Living Without Mental Illness

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I ran into a classmate from grade school the other day – he was someone who had a tough time in many ways at school. As we chatted, I asked him where he lived and his answer shocked me, “The Salvation Army, I’ve been having some issues with depression but I’m getting better.” he said with hope in his voice.

Listening to his story I felt such a profound sadness, I have never known anyone who lives at the Salvation Army before and it affected me.  Coincidentally, in a few day I would be attending our grade schools 50th anniversary (I imagine it would be something that would not interest him to attend – I wondered did he have any good memories of school?). Also coincidentally that week I was hosting mental health activists Sean and Doris Miller on the radio show.

It seems very fitting to share the guest post below from them.  You can listen to our entire May 10, 2013 CJOB radio interview here as  a podcast: http://www.cjob.com/Shows/Episodes.aspx?PID=2553

“The World Health Organization, ranks mental health disorders as one of the greatest public health challenges of our time.

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Sadly, only a third of these people get the help they need.

But these are not the only troubling mental health statistics:

  • Nearly 40 percent of patients are readmitted to hospital within one year of discharge (Healthcare Quarterly)
  • 70 to 90 percent of people with serious mental illnesses are unemployed (Mood Disorders Society of Canada) 
  • $51 billion is the estimated cost of mental illness to the Canadian economy in terms of health care and lost productivity (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) 
  • 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental illness (Mood Disorders Society of Canada)

While these are primarily Canadian stats, the global picture is very similar. The significance is in the fact that these numbers represent people; the ones you and I care about-our family members and friends.

Mental illness is most frequently treated with drugs alone. While medication is often essential for symptom management, it cannot cure the illness and is not a sustainable solution to the problem.

Sean’s Battle With Mental Illness

The story started out similar to the other hundreds of thousands of Canadians suffering from mental illness and like them the only answers I ever found were written on a prescription pad.

After suffering from severe symptoms for a decade, a doctor informed me that arrangements were being made to place me in a chronic care unit. What I didn’t know at the time was that a doctor and a social worker were trying to encourage my wife to leave our marriage. They told her she was young and still had a long life ahead of her – one that should not include me or my illness.

According to my healthcare providers, my symptoms were too severe, I was not responding well to treatments, and I had been sick for too long to ever consider the possibility of recovery. I was told I would just have to live with the illness.

Finding the Answers

Then, in 2006, my wife and I found a medical doctor and New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Don Colbert, who had the answers we were looking for – answers found in a type of therapy based on neuroscience research and testing. Thanks to the test results, for the first time I was able to see lab values that correlated to what I was experiencing.

Dr Colbert and I worked together for almost five years to become what I am today – symptom and medication-free, living without mental illness – and now I am determined to share my story for the benefit of others.

A Right to Hope

We know what helped me can help others. Doris and I have seen individuals reduce their medications enabling their return to school; employment and regain autonomy that was stolen by the illness.

People suffering from mental illness have a right to know about all available options to improve health.

We endeavor to provide some of those answers by way of a documentary featuring interviews with the medical professionals that played an integral role in my recovery. Included in this team are; Dr Don Colbert (MD, New York Times bestselling author and recent guest on the Dr Oz show), Dr Gottfried Kellermann (Biochemist, CEO, chairman and founder of NeuroScience Inc.), Dr Kelly Olson and Dr Stewart Wakeman (Psychiatrist and University Professor).

We believe the answers that restore hope and health should be easy to find, especially the ones that enable others to live without mental illness.

You can contact Sean and Doris and learn more about their work at http://thrivementalhealth.ca

Best, Steph

Stephanie Staples, CSP* is the author of When Enlightening Strikes – Creating a Mindset for Uncommon Success and an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker. She empowers audiences & clients across North America to bring their ‘A’ game to work and to life. Stephanie has a special interest in working with and empowering nurses and healthcare providers. She happily calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home.  You can get loads of complimentary resources to help with issues such as work/life balance, wellness, stress management and happiness in general, as well as find out more information about her coaching and speaking services at http://www.YourLifeUnlimited.ca.

* Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), conferred by the National Speakers Association is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform competence. Only the top 10 percent of speakers earn this credential and are recognized as some of the best in their fields.

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