Why Speak Out About Stress and Mental Illness?

I spent 12 years at the Police Academy in Goldenwest College of Huntington Beach, California. I was cultivating and coordinating the presentation of a course called ‘Crisis Intervention Training’ in which Orange County’s policing community gained insights about mental illness. I provided some instruction within the course course curriculum, and there were some exhausting days on which I questioned whether it was all worth it. I got my answer one afternoon when one of the officers attending our intermediate level course slipped me a greeting card on his way out at the end of the day. It read…

“Scott – I’ve been meaning to write this for years but on seeing you again, it’s a great chance to THANK YOU. In CIT I (a former class sitting) you shared your experience on duty. You opened my eyes to my own mental health struggles. After that class I finally sought out help with my depression. I tried a few Docs and Meds until I found a good fit. 2 years ago I started Lexapro and started life all over again. My current happiness would not have happened if you hadn’t removed the stigma of mental illness. It is just an illness, medically treatable. Thank you for sharing your story and for your continued work with law enforcement. It probably saved my life…Rob.”

For anyone who speaks publicly to educate others about any of life’s difficult journeys – the answer is a huge YES! It is very much worth it and the messages we send are touching lives in so many beautiful ways. Thanks for the card, Rob. It really meant a lot to me and I will treasure it.

Oh…And That’s Why!



Healing with a Healthy Hyphen

The Dash Poem (Read by Author) Linda’s web site: www.LindaEllis.life – YouTube


A number of years ago I attended the funeral of a friend and heard for the first time a eulogy that included the reading of a beautiful poem written by Linda Ellis – “The Dash”.  It had the impact of shifting my entire paradigm.   If you don’t know it – check it out!  Then this past weekend, I saw a story on the BCTV Global Morning News that was about somebody clearly living on the path of “The Dash”.

The story featured a new young author, Christie Lea, who has written a Children’s Picture Book titled, “Safe in Starry Arms”.  The book was written to help children with issues of anxiety, mental health and through a journey of recovery.  Link: www.christieleaauthor.com

I was blown away to learn that Christie Lea had been a busy first responder as a 911 call-centre dispatcher until a couple of years ago when she was ‘taken out of that game’ with a diagnosis of Complex PTSD.  I would say now  that Christie Lea is winning her battles against the stigma that associates with mental illness.  I can also say from personal experience (and now with Christie Lea’s effort) that a recovery really gains traction when we reach out to honestly help someone else.  The poem speaks it clearly; a contemplation of our dashes can produce some really healthy lifetime hyphens!  Well done, Christie Lea!