Thinking Big a Little Smaller

by Jane M. Engleman

We held our first book reading on Wednesday. I guess about 25 people came. I was struck by the strength of my peers as Christa, Matt, Jason, Yvonne, Yvonne, Maria and I spoke about the challenges we have faced as people who have suffered mentally. We also brought out the tools we use every day to stay stable and sane.

There are a few things I would like to accomplish in life both personally and with my colleagues:

  1. The celebration of strength, hope and mental health in the arts, music and writing
  2. The day with mental health will be as common as yoga centers, dentists and Whole Food Stores, when mental health will be administered by those who have experienced the pain, rage, fear and confusion of traumas to the brain and to our emotional lives
  3. Psychiatric Emergency Rooms where people in crisis can be comforted and cared for rather than shuffled and dismissed. These could be adjuncts to barriers on bridges and yellow signs at the train station warning against suicide.
  4. Respite Homes run by peer advocates in every community, beside every community mental health center and hospital
  5. The end of the use of jails as mental hospitals
  6. The employment, during treatment, of those suffering from chronic intermittent mental illness
  7. Voluntary, termed community residential treatment programs for those with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, OCD, GAD, PTSD, etc.
  8. Small Board & Cares with caring staff and access to community mental and medical health as well as education for those who may never recover to full capacity in the general public

Are you overwhelmed yet? I think we can think bigger. But I am tired tonight. I need to think smaller tonight. I need to remember our first book reading. I need to remember the questions from the audience about trauma, about motherhood and about resources. I need to know we have given enough for now and that we will never, ever give enough.

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