3 Things You Can Do To Be the Hope

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month!
Thanks to each and every one of you for your love and support over the years in helping us promote mental health awareness, and empower people on their road to recovery.
This year, as we prepare to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of ASHA International, I am filled with gratitude that my colleagues and I have had the privilege of reaching out and touching the lives of more than 45,000 people nationally and internationally with a resounding message of hope and recovery. Together, we are tearing down the insidious walls of shame and stigma, and empowering people on their road to recovery and wellness, one day, one person at a time.
I invite you to partner with us in our continued outreach. Together, we can change lives, perhaps even save lives.
There are 3 things you can do to Be the Hope:
  1. Support a loved one
  2. Share your story
  3. Give the gift of hope  
Thank you for your valuable support.

Wishing you wellness,

Gayathri Signature
Founder & President
ASHA International

How to support a loved one struggling with mental health issues

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When I fist started struggling with anxiety, panic attacks and depression at eighteen, my family and I had no understanding about mental health issues. Unfortunately, neither did the doctors, many of whom told my parents that I was just being a “drama queen,” a “typical teenager.” “Tough love” was prescribed and doled out each day, which only alienated me from my parents and turned them into strangers I feared. Eventually, I began feeling like a pariah in my own home, and began to crumble without their love, understanding and support. Over the years, our home which was once a fortress of love, became a prison from which I couldn’t escape.

It wasn’t until I had survived through seven years of hell and tried to kill myself, that my parents finally took me to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with depression for the first time, and began to treat me. It took two more years of failed suicide attempts and hospitalizations before my family and I finally began to educate ourselves about mental health issues. A caring intern at the hospital told my family that it wasn’t enough for me to educate myself about depression, it was critical that they educat themselves about mental health issues, if they wanted to support me in my road to recovery and wellness. Fortunately, my parents did, and have since grown into the greatest support system in my life. Over the years, they have also reached out to others struggling in the community.

According to the World Health Organization, one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. Treatments are available, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional. Stigma, discrimination and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders.

I sincerely believe that families and caregivers can be the greatest support system to a loved one struggling with mental health issues. But, they often don’t know how to help. They are often confused and overwhelmed in encouraging a loved one to seek the treatment and support they need. Please see the infographic below developed by NAMI and HealthCentral for some ideas on how to support a loved one struggling with mental health issues. Please share this blog post with your friends and family. You never know whose life you can change, perhaps even save.

How to help a loved one

You Can Recover: Robyn’s Message of Hope

Since the first time I met Robyn at the Aleternatives Conference in 2015, I have been in awe of her sense of adventure and huge heart. Although she just turned 50, she has lived and worked in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, propogating the power of peer support around the world. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she has never let other people’s perceptions of what she can and cannot do deter her from living the life of her dreams. When asked what has helped her recover and thrive, she said, “the love and support of her global network of family and friends, her dog, and meaningful work.”

Robyn is the embodiment of the quote: “Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” Thank you Robyn for bringing hope and healing to people struggling with mental health issues around the world. You are a HOPEBRINGER!

 

You Can Recover: Khatera’s Message of Hope

As a little girl, Khatera moved with her family from Afghanistan to the U.S. Growing up, she felt like an outsider and was overwhelmed with the responsibility of interpreting and advocating for the survival of her family. Over the years, she struggled with ADHD, anxiety and depression. Today, Khatera is a mother and mental health activist. She wants to let people struggling with mental health issues around the world know that “no matter what your struggles are, YOU CAN RECOVER.”

SEE MORE RECOVERY VIDEOS

DO YOU HAVE A RECOVERY STORY?

Stories have the power to inform, inspire and transform lives. If you have a recovery story, please  submit your story today. Your story will educate people about mental health issues, eliminate stigma, and give HOPE to people struggling with mental health issues, and let them know recovery is possible.

The post You Can Recover: Khatera’s Message of Hope appeared first on Shadows in the Sun by Gayathri Ramprasad.

Let’s Talk About Mental Health

Bekha MilesOn August 23, 2015, Bekah Miles sat in her chair, staring. Could she do it? Would she do it? No. Yes. She was so tired of hiding, tired of pretending, tired of her illness. But since that wasn’t going to change anytime soon, maybe it was time to change her approach. To take her life back, if she could. After ten minutes of debating, she did what millions do every minute – she clicked the “post” button. Then she walked away from Facebook, torn between chewing her fingernails down to stubs and shrugging her shoulders and insisting it was no big deal. Bekah’s Facebook post was only intended for family and friends, but within days it had reached millions, starting a national and international conversation about depression.

Mental health issues are a leading impediment to the health and wellbeing of high school and college students. Left untreated, mental illness – including anxiety, depression and eating disorders, can lead to school failure, family conflicts, substance abuse, violence, juvenile & criminal justice involvement, and even suicide. Sadly, suicide is the second leading cause of death among those 15-24 years old. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined. Treatment is effective. Yet, because of the shame and stigma surrounding these issues, mental health is not discussed and too many students are suffering in silence. Bekah wants to change that – She wants to share her story to dispel the stigma surrounding mental illness, and encourage fellow students to seek the help and support they need to recover and thrive.

I am delighted to share that Bekah recently joined ASHA International’s Speakers Bureau, and will be sharing her story with  students at Century High School on March 17, 2016, and with students at her alma mater Canby High School on April 1, 2016.

Rebekah (Bekah) Miles is currently a student at George Fox University. She is working on a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with a minor in Women’s Studies, and is looking forward to graduating in the fall of 2016.

Key Topics:  Depression, Advocacy, Stigma Reduction, Navigating the Health System, Advocating for Change.

If you’d like to book Bekah to speak at your high school or college, please contact Gayathri Ramprasad at gayathri@myasha.org or 971 340 7190.

You Can Recover: Khatera’s Story

As a little girl, Khatera moved with her family from Afghanistan to the U.S. Growing up, she felt like an outsider and was overwhelmed with the responsibility of interpreting and advocating for the survival of her family. Over the years, she struggled with ADHD, anxiety and depression. Today, Khatera is a mother and mental health activist. She wants to let people struggling with mental health issues around the world know that “no matter what your struggles are, YOU CAN RECOVER.”

SEE MORE RECOVERY VIDEOS

DO YOU HAVE A RECOVERY STORY?

Stories have the power to inform, inspire and transform lives. If you have a recovery story, please  submit your story today. Your story will educate people about mental health issues, eliminate stigma, and give HOPE to people struggling with mental health issues, and let them know recovery is possible.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Suicide: Experts Share Tips for Parents

How-to-Talk-to-Your-Kids-About-SuicideA year ago, a dear friend lost her brother to suicide. Overwhelmed with grief, she didn’t know how to talk to her 9-year-old son about his uncle’s death. As a mother and mental health advocate I understand how difficult it is for parents to talk about suicide with their children. But it is critical we do. Given that suicide is the second leading cause of death among those ages 15-24, and the third leading cause of death among children ages 10-14 year old, it is time we take the time to talk to our children about suicide. And, here is a valuable article to help us…

The post How to Talk to Your Kids About Suicide: Experts Share Tips for Parents appeared first on Shadows in the Sun by Gayathri Ramprasad.

Shadows in the Sun listed on Buzz Feed’s List of Books

 

Thrilled to share that my memoir, Shadows in the Sun was listed as number 2 among 31 Books That Will Help You Better Understand Mental Illness And Disorders on the Buzz Feed website.

It is an honor to be included with many of my favorite authors. I sincerely pray that my story will bring hope and healing to people struggling with depression.
 
 
 
  

The post Shadows in the Sun listed on Buzz Feed’s List of Books appeared first on Shadows in the Sun by Gayathri Ramprasad.

The You Can Recover Project

Aida and Gayu

I was born and raised in India amidst ancient traditions and a large loving extended family of twenty –three – grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. My happy childhoo, however, gave way to a traumatic adolescence. By the time I was 18, I was debilitated by generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks. At 23, as a young mother in America, I struggled to free myself from the death-hold of depression. Over the years, my life became a blur of doctor visits, medications, hospitalizations, ECTs, and failed suicide attempts. Like millions of people struggling with mental illness around the world, I eventually gave up hope for recovery. I felt alone, afraid and ashamed.

But, in April 1989, a stranger came to visit me in the most unlikely of places, a psychiatric ward, and gave me the gift of HOPE that changed my life forever. Her name was Aida. In the short time we spent together, Aida held me in her arms and shared her struggles with depression, and her relentless pursuit of recovery. Although Aida’s visit was short, she gave me the gift of HOPE that has sustained me for a lifetime.

On October 10th, in celebration of World Mental health, my nonprofit organization, ASHA International, launched the You Can Recover Project. 

YCRP logo - JPEGThe You Can Recover Project’s mission is to give HOPE to people struggling with mental health issues around the world, and inspire them with personal insights on how to recover and rebuild a healthy, meaningful, productive life.

I sincerely hope that the stories shared in the You Can Recover Project will give HOPE to people struggling with mental health issues around the world, and let them know they can recover, just as Aida’s story inspired me to recover and rebuild a healthy, meaningful, productive life.

To learn more about the You Can Recover Project and share your recovery story, please click here…

The stories featured in the project is evidence to the fact that while mental illness has no barriers, hope and healing have no boundaries.

The post The You Can Recover Project appeared first on Shadows in the Sun by Gayathri Ramprasad.

The Cause + Event Race Series

October 18, 2015

Cause and Event photoEvery race has a cause. No race has EVERY cause…until NOW.

The Cause + Event Race Series is unlike any other race series of its kind. The runner (or walker) chooses their favorite registered 501(c)3 nonprofit and their cause will receive at least half of the racer’s registration.

Join ASHA International’s HOPEBRINGERS team and help us raise funds to promote mental health awareness, and bring hope and healing to people’s lives.

Date: Octobber 18, 2015
What: 5k walk/5k & 10k run
Where: Bethany Village, Portland, OR
Time: 7:30-8:30 am
Cost: $35 includes bib and chip timing plus $15 donation to the cause of your choice.

And a Free Kids Fun Run – Tot Trot and 1K

To register, please click here 

Click To Register
  1. Under Team Registration, please click on Join an Existing Team
  2. Please click on join ASHA International’s HopeBringers and complete the registration form. Thanks!
  3. To learn about 2015 Cause and Event please click below
Click To Learn More About the Cause & Event

Please register today and invite your friends, family, and colleagues to join us. Thank you!

If you have any questions, please email Gayathri Ramprasad at gayathri@myasha.org or call 971 340 7190.

We look forward to seeing you at the event!