Archives for Advocacy

Abuse

New Film: A Light Beneath Their Feet

We recently received an email message from Jeffrey Loeb, a film producer, announcing the release of his new film, A Light Beneath Their Feet. We haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but here are the details from Jeffrey: A Light Beneath Their Feet stars 2016 SAG Award-winning actress Taryn Manning (Orange Is the New Black) as a young mother with bipolar disorder struggling with the looming departure of her daughter, the one force of stability in her life. Seventeen-year old Madison Davenport (Noah in From Dusk Till Dawn, and Tina Fey's daughter in Sisters), gives a breakout performance as a daughter struggling with the decision of whether to stay local for college where she can remain the stable rock in her mother's life, or to detach and go to her dream college across country. Kurt Fuller, Nora Dunn, Kali Hawk, Maddie Hasson, and Carter Jenkins give standout supporting performances.
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Advocacy

Mental Health Care Is Health Care

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and today is Child Mental Health Awareness Day. Our goal, as healthcare providers, family members, and people living with mental illness, is to spotlight the presence of mental illness in our communities and to spread the word that these are identifiable and treatable medical and neurodevelopmental conditions which are not cause for shame.
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Advocacy

Bipolar Excuse or Explanation: Does It Matter?

My wife, Cecie, has bipolar disorder. Recently, she got into some trouble at work over a policy she violated. Not that it's anyone's business, but I'd better explain what she did (with her permission, of course), so you don't imagine something worse than it is. Cecie is a teacher. She brought her new puppy to school for a couple days and had two (high school) students take it outside the school building (located in a very safe area) without signing out. She received a written reprimand over the incident, which I personally think was a little over the top, but so be it.
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Advocacy

Stop Trying to Stop Enabling Bipolar Behavior!

Sandra lives with bipolar disorder. I am her psychiatrist or p-doc or shrink (as in Dr. Fink, the shrink). Sandra (not her real name), and I have worked together for many years. At today's appointment, she is moving a little slowly due to some back pain, but she tells me that her mood and energy have remained steady. That is outstanding news, because until a couple of months ago she was experiencing a terrible mood episode that rocked her life—a difficult mixed episode (mania and depression), along with substance use and memory and thinking problems. Her symptoms disrupted relationships with her family and worsened existing financial troubles. But, fortunately, her mood and energy level have not wavered to any clinically significant degree. Today she smiles and tells me about her volunteer work and playing tennis with a friend. Then she stops, and she cries softly and asks me how to help her parents understand what is wrong with her. While the good news is that many people in Sandra's life are starting to grasp that bipolar disorder is the problem (and that Sandra is not the problem), her own family of origin shuns and shames her, telling her that they have been advised to "stop enabling" her "bad behavior." They will not let her come to stay with them, and she has been excluded from family events. Sandra is heartbroken.
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Advocacy

CIT Not Just a Law Enforcement Program

I recently attended the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Indiana's Criminal Justice Summit in Indianapolis, IN. The morning's keynote speaker was Major Sam Cochran (ret.), who is nationally known for his work in developing the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model in Memphis, TN. Cochran's message was clear: CIT is not just a law enforcement program; CIT is a community program and should be recognized as a community priority. It should involve not only law enforcement officers and dispatchers, but also prosecutors, judges, emergency room personnel, physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, therapists, the community mental health center, and other community resource centers.
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Advocacy

Supporting a Loved One Who’s in Prison

From Joe Kraynak, co-host of Bipolar Beat: I have been corresponding with a young man who is currently being held in a federal detention center (FDC). I asked him to share his insights and advice for how friends and family members can support a loved one with bipolar or another serious mental illness who is in prison. He wrote this post. Everyone knows the importance of communication in maintaining one's emotional and psychological well-being. Communication is even more essential for those with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses who may be confused about where they are and why and may even be experiencing paranoia and psychosis.
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