Susan Inman
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Susan Inman's memoir, After Her Brain Broke, Helping My Daughter Recover Her Sanity (Bridgeross, 2010), has been recommended both by NAMI and by EUFAMI, which are the world's largest organizations advocating for families coping with mental illnesses. In Canada, it has also been recommended by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, and the BC Schizophrenia Society. As well, it has received very positive reviews in numerous professional journals, including the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Susan's articles about mental illness have appeared in a variety of publications including the National Post, the Globe and Mail, the Province, The Tyee, the BC Teacher Newsmagazine, and CMHA-BC's Visions magazine. Susan is a past president of the British Columbia Schizophrenia Society's Vancouver/Richmond branch and a past vice-chair of Vancouver Coastal Health's Family Advisory Committee (FAC).

While a member of the FAC, in 2006, Susan drew up plans for a family conference focusing on meeting the needs of family caregivers for people living with severe mental illnesses. Susan has continued to actively participate in organizing this unique annual event which offers families, people living with illnesses, and staff an opportunity to learn about cutting edge scientific research and about evidence-based psychosocial rehabilitation programs.

While continuing to provide ongoing assistance to her daughter, who is recovering from a severe schizoaffective disorder, Susan is a very active public speaker about the situations of families coping with psychotic disorders. Susan has taught secondary school in Vancouver for over 20 years. She received her BA from Swarthmore College and her MA from UCLA.

Susan recently received a Queen Elizabeth 11 Diamond Jubilee Medal which is "a visible way to recognize outstanding Canadians." These medals "provide an opportunity to honour exceptional Canadians for their contributions to their fellow citizens, to our communities and to our country."

Entries by Susan Inman

How We Can Cure Our Mental Illness Illiteracy

(9) Comments | Posted October 9, 2014 | 5:28 PM

Despite the good intentions of Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 5 - 11), it's pretty hard to learn some of the most basic information we need to know about mental illnesses.

Many organizations, including the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) encourage us to take this...

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The Consequences of Mental Illness That Nobody Talks About

(0) Comments | Posted August 10, 2014 | 3:13 AM

Psychotic disorders are frequently accompanied by significant and disabling cognitive losses. These cognitive difficulties can persist even when other symptoms (delusions, hallucinations) are well controlled by anti-psychotic medications. Well-researched cognitive problems include difficulties with short term and working memory, focusing, sequencing (essential for planning), judgment and problem solving....

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CBC, Stop Telling People With Mental Illness They Don't Need Medication

(14) Comments | Posted May 29, 2014 | 8:29 AM

The Canadian Broadcast Corporation should consider the potential fallout from its June 7th Sunday Edition in which radio host Michael Enright enthusiastically endorsed the perspectives on mental illness of his guest, journalist Robert Whitaker. Both the on-air interview and CBC's follow-up article can easily persuade people...

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How Nancy Pelosi Broke My Heart

(10) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 12:30 PM

Like many bi-national Canadians, I have strong ties to my country of origin, the United States. I realized early on that American families were much better organized around helping people, like my daughter, who live with severe mental illnesses. During these years I've also realized that the U.S.'s influential mental...

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Researchers Should Seek Families' Input on Mental Illness

(48) Comments | Posted April 13, 2014 | 10:43 PM

People trying to help their family members struggling with severe mental illnesses don't have access to researchers. It's no surprise, then, that researchers ignore topics that reflect their perspectives on how to improve the mental health system.

In case any grad students, mental health services administrators or academics want to...

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The Future of People with Severe Mental Illnesses is in the Wrong Hands

(56) Comments | Posted December 3, 2013 | 4:41 PM

Planning for the future presents serious problems for parents of people with significant disabilities; when those families are dealing with psychotic illnesses, the future is especially frightening.

Organizations have become skillful at lobbying for humane supports for people with most disabilities. However, for people impacted by the most severe mental...

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Mental Illness Education Still Gets a Fail

(8) Comments | Posted October 21, 2013 | 12:29 PM

All kinds of well-meaning mental health messages are now offered during October. Nevertheless, too many parents don't realize that this next year is going to bring terrible news into their lives. Almost 4 per cent of the population develops schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and...

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Why Solutions to Vancouver's Mental Health Crisis Are Being Undermined

(11) Comments | Posted October 3, 2013 | 5:27 PM

Want to see what great political leadership looks like?

Read the five recommendations proposed by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Police Chief Jim Chu several weeks ago at a landmark press conference dealing with Vancouver's mental health crisis. They are urging the provincial government to...

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New Hope for Families Coping with Severe Mental Illnesses

(19) Comments | Posted July 29, 2013 | 5:42 PM

Family caregivers in Canada for people with psychotic illnesses have recently been given a rare reason to celebrate.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has released its new guidelines for involving families in the mental health system. Since family caregivers for people with psychotic disorders often...

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People Who Hear Voices Need Science-Based Advice

(223) Comments | Posted June 6, 2013 | 10:32 AM

Many perfectly healthy people have auditory hallucinations. However, auditory hallucinations can also often be part of the chaos of a psychotic illness. In recent years, numerous groups have developed to assist "voice hearers," as some wish to be called. Unfortunately, most of these groups don't want to recognize...

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Let's Learn from the Failures of US Mental Health Policies

(60) Comments | Posted May 13, 2013 | 9:52 AM

This is Prevention Week, part of Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S. Too bad that the policies promoted by Prevention Week's creators, the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), make it more likely that people with the most severe psychotic disorders --...

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For Psychotic People, Medication Means Survival

(61) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 12:45 PM

Once a year I get to feel very hopeful about the future of care for people like my daughter who live with severe psychotic disorders. The University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine sponsors an annual neuroscience conference focusing on psychotic disorders to update psychiatrists and physicians about...

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"Let's Talk" About Psychotic Disorders, Too

(13) Comments | Posted February 12, 2013 | 11:12 AM

Advertisements and billboards around Canada are encouraging us to discuss mental health problems as part of Bell's "Let's Talk" campaign on Feb. 12. Featuring Olympic medalist Clara Hughes, who has bravely shared her battles with depression, the campaign is a part of a multi-million dollar initiative...

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How to Make Working Work for Those with Mental Illnesses

(7) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 11:15 AM

While we are bombarded by the brutal evidence of how much failure there is in mental health care, it is important to notice what works in responding to severe mental illnesses. For people living with schizophrenia, medications are usually effective in helping them emerge from psychosis. However, the illness can...

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Why Don't We Support Families Coping with Mental Illnesses?

(8) Comments | Posted November 30, 2012 | 10:17 AM

Canada depends on the services of families who care for relatives stricken with Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injuries and other serious disorders. Sometimes, we even notice and celebrate their contributions which help reduce the cost of healthcare services. Some of this recognition just came from Barack Obama, since, in the...

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Hidden Lives, Coming Out on Mental Illnesses: Reviewed

(3) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 12:58 PM

What's it like to be psychotic and unable to distinguish what's real from what's not real? How do people try to restore a family member to their sanity? Or cope with a severely ill person when there seems to be no way out?

A new anthology, HIdden Lives,...

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What I Wish I Knew Before My Daughter's Psychotic Break

(38) Comments | Posted October 8, 2012 | 7:54 AM

Now that Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is over for another year, how many of you learned about the early warning signs of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder?

Or the Early Psychosis Intervention programs that offer the best help? Since over 3 per cent...

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Untreated Psychosis and Violence: It's Not a Stigma if it's True

(44) Comments | Posted August 14, 2012 | 8:04 AM

People with untreated psychotic disorders have a higher rate of violence than do the general population. The word "untreated" can't be overemphasized. People whose severe mental illnesses are treated do not commit more violent acts than do other people.

Acknowledging this reality is not politically correct...

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How Much Do Canadians Know About Psychotic Disorders? Not Enough

(8) Comments | Posted July 5, 2012 | 7:36 AM

The annual convention of the U.S.-based National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) just finished educating its 1700 participants on the latest research relevant for people living with severe mental illnesses. Both the opening and closing events focused on the important developments in cognitive remediation strategies for people with...

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The New Mental Illness Stigma? Offering Support

(78) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 7:52 AM

It is ironic that this week, the Mental Health Commission of Canada's (MHCC) international anti-stigma conference contains a session, offered by Canadians, with the most blatantly stigmatizing collection of ideas about families coping with mental illnesses that I have ever seen. The picture it weaves of these families...

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