Monthly Archives: February 2015

Celebrities with Mental Illness: Drew Barrymore


Drew Barrymore has bipolar disorder, suffers from panic attacks and has battled alcohol and drug addiction. She has also self-proclaimed herself as “crazy”, and says she doesn’t use medications for her disorder.

This actress and Cover Girl face, reportedly attempted suicide just after leaving drug rehab when she was only 14 years old and was hospitalized. To make it even more bizarre, Barrymore portrayed a character with mental illness in Mad Love movie in 1995.

Drew’s name can be found on numerous celeb websites in lists of famous bipolar people or famous people with depression.

However, we haven’t found any explicit mention of bipolar in any of her interviews. Also, she has clearly stated that she does not take medications. Therefore, we can’t be certain that the references to bipolar disorder are true.

There is certainly evidence of impulsiveness, though. Remember Drew flashing her breasts on Letterman back when she was around 20? And then there are all her marriages. For example, for five weeks when she was 19 she was married to Welsh-born bartender named Jeremy Thomas. They married in a ceremony performed in an LA bar by a clairvoyant from a psychic hotline.

She has been afflicted with two of the most typical bipolar co-morbid conditions, alcohol and drug abuse when she was very young and now she suffers panic attacks as a grown woman.

Drew is, ironically, the godmother of the late Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s daughter, Frances Bean.

She openly says she is “crazy”, and “crazy’ is also an adjective she throws around very often in discussing her famous family. What exact kind of crazy, she doesn’t seem to make explicit.

There is such a strong family pattern of extreme highs and lows, alcoholism, suicide and self-destruction that manic depression sounds like the best thing that could happen. She’s still doing very well without medications.

The above article was borrowed from To read the article in its entirety visit the page here.

Sandra Webster — Hoper of the Month

Sandra has been an active member of the HopeMarket for well over a year now! She came in to volunteer, giving herself something to do during the day, and has ended up becoming an important part of the daily functioning of the market. Organizing is one of Sandra’s attributes. This includes merchandise and work assignments. She has used her own hardships as experience to understand what others are going through.

Transplanted to Norristown via Philadelphia, Pa., Sandra balances volunteering, with her responsibilities at home. She has one daughter in middle school, and grown children with children! Her life partner appreciates, as do we, the positive outlook that she gives off to everyone in her presence. As one of our artist / members, she keeps art projects going on a regular basis. Socialization and art are two other components of the HopeMarket.

Last, Sandra has lent her expertise to two committees that are currently operating at HopeWorx. There is a steering committee, planning for the expansion of HopeMarket in the future, and the Karaoke committee, which will oversee a monthly karaoke afternoon, sponsored by HopeWorx and HopeMarket! Decorating and food is Sandra’s cup of tea. She is doing a fantastic job! Thank you Sandra for your enthusiasm! Keep up the good work!

Update: Sandra is now also a part of the CST Team at Hopeworx and she is doing a great job!!

Managing SMI and a Chronic Illness: A Team Effort

Managing a Serious Mental Illness (SMI) is hard enough, but for thousands of people, the burden is multiplied by one or several serious physical illnesses. For example, according to scientific studies, people with Type 1 Diabetes are twice as likely as the general population to wrestle with depression. Disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are often accompanied by cardiovascular disease and diabetes (Fagiolini A, 2009). It is unclear in many cases whether it is the physical brain abnormalities that go along with the serious physical conditions that cause the SMIs or the stress and trauma of dealing with a chronic illness that cause or worsen the SMIs but one thing is certain: both must be addressed. Often, one or the other is pushed to the side or neglected.

The World Psychiatry Journal suggests that the mental health professionals take responsibility for both mental and physical health in their clients (Marc De Hert, 2011). There are a myriad of barriers to care for people with SMIs including but not limited to the lack ability to understand and be able to carry out self-care, over emphasis on mental health only, financial burdens and stigma. Because of these barriers, it makes sense that mental health personnel should take a lead in screening for and helping consumers deal with chronic physical illnesses. Even simple monitoring of things like weight, blood pressure, diet and exercise can help improve physical health. It is also suggested that it would be helpful for mental health clinicians to be trained for disease specific care so that they can help consumers monitor their own diseases and give positive feedback.

Although self-advocacy and self-care are key in managing both physical and mental illnesses, it is very important for mental health providers to be aware of the role they can take in the overall care of consumers. The increased morbidity and mortality of people with SMIs can be drastically reduced through informed psychiatric services. Whether it be teaching and supporting self-advocacy, performing regular monitoring and diagnosis or providing emotional support and well-being tools, mental health professionals and peers can improve the lives of people with SMIs.

Fagiolini A, G. A. (2009). The effects of undertreated chronic medical illnesses in patients with severe mental disorders. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 22-29. Retrieved from

Marc De Hert, D. C.-B.-J. (2011). Physical illness in patients with severe mental disorders. II. Barriers to care, monitoring and treatment guidelines, plus recommendations at the system and individual level. World Psychiatry, 138-151. Retrieved from

Take Action to avoid SSDI cuts

If you have a mental illness, you may be deemed mentally disabled and be eligible for either SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance. The criteria for being eligible for either of these government benefits is being physically or mentally disabled. Depending on your case, you may be eligible for one of these two benefits. Here are the differences between them:

SSDI is federal disability insurance and is funded by the FICA tax which is matched by employers. It is for individuals who have worked and have paid taxes into the system. The benefit can be up to $2,500 a month and is determined by a formula which factors in, among other things how much you have paid into the system. SSDI is retroactive up to a year which means that if you apply a year after you are deemed disabled, you are entitled to benefits for that year which you were eligible but didn’t apply. With SSDI, you can have any amount of assets or money in the bank and you are still eligible for your benefit. The only restriction is that you cannot make more than $1,090 a month in gross income to receive your full benefit.

SSI is generally reserved for disabled persons who have never worked, or worked here and there and have not paid enough into the system. SSI is more restrictive than SSDI. For example, you can only receive up to $733 a month with SSI. You cannot have more than $2,000 in the bank or you may lose your benefit. You can only have a limited number of assets with SSI. Finally, it kicks in the date you file, so you don’t get the year of retroactive benefits you get with SSDI.
This is just a general overview of these two government benefit programs for disabled persons. If you feel you are eligible, please consult a lawyer for further information and for help with filing a claim.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has projected that without a reallocation of funds, the SSDI trust fund will not be able to pay full benefits within 2 years. Unless the Senate acts now, monthly cash SSDI benefits could be cut by as much as 19%. To take action so that SSDI does not get cut, you can sign the petition at here and write your congressman.