Mental Health Recovery

Mental Health Recovery Stories (Joseph Greco)

Following are stories of people who understand and are living the experience of mental health recovery. These are people who live with or have family members with a serious mental health condition. They know the struggles, challenges, joys, and successes of the mental health recovery journey.

Joseph Greco

Filmmaker, Writer; His Mother Is in Recovery From Schizophrenia.

Joseph Greco

Joseph Greco grew up watching his mother's battle with schizophrenia, and it's been a challenging journey for him, his mother, and his dad. When he wrote his first feature film he drew from personal experience, but also portrayed on a larger scale the way families cope with illnesses like schizophrenia. The film won the Rome Film Festival and the Best Feature Film Award at the Sedona Film Festival and Greco received the National Council for Behavioral Health's Distinctive Voices Award for his contribution to the mental health community.

It took a long time for Joseph's mother to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. He says he remembers his father going from doctor to doctor trying to find out what was wrong with his wife, and that she wasn't diagnosed until she had been in and out of the hospital several times. Joseph was still a young boy when all of this was going on in his family.

Joseph says that he and his father were close. His father taught him to sail, and they used sailing as "an escape" from the problems they were facing. He also liked to perform as a child, and he did magic tricks. He believes that was how he dealt with the struggles that were going on in his family.

Today, Joseph says his mother is doing well. "She's tremendously proud of me and the film, as is my father. I tell people the film is a love letter to my parents." His mother has good days and bad days, he says, and he acknowledges that he himself still struggles at times. It has taken a while for his mother to find a medication that works for her, but she is stable now and he feels she is able to stay on track.

Joseph believes open communication among patients, families, and the treating doctors is extremely important. He thinks families should always ask doctors questions about medication. He says, "I have asked, ‘Are there new medications available?' because there are new medicines out today that I think have enormous benefits. So family members should be involved, if they are able to be, and communicate and learn."

How Joseph sees his role in his mother's recovery:

  • Encouraging understanding of and compassion from others about his mother's condition
  • Supporting his mother in identifying her own interests and finding a way to work toward achieving her goals
  • Helping his mother find the right combination of doctor, medication, and comprehensive treatment

It's important to remember that individual results with medication therapy may vary.

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