I’m a mom. Do I need to say anything else?
For me that first sentence says it all. If you need to know more, I live in Northern California with my black kitty cat, Jazzy. Or The Jazz. I have four children - Patrick (I still count him), Megan (Britt), Marisa (Keith), and Kerry (David). And six grandchildren - Aidan, Ashton, Sam, Elise, Regan, and Ayla.
I've worn many "career" hats. In 1982, as author of a book for young girls, I won a national award for nonfiction. I established an Institute for Mental Illness Education on the Cal State Hayward campus in 2001. In 2004, I was the Walk Director for the first NAMIWalk in San Francisco. From 2007 to 2010, I worked in the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) California office as the Policy Director for the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63).
Currently, I'm a member of the steering committee for The National Shattering Silence Coalition (NSSC). NSSC is an alliance of diverse individuals and organizations who are uniting to ensure that mental illness, health, and criminal justice systems count those with serious mental illness (SMI) and serious emotional disturbance (SED) and their families in all federal, state, and local policy reforms. We are voices for the 10 million adults and 7 million children living with and dying too young from serious mental illness.
DISCLAIMER: I never was or ever will be a psychiatrist or psychologist. The mental illness comments and information I post on this website and on these blogs shouldn't be taken as advice or recommendations. People in need of mental health and mental illness assistance should see their mental health/mental illness providers.
Among other activities, I run a support group in my community for families who have members coping with serious mental illness. In trying to help our loved ones, we need help ourselves. We need to know we're not alone.
P.S. I speak to groups about families and serious mental illness, my blog, and my book, Sooner Than Tomorrow - A Mother's Diary & A Son's Last Facebook Posts. Also, please see my essay, "A Canary in the Coal Mine," in a new book released March 1, 2018 - We Rise to Resist: Voices from a New Era of Women's Political Action. It's available on Amazon.