Crowd Funding Movie Project: Her

Her is about seventeen-year-old Kristen who loves her family, idealizes her best friend, Lexus, and has a secret crush on John. However normal her life sounds, Kristen is not like other kids her age. She feels frustrated, isolated, and confused and knows something is wrong with her. She is unable to please her abrasive mother and is scared to confront her abusive stepfather. Kristen’s imaginary friend, Mr. Sharp encourages her feelings of self-loathing and pushes her to cut herself. Soon, she can’t take much more, and a failed suicide attempt lands her in a mental hospital with a diagnosis of BPD. From there, Kristen begins her journey to survival. She struggles to understand her mental illness and fights to be a survivor against her own worst enemy: self-blame.

The crowd-funding page for this book-to-movie project is at THIS HATCHFUND LINK.

“I know, first-hand, that a diagnosis like this can be a turning point in a young person’s life. One out of every four people struggles with mental illness – stop and think and you’ll discover that you probably know someone who is going through that right NOW.  Yes, mental illness is the dark secret so many live with. Now you can help change this.

The Project’s Goal:

To change the perception of mental illness  To provide hope to those who seek help Help those suffering from mental illness, and their, families cope. We can make a difference by showing teens that they are not alone on this journey and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I want to lend a helping hand out of suffering, so that suicide will never be a viable option again.

What Depression Feels Like

The Huffington Post ran a feature this summer attempting to illustrate the actual feeling of depression, including the physical symptoms that often lead initially to misdiagnosis. The article can be found at THIS LINK.

“In general, the worse the painful physical symptoms, the more severe the depression,” researchers wrote in an overview of depression and physical symptoms in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. “Symptoms have been found to increase the duration of depressed mood.”

In fact, patients often first complain of physical symptoms to a primary care physician, making depression more apt to be misdiagnosed.

Switchboard in the Brain: Future Treatment Hope for Autism and Schizophrenia

In a recent study, published in Cell, researchers observe the mechanisms in the brain for switching between internal and external stimuli can be defined and controlled or corrected. The research in this case was performed on mice, not humans, but principal investigator and NYU Langone Medical Center assistant professor Michael Halassa sees this as a huge step toward understanding and manipulating the same functions in humans.

“This is one of the few moments in my life where I’d actually say yes, absolutely this is going to translate to humans. This isn’t something based on genes or molecules that are specific to one organism. The underlying principles of how the brain circuitry works are likely to be very similar in humans and mice.”

If so, then the research is extremely promising for the future. Read more about it in THIS WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE.


Weekly Hearing Voices Group

Hearing Voices LogoThe South Bay Hearing Voices Network represents a partnership between:

  • Individuals who hear voices or have other extreme or unusual experiences and beliefs
  • Professionals
  • Allies in the community
  • Family members.
  • As a group, we are working together to change assumptions made about these experiences and create support, learning and healing opportunities for people across the South Bay.

The group meets weekly on Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the second floor of Harbor UCLA Wellness Center, 21730 Vermont Avenue in Torrance.

The support group is co-facilitated by people that have lived the experience of hearing voices, and importantly, it is counting on those who attend to shape the direction the group takes in providing support for its participants.

The Hearing Voices Network is not a NAMI organization. It is comprised of people who see, hear, feel, and think things that others may not experience. For more information about the hearing voices network, and how hearing voices groups work, please check out Hearing Voices USA and Hearing Voices International. This is a free walk-in group.



Next Meeting Addressing the Assessment and Prevention of Prodromal States

This month’s speakers are – Carla Means Ransom, M.A., LMFT, intensive services manager and Carissa Hsu, MFTI Clinical Therapist. They will present information about the Center for the Assessment and Prevention of Prodromal States (CAPPS), which is a family therapy based program that targets the transitional age youth ages 16 – 25 years. The program is funded by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and located at Harbor UCLA. CAPPS works with the population who are showing prodromal symptoms, which are what an individual may experience prior to developing a mental illness.

The “prodromal syndrome” is not a diagnosis, but the technical term used by mental health professionals to describe a specific group of symptoms that may precede the onset of a mental illness. For example, a fever is “prodromal” to measles, which means that a fever may be a risk factor for developing this illness. However, not everyone who has a fever goes on to develop measles. In order to prevent measles from developing, you would try to get rid of your fever and take care of any other symptoms you might have. “At CAPPS, we focus on taking care of symptoms that may precede the onset of psychosis.”

Psychosis affects between 1% and 3% of the population, and typically emerges between the ages of 15 and 30. The prodromal phase of psychosis is the critical time period when individuals are showing signs that they are at risk for developing a psychotic illness.  This at risk phase may last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of years. During this time, individuals often experience symptoms of psychosis at a subthreshold level of intensity or at full intensity for short periods of time. Individuals and their families may also notice changes in functioning, such as trouble with school or work and social withdrawal or anxiety.

Have an Emergency Contact List

You should consider having a list of numbers, email addresses and other information close at hand if your family is in a crisis. The numbers you should consider include:

  • The doctor’s office number
  • The therapist’s number
  • Psychiatric Evaluation Team (PET) it varies depending on where you live. It’s sometimes called Mobil Crisis Team
  • DMH Access Hot Line (800) 854-7771
  • Suicide Hotline (800) 273-8255
  • Police department (911)
  • NAMI friend or support person
  • Family friend or relative
  • Trusted neighbor
  • List of medications your loved one is taking
  • Insurance or MediCal numbers

Make multiple copies of the list and store the info in your cell phone, computer or iPad. Provide copies to your relatives and support person and anyone who might act in your absence. Keep a copy at home, at work, in your car and place a copy in your luggage if you take a trip. Revisit and revise it regularly to make sure the numbers are current. (From: Treatment and Advocacy Center.)

NAMIWALKS Los Angeles Success at New Location Downtown

NAMIWalks Los Angeles was a gathering of thousands this past weekend at Grand Park in downtown L.A. Local NAMI Affiliates, County and City officials, clients, family members and mental health providers and supporters all converged for a powerful and positive experience, walking 5K through the streets of L.A. Saturday morning.

Thank you to everyone that participated and/or supported the event. The final results of the fundraising will be forthcoming. But from the crowd and the enthusiasm, it is clear the event was a huge success.