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Monday, July 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Free, 12-week course for loved ones of those with mental illness offered this fall

post by Billie Owens in announcements, mental illness

The National Alliance On Mental Illness of Rochester will be presenting Family to Family, a no-charge, 12-week educational course for families and friends (parents, spouses, partners, siblings ) of people living with mental illness.

Classes will be held each Tuesday Sept. 9 through Tuesday Dec. 2 from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Mental Health Association 25 Liberty St., Unit 4, Conference Room, Batavia.

The classes will provide information, insight, empathy and empowerment based upon factual information on mental illness, medications, crisis intervention, accessing the mental health system and self care which is taught by NAMI trained family members.

Pre-registration required; participants register for the entire 12 weeks. Deadline to register is Sept. 2.

Go to www.namirochester.org or call NAMI Rochester at 585-423-1593, or Mental Health Association at 585-344-2611 for more information and registration.

Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Unabomber's brother to speak on mental illness at GCC Tuesday evening

post by Billie Owens in GCC, mental illness, Ted Kaczynski

Press release:

The Wellness Center at Genesee Community College is pleased to partner with the Mental Health Association in Genesee County for a presentation by David Kaczynski, brother of Ted Kaczynski, the man known as the Unabomber. David Kaczynski, 63, will share the story, both fascinating and heartwarming, of the impact his older brother’s mental illness had on their family. His presentation is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7 in the Stuart Steiner Theatre on GCC’s Batavia campus.

David Kaczynski’s talk at GCC is being held in conjunction with an exhibit in the lobby of the College’s Genesee Center for the Arts. “Nothing to Hide: Mental Illness in the Family” is a museum-quality photo-text traveling exhibit featuring photographs and interviews with families whose lives are affected by mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

The community is invited to view the exhibit at a pre-talk reception at 6 p.m. Space is limited. Pre-registration is requested by calling the Mental Health Association at (585) 344-2611. A suggested donation of $10 is appreciated.

The Kaczynskis grew up in Chicago. Ted, who turns 71 on May 22, was a mathematics prodigy who entered Harvard on a scholarship at age 16. He went on to earn a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan in 1967 and then moved west to teach at the University of California Berkeley.

He resigned just two years later, and moved to Montana where he took up a survivalist life in isolation, developing anti-government and anti-technology philosophies. He made his first bomb in 1978, sending it to a professor at Northwestern University. He then sent two bombs to the president of American Airlines. The FBI dubbed the case UNABOM, for University and Airline Bombing, and the suspect was termed the Unabomber. Over a 17-year period, Kaczynski’s explosive packages killed three people and injured 22 others.

David Kaczynski, who lives in Woodstock, helped authorities capture his brother in 1996 after reading the so-called Unabomber Manifesto, a 35,000-word essay Ted wrote about the problems of modern society. Though he was estranged from Ted, David and his wife, Linda, recognized the writing style and some of the ideas expressed as Ted’s.

Ted Kaczynski eventually pleaded guilty and has been serving four life sentences for the bombings at a Federal Correctional Facility in Colorado. David has said he writes to him without response.

David became an advocate for violence prevention and spent a dozen years as executive director of New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. He recently became director of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery and retreat center in Woodstock.

The “Nothing to Hide” exhibit will remain on display throughout the month of May, which is Mental Health Month. It’s made possible with funds from the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

The exhibit's compelling accounts demonstrate strength, courage, integrity, and accomplishment in the face of the adversity and stigma of mental illness. By bringing visibility to these individuals and families, “Nothing to Hide” dispels harmful stereotypes, myths, and misconceptions about mental illness.

For more information, contact GCC Wellness Director Roberta Noto at (585) 343-0055, ext. 6293, or by e-mail RMNoto@genesee.edu. or Sue Gagne, assistant executive director of the Mental Health Association in Genesee County at (585) 344-2611.

Monday, November 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Workshops to address topic of senior citizen suicide Tuesday

One elderly person commits suicide every 90 seconds, according to a statistic provided by the Genesee County Mental Health Association.

That's why they are helping the Genesee County Suicide Prevention Coalition to host an upcoming pair of workshops featuring Eric Weaver (pictured). He's the executive director of "Overcoming the Darkness," a Victor-based organization dedicated to providing education about and help for people with mental illnesses.

"Suicide Prevention in the Elderly" is the title of the workshops, which will take place Tuesday at ARC's Community Center, at 38 Woodrow Road in Batavia. There will be a workshop for providers from 12:30 until 4:30 p.m. and another one for friends and family members from 6 until 8 p.m.

Both are free and open to the public.

Caregivers, family and community members who attend either workshop will be equipped to help elderly individuals in danger of suicide by learning how to:

  • Understand risk factors;
  • Recognize warning signs;
  • Learn how to have a discussion with the person if they suspect suicidal thoughts; and
  • Learn about local resources available to help with prevention, managing risk factors and coping in the wake of a suicide.

According to Sue Gagne, of Genesee County Mental Health, people age 65 and older have a higher suicide rate than any other age group.

She believes the main contributing factors to be "financial concerns, concerns about managing the aging process, health concerns and loss of independence."

Millie Tomidy, also of Genesee County Mental Health, described the Genesee County Suicide Prevention Coalition as "a group of people from various professional backgrounds as well as individual community members who are alarmed by the prevalence of suicide and want to do something about it."

"The ripple effect from one death can devastate the entire community," Tomidy said. "The goal of the coalition is to educate in order to prevent future suicides, but also to have a unified response plan in place if (a suicide) should occur."

Weaver, a survivor of a mental illness himself, is widely recognized for his educational talks and training seminars for professionals, family members, churches, workplaces, community groups, schools, hospitals and other audiences.

The mission of his business, "Overcoming the Darkness," is to "reduce stigma, increase understanding surrounding the many challenges of mental health related issues, create a culture that openly discusses the topic of mental illness, suicide and suicide related behavior, and above all proclaim that there is hope and that a level of recovery is available to everyone, so that individuals and families will no longer need to suffer in silence" (from the Web site).

For more information or to reserve a space, call 344-2611.

Photo from www.overcomingthedarkness.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 10:30 am

New facility on East Main will give mentally ill a chance to live independently

post by Billie Owens in batavia, DePaul, East Main Street, GCEDC, mental illness

depaul_residence_batavia.jpg

Thirty one adults with mental illness, all currently residents of group homes in Darien and Pembroke, will soon have a chance to begin new lives of independence and a degree of self care.

They will be moving into the attractive new housing facility being built at 559 E. Main St., Batavia.

The new living arrangements are a result of new thinking in the treatment of mental illness: People can be cured, and their best chance at recovery is through independent living.

Living Opportunities of DePaul, in Erie County, is in charge of the $6.6 million project. It's one of several branches of DePaul in Rochester, a 51-year-old community service nonprofit for Western New York.

The project is expected to be finished early next year and will accommodate people whose primary diagnosis is mental illness and they are working to recover from it. They are not MICA -- mentally ill with a chemical addiction(s), said Marcia Dlutek, DePaul's vice president of communications and development.

In addition to the 31 "licensed beds," 11 more units are designated as affordable housing for low-income individuals.

Two aspects of this project are particularly notable: it will provide individually tailored assistance to mentally ill people living in their own apartments, versus communally in a group home; and it operates under the relatively new premise that mental illness is sometimes curable.

The approach is worlds apart from 20 years ago, when groups homes began to flourish in response to the downsizing or closure of many large mental health institutions nationwide. Advances in psychopharmacology and findings in behavioral science research have modified approaches to treatment as well.

"Other modes of community housing are deemed more appropriate for recovery for  people living in the mental health system," Dlutek said. "Clients want to live alone rather than in communal living areas.

"This is a new approach. It is person-centered, recovery-oriented -- a housing option that will truly benefit them."

They will have access to 24-hour staffing, medication, life-skills assistance with such tasks as meal planning and budgeting. Plus, the location was chosen because of its easy and convenient access to transportation, stores, businesses and social services.

"It's really going to provide integrated housing for mental health consumers," she said. "We're very excited about this project. It took a lot of collaborative effort to accomplish, between our organization, the (NY) Department of Mental Health, the city, the county and the Economic Development Center.

Located next to East Town Plaza, the 43,000-square-foot, two-story complex covers 5.7 acres of prime city property. As it nears completion, it's shaping up to be an inviting design with curb appeal and solid structure -- certainly a far cry from the drab, institutional-looking warrens historically built for the mentally ill.

(However, it also seems a somewhat "boutique" alternative given the cost for housing just 31 mentally ill people, out of the many eligible.)

Since nonprofits are not required to pay property taxes, the GCEDC worked out an agreement wherein DePaul will pay $12,000 a year in lieu what the city could get from commercial or residential development..

Funding for the housing center came primarily from the state Office of Mental Health and the Department of Housing, Community Renewal Division. The design work was done by Parrone Engineering of Rochester and Lecesse Construction Corp. in West Henrietta is the builder.


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Monday, October 5, 2009 at 7:34 am

Conversations with Calliope- Ravages of Mental Illness

post by Joseph Langen in fragility of life, loss, mental illness


 

 


(Statue- San Juan)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I missed you on Saturday.
JOE: I learned that some experiences are like some books. They need to be chewed and digested. I needed some time before addressing what happened Saturday.
CALLIOPE: Sounds rather dramatic.
JOE: It wasn't so much dramatic as profoundly affecting me.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about it.
JOE: Okay. I met a woman I had once loved and had not seen in ten years.
CALLIOPE: What happened?
JOE: She was a shell of her once vibrant and bright self. Only faintly glowing embers remained of her personality.
CALLIOPE: What happened to her?
JOE: Mental illness ravaged her and she almost disappeared.
CALLIOPE: Did finding her in this state surprise you?
JOE: No. I knew what to expect. Still it is sad to see the remnants of a once promising life now tenuous at best.
CALLIOPE: Sorry to hear it.
JOE: I have known it all too well as a psychologist but it's still hard to accept. Talk with you tomorrow.

 

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