Gang consultant Jason Davis on the impact of violence, on suicide, schizophrenia and bipolar diagnosis.
By Brandon Staglin August 5, 2010
I have schizophrenia, and sometimes I think about whether I have let my illness define my life. I work for my family’s nonprofit, International Mental Health Research Organization (IMHRO), as a mental health advocate. If you asked me when I was a kid what work I would want to do, the last thing I would have said was to take on a family enterprise. I used to value my individuality above anything else, and dreaded being corrupted by conformity. Thanks in part to my illness, my values have shifted since then. I had a psychotic break in 1990, the summer after my freshman year at Dartmouth College. A friend managed to get me to a psychiatry ward. At first, I could not accept that I had a mental illness. I had a life plan, to be an astronautical engineer! I would not be cut down by a schizophrenia diagnosis.
Three nights into my first hospitalization I decided I would get out of the psych ward immediately. I was unable to sleep, furious, and refused to take meds. A nurse was on her way with an injection to make me sleep. I would not let her violate my consciousness! [...] continue the story
People say laughter is the best medicine, but can it be used to treat severe mental illness? Exploring the therapy of laughter, Cracking Up provides a compelling view of how comedy can change the mind of an individual and the thoughts of a society.
Cracking Up follows the story of 11 courageous people who stand up for their mental health—literally! Using laughter as a form of therapy, counselor, comedian and author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead to Happiness and Success David Granirer trains these individuals who suffer from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and manic depression, to confront their problems through stand-up comedy. While learning to laugh at themselves, they get to share their stories and address public stigma with an audience that has a lot to learn about mental disorders.
Giving a face to mental illness, this documentary introduces audiences to inspiring individuals, such as Michael Warren who has both bi-polar disorder and attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Michael couldn’t speak properly until he was a teenager, but it hasnt deterred him from his dream to become a stand-up comedian. Likewise, Paul Decarie suffered traumatic injury to his brain and spine after falling off a [...] continue the story
Every child is born full of promise, ready to go forth into the world and meet his or her destiny. But for those diagnosed with schizophrenia in the prime of their lives, independence, acceptance, and even a place to call home usually slips beyond their grasp. Over three years, film-makers Abbey Jack Neidik and Irene Lilienheim Angelico followed three engaging young men living with mental illness. “Unbreakable Minds” captures the emotional journeys as they struggle with their inner demons and try to find their own place in a world that regards them with fear and hostility. With exceptional intimacy and honesty, these men speak about their darkest days and brightest triumphs, and take us with them to catch a vivid glimpse of what they go through and to experience schizophrenia from the inside out. Through their heroic examples, they also offer a challenge to society to smash this last taboo.