Documentary

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Living with Schizophrenia:
A Call for Hope and Recovery

Millions of Americans are living with schizophrenia. This is a serious mental health condition but help is available to support the recovery process.

This film tells three inspiring stories of real people living with schizophrenia. They are united by the hope and empowerment they have gained with support from their unique recovery teams. They share a common message that people with schizophrenia can have a meaningful life.

Their stories serve as a reminder that people living with schizophrenia deserve respect and hope along their journey.



FEATURING
Dr. Xavier Amador, Josh, David, Rebecca, Dr. Rebecca Roma, Ashley

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. funded and produced this documentary. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is responsible for its editorial direction. Individuals who appear in the film were not compensated for their work on the project. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. does not endorse any organization, source of information or project named in the film. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. products are not named or promoted in the film.
© Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 2011

Dr. Xavier Amador

Dr. Xavier AmadorClinical Psychologist

"We don't have a cure for schizophrenia but I'll tell you – we have so many tools to make the lives of people with this illness so much better."

Despite numerous television appearances, published peer-reviewed scientific papers and books, and positions at nationally-recognized organizations and universities, Dr. Amador still has one main ambition – help those suffering from mental illness.

Xavier Amador, PhD, is an internationally sought-after speaker, clinical psychologist, professor at Columbia University, Teachers College, in New York City, the founder and director of the LEAP Institute, and author of eight books including the national best seller “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help!”

In addition to his books, Dr. Amador has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and many other publications that have been translated into more than 20 languages. He has been a consultant to numerous companies and government agencies including the National Institute of Health, and has previously served on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), and as Director of Research at NAMI and the Director of Psychology at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Josh

JoshPerson Living with Schizophrenia

“Sharing my story is a privilege and it’s important for me, because it reinforces my recovery, my life.”

Joshua will not let his past get in the way of an active, happy life today and in the future.

Though he once saw his diagnosis as a life sentence, Joshua now cites his schizophrenia as the difference, in his life, from seeing the world in black and white and seeing the world in color. Joshua has a positive attitude about his experiences and is focused on and committed to helping others living with schizophrenia.

Today, surrounded by supportive friends and family, Joshua works for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), running peer-to-peer programs and sharing his story with other families. He also works in a local jail, helping individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system. Since 2005, he has been certified by the state of Georgia as a peer specialist and works to encourage others with schizophrenia to remain optimistic.

Dave

DaveAdvocate, Parent of Someone Living with Schizophrenia

“Advocacy work turns the grief and frustration of mental illness into hope and constructive action.”

Instead of grieving over his son’s schizophrenia diagnosis, Dave became an advocate for people with schizophrenia, working to make a difference in the mental health community.

Dave is a member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, sits on the Emory University Community Psychiatric Services Fellowship Board, and is published in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry. He also serves on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Board of Directors, where he highlights the importance of individual and family support, and is committed to making information and resources available for consumers and their families.

As the president of NAMI Georgia, he volunteered at homeless shelters, Veterans Affairs facilities, and hospital emergency rooms. Dave has served as a reserve police officer and is certified by the state of Georgia as a first responder in prehospital care.

Dave was the recipient of the Georgia-Pacific Employee Volunteer National Community Services Impact Award during his role as manager of training support services at the Georgia-Pacific Corporation in Atlanta. He also received the Outstanding NAMI Georgia member award in 2006 and was inducted into the NAMI Georgia Hall of Fame in 2009.

Rebecca

RebeccaPerson Living with Schizophrenia

“I started to accept the illness, but I saw it as what I deal with and what I have, rather than the definition of who I am.”

After a decade of feeling ashamed by her schizophrenia, Rebecca decided to try living life with a different motto – accept and love your mind.

When Rebecca entered college, she started to think people were coming after her. Alarmed by her symptoms, Rebecca went to her doctor and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. At the onset, Rebecca found it difficult to communicate her experiences with even her closest loved ones.

A decade later, however, Rebecca found inspiration from other people with schizophrenia who found help toward mental health recovery. The acceptance of her condition allowed Rebecca to spread awareness of misconceptions about schizophrenia through her blog for The Topeka Capital-Journal entitled “Heart of Topeka: People Who Care.”

Today, Rebecca no longer feels ashamed. Instead, Rebecca has become an advocate for both schizophrenia and self-acceptance.

Dr. Rebecca Roma

Dr. Rebecca RomaPsychiatrist

“What we can work to do is to reduce the fear and reduce the stigma, just like we’ve done with so many other issues over the years.”

Dr. Roma has dedicated her life to keeping the mentally ill out of hospitals and the legal system.

Rebecca S. Roma, MD, is medical director of the Community Treatment Team at Mercy Behavioral Health in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She works primarily with chronically mentally ill patients living in the community after long-term hospitalization. She also serves as an inpatient psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Mercy Hospital Behavioral Health Unit. Additionally, Dr. Roma evaluates and treats patients at the Bethlehem Haven 902 Clinic, a residency recovery program in Pittsburgh.

Dr. Roma received her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She completed residency training in psychiatry at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, a component of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. During her residency, she was a recipient of the American Psychiatric Association/Janssen® Resident Scholarship. Dr. Roma is Board Certified in Adult Psychiatry.

Ashley

AshleyPerson Living with Schizophrenia

“Those stereotypes really bother me, because I don’t look at myself as a violent person. I don’t have a split personality.”

Despite struggles in the past to come to terms with her illness and find effective treatment, Ashley has big plans for her future.

After receiving an official diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia at age 20, Ashley refused to eat, drink, or take medicine. But once she found effective treatment, joined an outpatient treatment program, and became active in a local clubhouse, she was able to regain her life.

She now considers herself highly functional and shares her story of recovery with others on her blog, OvercomingSchizophrenia.com. In addition, she founded Embracing My Mind, Inc. (EMM), a not-for-profit support group aimed at helping others living with schizophrenia, and was awarded the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)’s “Peer-to-Peer Mentor of the Year” award in 2010.

Currently, Ashley is studying psychology at Georgia State University and hopes to become a therapist.

 

Read the next section: Video Treatment & Recovery Guide

Documentary

Living with Schizophrenia:
A Call for Hope and Recovery

Millions of Americans are living with schizophrenia. This is a serious mental health condition but help is available to support the recovery process.

This film tells three inspiring stories of real people living with schizophrenia. They are united by the hope and empowerment they have gained with support from their unique recovery teams. They share a common message that people with schizophrenia can have a meaningful life.

Their stories serve as a reminder that people living with schizophrenia deserve respect and hope along their journey.

 

Video Treatment & Recovery Guide

Mental health consumer advocates, caregivers, and healthcare providers offer practical information and answers about all aspects of mental health recovery.

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