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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 & Law Enforcement: Interview With Jeff Shannon


Routinely, law enforcement officers in the United States are tasked with becoming the de-facto street-level mental health workers, responding to increasing numbers of mental health-related calls.  This requires more training, more effort placed on de-escalation and crisis intervention, and it also requires a shift from more traditional methods of policing.  Police officers are also at risk for a variety of mental health-related challenges themselves.  Here to talk about all of this is Berkeley, California Police Officer and Marriage Family Therapist, Jeff Shannon.  This is Part One of a two-part interview.  Follow this link to read the second part of the interview. (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…)

Hospitalized For Depression: No Regrets


The is part one of Karis’ story about being hospitalized for depression. Follow this link to read part two of her story.

Let’s start off by getting the white elephant out of the room: I’ve been hospitalized twice. Not for any physical ailment, but for depression so thick and so bad, my doctors didn’t think it was safe for me to go anywhere else.

In 2013, the morning before Valentine’s Day, I was admitted to a hospital in Kentucky for Round One. Last October, I spent not one, not two, but seven nights (and six days) in a psych ward in New York City. That was Round Two.

Round Two soundly kicked Round One’s butt, truth be told.


The Letter To Mother: PTSD, Anxiety & Major Depression

This is part two of Mary Rogers’ story. You can read part one at this link


I am still in the process of healing with the help of a psychiatrist, a therapist, and the love of my life. He has been my lighthouse showing me my way home. He was my beacon in the night. I am working hard daily, to show up, be present, and deal. I am finding strength and have determined that maybe God doesn’t hate me and maybe hope isn’t bullshit after all.

My psychiatrist has been an angel in disguise. When I first came to her, I was a shell of a person who had become used to having my cheeks stained with mascara as I could not stop nor contain my tears.

She immediately set me up with twice-weekly therapy appointments, started me on medication, and began working closely with me to offer me other alternatives.

I learned of the calming benefits contained within ashwagandha and about how your body can absorb magnesium through bathing with Epsom salts. I learned a lot about exercise (releasing endorphins while getting fresh air and sunshine). I learned about nutrition (and the mind/body connection). Most importantly, I learned the importance of communication.

At first I had a very difficult time converting my emotion into words. I was very “stuck” in the fourth stage of grief: depression. Under my therapist’s suggestion, I wrote my mother a letter.