My mother lives in New Jersey, which makes me very sad because I love my mothers company, her soft ways and her easy going personality along with the ability to have her ear bent like no other person I know. For this visit she brought something special to show me, she received the Anti-Stigma Award on May 6th for aiding to decrease the stigma of mental illness and increase awareness to others about the disease, presented to her by the Mental Health Council of Ocean County.
My mother is a Peer Support Specialist for Kimball Medical Center in NJ in Psychiatric Emeregency Screening Services. What makes my mother unique in her job is that not only is she a medical professional but she is also patient. My mothers relationship with depression began when she was age 14. She spent most of her time sleeping after school and had little or no friendships, my grandmothers response was to domineer my mother, which probably back fired in the end. I’m increadibly proud of my mother, not just today but every day. She is a board member of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and on the board of Ocean Mental Health, she’s a political advocate, really.
My mother Loves her job, she is dedicated, and is empathetic. My mom deals with patients in crisis situations, where they may be suicidal, homicidal or in severe depression crisis, people of all ages children to adults. She offers peer support and as a person who has mental illness can foster a more empathetic relationship to the patient. Therapeutic listening is allowing the patient to vent and discuss the acuity of their situation or discuss aspects of their crisis that others may not relate to. On occasion my mother will share her own personal story when it is appropriate…she will also discuss with women (usually mothers) how untreated mental illness affected her relationship with her children, how it has affected her children and how they really can come out of this intact.
My mother feels humble and grateful for her job and for being able to do her job so well. I’m grateful that my mother, someone who has been to some very dark places, has not only been able to pull herself and her children out of those places, but is a shining light for others to guide their way out as well.