The Charleston Massacre -- How We Can Speak Up If We Suspect Violence To Self Or Others

I am stunned by yet another mass shooting by the young man who carried out the South Carolina church massacre. For months he had confided in friends of his intent to perform some heinous act; he not only mentioned killing individuals in a church, but in other locations such as a school.
The question again is “Could this have been prevented?”

As has been reiterated again and again, the majority of individuals with ANY mental illness are more likely to be victims of crime not perpetrators of violence. Situations such as these fall into a very specific category with their own unique characteristics; there are clear warning signs.

Dylann Roof, in my opinion, is yet another example (such as Lanza, Roger, Holmes, and others) who were clearly “disturbed” individuals -- I am not clear on how they would be diagnosed, but they were clearly not thinking logically.
This does not excuse these heinous acts and these individuals should all be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for murder.

I am very concerned Roof’s friends did not report his constant hateful rants and his statements indicating plans for a spree of this type. We all should be encouraged to do so.

Per an article in the Washington Post:

Justin and Jacob Meek, as well as Christon Scriven, 22, a neighbor who is African American, said Roof never struck them as racist but sometimes talked about violence. “I don’t think he hated blacks,” Scriven said. “I think he hated humans.”

When they were drinking one night recently, Scriven said,
Roof talked about shooting up a school. Another time, he spoke of going on a shooting spree at the College of Charleston.
“My reaction at the time was, ‘You’re just talking crazy,’ ” Scriven said. “I don’t think he’s always there.” [End statement]

When a young male, a loner of a young age (Roof is 21), whose life path went off-track in 9th grade, who was unemployed, who was obsessed with racism (the theme of his rage), who had no close friends or any constructive relationship with his family, expresses himself this way WE NEED TO TAKE NOTICE AND WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION. We need to take these threats seriously. Since human behavior is so difficult to predict there is no way to know if this violence could have been averted, but maybe, had his friends spoken up, maybe this horror could have been prevented. This is certainly not their fault, however, we need to spread awareness on the topic.

Here is a very touching article by the mother of one of the children murdered in the Sandy Hook massacre. She also notes … Read The Full Article Here

By Nicole Hockley June 23 at 7:04 AM
Nicole Hockley is the Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise.

“While the motives for this hate crime may be very different from the crime that took my son from me, there are similarities. Access to firearms. Mental health issues. Ignored signs that violence was imminent. And the destruction of yet another seemingly safe place.
In 70 percent of all gun violence acts (including suicides), at least one other person was told an act of violence would be committed. We need to educate ourselves, and our children about the warning signs. And we need to train ourselves to reach out to trusted adults when we hear or see threats.
We are failing to deal with the toxic combination that we see in acts of violence. Sometimes it’s irrational fear, hatred and racism. But for many Americans who lack the skills to cope with stress and anger, or for the very few with severe mental illness, easy access to a firearm leads to tragic loss.”
… [End statement]
May all the victims of such violence Rest In Peace. We have many issues to address including virulent racism in this country, but this story is unique and multifaceted.

A Fellow Advocate Speaks Out About Bipolar

I have found a fellow advocate who speaks openly about his experience with bipolar disorder. He has joined the ranks of those who talk openly, without shame, about what are clearly medical disorders deserving the same treatment as any medical illness. And these are words coming from direct experience.

Click Here:

The Cross X Roads: Bipolar Disorder Support

“Bipolar Disorder is not a choice. It is a stigmatized isolating diagnosis and I am tired of hiding! I am going to fight to give the young, the old, the diagnosed, and undiagnosed a voice. We don't need to be afraid.
We no longer need to be silent…” R.A.

Please take a look at this wonderful comprehensive site. This is not only a personal blog, but contains a wealth of information on bipolar disorder.


“Say What You Need To Say”
You are NOT Alone.

Act 4Mental Health - Twitter Thunderclap!

Bob Swims For Suicide Awareness

Bob Needham -- Finding His Way -- Swimming Across the English Channel for Suicide Awareness -- August 2013:


“A dozen years ago life held much promise. I had a successful professional and family life. Unfortunately, mental health issues brought it all abruptly to a halt, sending me down a perilous path. At the end of this path I found myself believing that suicide was the only way I could escape the pain. Luckily for me that despite my actions, this proved to be false. 

It has taken me years to navigate my way back to health. Thankfully, I have had excellent medical care helping me to find my way out of the darkness. This path has brought me back to a dream of mine: to swim the English Channel. More importantly, I've decided to reach out to others who in the darkness of their pain are contemplating taking their own life, and to those surviving families and friends who suffer from suicide's devastating effects.”

Bob will be taking on the English Channel this summer - August of 2013. Join his team. We all must end the stigma of mental illness.

Bob Swims For Suicide Awareness <----- Have a look!

Children At Risk - Early Intervention Is Imperative

youngmentalillness

Bring Change 2 Mind - New PSA To Help End Stigma

Need I say more? We should not be afraid of individuals with a mental illness. But we still are, in the year 2013. I can barely fathom it.

Raising Funds for Active Minds - 10 Year Anniversary! Save a Student's Life/Save a Student's Future

Click Here ---> Sandy Gale For Active Minds, 2003-2013
Please donate ANY AMOUNT over a secure connection, and you are welcome to give an anonymous gift. You may also make a donation in honor, in memorium, et al. Thank you!
“Active Minds empowers students to speak openly about mental health to educate others and encourage help-seeking. We are changing the culture on campuses and in our communities by raising awareness about mental health while providing leadership opportunities and advocacy training to the next generation.
Since 2003, Active Minds programming and services have reached an estimated 6.54 million people.” For more information, please visit Active Minds

And meet some members of “The Heard” -- Key Public Speakers for Minding Your Mind -- an offshoot of Active Minds. Key speakers are Jordan Burnham and Melissa Hopely. These young people give me great hope for the future. I am proud of each and every one of them!

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month - Spread The Word

Know Science, No Stigma

Active Minds Video - Why This Organization Is So Important For Young People

Please view this brief video and share it with others -- fellow students, educators, friends and family. No individual, no young person with all the potential in the world, should feel shame to reach out for help. This student-run organization makes it easier for peers to help each other cope with stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues exacerbated by the challenges of university life.

Countless lives and promising futures have been saved by Active Minds.

And thank you for visiting my fundraising page:

Sandy Gale For Active Minds <---- Click Here to make a donation. No amount is too small on the 10th Anniversary of Active Minds. And there are now over 400 chapters at colleges and universities across the US and Canada. Active Minds should be on every college campus.

"Running From Crazy" - Mariel Hemingway And Her Family's Battle With Mental Illness

"Running from Crazy": Mariel Hemingway Tackles Family History of Suicide, Mental Illness in New Documentary

“The new documentary "Running from Crazy" chronicles the life of actress Mariel Hemingway, the granddaughter of the great novelist Ernest Hemingway. The film focuses on Mariel’s family history of mental illness and the suicides of seven relatives, including her grandfather and her sister, Margaux.

The film is directed by the two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, whose documentary "Harlan County U.S.A." has become a classic and won an Oscar in 1977. We’re joined by Mariel Hemingway and Barbara Kopple from the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.”

Severe Chronic Anxiety Can Be Deadly

Here is an article that breaks my heart. No one truly understand the devastating, destructive power of severe chronic anxiety; I know this feeling, I live with this feeling, and finally it is breaking into mainstream awareness thanks to the Andrew Kukes Foundation For Social Anxiety. (Visit this link to this desperately needed organization.)

I need only give the title of a recent Detroit Free Press article on this foundation, created in memory of Andrew Kukes who committed suicide as a young man after having lived his entire, brief, life with social anxiety; chronic social anxiety can kill.

Anxiety disorder takes a son away forever
By Kristen Jordan Shamus Detroit Free Press Columnist
August 25, 2012

Maybe you felt it at your wedding, minutes before you stood in front of family and friends to profess your love.
Maybe it hit you just as you were about to give a big presentation at work or before an athletic competition.
Most of us have felt anxiety. It's that pit-in-the stomach panic that takes over just before you have to do something big.

But imagine if you felt that way all the time. Every time you had to speak to someone. Every time you went anywhere. Every time you did anything.

That's how it was for Andrew Kukes. Andrew had social anxiety disorder, an often misdiagnosed, little-understood condition that affects as many as 15 million Americans.

For years, he struggled to find a name for what plagued him. His family tried to help, sending him to specialist after specialist before finally learning what was wrong. But by then, Andrew had sunk into a deep depression.
"My phone rang one day, and it was Andy's older brother, and he said he'd found him and that Andy had killed himself," said his father, Jeff Kukes. "It still haunts us today; we could not find help for Andy."

See the full article at: The Detroit Free Press, thanks to Kristen Jordan Shamus Read More...

Jared Loughner And The Price We Pay for Stigma and Ignorance

This article is not an apology for Jared Loughner’s actions in Arizona. He deserves to be in prison for heinous crimes. But here is a story of a man in a similar situation who received treatment that changed the course of his life. Stigma and ignorance about mental illness only lead to devastated of lives -- individuals who suffer, their families who suffer, and those who may become the victims of violence as demonstrated in the Loughner case. The media as usual has it all wrong; let’s not discuss gun control in this context, let’s talk about treatment for the mentally ill. An ounce of prevention, a pound of cure …
As the author of this article notes:
“So, some may choose to focus on the debate regarding our nation's political rhetoric. But whether we're talking about John Hinckley, Mark Chapman or the more recent example of Jared Loughner, one thing we should all be able to recognize is that mental illness can be a fatal illness – and if left untreated, its costs are overwhelming.”

See the full article at this LINK:

Maine Voices: Where was mental health crisis care before Tucson tragedy happened?
Someone who found help in that city says it was available, but apparently Jared Loughner missed his chance at it.
The Portland Press Herald
(Randy Seaver of Biddeford is married and the stepfather of two boys. He works as a communications consultant.)

BIDDEFORD — The horrific event that transpired in Tucson on Saturday has inspired more than ample discussion regarding the tone and spirit of our nation's political discourse.

Despite all the fervent commentary, there is one piece of this puzzle that remains largely glossed over, however.
And this is where it gets a bit personal. When I was 22, I was living in Tucson and attending college part-time. Just like Jared Loughner, I was removed from school for many of the same reasons.

But I got lucky. I ended up at the Southern Arizona Mental Health Center (SAMHC) and spent the next several weeks there as an inpatient client.

I did not have insurance. I did not have any assets or even a job. My family was in Maine, thousands of miles away.
So, my ability to receive life-saving treatment and long-term support services was funded primarily on the back of the Arizona taxpayer.


Nearly a quarter century later, I like to think that investment has, so far, paid significant dividends. But I can assure you, it was a long-term and risky investment.”

Keris Myrick - Conquering Mental Illness With Advocacy: A New Hero

A MUST READ: Keris is an inspiration to me. I hope to one day overcome my impossible stage fright to speak publicly about my illness. What an amazing woman, and an amazing story. Bless you, Keris! Let all of us hold onto hope.
Mental-health advocate is also a symbol of recovery

By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
July 30, 2012, 3:25 a.m.

“For much of her life, Keris Myrick has tried to silence the voices that filled her head with suicidal thoughts and repeatedly sent her to a psychiatric hospital.

But now, Myrick, 51, who has schizo-affective disorder, is embracing one voice that has grown loud and clear — her own. And as she becomes a symbol of recovery and strength in the face of mental illness, others are listening to what she has to say.

Members of the nation's largest mental health advocacy organization, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, recently elected her their board president, giving the Pasadena resident a critical role in pushing for education, policy changes and better access to mental health care. The position is on top of her full-time job as chief executive of a nonprofit that provides peer support to thousands with mental illness in Los Angeles County.”

Read More of This Amazing Article Here
And many thanks to Anna Gorman of the LA Times for covering this story.

Must Have Book for Advocates

I began my journey with mental health advocacy by speaking out about my own mental illness, then focusing on the stigma surrounding all mental illnesses. Recently I have become keenly aware of the severity of our broken mental health care system which has abandoned those with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar, and schizoaffective disorder.

The following book will shock you to action and is really required reading for anyone who wants to understand why the Los Angeles County Jail is now the largest mental health “asylum” in the United States. “Asylum” used to mean “safe haven.” There is no such place for most severely mentally ill individuals. This has major financial and public health ramifications that will come to a head in the next few years.

Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness
Pete Earley, 2006

The Next Frontier: One Mind For Brain Research

Only the beginning ...

Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy challenged Americans to redefine the realm of possibility by sending a man to the moon and returning him home safely before the decade was out.
Today we face a scientific challenge of even greater magnitude.
Nearly 100 million Americans live with a disorder of the brain or central nervous system.
The torch on this mission has been passed to Patrick Kennedy.

More information at MOONSHOT.ORG

Prepare for the The Next Frontier: One Mind for Brain Research, May 23rd-May 25th, 2011.
Now is the time for emergency science. Now is the time for a moonshot to the mind.

Participate in Editing the DSM-5

The American Psychiatric Association is again revising the old Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV, 1994). The DSM-5 will hopefully be published in 2013.

Certain brain disorders are being redefined and their diagnostic criteria being clarified. Depersonalization Disorder, for the first time, will be recognized as a disorder that can be COMORBID with other disorders -- not simply a secondary symptom.

We all need to participate to support this change, and reiterate the need for education of physicians and other mental health professionals who seem very ill-informed on our disorder. It is important we speak up in numbers. Depersonalization Disorder is far more common than believed. Help make this known to the APA. This will subsequently affect (and be reflected in) the updated ICD (International Classification of Medical Disorders.)

We must be heard! Read on and follow the link to participate. Read More...

Elyn Saks - Professor with Schizophrenia

Elyn R. Saks has schizophrenia -- and you would never know. After revealing her illness, many close friends rejected her saying, "Had I known you had schizophrenia I would never have hung out with you." She is a mental health advocate, law professor, and author.

Link to her memoir: The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness

Bring Change 2 Mind

Visit: Bring Change 2 Mind

“1 in 6 adults and almost 1 in 10 children suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. Yet, for many, the stigma associated with the illness, can be as great a challenge as the disease itself. This is where the misconceptions stop. This is where bias comes to an end. This is where we change lives. Because this is where we Bring Change 2 Mind.”

Visit this extraordinary stigma-busting site and view the PSA produced by Glenn Close (her sister has bipolar disorder), directed by Ron Howard, and individuals who gathered in Grand Central Station, NYC to “come out of the closet” with their brain disorders.

Say What You Need To Say

Behind the Scenes: Making the PSA

"Minds On The Edge"

Minds On The Edge
MINDS ON THE EDGE: Facing Mental Illness is a multi-platform media project that explores severe mental illness in America.

The centerpiece of the project is a television program that will air on PBS stations in October 2009. This video component is part of a national initiative that includes an extensive web site and an ambitious strategy to engage citizens, professionals in many fields, and policy makers at all levels of government. The goal is to advance consensus about how to improve the kinds of support and treatment available for people with mental illness.

The television program MINDS ON THE EDGE: Facing Mental Illness effectively illuminates challenging ethical issues as well as systemic flaws in program and policy design, service coordination, and resource allocation that are contributing to a mental health system that is widely acknowledged to be broken. MINDS ON THE EDGE also provides a glimpse of many solutions that are currently being implemented across the country. These innovations, many shaped by the guidance and expertise of people with mental illness, offer promising solutions and hopeful direction to transform the mental health system.

Become Involved! Educate Others.
Visit the Website: MINDS ON THE EDGE