Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and Center for Mental Health Services, the Voice Awards honor consumer/peer leaders who have played a vital role in raising awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders and promoted the social inclusion of people with behavioral health problems. http://www.whatadifference.samhsa.gov/voiceawards/index.htmlThrough their exemplary leadership and advocacy, these individuals demonstrate that recovery is real and that people with behavioral health problems are valuable, contributing members of their schools, workplaces, and communities.
The awards also recognize TV and film writers and producers who have given a voice to people with behavioral health problems by incorporating dignified, respectful, and accurate portrayals of these individuals into their scripts, programs, and productions. These dedicated, insightful, and influential professionals have helped change how TV and film viewers understand mental health and substance use disorders and accept people with behavioral health problems.
Each year, the Voice Awards features a theme that supports SAMHSA’s key strategic initiatives and is integrated throughout all facets of that year’s program. In 2012, the awards program will spotlight the strength and perseverance of athletes who face unique challenges in managing mental health and/or substance use disorders while continuing to train, compete, and remain in the public eye. Consideration is being given to consumer/peer leaders who educate the public about the behavioral health challenges of athletes and help empower them to begin the journey of recovery. Additional consideration is being given to TV and film productions that accurately and respectfully portray the behavioral health struggles of athletes, their resilience, and their paths to recovery.

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Book Launch Part Two; the ripples of recovery…..

Evening the frayed edges: the ripples of recovery.  That is the title of our SECOND anthology!!!  This time 5 writers belonging to the Recovery Narrative Project have put together a sequel to our original book.  Of course we will be hosting an exciting book launch to introduce this book to our Friends, Families, Peers and Supporters!  Details to come soon.  The date of the book launch will be Thursday April 12, 2012.  Check back here soon when all the details will be posted.  We’d love to see you there at our second BOOK LAUNCH!!!

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More about our panel at the UBC Health Fair

“I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to share my story about my journey with mental illness and living in recovery.  I would welcome another opportunity to share my story and I think the other panel members would as well.  Please  feel  free to contact us.”
A Recovery Narrative Author and Panel Member

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Thank-you to UBC Health Fair

A few of the authors from the Recovery Narrative Project were able to go to this years UBC HealthFair.  Thank-you to all the attendees (Students, Faculty and Others) of our panel presentation who came to listen to our perspectives about living with a mental illness.  Recovery is a journey so we have not recovered from mental illness, but instead are learning to recovery with a mental illness.  Thank-you again to those who picked up a copy of our first book.  And also thank-you to everyone who stopped by at our booth to chat and share their ideas/perspectives.  Hopefully we will see each other again….

And kudos to the group that organized and facilitated this Health Fair.   We feel it was an awesome day!

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Two exciting announcements…..

On Wednesday November 2, 2011 three of the authors from ‘EVENING the frayed edges’ will be speaking in a panel about ‘Recovery living with a mental illness’ at the UBC Student Health Fair!  Further details will be posted soon!  The topic of our panel presentation fits well with our books on recovery.  Did I say books?  That’s right, the Recovery Narrative Project did publish a book on recovery with mental illness and now we almost have a second book ready for publication!  We feel both books compliment each other well and we our looking forward to sharing our stories…..

Again more details on our second book (Evening the frayed edges: the Ripples of Recovery) to come soon!

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Summer, what summer?

Next May, June and July you will not hear me complaining about the heat and sun.  Why?  I have gotten to experience almost no heat or sun yet this summer.  I kinda miss it.  In fact, I miss it a lot.  My appetite usually shrinks.  I get out for long walks.  I even escape to forests so I can get some time away from the heat.  Not this year.  Last summer I took someone up to Lynn Canyon so they could experience this beautiful corner of the lower mainland.  After a hike, I stuck my head in the cold creek that carves its way through the rock of Lynn Canyon.  That cold water just energized me.  Anyway, I am being energized this May, June and July.  Doing what?  Well, can not say quite yet but I’ll give you a hint.  There maybe more frayed edges…..

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Language can be a framework…

Do people living in our communities while accessing mental health services want to be known as ‘Consumers’, or ‘Clients’ or some other label?  Language can certainly help the framework of how issues are looked at.  The term ‘weapons of mass destruction’ certainly helped build a framework for decisions made by many countries in terms of choosing to get involved in a war.  Even how those military actions were framed depending on the group sharing its opinions.  Was it a war, military action, democratic liberation?  The Recovery Narrative Project’s first book (yes, we MAY 😉 be working on a sequel!) EVENING the frayed edges was an opportunity for the authors to use our voices to begin to build frames.  These are frames for us to share our lives, share our experiences and share our opinions about recovery and living with a mental illness.   As writers we were able to build some frames but it is just as vital to see how those frames (and the words within) resonated with our readers.  Hopefully, others will learn from our writing the way we were able to learn about writing, publishing and distributing a book!

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An earthquake in Tokyo

Planning sure seemed to help lower the damages in Japan after one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history.  I was in Tokyo this past November 2010.  I saw posted maps in many languages (including english) showing where evacuees should go in event of an earthquake.  So planning helped.  But regardless of how much and how well we may plan there will probably be unforseen issues that will arise.  So, good planning with acceptance that other issues will occur seems to be how to go.  While on a completely different scale, the authors of the Recovery Narrative Project also needed to wear two hats.  A strong ‘planning hat’ was needed to build a framework to build our book upon.  A ‘flexibility hat’ was needed to overcome challenges that we often did not see coming until they were upon us.  Communication is a vital component of the skills needed while wearing both a ‘planning hat’ and a ‘flexilbilty hat’.   My thoughts/prayers go out to all my friends in Tokyo and their friends/families.

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Two months have flown by…

Yes, there are still things happening in relation to the Recovery Narrative Projects anthology ‘EVENING the frayed edges’.  Writing the book was an extensive process.  Publishing the book, again more complicated than many of us thought.  And, distributing the book is yet another process with bumps in the road.  So what other tricks or plans do the authors have up our literary sleeves???  Well, like the other steps of writing and publishing, distributing the book is proving to be a journey with unforeseen paths.  The authors have a roughed in map of the direction where we would like to go but we’ll see as time passes.  As stated in previous blog posts, writing a book reminds me of recovery with mental illness.  Yes, the outcome is important but the journey is where the life-learning happens, in my opinion.

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Days are short….

December is a busy month for parties, remembering and wrapping up another calendar year.  2010 was a remarkable year for many Authors who participated in the Recovery Narrative Project’s anthology ‘EVENING the frayed edges’.  Sharing one’s personal stories of recovery can be empowering.  Hearing how one has impacted other people by sharing is also empowering.  I think the Authors can hardly wait to see, hear and read about how our project has helped other people in their journeys of recovery….

Check back in the New Year of 2011.  The last chapter of EVENING the frayed edges is still to be written….

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