In 2015 the Vera French Foundation held the first annual Through My Eyes week of events. The week included speakers and events to promote awareness, help to remove the stigma associated with mental illness, fundraise for the extremely important programs offered by Vera French and bring a new way of looking at mental illness.
The week included:
Following in the footsteps of his father, Ted Kennedy, and uncle, President John F. Kennedy, Representative Patrick Kennedy served 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is predominantly known as author and lead sponsor of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. This dramatic piece of legislation provides tens of millions of American who were previously denied care with access to mental health treatment.
Representative Kennedy is the co-founder of One Mind for Research, a national coalition seeking new treatments and cures for neurological and psychiatric diseases of the brain afflicting one in every three Americans. Rep. Kennedy is working to design the first blueprint of basic neuroscience, to guide efforts in seeking cures for neurological disorders affecting Americans.
Rep. Kennedy is the founder of the Kennedy Forum on Community Mental Health which served as a vehicle to celebrate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's signing of the Community Mental Health Act, the landmark bill that laid the foundation of contemporary mental health policy and provided Rep. Kennedy with the platform to launch a bold, ongoing effort to advance the work President Kennedy began. The Kennedy Forum continues to advocate for mental health parity.
Victoria Maxwell presented her one-woman performance, "That's Just Crazy Talk", of a brave, funny, and compelling look at experiencing, surviving, and coming to terms with mental illness.
At the age of 25, Victoria was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, anxiety and psychosis. For 5 years she refused to accept this and in turn was in and out of the hospital. Finally after acknowledging her disorders, with the help of her family and a good psychiatrist, she became proactive in her recovery. Since that time, she's become one of North America's most popular speakers and educators on the 'lived' experience of mental illness, recovery and dismantling stigma. In addition to being a mental health worker, she's a blogger for Psychology Today under Crazy for Life: Escapades of a Bipolar Princess, is a core researcher of CREST. BD (an international team that studies issues of bipolar disorder) and has worked for over 20 years as an actress and writer for both film and stage. Her one-person shows tour internationally and have garnered awards in both the US and Canada.
Victoria Maxwell's also presented a continuing education workshop for nurses, social workers, Iowa Psychologists, mental health counselors and other allied health providers offered solutions to difficult adherence and motivation issues for those living with mental illness.
1. Define recovery in terms of a psychiatric illness
2. Outline longitudinal statistics for recovery from major mental illness
3. Identify 3 common barriers to adherence
4. List solutions to non-adherence
5. Discuss the interrelatedness between personal medicine and treatment plans
6. Identify patient’s Personal Medicine
7. Align treatment with wellness tools to improve patient outcome
Since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, anxiety and psychosis, Victoria has become one of North America’s top speakers on the experience of living with mental illness, recovery and work. For more than 14 years, she has been presenting shows and workshops to conferences in Canada and the United States, helping health professionals, individuals and families better understand the ‘insider’s’ experience of mental illness and recovery. Her popular Psychology Today blog Crazy for Life: Escapades of a Bipolar Princess was named one of the top bipolar blogs by Psych Central .