Glenn Holsten, Author at OC87 Recovery Diaries googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(true);

Glenn Holsten

Glenn is an award-winning director who loves to create compelling documentary story experiences of all lengths for screens of all sizes. He is an avid reader, studied literature in college, and his passion for stories with strong characters and interesting narratives stems from those years. His career as a visual storyteller began at WHYY (the public television station in Philadelphia) where he worked for 15 years before becoming an independent filmmaker. In addition to his PBS documentaries about arts and culture, he has directed films about justice and human rights, and now, mental health. He was emboldened to undertake his current documentary project, Hollywood Beauty Salon, a colorful feature-length documentary about surviving mental illness and finding the courage for recovery, after his transformative experience directing OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie, along with Bud Clayman and Scott Johnston.

Mental Health at the Mic: Childhood, Loneliness, and Suicide

OC87 Recovery Diaries is proud to present the third and final part of a series of portraits of men who have participated in the Philadelphia’s Engaging Males of Color BEyond Expectations storytelling series.

This post features the story of, and interview with, Kamren Washington-Richards, a seventeen-year-old student who attends Boys Latin of Philadelphia Charter School. In addition to his studies, Kamren works at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, through a program called PACTS – Partnerships for Advancing Careers in Technology and Science.  (more…)

Mental Health at the Mic: Christian A’Xavier Lovehall

In the U.S., males of color are disproportionately affected by various forms of marginalization and adversity including violence, poverty, incarceration, lack of access to health care, low social status and trauma. 



With the pressures of daily life and our societal stigma associated with mental health challenges, how can males of color engage in a thoughtful, honest and supportive dialogue about mental health?

In Philadelphia, they are doing it through the power of stories.  (more…)

An Orphan’s Memorial to Her Dying Mother


Sheri Heller is a clinical social worker who is in private practice as a psychotherapist, specializing in treating trauma and addictive disorders

Sheri’s mother, Pearl, lived with schizophrenia. As a result, her family lived in turmoil. She has spent much of her life living with the effects of her unhealthy relationship with both of her parents, sifting through wreckage of her childhood, and using her creativity to help her channel the hurt and the pain. A few months back, she sent us a moving piece of creative writing about their relationship titled “An Orphan’s Memorial to Her Dying Mother.”  (more…)

Dr. Otto Wahl on Busting Stigma Around Mental Illness


Read the first part of the interview here.

OC87 Recovery Diaries is pleased to share this interview with Dr. Otto Wahl, a pioneering researcher who studies the impact of media images about mental illness on stigma. Throughout his career, Dr. Wahl has documented the damaging and inaccurate stereotypes of people who live with mental illness created by the media – in particular television, newspapers and dramatic films.  (more…)

Dr. Otto Wahl on Mental Illness & Stereotypes


This is part one of a two-part interview. Follow this link to read the second installment of the interview.

In the U.S. we can talk about cancer, asthma, heart disease (or most any other disease, frankly) without worry of recrimination. Can the same be said for talking about a mental illness diagnosis?

OC87 Recovery Diaries was formed to tackle stigma. We are well aware that although there has been progress, stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination still exist. At its core, stigma is a fundamental lack of knowledge and misinformation about people who live with mental illness. More often than not, the media tends to confuse — rather than educate — the general public on matters of mental health, and stigma ensues.  (more…)

Q&A with Alison Malmon, Founder of Active Minds


When Alison Malmon was a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, her older brother, Brian, ended his life. Brian experienced depression and psychosis for three years when he was a student at Columbia University, but concealed his symptoms from everyone around him.

As Alison grieved the loss of her brother, she became aware that there was a lack of places on college campuses where students felt comfortable talking to each other about mental health and suicide. So she created her own space for such a dialogue. Alison founded Active Minds in 2003 (then known as Open Minds) at the University of Pennsylvania.  (more…)

Mike Veny: “An Interview With My Depression”

mike-vey-depression-recovery interview with my depression

This is part two of a series on Mike Veny. Read and watch part one here.



I stumbled upon Mike Veny’s website — — while doing research for a story on mental health, and I was instantly drawn to his positive message of hope and action:  transforming stigma into strength.

In his work, Mike shares a vulnerable side of himself to further his mission: preventing the loss of life due to suicide.  For the record, Mike wrestles with many mental health challenges, and talks openly about his daily struggles with anger, depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. However, those diagnoses do not define Mike Veny.  (more…)

Mike Veny: Mental Health Recovery, Music & Advocacy


This is part one of a two-part series. Here’s a link to part two where, through the magic of technology, Mike Veny interviews his own depression!



Mike Veny is an advocate who speaks boldly and truthfully about his journey and his mental health struggles. Mike Veny is an entrepreneur who makes a living inspiring others. Mike Veny is a drummer who breathes deep inside his spirit when he lives through his music.

Mike Veny is also a lifesaver. The first life he saved was his own. Now he’s making it his mission to use his life’s journey to help save others. Not only does he wrestle with his own set of mental health challenges, but he also wrestles with the idea of what it is to be a man with mental health challenges in today’s society.  (more…)

Bipolar-ish: Q&A with Musician Deidre Young


A few months back, OC87 Recovery Diaries was sent a link to a song called “Bipolar-ish.” It was a funky, upbeat tune. The song was credited to an artist named H-Town Butta, and honestly, it caught me off guard. I loved the song’s friendly, pop sensibility, the layers of sound in the production, and the  playful — yet honest — lyrics about her lived experience. (I can’t lie, my moods do swing, but that’s OK, it’s an everyday thing, first comes the joy and then comes the sadness . . .”).  (more…)

Danielle Hark & The Broken Light Collective


Meet Danielle Hark, passionate mental health advocate and wellness warrior. And while she wrestles with many mental health issues, she is also a stunning photographer who explores our delicate world with the help of her camera.

In fact, she says, it was photography that saved her from death after one of her most severe “crashes” during a particularly dark time.  (more…)

Seasons of Depression & Kevin Breel


In May of 2013, 19-year-old Kevin Breel gave a TEDx talk in Ambleside, Canada. Eighty people were in the audience.

At the time, he was a recent high school drop out with ambitions of pursuing a career as a stand-up comedian. He was also a person living with depression. And wanted to tell his story to break the silence of suffering that he knew too well, a suffering that he imagined affected many other young people around the world.  (more…)

Gabby Frost: Teens, Technology & Mental Health


Buddy Project was started with humble and honorable goals. Fifteen-year-old Gabby Frost wanted to connect people who might need a friend, because, as she says, “No one deserves to feel alone.”

The year was 2013. Gabby was a high school freshman at North Penn High School in Pennsylvania. At school, she supported friends who were wrestling with very real mental health challenges — including depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm. Her friendship made a difference in their lives, they said, and her support helped them with their struggles. (more…)

ACLU’s Witold Walczak on Mental Health & Prison Reform

Our nation’s jails and prisons have replaced hospitals as the primary facility for mentally ill individuals.

This powerful sentence is from a 2014 report from the Treatment Advocacy Center, a national non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating legal and other barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness in the U.S. It’s a heartbreaking, frustrating, and sad reality. Even more paralyzing is the fact that included in this population are men and women in prison who suffer with mental illnesses that prevent them from being able to advocate for themselves.

Here’s a good example: J.H. (a pseudonym to protect his identity) is a homeless man in his late 50s from Philadelphia who suffers from schizophrenia. He was charged with retail theft for stealing three Peppermint Pattie candies. And although a court ordered him to receive mental health treatment, J.H. spent 383 days in the Philadelphia Detention Center awaiting an opening for such treatment at Norristown State Hospital. 383 days!

This happened in spite of the fact that federal courts have found that delays of longer than seven days between a court’s commitment order and hospitalization for treatment are unconstitutional.