Personal Stories Week – August 18-24

son and mother

It’s that time of year again when I collaborate with a group of readers, writers, parents, twitter followers, friends, and colleagues to discuss, during 1 entire week on (PsychCentral), their experiences with mental illness or other mental health challenges. Their experiences could be personal or professional and focus on challenges, miracles, systemic difficulties, financial strain, failures of the system, and many more issues that parents, families, friends, caregivers, and professionals have experienced. Come join us.

I am honored to have so many great people participate this year. We have:

Sadly, due to lack of space, some writers will participate in next year’s Personal Stories Week. But this year we’ll have 5-7 stories focusing on bringing awareness to mental illness. You will hear a story about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and unethical practices in the field of mental health. The Twitter hashtag for this week’s stories will be: #PersonalStoriesWeek. Please feel free to share the stories here and contribute your own story in the comments section. You may also ask Dr. Russ questions on the comments section of his article.

Last year, Personal Stories Week was a great success and many people emailed, twittered, and pinned the many stories that were posted/shared. We had stories from Canada, the Netherlands, the USA, and even the UK. Their great voices not only expressed their deepest hurts and disappointments, but their courage, strength, and knowledge. The writers were very special to Personal Stories Week last October because many were mothers, sufferers, friends, siblings, and advocates. They knew firsthand about the challenges faced, the depressing moments, the not so depressing moments, and the losses that many parents, families, caregivers, and friends experience at the hands of mental illness.

Beginning August 18-24, we’ll have 5 contributors share their personal stories with us again. Some of last year’s writers will be included as well. I will also include an article focusing on what to do in the event you come across unethical practices in mental health settings.

Each day, you will be able to read a new story and share your questions and comments with the writers. I encourage you to communicate with these contributors – ask questions, share your story, give advice/suggestions, or offer a word of encouragement. We’re a community here! We’re suppose to connect with each other. This year we have a mother whose son struggles with paranoid schizophrenia, another mother whose son struggles with bipolar disorder, a mother and survivor of suicide who has started her own organization, and a sister whose brother found himself lost in his own severe mental illness.

As a therapist, I have learned that the “community” is what builds support, helps strengthen bonds, and encourages the weakest hearts to remain invested in the journey. My goal, with Personal Stories Week, is to offer you encouragement, support, and knowledge about other’s struggles. Just knowing that you are not alone and that other people are fighting this battle with you, can make a world of difference.

If you are following us all next week don’t forget to use the Twitter hashtag #PersonalStoriesWeek!! Visit us August 18th-24th at:


To see last year’s stories, visit the following:

Facing Suicide & Grief – Tina Davies

A Mother’s Journey With Suicide – Penny Knapp (watch her video here)

Mental Health Awareness Week: Learning From Personal Experience – Introduction

A Sister’s Journey With Mental Illness – Sandra Laing

A Personal Experience: Conquering Anxiety – Julia Cardoso

Photo credit: Jenny Erickson