Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives
February 2013

People working  

As a child growing up in India, I often heard the adage "Work is Worship" but could not fully comprehend the significance of work in a person's life. As an adult who has overcome debilitating mental illness to pursue a meaningful career as a mental health advocate, I have come to experience the healing power of work.  


In travelling the world and talking to people affected by mental health issues, I have learned that one of the things they aspire for the most is meaningful employment. Unfortunately, many of them do not find the opportunities and supports they need to realize their potential and become contributing members of our global community.


In this newsletter, I would like to share inspiring stories of people who have defied their diagnoses and discovered meaningful careers, and highlight an organization that is promoting recovery through work. Hope these stories will inspire us all to empower people struggling with mental health issues to find gainful employment. Because, as Sigmund Freud says, "love and work are the cornerstone of our humanness."

Wishing you wellness, 


Gayathri Ramprasad, MBA, CPS 
Founder & President, ASHA International
Gayathri Signature 
Successful and Schizophrenic

              Elyn Saks

 THIRTY years ago, I was given a diagnosis of schizophrenia. My prognosis was "grave": I would never live independently, hold a job, find a loving partner, get married. My home would be a board-and-care facility, my days spent watching TV in a day room with other people debilitated by mental illness. I would work at menial jobs when my symptoms were quiet. Following my last psychiatric hospitalization at the age of 28, I was encouraged by a doctor to work as a cashier making change. If I could handle that, I was told, we would reassess my ability to hold a more demanding position, perhaps even something full-time.


Then I made a decision. I would write the narrative of my life. Today I am a chaired professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. I have an adjunct appointment in the department of psychiatry at the medical school of the University of California, San Diego, and am on the faculty of the New Center for Psychoanalysis. The MacArthur Foundation gave me a genius grant.  Read more... 



Vincent House
A decade of recovery through work
Vincent House  
Inspired by their struggle advocating for their daughter, Elliott and Dianne Steele opened Vincent House in 2003. Now the nonprofit organization celebrates 10 years as a restorative community, using the idea of "recovery through work" to help those who struggle with mental illness to realize their potential and to move beyond the boundaries that grew around them from the stigma of their disease. Learn More...


ASHA International: Bringing hope and healing to people's lives.
Dear friends, 
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Gayathri Ramprasad, MBA, CPS, is not a doctor, therapist or health care professional. She is a mental health advocate and Certified Peer Specialist (CPS). The information shared in this E-mail is for general information purposes only and therefore not intended to replace the medical advice afforded by physicians or other healthcare professionals. 


In This Issue
Successful and Schizophrenic
Vincent House
Real People, Real Recovery
Unpcoming Events
About Us
Real People, Real Recovery
Profiles of Courage, Hope & Resilience 

Dustin's Story
Dustin Garron

Two years ago, Dustin Garron tried to end his life for the seventh time. Today, the 18-year-old student at Ottawa's Carleton University focuses on helping other teens who may be contemplating suicide.

"Working in the field of mental health has helped my recovery so much," says Garron, who founded the Mental Health Project for Youth in 2011, just days after being released from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). "I can help because I understand how stressful today's world is for teenagers. They have to face such a wide range of stressors at school, with siblings and family conflicts, in relationships and over body image or memories.  Read More...


Upcoming Events:

February 21, 2013: 
Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder: A 4-Step Plan for You and Your Loved Ones to Manage the Illness and Create a Life of Wellness - Health & Safety Program, 9:00 - 10:00 AM PacifiCorp, Portland, OR.
February 26, 2013:
Breaking the Silence about Depression - Mental Health Education Program, 2:00 - 5:00 PM, Richland College, Dallas, TX.
March 22, 2013:
CSPNJ 2013 Annual Wellness Conference -
A Candle in the Dark: My Journey from Adversity to Advocacy,
Keynote, 9:50 - 10:40 AM &
Cultivating Wellness: Holistic Practices to Promote Mental Health & Wellness,
 Wellness Workshop, 2:15 -3:45 PM, Pines Manor, Edison, NJ


If you are interesting in participating in any of our upcoming programs, please contact Gayathri at 

ASHA International's mission is to promote personal, organizational, and community wellness through mental health education, training, and support.
You can make a difference!