Monthly Archives: May 2012

My wish? A world with effective treatment for the medication resistant …

 

There is something that has been bothering me for a long time . When our son was so very ill and diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, my husband and I searched for medication that would silence the voices that gave him no peace of mind. Nothing worked. Then we searched for a treatment, any treatment that might help him. And after that, we hunted high and low for a miracle cure, which was not forthcoming. He seemed to be medication resistant and I often wondered whether sufficient money and time were being invested in research of the human brain.

 When my husband became ill with Alzheimer’s Disease, this same subject came up again. Two brain illnesses in one family? Does that occur often? Once again I wondered whether sufficient research was being carried out on the human brain.

 Someone asked me  whether I had a specific wish for the future:  My reply: “I wish to see a world with better treatment for medication resistant patients who suffer from schizophrenia, as well as a cure for the ever increasing number of senior citizens who suffer from  Alzheimer’s Disease.

If you can get it right for the most vulnerable, you will get it right for all the others

As teachers spend so much time with our children, they are often the first to notice when a child develops a mental disorder. Teachers can do a great deal to prepare themselves for this most important task. There is no one face of mental health in a classroom.

 Mental health problems among elementary and high school students are much more common than is believed. No classroom is immune to these issues and behind each child with a problem, there is a family that is often frustrated, confused, misjudged and yearning for all the help they can get. Teachers are the first to notice, and can be involved IF they choose to be. They see the same students day after day, so are in the unique position to notice the first sign of change in a student’s academic, social and emotional development. But, teachers have to be trained first.

 There is no profile of a mentally ill person.

 Some children with mental health problems can be disruptive; others may be able to hide their symptoms. Some excel in the mainstream curriculum while others might need additional support or alternative pathways to help them learn. There are students who might require treatment yet others might not have a diagnosable problem but might need to help in order to learn to navigate mental health issues. Some students are represented by their empty seats in class.

  Someone once said:

‘IF YOU CAN GET IT RIGHT FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE, YOU WILL USUALLY GET IT RIGHT FOR ALL THE OTHERS.’ 

LIFE BEFORE I HAD A COMPUTER

LIFE BEFORE  COMPUTERS

Now that I have become a blogger, I spend more time fighting with my compuer than actually writing what I want to put on Word. It is not easy for me to move clips from their home on one of my files to my blog and takes a long time till I get it right, OR NOT. I get into trouble when I try something new, using all the information wordpress sent me. Life was definitely easier before I tried to become computer literate but far less interesting, SO … I would like to share the following with you :- MY LIFE BEFORE COMPUTERS

 

  • Memory was something people lost with age.
  • An application was for a job interview.
  • A program was a television show.
  • A cursor was a person who used profane language.
  • A keyboard was a piano.
  • A web was a spider’s home.
  • A virus meant an illness.
  • A CD was a bank account.
  • A hard drive was a long trip on the road.
  • A mouse pad was a mouse’s home.
  • And, if a male had a 3 ½ inch floppy, he made sure that nobody discovered his secret.

Featured in KALEIDOSCOPE …

 

 

Writer Jill Sadowsky featured in Kaleidoscope:

Akron, Ohio— The work of Jill Sadowsky of Ra’anana, Israel, has been published in the current issue of Kaleidoscope: Exploring the Experience of Disability through Literature and the Fine Arts. Her personal essay, “My Son, My Son” appears in issue number 64 of the magazine along with other thematic material representing “Perspectives on Loss.” Her work was selected from among more than 350 submissions considered for publication. Sadowsky, a grandmother of five, works as an English tutor. Her work has appeared in U.S. Health and Human Resources, Israel Psychiatric Journal, and Horizons. Her book, Weep for Them, written in Hebrew, was published in Israel. She is currently working on an English version of the same book titled, Not Here to Hold. Sadowsky began writing as a way to reach out to other mothers whose children suffer from paranoid-schizophrenia, and to fight the stigma associated with mental illness. She has also volunteered for the Israel Mental Health Association

The award-winning Kaleidoscope Magazine is published by United Disability Services in Akron, Ohio. Unique to the field of disability studies, the publication expresses the experiences of disability from the perspective of individuals, families, friends, caregivers, and healthcare professional, among others. The material chosen for Kaleidoscope challenges and overcomes stereotypical, patronizing, and sentimental attitudes about disability. Individual copies and subscriptions to Kaleidoscope can be purchased through its distributor, The University of Akron Press, by calling 330-972-2795. Excerpts of work from several contributors are available by visiting www.udsakron.org

(N.B. The book title  Not Here to Hold, mentioned above,  was changed to DAVID’S STORY.)

 

Honored in the Knesset

 

Honored in the Knesset

by Shirley  GamaroffCategory: PeopleIssue No. 163

Jill Sadowsky receives Ministry of Health’s Shield 2010 for her  work with the mentally ill

Yesterday, as we stepped into the Knesset building, I felt excited to  actually be there for the first time after living in Israel for more than 40  years. But the reason for my excitement was even bigger – my friend, Jill  Sadowsky, was to receive a Shield of Honor from the Minister of Health at this  special ceremony. The award is given to outstanding volunteers in the medical  field. Jill received her Shield in appreciation of the outstanding voluntary  work she has done to help families of the mentally ill.

The only sad thing was that her beloved husband, Alec, is no longer with us  so see Jill get what she so deserved.. They endured their difficult times  together, and he supported her and worked effortlessly to help his son and  others in a similar situation.

Jill does not waste her time wallowing in self-pity, but turns her personal  suffering into positive actions helping the society around her. Her main effort  for more than 30 years has been to help parents and families who have a mentally  disabled child or family member. When her son, Doron, became ill with  schizophrenia, Jill was shocked by the aloofness of most of the psychiatric  staff to the families. She was struck by the lack of understanding and respect  shown to the afflicted people and their families. Since 1984 Jill has worked  under the umbrella of ENOSH, The Israeli Mental Health Association, and alone,  to try to change the attitude to mental illness and the mentally disabled. She  tried to help them and their families’ daily encounters with the illness.

In the beginning, Jill and Alec struggled on their own dealing with this new  and difficult life situation. They first heard about ENOSH from a mother whose  child was in the same psychiatric hospital as Doron. She told them that ENOSH  was starting a support group for families. At the meeting, Jill spoke about her  son and his illness; as she spoke, other parents identified with her, chipped  in, and shared their own experiences. She began learning from them how to live  with and try to manage the situation. For the first time since Doron had become  so ill, Jill felt she had found a family. “They knew what I was feeling and  I knew what they were feeling.”

As time went by, she noticed that some of the English speakers in the group  did not fully understand what was being said, and they couldn’t express their  feelings in Hebrew about such a painful and sensitive subject. Jill realized how  important it was to set up an English-speaking support group for families of the  mentally disabled. On a voluntary basis, under the auspices of ENOSH, Jill and a  friend started the group.

“The purpose of the support group was to give parents of mentally ill  children the means to cope with the situation and its specific behaviors. We  shared our experiences about living with someone who is mentally ill because it  affects every aspect of a family’s life.”

The group met in Ramat Hasharon. English speakers from all over the country  came, and Jill and Alec were the only family from Ramat Hasharon. Unfortunately  the others were afraid someone would see them, thereby acknowledging publicly  that there was mental illness in their family.

Jill ran the group until Doron died. He was medication- resistant and, sadly,  16 years after suffering from his illness, he committed suicide. At this point  Jill wanted someone else to take over the support group, but when no-one  volunteered to do the job, they stopped the group. Jill has continued, however,  to help the numerous people who have turned to her for support.

In 1998, a few years after Doron’s death, Jill published the book “Weep  for Them” in Hebrew. Using a pseudonym and fictitious names in the story,  the book told the story of Doron and his family, giving an honest look at the  human aspect of treatment, hospitalization and attitudes to the mentally  disabled and their families. When a new psychiatric home was opened for  Holocaust survivors who were mentally ill, the Ministry of Health distributed  the book to as many psychiatric professionals as possible.

“Fortunately, today there is a new awareness in the mental health system.  The situation has changed dramatically for the better. Families receive better  support, there are now sheltered residences in the community for the ill, and  doctors handle parents in a kinder, more humane way.”

One of the more difficult situations the families have to deal with is when  the mentally disabled person has a violent outburst. Sometimes the only thing  the family can do is to call in the police. Often the police have no idea how to  deal with the situation, as they have not been trained to work with such  cases.

Continuing to fulfill the promise she made to Doron that she would try to  help improve the position of the mentally disabled, Jill began working on her  Police Project. The objective was to develop a program that trains policemen to  recognize mental illness, giving them the tools to deal appropriately with  situations involving the mentally ill. To her surprise, she discovered that in  the city of Memphis in the United States there was a program exactly like the  one she had envisaged. It is called the C.I.T. (Crisis Intervention Training).  Jill was invited to give a presentation in Memphis at their National Conference  in 2007, to show how far she had gone with the police training course in Israel.  She is still in contact with many of the police officers there who are always  willing to help out when she runs into difficulties.

Jill and her colleague, Malka, launched the Police Project in Israel.  Together with a social worker from ENOSH, they have presented their program at  Police Headquarters in Tel Aviv and at other police gatherings. But this is not  enough. Their aim is to get their program into the police academy school where  officers are trained.

I asked Jill what her dream is for the mentally disabled and their families.  Idealist that she is, Jill hopes for and believes that new, effective medication  for the mentally disabled will be developed so that no one will need to live  through what Doron, she and her family had to. She wishes that one day mental  illness won’t be such a serious illness as it is today. Until then, Jill will  continue helping parents and families, and fight against the stigma suffered by  mentally disabled people and those with other disabilities.

For more information visit the website www.enosh.org.il  or contact Jill netsad@netvision.net.il

 

IF IT BLEEDS, IT LEADS …

 

 

Profits and yellow journalism cause stigma associated with mental illness.

If it bleeds, it leads.

This slogan speaks to the often sensational reporting tactics used by media all over the world. and which is difficult for the general public to ignore.

These are only a few of the stereotypical descriptions that are used about people suffering from a mental illness and some other handicaps as well:

  • A sly manipulator
  • depressed female
  •  mad scientist
  •  violent seductress
  • crazy

   only tend to keep the stigma going.

 ‘Stigma thrives in silence but tends to fade when people are open and we can put a face to a condition or situation.”

by Art Tuckman