Art by Artists with Psychiatric Diagnoses to Be Exhibited at Norristown Public Library...Artists with Lived Experience of the Mental Health System Are Encouraged to Participate

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Art by Artists with Psychiatric Diagnoses to Be Exhibited at Norristown Public Library

Artists with Lived Experience of the Mental Health System Are Encouraged to Participate

NORRISTOWN, PA (April 3, 2019)—On April 18, 2019, artists who have mental health conditions will vie for first place at an art show organized by the Montgomery County Community Support Program (CSP) Committee, which brings together people with mental health challenges, their family members, service providers, and administrators in an equal partnership to promote recovery, as well as excellence in community-based mental health services. Artists with psychiatric histories are encouraged to enter the contest; the deadline is Monday, April 15, 2019. To enter, contact Ameika Malcolm at 610.270.3685 or The drop-off address for artwork is Hopeworx Inc., 1210 Stanbridge Street, Suite 600, Norristown, PA 19401. The theme this year is “Living My Best Life.”

“One of the goals of the event is to combat the prejudice and discrimination associated with psychiatric diagnoses by showcasing art created by people with lived experience of the mental health system,” said Sue Shannon, executive director of Hopeworx, which is run by people who themselves have mental health challenges.

“People who have mental health conditions are like everyone else in that some of us have enormous talent,” Shannon continued. “This amazing artwork is proof of that.”

Hopeworx—active in the Montgomery County CSP Committee—has helped organize the contest.

“We are thrilled to be able to highlight the talents of people whose abilities are often overlooked,” added Ameika Malcolm, Hopeworx project coordinator and a member of the Montgomery County CSP Committee.

People who have mental health conditions are represented in every sphere, including in the art arena. “We are your neighbors, friends, and family,” said Shannon. Some artists who had mental health challenges—e.g., Van Gogh, Munch, and Goya—are very well known; others—such as Meghan Caughey, Amy Smith, and Sharon Wise—are primarily famous within the mental health community.

The artwork will be exhibited during the CSP meeting on Thursday, April 18, from noon to 2:30 p.m. at the Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library, 1001 Powell Street in Norristown. Following the contest, the library will display the artwork from April 29 through May 3.

The mission of Hopeworx is to promote the continued development of a community environment which supports and believes in the expertise and passion of consumers—i.e., individuals with lived experience of the mental health system—to create and direct their own paths to health and recovery.

The Montgomery County CSP Committee meets on the third Thursday of every month, from noon to 2:30 p.m., at the Norristown Public Library, 1001 Powell St., Norristown, PA  19401.  Organizations that regularly send representatives include the Montgomery County Department of Behavioral Health, the Consumer Satisfaction Team of Montgomery County, NAMI Montgomery County, Mental Health Partnerships, Salisbury Behavioral Health, Magellan Health Services, Resources for Human Development, and Community Advocates of Montgomery County. 

Contact: Ameika Malcolm, Hopeworx Project Coordinator,, 610.270.3685

For more information about Hopeworx Inc., visit

For more information about the Montgomery County CSP Committee, visit



I Stand with the Parkland Students—Except on One Thing

Dear Parkland students,

You have my deepest sympathy for the heartbreaking losses you have suffered. You also have my sincere respect for your courage and your passionate activism, and my admiration for how much you have accomplished already in galvanizing the country. And you are just getting started! If anyone is “woke,” YOU are!

In solidarity, I traveled to Washington, D.C., last weekend to participate in the March for Our Lives, which you so brilliantly organized. Although there was a march in my home base of Philadelphia—as there were in more than 800 cities and towns around the world!—I wanted to be in D.C. among the huge crowd that gathered there, estimated at between 200,000 and 800,000, depending on who’s counting. (As we ended up stuck at 9th Street watching you speak on a jumbotron, it certainly seemed like 800,000!)

But I must be honest: I have a serious mental health condition, for which I have been locked up on a psych ward more than once and force-drugged. However, like the overwhelming majority of people who have one or more psychiatric diagnoses, I am not violent, and I am far more likely to be the victim of violence than the perpetrator.

So I was taken aback when I read your “Manifesto to Fix America’s Gun Laws” in The Guardian. At first, “you had me at hello.” In fact, as I began to read, I was actually thinking that your demands don’t go far enough! (Along with retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, I would like to repeal the Second Amendment—and that’s just for starters.)

But when I read, “Change privacy laws to allow mental healthcare providers to communicate with law enforcement,” I thought, These students have been sold a bill of goods about the bogus connection between mental health conditions and gun violence.

As I hope to convince you, any such “connection” is false. To quote from a federal government website, “Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population.”

Many journalists “get it.” Reflecting on your manifesto, Sarah Jaffe wrote in The New Republic, “The proposals [published in The Guardian] included more funding for mental health research and professionals—a laudable goal, but it came with the recommendation that privacy laws be amended to give police more access to mental health records. These demands, mental health professionals and longtime anti-violence activists noted, would do more to stigmatize people with mental illness and expand the reach of over-powerful police departments than to stop gun violence.”  Lincoln Anthony Blades, in Teen Vogue, wrote, “There is much that needs to be unpacked and debunked when it comes to this topic, especially as it relates to blaming violence squarely on mental health issues, which isn't fair, insightful, or accurate.” David M. Perry wrote in Pacific Standard, “I expect the baseless stigmatization of mental illness to continue (only 1 percent of all gun homicides in the U.S. from 1999 through 2015 were committed by people with known mental illness)." And in The Nation, after the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Perry wrote, “Our mental-health system needs a lot of help, though not to stop gun violence (only 3 to 5 percent of violent acts involve people with psychiatric disabilities, who otherwise make up about 18 percent of the population."  

This is not the first time I have written to people I respect who have fallen for the false link between mental health conditions and gun violence. In 2016, when President Obama held a press conference in which he perpetuated this myth, I wrote to him, much as I am writing to you now.

Dear Parkland students, I will join you on the barricades as you continue organizing and advocating for your—and everyone else’s—right to live over someone’s right to own (and shoot) a gun. In return, I hope you will educate yourselves about the myths and facts about people who have mental health conditions. We are not the problem; it’s the guns.

Yours in solidarity,

Susan Rogers


National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse


Emotional CPR Is Recommended for LA County DMH

By Daniel B. Fisher, MD, PhD and S. Michael Szczerbaty, M.A., MHSC

What is Emotional CPR (eCPR)? The approach is said to be holistic, hopeful, and empowering. It is a heart-to-heart experience between provider and consumer. It is embedded in a hopeful belief that by using interior experience, empathy, compassion and knowledge, anyone can help another person recover from an emotional crisis. Rather than labeling someone with another 'mental health problem,’ the approach assumes that the person is coping with an experience beyond their current ability to effectively manage their emotional crises. The sooner an eCPR practitioner begins to support a person in their emotional crisis, the more likely it is that the person will make a full and timely return to a life that has meaning and purpose.