Our “About” section:
Greetings from WisdomWithin!
Who the heck do I think I am, starting a little blog with such a potentially pretentious plaquard?
In 2016, I became a New York Certified Peer Specialist in Mental Health, with a goal toward encouraging mental health awareness, promoting self-advocacy and wellness; even more idealistically, reducing stigma and improving quality of life for our demographic.
20- 25% of the population will live with a mental health condition during their life time. That’s 1 in 4-5 people. Everyone knows someone living with a mental health condition. We are actually a very large group. Most of us are completely harmless, and … surprise… we are very much able to recover!
That NYCPS certification is a fancy way to say I have lived mental health experience, lived mental health SYSTEM experience, follow a strict code of ethics, am willing to disclose and share my journey in an effort to be of help to others like me, and those who love us. This certification requires a level of ongoing education and work in the field, either directly with peers, or in contribution to the overall mental health awareness, advocacy and wellness community. I welcome your interest and support. This is intended as a safe space & a judgement free zone. Welcome to Wisdom Within!
Our “Numbers” Section:
MENTAL HEALTH AND MENTAL ILLNESS… BY THE NUMBERS:
20 – 25% – Percentage of people in the United States who live with diagnosable mental health condition during a given year. It turns out, this percentage holds true globally and across the spectrum; regardless of race, gender, religion, location, political persuasion or socio-economic status – mental illness is the great equalizer. It is 100% immune to segregation. It is fully diverse and multi-cultural in its impact. In this, we all become the same.
59% – Percentage of U.S. adults with a mental health condition in the past year who did not seek treatment. Research shows negative stereotypes often prevent those with mental illness from seeking professional help.
One Third – The proportion of adults with mental illness who are likely to become victims of violence within a given six month period. Research published by the American Psychological Association. We are much less likely to be perpetrators of crime than we are victimized by it. Our illness can actually find us targeted by crime.
$16,306 – The estimated reduction in earnings for a person with a serious mental illness, according to a 2008 report published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
2.5 Trillion Dollars – The approximate global cost of mental illness in 2010, according to information presented by health economists at the World Economic Forum. This means mental health issues were one of the largest economic costs when it came to health care – even more than diabetes, respiratory diseases and cancer combined, according to the the National Institutes for Mental Health (NIMH). The economists estimated that figure will rise to $6 Trillion Dollars by the year 2030!
75% – Estimated percentage of people with mental illness who feel like others are not caring or sympathetic when it comes to their condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Take away? We must work together to do better. Because we ALL deserve a path to wellness, to be seen as a whole person, not as our illness, & to live meaningfully – in a more compassionate society!
Our “Resource Links” Section:
If you live with a mental health condition, you are considered a “Consumer” of mental health services, or a “consumer-survivor”. When we are first diagnosed, it’s difficult to know what resources to turn to for help with our rights, available services, protections, how to find effective therapies, navigating medication, navigating “the system” in living with mental health. This page will be a continually updated document of valuable and trustworthy resources for consumers like us.
Lifeline (NY Finger Lakes Region) 24/7 crisis/suicide intervention program and information and referral service serving six counties in New York State. (Check online to see if a similar program exists in your region!)
NY Offices for Consumer Affairs – Health and Wellness (You are the consumer! This office is for you! Every imaginable resource as far as rights and inclusion in the greater community!)
International BiPolar Foundation (Amongst other wonderful supports, IBPF provides a Mental Health Awareness ‘patch’program, earnable through scouting and other such organizations – I am happy to be facilitating our first such program for a local girl scout troop here in May 2017, Mental Health Awareness Month!)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (An outstanding organization, also with local chapters, doing great work for the community, within the community, and in advocacy across the country.)
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) (Another wonderful national organization, offering support, good information and advocacy for families living with depression and bipolar conditions.)
Mental Health Association (Rochester, NY) (There is a MHA branch near you! Look up MHA.org!) Some of their resources include: Creative wellness opportunities, family support, life skills, workshops, employment support, peer support, teen support groups, volunteer opportunities, self- and system advocacy, community connections and involvement.
Mental Health on TheMighty.com (Real info and discussion – all about mental health!)
Our “Fact vs. Fiction” Section:
PAGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION…
There is stigma in the world against /surrounding mental illness, or those with mental health conditions. It’s difficult enough to hear diagnoses and have to address them, without having bad things just presumed by you or about you. This page looks at dispelling some Mental Health myths and old wives tales (no offense to any old wives out there…).
Topics & “Myths”
1. Health and Wellness:
Mental Health and Physical Health are part of the same thing. Part of each one of us. If you are physically unwell, not sleeping, not eating, etc., this can be symptomatic of something more than a physical problem. And continual loss of sleep and lack or appetite (amongst many other signs), can lead to worsening of any mental or physical health condition. If you have a broken leg, you sort of have no option but to seek help and get it fixed. If you need a heart valve, you get surgery. If you have a mental illness, you don’t just do nothing. That helps no one and fixes nothing. You take responsibility. Every type of treatment is considered a therapy, so don’t think you’ll just be lying on a psychiatrist’s sofa somewhere. It is a combination of therapies, education, wellness habits and supports that truly help us recover. It is our responsibility to seek those out and find what works for us. The first step is always to see your primary physician to rule out or deal with any physical causes, and then psychiatry/psychology referral, should mental health pieces be suspected. More on therapy types, rights and responsibilities coming soon…
2. “I’ll never be the same again.”
I didn’t just start having mental health issues when I received my diagnoses. I was 46 years old at the time. I had apparently been unwell, although very high functioning, for many years. I held a job, owned a home, had a family. But, and I can be honest about it now, I knew I wasn’t “ok”, and that it had been that way for awhile. My point here, is that you will NOT ever be the same again. Diagnoses allows us a direction to work in, rather than just floundering through life. If we know what we are dealing with, we can learn how to do so. In essence, we end up much better than we were before. Cuz, who would want to go back to being so unwell anyway, right? More on early considerations around diagnoses coming soon…
3. “No one else I know has a mental illness.”
Logistically, that’s pretty much impossible. It is a fact that 20-25% of any given population, no matter gender, culture, ethnicity, religion, profession, political persuasion, financial health, poverty level, socioeconomic factor, etc., the percentage remains the same globally. Mental health conditions, are, for the most part, livable, survivable, and yes, even thrivable, providing we educate ourselves and consistently take responsibility for our wellness. More on education, rights and responsibilities coming soon…
4. “Really successful people don’t have mental health issues.”
Let me just throw a few names at you. Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Audrey Hepburn, Carrie Fisher, Robin Williams, Ernest Hemingway, Abraham Lincoln, Harrison Ford, Michael Phelps, Macy Gray, Howie Mandel, Buzz Aldrin, Whoopi Goldberg, Cary Grant, Charles Darwin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Dickens, Ben Stiller; the list goes on and on. All lived through, lived with, survived and thrived, despite mental health issues in their lives. More on this coming soon…
5. “I will have to be medicated like a zombie for the rest of my life…”
The truth is, medication IS one part of the possible recovery equation. We will have a separate page just about medication issues, but obviously, all medication questions should be referred to your health care professional. The truth is, there are different classes of drugs, all of which are highly effective, in the right people. The difficulty is in determining what, if any medications will help you as an individual. Everyone reacts to medication differently. I have been on a medication regimen for multiple years now. I am not a zombie, I am a fully functioning, conscious, thinking individual, without any apparent zombie like tendencies. The other truth is, some folks find the side effects difficult to deal with and want to live without meds. (The only side effects I’ve experienced are weight gain – it’s a trade off. But I’m working on that…) The fact is, if you decide that you ultimately cannot be helped by medication, it is still your responsibility to find the therapies that allow you to live well despite your condition. That is possible. But we are responsible for our actions or inactions. More on this coming soon…
6. Some people just don’t believe in mental illness.
This is, unfortunately, true. I have been told over the course of time, by assorted well meaning individuals, that I would be well if I just give it all to God, that I should not medicate, that its all a scam, that I would feel better if I just lost weight (or whatever the suggestion of the moment was…). Some religions do not allow for mental illness to exist. Some people just are in denial, or have bought in to all the stigma attached to mental illness over decades, and therefore are unable to face that a friend or family member has such a condition. It is still our responsibility to work toward wellness and find the course that works for us as an individual. No one else’s approval is needed. More on stigma and stereotyping coming soon…
We will add more on myths and untruths, and hope to clarify with researched truths. Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Life is all about change. Its a journey from one change through another, throughout our existence. So learn how to take care of yourself, and if you haven’t already, learn to adapt, adapt, adapt.
One more very useful quote to close this particular page for the moment, from Winston Churchill; “Never, never, never give up.”
Our “JoinWW!” Section:
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