Portland, May 17th, 2015. Flawless Foundation board member Sheila Hamilton hosted a private event in her home to benefit the work of the foundation. She’s pictured with Ron Cain, Jeff Kohnstamm and Sally Kohnstamm. The evening offered a chance for guests to become acquainted with the Foundation’s mission, which is to revolutionize the way people perceive, prevent, and treat brain-based behavioral challenges. (photo credit, J.Francis Rhodes)
Flawless Board Member Ross Szabo, author and CEO of the Human Power Project, spoke about mental health in high school and college students, and there was a lively question and answer session with Sheila Hamilton and Flawless founder Janine Francolini.
The event was held in honor of a symposium sponsored by the Flawless Foundation the next day, Monday, May 18, at Swindells Resource Center at Providence Portland entitled: New Approaches to Mental Health.
Funds raised will support the foundation’s therapeutic yoga classes at the Pioneer Special School in SE Portland, and video production for the #FlawlessTalks mental health awareness and education media campaign.
Sheila Hamilton and her husband Colin MacClean hosted the event. Brain-based behavioral challenges are a cause Sheila is passionate about. She has written a book which explores her personal story about a loved one struggling with mental illness. “All the Things We Never Knew” will be released in the fall, but can be pre-ordered on Amazon. Here’s a bit about the Book.
Even as a reporter, Sheila Hamilton missed the signs as her husband David’s mental illness unfolded before her. By the time she had pieced together the puzzle, it was too late.
Her once brilliant, intense, and hilarious partner was dead within six weeks of a formal diagnosis of bipolar disorder, leaving his nine-year-old daughter and wife without so much as a note to explain his actions, a plan to help them recover from their profound grief, or a solution for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt that they would inherit from him.
“All the Things We Never Knew” takes readers from David and Sheila’s romance through the last three months of their life together and into the year after his death. It details their unsettling descent from ordinary life into the world of mental illness, and examines the fragile line between reality and madness.
Now, a decade after David’s death, Sheila and her daughter, Sophie, have learned the power of choosing life over retreat; let themselves love and trust again; and understand the importance of forgiveness. Their story will resonate with all those who have loved someone and lost them to mental illness.
Sheila writes about her experience: “Mental illness, unlike breast cancer, isn’t celebrated with big marches or pink ribbons. The stigma is stifling and it prevents most people from seeking help. David refused to accept the label of bipolar disorder. He could not imagine a life of medications and therapy, which did so little to help. David’s path is not unique. Suicide is now the ninth most common cause of death for men and women in America. Every thirteen minutes, another American dies from suicide. What could we have done differently? What should we have known? It is my belief that many people could benefit from hearing more about how psychiatric conditions unfold. In the years, months and days leading up to David’s death, I didn’t classify him as mentally ill. I missed many signs. I ignored others, believing it could get better. And I scrambled, as the world came crashing down around us, I scrambled to maintain my own sanity and the health of our daughter.”
Powell’s Books on Burnside will be the host of the book launch on October 20th.