Monday, October 29, 2007

BEYOND BELIEF

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
[A NEW THOUGHT is published every day as well as the BLOG on MONDAYS & THURSDAYS at:]
www.projectdreamagain.com

BEYOND BELIEF/ October 29, 2007
Carl R. Rodgers who some say is the founder of the humanistic psychology movement and father of person-centered therapy wrote the following, “I can remember this in my early grammar school days. A child would ask the teacher a question and the teacher would give a perfectly good answer to a completely different question. A feeling of pain and distress would always strike me. My reaction always was, ‘But you didn’t hear him!’”
Living with bipolar disorder can be like riding the giant roller coaster at the North Carolina State Fair. If you are not taking medications or if they are not working you can either be living in the depths of a depression or feeling like you are on top of the world in mania or anywhere in between. There is a stage just before mania in which I desperately want to be heard. From my father and mother who are dead to my wife, I have frustrated them by demanding they answer my questions exactly. I am trying to verify that I am being heard.
Why is it so important to me to know I am being heard? Because it means to me that they saw or see me as a person.
Whatever name you give it. Client-centered, Person-centered, or some other name we are talking about viewpoint. That is why I call it First-Person. I am trying to convey the idea that the recovery process belongs to the person therefore any help must come from the person’s viewpoint.
I was one of the trainers at South Florida State Hospital when Service Planning was introduced there. Service Planning was based on the idea that the planning process started with the person’s long term view of what they wanted for themselves. The same concept was introduced into the community mental health centers. I helped train hundreds of mental health professionals on this approach.
North Carolina has a similar set of papers to be filled out. I am sure there have been trainings here also.
You can train someone on the paperwork, but you can’t give them the heart and eyes to see us or the ears to hear us.
It takes someone spiritual who has already found their heart. Maybe even a person who has already had to crawl on their belly so that have empathy for me when I have to crawl on mine. It takes a person who is getting their needs met so they have the strength to help me meet mine. Only one person at a time can be helped in a therapeutic relationship.
Part of Carl Rodgers’ education was done at Union Theological Seminary. Don’t dismiss that as an influence on the body of work he left us. The three cornerstones of his philosophy (1) empathic understanding (2) genuineness and (3) unconditional positive regard could have come straight out of the teachings of Jesus which don’t forget was a Jew well learned in the Hebrew Scriptures.
What do I what most when I am at my worst? To be heard and seen. Just answer the question I ask and I will know you are hearing me. If you are hearing me then you are listening. If you are listening then you must think I am worthy. If that is so then maybe you think I am a person. That would be a victory beyond belief.

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

{Here are some good resources you might want to check out. Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this BLOG.}

www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
www.faithnet.nami.org


FIGHT STIGMA AND HELP SOMEONE ELSE LEARN ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS BY BUYING A BOOK!!!! GO TO THE ORDER PAGE AT
www.projectdreamagain.com

Thursday, October 25, 2007

CHILDHOOD SEXUAL TRAUMA

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
[A NEW THOUGHT is published every day as well as the BLOG on MONDAYS & THURSDAYS at:]
www.projectdreamagain.com

CHILDHOOD SEXUAL TRAUMA/ October 25, 2007
“Child sexual abuse is a significant public health problem in the United States and across the world. In the United States one out of three females and one out of five males have been victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18 years. Sexual abuse occurs across all ethnic/racial, socioeconomic, and religious groups. Unfortunately, sexual abuse is considered a relatively common experience in the lives of children. A report released by the National Institute of Justice in 1997 revealed that of the 22.3 million children between the ages of 12 and 17 years in the United States, 1.8 million were victims of a serious sexual assault/abuse. There are gender differences with regard to sexual abuse incidents; specifically, girls are at twice the risk than boys for sexual victimization throughout childhood and at eight times the risk during adolescence. Because significant physical, emotional, social, cognitive and behavioral problems are related to childhood trauma, the need to more effectively address the issue has become paramount.
There are a number of commonly held misconceptions regarding child sexual abuse in the United States. These include the following: sexual abuse is limited to sexual intercourse between an adult and a child; the perpetrator of the sexual abuse is always a stranger; and rape occurs with adult women, not children. However, these beliefs are false. Sexual abuse involves a range of activities including non-contact and contact offenses (see Table1); stranger abuse comprises only a small percentage of total victimizations; and children are approximately three times more likely than adults to be victims of rape. In fact, among females, almost 30% of all forcible rapes occur before the age of 11 years, and another 32% occur between the ages of 11 and 17.
Researchers in this area use somewhat different “criteria” for sexual abuse; the most common definition of sexual abuse, however, is any sexual activity involving a child where consent is not or cannot be given. Sexual contact between an adult and a minor child, as well as an older teen and a younger child, are both examples of sexual abuse. Depending upon the age at which a state deems a child capable of giving consent, sexual abuse between two minors can also occur. For example, the law in Texas dictates that there be greater than a three-year age differential between children in order to be considered sexual abuse. The types of sexual abuse vary widely and include both physical contact as well as non-contact offenses. Despite the choices made by laws and research criterion, the impact of a forced or coerced sexual activity can be devastating on a child even if the action cannot be legally or academically described as sexual abuse.
All states require some kind of mandated child abuse reporting. Child abuse reporting laws most often require specified professionals (e.g., physicians, teachers) who have contact with children to report to law enforcement, the department of social services, or children protection agencies incidents in which abuse is suspected. These laws were developed in order to better protect children. From state to state, it varies as to who is mandated to report and what abuse acts require reporting. For example, according to California Penal Code there are two categories of sexual abuse that are reportable: sexual assault and sexual exploitation. According to the code, sexual assault includes rape and rape in concert, oral copulation and sodomy, lewd and lascivious acts upon a child under the age of 14, penetration of a genital and/or anal opening by a foreign object, and child molestation. Sexual exploitation includes conduct involving matter depicting minors engaged in obscene acts; promoting, aiding, or assisting a minor to engage in prostitution; a live performance involving obscene sexual conduct, or posing for a pictorial depiction involving obscene conduct for commercial purposes; and depicting a child in or knowingly developing a pictorial depiction in which a child engages in obscene sexual conduct.”
(Dominquez, R. Z., Nelke, C.F. and Perry, B.D. Child Sexual Abuse in: Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment Vol 1.(David Levinson, Ed.) Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks , 2002)
As those of you know who have been reading the blog I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse as well as a person with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I have also self-medicated. Many of my fellow sojourners share my story. You can call us the tri-diagnosed. I know I am hard to come up with an adequate treatment plan for and to live with.
I shared this rather long piece with you about childhood sexual trauma because I think it is still one of the big issues in this country which we have our heads in the sand about. We need to get smarter. You can’t just treat part of my problems. You have to treat all of me. If I am ever to become a person then the whole person has to be considered in the plan to address my recovery.
You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

Here are some good resources you might want to check out. Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this BLOG.

www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
www.faithnet.nami.org


FIGHT STIGMA AND HELP SOMEONE LEARN ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS BY BUYING A BOOK!!!! GO TO THE ORDER PAGE AT
www.projectdreamagain.com

Monday, October 22, 2007

CORRUPTION

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
[A New Thought is published every day as well as the Blog on Mondays & Thursdays ]
www.projectdreamagain.com

CORRUPTION/ October 22, 2007

Jack Betts is an Observer associate editor at The Charlotte Observer. His piece this past Sunday was about a speech given in Chapel Hill, NC about ethical problems in public life by Joel Fleishman professor of law and public policy at Duke University. The draft of the full speech is available at a link at www.charlotte.com/jackbetts. The following is a short excerpt from the speech.
“Why has it begun to happen in N.C. and elsewhere at this particular time? I think that the explanation is deeper than simply a recurrence of the same old thing. I think it has to do with the increasing migration of individual and institutional behavior from the for-profit sector, in other words the market system, where self-interested motivation, in behalf of corporations and their employees, is not only acceptable but laudable, to the public and nonprofit sectors where naked self-interested behavior is usually inappropriate and often unethical if not illegal.”
I was in south Florida when South Florida State Hospital was turned over to a for-profit corporation. I sat on the governing body both when it was run by the state and when it was run by the corporation. I walked the grounds of the hospital when it was run by the state and also did many trainings there which meant I met both staff and my fellow sojourners living there. I was barely allowed on the grounds after the corporation took it over even though I was a member of their board, but then what can you expect from a company with a primary business of operating prisons. The hospital had felt like a college campus (I do not deny the problems there and I fussed with my usual loud voice about them), but when the corporation built the new hospital it felt like you were going to a place to be locked away.
Has the “migration of individual and institutional behavior from the for-profit sector” changed our public mental health system? Has it caused corruption? There may not be a simple answer, but I am going to give you one. YES!
Some of you may never have seen a three legged stool. Years ago in the hills of Kentucky some people had them in their barns to sit on as they milked their cows by hand. A good public mental health system stands on three legs. Heart. Knowledge. Money.
First, the public system must have folks working in it that have a heart. I have done many trainings and seminars with mental health professionals plus I have been going to them since I was 15 and I will be 59 next month. My calculator says that is 44 years. I always look to see if I detect a heart by which I mean do they see me and my fellow sojourners as people or simply as defective machines to be fixed. I fear the fix-it syndrome more than almost anything else. For me personally, if I can feel any kind of vibe other than a chill coming from the other person then there is a starting point.
Secondly, the people have to have knowledge. We have learned a great deal since 1964 when I first came in contact with the mental health profession, but that does not matter if the person working with me is stuck back in the dark ages. Keeping the workforce updated with the latest and best knowledge is extremely important. It doesn’t happen mainly because training does not bring in dollars. Billing services does.
Thirdly, it can not be done on the cheap. Ever since the powers that be decided to empty us out of the big institutions and start community mental health centers, the public mental health system has lacked the funds to do the job. Yes the big institutions were deplorable, but let me let you in on a secret so is living on the streets when you are so sick you don’t even know who you are. How do I know? Because I have been in that position.
One time in New York City when I was on the streets they gave me a subway token to go to another place for help and I thought it was money. I went into a restaurant to try and spend it. They called the police.
From 1969 when I got out of the Army until 1989 when I started Project Dream Again, I worked in sales, management, and started my own tire company. In 1989 I started a not-for-profit corporation which is still what Project Dream Again is a division of. All my life I have been involved with churches which are nonprofits. My point is I have been in the military (government), for-profit corporations, and nonprofit corporations. The more you bring market system into the public mental health system the more corruption you are inviting and the less likely you will find the three legged stool there.




You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

RESOURCES
[Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this blog. The writer Ed Cooper is fully responsible for the content of this blog.]
www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
faithnet.nami.org.

THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING AND YOU CAN FIGHT STIGMA OR HELP SOMEONE YOU KNOW UNDERSTAND MENTAL ILLNESS BETTER BY ORDERING NOW: You can now order the 2007 Special Edition of the 136 page book “When Even the Devil Deserts You” by Ed Cooper with Patty Cooper . Just go to the ORDER NOW page at
www.projectdreamagain.com
The review in the NAMI Advocate in said this about the book "Living with and caring for a person with a mental illness does not necessarily lead to a direct understanding of the experience of mental illness itself. It does not automatically tell you what to say or what to do that would be kind or helpful. For this reason I find the new book, When Even The Devil Deserts You, invaluable. The book features many vivid descriptions and an occasional touch of humor. The author has a remarkable ability to understand and describe not only his own experience, but its impact on family members." [From the book review done by Carol Rees]

Thursday, October 18, 2007

SPIRITUAL SUPPORTS

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
[A New Thought Each Day Can Be Found Here As Well As Other Important Info]
www.projectdreamagain.com
RESOURCES
[Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this blog. The writer Ed Cooper is fully responsible for the content of this blog.]
www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
faithnet.nami.org.

YOU CAN HELP PROJECT DREAM AGAIN BY ORDERING NOW: You can now order the 2007 Special Edition of the 136 page book “When Even the Devil Deserts You” by Ed Cooper with Patty Cooper . Just go to the ORDER NOW page at
www.projectdreamagain.com
The review in the NAMI Advocate in 1993 said this about the book "Living with and caring for a person with a mental illness does not necessarily lead to a direct understanding of the experience of mental illness itself. It does not automatically tell you what to say or what to do that would be kind or helpful. For this reason I find the new book, When Even The Devil Deserts You, invaluable. The book features many vivid descriptions and an occasional touch of humor. The author has a remarkable ability to understand and describe not only his own experience, but its impact on family members." (The book was first published by Dream Again Press in 1992, but it is as relevant today as it was then.)
[From the book review done by Carol Rees]

Spiritual Supports/ October 18, 2007

I was sitting reading about mountain top removal while waiting on it to be time for my therapy session. Mountain top removal is exactly what it sounds like. They remove the top of a mountain to get to the coal. It is a ruthless method to get at cheap energy so we can go on living our consumer driven lives. It has destroyed many mountains, streams, and valleys in my home state of Kentucky and other Appalachian states.

One day I was sitting on the poach with my wife’s father who died last year and we were watching a train go through the little town of Glen Alpine, North Carolina where I now live. It was loaded with coal. At the time Patty and I lived on a farm in coal country in Kentucky. He remarked, “I don’t see how there could be any coal left in Kentucky because I have been watching them bring it down these tracks all my life.”

Our way of life destroys the beauty of God’s creation and whether we want to acknowledge it or not it destroys a part of our souls. The beauty of nature and its wonders is one of our spiritual supports.

Another spiritual support is our family. Today is the birthday of my wife and my daughter-in-law. It is a special day because these two women are important in my life and I am glad they were born. To celebrate their birth is my honor.

Sometimes we forget to say thanks to the people around us who make our lives easier. Everyone needs a support system. When earlier this year I faced having to have a traditional abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) surgery, these where two of the women I leaned on the most along with my two sisters. They came through for me.

My wife has had to live with the ups and downs of my bipolar illness since 1989 when we got together. My daughter-in-law I call my “worry wart”. Not as a derogatory term, but because I know I can count on her to listen to me and care about what is happening to me. She will worry right along with me and that feels good.

Last night when I came home from my therapy session Patty was at prayer meeting. My sister-in-law sat with me a short time while I just relaxed from having to talk about tough stuff. She was there for me. My step-son had made the trip to the mental health clinic with me.

Some mornings I take coffee and a sausage and egg biscuit over to my mother-in-law’s house and we have breakfast together. We may talk half the morning. The breakfast food is not what is important. It is the soul food I get there that makes the morning so meaningful. Family feeds the inner being.

The friends I made when I lived in Florida keep feeding my soul. When one of them writes and says we miss you, it feels good. One of the women I respect the most from down there wrote “I used to think I didn’t want you. I learned better. You are sorely missed here.” I will not tell you her name, but I will simply say she is one of the strongest people I have ever met. I dearly love her as a person and what she has done for folks like me.

My new church family feeds me each time I am around them. They have embraced me with the Grace God offers all of us. The pastor speaks with me often and I never have a conversation with him that I don’t laugh. For those of you who know me you know I don’t laugh often.

I believe everyone needs a natural support system. The main mission of Project Dream Again is to help the church, other faith communities, community organizations, mental health providers, and individuals come to understand how important a natural support system is to the recovery journey. WE CANNOT DO IT ALONE.

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

Monday, October 15, 2007

BEING PART OF A COMMUNITY

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
www.projectdreamagain.com
RESOURCES
[Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this blog. The writer Ed Cooper is fully responsible for the content of this blog.]
www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
faithnet.nami.org.

Being Part Of A Community/ October 15, 2007

The whole thrust of the mental health movement since the 60’s has been to move folks out of institutions into the community. Closing state hospital beds is still the buzz word. Being in the community is the goal. But what does that mean?

Does that mean sitting in some room alone most of the time because you have no friends? Does it mean being able to do very little in the community because you are forced to live in poverty on a disability check? How does a person who has spent months or years in a hospital ever become part of the larger community again?

When I first moved to south Florida in the early 90’s, I spoke out at a public meeting against the idea of closing South Florida State Hospital. Other consumer advocates were mad at me, but I was boiling with anger inside. I was angry at folks who did not understand the anxiety it produced to be told you were going to lose your home. Yes for many people South Florida State Hospital was their home.

I could give a speech to a crowd of 3,000 people, but I was afraid to go shopping for myself or go to a restaurant. I understood fearing the world. Anxiety disorders go along with many other mental illnesses along with paranoia and with the reality of abuse which most of us have suffered at one time or other in our lives. The world is not such a friendly place to us. Being in the community does not have the same meaning for some of us as it does for the people designing the grand plan.

Yesterday being in the community was grand. My wife and I joined the Glen Alpine United Methodist Church. The entire church filed by and welcomed us into the church family. I got more hugs yesterday morning than I have in years. I felt part of a community of faith. What a wonderful feeling.

Then in the afternoon I was invited to speak at the women’s meeting at the Snow Hill United Methodist Church on Mental Illness and the Church. My wife went with me. They had their business meeting then I did my presentation. Afterwards they asked us to stay and share a meal with them. Again I felt part of a community.

I have been locked away on a mental ward. I have lived on the streets hungry and alone. Yesterday, God’s people made me feel like I was part of a community. What a wonderful day.

I got a number of replies to my last blog about how to advocate. Here they are without any further comment from me.

CLARK REPLY


Mr. Cooper:
Have read your recent comments concerning follow the money in the N C Mental Health system. In 1983 I retired as career N C State employee from
The N C Department of Human Resources. Since that time I have operated my own business in the private sector dealing with people from all walks
Of life.
I served also as a N C State Senator 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998 serving on the health and human services appropriation committee. It didn’t take
Me very long in starting to pursue the various money trails in the mental health system after I received numerous complaints from mental health
Clients that direct services dollars were going to “bricks and mortar” in lieu of services. I was one powerless State Senator against the entire political
Power structure!
One needs to follow the money trail from the time the mental health reform legislation was introduced which forced the local regional mental health
Entites to dispose of their bricks and mortar empires. A major question in my mind is was this done above board. I think not!
The N C State Senator from Buncombe County who sponsored the mental health reform legislation resigned his Senate Seat under an ethical cloud.
These are just a couple thoughts on my experiences with the mental health system in N C. As the majority of people know the reform has been a
Total disaster.
Regards,
R L Clark
2 Quail Cove Rd.
Asheville, N C 28804
828-645-3548


Mumpower Reply

Mr. Cooper,
I appreciate the continuing opportunity to speak to our failed state mental health delivery system. May I respectfully suggest that after 6+ years of dysfunction, paralysis, and recycled harms, some sense of urgency and action around this issue might be appropriate?
Like yourself, I value the opportunity to cooperate and work with others. If, on the other hand, while doing so we are standing on the backs of people in pain, this cooperative effort might speak more to self service than an authentic concern for those we purport to serve.
It would be my continued suggestion that a recall initiative against the elected officials who have repeatedly failed to uphold their charge with our state mental health system might be a productive action step toward affecting improvements.
Yours,
Carl Mumpower



You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

ORDER NOW: You can now order the 2007 Special Edition of the 136 page book “When Even the Devil Deserts You” by going to the ORDER NOW page at
www.projectdreamagain.com
The review in the NAMI Advocate in 1993 said this about the book "Living with and caring for a person with a mental illness does not necessarily lead to a direct understanding of the experience of mental illness itself. It does not automatically tell you what to say or what to do that would be kind or helpful. For this reason I find the new book, When Even The Devil Deserts You, invaluable. The book features many vivid descriptions and an occasional touch of humor. The author has a remarkable ability to understand and describe not only his own experience, but its impact on family members."
[From the book review done by Carol Rees]

Thursday, October 11, 2007

HOW TO ADVOCATE?

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
www.projectdreamagain.com
RESOURCES
[Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this blog. The writer Ed Cooper is fully responsible for the content of this blog.]
www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
faithnet.nami.org.

HOW TO ADVOCATE? / October 11, 2007

I got a reply to my last blog so I wrote for permission to use it in my next blog.
Dear City Councilman Mumpower,
Do I have your permission to use your reply to my blog in my next blog which will be posted on Thursday?
Respectfully,
Ed
His reply was
“Mr. Cooper,
Regarding the continuing harms resulting from the assisted implosion of our state mental health system, may I suggest that a recall initiative against state elected officials accountable for this failure might be one action step toward affecting improvements.”
Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower
Mumpower upholds a private psychology practice in Asheville and serves on various boards and commissions devoted to drug interventions, improving public housing, honoring veterans, and meeting the needs of children. Known for his candor and courage in refusing to step away from hard issues.
Education Background
Ph.D. – Clinical Psychology, Union Institute, 1985
M.S.W. – Clinical Social Work, University of Georgia, 1976
M.A. – Counseling, Western Carolina University, 1975
B.A. – Psychology, St. Leo College, 1974
[From His Web Site www.mumpower08.com]

I don’t know about other advocates, but I have found that in order to get any thing done I had to keep in mind that I was dealing with other human beings just like me. That meant I needed to treat them like I wanted to be treated.

When I started here in North Carolina and then after moving to Florida I built my advocacy efforts around two foundations. Building personal relationships with the powers that be and knowing the money trail.

I am not sure Dr. Mumpower is giving good advice, but I do know our state mental health system is in trouble. So is the one in the state of Kentucky were I just left and the one in Florida were I spent so many years working my heart out.
Let us think a moment. Recall and replace with whom? Would they be better?

The keys in my humble opinion is that too few people really know the facts about the money and that we the consumers of mental health services have not built a strong enough advocacy voice that they know they have to listen to us.

When the first state wide meeting was held to talk about forming the North Carolina Mental Health Consumers’ Organization in 1989, I was there and we thought we were building a group not just for support and education, but to take on the system. Does it?

Only when consumers and family members learn the money trail and organize together with a couple of common issues will you see the state give more than lip service to us.

Not a recall, but be able to make a call because they know you. Not a recall, but be able to recall how they are spending the money and then attend the meetings to see if that is how it is being spent.

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

ORDER NOW: You can now order the 2007 Special Edition of the 136 page book “When Even the Devil Deserts You” by going to the ORDER NOW page at
www.projectdreamagain.com
The review in the NAMI Advocate in 1993 said this about the book "Living with and caring for a person with a mental illness does not necessarily lead to a direct understanding of the experience of mental illness itself. It does not automatically tell you what to say or what to do that would be kind or helpful. For this reason I find the new book, When Even The Devil Deserts You, invaluable. The book features many vivid descriptions and an occasional touch of humor. The author has a remarkable ability to understand and describe not only his own experience, but its impact on family members."
[From the book review done by Carol Rees]

HOW TO ADVOCATE?

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
www.projectdreamagain.com
RESOURCES
[Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this blog. The writer Ed Cooper is fully responsible for the content of this blog.]
www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
faithnet.nami.org.

HOW TO ADVOCATE? / October 11, 2007

I got a reply to my last blog so I wrote for permission to use it in my next blog.
Dear City Councilman Mumpower,
Do I have your permission to use your reply to my blog in my next blog which will be posted on Thursday?
Respectfully,
Ed
His reply was
“Mr. Cooper,
Regarding the continuing harms resulting from the assisted implosion of our state mental health system, may I suggest that a recall initiative against state elected officials accountable for this failure might be one action step toward affecting improvements.”
Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower
Mumpower upholds a private psychology practice in Asheville and serves on various boards and commissions devoted to drug interventions, improving public housing, honoring veterans, and meeting the needs of children. Known for his candor and courage in refusing to step away from hard issues.
Education Background
Ph.D. – Clinical Psychology, Union Institute, 1985
M.S.W. – Clinical Social Work, University of Georgia, 1976
M.A. – Counseling, Western Carolina University, 1975
B.A. – Psychology, St. Leo College, 1974
[From His Web Site www.mumpower08.com]

I don’t know about other advocates, but I have found that in order to get any thing done I had to keep in mind that I was dealing with other human beings just like me. That meant I needed to treat them like I wanted to be treated.

When I started here in North Carolina and then after moving to Florida I built my advocacy efforts around two foundations. Building personal relationships with the powers that be and knowing the money trail.

I am not sure Dr. Mumpower is giving good advice, but I do know our state mental health system is in trouble. So is the one in the state of Kentucky were I just left and the one in Florida were I spent so many years working my heart out.
Let us think a moment. Recall and replace with whom? Would they be better?

The keys in my humble opinion is that too few people really know the facts about the money and that we the consumers of mental health services have not built a strong enough advocacy voice that they know they have to listen to us.

When the first state wide meeting was held to talk about forming the North Carolina Mental Health Consumers’ Organization in 1989, I was there and we thought we were building a group not just for support and education, but to take on the system. Does it?

Only when consumers and family members learn the money trail and organize together with a couple of common issues will you see the state give more than lip service to us.

Not a recall, but be able to make a call because they know you. Not a recall, but be able to recall how they are spending the money and then attend the meetings to see if that is how it is being spent.

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

ORDER NOW: You can now order the 2007 Special Edition of the 136 page book “When Even the Devil Deserts You” by going to the ORDER NOW page at
www.projectdreamagain.com
The review in the NAMI Advocate in 1993 said this about the book "Living with and caring for a person with a mental illness does not necessarily lead to a direct understanding of the experience of mental illness itself. It does not automatically tell you what to say or what to do that would be kind or helpful. For this reason I find the new book, When Even The Devil Deserts You, invaluable. The book features many vivid descriptions and an occasional touch of humor. The author has a remarkable ability to understand and describe not only his own experience, but its impact on family members."
[From the book review done by Carol Rees]

Monday, October 08, 2007

A PLACE TO FIND GRACE

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
www.projectdreamagain.com
RESOURCES
[Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this blog. The writer Ed Cooper is fully responsible for the content of this blog.]
www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
faithnet.nami.org.

A PLACE TO FIND GRACE /October 8, 2007

Folks called to say that Oprah was doing a show on bipolar disorder. My first thought was what more do I need to know about the subject? I have been living with the disorder since I was a young man, but I watched part of her second show. Patty Duke made an appearance on it along with a family obviously in much pain from the fact one of the family members is a person with a bipolar disorder. The show to me was more sad than informative and certainly was not entertaining.

Over the years I have caused the people who loved me a great deal of pain. My parents both died still wondering if I would ever get my life together. My two sisters have spent endless hours worrying about me. My wife worries when I don’t get enough rest if I am headed into another manic episode. Mental illness takes a toll on the family of the people with mental illnesses. That is simply the fact of the matter.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has support groups for family members all across this country, but too many families still suffer alone and in silence. Some faith communities have outreach programs to families and to people with mental illnesses, but far too few. The truth is most families and most people with mental illnesses do not know where to go to for support.

Peer support is wonderful because you are with people who have the same issues as you do, but it is also limiting. A natural recovery path also includes what I call chronically normal folks. When building a support system one can’t look only to peers or to mental health professionals or even to family. The support system must be broader.

A lot of us and our family members look for spiritual support. Building a spiritual support system can’t be done in a vacuum. It takes a community. A faith community. Each week my church becomes more important to me in my recovery journey. The people at the Glen Alpine United Methodist Church have welcomed me. Their Pastor, David Duncan, has gone beyond what any pastor or minister has ever done to make me feel welcome and wanted in their fellowship and it feels good to be part of a faith community. I wish that as we begin Mental Illness Awareness Week all my fellow sojourners had what I have. A place to find grace.
You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com
ORDER NOW: You can now order the 2007 Special Edition of the 136 page book “When Even the Devil Deserts You” by going to the ORDER NOW page at
www.projectdreamagain.com
The review in the NAMI Advocate in 1993 said this about the book "Living with and caring for a person with a mental illness does not necessarily lead to a direct understanding of the experience of mental illness itself. It does not automatically tell you what to say or what to do that would be kind or helpful. For this reason I find the new book, When Even The Devil Deserts You, invaluable. The book features many vivid descriptions and an occasional touch of humor. The author has a remarkable ability to understand and describe not only his own experience, but its impact on family members."
[From the book review done by Carol Rees]

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts/ October 5, 2007

After the blogs about the North Carolina mental health system I got the most responses I have gotten since I started writing this blog. I want to share on of them with you. I got her permission to do so if you were wondering. This came in from Jana who works in south Florida.

“They will never fix it. We, the "broken" ones, have to find ways to heal. And as we do, bring others along. I'm with you: They will never do it. I'm tired of asking them to. After all, what's in it for them? Not even a decent paycheck any more. So, we'll do what we've always done: appeal to He who Himself was broken, and does heal, truly heal, from the inside out, and use whatever they've got that might help.
God help them for saying one thing and doing another. All of us are the children of one God, who does not look kindly on his children mistreating his children. They will have to answer.
Jana”

I guess I don’t have anymore to add on the subject. She said it very well.

I don’t know whether any of if have been reading the “On Faith” discussions hosted by Sally Quinn and Jon Meacham on washingtonpost.com, but I find them very interesting.
This is what their site says about “On Faith”

“Religion is the most pervasive yet least understood topic in global life. From the caves of the Afghan-Pakistan border to the cul-de-sacs of the American Sunbelt, faith shapes and suffuses the way billions of people-Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and nonbelievers-think and act, vote and fight, love and, tragically, hate. It is the most ancient of forces. As Homer said, "All men need the gods." Even the most ferocious atheists find themselves doing intellectual battle on a field defined by forces of the faithful.”

The most interesting piece was posted the other day. I will not try to quote the entire argument because I am not sure I even was able to follow it, but here is a short quote from the piece.

“It is easy for religious faith, even if it is irrational in itself, to lead a sane and decent person, by rational, logical steps, to do terrible things. There is a logical path from religious faith to evil deeds. There is no logical path from atheism to evil deeds. Of course, many evil deeds are done by individuals who happen to be atheists. But it can never be rational to say that, because of my nonbelief in religion, it would be good to be cruel, to murder, to oppress women, or to perpetrate any of the evils on the Hitchens list.
The following quotation from the Nobel prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg has become well known, but it is so devastatingly true that it is worth quoting again and again: “With or without [religion] you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.”
(Richard Dawkins has been the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford since 1995. The "On Faith" panelist did his D.Phil under the Nobel Prize-winning zoologist Niko Tinbergen. After two years as an Assistant Professor of Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, he returned to Oxford in 1970 as Lecturer in Animal Behaviour and a Fellow of New College. The British evolutionary biologist is noted for his writings defending evolution. An atheist, his latest book is The God Delusion(2006). He is the author of eight other books.)

The most interesting thing about it to me was that this time it was not us they were blaming the evil acts on. No mention of mental illness being the cause of evil. What a relief.

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com
HOMEPAGE: http:// www.projectdreamagain.com