“Learning to use a digital camera to express my recovery process was fun! I have lots to share to beat the stigma of mental illness and am honored to be a part of COVA’s PhotoVoice. Educating the general population about the trials and tribulations of mental illness is important to me. Enjoy!”

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When I was first diagnosed with mental illness, my life was consumed by my symptoms and treatment as seen in my early wellness wheel. Over time, with education, support, and effort l restored balance to my life as seen in my current wellness wheel.

The right treatment works and people recover. FUNDING FOR TREATMENT IS VITAL!

Change in people’s behavior and thought patterns takes time. There is no easy, quick fix. Be supportive over time.

I still have ups and downs, but a balanced life can be achieved in spite of my mental health challenge.


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Support from friends, family, and professionals is crucial to my recovery. Early in my recovery I depended on support from others to help me generate a sense of hope and purpose in my life. Support can be as simple as a smile, an encouraging word, or an attentive ear. Include me in activities even if I am silent. Support is needed while I change my behaviors and attitudes toward myself and life.

Professional caregivers need to use reflective listening and guidance. Support groups are helpful. I attend a free twelve step support group called Emotions Anonymous. It is for anyone desiring to become well emotionally.

Support during the bad times and good times is necessary. Be there, be supportive for someone you know who has a mental health challenge.


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Mental illness is an unseen handicap. I do not use a wheelchair or walker to show that I have a handicap. My brain chemistry is imbalanced. I have a thought and mood disorder that interferes with my ability to function on a daily basis. My memory is impaired. Making decisions is difficult. I am sad and may cry for no apparent reason. Keeping my train of thought during conversations is difficult. My energy level is low.

I may look like nothing is wrong with me; however, I have problems functioning. Show me compassion. Listen to me without judgment. Give me time to respond to you. Try to understand how mental health challenges affect my interacting with you.


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With my major depression I felt dead amongst the living. I felt hopeless, worthless, and isolated. Now I can say fortunately I was stopped during my suicide attempts.

When someone talks about dying by suicide, listen and take them seriously. INTERVENE. Professional help may be needed.

The suicide prevention hotline – 614-221-5445 – can be helpful.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Don’t let someone die needlessly!