Despite the fact that I have been employed in the fields of chemistry and electronics as my primary careers, I have always been involved in the humanities and the helping professions. I started a drop-in center for troubled youth, am a founding member of a volunteer ambulance service, and a family mediator. So, in 1990 I went back to college to obtain a degree in mental health services. I then changed my full-time career to mental health as a therapeutic case manager and worked in two community-based mental health centers.
In the intervening years I have had the opportunity to work with well over three hundred patients with both severe mental illness (SMI) and severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI). Both of these terms will become evident over time as we look at what mental illness is, and how it can manifest itself, and affect the quality of life.
It seemed to me that I could present information about mental illness by doing the research and re-writing it as a post entry. But, anyone can read, comprehend, and rewrite information, and perhaps adequately cover the subject. The better alternative, in my opinion, is to present the information in the form of case histories. These will be composites of patients that I have been involved with as a community-based case manager. I am with patients in their homes, hospitals, their community, and their families.I have had the opportunity to learn and understand mental illness in a very intimate manner. There are cases with remarkable recovery, and those with tragic endings. It is all part of a complex and yet vital part of life for those with a mental illness. I look forward to sharing these vignettes with our readers. To end this post, I have included a chart that captures the extent and demographic impact of mental illness in the US. It is copied from the National Institute of Mental Health from 2008, the most recent accurate data: