The Mental Illness Awareness Week blog, sharing stories of recovery, personal experiences, and mental health/mental illness news.


Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia

Unlisted is scheduled for release to PBS stations in October 2010, coinciding with Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW).

For many years, physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston was estranged from her father, Richard, a poet and novelist who struggled with schizophrenia and at times lived on the streets. Feeling helpless whenever he showed up at her door in psychotic states, she decided to become unlisted in the phone book.

Medical school taught Ruston about the science of mental illness, but not the actual experience of people living with it. She reached a turning point when her son started asking about his grandpa. Reconciliation followed—along with supportive housing and treatment for her father.

But Richard stopped taking his medicine and went missing. Reconciliation became a race for survival ending in tragedy

"My dad was a regular guy who wanted a career and family, but he was constantly stymied by his disordered thought process," Ruston said. "With the film, I want to give viewers background on why getting mental health treatment is so difficult. It doesn't have to be that way."

"America's mental health care system is in crisis, but many courageous people are fighting for hope and recovery," said NAMI Executive Director Michael J Fitzpatrick.

"Unlisted is a powerful film and a vehicle for education. The 2010 NAMI Convention is a platform to heighten public interest."

"We hope television critics and feature editors in the news media will take notice and seek more stories about individuals and families affected by serious mental illness. Beyond tragedy, there are many stories of hope and recovery."

Learn more about the film.

Jody Paterson: Taking aim at those unable to fight

Times Colonist columnist Jody Paterson

This is a really interesting article, written by Jody Patterson, discussing the lack of mental health funding in Vancouver and Canada as a whole.

The article continues to discuss the stigma often attached to mental illness and the misconceptions that arise due to the way mental illness is presented in the media, that those with mental illness are dangerous and out of control.

"Mental illness can't be "cured" in that nice, clean way that we prefer, like a broken leg or an ailing heart. Even diagnosing it can be tricky, and the results of treatment unpredictable.

It's stigmatized and poorly understood. It generates just enough scary media stories of unexpected violence to leave the public with the gross misconception that to be mentally ill is to be dangerous and out of control.

Mental illness knocks the wind out of the best of families in no time flat. Even friends and family members tend to take a step back when the diagnosis is mental illness, instead of stepping up to help the way they would have had the diagnosis been breast cancer or hip surgery.

So when cuts come, they hit a group of people who already feel ashamed, hopeless and unworthy. The axe falls, and nobody has the strength to scream."

Read full article here.

Do you think the media plays a part in attaching stigma to mental illness?

Who do you think is responsible for ensuring sufficient funding for mental health services?


A Selection of David Albert Newman's Prospect Paper Ideas

David Albert Newman, one of this year's Faces of Mental Illness, is currently working on his MBA. David is living with schizophrenia and credits his unique ideas for his Prospect Paper as being a factor product of creativity arising from mental illness, in his case schizophrenia.

David would like to share his Ideas to illustrate this creativity.

David's Ideas:
How do you think Galileo and Newton felt when they were shafted so badly on new ideas? Please review history. THE PURPOSE OF HUMANITY IS NEW IDEAS.

As a side note, I don't care what anyone says, I did find a fifth derivative vector space around a slight alteration of Pythagorean Theorem, and I have not just speculated, but theorized quite successfully that information travels faster than the speed of light. It has to do with light time delay in travel (lighting a dark road doesn't mean that there was no information there before you did it; that is same on Earth as in "outer space"). And light for that matter is present even at night not just by the moon reflection, but by the curvature of light around Earth mass.

True darkness is seeing at the speed of light and then controlling the very precise and delicate frame rate between dark-light. Thus, the light-dark shutter which gives rise to many instances of technology, most notably photography at the microscopic scale.

Here is an additional thought: how do you precisely travel at the speed of light IF you cannot first see at its rate? Would you not be blind and destroyed? Currently, there is no sight at the speed of light since our telescopes are light delayed. Thus, we see the eon past. Now, what happens if we alter our telescopes (or more precisely named, our macroscopes) to see at the speed of light and thus, view vast celestial bodies and space in real time?

And most interesting: why should we think that the outer edge of the Universe of a Universe expanding is "somewhere out there?" If the Universe is all around us while also beyond us, it is oscillating by mass stretching into space AND non-space contingent on the mass substance.

Finally, and most astute I think if not to be pompous: the force of gravity is merely space expanding into non-space. It is what holds space and non-space together. It is not some phantom force of mere attraction of objects to each other.

Mental Illness Attitudes Outdated

In the past, facilities such as the Provincial Lunatic Asylum and the Eastern Hospital for the Insane were built on the outskirts of cities, separate from other hospitals. Today, the Toronto Hospital and Brockville Mental Health Centre have become integrated parts of these two cities, with the Toronto Hospital undergoing a major remodel and the Brockville Mental Health Centre being integrated into Brockville General Hospital.

But this doesn't mean all opinions have changed. There is still little visitation in mental health wards and limited understanding of mental illness amoung the public. Reasons for this lack of understanding include a lack of information, but also a hesitance to accept mental illness.

In this article,Dr. David Goldbloom, professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto and vice-chairman of the Mental Health Commission of Canada outlines the progress society has made in recognizing and treating mental illness in a matter similar to how one would recognize and treat a physical illness. He also illustrates how far society has left to go.

This article discusses the the need for society to work progressively towards reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness.

"It's the modern way to treat people. It's no different than treating people for a broken leg," says Dr. Brockville General Hospital president and CEO Ray Marshall, when referring to the integration of the Brockville Mental Health Centre into the Brockville General Hospital.

How do you fell about the integration of these two hospitals? Is this something you would like to see done in your own town?

Read full article here