by Julie H.
Is Randomness a literary genre? Because I may be a specialist in miscellany. Here are some of the deliverables I have produced:
- Newsletters for five-star hotels, coffee chains and supermarkets
- A travel guide for a war zone
- Greeting cards, eulogies and obituaries
- News releases announcing things I suspected would never come to pass
- Speeches for blowhards
- Sales pitches for widgets (the pre-computing kind)
In addition, I have “just looked at” college application essays. I’ve even tried my hand at poetry (it was not very good).
Over the years, I have written with enthusiasm about things that were important to someone else but meaningless to me.
At this point, I should probably retire, write fiction, or short stories or a memoir. But who can resist the opportunity when it comes knocking to change the world for the better?
Related to someone with mental illness, I handle communications for the family support group at the Douglas Mental Health Institute. My primary message is that there is a distinction between having a mental illness and being mentally ill. After all, no one is diabetes. Recovery from mental illness is possible and commonplace.
The Canadian government has wisely acknowledged that the mental health system is failing young people in particular. In fact, an estimated 75% of youth aged 16-25 who need help never receive treatment. These are the kids you see on the street and in the newspapers. To remedy this, the CIHR, Canada’s federal funding agency for health research, has awarded a large grant to a group affiliated with the Douglas. The mandate is nothing less than the complete transformation within five years of care for youth with mental illness.
This new system promises to place youth with mental illness and their families — not just policy makers, researchers and health care professionals — “in the driver’s seat of change”. For the first time, what I call the power of love — not just therapy and medication — will be tapped as a tool of recovery.
Here’s my plan: for digital content, I’ll need to provide families with the information, support and practical advice to come out of isolation and get strong. Stigma immeasurably compounds the suffering of all involved.
For community management: I need to learn how to best connect family support groups from 12 test sites across Canada, from New Brunswick to the Northwest Territories. I’ll need a system for private, organizational communications as well as one for public dialogue and information. I’ll also need to gather research data.
I’m thinking of starting with an e-newsletter. At least this time it won’t be random.