Category Archives: families and mental illness

Fantastic Review for Approaching Neverland

“The World’s Toughest Book Critic” recently lauded Approaching Neverland as “A captivating memoir of love, loss, mental illness and redemption.” – Kirkus Reviews
Read the full review

Joyce Cooling’s Moving NAMI Tribute

Loved meeting Joyce Cooling


Saturday’s SF Bay Area NAMIWalk was a huge success, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide free services to families dealing with mental illness throughout the SF Bay Area. Kickoff Speaker Joyce Cooling, the fabulous jazz guitarist whose brother has struggled for years with mental illness, gave an incredibly moving tribute to her brother, her mother, and the folks at NAMI, who she said were a godsend to her mother during her struggle to help her son. Major kudos to Joyce for her tremendous support, to Laurie Williams, NAMIWalk Director, for putting on a fabulous event, and to all the NAMI volunteers who work hard every day to make life easier for families struggling with mental illness. The Approaching Neverland Team, comprised of many wonderful book club friends, was proud to have participated! More information about SF Bay Area NAMI can be found at http://namiwalksfbay.org/

NNAMI’s Great Tips for Parents

Just found a great Australian site — National Network of Adult & Adolescent Children of Mentally Ill Parents — with super advice (see below). The site also features a great downloadable Family Management Crisis Plan.

http://www.nnaami.org

Tips for Parents with a mental illness for managing life with Children and Young people.

  • Be honest with you kids.
  • Let them know when you are feeling stressed.
  • Talk to them about what you can and can’t do.
  • Don’t wrap your kids up in cotton wool. (Hav to admit I’m a little in the dark about the cotton wool advice — pk).
  • Let them do ‘kids things’ within reason, let them go to birthday parties and to the pool to the gym.
  • Let them go to youth groups, sporting activities, church, religious activities.
  • Don’t be over protective.
  • Because when you are really unwell these positive experiences from these things can pay off.
  • Let them talk to friends and develop friendships in these activities; you have to let them be part of their community.
  • Keep well by taking your medication, have regular contact with your psychiatrist.
  • Give your kids positive reinforcement.
  • Tell them they have done a good job when they have done the washing up or the vacuuming or a task that you appreciate.
  • Tell them that you love them, unconditionally, as often as you can.
  • Does not matter what they do (your kids), good or bad, tell them that you love them.

20% of Approaching Neverland to NAMI!

In honor of Mother’s Day and my wonderful mother Barbara who had acute bipolar disorder, if you buy a copy of Approaching Neverland now thru May 31, 20% will go to NAMI Walk SF Bay Area to help other families dealing with mental illness!

Mental Health Parity in Health Bill

The Health Care bill signed into law today should help to improve the lives of individuals and families dealing with loved ones with mental illness. One important thing about the bill is that it requires mental health parity with that for physical illnesses in terms of annual and lifetime treatment benefits.  This would also require “carve-out” programs, or specialized managed care organizations that provide mental health services, to comply with parity requirements.  I’m hoping this makes a big difference in quality of life for the one in four families dealing with mental health issues.

Alamo Rotary Approaching Neverland

There’s nothing better than talking to a group of people who get together for the sole purpose of doing good things for their community.
I had the great pleasure of talking about families dealing with mental illness with the Alamo Rotary this afternoon. My hope is that organizations like Rotary will help spread the word to families in their communities who are struggling with with mental illness that help is available through organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which provides a crises help line, education, and family-to-family training in a supportive environment.

Braving the Storm!

Just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to all the great folks who braved the torrential downpour this past Wednesday to make it to my book event at Towne Center Books in Pleasanton. The storm was so bad that several trees were uprooted at Pleasanton BART!

Judy Wheeler, owner of Towne Center Books, made us all feel cozy and welcome with homemade cranberry nut bread, muffins, coffee and tea. Our enthusiastic crowd had a fantastic discussion about families and mental illness. It was one of my favorite book events to date.

Thanks again to all who came!