family circle partners
Shatterdays; Bipolar Lives
Scheduled date of Completion January 2017
This book portrays one woman’s lifelong battle with bipolar disorder and the efforts of her mother and sister to help her achieve independence and improve the quality of her life. Family intervention at the onset of symptoms, advocacy and a lifelong commitment to a community mental health center were the defining characteristics of this woman’s success.
We wrote this book for those who find themselves caught in the web of mental illness. We are acutely aware of the self-imposed hell many families create for themselves by ignoring behavior, which may signal mental illness. Therefore, the larger message conveyed in this story is regardless of social standing, education or income level people can overcome the constraints imposed by a debilitating mental illness. Families of mentally ill persons need to become proactive in identifying troublesome behavior in their loved ones.
Untreated mental illness is a major public health concern. It affects the productivity of corporations, destroys families, endangers public safety, contributes to other health and social issues such as domestic and gun violence, drug addiction and takes countless numbers of lives through suicide each year.
Our society has reached a critical point in its long history of diagnosing and caring for the mentally ill. Ongoing research continues to make significant advances in understanding the biological aspects of mental illness. However, advances in science have outpaced equally important efforts in changing the national dialogue to create a more enlightened view of the expanded concept of mental health.
Hence, we have made little progress in addressing the needs of a large segment of our population. The bar on ‘crazy’ has risen with hospital emergency rooms and jails seeing greater numbers of intakes due to mental health issues. Therefore, the authors’ propose to raise the bar on ‘action’ by changing the national discourse from mental illness to mental health. Disorders of the mind should receive the same high standards used to educate and prevent physical illnesses
The authors’ recommend a holistic approach to reduce the stigma and prejudice associated with mental illness by raising public awareness. Educational programs involving community-level health professionals, law enforcement, care providers and concerned citizens can accomplish this objective. Armed with an enlightened perspective many concerned voices can lead to substantive change in the way this nation views mental illness. Changes in public policy occur when concerned people consider an issue important enough to enter into dialogue with the ‘powers that be’ to promote change.
In today’s world with decreasing legislative interest in mental health issues, and a rising number of cases receiving national attention, early detection of mental illness in the family followed by community-level involvement are prerequisites to action-oriented intervention and successful treatment. Past and recent events demand a call to action.