Lisa Falls is an artist and is a Registered, Board Certified Art Therapist with the Art Therapy Credentials Board. She has worked in the field of art therapy for 20 years, 18 years in San Diego. She has presented and taught both locally and nationally. She was the Program Coordinator and instructor for the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) Extension Specialized Certificate in Therapeutic Uses of Art for eight years. Lisa continues to teach courses about how art therapy is used to benefit different populations.
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STOP and read the following clearly. This article may be troubling to somebody thinking about suicide. This article is about personal and factual experiences regarding suicide. Please do not read if you are in a dark place and feeling suicidal. Suicide is never the answer, finding help and support IS. At the end of this article, I listed numerous resources, to obtain more information on this topic, as well as crisis hotline numbers for immediate support. Please utilize these fully.
As some of you may know, my 21 year old bipolar son was incarcerated last March during a manic episode where he did something that was, in his words “very stupid.” He was in the midst of denying his illness and he was running with the wrong crowd, and self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. I do not excuse his actions, nor does he. Thankfully, he is now facing his illness head on and, though he is in prison, he is in a better place psychologically and emotionally than he has been since his illness presented itself three years ago.
My daughter is 11 yrs old. We’ll call her Bug. Bug was diagnosed bipolar when she was 7. It has been a long, difficult road of ups and downs since then. We went through three schools before anyone would listen to me enough to give her an I.E.P. Finally at the end of her 3rd grade year (and after a hospital stay for a suicide attempt while at school – the 2nd one) the third school evaluated her and decided she “qualified”. Last year, around the end of November, (while in 5th grade) she started having hallucinations again, auditory and visual.
Barry Shainbaum is an icon of survival and success. Today, he is a renowned public speaker, broadcaster and celebrated photographer, acclaimed for documenting some of the world's most famous and heroic individuals.
Alicia Smith, while living with Bipolar II, PTSD, Agoraphobia and Major Depression, taught over 85,000 people in person and 12,000 virtually. Now medically retired, Alicia focuses her time on mental health advocacy, and various volunteer activities, to improve our country's mental health care. People have asked her to present to groups and she has developed four interesting and unusual takes on recovery in mental health.