Sunday, September 18, 2016

What does it mean to take responsibility for your mental illness?

What does it mean to take responsibility for your mental illness?

Robin Williams understood what it meant to take responsibility for his mental illness. He was very brave to continue a stressful career with the effort he made to maintain a sense of stability.
I think whether a person has a mental illness or not, they are responsible for what they do in life. Taking responsibility gives a person some sense of control of a disability that many times makes you think you can't do it. That disorder is wrong.

By having a mental illness, some may think they have an “easy out” when it comes to their behavior. I’m not one of them. I think, even more so, someone with mental illness should be responsible for his or her behavior.

I wouldn’t expect to be given a free ride in any situation just because I have Bipolar Disorder. I definitely wouldn’t expect someone to excuse my behavior if I chose not to attend a particular social function because I have Social Anxiety Disorder. I would expect to be treated with much more respect than that.

I truly believe that letting a person with mental illness get away with something like the above situation only increases stigma, not reduce it.

I’m a true advocate for those with mental illness and I believe that we should all be treated equal, no matter our mental illness, or any other illness whether it be cancer, diabetes, or fibromyalgia.

Taking responsibility for your mental illness is important in helping improve your self-esteem and confidence.  By increasing our confidence and self-esteem, we are showing the world that we are responsible for our actions. We do not get a “get out of jail” free pass just for having a mental illness.

If you let a person who has a mental illness use their “free pass”, then you are only continuing the stigma surrounding the illness.

We are all functioning members of society. We all function in one form or another. By separating out a portion of the population and not making them responsible for their behavior is increasing the stigma related to that member of society.

As I’ve said before, I have Bipolar Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and OCD, and Panic Attack Disorder and PTSD. But, when I introduce myself to someone, I don’t say, “Hi, I’m Vicki, and I have blah blah and blah and I am also blah blah blah and I suffer from blah and blah.”

Of course I don’t!  I say, “Hi, I’m Vicki, and I’m an author, and a grandmother, and I love my pets.” And, if we sat long enough and talked I would take out pictures and show you my four grandchildren and my dog and my parrot. I would tell you about the books I’ve written and the writing organization I helped found fifteen years ago.

The point is, I am more than my mental illness. We all are more than any illness or disability.  And we should be treated as such.

I am as responsible for my actions as anyone else in public. Whether I have a mental illness or not. To treat me otherwise, would be to increase the stigma surrounding the illness.

Please, if you meet me on the street, let’s talk about my pets or my grandchildren. I’m more than happy to discuss my mental illness with you, but don’t ever excuse me for it. And, especially don't avoid me because of having Bipolar Disorder. 

In reality, you may see me on the street and never know about my mental illness. We’re not all uncontrollable, raving beasts as shown on TV or the news. We’re normal human beings living normal lives.

We are completely trustworthy and responsible. And, we should be treated as such.

You would expect the same from me, wouldn’t you?

If you want to talk about how you can learn to be more than your mental illness, I'm here to listen.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Julie A Fast interviews Suicide Survivor

I have known Julie A Fast for a long time. She was one of the first people I turned to after my Bipolar Disorder diagnosis. I've bought her books, followed her blogs, and now I follow any of her articles from the Huffington Post to Bipolar Happens.

Here is an interview Julie did for Suicide Prevention Week.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

September is Suicide Prevention Month

September holds many awareness days & days of recognition, but the one we feel is most important is the National Suicide Prevention Week - September 5 - 11, 2016. In the U.S. suicide is the 10th ranking cause of death, but the 2nd leading cause of death among youth aged 15 - 24!

According to the American Association of Suicidology, "suicide prevention is everyone's business."

The National Association of Mental Illness claims September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and on Sept. 10, we observe World Suicide Prevention Day. It is a time to talk about issues relating to suicide prevention, promote resources and awareness, how you can help others and how to talk about suicide without increasing the risk of harm. - See more at:

The World Health Organization created a fact sheet for Suicide.


Fact sheet
Reviewed April 2016

Key facts

  • Over 800 000 people die due to suicide every year.
  • For every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide every year. A prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds.
  • 75% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally.


Every year more than 800 000 people take their own life and there are many more people who attempt suicide. Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire countries and has long-lasting effects on the people left behind. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and was the second leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds globally in 2012.
Suicide does not just occur in high-income countries, but is a global phenomenon in all regions of the world. In fact, 75% of global suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2012.
Suicide is a serious public health problem; however, suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions. For national responses to be effective, a comprehensive multisectoral suicide prevention strategy is needed.

Who is at risk? 

While the link between suicide and mental disorders (in particular, depression and alcohol use disorders) is well established in high-income countries, many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis with a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness.
In addition, experiencing conflict, disaster, violence, abuse, or loss and a sense of isolation are strongly associated with suicidal behaviour. Suicide rates are also high amongst vulnerable groups who experience discrimination, such as refugees and migrants; indigenous peoples; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) persons; and prisoners. By far the strongest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt.

Methods of suicide

It is estimated that around 30% of global suicides are due to pesticide self-poisoning, most of which occur in rural agricultural areas in low- and middle-income countries. Other common methods of suicide are hanging and firearms.
Knowledge of the most commonly used suicide methods is important to devise prevention strategies which have shown to be effective, such as restriction of access to means of suicide.

Prevention and control

Suicides are preventable. There are a number of measures that can be taken at population, sub-population and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts. These include:
  • reducing access to the means of suicide (e.g. pesticides, firearms, certain medications);
  • reporting by media in a responsible way;
  • introducing alcohol policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol;
  • early identification, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress;
  • training of non-specialized health workers in the assessment and management of suicidal behaviour;
  • follow-up care for people who attempted suicide and provision of community support.
Suicide is a complex issue and therefore suicide prevention efforts require coordination and collaboration among multiple sectors of society, including the health sector and other sectors such as education, labour, agriculture, business, justice, law, defense, politics, and the media. These efforts must be comprehensive and integrated as no single approach alone can make an impact on an issue as complex as suicide.

Challenges and obstacles

Stigma and taboo
Stigma, particularly surrounding mental disorders and suicide, means many people thinking of taking their own life or who have attempted suicide are not seeking help and are therefore not getting the help they need. The prevention of suicide has not been adequately addressed due to a lack of awareness of suicide as a major public health problem and the taboo in many societies to openly discuss it. To date, only a few countries have included suicide prevention among their health priorities and only 28 countries report having a national suicide prevention strategy.
Raising community awareness and breaking down the taboo is important for countries to make progress in preventing suicide.
Data quality
Globally, the availability and quality of data on suicide and suicide attempts is poor. Only 60 Member States have good-quality vital registration data that can be used directly to estimate suicide rates. This problem of poor-quality mortality data is not unique to suicide, but given the sensitivity of suicide – and the illegality of suicidal behaviour in some countries – it is likely that under-reporting and misclassification are greater problems for suicide than for most other causes of death.
Improved surveillance and monitoring of suicide and suicide attempts is required for effective suicide prevention strategies. Cross-national differences in the patterns of suicide, and changes in the rates, characteristics and methods of suicide highlight the need for each country to improve the comprehensiveness, quality and timeliness of their suicide-related data. This includes vital registration of suicide, hospital-based registries of suicide attempts and nationally representative surveys collecting information about self-reported suicide attempts.

WHO response

WHO recognizes suicide as a public health priority. The first WHO World Suicide Report “Preventing suicide: a global imperative” published in 2014, aims to increase the awareness of the public health significance of suicide and suicide attempts and to make suicide prevention a high priority on the global public health agenda. It also aims to encourage and support countries to develop or strengthen comprehensive suicide prevention strategies in a multisectoral public health approach.
Suicide is one of the priority conditions in the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) launched in 2008, which provides evidence-based technical guidance to scale up service provision and care in countries for mental, neurological and substance use disorders. In the WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, WHO Member States have committed themselves to working towards the global target of reducing the suicide rate in countries by 10% by 2020.

 There are a number of organizations dedicated to getting helpful information to the right people. This information is especially important for Suicide Awareness. 

Personally, I've attempted suicide more times than I'd rather say, starting when I was only thirteen years old. I can say, I'm only here due to God's intervention and His miracles in getting me help at just the right time.

My meditation and present mindfulness is "One day at a time."

I've pledged to be StigmaFree and want to find others who can take the pledge as well.

International Bipolar Foundation presents this informative webinar on September 14, 2016:
Preventing Suicide Among Persons with Bipolar Disorder

Who is International Bipolar Foundation?

About International Bipolar Foundation

International Bipolar Foundation is a not for profit organization based in San Diego whose mission is to improve understanding and treatment of bipolar disorder through research; to promote care and support resources for individuals and caregivers; and to erase stigma through education. 

International Bipolar Foundation is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or received from International Bipolar Foundation.

Visit us online for more information:

If you have Bipolar Disorder, the IBPF offers many resources:

If you have bipolar disorder, you should know that you are not alone. 60 million people worldwide have bipolar disorder, and 1 in 4 people experience some type of mental illness. 
International Bipolar Foundation is here to provide information for you to learn more about living with bipolar disorder. Education is a key part of managing bipolar disorder, so congratulate yourself for taking steps to learn more and being proactive about your health. Visit our learn page for an outline of the symptoms, course, and causes of bipolar disorder. Check out the following links to learn more:

Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder book

Our Healthy Living book is an overview of all aspects of healthy living with bipolar disorder, including medication, nutrition, relationships, travel, aging, spirituality, and more. This is especially helpful for those who are newly diagnosed and looking for a "user manual." You can also share the book with your loved ones to help them understand what you are going through and how they can help. Translations and country specific chapters are also available. Click here to request a free PDF. 


Webinars are online presentations that are about an hour long. We have a live webinar almost every week with experts on different areas of bipolar disorder. Each webinar is recorded and posted to our website. The webinars go in depth on specific topics and are designed to help you learn more about different treatment options, developing research trends, or everyday tips to manage your symptoms. Here are some examples of the types of topics covered:
Click here to see all of our recorded webinars, and here to see a list of upcoming live webinars.


We have about 40 active bloggers who write monthly posts on different topics related to bipolar disorder, such as therapyrelationshipsfamilypregnancy, and exercise. View all of the blogs here, where you will see a list of different topics on the side of the page. People like to read the blogs for hope and inspiration. By reading the blogs you can see that you are not alone and learn things that have helped other people in similar situations. 

Youtube Question and Answer Series

We have a series of youtube videos where experts in the field answer common questions about bipolar disorder. Some are from a medical perspective and others are from people who have lived experience with bipolar disorder. Here are some examples:
See all of the videos here

Girl Scout Mental Health Awareness Patch

Girl scouts earn our Mental Health Awareness patch by completing activities to learn about the brain and its influence on thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Learn more and request more information here

Treatment and Support Resources

We have a database of resources such as support groups, treatment centers, psychiatrists, and therapists. View our resource page or email us at for help finding a referral. US consumers can also use this treatment locator.
If you have questions or need additional help, email us at 

Who is the National Association of Mental Illness?

The National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) has quite a bit of information regarding Suicide Awareness Week, and Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10, 2016)

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation's leading voice on mental health. Today, we are an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need. NAMI relies on gifts and contributions to support our important work. 

What We Do

We educate. Offered in thousands of communities across America through our NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates, our education programs ensure hundreds of thousands of families, individuals and educators get the support and information they need. 

We advocate. NAMI shapes the national public policy landscape for people with mental illness and their families and provides grassroots volunteer leaders with the tools, resources and skills necessary to save mental health in all states.  

We listen. Our toll-free NAMI HelpLine allows us to respond personally to hundreds of thousands of requests each year, providing free referral, information and support—a much-needed lifeline for many. - See more at:

We lead. Public awareness events and activities, including Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), NAMIWalks and other efforts, successfully combat stigma and encourage understanding. NAMI works with reporters on a daily basis to make sure our country understands how important mental health is. - See more at:

NAMI encourages you to help prevent suicide

Being prepared for a Crisis, NAMI recommends this article.

Who is the International Association for Suicide Prevention?
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) is dedicated to:
  • preventing suicidal behaviour,
  • alleviating its effects, and
  • providing a forum for academics, mental health professionals, crisis  workers, volunteers and suicide survivors.
Founded by the late Professor Erwin Ringel and Dr. Norman Farberow in 1960, IASP now includes professionals and volunteers from more than fifty different countries. IASP is a Non-Governmental Organization in official relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) concerned with suicide prevention.

Who is Suicide is Preventable?
Their program, "Know the Signs"is a statewide suicide prevention social marketing campaign built on three key messages: 
Know the signs. 
Find the words. 
Reach out. 
This campaign is intended to educate Californians how to recognize the warning signs of suicide, how to find the words to have a direct conversation with someone in crisis and where to find professional help and resources. You can be a part of this campaign and other statewide suicide prevention efforts by joining the Your Voice Counts online forum at 

http://www.yourvoicecounts.orgThis campaign is funded through counties by the voter approved Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) (Prop. 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. 
This suicide prevention social marketing campaign is one of several contracts awarded to realize the goals and objectives of the Suicide Prevention Initiative. Other statewide initiatives funded by MHSA include Stigma and Discrimination Reduction and Student Mental Health.

If you are feeling suicidal or know of someone who needs help, browse Help to find a crisis center anywhere in the world.

Don't underestimate the power of prayer and seeking guidance from a Higher Entity. If you attend church, meet with your minister, elder, or deacon. Let them know what is going on with you and ask for their advice. They can keep everything you say in confidence, unless you claim you want to commit suicide or do self-harm.

If you have any questions about yourself or a loved one, you can ask me or Google for further information. Otherwise contact your local authorities such as your doctor, an Emergency Room, 911, or other resources in your area.

I am your friend. I can be your listening post. 

Hold On. Pain Ends.