Mental Health America Launches Online Collection of Creative Works By Mental Health Consumers
realLives stories give first-hand accounts of living with mental health conditions
Contact: Sarah Jones, (703) 837-4787, firstname.lastname@example.org
ALEXANDRIA, Va.-(February 11, 2009) Mental Health America is proud to announce the launch of realLives, a unique online community where mental health consumers can share their stories of living with mental health conditions. This one-of-a-kind anthology of original writings, artwork and poetry connects people facing similar struggles and helps break the silence that shrouds mental illness in America.
"The best way to eliminate the misunderstanding, prejudice and shame facing people with these conditions is to hear real stories of real people affected by mental illness," said David Shern, President and CEO of Mental Health America. "Through their courage to speak out, realLives participants give a voice to nearly 60 million American adults who have a mental health condition."
Mental Health America will officially launch realLives at its Centennial Celebration on February 19 in Washington, D.C. The site will go live at 10:00 a.m. that day and can be accessed at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/reallives.
Almost 200 stories have been published on realLives, featuring both personal triumphs over and ongoing struggles with mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. These stories illustrate various stages of recovery, and come from consumers of all demographics.
"It has been my great privilege to help Mental Health America collect some of the stories that comprise the inaugural realLives web site," said author and news anchor Jeff Bell, who serves as National Spokesperson for the realLives campaign. "As someone who has chosen to go public with a story of living with mental illness, I know firsthand the power of shared stories, both for those who read them and for those who share them. realLives offers all who are affected by mental illness a way to connect, encourage one another, and share experiences and understanding."
Bell is the author of Rewind, Replay, Repeat (Hazelden), recounting his long-secret battles with severe OCD, and the elaborate double-life he lived as a successful San Francisco radio news anchor, secretly consumed by obsessions and compulsions, before getting the help he needed. His new book, When In Doubt, Make Belief: Life Lessons from OCD (New World Library) will be released next fall.
Celebrating 100 years of mental health advocacy, Mental Health America is the country's leading nonprofit dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthier lives. With our more than 300 affiliates nationwide, we represent a growing movement of Americans who promote mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation-everyday and in times of crisis. In 2009, we are marking a century of achievement with a year-long Centennial Observance: "Celebrating the Legacy. Forging the Future."