Posts Tagged ‘Mental Health’

 

Coach Teresa here . . . I received an email from Local Hero/San Bruno Patch columnist / Bardi Rosman Koodrin (“The Healing Chronicles”), informing me that Matt Cranford, Fair & Festival Event Manager at the San Mateo County Fair, would like to know how I implemented the writing contest (THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE: NOVEL, MEMOIR, OR SHORT STORY Sponsored by Teresa LeYung-Ryan, author of  Love Made of Heart and Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW ) earlier this year and what were its achievements.

Well, the magnificent forum was already in place–the San Mateo County Fair.  In October 2010 when Bardi Rosman Koodrin, Literary Director for the Fine Arts Department of San Mateo County Fair, invited me to create and sponsor a writing contest that would carry a theme close to my heart, I said “Yes.”

I had been a judge for other writing contests before; this was a chance to create a category!

Thanks to Bardi and the other sponsors who had participated in the previous year, my being “the new kid on the block” was an easy job in terms of writing the “ad” for my contest.

In my professional life, I wear 3 hats–an author, a manuscript consultant, and a writing career coach.  Under all those hats and behind my fifty-plus years is also a protagonist who lived/is living the immigrant experience.

What do the Immigrant Experience Writing Contest and a Main Character’s / Hero’s Journey Have In Common? They are all stories about a protagonist leaving or having left a familiar place for a strange new world and how she/he is transformed.

So, immediately after receiving the hardcopy and the electronic version of the San Mateo County Fair 2011 catalog, I began publicizing not only my contest but also all the writing contests under the auspices of the San Mateo County Fair Literary Arts Department.  Then I linked my role in the contest to my role in other causes as well as the roles of my colleagues who were promoting causes close to their hearts. Immigrants. Literacy. Libraries.  Heroes. Wisdom. Mental Health. Mothers and daughters.

Fast forward . . . after I read all the entries, I asked writing mentor Mary E. Knippel to read and rate them too.  We agreed that while all the entries had distinct voices and compelling themes, one entry was exceptional.

Here’s the excerpt (from the first-place winner “My Chinese-American Experience” by Patricia Tsang) that hooked me:

As with most Chinese families, the patriarch, my paternal grandfather, was responsible for giving Chinese names to his grandchildren.  My eldest brother was named Forever Bright; my second brother was named Forever Clear.  Because my grandfather died before I was born, I was destined to be Forever Nameless . . . .

 

Patricia Tsang first place winner in 2011 Immigrant Experience Writing Contest sponsored by Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

Brava to Patricia Tsang!

What was my reward to sponsor the contest? The creation of THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE writing contest gave me a fresh way to celebrate immigrants and descendants of immigrants.

At this time, I wish to say again “Thank you, English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) teachers Victor Turks, Miriam Queen, Patricia Costello and your wonderful students at City College of San Francisco, for having read Love Made of Heart.” http://www.lovemadeofheart.com/The-Immigrant-Experience.html

Thank you, Bardi Rosman Koodrin, Literary Director for the Fine Arts Department!

Thank you, Matt Cranford, Fair & Festival Event Manager!

Sincerely,

Teresa LeYung-Ryan says: “Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams!”

Writing Career Coach/Manuscript Consultant

author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW (print edition & eBook edition)
Author of Love Made of Heart (inspires adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families)

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan helps fiction and nonfiction writers build their platforms and fanbases before and after publication--photo by MKWL

 

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Below are the links to my blog posts demonstrating how I broadcast the writing contests and the fair:

June 18, 2011 blog post:

Coach Teresa, how do I build fame as a writer?

Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan here to say: “Use what you know to build fame. Use your three intertwining circles. Be yourself. Have fun.”

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/coach-teresa-how-do-i-build-fame-as-a-writer/

 

June 15, 2011 blog post:

What Do Dr. Andy, Poetry, Technology, Bardi Rosman Koodrin, San Mateo County Fair, Oakland Libraries, and Coach Teresa Have In Common?

Promoting literacy, literary arts and underdogs (a.k.a. libraries) . . .

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/what-does-dr-andy-poetry-technology-bardi-rosman-koodrin-san-mateo-county-fair-oakland-libraries-and-coach-teresa-have-in-common/

 

June 10, 2011 blog post:

Congratulations to the Writers Who Entered The Immigrant Experience Writing Contest

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/congratulations-to-the-writers-who-entered-the-immigrant-experience-writing-contest/

Dear Bardi Rosman Koodrin, Sue Barizon, Elliotte Mao,

Bardi had invited me to attend the award ceremony on June 11, 2011 (San Mateo County Fair Literary Arts writing contests). I had wanted so much to be there, to thank everyone in the SMCF offices and the writers who entered the contest I sponsored  – “The Immigrant Experience”

A previous commitment prevents me from being there with you on June 11th.

Could you  3 wonderful hearts Bardi, Elliotte, Sue (Sue, I read what you said about Bardi in The Patch) please print the attachment and bring it to the June 11 ceremony and one of you read it for me?

 

May 12, 2011

Where Do We Find Heroes? They Show Up–Young, Middle-Aged–What They Do–All Inspirational

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/where-do-we-find-heroes-they-show-up-young-or-middle-aged-what-they-do-all-inspirational/

 

April 8, 2011

Writing Contest, Immigrant Experience, Asian Heritage Street Celebration 2011, Wisdom Has a Voice Anthology, Mothers and Daughters, Mental Health

Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan here, looking forward to four related events/projects.

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/writing-contest-immigrant-experience-asian-heritage-street-celebration-2011-wisdom-has-a-voice-anthology-mothers-and-daughters/

 

April 5, 2011

Our 5th Annual Local Heroes have been selected and it’s time to celebrate them!

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/5th-annual-local-heroes-have-been-selected-and-its-time-to-celebrate-them/

 

March 15, 2011

General Rules for 2011 Writing Contests from San Mateo County Fair Literary Arts Dept.

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/general-rules-for-2011-writing-contests-from-san-mateo-county-fair-literary-arts-dept/

 

March 13, 2011

Is There a Writing Contest for Novels, Memoirs, Short Stories that Invites the Theme of the Immigrant Experience?

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/is-there-a-writing-contest-for-novels-memoirs-short-stories-that-invites-the-theme-of-the-immigrant-experience/

Writing colleague Pamela Reitman had emailed me the invitation to this half-day symposium. The words on the flyer hooked me. “Building a Caring Community for Mental Illness,” “open to everyone,” “this conference is FREE,” and “light refreshments will be provided.”
And, I didn’t have to be Jewish to attend this event at Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco August 30, 2009 Noon-5:30pm.  “Open to everyone” said the invitation.  I would go with my mom watching over me.
In my first novel Love Made of Heart, I had fictionalized my mother’s story, her battling with mental illness, my role as a witness to her suffering. Whenever I give talks on the book, I make the statement: “I advocate compassion for mental illness.”  The conference would give me an

Pam Reitman greets community of mental health advocates

Pam Reitman greets community of mental health advocates

opportunity to meet a spectrum of advocates for mental health.

My impressions and memories of the day:
2 friends carpooled with me.  It was already minutes past noon when I drove up to 301 14th Ave. at Clement St.  I dropped off my friends.   Scanning down the street, I was ready to park many blocks from the Beth Sholom. I couldn’t believe my eyes when half a block down the street, there was a space!  Mom! My parking angel!
Who drives by looking for parking but another friend I had shared the invitation with.
The first person I encountered was a volunteer who opened the glass door and greeted me with a smile.  “Here for the conference?” he asked.  “Up the stairs to the Koret Hall.”
My friends were signing in.  A volunteer handed me a program and welcomed me. I chatted with another volunteer who asked me “Teresa, what do you do?”  “I write stories for those who cannot speak for themselves.”  She told me about her son’s experience at camp—how the one activity he could connect with was story-telling.
A female voice from stage announced the start of the conference. Pam Reitman looked lovely in a black/white/sage Piccaso-ish dress. She welcomed us, told us about the committee’s dedication to making the conference a reality, the history of Bay Area Jewish Healing Center, her personal story. It was hearing Pam’s personal story several years ago that had attracted me to her writing about mental illness.
Rabbi Hyman greeted us with “Nachamu, Nachamu” (Comfort, Comfort).”  He and Rabbi Kukla did in fact create an atmosphere of comfort.  I even sang along a simple song in Hebrew.  A cello player.

Rabbi Hymand and Rabbi Kukla say: "Nachamu, Nachamu"

Rabbi Hymand and Rabbi Kukla say: "Nachamu, Nachamu"

6 panelists shared personal stories.
“I didn’t know we had mental illness in the family until my father suffered from depression, then I found out that his father had mental illness. I had clinical depression after I gave birth.”
“Friends and neighbors bring food when you have a broken leg. They don’t when you have mental illness.”
“There’s stigma on mental illness even among physicians. When I was in medical school, I knew I wanted to be a psychiatrist, but, my classmates looked down at me because they were going to be general practitioners and surgeons.”
“I thought that what I was going through was typical teenage misery. Then in grad school I was feeling happy and confident for the first time, but, I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t eating, and I was talking to myself. I thought I was the reincarnation of the person that I was writing about in a research paper; that’s when I knew that something was strange. The book An Unquiet Mind catapulted me to call my friend and seek help. Ten years later, I went back to grad school and became a doctor.”
“Stigmas.  We hide behind the illness, knowing other people would ostracize us. We wouldn’t have to hide behind other illnesses.”
“Psychic history.” “Holocaust survivors… intergenerational healing.”
The audience was given index cards to write questions for the 6 panelists. After several questions were addressed, and the volunteers were collecting more cards from the audience, there was silence. Rabbi Hyman said there was no hurry to fill the moment with words. Filling the moment with silence was lovely.
More questions and responses.
“Isolation.”  “Shame.” “Hope.”
“Some people think we have to find meaning in every experience. What about finding leap of faith instead?”
“Stigma.”
“When I don’t hear from my son, I double-up the efforts to call him.”
“You can continue communicating even though your loved one is not.”
“There’s no distinction in the way I treat this person and that person. I treat everyone with respect.”

Pam Reitman & Teresa LeYung Ryan write about loved ones with mental illness

Pam Reitman & Teresa LeYung Ryan write about loved ones with mental illness

Refreshments. Pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, strawberries. Danishes, glazed donuts.  I chatted with a yoga teacher. We talked about our moms—how much we miss them.
Breakout sessions.   I was in the group facilitated by Steve Foreman and Sharon Roth. In the library. 11 in the group. We sat in a circle. “What would you like to suggest to the planning committee to make this conference more assessable?” “How to connect with folks who are isolated?” “Volunteerism.” “NAMI” “Why is it when I read a news item about a violent crime, there’s mentioning that the suspect has mental illness as though it’s implied that mental illness leads to violence…?”
“What else can we do to help build a caring community for mental illness if we don’t have time to volunteer?” “Call or email legislative representatives and remind them to include mental health in healthcare reform.” “Share stories.” “Create a blog and invite everyone to tell their mental illness story. Offer resources on the blog.”
Then we gathered in the Main Sanctuary to hear reports from all the breakout sessions. Closing ritual that included prayers and songs.  During prayers, I saw my mom on a swing!  That was the first time I pictured her in that playful act.
A lovely day indeed.
It’s Wednesday, Sept. 2nd, and I Googled “An Unquiet Mind” (the book that had helped Dr. Karin Tamerius, one of the panelist on Sunday).  YouTube had “Personal Reflections on Manic-Depressive Illness” from the Research Channel series.  Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison told her personal story. Such courage to open up about her disease (mania, suicidal depression) and her struggles with medication (side effect that were severely debilitating) that ultimately helped her. Stigmas. Personal and professional reprisals.  Who else could really understand what the patients are experiencing?  She ended her speech about the role of love in recovery.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxRLap9xLag
I’m thinking about Carmen Lee’s organization:  Stamp Out Stigma  http://stampoutstigma.org/
and National Alliance of Mental Illess   http://nami.org/
and my mom.

The sequence of the three phrases in the ballot measure title for Proposition 1E  “Mental Health Services Funding. Temporary Reallocation. Helps Balance State Budget.” of the California Statewide Special Election May 19, 2009 is an example of how disjointed themes confuse and even trick the reader/voter.

We, California voters, had voted for Prop 63 Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).  Now, State officials want to “reallocate” funds for those services to help balance the budget?

The documents on the NAMI California website provide insight on Prop 1E.

http://www.namicalifornia.org/document-detail.aspx?page=homepage&tabb=hometabb&part=prop1e&lang=ENG&idno=4113

http://www.namicalifornia.org/document-detail.aspx?page=homepage&tabb=hometabb&part=prop1e&lang=ENG&idno=4072

Mission — NAMI California is a grass roots organization of families and individuals whose lives have been affected by serious mental illness. We advocate for lives of quality and respect, without discrimination and stigma, for all our constituents. We provide leadership in advocacy, legislation, policy development, education and support throughout California.

NO on Prop 1E California May 19, 2009

NO on Prop 1E California May 19, 2009

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