A program called 'In Our Own Voice' uses personal stories to reduce stigma of people living with mental illness.

There is a lot I can't recall about the onset of my depression.  I've done a good job of somehow blocking out those times when I was at my lowest. However; I do remember the turning point, when I started on my road to managing my depression, rather than letting it drag me around.

My first exposure to mental illness was at age 12. My mom’s brother was going through a difficult divorce with the mother of his children, who was displaying symptoms of mental illness. Acting in ways that put my herself, my Uncle and cousins in danger. When I would hear family telling others about the divorce they would say "Well she was mentally ill" to explain the divorce. There always seemed to be a tone spoken about her that seemed like it was blaming her for her behavior. As a 12 year old who could not understand what was going on, I internalized mental illness as a character defect.

Psychiatric and mental health in America has not succeeded at engaging people diagnosed with mental illness in their own care and empowering them and their families to become true partners with their providers.

The Washington State Supreme Court determined that the practice of "psychiatric boarding", or forcing people in mental health crisis to wait for hours, days, or even weeks in the Emergency Department to receive treatment, is unlawful.

The 2014 NAMI National Convention was an amazing, surreal experience. For four days, people from all over the country came together to educate and learn about mental illness.

Two bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives regarding mental health:

King County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Legislative Forum

Thursday, November 14th

Town Hall Seattle

Today, 1 in 5 people in jails and prisons in this country live with a mental illness. About 70 percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have a mental health condition. This criminalization of mental illness is tragic and it's wrong.

Most people think of the onset of psychosis as sudden, but there are often warning signs that precede an episode. Knowing what to look for provides the best opportunity for early intervention.