Living a Good Life with Mental Illness is Totally Possible

After I came to terms with my diagnosis, I began doing more and more research on the topic of mental illness and mental health.  I wanted to know what kind of information was available, and was there a glimmer of hope that could be shed on my situation. Would I eventually be a person who would end up in a hospital with a grim future to look forward to? The thoughts were sad and depressing.

In my research, I came across the Ted Talks video that was presented by Elyn Saks on her experience living with schizophrenia, which is a chronic mental disorder that affects a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors.  While this disorder is not as common as many of the other mental illnesses, this can be very disabling.  As I watched her speak about her mental condition, her experiences, and her accomplishments, she gave me hope. She is a law, psychology, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences professor at USC Gould School of Law, she is an adjunct professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego; and faculty at the New Center for Psychoanalysis.  She received her law degree from Yale Law School and her PhD from New Center for Psychoanalysis.  She is quite an accomplished scholar.  She has written many books and published several articles.

She gave me hope that I can live a good life despite having a mental health disorder.  Let me be clear about something, living well with a mental disorder does takes lots of patience, and hard work, but it is definitely worth it.  You are not doomed, and your life is not over.  Once the shock and denial of this type of diagnosis wears off, that is when the real work can begin. 

The stigma of mental illness in my opinion is the deterrent of so many people to living their best lives. 

There is still so much shame and embarrassment around these illnesses and are often looked at as less serious than other illnesses. The time has come to have these conversations about mental illness and educate all of those who are afraid and uneducated about the subject.   

Mental Health First Aid for All

I have a natural interest in defeating the negative stereotypes and stigmas that surround mental health disorders.  One in five adults will experience a mental health illness in each year.  While many people are still oblivious to these statistics, it is imperative to let everyone know the truth about mental illness and mental health disorders.  Mental illness does not discriminate and can strike anyone at any time.  This information is crucial for everyone to know if they or a loved one experience a mental health crisis.

While doing some research on the topic, I came across a mental health first aid class.  The class was created back in 2001 in Australia.  It is an 8-hour class and at the end of the class participants can identify warning signs, and risk factors for someone who may be in crisis.  The class teaches you strategies on how to deal with individuals who are dealing with mental health issues and how to assist them. 

After reading about the class, I decided it would be a good idea to take the class and see what I would learn.  As a person who has experience with mental illness, I thought that the class was very informative and would be very beneficial for the masses to have access to this type of training.  The mentally ill are often mishandled and many times mistreated and that may be because there is a lack of knowledge and empathy on the part of the public with how to deal with them.  This mental health first aid class should be mandatory training for authorities, law enforcement officials, and educators should they ever find themselves faced with this situation. CPR classes are readily available and mental health first aid should be as well.    

There was so much information, and this is a good way to get the word out about mental illness and what to do if one encounters a person who is in the middle of a crisis.    

For information on classes, please visit: