International Bipolar Foundation
From the International Bipolar Foundation, click to visit our website



Greetings all!

Thank you all who diligently voted for us in the Ford Focus competition for a $10,000 grant. Although we made the first cut, we did not ultimately win. If you still have the energy, please keep voting for us in the Pepsi Challenge (see below).

In the wake of the tragic Arizona shooting, I have dedicated a large amount of space to various articles about it & the misconceptions of mental illness that accompanied it.

Muffy Walker

P.S. Please contact me at anytime:

January 20, 2011
If you are in a crisis,
please call:

1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Join Our Mailing List
Bipolar Links

Please help us win. We have gone from 85th to 39th place,  

but need to be in the top 10 to win.


Help International Bipolar Foundation Win $5,000 From Pepsi
IBPF is competing for a $5,00 grant from The Pepsi Refresh Project during the month of January. The winners will be decided by popular vote. IBPF needs your three votes every day during the month of January.
Less than a minute of your day can help us further educate society about Bipolar Disorder.
IBPF will use the grant to print and distribute a book on "Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder" pepsi
Sign up for voting reminders by sending an e-mail to and for a chance to WIN AN iPAD!

Looking for a fun and exciting way to make a difference for someone with bipolar disorder?  Are you competitive?  Do you like to watch your friends and family do ridiculous and silly things on stage?  Do you yourself??? Then get ready for:

 A fun and interactive trivia game show where YOU are the entertainment!
 In teams (tables) of ten, you and your friends will compete for a spot on stage by answering trivia questions.     It is all in good fun and educational, too - expect to learn about what your loved one or coworker deals with when they have a mental illness.  Of course, there will be great food and drink!   It's all for a great cause - help us raise money and awareness so that we can continue our work to reduce stigma and promote research. 
Friday, February 25, 2011
Hilton Torrey Pines
em for more information or
to purchase tickets $200 each.
Don't miss out on this fun, fast-paced game show starring YOU!
Only 7 tables remain


Massachusetts General Hospital Leading Nationwide, Comparative Study Of Common

Bipolar Medications

The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Bipolar Clinic and Research Program

with the Bipolar Trials Network is launching Bipolar CHOICE (Clinical Health

Outcomes Initiative in Comparative Effectiveness), a 10-site nationwide trial

evaluating the real-world advantages and disadvantages of quetiapine, a widely

prescribed second generation antipsychotic mood stabilizing medication, compared

to lithium, the gold standard mood stabilizer, for the treatment of outpatients

with bipolar disorder.


More Than $3 Million Grant To Develop Therapies For Biological Clock Disorders

The Scripps Research Institute has been awarded $3.17 million over four years to

develop compounds that will counteract disruptions of the human biological clock

- the circadian rhythm that regulates our patterns of activity and rest over a

24-hour daily cycle.


Case Western Reserve/UH Launch Bipolar Trial Site

The Mood Disorders Program at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

and University Hospitals Case Medical Center, along with the Bipolar Trials

Network, is launching Bipolar CHOICE (Clinical Health Outcomes Initiative in

Comparative Effectiveness).


Differentiation between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia revealed by neural oscillation to speech sounds: an MEG study

Bipolar Disorders, 01/13/2011

Oribe N et al. - Psychiatrists have long debated whether bipolar disorder (BP) and schizophrenia (SZ) are the clinical outcomes of discrete or shared causative processes. SZ shows significantly delayed peak latencies of the evoked neural oscillation (eNO) power and reduced eNO power to speech sounds in the left hemisphere in comparison to normal controls (NC), suggesting deficits in the fast mechanism for identifying speech sounds for SZ.


Increased peripheral blood expression of electron transport chain genes in bipolar depression

Bipolar Disorders, 01/13/2011

Beech RD et al. - The results suggest that increased expression of multiple components of the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) may be a primary deficit in bipolar depression, rather than an effect of medication.


Family-based association analysis to finemap bipolar linkage peak on chromosome 8q24 using 2,500 genotyped SNPs and 15,000 imputed SNPs

Bipolar Disorders, 01/12/2011

Zhang P et al. - Multiple linkage and association studies have suggested chromosome 8q24 as a promising candidate region for bipolar disorder (BP). These results suggest the involvement of ion channelopathy in BP pathogenesis. However, common variants are insufficient to explain linkage findings in 8q24; other genetic variation should be explored.


Outcome of single manic episode in bipolar I disorder: a six-month follow-up after hospitalization

Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 01/18/2011

Barekatain M et al. - Despite high rates of experienced syndromic and symptomatic recoveries for Bipolar I Disorder patients in single manic episode, functional recovery was much lower following hospitalization.


Colleges Miss Chance to ID Depressed Students

By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor

A new study suggests one out of every four or five students who visits a university health center for a routine cold or sore throat turns out to be depressed.

read more


Evidence for Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs Called into Question


Despite massive advertising and booming prescriptions, use and sales, the new atypical antipsychotic medications such as Seroquel and Abilify - used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and other illnesses - lack sufficient evidence to support their widespread and generalized usage. This according to a new study out of the Stanford University School of Medicine and University of Chicago.

read more


Few Teens with Mental Disorders Get Proper Care

By TRACI PEDERSEN Associate News Editor

A large percentage of young people who suffer from severe mental disorders are not receiving adequate care, according to data from a survey of more than 10,000 teens (ages 13-18), funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

read more


Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute Announces Collaboration with

Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to Discover New Medicines for

Alzheimer's Disease and Neuropsychiatric Disorders

LA JOLLA, Calif., Embargoed until 7:00 a.m. Eastern, Monday, January 17, 2010 - Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) has entered into a collaboration with Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OMJPI) to discover compounds for Alzheimer's disease and major psychiatric disorders. Under the agreement, multi-disciplinary teams from Sanford-Burnham and OMJPI will collaborate to identify and validate new targets for drug discovery and will seek compounds suitable for lead optimization and further development by OMJPI.


The Bcl-2 Gene Polymorphism rs956572AA Increases Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate Receptor-Mediated Endoplasmic Reticulum Calcium Release in Subjects with Bipolar Disorder

Biological Psychiatry, 01/19/2011

Machado-Vieira R et al. - The results demonstrate that, in patients with Bipolar disorder (BPD), abnormal Bcl-2 gene expression in the AA variant contributes to dysfunctional Ca2+ homeostasis through a specific endoplasmic reticulum (ER) inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor-dependent mechanism.


Admixture analysis of age at onset in bipolar disorder

Psychiatry Research, 01/19/2011

Tozzi F et al. - Findings from extant studies and results are remarkably consistent in showing that Bipolar Disorder (BD) can be subdivided into three groups based on age at onset (AAO) distributions, and that early-onset is associated with higher rates of suicide attempt.


Different gray matter patterns in chronic schizophrenia and chronic bipolar disorder patients identified using voxel-based morphometry

European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 01/06/2011

Molina V et al. - Gray matter (GM) volume deficits have been described in patients with schizophrenia (Sz) and bipolar disorder (BD), but to date, few studies have directly compared GM volumes between these syndromes with methods allowing for whole-brain comparisons. These results support a partly different pattern of GM deficits associated to chronic Sz and chronic BD, with some degree of overlapping.


Bipolar Disorder: Role of Diet

Bipolar Disorder is very common in the United States; almost 2 million American people suffer from this disorder. Bipolar Disorder, which is also known as Manic-depressive disorder, is characterized by dramatic mood swings which range from extreme euphoria to depression. Since there is no sure cure for this disorder, it can only be controlled with the help of medication, psychotherapy, and a tailored diet.



Bipolar Disorder: Role of Diet








Dear Friend & Advocate

Schools often use a "wait to fail" approach to retain students who cannot read, blaming the problem on "immaturity."

The school's solution to this problem is to retain a child while they continue to do the same thing with him, waiting for a different outcome.

If your child could have learned to read with the type and level of instruction he is currently receiving, he would have already learned to read. How will retention help?

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate, Sue Whitney, Research Editor at Wrightslaw, responds to a parent's fear that her son will not learn to read. Learn about the "wait to fail" approach and find a sample letter you can use to request the school not retain your child, if that is the school's plan.



Working Together for Individuals

with Dual Diagnosis Involved in the Criminal justice System


The Honorable Stephen V. Manley

Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara

Judge Stephen V. Manley, a Superior Court Judge in Santa Clara County, has served on the Bench for 29 years and has served as a Presiding Judge. He is the Supervising Judge for all Felony and Misdemeanor drug cases as well as all mental health cases in the Drug Court Division.

He was a founder of the Drug Treatment Court in Santa Clara County in 1994 and founded the Santa Clara County Mental Health Court in 1999.

In 2008, he established the first State Parolee Reentry Court in CA., working directly with the CA. Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and providing treatment alternatives to prison for high risk parole violators. He also established a Veterans Treatment Court in collaboration with the local Veterans Administration and County agencies to work with offenders, nearly all of whom suffer from co-occurring disorders, at all stages of criminal proceedings.

He serves by appointment of the Chief Justice on the Judicial Council Task Force for Mental Health Issues, and Chairs the Post Adjudication, and Re-Entry Committee that is currently making recommendations to the Judicial Council of California on proposed reforms to laws and practices relating to the sentencing and supervision of mentally ill offenders.


LCSWs/MFTs: Course meets the qualifications for 6 hours of continuing education credit as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (Provider #PCE 2280). CAADE: California Association for AOD Educators (Provider # CP40-829-C-0311 for 6 CE's).

CAADAC: California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (Provider # IS-01-478-1011 for 6 CE's). CAARR: California Association of Addiction Recovery Resources (Provider #5046 for 6 CE's).

RAS: Breining Institute. Registered Addiction Specialist (Provider # CEP0803031013-WRM-HS-CW for 6 CE's) BRN: Mental Health Systems, Inc. is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (Provider # CEP15343 for 6 CE's) APA Approval: Mental Health Systems, Inc. is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. (Provider # 1719) Mental Health Systems maintains responsibility for this program and its content

Wednesday March 9, 2011

Hilton Mission Valley · 901 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego, CA 92108

REgiSTER NOW! - $25 (includes continuing education fee) Register Online:, click on Calendar of Events/Conferences


9:00 am - 9:20 am: PERFORMANCE By THE "CREW" 9:20 am - 12:00 pm: kEyNOTE PRESENTATION

In California, at least one in five persons with a developmental disability receiving Regional Center services also has a mental health diagnosis. Many individuals with a dual diagnosis (DD-MI) are dually or triply served by multiple service systems including the Criminal Justice System. Emerging Best Practice for persons with a dual diagnosis (DD-MI) indicates that cross systems collaboration is the key to providing effective services. Cross Systems collaboration reduces overlapping service costs for involved systems. Cross Systems collaboration increases a person's ability to live in their community and avoid a higher level of care.

This statewide conference offers an opportunity to hear from all systems affected in providing care for this specialty population, discuss barriers and solutions, and identify keys ways to improve cross system collaboration and identify resources for better services to the DD-MI criminally involved population.


· Summarize experts recommendations for improvements in cross systems collaboration · Recognize how each system supports individuals with DD/MI complex and unique needs. · Describe how systems respond to the unique needs of individual with DD-MI that are also criminally involved. · Explore successful tools utilized to increase cross systems collaboration · Identify recommendations on ways for systems to increase collaboration to produce better referrals and services to

individuals with DD/MI

PM 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: LUNCH - Presentation by Dan Clark, Solutions Building Community Collaborative

Chair and Commisioner Robert Leventer

1:00 pm - 4:30 pm: PANEL PRESENTATION - Statewide Agency's and panel experts including representatives from: Regional Center · County of San Diego Behavioral Health Services · Department of Juvenile Justice · Probation Public Defenders Office · Santa Clara Supreme Court · Sheriff's Department

San Diego    "40 Years of Community Partnership."    Conference funded by: Solutions Building Community Collaborative & The California Department of Development Services. Regional Center    Co-sponsored by: ARCA Statewide Forensic Mental Health Committee.


Featuring Exhibitors from The San Diego Regional Center, Mental Health Programs, Drug and Alcohol Programs, Advocacy Groups, County Services and more.




Effective Behavior Practices for Parents and Teachers..........

Do you find yourself wishing your home environment or classroom was more peaceful and harmonious? Are you a parent or teacher who is frustrated with your child's or student's behaviors?

Come learn EFFECTIVE behavioral practices you can put into place immediately. You will walk away with tools in hand to be a more effective parent or teacher.

Date: Wednesday February 9, 2011

Time: 7:00pm-8:00pm

Location: Sorrento Execuitve Suites 5752 Oberlin Dr., Ste# 106    San Diego 92121

Guest Speaker: Nicole Stowell    About the presenter: Nicole received her special

education credentials at California State University San Marcos and her Master's degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Emotional Disturbances at San Diego State University. She has taught in Poway Unified School District for 14 years. The positions she has held include Special Day Class teacher for students with emotional/behavioral disturbances at both the elementary and high school levels; behavioral consultant; Program Specialist; and Resource Specialist. She has presented and trained administrators, teachers, instructional assistants, and parents in the areas of behavior management and crisis response for over 10 years.

Cost: $50 (payable by check, cash or credit card).    Seating is limited. To reserve your spot TODAY! please call: 858-750-1634 or email: Dessert and drinks will be provided.



Congratulations to Jennifer S. and Marci M., the finalists in the 2010
SPEAK and Be Heard... Living With Depression video category! 
Take a moment to watch their submissions by clicking on the titles below:

    Jennifer S.  Mahopac, NY  "A Bipolar Memoir" view here
    Marci M.  Asheville, NC  "On The Road to Wellness"  view here

"I was so inspired to see the video submissions for theSPEAK and Be Heard Contest. They show the courage and resilience that we have in the mental health community," said David Granirer, founder of Stand Up For Mental Health, a project teaching comedy to people with mental illness as a way of building confidence and fighting public stigma, and guest judge for SPEAK and Be Heard... Living With Depression.

To learn more about the success stories submitted through the SPEAK and Be Heard... Living With Depression campaign visit Additionally, to receive the latest news about the campaign as well as educational information about successfully managing symptoms, those diagnosed with depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder or depression, and their families can "like" the "Take on Depression" Facebook page and follow the "FaceDepression" Twitter feed.

The SPEAK and Be Heard... Living With Depression campaign, made possible by AstraZeneca in partnership with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), is designed to inspire hope and show the importance of seeking help and developing an appropriate treatment plan with a health care provider in an effort to successfully manage the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder.

Congratulations Jennifer S. and Marci M!


tom wooton

Bipolar Makes People Perfect


I noticed it when I was first diagnosed, but have been watching the phenomenon ever since. I have seen it happen in so many people that it might be true in three quarters of the cases. What is even more amazing is how fast it happens. Bipolar may be the fastest path to perfection known to man!


I have been working on more thorough assessment programs for my new book and think that I have found a breakthrough. Through the assessments I have it traced to the exact moment that it happens. I wonder if you can help me verify my research with your own experiences and share your ideas on how to improve upon it?

read more


Treating the Challenging Child

The Collaborative Problem Solving Approach


February 9-11, 2011

Manchester Grand Hyatt

One Market Place, San Diego, CA 92101

8:00 am - 8:45 am

Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:45 am -4:00 pm



Distinguished Speaker

Ross W. Greene, Ph.D.

Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School



Dr. Greene is the originator of the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) Approach and author of the recently released book, Lost at School: Why Our Most Vulnerable, At-Risk Kids Still Fall Through The Cracks and How We Can Help Them.  He is also author of the highly acclaimed book, The Explosive Child, along with a third book, Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem Solving Approach.



Dr. Greene's research has been funded by, among others, the Stanley Research Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse/National Institutes of Mental Health, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group.  He lectures widely throughout the world and his work has been featured on The Oprah Show, Dateline NBC, The Morning Show, Good Morning America, and National Public Radio.


Ross Greene

register here



Peer2Peer Lines

Referrals and support for children, teens and young adults with mental health, substance abuse or other concerns, and for caregivers of at-risk youth.

Are you looking for help for your child? Are you a teen or young adult looking for someone to talk to? Do you need resources or services to help with problems you're facing?

Teens and Young Adults Youth Talkline

1-877-450-LINE (5463)

Parents and Caregivers Family Supportline

1-877-470-LINE (5463)

Call our Peer Line Specialists who have personal experiences with the mental health system and offer compassion and understanding to callers.

Peer Line Specialists provide education, information, referrals and support for children, teens and young adults with mental health, substance abuse or other concerns, and for caregivers of at-risk youth.

Free - Confidential - English, Spanish and other languages. Monday through Friday - 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. After-hours calls are returned the next business day. 24-Hour Access and Crisis Line: 1-800-479-3339

Visit for more information.


The Bipolar Lens  blog

terri cheney
It's official!  My new Psychology Today blog is called "The Bipolar Lens:  My View from the Roller-coaster."  I hope to publish every two weeks or so.  My first entry is called "The Naked Truth:  What It's Like to Strip Bare After Years of Covering Up."

You can catch me at:

And watch for my new book, The Dark Side of Innocence:  Growing Up Bipolar, coming out March 1st from Simon and Schuster. 

Enjoy the ride!





IBPF & Jewish Family Services are pleased to co-host a lunch & lecture featuring Margaret Trudeau.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Hyatt Aventine - La Jolla
mgt trudeau
Margaret Trudeau
Celebrated Canadian & Mental Health Advocate

LAMICTAL RASH; What You Should Know

Lamictal - generic lamotrigine - is an anticonvulsant drug often used as a mood stabilizer for bipolar disorder. Unlike other drugs of this type that are used to treat both seizure disorders like epilepsy and also bipolar disorder, Lamictal has a black box warning on the prescribing information regarding serious rashes that can sometimes occur.

The *official language of the Lamictal rash warning* is written in complex medical language. Here are the important points of the warning written in plain English.


Lamictal may rarely cause serious rashes that can lead to hospitalization. In patients aged 16 and under, these rashes (including a potentially life-threatening rash called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome or SJS) occur in about 8 out of 1,000 cases. In adults with bipolar and other mood disorders, the rate ranges from .8 to 1.3 per 1,000 patients. (The rate is higher for adults taking Lamictal for epilepsy - about 3 per 1,000.) Another serious rash called toxic epidermal necrolysis or TEN sometimes occurs, but too rarely to estimate the rate. Deaths are rare are well, but they do occur.


Besides age, other possible factors that may increase the risk of serious rash in patients taking Lamictal are:


Taking valproic acid (e.g. Depakene) or sodium valproate (e.g. Depakote) along with Lamictal;

Taking more than the initial recommended dose when first starting Lamictal therapy; or

Increasing the dosage too quickly after starting to take Lamictal.

Almost all cases of life-threatening rashes associated with Lamictal have occurred within 2 to 8 weeks of the time the patient first started taking it. There have been isolated cases where the rash occurred after longer use, though, so you have to report any rash to your doctor no matter how long you've been taking Lamictal.

Not all rashes caused by Lamictal are serious, but there is no good way to tell whether the rash is dangerous or not. This means you need to stop taking the drug immediately as soon as a rash occurs, unless you are sure it is not related to the drug - for example, if you know you got into some poison ivy, and even then you're better off contacting your doctor right away.


Stopping treatment with Lamictal isn't enough. The rash could still become life-threatening, permanently disabling, or permanently disfiguring.


The official warning ends here. But as you can see, the rashes that Lamictal use can cause are no joke. If you see a rash on your skin, stop taking Lamictal at once and contact your doctor. If you can't contact the doctor who prescribed Lamictal for you, call your family doctor or internist, go to an emergency clinic, or go to the nearest hospital's emergency room.


Xcite Steps


Based on the feedback and demand from our kids and teens we have decided to open a new social club: The XciteSteps Gaming Club. Playing video games is typically a socially isolated activity that kids or teens enjoy at home, but XciteSteps has created a great social opportunity for kids to share their experiences and knowledge with their peers in a fun and natural social group setting. Our clubs and mentoring activities typically steer away from video game activities, but the kids and teens in our program have shown interest in a social club focused around playing video games with one another.
click her for flyer



˙Forward the newsletter from across "the Pond"

Incorporating BI-POLAR NEWS
Issue Number 69

read the newsletter here

The Arizona Tragedy and Mental Health Care

The following are just some of the articles that have come out about the tragic AZ shooting.


Statement by Michael J. Fitzpatrick, Executive Director,

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

NAMI is an organization of individuals and families whose lives have been deeply affected by mental illness.



We share the sadness of other Americans over the Tucson, Arizona tragedy and extend our sympathy to the families of the six individuals who died. We pray for the recovery of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the 13 other persons who were wounded.



Representative Giffords is a NAMI friend who has served as co-chair of the NAMIWalk in Southeast Arizona and has supported our missions of education, support and advocacy.



When tragedies involving mental illness occur, it is essential to understand the nature of mental illness-and to find out what went wrong.



The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that the likelihood of violence from people with mental illness is low. In fact, "the overall contribution of mental disorders to the total level of violence in society is exceptionally small." Acts of violence are exceptional. They are a sign that something has gone terribly wrong, usually in the mental healthcare system.



Nationwide, the mental health care system is broken. Arizona, like other states, has deeply cut mental health services. Arizona has a broad civil commitment law to require treatment if it is needed; however, the law cannot work if an evaluation is never conducted or mental health services are not available.



In specific cases such as this, authorities and the news media should seek to objectively determine every factor that may have contributed to the tragedy-so that we can act on lessons learned.


Was there a diagnosis?

What is the full medical history?

When were symptoms first noticed?

Did family members receive education about mental illness and support?

Did the person or family ever seek treatment-only to have it delayed or denied?

Was the person seen by mental health professionals? By whom? How often?

Was treatment coordinated among different professionals?

Was the person prescribed medication? Was it being taken? If not, why not?

Was substance abuse involved?

What may have triggered the psychiatric crisis?




Image by artist Amber Osterhout.


 The  recent shooting rampage in Tuscon, Arizona at an event held by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has a lot of commentators clumsily throwing around words like "crazy," "nutty," "insane," and "psycho" in an effort to describe the suspected shooter. And they're not using these words as part of any meaningful reporting. Rather, they're using them to insult a mass murderer. As if calling him a mass murderer isn't insulting enough! Many people hold strong misconceptions about the association between mental illness and criminality, and the mainstream media is all too good at reinforcing these misconceptions.


The truth, however, is that you're more likely to be a victim of violent crime if you have a serious mental illness than you are to be a criminal. But this isn't something the media likes to report on. Those of us living with mental illnesses know all too well that having a mental illness doesn't make someone take up crime, just as being a criminal doesn't induce mental illness. Sure, the two can coincide, and it's possible in the case of the Arizona assassin that they do. But whatever the case, having a mental illness is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for committing mass murder any more than belonging to a certain race, gender or religion is. Hopefully one day our mainstream media will pick up on this.



Julie Fast Blog: 

Here in the states, a man named Jared Lee Loughner opened fire

at a super market where a politician U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

was giving a speech.  She was definitely his target.  There is a

lot of coverage on the news here about his behavior as well as

when he was in high school and once he graduated people were very

concerned about his behavior. The first article I read mentioned

his background and how he had left a note for the senator saying

what he was going to do.


Then article said every single thing except what was glaringly

obvious.  Jared Laughtner had a sever mental illness that impaired

his judgement and led to this terrible event. As I was reading the

articles, I said to myself:  "Are these writers blind? Don't they

know anything? He is 100% showing all of the signs of paranoid

schizophrenia. All of the signs from paranoia, inability to get

along with others, trouble with the reality around him to odd

writings and behavior. The list is endless. I kept reading the

article waiting for the word schizophrenia to be mentioned and

there was not one reference to a possible brain disorder.


Of course, things are different this morning. People can't stay

blind forever. Now the artilces have these headlines:


Jared Lee Loughner a 'Disturbed' Man


Jared Lee Loughner and His Legacy of Despair




Legacy of despair? How much longer is our society going to skirt

around the issue and use these words instead of saying the real words:


Mental Illness- Schizophrenia- Bipolar Disorder. The real words.

 As those of us with the illnesses or those of us who care about

someone with a mental illness, need to speak out and say, "This was a

man with a brain disorder, a mental illness that distorted the reality

of his mind. Yes, the shootings  are his fault. But not in the way the

media portrays the situation. He obviously did not get the care he needed-

and that is the real tragedy. When I saw his picture I was so shocked.

As is so common, he looks like a sweet and normal guy. The problem is

that whatever illness he has, and I'm pretty sure paranoid schizophrenia

will come out soon- he is a human being who did something so terrible

it's hard to imagine.  He killed and injured people as do many who are

 not of sound mind and body. My heart goes out the families and 

to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.


But... for once.. can we just talk about this for what it is? An

illness that was not caught and treated? Can we use this to discuss

mental illness instead of finding a reason WHY this happened?  It happened

because he was ill and even though people tried, he didn't get the right






County Targets Mental Illness Myths


January 18, 2011


SAN DIEGO - It's unclear whether or not mental illness played a role in Jared Loughner's alleged shooting of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of six other people.


But mental health professionals worry the Tucson shooting rampage will reinforce negative stereotypes about people who are mentally ill.


Wendy McNeill has a deep personal knowledge of the stigma surrounding mental illness. The San Diego resident is a 39-year-old college graduate. She has a good job and she's been married for eight years.


McNeill also has a severe mental illness.


"I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 19 years old. I had a massive manic episode," said McNeil.


Mania, or the manic portion of bipolar disease, causes people to act like they're high on speed for days, weeks or even months. Typical signs of mania include little or no sleep, rapid speech, and hyperactivity, racing thoughts.


McNeill also experienced hallucinations.


"I once thought my front yard was the Garden of Eden and that our ficus tree was the tree of knowledge. I went running around it naked in my front yard," explained McNeill.


It's that kind of odd behavior that leads to misconceptions about the mentally ill.


Alfredo Aguirre, director of San Diego County Mental Health, says he's trying to change those misconceptions.


"What we want to do is change perceptions about mental illness and to communicate that recovery is certainly possible and to address stigma as it relates to mental health challenges," said Aguirre.


To break through the stigma surrounding mental illness, San Diego County launched a five-year, $8.4 million media campaign called "It's Up To Us."


"It's a campaign to help all San Diegans talk openly about mental illness. To help them recognize the symptoms and seek help, " Aguirre said.


The campaign is funded through the Mental Health Service Act - a 2004 voter-approved measure that imposed a 1 per cent tax on California millionaires.


Throughout the county, "Up To Us" ads can be found on billboards, busses, the web, TV, radio and theater screens.


Aguirre says the ads will help people understand who has mental illness and how they can get help.


"When people think of mental illness, they probably think of homelessness. But what we're trying to do is help people understand it's in their midst, it's in their families," explains Aguirre.


Wendy McNeill recalls that her father was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But she said no one in her family talked about it until he committed suicide.


"It was very hush-hush. I never heard the word bipolar. It was always very euphemistic like," said McNeill, speaking in a whisper. "They would say 'he has emotional problems' or 'he has to take a mental health day.' "


Denial is one reason for the stigma surrounding mental health. Another is the fear that a mentally ill person will become violent.


But years of data from the National Institute of Mental Health show people with mental illness are more likely to become victims of violence than perpetrators of it.


Doctor David Folsom is a UCSD family practice doctor and a psychiatrist. He agrees with the findings. Doctor Folsom said that fear of mental illness not only comes from the community, but also from patients themselves.


"Sometimes people who have a mental illness are afraid of admitting it, afraid of what it implies - that is, it's a very severe problem and that they won't be able to have a normal life again. And that's not at all true,'' said Folsom.


Like diabetes, high blood pressure or other chronic diseases, Dr. Folsom said mental illness could be successfully treated.


"Mental illness is definitely treatable. People can have very full rich meaningful lives despite the fact they have diabetes or bipolar disorder or schizophrenia," Folsom said.


Wendy McNeill is living proof. After a decade of psychiatric hospitalizations, she said she finally realized she had a treatable disease.


"After taking my medication regularly, I kind of had this revelation that I actually had a mental illness," explained McNeill.


Since then she's been treated with medication, therapy and garnered support from family and friends.


McNeill hasn't been hospitalized in eight years.


"I'm considered kind of a success story," she said with a smile.


McNeill said she is happy people in San Diego are working to dispel the myths about mental illness and added these words of advice.


"Show people with mental illness respect, this what will erase stigma. Mental illness is something no would choose to have, " said McNeill.


Erasing stigma by understanding the illness is good plan for the sane and everyone else, said McNeill.


I was forwarded this shocking cartoon (attached) printed recently in the UT. As you can see, it expresses exactly the kind of misinformation about mental illness that we are trying to extinguish in our work with the International Bipolar Foundation. I have sent it your way in case any of you are interested in sending a letter to the editor (as a member of the board if we choose to go that route, or as an individual).

It appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune 01/11/2011, Page B05

Below are instructions NAMI has encouraged to send letters to the editor if anyone wants to include.
1 - Mental Health is always the first to get hit with budget cuts
2 - Access to care/treatment is poor
3 - Stigma prevents access to treatment
4 - we need to focus on early intervention

Letters policy
The Union-Tribune encourages community dialogue on
important public matters and welcomes letters to the
editor. All letters are subject to editing. Letters must include
a full name, community of residence and a daytime
telephone number, though the phone number will not be
published. E-mail submissions are preferred to letters@ <>. Letters can also be faxed to (619) 260-5081,
or mailed to Letters Editor, P.O. Box 120191, San Diego, CA
Mental Health Ministries; Susan Schroeder:
Mental Health Ministries Winter e-Spotlight
We have all been touched by the tragic event in Arizona.  Prayers for all persons involved are being lifted up by faith communities across the nation.
As we collectively try to understand the motivations behind such an act, we are hearing many comments about mental illnesses.  Some of these comments reflect the stigma surrounding these illnesses of the brain.
My prayer is that we can work together to transform this tragic event into an opportunity to educate our faith communities about mental illness.  We can work together to dispel the myths surrounding brain disorders.  We can educate about symptoms and warning signs.  We can address the social justice issue of accessibility to mental health care.


TAKE TIME TODAY to register YOUR WALK TEAM!  It is important that we show up together, unified, and fighting to end stigma and discrimination for all those with a mental health diagnosis and their families! 

To register:


 The Mental Health Committee of Jewish Family Service Invites You to an Educational Event in Support of Mental Health Awareness
Children and Mental Health: A Panel Discussion and Resource Fair for Parents and Caregivers
Moderated by David Feifel, M.D., Ph.D.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
5:30-6:30pm · Resource Fair & Light Appetizers 6:45-8:45pm · Panel of Professionals
· Eric Courchesne, Ph.D. and Karen Pierce, Ph.D. - Causes and Early Detection of Abnormal Brain and Behavior in Autism
· Bonny Forrest, J.D., Ph.D. - Early Social Interaction and the Impact on Brain Development · Jeff Rowe, M.D. - Early Childhood Mental Health: Issues of Diagnosis and Treatment
This Event is Free of Charge · Registration Required · CEUs available for LCSWs and MFTs
Congregation Beth Israel · 9001 Towne Centre Drive · San Diego, 92122
Sponsored by the Mental Health Committee at Jewish Family Service in collaboration with Congregation Beth Israel.
The Mental Health Committee of Jewish Family Service of San Diego provides resources and services for coping and living with mental illness and seeks to eliminate stigma by increasing community awareness.
Linda Janon - Founder of the Mental Health Committee
Register Online: · (858) 637-3231

About the International Bipolar Foundation
International Bipolar Foundation is a not for profit organization based in San Diego whose mission is to eliminate Bipolar Disorder through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support services for all affected; and to erase associated stigma through public education.
Visit us online for more information:
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A Word About Funding
Please note that International Bipolar Foundation does not represent any pharmaceutical company or give any speeches for a pharmaceutical company nor does our site receive advertising dollars from any company.