Speak out about how Mental illness has impacted your life: Here’s How

How has mental illness impacted your family? Whether are you have the diagnosis personally or if you are a family member and friend of someone who does, you are still impacted, in some way, by mental illness. A wonderful friend of mine, brought these amazing resources to my attention. I would like to share them with you and provide you with the opportunity, as well, to become involved and share your story.

I highly encourage EVERYONE to participate in sharing their story regarding mental illness. Even if you have not been a diagnosis, just sharing your challenges with others can provide a feeling of camaraderie with those who share similar experiences. We can begin to understand the immense of strength that we own by hearing others’ stories & sharing our own.

The first opportunity is sharing your story on the radio:
If you would like to share your story with 89.3 KPCC, a radio station, please click on this link: http://www.scpr.org/network/questions/mi. After clicking on this link, there will be text boxes for you to share your story with the world. A KPCC radio journalist will respond to you by email.

The second opportunity is to participate in a campaign called “I Will Listen” (iwilllisten.org). The campaign is based in New York by NAMI, but has sent ripples throughout the country. By visiting this site, viewers will be able to watch hundreds of videos of ordinary people and celebrities share their stories of how mental illness has impacted their lives.

A link for the NY Times newspaper article about the “I Will Listen” campaign: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/02/business/media/a-campaign-urges-listening-to-those-torn-by-mental-illness.html

The way we get rid of the stigma is coming together and sharing our courageous stories about how we are impacted my mental illness. Mental illness is an issue that we are all experiencing on some level, every day of our lives. Luckily, you don’t have to experience it alone.



Social Workers.. Should Not, what?

Social Workers.. Should Not, what?

This quote hits the core of social work in a minimal way, in my opinion. As the governmental shutdown continues and the number of vulnerable individuals increase, (due to the amount of poverty, oppression, and covert discrimination that is embedded within our society’s systematic functioning), we, as social workers, become even more critical in providing empowerment and hope to those we interact with daily. However, changing peoples’ lives also occurs by advocating for individuals on a community and macro level. The part of this quote that I disagree with is, “When we are no LONGER able to change a situation…”. As social workers, we CAN change situations by effectively touching the lives of our clients and advocating for, and with, our clients at a communal and legislative level. Social workers SHOULD NOT allow our society’s current financial and political situation impinge our ability to remain effective. Social workers SHOULD NOT accept the current situations of their clients or the system that perpetuates a person’s unfortunate circumstances. We, social workers, have the skills and capability to change not only the lives of our clients, but also remain influential in the communities and greater environments of our clients.

Brittany’s 7 Tips for Coping with Parent’s Diagnosis

This blog is written for the adolescents and young adults that have learned about their parent(s) mental illness diagnosis.

I am a child of a parent who has been diagnosed with depression during my late childhood. My adolescent and young adult years were the most difficult for me in terms of understanding depression & watching the depressive symptoms negatively impact my family. I had no guide to help me cope or manage my own emotions that I had towards my parent’s depressive symptoms.

These tips that I am sharing with you are parts of the road-map that I constructed for myself. You may find some of these tips unhelpful for you, depending on the severity or type of your parent’s mental illness. If so, please use these tips in a way that can assist you in finding your own ways of coping.

1.Become Knowledgeable: This tip is very important. The more (correct) knowledge you have about your parent’s diagnosis, the more likely you will be able to see your parent as the person they are, not as the symptoms. For example, my parent was and still is loving and supportive. However, when the depressive episodes take hold, the circulating negative thoughts temporarily prevent my parent from remaining in the moment with her family.

2. Find someone to talk to: Having a person you feel safe and comfortable talking with can be very helpful. This person can be either a therapist/counselor, a close relative, friend, or anyone else that will provide you with a safe place for you to express your emotions and share any challenges you’re experiencing. For me, I found a therapist and very close friends the most comforting because I, and my parent, wasn’t being judged or criticized. Who ever is this person for you, make sure they really listen to you and acknowledge your emotions and experiences.

3. Be kind to yourself and your parent: When I mention being kind to yourself, I mean giving yourself the allowance to feel how ever you feel each day. There were days when I was angry with how my parent’s depressive symptoms were impacting my family. I was sad some days because how I saw the depressive symptoms prevented my parent from getting out of bed some days. I was frustrated sometimes, too. I believe my ability to identify how I felt during these difficult years, and even today, have assisted me in increasing my understanding and compassion for my parent and their experiences. Once you are able to be kind to yourself, the kindness can expand to your parent.

4. Positively Interact with Your Parent: With depression, there may be times where the simplest tasks may be the most difficult, such as getting out of bed or cooking. I suggest modifying such activities so that you can do them with your parent. When I knew my parent didn’t want to cook because they lost their appetite, I suggested helping. Or even encouraging a game of scrabble. Playing any game or sharing a hobby that you and your parent can do together can remind the parent of the activities they enjoy when they are not in a depressed state. Lastly, if your parent doesn’t agree to any of your suggestions, use this time to focus on you. Doing a task that you enjoy can assist you in regulating your emotions and manage stress.

5. Start a Bucket List Together: This activity goes with #4. By starting a bucket list with your parent (when they are not in a depressed episode), can act as a verbal and written contract between the two of you. For instance, writing items on the list that are healthy and active, like simply walking around the block in your neighborhood or traveling to the beach, can (1) be a bonding experience for you two, (2) assists in getting both your parent and yourself active and moving, and (3) can create positive and rewarding experiences for all involved. Collaborating in the creation of this list can instill hope for your parent and your family.

6. Support for Siblings: When my parent experienced depressive episodes or was having a bad day, I stepped-up my duties as an older sister to include helping with homework, laundry, cooking and providing emotional support when it was needed. These tasks, for me at least, fit well with my role in the family as a mediator. When I noticed my sibling was having a difficult time, I tried my best to be a supportive. If it is too emotionally difficult or you are not at an age where this is possible,  I suggest assisting them in finding someone they feel they can talk to (as suggested in tip #2).

7. Know & Believe that RECOVERY is possible: This tip is as simple as that.
Below, are resources that can assist you in collecting information, enhancing your knowledge about mental health and mental illness, and provide you with the reassurance that you, and your family, are not alone.

Helpful Resources:

California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies: http://www.ccmha.org

Children of Parent with Mental Illness: http://www.copmi.net.au –> Even though this organization is based in Australia, there is lots of helpful information for children of parents with mental illness. There are resources for children, young adults, & parents.

Depression Facts: http://www.aboutdepressionfacts.com

Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement: http://www.eachmindmatters.org

Healthy Place: America’s Mental Health Channel: http://www.healthyplace.com

Mental Health America: Depression: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net

National Alliance on Mental Illness: http://www.nami.org –> Can provide information about mental illness as well as family support at chapters throughout the country

Kevin Breel shines light on the True Relationship between Society & Depression

This movie will provide you with truth, honesty, courage, & insight into the experience of depression in our society today.

To watch, please click on the link below:


I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

“Every 30 seconds, someone in the world takes their life because of depression”–Kevin Breel

USC visits the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines

Please visit this link, http://manila.usembassy.gov/mobile/usc-up-women-empowerment-legislation.html, to read about USC Social Work students’ visit to the US Embassy.

During the Philippine Global Immersion Program, USC and students from the University of the Philippines Manila and Diliman visited the US Embassy for a discussion about women’s empowerment and legislation. The event was welcomed by Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), Brian Goldbeck, an alumni of USC, on June 5th. The speakers at the event were former Congresswoman Lia Maza and Senator Loren Legarda of the Philippines.

             Pictures from the event can be seen by visiting the link provided above.





ABC News Speical: Alleged Underage Prostitution in the Philippines


This ABC News special about human trafficking and prostitution in the Philippines was shown in February 2013. Regardless of the time that goes by since the premiere showing of this special, the issue of human trafficking, prostitution, and the sex industry remains to be a global issue.

My classmates and I visited Subic Bay for two days and interacted with some girls/women who work(ed) at the bars and clubs. The experience brought to life the women and girls’ desperation for survival. Most, if not all, of the girls and women who became involved in trafficking, prostitution, and the sex industry do not willingly chose this lifestyle. The overall systemic organization of the country is what places these women and girls into these situations. The organization of the country includes the lack of implemented laws like the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, the immense amount of poverty, increasing presence of violence against women and children, the lack of employment, and a lack of government-supported social services. The awareness of these issues on a global level needs to be greatly enhanced in order to prevent trafficking in the future.