The NH Bureau of Behavioral Health has released the results of the 2013 NH Public Mental Health Consumer Survey Report. Download a copy of the report today and see how people using the NH public mental health system have rated their experiences.
Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) can assist with your employment needs. Are you looking for a job? Do you have questions about your Social Security or Medicaid benefits? Are you helping a student gain skills for their future? Are you an employer with staffing needs? GSIL can tailor an employment solution for you. For more than 30 years, GSIL has been making local quality job placements for people with disabilities in New Hampshire. Contact GSIL for more information.
DECEMBER 5, 2013, 4:00-5:00 PM ET
The HHS Partnership Center and The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention will co-host this webinar to provide information that faith leaders need to know about suicide prevention (e.g., warning signs, how to help) and offer ways they can help educate their communities and provide support. It will help them understand and strengthen the resources in their own faith tradition that promote mental and spiritual health and/or can help prevent suicide.
Mental health is part of overall total health. If you are concerned about your own mental health or that of your loved one, read this article to learn where to go to get help. As with any illness, identifying and treating a mental health concern in the early stages leads to better outcomes. Don’t wait, seek help now.
Learn the facts here
Knowing that twin diagnoses tends to mean a tougher road might actually help people work harder to improve their mental health. Read more.
College students and health care, how does the Affordable Care Act impact students and what are their options?
In Our Own Voice
By Cabrinni Kulish
Why I became involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) New Hampshire and the “In Our Own Voice” (IOOV) program. I have battled with depression all my life, starting with my first major episode when I was 14 years of age. I never truly believed that I could be happy, and manage my depression. It had managed me for best part of 28 years.
I came to America in 1987 from Dublin, Ireland at 19 years of age with a two-year-old son. Coming to America, I felt it might give me a new start, and possibly make the depression go away. There were times when it was more manageable; however, it always held me back. I lost my health, my marriage, and my ability to work due to a serious mental illness. Living with depression, postpartum depression, posttraumatic stress and anxiety, untreated, is impossible. I can say this, as I tried to for many years. Many of the decisions I made while suffering with mental illness had a direct impact on people who I love very much. When my depression was at its worst, the lowest and darkest times, my mind was constantly thinking how can I possibly go on? Every day I would think about suicide. From 1999 to 2003 were the worst years of my life. It was not just a daily struggle; it was a struggle from hour to hour and sometimes minute to minute. The thought of getting out of bed and dealing with everyday pressures was too much for my mind to deal with. I was overwhelmed at the thought of living. These were my dark days.
In 2003 after serious adverse reaction to a medication, I lost the use of my left side, and had a seizure/stroke. For the next 9 years, I learned through counseling, education and support how to get my life back or maybe even how to get it started without having depression manage me. Acceptance was very hard. To say I had depression was one thing, however to say I was “mentally ill” for me was very difficult to accept. I had a block in my mind that I did not want to be called mentally ill. It is easier to say I have cancer or depression than a mental illness. Over time, I did learn about my mental illness and how to manage it. Only then could the treatments truly work. I learned what worked for me, and what treatments did not. I would also learn to advocate for myself. Gaining credibility within the medical community about my own illness was difficult. At times, some doctors would not listen and wrote off many concerns to the depression. If I had an ache or pain, fatigue or a regular medical issue, many times, it was thought to be in my head. I actually had fibromyalgia along with my mental illness and the more I did, the harder it was to manage. Many people do not understand that the people who live with mental illness would do anything to fix it or manage it. We would do anything to have happy lives. It took several years to find a doctor who I could learn to trust and who would listen to me. It did take time to find the right counselor and primary care person who I would have a long-term working relationship with, assisting me to get my life back on track.
Initially I returned to college to obtain a degree in nursing. However in 2003 everything changed. I had been accepted into three nursing programs but due to physical limitations and memory problems, I had to change my career plans. I changed my major to human services and continued to get my Associates Degree in Science at Lakes Region Community College in Laconia. From there I went to Springfield College in Manchester New Hampshire to obtain my Bachelors of Science majoring in Human Services and eventually getting my Masters in Science majoring in Organizational Management and Leadership. Going on from there to UNH in Durham as a LEND Fellow studying Leadership in Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. Had I not had the right counseling, support and treatment for my mental illness this would never been possible.
While taking a class in Springfield College, a speaker came in from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI-NH, he talked about his journey and experience of living with mental illness. He talked about the stigma, fear and acceptance from ourselves, our families and our communities around mental illness. A professor asked me later if I would be interested in sharing my story. At first, I thought no way. I was embarrassed about all the things I had said and done when I was depressed or manic. I was not sure if I could share my story, as it was difficult for me to share even with my best friends.
Then a few weeks later, I had a very good friend who struggled with depression lose their battle and life, because they did not get the help they needed on time. Fear, stigma and lack of education contributed to this outcome. I felt if I did not speak up about living with mental illness, the stigma, the fear we feel daily because of mental illness, who would? I wondered if I could make a difference in anybody’s life. I wondered if anybody could be saved from living the life I had lived or from taking their own? Could I walk into a class, church, civic community center and talk to the public about living with a mental illness and recovery? And what about recovery, do people actually know about recovery? Or how to manage a mental illness? All my life I had heard bad stories about mental illness and outcomes, but it wasn’t until the speaker came in to Springfield College had I heard about recovery from somebody else. I felt it was very important that I step out of my comfort zone and find out more about the training for the “In Our Own Voice” speakers program with NAMI.
Almost four years later, I can say without a doubt, that becoming involved in the IOOV program was the best, most life-changing experience in my whole journey of my recovery. Not only did I get a tremendous amount of support from NAMI on how to be a speaker and how to tell my story effectively, but I learned more about the journey I had lived with; and was living and would continue to be successful with. The training program allowed me to meet others who had lived a very similar life and survived. It felt amazing to feel comfortable in my own skin and not embarrassed to say that I have a mental illness. I felt a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and I felt confident for the first time in my life. After the training, I felt that if I could share this with one person, if one person could get help or take away anything from our presentations, it would be so worth it. If one person could learn anything from my experience and not have to suffer the way I did. I would tell anybody who would listen.
Since then I have given presentations at many levels, we go into high schools, hospitals, churches, recovery programs, businesses, community and civic organizations, police academies, any group of people who request the “In Our Own Voice” program. I am also a state trainer for this program. This program and the training can have an impact on a person and a community on many levels. It is our goal to bring this program to every town and every community so that people affected by mental illness, and their families, can learn to live with mental illness without feeling the stigma, fear or hopelessness again, and to learn that recovery is more than possible.
To learn more about the In Our Own Voice program visit the NAMI NH website.
Stop bullies and bullying.
Whether you are a parent, educator, or concerned friend of the family, there are 10 steps you can take to stop and prevent bullying. Do you know them all? Learn more here.
A landmark moment for mental health coverage has taken place. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a long-awaited “final rule” dictating that mental health be covered equal to physical health!