Looking Ahead, Reflecting Back: BBHV 2011, 2012

January 4th already. Happy New Year, 2012! Always a good time to look back – but not for too long. Also an exciting time to preview what’s possible, as well as planned,  for the new year.

BBHV spotted at social workers Conference

In our family we do a “year in review” of our own as we approach New Year’s Eve, and certainly tops for me in 2011 was the publication of Ben Behind His Voices, hardcover and audiobook, and all the opportunities that has brought with it to reach families, healthcare professionals, and PAMIs (“People Affected by Mental Illness”, the best term I can come up with so far) with its story, information and messages. This year I have been privileged to present at the APNA (American Psychiatric Nurses Association) Annual Conference, sign books at the US Psych Congress, attend and do a poster presentation at NAMI‘s Annual Conference in Chicago, and connect with so many wonderful readers at author talk/book-reading events for NAMI, RJ Julia Bookstore, Barnes and Noble, Written Words, Congregation B’nai Israel in CT, Fellowship Place, Laurel House, and many more (see “News and Events” for details).

Exciting, too have been TV and radio appearances on Fox News, PBS, ConnTV, WTNH’s “Connecticut  Style”, NPR and more to tell our family’s story  and share messages like the need for open communication, early detection, more research, better understanding, increased respect, and the importance of purpose, structure, community and love to the recovery process. The Press Room has links to more of these interviews.

On a more personal level, 2011 brought a summer challenge for us, when Ben’s treatment services were cut drastically and he was re-hospitalized for almost six weeks. We faced, once again, the possibility of losing so much of what he had gained.  Thankfully, he has returned to us once again to resume treatment and the progress he has been making in school, work, and family. We remain so grateful for yet another chance, and also aware that there is so much work still to be done to improve treatment, medical advances, and attitudes.

So – what will 2012 bring? For my son and family I hope for stability and the continued miracles of “ordinary” life and growth. As for the book and audiobook, I hope for more chances to speak with audiences and reach readers, on a national and international level. I also have hopes for increased outreach to professionals and future professionals. I have heard from so many readers that this should be “required reading” for students in this field, and am thrilled to have been asked to speak at two universities so far in 2012.

Some of this is already in the works for 2012, and Ben Behind His Voices hits the road to (so far): Washington DC in January, New Haven CT (Yale) in February, Phoenix Arizona in March (AZ State), Chicago in April (National Council), with a  stops in the works for Alabama, California, Seattle, Ohio NYC, Boston and more. As they say, stay tuned for details…here and/or at Mental Illness in the Family award-winning blog at HealthyPlace.com.

Thank you for being such an important part of 2011.  Here’s to all that is possible in the New Year!

Randye

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