In high school, you would not think anything was going on with me emotionally because on the surface, I kept everything sunny and shiny. I was very involved in school activities, on the student government, nominated for homecoming court and a leader in various clubs. I was always out with friends and surrounded by a very large and active social network. Even though I lived life with this confident and social persona, there was always this undertone of sadness underneath the surface that people did not always see.

Ethan and Mike, lead musicians in the band Manifide recently sat down with NAMI to talk about their upcoming concert celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month, and their own personal experiences with mental health. Through their music they want to raise awareness that people with depression and other types of mental illness can be a positive influence on society, and can recover. They even helped us kick off Mental Health Month with an appearance on New Day Northwest!

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We have heard and seen the reports that rates of anxiety and depression are spiking amongst college students, and this is an entirely understandable outcome given how competitive and stressful the current climate is. And while it's deeply important to discuss feelings of anxiety and depression brought on by the pressures of college, I can't help but feel somewhat upset that these discussions have neglected to bring the experiences of college students living with other chronic mental illnesses to light. This upsets me because I am one of those students. In addition to my diagnoses of ADHD Inattentive Type and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), I also suffer from one of the most stigmatized and widely misunderstood mental illnesses, known as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

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If you are considering suicide, odds are, there is an underlying issue that needs to be treated in order for you to feel okay again. Suicidal thoughts do not simply occur for no reason. There are many things that can cause an individual to contemplate suicide. Depression, social isolation, addiction, the loss of a close loved one to suicide, and other mental health disorders may all be contributing factors for a person experiencing suicidal ideation.

My spouse is from Louisiana, which is a disaster area right now, flooded from days of steady, record-setting rain. I lived there for a while myself, which is how we met, and we got married there, in Tangipahoa Parish (a parish is equivalent to a county, for us Washingtonians). So it's hitting a bit close to home for me - but disasters are still hard to hear about, even when you're far away and don't personally know anyone in them.

More than 10,000 people are in shelters in Louisiana and 30,000 people have been rescued. It is unbelievable seeing the water-logged condition some of our friends' and family’s homes are in.

Celtic Center in Baton Rouge. Photo from Deborah Burst via Facebook.

[Caption: Celtic Center in Baton Rouge. Photo from Deborah Burst via Facebook.]

After extensive community input and feedback, King County has released its DRAFT MIDD II Service Improvement Plan for public review and comment. Public comment (online) is open until 5 PM on Thursday, June 30.

As an individual who was diagnosed with bipolar disease in 1979, I've seen many sides of the mental health field in those past several decades. My forte? Mania, not so much depression. When manic, I lose all sense of what's right and proper and safe. I've been hospitalized many, many times because of mania and have experienced all the local psychiatric hospitals and have also done stays at Western State Hospital. During this time, I've felt hopeless, scared, out of control and negative about myself.

It's almost Mental Health Month, and I want to talk about Cody Lee Miller. Unfortunately, most people probably know him as #ManInTree. The internet lit up with #ManInTree hashtags three weeks ago after Mr. Miller's 25 hour occupation of a towering sequoia tree in downtown Seattle.

This past Martin Luther King Day, nearly two hundred of us from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Washington State descended upon the Capitol in Olympia to make our voices heard.  We both advocated for better mental health services and demanded repairs to the broken mental healthcare system in our State.

NAMI Seattle recommends you check out Ali Cherry's article in the Huffington Post: "You Don't Need Mental Illness to Need Mental Health"