“People with mental health conditions deserve just as much support and compassion as people with physical health conditions.”
Who am I? I guess some people would say I am a genuinely nice person, and it’s true. My name is Erica Parsons, and I would add that I am also a funny, compassionate single mom who loves to spend time with my 9-year-old daughter.
On this site, you will have access to good and important stories about mental health, and my journey to become an expert, so I can help my family.
What do I mean? I am a journalist, a broadcaster, a voice talent and I will provide stories about the harsh reality of people living with serious mental illness, as well as information with support for caregivers. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Kennesaw State University, and I’m now working on a graduate degree in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University to ensure that I stay on top of emerging trends in this digital age.
My mom suffers with schizophrenia, and my family and I have been struggling to provide help for her. She isn’t living on the streets, but she might as well be. She refuses to stay in the several housing options she has (with family, including her own home) because of her high state of paranoia. Instead, she chooses to drive around in her car for most of the night, avoiding the “bad people”. A lack of resources in the Virgin Islands where I live, and a complicated legal system make getting quality treatment for her and others like her, almost impossible. What’s terrible is not knowing how to deal with this extremely paranoid mom who is nothing like the mom I know and love….what’s even worse is feeling helpless AND hopeless….
The reality. There are lots of other people out there facing similar situations. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
My goal. I want to call attention to a serious problem that is impacting the community when resources for people with mental illness are lacking. The result can often mean people with serious mental illnesses end up on the streets. An estimated 46% of homeless adults staying in shelters in the U.S. live with severe mental illness according to a 2010 report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It’s really a sad state of affairs, but a community issue I truly believe can improve with a little bit of knowledge and a whole lot of love! At least that’s my hope…
So follow me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and check back in for regular updates, to find out how you can support this important issue.