I've only been at MSPP for two months, and so far I have met some truly incredible people that I will consider life-long friends. One of those friends in my first year cohort is named Nicole, and we spend about 9 hours a week in class together. Even though class does not leave a lot of time to get to know each other, I feel like we've become pretty close. Nicole is one of those people that radiates positivity and genuine caring, and you feel like a better person by osmosis just sitting next to her.
I've just found out recently that she has not always been this happy and positive, however. Like 1/4 of the general American population, (myself included), (statistic from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication), Nicole has struggled with mental illness. However, unlike most of us that fear the stigma, Nicole is brave enough to share her story with the world.
Nicole is a really wonderful writer, and has written and published a book about her battle with mental illness. It is a collection of short stories, poems, and various artwork about her struggles. In publishing her book, she hopes that other people battling mental illness will see that they are not alone. It is my hope in sharing her book with you, we can promote hope and continue to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness together.
If you are interested in reading Nicole's story, you can purchase her book, Spoken, here.
I am so immensely proud of my friend and classmate, not only for writing and publishing her own book during her first year of grad school, but for being such a courageous individual that is using her history of pain as motivation to get her PsyD in order to relieve the suffering of others. In the end, isn't that why we are all here at MSPP anyway?
For more information on the prevalence and treatment delays of mental illness in American youth, check out this article from the APA: http://www.apa.org/monitor/sep05/treatment.aspx
For more information on the current stigma surrounding mental illness in the US, check out this article from the APA: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/06/stigma.aspx