Sometimes we end up on a path we never intended nor would have chosen, but it turns out to be an absolute calling. This is what happened to me after my two older sons were diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Initially, my world fell apart, as our family struggled to understand mental illness and addiction. Services were often inadequate and cultural attitudes insensitive which only added to the already significant challenges of the diagnoses. As a nurse, I had previously been fairly ignorant to the plight faced by those with mental health conditions and addiction, but here I was plunged onto a very steep learning curve.
As a society we are becoming aware of the need to know more about mental illness and addiction. My experience as an RN led me to see how education and training could fill in the gaps and improve the care and service that people with these conditions receive. I wanted to help educate and advocate, and this led me back to school. I have completed a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and have taken courses towards a Master of Divinity. These diseases are far reaching and require a comprehensive approach, so the lens I use is that of body, mind, and spirit, a holistic view.
Whether in your personal or professional life, we all deal with mental health issues in one form or another. Having a basic understanding of the diseases and identifying tools to use in navigating interactions with those who are experiencing mental health conditions and/or addiction can provide confidence. My mission is to help people become aware of the changes they can make to improve their own lives and those of people affected by mental illness and addiction.