It's hard to meet the needs of those impacted by this disorder when too many education programs fall short of equipping professionals and the public.
Author, After Her Brain Broke: Helping My Daughter Recover Her Sanity
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. 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 Visions magazine. While a member of Vancouver Coastal Health’s Family Advisory Committee 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; she helped organize this well-attended conference for the next 11 years. More recently, Susan initiated and co-chaired the Bringing Cognitive Remediation to British Columbia conference; efforts are continuing to implement the evidence-based cognitive remediation programs which can help the many people with schizophrenia who have disabling cognitive losses associated with the illness. 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 received her BA from Swarthmore College, her MA from UCLA, and taught secondary school in Vancouver for 25 years.
With a May 9th election approaching, people in B.C. are hearing good news about increased funding for mental health services. The B.C. government has accepted federal funding of $655 million linked to mental health services over the next ten years.
04/11/2017 01:29 EDT
Families who care for people with schizophrenia once had an organization that gave them a national voice. They no longer do. This lack of national representation impacts not just our own situations; it also hurts the people we support, because they are often unable to advocate on their own behalf.
03/21/2017 09:03 EDT
I want my daughter's best interests to be represented by the numerous disability rights organizations that have appeared in recent years. Sadly, these organizations, like the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, too often promote policies that pose real dangers to her. It's important to understand why a group like this would decide to hold these positions.
01/13/2017 06:31 EST
We hear about horrific situations in Canada when interactions between mentally unstable people and law enforcement lead to tragic outcomes. Less well known are the longtime efforts of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) to meet the needs of the 30% of their calls that deal with mental illness. While applauding the efforts of police to adapt, shouldn't we also be looking more closely at policies that are creating the chaos of so much untreated mental illness?
08/22/2016 01:53 EDT
I've been waiting a long time for a book like"How Can I Help? A Week in My Life as a Psychiatrist." Written by psychiatrists David Goldbloom and Pier Bryden, this book is the most thorough account I have seen of the thinking process, or what should be the thinking process, of contemporary psychiatrists. And it can change the entire way you go about asking for, and receiving, help from a mental health professional.
04/04/2016 02:49 EDT
A growing trend in the delivery of mental health services is the use of peer support workers. Peers, who have themselves experienced some kind of mental illness, can help meet some of the many needs that people with the most severe mental illnesses have. However, various ideological agendas have led the internationally powerful peer support movement in questionable directions.
01/18/2016 02:47 EST
Families in Canada fighting for evidence-based care for relatives living with psychotic disorders should see the tenacity of the American families. And Democratic Americans abroad, like me, can let our representatives know that we want the mental health system to begin to meet the needs of people with the most severe illnesses.
11/13/2015 10:36 EST
Families are being encouraged through groups like HVM to think of auditory hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, impaired functioning and other symptoms of severe mental illnesses as just part of the human condition, not medical problems.
08/29/2015 09:40 EDT
It's easy to think that if we just put more money into some kind of mental health services we could solve the problem. This belief prevents us from understanding the other complicated forces at work that keep some people trapped in severe mental illnesses.
08/04/2015 12:26 EDT
Efforts at improving mental illness literacy in Canada and the U.S. have been hampered by a problematic notion that education about biological aspects of mental illnesses will lead to greater stigmatizing of people with these disorders.
05/22/2015 13:42 EDT
Two recent books by high profile psychiatrists provide readers with background knowledge that is essential in shaping our own responses to one of the biggest social problems of our times: severe mental illnesses. Now that psychiatrists are increasingly willing to enter into the messy public arena, it's up to the public to see what we can do with the information they are providing.
04/21/2015 07:58 EDT
During the new session of the U.S. Congress, legislators will be considering the proposed "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act." The decisions they make can have a big impact on mental health care in Canada.
01/20/2015 12:47 EST
A landmark international survey has concluded that families caring for people with schizophrenia are at a breaking point. The ongoing survey is being conducted by EUFAMI, a European-based association of organizations supporting families coping with severe mental illnesses.
11/16/2014 11:24 EST
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 week to discuss mental illness, but there seems to be a puzzling assumption that we don't actually have to know much about mental illnesses in order to have meaningful discussions. I'm still looking at the website for links to the early signs of psychosis or any information about schizophrenia.
10/09/2014 05:28 EDT
Psychotic disorders are frequently accompanied by significant and disabling cognitive losses. Why don't people learn about these cognitive losses? This lack of information has enormous negative consequences. For instance, families who have not been told about these cognitive losses, may have very different interpretations of a family member's difficulties in keeping a room clean or in not relaying phone messages. Parents will respond differently to these kinds of situations if they learn that this behaviour isn't willful, but is symptomatic of an ongoing brain disorder.
08/10/2014 03:13 EDT
Since Canada, like the U.S., has almost no science based public education about psychotic disorders, people with these illnesses are especially vulnerable to messages that they don't need medications and are better off avoiding them. As well, both countries lack adequate psycho-education programs for people with these illnesses.
06/10/2014 08:31 EDT
This might come as quite a shock to the many American families I know who can't get treatment for their very ill sons and daughters whose psychotic states aren't 'passing.' These are families whose children have joined the millions of Americans living with untreated severe mental illnesses. They are homeless, victimized, and cycling in and out of jails and prisons.
05/20/2014 12:30 EDT
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. I hope they will consider the five areas discussed below.
04/13/2014 10:43 EDT
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. While it is impossible to deny that progress is being made, the simple fact is that our world, as it stands, has little desire to label people with mental illness as anything but crazy and dangerous.
12/03/2013 05:41 EST
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