We are privileged to share blog postings from our Ambassador Jessie Close, Adrienne Gurman, Henry Boy Jenkins, and other guest bloggers.  Please visit regularly as our content will be updated often.

2014 World Mental Health Day

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As a person living with schizophrenia, I am very excited about this year’s World Mental Health Day. Knowing that conversations will take place all around this fantastic planet gives me hope for a future where the gift of reality is not taken for granted, but granted a wider audience.

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It’s Not About the Nail

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Recently a friend and I were talking about communication. More specifically, communication breakdowns between two people. Why does that happen? Who is at fault (if anyone)? How can we make things better? When do we stop trying?

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My Safety Net – Part II

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I recognize now that I’m a great friend who often makes poor choices when selecting relationships. I’m outgoing, gracious and generous with my time and energy, but with a mental health diagnoses that often scares the hell out of people, I found myself with many quick to start, short-lived acquaintances. These people didn’t truly care or more likely didn’t have time to earn a spot on my support list. As a result, despite knowing many people, my circle of true friends sometimes felt – even to this day — slim. And that’s okay.

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Secrets

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Thought disorders do precisely what they are meant to do: disorder one’s thoughts. Conceding to this truth is essential to mental health. The next, and more daunting step, is imperative: talk about it.

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Taking the ‘Force’ out of Police Force

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My views on law enforcement and mental health were shaped primarily by what I read in the news and our own, increasingly frequent, personal experiences. In the media it seemed that rarely a month went by without some tragedy involving an encounter between police and a person with a mental illness.

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My Safety Net – Part 1

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I recently began speaking openly about my mental health diagnoses. After living in fear of stigma for 17 years, this opportunity to join the conversation has been rewarding on many levels. It struck me, however, that while I often cite my highly valued support system, I’ve said little about this team of family and friends.

Why is this group of people so important? Who are they and what have they done to help? What are the challenges for not only the diagnosed but for those offering help and guidance?

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The Elephant in the Room

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When I received my diagnosis, I dedicated myself to education and advocacy – the tools of survival. Surrender was my greatest asset. Not defeat, but willingness. It was time to seek out solutions to problems that I didn’t know I had.

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Fall

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I have lived with chronic depression for most of my life. I tried to figure out how to lift my mood without medication but even with exercise and light and eating the right things, I fell down the black hole. So, I take the medication my doctor prescribes and I use the light box and the sitting in the sun trick.

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A Loss of Innocence, A Loss of Life

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This morning, as I scrolled through my Facebook feed wondering which of the numerous pictures in memory of 9/11 I should adopt for my profile, I felt conflicted. My profile and cover pictures were about Suicide Prevention Week. It felt wrong, disrespectful of this national tragedy to NOT change to a 9/11 theme. But it also felt wrong to push aside something that was so woven into my everyday life, personally and professionally.

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