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A Non-Profit Charitable Organization

Affiliated with NAMI – The Nation’s Voice on

Mental Illness and NAMI Michigan

(Alliance on Mental Illness of Michigan) Website

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@NAMIofKent Twitter

Volume XXI, Number 1 Fall, 2017


Friends and Fellow NAMI Members,

Many things are happening in and for our affiliate.

Our next CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) for 25 to 30 police officers will take place this month the week of September 18-22. This is the second such training our affiliate has been part of. The purpose of the training is to provide intensive information (and scenarios) for the officers so that they will be able to recognize mental illnesses in people they encounter, and handle these people and situations appropriately. Needless to say, the training is long-over-due, but our community is now doing it. The first session this year was very successful; we are planning for a week just as well-received by the officers.

Our next session of our Family to Family (F2F) 12-week course will be held on Wednesday evenings, beginning September 13. See further information in the newsletter. Have people contact Gwynn or Tom to register for the course.

We are also busy planning and working on our NAMI Walk, which is less than a month away. It takes place annually on the first Saturday of October; this year: October 7, on the campus of Davenport University. Look further in this newsletter for more information. Do participate; create your team; show up; we will look for you. It is our only fund raiser, which we depend on for the monies needed to do our programs. It is also our way of informing the public about the need for eradicating stigma and providing more help for mental health.

There is bad and good information about CMH (Community Mental Health) services in the State and our own Kent County. After a very contentious year, the state

suddenly decided to move the CMH monies over to a new structure. The decision seems to be final, but the process is not entirely determined yet. The one good possible option is that the state seems open to accepting a plan presented by Network180 for Kent County. This, too, is being worked out, but it does highlight the fact that Network180 stands out as possibly the best CMH agency in our state.

Let’s keep on the good fight; there is always more to do. This is NOT a time to let down our guard. There are forces in the state and on the national level, which are trying to cut funds for mental health services. We need more help – not less; remember advocacy is so important; you might think of it as a middle name.

See you soon – at one of our meetings.

Thanks, and Peace!


NAMIWalks Grand Rapids

Date: October 7, 2017

Place: Davenport University campus at 6191 Kraft Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512

Date: October 7, 2017

Time: Check in at 8:00 a.m.; walk begins at 10:00 a.m.

You can register for the walk or make a donation at  Please contact Pam Squire at or 616-450-4851 if you have questions.

This is our only fundraiser, and there is much to fund. Our affiliate keeps 50% of all of the funds that we raise, and the rest is divided between NAMI Michigan and NAMI National. We use the funds to help send our members to state and national conventions to bring the latest news back to Kent County and find new resources for our members. We also use the funds to train some of our members in NAMI resources such as running support groups, offering NAMI Family to Family, and NAMI Basics.

There are several ways to participate and/or raise funds; sponsor the walk, register to walk, be a team captain, start a fundraising campaign or activity at work or your place of worship.  If you have a business or work for a business that might be interested in sponsoring the walk, Pam Squire can get sponsorship materials for you.  Be a team captain and invite friends and family to join your team. Challenge co-workers or your place of worship to raise funds for this worthy cause.  While people are having fun raising funds, they’re learning about mental illness, and it’s losing that sense of stigma.

Not only is this a good fundraiser, but it is a great experience. The walk is an opportunity to raise awareness of mental illness and lessen stigma, learn about resources, meet other people actively involved in our cause, and just have some fun. There will be resources at the walk, fun activities, a t-shirt contest, snacks before the walk and grilled food for lunch after the walk, and more.  Hope to see you there!



NAMI Mission Statement


NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports, and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope for all of those in need. NAMI offers support and education programs for families and individuals living with mental health conditions.

NAMI recognizes that the key concepts of recovery, resiliency, and support are essential to improving the wellness and quality of life of all persons affected

by mental illness.

Friendly Reminder:

New NAMI Membership Dues


Below is an outline of the new rates effective July 1st, 2017:


Household Membership: $60

Household memberships provide benefits to everyone in a single household. Each Household will receive one copy of mailings while each individual in the household will have access to online benefits, email communications, and discounts.


Individual Membership: $40

Individual memberships apply to one person. The price is increasing from $35 to $40 in 2017.


Open Door Membership: $5

An Open Door membership is an individual membership at a reduced cost. The price is increasing from $3 to $5 in 2017. An Open Door membership is available to anyone with any type of financial limitation.


Since NAMI Membership Services still supports all three levels of NAMI, membership dues will continue to be split between NAMI, the NAMI State Organization, and the local NAMI Affiliate. NAMI will receive $20 for each Household membership, $10 for each Individual membership and $1 for each Open Door membership.

Famed Glass Artist Dale Chihuly Details his Struggles with Bipolar Disorder

By Gene Johnson

June 2, 2017

The private studio of glass artist Dale Chihuly reflects his long obsession with collecting. Sheets of stamps cover one table; pocket knives are marshaled on another. Carnival-prize figurines from the first half of the 20th-century line shelves that reach the ceiling.

Amid the ordered clutter, some items hint at more than Chihuly’s eclectic tastes: a long row of Ernest Hemingway titles in one bookcase, and in another an entire wall devoted to Vincent van Gogh — homages to creative geniuses racked by depression.

Chihuly, too, has struggled with his mental health, by turns fragile and luminous like the art he makes. Now 75 and still in the thrall of a decades-long career, he discussed his bipolar disorder in detail for the first time publicly in an interview with The Associated Press. He and his wife, Leslie Chihuly, said they don’t want to omit from his legacy a large part of who he is.

“It’s a pretty remarkable moment to be able to have this conversation,” she said. “We really want to open our lives a little bit and share something more personal. Dale’s a great example of somebody who can have a successful marriage and a successful family life and successful career — and suffer from a really debilitating, chronic disease. That might be helpful for other people.”

Chihuly, who began working with glass in the 1960s, is a pioneer of the glass art movement. Known for styles that include vibrant seashell-like shapes, baskets, chandeliers and ambitious installations in botanical gardens and museums, he has said that pushing the material to new forms, creating objects never before seen, fascinates him.

Even in the past year, he has found a new way of working with glass — painting with glass enamel on glass panes, stacking the panes together and back-lighting them to give them a visual depth. He calls it “Glass on Glass,” and it’s featured for the first time in the new Chihuly Sanctuary at the Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha, Nebraska, and at an indoor-outdoor exhibit opening June 3 at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

But the flip side of that creativity has sometimes been dark. He began suffering from depression in his 20s, he said, and those spells began to alternate with manic periods beginning in his late 40s.

“I’m usually either up or down,” Chihuly said. “I don’t have neutral very much. When I’m up, I’m usually working on several projects. A lot of times it’s about a six-month period. When I’m down, I kind of go into hibernation.”

He still works but doesn’t feel as good about it. His wife noted that if he only went into the studio when he was up, he “wouldn’t have had a career.”

Asked what his down periods are like, Chihuly took a long pause. “Just pretty tough,” he said. “I’m lucky that I like movies. If I don’t feel good, I’ll put on a movie.”

Leslie Chihuly, who runs his studio, is more loquacious about the difficulties his condition has posed in their 25-year relationship.

They’ve tried to manage it as a family with various types of counseling, medication and a 1-to-10 scale system that allows him to communicate how he’s feeling when he doesn’t want to talk about it, she said.

Chihuly gave up drinking 15 years ago, and it’s been more than a decade since he was “life-threateningly depressed,” she said, though he’s never been suicidal.

“Dale has an impeccable memory about certain things, but there have been certain periods of time when he’s been hypomanic, as we call it, or depressed, and I’ll be the keeper for our family and our business around those difficult times,” she said.

She met him in 1992 after a mutual friend set them up. He was in a near-manic period, talking about an idea for bringing glass blowers from around the world to Venice, Italy, to display their art in the city’s canals. He had no plan and no funding, but she was eager to help him realize his vision — one that would eventually be depicted in the public television documentary “Chihuly over Venice.”

Six months later, they traveled to an exhibit opening at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

“It was like the lights went out,” she said, choking back a sob. “All of a sudden the guy who was interested in everything … that guy wasn’t there.”

Dale Chihuly remained quiet as his wife described that moment. A tear fell from beneath the recognizable eye patch he has worn since he lost sight in his left eye in a 1976 car crash.

Though the mood swings were new to Leslie Chihuly at the time, they were familiar to the other artists Chihuly worked with. Joey Kirkpatrick met him in 1979 when she attended Pilchuck Glass School, which Chihuly founded in the woods north of Seattle in 1971. It was a small summer workshop; the students constructed their own shelter. She and her partner, Flora Mace, spent many hours watching movies with him during his down periods.

“What amazed me about it is his persistence at picking the thing, his creative life, that would pull him along or keep him going through those times,” she said. “When he was up, he could call you up at Pilchuck on a Sunday night and say, ‘Meet me at the airport at ten tomorrow, we’ve got a flight to Pittsburgh to go to some demonstration.’ It was always exciting. When he was down, there wasn’t that. It was quieter.”

Chihuly said the message he’d have for others struggling with the condition would be to “see a good shrink” and to “try to live with it, to know that when they’re really depressed, it’s going to change, before too long. And to take advantage when they do feel up to get as much done as they can.”

Depression & Recognizing Your Inner Wellness

By Carol L. Rickard

May 18, 2017

We all have wellness within us. The challenge is whether we have the means to release it.

Does this guy look familiar?

Just in case he doesn’t – this is the head of the statue of David by Leonardo Da Vinci!

The story goes that Leonardo himself said he didn’t ‘create’ David but that David was already in the marble and he simply “released him from the
block of marble.”

So why am I writing about David and Leonardo Da Vinci?

Because I happen to believe the same thing about wellness!

I believe we all have wellness inside us!


And it requires the “right tools” to release it!

If you don’t have the “right tools,“ then it is impossible to ‘release it.’

So, for 25 years I have been teaching people the “tools” they need so they can finally let wellness out! I call them LifeTOOLS!

This is also one of the important reasons why we are so fortunate to have Esperanza and

They give us another way of getting the “tools” needed to unleash our wellness within!

Many people believe that if they have an illness than they can’t have wellness too.

This is simply WRONG!

Having wellness DOES NOT mean the illness is no longer there.

I’d like to share the definition of wellness I use & teach. It comes from the National Wellness Institute:

“Wellness is an active process through which people become more aware, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.”

Key here: successful existence!  

What this is for one person may be very different for another!

YOU get to define what this is for you!

I am grateful to have the opportunity to share my LifeTOOLS with you here through this blog every week.

My hope is you are using them to….

Unleash your wellness within!

What is a successful existence for you?

Carol Rickard, LCSW, TTS has had a 25-year long career in the mental health field as a social worker, trainer, and facilitator in hospital-based settings. Carol’s books include: Transforming Illness to Wellness, Moving beyond Depression, LifeTools, and Stress Eating, and STRETCHED Not Broken, which are available at and Barnes and You can also catch episodes of Carol’s new TV series, The WELL YOU Show, at


Reconstructing Destructive Self-Talk

By Stephen Propst

July 6, 2016


Turning hurtful words around to supportive thoughts can help your well-being when living with bipolar disorder

Years ago, I overheard a family friend say: “Stephen is just too smart to have bipolar.” Are you kidding me? If I believed and internalized all of the misleading information and mistaken beliefs there are about this condition, I’d go crazy!

Until society at-large gains a proper perspective about bipolar, I’ve discovered a simple tool to help maintain my sanity and stability. Whenever I hear someone utter something demeaning or diminishing, I reword the destructive statement into a more constructive one, which I then say to myself.

Take the absurd comment about my being too smart. I reworked that statement and then said to myself: “Wait a minute. No one is immune from having bipolar.”

Let’s look at more illustrations of this hear-say technique:

You hear: Bipolar is not that tough. You need to get on with your life.

You say to yourself: Surviving bipolar is no easy task. It’s hard for some people to understand how challenging this condition can be. Regardless, I will focus on doing my best, day by day, to maintain my wellness. I will set realistic expectations for myself.

You hear: What’s wrong? Aren’t you taking your pills?

You say to yourself: Medication is just part of battling bipolar. I take a comprehensive approach to recovery, which includes therapy, peer support, self-education, self-management, and medication—if needed, prescribed/managed by my doctor and well tolerated.

You hear: Are you not better yet?

You say to yourself: Unless you live with bipolar, it’s hard to understand it. During times of trouble, just getting out of bed is seemingly impossible. I’ll do what I can when I can, and I’ll ask for help when needed.

You hear: It’s your problem; you deal with it.

You say to yourself: Indeed, I have to champion my own recovery. However, that includes recognizing when I need help and reaching out to my doctor, therapist, and others for necessary assistance, especially in a crisis.

You hear: You’re driving me crazy!

You say to yourself: Unfortunately, my behavior can be problematic, especially when I’m manic. I am going to do my best to control it, try to explain the situation to others, and realize that they may or may not ultimately accept and appreciate the reality of bipolar.

You hear: Isn’t this just a made-up illness?

You say to yourself: Bipolar is a real medical condition, not unlike diabetes. I refuse to succumb to the myths and stigma. Instead, I will do what I can to educate others and improve their understanding of mood disorders.

You hear: I’m just not the person to help you.

You say to yourself: Not everyone from whom I seek help is prepared to assist. Fortunately, there are many sources for support. When I can’t turn to a family member or friend, I can take advantage of care/share groups, use the services of a certified peer specialist, or reach out to those better suited to help.

You hear: Everyone gets depressed.

You say to yourself: There is a difference between feeling sad and experiencing clinical depression, which can last longer, be more intense, and have more serious implications.

Reckless expressions can weigh you down and wreck your well-being. Being aware of your self-talk is key. The next time anyone makes an insensitive remark, take a moment to turn those hurtful words around. Hearing a careless comment from someone else doesn’t keep you from saying something more supportive to yourself!

One last point: There are occasions when someone says something completely outrageous. In such situations, it may make sense to confront the person and challenge the comment. It always pays to avoid filling your head with unhealthy thoughts, but sometimes you have to speak up and take a more direct stand.

Stephen Propst, a former chair of DBSA, is a public speaker and a coach/consultant focusing on living successfully with conditions like bipolar. He can be reached at


NAMI Kent County Lending Library of Books and Movies


We thank John and Betty Walker for the generous donation of 40 books to our lending library recently.

We now have over 140 books and 7 movies that are available for checkout.

Library Policy

  1. $5 deposit/book (refundable if returned by due date)
  2. Limit of two items per individual for three weeks
  3. If materials are not returned within one month from check out date, the deposit is forfeited.

After meetings and classes held in the Network180 building, the book truck will be available for you to look at the books.

Every year, during the first full week of October, the nation recognizes Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW)

A good source for searching for a therapist or psychiatrist is There are many search variables, such as location, your insurance, issues, gender, etc.

I apologize for any confusion caused by the fact no summer newsletter was produced. I was recovering from back surgery so none was mailed or emailed. Kay Zeaman


Powerful Carrie Fisher Quotes about Mental Health

(The actress and author, who suffered from bipolar disorder, was a passionate advocate for mental health)

By Jessica Migala

December 28, 2016


Carrie Fisher may be most well-known for playing Star Wars “Princess Leia”, but she was a superheroine in real life too. The actress and author, who died Tuesday at the age of 60 after suffering a cardiac arrest, battled relentlessly against the stigma on mental illness, and to raise awareness for the need for treatment.

Fisher was diagnosed at age 29 with bipolar disorder, an illness characterized by episodes of depression and mania. Throughout her life, she used her trademark humor and candor to shed light on the condition and convey the powerful, life-changing message that there is no shame in a mental health diagnosis.

In honor of Fisher’s legacy, here are just a few of the times she spoke out and inspired us all.

On owning your diagnosis:

“I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on. Better me than you.” —December 2000, in an interview Diane Sawyer on ABC Prime Time

On the courage that mental illness requires:

“One of the things that baffle me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.” —Wishful Drinking, her 2008 memoir about her mental illness and prescription drug addiction

On finding the humor:

“I thought I would inaugurate a Bipolar Pride Day. You know, with floats and parades and stuff! On the floats, we would get the depressives, and they wouldn’t even have to leave their beds — we’d just roll their beds out of their houses, and they could continue staring off miserably into space. And then for the Manics, we’d have the manic marching band, with manics laughing and talking and shopping and making bad judgment calls.” —Wishful Drinking

On surviving a severe manic episode:

“I don’t really remember what I did. I haven’t watched the videos that people took. I know it got bad. I was in a very severe manic state, which bordered on psychosis. Certainly delusional. I wasn’t clear what was going on. I was just trying to survive. There are different versions of a manic state, and normally they’re not as extreme as this became. I’ve only had this happen one other time, 15 years ago, so I didn’t have a plan of action.” —September 2013, in an interview with People about the bipolar episode she had while headlining a Caribbean cruise

On chasing your dreams, despite your diagnosis:

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it, and eventually, the confidence will follow.” ―April 2013, in an interview with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

On why getting help is crucial:

“Without medication, I would not be able to function in this world. Medication has made me a good mother, a good friend, a good daughter.” —February 2001, at a rally in Indianapolis for increased state funding for mental illness and addiction treatment

On how to help a loved one with bipolar:

“If you feel like your child or friend or spouse is showing signs of this illness, if you can get them in touch with somebody else they can talk to and share their experience with and not just feel like they’re being told they’re ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ or ‘stupid,’ then they can relate somehow.” —November 2004, in an interview with bp Magazine

On summoning courage:

“We have been given a challenging illness, and there is no other option than to meet those challenges. Think of it as an opportunity to be heroic—not ‘I survived living in Mosul during an attack’ heroic, but an emotional survival. An opportunity to be a good example to others who might share our disorder.” —November 2016, in her Guardian advice column, “Ask Carrie Fisher.”


October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

World Suicide Prevention Day

On September 10, 2017, we observe World Suicide Prevention Day to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends, and families have access to the resources they need to address suicide prevention.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately

October 10 World Mental Health Day

World Health Organization____________________

HELP NAMI RAISE MONEY WHILE SHOPPING_________________________________

If you shop on Amazon, you can now go to and choose “NAMI KENT COUNTY” as your charity. When you make a purchase from 0.5% of your purchase will go to NAMI. Thank you for your support of NAMI.



NAMI of Kent County General Meeting is on the second Tuesday of the month from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Network180, 790 Fuller Ave., NE, Board Room – 2nd Floor. The dates are September 12, October 10, November 14, and December 12.

The speakers for September 12, will be Donna Ecklesdafer and others presenting re ECT, etc.

The speaker for October 10, will be Rafael Diaz, re CIT (Crisis Intervention Training)(


NAMI Family to Family This is a twelve week class for families who have a loved one living with a major mental illness. The next class starts Wednesday, September 13. You must register for this free class. Please contact Gwynn Bult at or 616-485-3696.


NAMI Support Group Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Network180, 790 Fuller Ave., NE, Board Room 2nd Floor. The dates are September 19, October 17, November 21, and December 19.


Network180 is the gateway to mental health services in Kent County. It is available 24/7 at 1-800-440-7548 or 734-544-3000. Staff members will assess how best to meet your needs be it a referral to community resources, residential crisis services, hospitalization, or other services.

Network180 Board Meetings are held at 4:30 p.m. on the first Monday of each month. These meetings are usually held at 790 Fuller N.E. in the Board Room, second floor and are open to the public. The dates are:

September 5, October 2, November 6.


Our NAMI Board Members


Our President is Tom Dooley.

Our Vice President is Denise Koeper.

Our Recording Secretary is Carol Snyder.

Our Treasurer is John Hollander.

Our Corresponding Secretary is Betty Walker.


Our Membership Chairperson is Stephen Squire

Our Educational Coordinator is Gwynn Bult

Our Newsletter Producer is Kay Zeaman

Our NAMI Walk Organizer is Pamela Squire

John Walker

Mel Snyder as Trustee


A Reminder about Dues

Mailing Label / Update on Your Membership

  • The bottom line on your mailing label tells you when to renew.
  • When it is time to renew:
    • You will get an email reminding you
    • If we don’t have your current email address, contact Steve Squire or Tom Dooley (
    • No email possibility? Call Tom at 616-200-4105
  • We don’t want to lose you; don’t lose us.
  • We offer:
    • Information about our speakers, support groups, and classes (all are free, by the way)
    • Notices about NAMI National Convention and Michigan State Conference, including possible stipends for attending.
    • Publications:
      • NAMI Advocate magazine
      • NAMI Voice
      • NAMI of Kent County
        • Quarterly printed Newsletter
        • ON-LINE Updates
  • We don’t want to lose you; don’t lose us; please renew when it is time.

It is ALL included in your annual membership.

You can renew your membership or become a member by going to

If you receive your newsletter electronically, you can find your expiration date by going to the website.


Family Support Group in Ferrysburg the fourth Tuesday of the month from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. If you have a question contact Tom Dooley at

C:\Users\Kay\Documents\NAMI\Extended Grace Support Group.JPG

DBSA (Depression/Bipolar Support Alliance) of Kent County (formerly PUSHH), a support group for persons with a depressive illness, and their families meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 1700 Woodward, S.E. (one block south of the old Metropolitan Hospital). For more information see or Kristin Finn’s website,

OCD Awareness Week 2017

October 8-14

Anxiety Disorders Support Group

A weekly professionally-led support group for Anxiety Disorders (including trichotillomania and Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder).

Wednesdays 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m.

312 Grandville Ave. Grand Rapids