Category Archives: Mental Health Stigma

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

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Let’s Go Back

Let’s go back to when Joan and I were 12 and 9, halfway to ten. A boy from school — kind of a thug who was bigger than the rest of the boys in Joan’s class because he’d been held back — had a crush on her and followed her home from school. Although Joan could hold her own around girls, exhibiting a devil-may-care attitude that made them envious, boys — especially big boys with loud voices like this one — made Joan watchful and quiet.

I watched from the living room window as Joan avoided the boy around the spherical juniper bush until he grabbed her sleeve and pulled her close to kiss her. When she screamed, I dashed out the front door and rammed head first into the boy’s side.

He turned, enraged. “Who do you think you are, you little twit?” he asked derisively. Joan wiped away a tear.

“Leave my sister alone!” I screamed, face flushed, taking s step back as I raised my fists. Joan laughed.

“You’re both crazy like your mom,” he sneered before spitting into the juniper and sauntering away.

Although Joan put her hand over her mouth as we walked toward the front porch, I could see the smile beneath it.

Now let’s move forward.

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/

Within Our Reach

Looking forward to reading Rosalyn Carter’s new book Within our Reach, which covers the recent history (past 30 years) of mental illness in America and how today,  recovery is more possible than ever before.

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.