My story is really about one of my daughters.
To protect her privacy as I tell her story, I’ll call her Elizabeth. Elizabeth has had suicidal ideations from since she was about 12 to about 17. At 4 years old, she was misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Within hours of being at the Washington Hilton, I knew I was in for a special experience.
As I began to set up Beacon’s booth at the 2017 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Annual Convention, I couldn’t help but notice the hopeful faces all around me.
Perhaps there’s a good reason it took me until late June, LGBT Pride Month, to write this blog.
The fact is, as a gay man in 2017, I don’t feel proud; I feel anxious. As both a clinician and a consumer of behavioral health services, I’m in a unique position to appreciate why LGBT folks are increasingly nervous today.
Regardless of one’s political leanings, everyone can agree that this presidential campaign has caused more anxiety than most, if not all.
The ingredients concoct a recipe for a nail-biting anxiety: combative and often offensive rhetoric, Wikileaks disclosures, the suggestion of Russia’s role in tampering with our democratic process, a party at odds with itself due to its own candidate – all combine for a nasty plate of political heartburn.
As a Beacon Health Options Peer Support Specialist raising a child with multiple disabilities, I never fully grasped that recovery is an inside job – until I had to recover myself.
Many Beacon locations employ peers, people with lived experience of mental illness or substance use disorder, to empower the individuals we serve to live their lives to the fullest potential. We might help them to navigate the health care system, or to define their own paths to recovery.
On June 23, Britain, by way of public referendum and by a 52-48% margin, became the first member state to vote to leave the European Union (EU). Nobody had planned for this.
As a tiny amount of Brexit dust begins to settle, it remains to be seen exactly what this unprecedented decision will mean for the National Health Service (NHS) and mental health services in the United Kingdom.
I know when some people see that July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, they may ask themselves why such a thing is even necessary.
Why talk about minorities specifically? Why can’t we focus on mental health issues generally? The answer is that mental health issues do not discriminate, but societal inputs can make identifying and treating mental health issues in minorities even more difficult than in the population at large.
Beacon Health Options’ new Oakland, CA office sits literally and figuratively at the intersection of health care and technology.
To one side of our building stands Kaiser’s corporate headquarters. To the other side stand towers occupied by San Francisco’s spreading tech boom, including Uber’s new office. It’s a fitting metaphor for where Beacon stands as well – at a point of transition to a world where technology is an essential enabler of services.