"Family Hope - Supporting Families"
Did you know the number of families affected by mental illness is more than the number of families affected by cancer and heart disease combined?
In the US, 1 in 5 families are affected by mental illness - that's 44 million families who care about someone experiencing a mental illness in any given year.
Family Hope is the only resource that that provides services exclusively to family members struggling to support a family member dealing with mental health issues.
To find out more about our Programs please visit our website at www.familyhopeme.org.
Thank you for your help!
If you would like more information about Family Hope and our program, please visit: www.familyhopeme.org. Have a wonderful summer everyone!
I would like to also thank the wonderful people who allowed us to share their stories with you: Katie, Marty, Fran and Kelly. They are truly inspirational people and their stories give many of us HOPE. Thank you!
We will keep this GoFundMe page up to accept donations for another week; please share with family and friends. If you would like more information about our Family Support Navigator Program, or need information for someone YOU care about, visit our website at: www.familyhopeme.org.
On behalf of the families we serve, THANK YOU for your kindness and support!
Executive Director, Family Hope
"My father was a sweet, loving man who lived and died with the dreadful disease of mental illness. He died by suicide when I was just 13 years old. It would be twenty something years later when my daughter’s mental health would impact my life in ways I could never have imagined. It first began when she 15 years old. Depression the doctors said. My daughter Katie felt isolated, depressed and lonely no matter how much family and friends showered her with love. Counseling and medications didn’t seem to help, at least at first. Every day was stressful and challenging--for her dealing with her illness and for me watching it all helplessly. Amazingly though, she graduated from high school and even managed to play basketball on her high school team. She was a starter on her team the year they won the state championship and as such she was recruited to play basketball for a small college in Boston. Her first year of college, like the four years before, was rocky. The years that followed became even more difficult. She transferred to three different colleges while her symptoms worsened. Still, she managed to complete two years of nursing school before dropping out her junior year after a full blown mania episode. She was finally diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. She had psychotic episodes and thoughts of suicide. She was admitted to local hospitals and was in and out of outpatient programs. She displayed self-injurious behavior and displayed unexplained anger and rage in ways I never thought possible. She couldn’t sleep or would sleep too much. She lost and gained large amounts of weight. In the summer of 2011, at 5’9” she weighed 101 pounds. She was in pain and I was in agony watching it all. I left my job, lived on my life savings and 401k retirement funds and set out to spend every waking hour trying to find help for my daughter—to save her really.
"The biggest help would come to Katie through a five-week stay at a residential facility in California. Fourteen years have gone by since Katie’s first depressive episode and so have over 350 medical and psychiatric appointments, two hospitalizations, three partial hospitalizations, one five-week residential stay, and the trial and error of 25 different medications (side effects were always nicely included). Finding the right medication or combination of medications is like threading a needle…and doing it in the dark… in the middle of a windstorm.
"For the first year after her residential stay, she would generally do one small productive thing a day. I made a bulletin board with all the “one thing items” so that she could see her progress over time and feel good about her accomplishments. The next year she did some volunteering and began to look and feel better. Over the past year and a half, she took a CNA course and has been working part-time in a nursing home. She helps to take care of her grandmother and great aunt. She exercises and will be participating in the Tri for a Cure this summer. She is independent and manages her own care.
"Katie speaks out about her illness and encourages me to speak publically as well. There is still so much stigma and shame associated with mental illness. My courageous daughter tells me, “Mom, for change to happen, we have to speak out.” I share my story for two reasons: 1) so my daughter knows I’ve got her back; 2) so others know they are not alone and need not suffer in silence. There truly is HELP and HOPE!
"I feel so much pride when I talk about my daughter. I am in awe of her grace and courage. She inspires me daily. Katie is doing amazingly well. And yet I still understand that she has a disease that she battles with every day. It takes daily effort on her part in order for her to remain well. My message when I speak is to explain that each and every individual can make a difference in changing how mental illness is perceived by offering compassion, reassurance, support, and acceptance. Katie has friends and family who support and love her. She has said that it is this support and acceptance that have played such a crucial role in her recovery. My hope is that shame and embarrassment that surrounds mental health illness will be eliminated. If you have read this, please know it can start with YOU. "
Family Hope's Family Support Navigator Program has been designed to help families like Kelly's
find resources and help they need for their loved one(s). With 1 in 5 families affected by mental illness, you probably know a family struggling with their loved one's illness. Please help us reach your friend, neighbor or coworker by donating to Family Hope TODAY.
For more information about Family Hope's Family Support Navigator Program or to learn more about mental illness, please visit our website: www.familyhopeme.org. We appreciate your generosity!
Executive Director, Family Hope
Josh was very sick before he died. He slept a lot, was angry all the time, secluded himself from his friends, and smoked weed daily. I tried very hard to find help for him and for us too, but because he was an adult, I couldn't make any appointments to doctors or therapists for him. I was told he had to call himself, but he didn't think he needed help and he didn't have the motivation or strength to make a phone call.
I remember asking one woman on a mental health helpline, "I know I can't make an appointment for him, but what is out there for us? Is there someone we, his family and friends, can meet with to tell us what's happening to Josh, and to help us figure out what we can do? We feel so helpless!"
"There isn't anything like that," she said, "but you can call us anytime, we're here 24 hours a day." I remember getting off the phone and crying, thinking to myself, "What do we have to do? Sit here and watch our son die?" And of course, that's what happened.
Family Hope was founded to help other families like ours. With our new Family Support Navigator Program, we give families someone to talk to, someone who can help them understand what is happening to the person they love. We give them concrete things they CAN do, and help them understand how to navigate the broken mental health system.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month; please help us be there for families who are struggling to help someone they love who lives with a mental health disorder. THERE IS ONLY ONE WEEK LEFT IN THIS CAMPAIGN TO RAISE $2,500! We are asking you to help us reach our goal; all gifts will be used to give families the kind of help ours needed so desperately. Please help us save families the heartbreak our family has endured. Please help us save a life.
For more information about our Family Support Navigator Program, visit our website at: www.familyhopeme.org. Thank you for your generosity!
Donna Betts, Executive Director