed with a mental illness was the death of my youngest son.  It had me worried for a long time because I knew because of his disabilities he would not live forever.  That I accepted, but it worried me still about the how I would respond since I have a mental illness — Bipolar Disorder/Depression.
Well, he passed away in 2010 and I knew those who loved me had the same concerns.  I also knew I had a dream I still wanted to accomplish.  I had a plan for quite some time about how to survive life-altering events.  This was how I could keep a plan to stay in recovery and I had help, too.

Doing this 500-piece puzzle and listening to Juanita Bynum`s ‘Soul Cry” helped me to mourn and grieve my youngest son`s death. It helped me to focus and cope and avoid going to the hospital. I notified my Dr. that my son passed and he checked on me twice. With my other 2 children, family, and our Lord, I was fine. When I miss my son, I have the puzzle to remind me of the many ways he brought me joy.  The funny thing is that my daughter`s dog took a piece. So my puzzle reflects a part of me that is gone forever and to never forget all the reasons I worked hard to stay well. … My other children need me.  And God is always there.  Amen!

I give God the glory because I survived a mighty test and shook off negative labels.  I am still in recovery and my dream is alive and well!  There is hope for anyone with a mental illness to achieve mental wellness recovery.  It begins with access to healthcare.  The Affordable Care Act is the access to healthcare essential benefits that can lead you to your dreams. 

The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, provides mental healthcare essential benefits and you cannot be denied due to pre-existing conditions.  Only a doctor can make the diagnosis of a mental illness.  This is important for young adults to know and understand because they are high-risk for developing Depression.  Untreated Depression leads to a more serious mental illness.

The days are winding down for APPLYING, SHOPPING, and BUYING affordable healthcare.  Visiting Healthcare.gov will allow the young adults in your life to GET COVERED by January 1, 2014. 

There are many, many health insurance plans on the website.  Uninsured Young Adults can shop for the best affordable health coverage, make the premium payment to the provider he/she selects and begin the new year covered for health and mental health insurance. 

Why is this important?  When uninsured young adults purchase health insurance, they have access to health services.  When they become sick, they will go to the doctor’s office, get any necessary medications, lab work, etc.  They receive treatment.  This keeps them healthier.  They can learn better when healthy.  They can work when they are healthy.  They become more responsible as young adults.  They take the burden off of citizens who pay the difference in costs when uninsured young adults use emergency rooms as doctor visits.  They contribute to this wonderful country economically!!

This weekend is the perfect time before the December 23, 2013, deadline to GET COVERED!  Healthcare coverage is a great gift idea, too, to get uninsured young adults started with health coverage.  Spread that message TODAY!