Many of my Mental Health Humor readers may remember or recall this year 2014 Cartoon-a-thon for Mental Health Heroes almost did not happen…If it was not for the loving-persistence of my 3 girls who wanted to draw all the heroes…there may not of been any cartoons.
What was the snag this year that held it back? Simply, as a peer, I had symptoms of my Bipolar Disorder and this episode was a doozy! Needless to say, I was down and depressed for over 5 months. Three months were severe, but my girls insisted we push on with the drawing. Drawing the caricatures was Art Therapy for my depression and helped me break through and start functioning again.
One of the blessings of the 2014 Mental Health Hero Cartoon-a-Thon was meeting Gabe Howard. He was nominated from a previous Mental Health Hero: Christina Huff or (Bipolar Hot Mess).
When I looked over his website and Facebook page, I knew right away why Christina Huff recommend Gabe.
I drew all the cartoons black and white for the 2014 Cartoon-a-thon. Just drawing them was a challenge in of itself. Yet, Gabe Howard and I built a friendship via email and text. Encouraging each other. From that time we started talking, I kept telling him I was going to go back and color his caricature. Bipolar gives a new meaning to the term procrastination.
It only took three and half months…not only did I color it, I re-drew it digitally to clean up the lines.
I am happy to present this to my friend Gabe Howard – we are going to give the star treatment to a mental illness activist, writer, and blogger, as well as a 2014 Mental Health Hero.
Recently he won the prestigious title of “LIVING BOLD”
I asked Gabe Howard to tell my readers about his advocacy:
Well, Living with bipolar and anxiety disorders I try to use that “life experience” to educate, motivate, and inspire others. Realizing that ignorance of mental illness is a direct cause of the fear, discrimination, and stigmatization of people with mental illness, I’ve made it my personal mission to raise the level of people’s understanding about these disorders.
I am achieving my personal goals while helping thousands with educating, motivating, and inspiring as a speaker, writer, and motivator. It’s made me a better person getting to know so many new people, people like Chato Stewart.
I have always worked tirelessly to motivate others to seek help for their issues and to instill hope that they, too, will overcome. Yet I’m realistic and positive and Found words are hollow if you don’t lead by example, so, I back up my words with actions!
Gabe currently serves on The Ohio Empowerment Coalition ~ OEC’s board of directors and previously served on the board of NAMI Ohio. He was also a former committee member for the Suicide Prevention Council. He has testified in front of the Ohio General Assembly; assists with police officer training through the Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Program; and worked with veterans suffering from mental illness. Gabe has been a guest lecturer at multiple universities, including The Ohio State University; and has done many speaking appearances in multiple states for audiences of all sizes. In addition to his work with groups, Gabe has worked one-on-one with hundreds of families and people with mental illness.
Gabe is a co-author of the Anxiety-Schmanxiety blog, writes a monthly blog for the International Bipolar Foundation, has a regular column on Elephant Journal, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Columbus Dispatch, Columbus Monthly, NAMI Advocate, Stigma Fighters, multiple Suburban News Publication newspapers, WCMH channel 4, WBNS Channel 10, multiple over-the-air radio outlets, multiple internet radio stations and podcasts, company training videos, agency internet promotional videos, and many newsletters and online blogs. He has also been a guest columnist in several online publications and blogs and now is a 2014 mental health hero for PsychCentral.com!
Congratulations, Gabe Howard!
His Personal Mini-Biography:
Gabe Howard is a keynote speaker, award-winning advocate, mental illness blogger and writer, as well a person living with severe bipolar and anxiety disorders. In the past ten years, he has made it his mission to put a face on mental illness that isn’t stereotypical. Society often sees people living with mental illness at their worst and he works to add a more balanced view to the conversation. Gabe is frequently irreverent, often too loud, and always unpredictable, but anyone who knows him will tell you that life would be so boring without him. You can connect with Gabe on Twitter, Facebook and his website.