Sunday, January 30, 2011

A DREAM FINALLY COMING TO FRUITION
I can not begin to describe the excitement I am feeling after receiving some fantastic news. I am a board member on the Saratoga Community Citizen's Committee for Mental Health. Being involved with my community has been so rewarding. I have met so many people who have contributed their time and expertise in the realm of mental health. The president of our board has made it possible for me to connect with local school superintendents so I can discuss my plans to educate high school students about the stigma surrounding mental illness. I have envisioned this for a long time but now it is finally happening. I have to brainstorm my presentation but thankfully I have so much to show them. I have worked really hard during the past 5 years to create film/art/design in attempt to replace shame with courage and fear with empathy. If I can help one student detect mental illness in his/her self, friend, mother, father, sibling, college roommate then I have done my job. People tell me that mental illness has to hit close to home in order to fully understand it, but I disagree. Most mental illness goes undiagnosed (1/4 people will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime). We have a chance to inspire hope with the next generation. I can't wait to keep you all posted on my progress. Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

PREVENTING THE INEVITABLE
As a mother with a history of mental illness in the family, it's only natural to wonder why these illnesses develop. A lot of my beliefs are based on science/facts. I truly believe that we can prevent disease with knowledge, nutrition and nurturing. I may be neurotic about a lot of things but being pregnant places a lot of responsibility on the mother. When it comes to having a genetic link to mental illness is your family, you must make sure you are getting enough vitamin D, DHA and (on the horizon) choline. All beneficial to building a healthy fetal brain. You must also understand how environment plays a part in developing the illness. I think that a lot of the choices we make can trigger all sorts of outcomes. I encourage you to read this very interesting article about clues to preventing schizophrenia. Fascinating!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

MOVIES THAT INSPIRE UNDERSTANDING

Every so often a movie comes along and captures mental illness in its most honest and realistic form (something I plan to do with my own documentary). It is necessary for the public to understand the reality of mental illness in order to eliminate stereotypes/discrimination. However, for every one true film their are countless others that hinder recovery and understanding. By fueling stigma through media, we create more damage than entertainment. Below are two trailers that I hope will urge you to watch each film in their entirety. Both films are about two artists with mental illness: The Devil and Daniel Johnston and My name is Alan and I Paint Pictures. I am grateful for the courageous individuals who not only fight a battle from within but try to combat stigma by inspiring hope. May their strength inspire others to come forward and share their own story. (Pretty ironic that Cobain is wearing a Daniel Johnston shirt in photo below since both may have/had bipolar disorder.)

video video