All too often mental illness is something our society shuns and sweeps under the rug. It’s unlike other inherited genetic illnesses and stands in a class all on its own.

There’s a stigma attached to all kinds of emotional and mental disorders. We hide from  the truth, not only from ourselves, and others, we also live in fear that the illness may be discovered.  For centuries people suffered alone and were often placed in dreadful mental institutions and locked away from the questioning and critical eyes of the world.

We’ve come a long way in the last 50 or 60 years to understanding what mental illness is and how it can be treated and managed. However, it’s still very unsettling and alarming to see tragedies of mass proportions, like the recent heartbreaking attack by one young man on a school in Connecticut. What can we do to help prevent this kind of sad occurrence? In my opinion education is the key.

I recently interviewed S.J.Hart, a clinician, educator, author, trainer, and advocate for mental health. She speaks openly about three generations of psychiatric disabilities in her own family, including her parents, siblings, children, and herself.  Master’s trained and certified in the field of addictions and mental health, she specializes in the treatment of co-occurring disorders.  Hart has more than 30 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and families who suffer from genetically transmitted mental illnesses. SJ Hart’s generations of family and those she loves has led her to make a difference in the lives of others. Her unwavering persistence in her press for change moved her from silence to advocacy, education and training on an international level.

Seldom do we find such honesty about topics that raise fear in our hearts. S J Heart is willing to give of herself, to tell the truth about what she has endured and suffered purely to be of help to others. She risks criticism, ridicule, and rejection in an unselfish attempt to open up the door to understanding that many mental illnesses can be managed. Her book “Lies In Silence” is a must read that explores bipolar disorder and other genetic mental illnesses.

You will find her interview on Dancing On Our Disabilities Radio below.  SJ’s open and revealing conversation is captivating. Click on episode 8 in the link below.

Meet SJ HART In episode  8:

The Powerful SJ Hart