James T.R. Jones's blog

MIAW Talk for NAMI Louisville Correspondence Received

author

I received the following correspondence from Ramona Johnson of Bridgehaven and the NAMI Louisville Board of Directors:

Jim, your presentation was powerful as was Judge Gibson’s. I heard nothing but positive comments on your all’s willingness to talk about mental illness in an attempt to reduce the stigma and promote people accessing treatment. Regards, Ramona

I also received the following:

Both you and Judge Gibson delivered powerful stories and your presentations were remarkable. Your courage and insight, coupled with the details of your experience, make you a uniquely qualified and compelling spokesperson for the cause.Dean L. JohnsonVice President, Community RelationsSeven Counties Services, Inc.

 

MIAW Talk for NAMI Louisville

author

First of all, I addressed the Grand Rounds of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Louisville School of Medicine on September 25, 2008, not on January 25, 2008 as erroneously posted in a prior blog entry.

 

More importantly, on October 6, 2008 The Honorable Susan Schultz Gibson, Jefferson Circuit Court, Division 12 and I spoke on “Two Voices, Two Perspectives:  Mental Illness, Treatment and Recovery" as the keynote address for the Mental Illness Awareness Week Program for NAMI Louisville.  Our talks contrasted my story of hope and life while living with severe mental illness with Judge Gibson's discussion of the tragic fate of her husband, who suffered from essentially untreated severe depression prior to his death.

Psychiatry Department Grand Rounds Correspondence Received

author

On January 25, 2008 I addressed the Grand Rounds of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.  Today I received thhe following correspondence from Dr. Manuel F. Casanova:

 

 

Dear Jim,

Thank you again for your presentation yesterday. As you already know the same was very well received. Believe me you don't need a PowerPoint presentation in order to make a powerful point.

Thank you.

Best regards,

Manny

 

 

Manuel F. Casanova, M.D.

Gottfried and Gisela Kolb Endowed Chair in Psychiatry

Associate Chair for Research

University of Louisville

Department of Psychiatry

500 South Preston Street, Bldg. A, Room# 217

Louisville, Kentucky 40292

Kent School Talk Correspondence Received

author

On September 11, 2008 I spoke at the Kent School of Social Work of the University of Louisville.  Today I received the following letter from Dr. Linda K. Bledsoe:

 

 

Dear Professor Jones:

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to my graduate level class in psychopathology  last Thursday.  I know you have a demanding schedule and many speaking engagements in addition to that.

 

As I think was evident from the students' questions, they were able to gain a great deal of knowledge from you that will benefit their professional development as social workers.  While it is one thing for me to share various textbook examples or examples from my experience of working with persons who live with similar illnesses, it is a much richer learning experience for my students to hear you tell you own story.

 

In your talk, you touched on so many topics that we will explore throughout the semester, such as, all the various medication issues and struggles that one faces when living with a serious mental disorder.  Even more important that that aspect, you made it real for the students, you shared your sense of humor, and you allowed them to see the great success and full life that is possible.  Perhaps we will steal your phrase as our class motto--"Stigma is never OK, and treatment works."

 

In closing, thank you again for your important contribution to the training and education of future social workers.

 

Sincerely,

 

Linda K. Bledsoe, Ph.D.

Associate Research Professor

Kent School of Social Work

University of Louisville

 

 

Wellspring Talk Correspondence Received

author

On July 18 I received the attached correspondence from Katharine Dobbins, LCSW,  Associate Director and Director of Programs at Wellspring:

  

Jim,

Your talk yesterday was just terrific. I believe it had a real impact on the

clinical staff. It is not often that someone of your stature is willing to

talk publicly about their personal experience with mental illness. Many

staff have thanked me for arranging it and have been more enthusiastic about

your presentation than most any that I can recall. I believe that it was

particularly powerful because it is so personal, you are so accomplished in

your field, and yet you are willing to share your story despite the risks. I

highly applaud your courage. Your work, along with that of Elyn Saks, goes a

long way to reduce stigma and is a great contribution to the mental health

field.

 

Regards,

 

Kathy

 

Katharine Dobbins, LCSW

Associate Director & Director of Programs

Wellspring

P.O. Box 1927

Louisville, KY. 40201

NAMI Walk Correspondence Received

author
Jim Jones speaks at NAMI Walk

I received the following correspondence on September 16, 2008 from Dr. Robert B. McFadden, the President of NAMI Louisville: 

 

Dear Jim,

I am writing to thank you for your inspiring speech at NAMI Louisville’s

Walk for the Mind of America at the Waterfront Park on September 13,

2008. While it must have been hard for you to recount the struggle you

have had with your illness, your story carried a most positive message

to your audience of family members and consumers. That message is that

treatment works when it is delivered to the patient and your living

presence provided a living, fighting example of success.

Too long have people who suffer from brain disorders had to face the

stigma of mental illness. Too long have sufferers, consumers and family

members alike, had to endure the neglect and denial of the treatment

that is their due. As you pointed out, treatment saves money for the

state. Two thousand dollars spent on medication and therapy for a month

can keep a patient out of hospital and in many cases in the workforce.

Lack of that medication or therapy can cost $25,000 for a month in

hospital, or it can cost a life through suicide.

Thank you for your courageous and eloquent presentation. I look forward

to your encore at our main event for Mental Illness Awareness Week with

Judge Gibson and to your participation when we and the Brandeis School

of Law welcome Professor Elyn Saks to Louisville at the end of October.

Yours truly,

Bob.

 

Robert B. McFadden, M.A., Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, UofL

President, NAMI Louisville

10510 LaGrange Rd, Bldg 103

Louisville KY 40223-1228

Tel: 502-339-8545 (H) 502-245-5287 (O)

Fax: 502-245-6390

NAMI Louisville Walk

author

Mental illness affects 1 in 5 Americans, yet those who suffer from it are the most stigmatized group in the nation. NAMI—the National Alliance on Mental Illness—works in a number of ways to help those with mental illness. In particular, NAMI Louisville advocates for those with mental illness in the Kentucky capital city in Frankfort, provides support groups for both mental health consumers and their families, trains Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officers to deal with consumers in crisis through its Crisis Intervention Team, and puts on important programs. This year, NAMI Louisville is bringing Professor Elyn R. Saks of the University of Southern California Law School, author of the acclaimed memoir The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness which relates her incredibly successful career despite having schizophrenia, to speak at the Brandeis School of Law at noon on October 27. You can support NAMI Louisville, for which I am the consumer Board member, by taking part in the annual NAMI Walk on September 13, with registration starting at 9 AM and the Walk at 11 AM at the Harbor Lawn at Waterfront Park. The more walkers the better, and Walk participants can also raise money to support NAMI Louisville’s important work by having friends and family pledge to support their Walk efforts. To register for the Walk, go to http://xrl.us/jimsteam and sign up for the Jim’s A Successful Consumer team. If you do not want to walk but want to contribute towards NAMI Louisville's good work, gifts may be made at http://xrl.us/jimwalks.

 

Mental Illness Talks

author

Since my last blog posting, I have given a number of talks on my life with mental illness.  More specifically, on April 15 I spoke about "Severe Mental Illness in the Academy:  A Law Professor's Story" to the Psychiatry, Mental Health and the Law class at the Brandeis School of Law;  on June 4 I spoke about "Severe Mental Illness, Stigma, and the Value of Treatment" to the Psychopathology class at the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville;  on July 2 I spoke about that topic with a group of the Kentucky Governor's Scholars (the top high school students in Kentucky);  on July 17 I spoke on that topic with the clinical staff at Wellspring, a mental health care agency;  and on August 26 I spoke about how those with severe mental illness can be successful professionals to the training class for the Crisis Intervention Team of the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department.  Future scheduled talks will be to the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville Psychopathology class, the Grand Rounds of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, the annual meeting of the Indiana Conference of Rehabilitative Psychiatric Services, NAMI Louisville, and the Association of American Law Schools.

 

In addition to my own talks, I, in conjunction with NAMI Louisville and the Brandeis School of Law, have arranged to have Professor Elyn R. Saks of the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California and author of the acclaimed memoir The Center Cannot Hold:  My Journey Through Madness (Hyperion 2007) speak at the University of Louisville on October 26 and 27 about her career as a highly successful legal academic who has schizophrenia.

"Severe Mental Illness in the Academy: A Law Professor's Story"

author
On March 11, 2008 I spoke on "Severe Mental Illness in the Academy: A Law Professor's Story" at the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California.  It was an exciting time, as in addition to telling my story of life as a law professor who has a severe mental illness I finally met, in person, someone to whom I have become extremely close--Professor Elyn R. Saks, author of The Center Cannot Hold:  My Journey Through Madness.  Elyn and I are the only two law professors in the United States who have publicly acknowledged having a severe mental illness (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, respectively).  My speech was very well-received by an attentive audience of students, faculty, and staff.  Then, on March19, 2008 I spoke on the same topic to the Student Health Law Association of the Brandeis School of Law and its invited guests (students, faculty, and staff).  Once again, the audience was very kind.  I believe I made some inroads against the stereotypes of those with mental illness, showing one can both have a severe mental illness and be a successful professional.  If so, I will have accomplished what I set out to do when I went public with my condition--fight stigma, and show that treatment works.

Walking the Tightrope of Bipolar Disorder: The Secret Life of a Law Professor; Severe Mental Illness in the Academy

author
I have now completed a quintuple series of works on the subject of severe mental illness in legal academia, the last of which (Severe Mental Illness in the Academy:  A Secret Revealed) will appear shortly on my SSRN site.  In total, they include two reviews of The Center Cannot Hold:  My Journey Through Madness by Professor Elyn R. Saks of the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California (one in the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper and one in the Hastings Women's Law Journal), a Community Challenge article in the Courier-Journal, an article in the Louisville Bar Association Bar Briefs, and a major article in the Journal of Legal Education.  Taken as a whole, they present the stories of Professor Saks and me achieving the status of tenured full professors of law while secretly suffering from severe mental illnesses (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, respectively).  They show the people of Louisville, the Louisville bar, and legal academia as a whole that those with severe mental illness can perform stressful professional duties despite their conditions.  They also show two people who are willing to face the stigma of having a mental illness in order to prove that stigma is unjustified (indeed, both have been overwhelmed with favorable responses to their disclosures).  The legal world should take this message to heart so that in the future law students and faculty, as well as attorneys and judges, need not fear having others know about their psychiatric condition.