2, Fall 2005
ADVOCATES BREAK THE SILENCE NATIONWIDE
& Community Mental Illness Education Projects
the Silence” congratulates you on your hard work
and perseverance. Thanks to your efforts mental illness education
and BTS is entering classrooms coast to coast. Reports of innovative
outreach strategies inspire us all.
the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
you took advantage of the free BTS made available by the W. K.
Kellogg Foundation for school/ community mental illness education
outreach projects. Thanks to this funding a limited supply of
free BTS is still available. If you are interested in receiving
a free copy of BTS for your project please fill out the online
BTS Request Form. All fields must be completed
for your request to be considered. All we require is a progress
report prior to December 05.
is a way for you to network with each other, share successes and
frustrations, and collect ideas and resources. There are many
ground-breaking projects occurring nationwide and we want you
to know about all of them. We encourage you to share and learn
from each other. Keep emailing us your news!
are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off
Home Base Happenings:
Susin, BTS Project Director and co-author, and Lorraine Kaplan,
BTS Director of Educational Outreach and co-author received a
Community Service Award from the Suffolk Coalition to Prevent
Alcohol and Drug Dependencies at their Breakfast of Champions.
was described as an outstanding curriculum dedicated to the field
of alcohol and substance abuse. They have both been very busy
making presentations. Lorraine spoke to future teachers about
the need for mental illness education in our own backyard at C.W.Post/Long
Island University. At Hofstra University she spoke at a farewell
tea for graduating education majors. Janet partnered with Lorraine
for a well received BOCES teacher training workshop in Suffolk
County, LI. Janet was a public health conference panel member
co-sponsored by Vytra Health Plans and the Suffolk Branch of the
NY State Public Health Association. She also spoke to future social
workers at Stony Brook University. With Janet and Lorraine all
over town, we were grateful to our active retired teacher volunteers
for representing BTS at the Adelphi University Health Fair.
NAMI Queens/Nassau staff is working hard to get you what you need
when you need it! Amy Lax, Director of PR & Development is
behind the scene, responding to the many requests for information
and materials. Keep the comments, inquiries and requests coming.
Our corporate sponsorship with Friendly’s Restaurants of
Long Island ended on an up note with $1000.00 from the canister
drive in May. Thanks to our corporate sponsorship with J&B
Partners, owners of LI Friendly’s Restaurants, university
and college professors of health education received free BTS and
many requested presentations. Everyone got coupons for Friendly’s
too! This fall, Friendly’s Restaurants will sponsor BTS
awareness programs for local PTA’s and LI libraries.
into policy of the Medical Student Section of the American Medical
our AMA work with mental health organizations to encourage patients
to discuss mental health concerns with their physicians; and be
it further Resolved, that our AMA work with the Department of
Education and state education boards and encourage them to adopt
basic mental health education designed specifically for elementary
through high school students." This resolution was co-authored
by Erin Callahan, Robyn Gartner, and Katherine Scott.
Erin Callahan is a
second year medical student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine
and volunteer for “Breaking the Silence”. The inspiration
for the resolution came from Erin’s early childhood experience
with a close friend who has bi-polar disorder. Despite many early
warning signs, everyone failed to recognize that Erin’s
friend had a mental illness. After several years of untreated
symptoms, the friend finally got the treatment she needed. Empowered
by a desire to help people with brain disorders Erin began volunteering
with BTS. Erin introduced BTS to her own high school in Minnesota
and in medical school she joined the Medical Student Section of
the AMA and co-authored the resolution on mental health education
This resolution is
now AMA Medical Student Section policy. In the spring of 2006,
this resolution will be presented to the House of Delegates of
the Physician Section of the AMA at their national conference.
If adopted as policy, specific funding and lobbyist resources
may be designated to promote the adoption of mental health education
programs in public schools nationwide. Erin looks forward to the
continued success of this important resolution in the AMA. If
you or someone you know has helpful contacts in the AMA or useful
information please pass it on to Erin.
Erin Callahan, firstname.lastname@example.org
of the Border
Carla at Voz Pro Salud
Mental is busy translating BTS for schools in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
She hopes to secure funding and be able to print and start introducing
the lessons next semester. We are very excited about the outreach
possibilities and applaud Carla’s determination.
Carla Hammeken, http://portal.vozprosaludmental.org.mx
Girl Scouts of Delaware-Raritan
The Program Coordinator
for a Mental Well-Being patch program at Girl Scouts of Delaware-Raritan
wants to incorporate BTS into her scouting program. Lisa reports
“I found the Breaking the Silence teaching resource to be
excellent…I haven’t found any other resource that
spoke about mental illness in an interesting, honest and open
forum for our young people to discuss. THANKS for making this
program available to our youngsters.” We look forward to
working with Lisa and her troops. Think of approaching your local
Lisa Cheng, Program Specialist, Lisa.Cheng@gsofdr.org
Beaufort County , South Carolina
YEA!!!! We may have
broken down a few barriers. Having met and introduced the BTS
program to the guidance counselors at our local elementary school
and a group of teachers at the high school, we are already light
years ahead of where we were. Our elementary school is actually
four separate buildings, each with their own staff. We have had
a request for extra copies of the "Brains can get sick, too...."
poster. Is this possible? If so, what is the cost? Thank you for
EVERYTHING! Your program really made an impression. FYI, separate
posters are available $5.99includes S&H!
Debbie Morris, email@example.com
County , NYS/ NAMI-FL
I have been involved
in outreach, consultation, and presentation of BTS for the last
4½ years – supported by our local affiliate and our
Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga BOCES. I thought that by my actually offering
to teach the lessons, we could get more people interested in trying
this. We have jointly sent out advertisements to appropriate school
personnel throughout the entire BOCES District – 4th/5th
grade teachers, health teachers, nurses, principals, guidance
counselors, social workers, psychologists, etc. This year the
Youth Development Department at BOCES has added their financial
I have found that the
teachers have been highly satisfied with the presentations and
the materials – some have begun teaching BTS themselves.
The children involved have been respectful and full of comments
and questions. I have felt truly “energized” after
each presentation. One teacher told me that after my initial presentation
that she, herself, had gone to be evaluated for bipolar disorder
– she attributed this to my presentations!!
Although many schools
have embraced BTS, there are many, many more who have not responded
or “don’t seem to have time” to fit this into
their curriculum. Many teachers are very thankful that I have
come – but I am still wondering how to get more schools
involved on a regular basis. Since I do this part-time, I depend
on advertising and networking with teachers within schools. My
next step is to enlarge my reach, speak more directly to administrators
and more often at staff meetings all over the County. Carol is
getting results and making a difference.
Carol Booth, firstname.lastname@example.org
We are moving slower
than we each would like, however, we want to do our grant correctly
and have been busy doing research. We want to make our work well
rounded with an in-service training for the professionals, “Breaking
the Silence” for the students and an educational piece for
the parents. We feel strongly about including all three segments.
had a very productive meeting with the Associate Commissioner
of the State Department of Education. He is going to review Breaking
the Silence and Visions for Professionals and give me feedback
on the possibility of partnering with us or at the very least
the possibility of their endorsing one or both of our programs.
We'll know shortly. We are also taking the summer off from our
work and will come back with renewed enthusiasm. We look forward
to following this comprehensive project. Barbara C. Sheldon Children's
Outreach Coordinator, email@example.com
don’t we educate the “whole” child?
Lyn is studying to
become a social worker in Canada. Introducing BTS to Canadian
schools has become both a personal and professional undertaking.
“Driving one day, to Algonquin College, Pembroke, it suddenly
struck me that I would research mental health education in Canadian
schools. While researching I was shocked to learn how far Canada
lags behind other countries but encouraged when I came upon came
BTS. My BTS package arrived. I set to work and read it cover to
cover. I was thrilled! This was exactly what I wanted; all the
relevant age appropriate information displayed creatively, it
was as if I had written it. I was hooked and immediately started
networking. I have been a taxi service for the program speaking
to teachers, school principals, counsellors, mental health representatives,
and parents of children suffering from mental illness. The response
has been great.”
like the idea and the principals would include the program if
they were mandated (as they are limited to time). One school director
enthusiastic about BTS was also concerned about extra work. Not
deterred, I wrote to the Minister of Education and was told that
our schools already cover mental health. So, I have an uphill
battle but one that I will gladly take on. BTS is being presented
to a high school by an agency and two principals are presenting
BTS to their teachers hoping to integrate it next year. I am also
forming a committee to pressure school boards, government, and
so forth to get mental health taught in our schools.”
Children are taught
many subjects to prepare them for a successful life but without
teaching mental health we are not teaching the whole child. I
have found my goal in life, getting mental health included in
every child’s education.” Lyn’s determination
is strong, her goals are clear and I am sure she will get results.
Lyn Smith, Pembroke, Ontario, Canada.
University National Women's Committee
The New York Meadowbrook
chapter of Brandeis University National Women's Committee (BUNWC)
has a community service committee which meets monthly and the
people on the committee work daily on diverse community activities.
At one monthly meeting Lorraine Kaplan was a guest speaker. Lorraine
shared her story and the importance of mental illness education
with the group. We were so moved by her story and the need to
educate all students about mental illness that we decided to give
our service whenever and wherever help is needed for the "Breaking
the Silence" project. To date the committee has made phone
calls, applied 5,000 labels, attended health fairs, contacted
school districts and colleges as well as community outreach to
promote the "Breaking the Silence" curriculum. All of
us at NAMI Queens/Nassau and BTS are grateful for the dedication
in the Classroom
I had a wonderful time
at two Safety and Education classes at Sequoia High School in
Redwood City, California this week using BTS with sophomores.
We discussed the common characteristics you associate with people
with mental illness followed by the True/False Test and talked
about the negative images of people with mental illness covered
by the media. I gave a lot of examples of people I serve at the
Mental Health Association; how the illness affects their functioning,
some able to get jobs and go to school, while others cannot. We
discussed the difference between psychopath and psychotic as well
as delusions and hallucinations. Several students talked about
the people they knew with mental illness. My second visit began
by talking about movies and shows such as "A Beautiful Mind",
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", and "Monk".
I went through a list of famous people with mental illness and
how they achieved great things. BTS materials were used and we
discussed where to turn for help. Before I left, the teacher asked
7 students to voluntarily stand-up and tell me what they learned.
I was very encouraged by their comments such as mental illness
is an illness, mentally ill people are smart and maybe even smarter
then the students, mental illness can happen to anyone, mental
illness can be treated with medication, and mentally ill people
are just like anyone else. I got applause and look forward to
another group of sophomores next week.
the Silented People! Talk about mental illness
only way I can truly help my son who has paranoid schizophrenia
is to help the world by freeing the Silented People -- those with
a mental illness,” explains Mary DuBose McAliley, Integrated
Marketing Communications, Emory University and owner of Chat rocks!,
a new website devoted to encouraging people to talk about mental
illness. Mary describes Chat rocks! as a “knowledge village
on the internet”. It is currently a work in progress dedicated
to dialoging about mental illness. While searching the internet
for Chat rocks! Mary found “Breaking the Silence”
(BTS). So enthusiastic about the concept of mental illness education
for all students, Mary immediately ordered the teaching packets
and began her own outreach project promoting and raising funds
for BTS. Go to www.chatrocks.com
and order your blue jelly Chat rocks! bracelet. Thanks to Mary,
the profits go to “Breaking the Silence.”
shares Joel Barker‘s interpretation of Loren Eiseley’s
The Star Thrower:
Once, there was a wise
man, much like Eiseley himself, who used to go to the ocean to
do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before
he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As
he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a
dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance
to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got
closer, he saw that it was a young man. The young man wasn't dancing,
but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something,
and very gently throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer, he
called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?" The
young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish
into the ocean."
"I guess I should
have asked, ‘Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?’"
"The sun is up
and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll
"But young man,
don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and
starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"
The young man listened
politely then bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw
it into the sea, past the breaking waves. "It made a difference
to that one!"
His response surprised
the man. He was upset. He didn't know how to reply. So instead,
he turned away and walked back to the cottage to begin his writings.
All day long as he
wrote, the image of the young man haunted him. He tried to ignore
it, but the vision persisted. Finally, late in the afternoon he
realized that he the scientist, he the poet, had missed out on
the essential nature of the young man's actions. He realized that
what the young man was doing was choosing not to be an observer
in the universe but choosing to make a difference. He was embarrassed.
That night he went
to bed troubled. When the morning came he awoke knowing that he
had to do something. So he got up, put on his clothes, went to
the beach, and found the young man. And with him he spent the
rest of the morning throwing starfish into the ocean. You see,
what that young man's actions represent is something that is special
in each and every one of us. We have all been gifted with the
ability to make a difference. And if we can, like that young man,
be come aware of that gift, we gain through the strength of our
vision the power to shape the future.
“In April of
2004, my son was hospitalized with a serious mental illness. The
diagnosis fell to bipolar/schizophrenia. The only way I know to
keep an enemy from winning is to do something positive to fight
back. Like the starfish, there are many students but we believe
Chat rocks! partnering with Breaking the Silence can make a difference--one
student at the time!”
Rev. J.R. and Mary McAliley, www.chatrocks.org
of Champlain Valley
A recent teen suicide
in Plattsburgh, NY is drawing crucial attention to the need for
mental health education for our young people. The unfortunate
suicide of a very good family friend, high school senior and class
president devastated so many of us and took our community by surprise.
The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Champlain Valley
(NAMI: CV) has been providing information about Breaking the Silence
to the North Country through a number of outreach strategies.
Dr. Otto Wahl was the keynote speaker at NAMI: CV's May 6th conference,
entitled Stigma: Maddening Images of Mental Illness. Marguerite
Adelman, Executive Director of NAMI: CV; Dr. Michelle Kavanaugh,
Superintendent of the Plattsburgh City Schools; and Laurie Shutts,
PBIS Coordinator with Families Together of New York State, co-presented
a workshop on Stigma in the Schools that featured BTS. In May
Marguerite made a BTS presentation for educators at the North
Country Teacher Resource Center and for special education teacher
candidates both at SUNY Plattsburgh. Thanks to Marguerite and
her dedicated group, Kathy Bedore from Westport Central School
is taking BTS back to her administration and the need for mental
illness education is beginning to be addressed in this NY community.
Marguerite Adelman, Executive Director, NAMI: CV, firstname.lastname@example.org
Boca Raton 's Promise,
an affiliate of America's Promise- The Alliance for Youth, has
launched a mental health initiative to identify resources, problems,
and needs. “Breaking the Silence” was first introduced
when Lorraine Kaplan visited a youth forum held in Boca Raton.
Interest in introducing the program in local elementary schools
was expressed on June 27 during a follow up meeting of the mental
health focus team. Discussion is underway! Lorraine keeps going,
even on her vacation! We look forward to hearing more from Rita.
Rita Thresher, email@example.com
I presented BTS to
a school district superintendent and curriculum director. They
are reviewing the materials and will be called for follow up.
This district has some 30,000+ students. Another district was
given BTS at a County MH Summit in June. This summit, created
to develop strategies for creating a world class mental health
system for Harris County included 350 providers, advocates, consumers,
professional and political figures. I am on the education committee
and visualize this group as an avenue for approaching the population/educational
system with the need for mental illness education. The trustees
of the 41 Texas Community MH/MR Centers meet in July. This training
conference will allow us to present the mental health educational
needs and training materials to community leadership throughout
Texas. This key first step will be a barometer of our ability
to obtain the support and backing of important community leaders.
In July we present
to the Clear Lake Rotary. With the national advocacy strength
and community presence of the Rotary, we hope to find a community
partner to lead a state and national effort to educate and identify
those children with needs without the present stigma and fear.
We are attempting to schedule meetings with other local rotaries.
Alfred Forsten, firstname.lastname@example.org
You are all living testament to the following quote by Ralph Waldo
Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead
where there is no path and leave a trail.” Our “trail”
paves the way for all young people to become aware of these illnesses,
be able to seek treatment, and no longer live in the shadows of
the stigma associated with misunderstanding and ignorance.
Newsletter is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. We encourage
you to send your comments, questions, success stories and frustrations
yourself for all of the pioneering projects and keep moving ahead!
Amy Lax, BTS Director of Public Relations & Development, AmyLax@optonline.net