SAMPLE SMI LETTER TO 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES by Dede Ranahan

5/9/19

Presidential Candidate (NAME)
Email or address

Dear 2020 Presidential Candidate (NAME):

I hear discussions about mental health awareness. I don’t hear discussions about serious mental illness (SMI). Many of us, in the SMI community, fear that most focus is given to mental health conditions where people are resilient, can recover, can go to work, and live independently. I appreciate the goal to give hope to these individuals. The story, however, is much broader.

With SMI (schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, bipolar disorder, clinical depression, OCD) some people do not recover, and cannot work or live independently. Some are so sick they don’t realize they’re sick (anosognosia), don’t respond to treatment (if they get it), and end up incarcerated, homeless, missing, suicidal or dead. The SMI population represents 4-5% (10 million) of the mentally ill in the United States. And ten times as many people with SMI are incarcerated as are hospitalized. For whatever reasons, these individuals don’t get the attention they deserve and consistently fall to the bottom of the proverbial heap.

My son, Patrick, was one of these individuals.

If it “takes a village to raise a child,” it takes a country to help a “child” with SMI — parity in mental health care, IMD (Institutes of Mental Disease) Exclusion repeal (beds) , HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) reform, housing, hospitalization instead of incarceration, brain disease research, supported education, and on and on.

So far, our country is not stepping up. A serious mental illness system does not exist.

The presidential candidate I’ll vote for will have the courage and insight to raise SMI issues and to create a plan/policy to deal with them on a national scale. What is your plan/policy for SMI? I want to read about it on your website.

Thank you for your prioritization of SMI issues.

Sincerely,
Dede Ranahan

www.soonerthantomorrow.com
A Safe Place to Talk About Mental Illness in Our Families
dede@soonerthantomorrow.com
Author - Sooner Than Tomorrow — A Mother’s Diary About Mental Illness, Family, and Everyday Life
(Available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble)

ADDRESSES: See yesterday’s post for address/email information for 2020 presidential candidates.

A MOTHER'S DIARY & A SON'S LAST FACEBOOK POSTS by Dede Ranahan - GOING FORWARD

Hi Everyone,

I'm back from my blog break and posting more stories on Blog 1 (Your Stories) beginning tomorrow. My blog of Sooner Than Tomorrow - A Mother's Diary: A Memoir About Mental Illness, Family, & Everyday Life. I'm leaving the blog (Blog 2) open for new readers while I get my book published.

While attending a writer's conference, one speaker gave me this good news. She said (to the audience): "The publishing world is changing."
"If you're an unknown writer over 70, don't try to find a publisher."
"If you're an unknown writer of a memoir, don't try to find a publisher."
"If you're writing in diary format, don't try to find a publisher."
"If you're writing about mental illness, don't try to find a publisher."
"If you're writing about someone who died less than ten years ago, don't try to find a publisher."

Hmm? My writing checks all her boxes. What should I do? Give up? Go away? Write something else that means nothing to me? These are fighting words.

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I've lots to consider. If I self-publish, among other things, I have to buy an ISBN number, apply for a LCCN number from the US Library of Congress, hire a professional cover designer, hire a professional graphic designer to format the interior pages of my print book and/or to convert it to an eBook, possibly purchase an editorial book review, and register my book with the US Copyright Office. 

Then there's marketing. Posting my book on Amazon doesn't cut it. People have to know it's there. They have to be directed to it.

So I'm asking myself, what do I want to accomplish? I know I want my diary in finished book format per my original intent which was to leave a book for my descendants. Should I defy all odds and look for an agent/ publisher? Should I publish my book myself? If you've read A Mother's Diary on my blog and you have any thoughts on this, please let me know. Your feedback will help me sort out what I should do going forward. dede@soonerthantomorrow.com

If you haven't read Sooner Than Tomorrow, it's still available on Blog 2. To read it from the beginning, read the Introduction in the navigation bar above, then go to "Scenes from the Trenches" June 14, 2017, in the Archives on the right hand side of the blog page. To continue reading, scroll up in the archives from June 14, 2017.  

I didn't know, as I was writing, that I was capturing the last year of my son's life. In my memoir,  his voice comes through loud and clear. However this goes, I'm grateful. In these pages, Pat will always be alive.

All my best, Dede

P.S. If you aren't subscribed to Blog I, it's continuing. Hope you'll sign on. If for nothing else, for Happy Pics :-)