June 21, 2017

From the Executive Director's Desk

I have a lot of thoughts swirling around about Charleena Lyles. Whenever there is a story of someone being killed by police who had any mental health history, I prepare myself for the calls for comment our office will get the next day. I brace myself for headlines that refer to a community member with mental health issues as a "suspect" when they don't appear to have done anything wrong – and they aren't alive to tell their side of the story.

Action alert! With your help, Washington Legislature ​can pass a bill to support children's mental health in schools before summer break.

Did you know there is still a children's mental health bill that can be put into action? SHB 1377 (Improving student mental health by enhancing nonacademic professional services) is supported by NAMI & the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) of Washington, and is still alive in the Washington State Legislature as part of the ongoing budget discussions in the second special session which begins on Tuesday, May 30, 2017.

My name is Quinn and I am:

A dog lover, a gamer, 31 years old, a writer, transgender, a snack enthusiast, a hiker, and someone who lives with treatment resistant bipolar disorder.


I guess it might seem like being open about having a mental illness is a scary thing, but I like to believe that the manner in which I confront it says a lot about me. I definitely haven't always felt that way, but things have changed a lot in the last few years.

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!


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).

Woman in black and white, with half of face visible, eye closed.

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.