Monthly Archives: July 2014

Famous People/Celebrities with Mental Health Challenges: Drew Carey

Drew Carey has spoken extensively about his battle with depression and multiple suicide attempts.

In 1997, Carey published his autobiography, Dirty Jokes and Beer: Stories of the Unrefined where he shared his memories of early childhood and of his father’s death. His father died when he was eight.

He also revealed that he was once abused, had suffered from depression and had made two suicide attempts by taking a large amount of sleeping pills.

The book also discusses his college fraternity years while attending Kent State University, and his professional career. The book featured large amounts of profanity and includes numerous dirty jokes and references to beer. In every chapter there is one.

It was featured on The New York Times bestseller list for over three months.

In an interview with Access Hollywood’s Nancy O’Dell reporter, he revealed an even darker side of himself, “I was depressed for a long time,” he said.

So depressed that at the age of 18 and in his 20′s he attempted suicide by overdosing on pills.

When asked about the stigma related to the disease, he said, “Living in Hollywood, you can get disconnected from everybody. You can feel like you are the only one. So you feel it, you hold it in and you don’t let it go and you don’t try to find help because you think, ‘Oh man if I tell anybody, I’m going to seem like I’m weak. I won’t get a movie deal. I won’t get invited to…’ whatever goes through your head.”

This story was borrowed from

Famous People/Celebrities with Mental Health Challenges: Catherine Zeta Jones

Catherine Zeta Jones recently came public about her battle with bipolar II disorder, which has caused her numerous problems in both her professional and personal life.

Bipolar II disorder is diagnosed by extreme lows but without the periods of extreme mania, associated with bipolar I disorder.

It wasn’t always so easy to keep her strength, she shares with Telegraph. “When Michael was diagnosed with cancer I really thought, ‘You are going to have to wipe me off the floor.’”

“I haven’t had to deal with anything like that before, ever,” she continues. “I didn’t know what to do. I thought I didn’t have the [emotional] tools to cope,” adding, “I wasn’t as strong as I thought I could have been.”

In the end, Jones thanks Douglas for getting her through the difficult times, and adds while “it did make us closer,” she “wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”

As for her own health, she admits that Douglas’ illness made managing her bipolar disorder even more difficult.

“When you get sideswiped like that it’s an obvious trigger for your balance to be a little bit off – not sleeping, worry, stress. It’s a classic trigger.”

The 43-year-old Oscar winner first looked for treatment for bipolar disorder in April 2011.

Afterwards, she opened up about her battle. “This is a disorder that affects millions of people, and I am one of them,” she told People. “If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it…There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.”

This story was borrowed from

I am Other Website an Inspiration for People with Mental Health Challenges, is a new channel on YouTube, created by Pharrell Williams, and dedicated to Thinkers, Innovators and outcasts – in short — Others. In the about section on this site, Pharrell states, “Our programs explore the pursuit of individuality, the defiance of expectations, and the arrival of a new class of visionaries.”

On one part of this site, there is the Creative Growth Series. This series showcases artwork, music, and spoken word by artist with mental health issues or challenges. Individuals also speak out about stereotypes. Topics on this include, “Good Hair”, “To be the Best”, and the “Ghetto Pass”. I find this site to be encouraging, informative and entertaining. Finally, a site that represents the best, as well as the positive endeavors that happen within our community. Give it a look and see!

Faces of Mental Health Recovery Art Project

Ron Henderson participated in the art project titled “The Faces of Mental Health Recovery”. When asked what was the face of mental health recovery, Ron stated that, “It is the person that represents their recovery and their story. It is also an art project that centers around people in recovery, and those that support them.”

When asked what he learned from this experience, Ron stated that “I learned that recovery has different shapes and sizes. We might have the same diagnoses, but our stories are what connects us. He also learned that he is pretty photogenic”.

I wanted to know,” What was Ron’s gift to the world”? He replied, “My gift to the world is my attitude, my personality, who I am, and what I stand for. Another gift is my ability to never let the world get the best of me. When I fall, I get back up and strive for greatness.”

Last Ron was asked, “What do we need to know about you as a person?” He stated that “I is such a carefree person. Three years ago I wasn’t this person. I have a kind heart. My one mission in life is to at least inspire one person, or a generation. I won’t stop until one person says, ‘You’ve changed my life’, and then I’ll be good”.

Hopeworx Welcomes IM4Q

Hopeworx is very excited to welcome an affiliate named IM4Q to its offices in Norristown.  IM4Q stands for Independent Monitoring For Quality.  IM4Q is a system of measuring quality that relies on information from individuals with developmental disabilities receiving services in Montgomery County.  Quality is measured in terms of outcomes as well as satisfaction with services.  IM4Q gets its information by interviewing the customers of services.  It then creates reports based on the information gleaned.  The reports generated are shared with provider agencies, County Mental Health programs and the Office of Developmental Program’s Planning Advisory Committee for the purposes of quality improvement.

Annual IM4Q reports can be viewed at

Hopeworx attends Rally in Harrisburg

It was early morning on the 18th of June.  Several people gathered to board a bus bound for Harrisburg to rally against the budget cuts that will effect different programs in the mental health field. There were people from  M.H.A.S.P,  Take Five, Community Advocates, and Hopeworx  just to name a few.  We  arrived at the state capital and fanned out to visit the different representives for our counties.

I saw Tom Murts, he was very nice and interested in what I had to say. He said he was glad we came to Harrisburg to show our support and let our voices be heard. We talked a little about his visit to Mermaid Lake and how he enjoyed himself, then he said to me that we should have some of his constituents that want the budget cuts come visit a couple of our facilities and houses. Not to speak but to see how the cuts would affect the people who need them, and how much better people are doing who use the different programs.  I thought that was a great suggestion. We talked about how the cities and counties have changed and how everyone wants to blame the things in the news on mental health issues, however still want to cut programs that in an economy were everyone is stressed would be more helpful. I thanked him and we shook hands.

After a fantastic lunch from subways it was off to the rally. At the rally there were different people speaking on the concerns in their areas.  People spoke on education, disability, and Veteran’s needs, Penny Johnson and June Simms spoke on the effects mental health cuts would mean for us. The outcry of (no more pie no more pie) which to me meant no more empty promises with whipped cream on top. Then they proceeded to send a pie to each representive in the capital. It was a great experience and it felt good being a part of something so important to so many people like me.

Hopeworx Member of the Month: Ellen Kozlowski

Ellen Kozlowski

Ellen has been working as a Community Advocate since February of 2006. Ellen states that what she really likes about her work is the ability to talk and support individuals needing services. She has empathy for people in crisis, and does her best to walk with them towards solutions. Ellen also has the gift of being able to meet people where they are at. She supplies resources, and gives contacts and directions on how to obtain them.

Ellen states that a lot of self -advocacy involves presenting and attending trainings. She also adds, more legislative advocacy, and participation with the local and regional CSP committees are included in her list of duties. Ellen has been a great example for people to listen to and to be heard without judgment. She has walked the road herself! Thank you Ellen for you service, commitment, and dedication since 2006.

Average, What A Relief

By Ellen Kozlowski, Community Advocate  


The other day a very good friend of mine said “I hate to tell you Ellen but you’re a perfectly average person.”  You might think I would have balked and said or thought “NO I’m not,” but instead I got a deep feeling of relaxation and peace.  You see as my very good friend she knows my fears, frustrations and failings but when I’m told these are average it’s a relief.

When I was cycling in and out of the crisis hospitals I did not feel average, I felt below average to be sure and suicidal at times, unfortunately also all too average for quite a number of people.

That’s why I’m speaking here today.  Some people in this life need a little extra assistance in finding and sometimes maintaining their way.  They may need supports to talk about their issues or specialized therapies and or self-help groups, to get medication when indicated, to help find employment or to try and go back to school.  Given a boost people can gain confidence and skills.  They can usually maintain a decent place to live, have friends and be united with families and form families, help build a community of their choosing.

I am happy today to be told I’m a perfectly average person.  I have been employed by the same company, Hopeworx Inc., formerly CST of Montgomery County, for close to ten years now.  I maintain close ties with family and friends, I live in my own apartment with my pet birds, Henry and Heidi whom I’ve had for close to twenty years.

I am so thankful and so fortunate.  I’ve had here in Montgomery County ample opportunity and some truly quality supports.  Let’s not let down the people cycling in crisis or reaching for averageness, for example, a job or career, a home, loved ones who care.  People who sometimes just need a little help in finding and or maintaining their way.

It’s penny wise and pound foolish to wish problems away and that’s what cutting mental health services would be.  Opportunity is key.  Let’s decide that in our Montgomery County there will continue to be opportunities and support for people who need it,  helping build our communities  rather than have many in continual crisis and chaos.