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“We Are All Connected: Reflection on Robin Williams’ Suicide”

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This September 30, 2014 post by Pat Deegan put into words so much of what I wasn’t finding words for with regards to the death of Robin Williams.  Pat’s post offers hope, compassion and understanding, without focusing on so much of what we initially saw in the media in the aftermath of Robin’s death.  For those who don’t know, Pat Deegan is a Psychologist, and is also a Consumer in that she has a diagnosis of Schizophrenia.  Due to her somewhat unique position, she is able to speak to both professionals and other people with mental illnesses, and has created the Common Ground software to help people with mental illnesses communicate easier with their psychiatrists.  The post is well worth reading, and like I said it isn’t your typical Robin Williams article.

“Simulation helps Mercyhurst students understand mental illness”

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This August 30, 2014 article on GoErie.com is about a group of Mercyhurst Students that went through Pat Deegan’s training called “Hearing Voices”.  The article includes quotes of the students’ views about the simulation.

“Showing Up for Recovery ” (Video)

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This video was uploaded to YouTube by Dr. Pat Deegan on February 9, 2012 and offers a message of hope for recovery while reminding us that medication isn’t a cure for mental illness but rather a tool to aid us in our recovery journey.

Español: Logo Vectorial de YouTube

Español: Logo Vectorial de YouTube (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Anderson Cooper Goes Through A Harrowing Mental Illness Experiment”

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This June 10, 2014 article on the Huffington Post: Media website talks about a segment of Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN that aired on June 9, 2014, where Anderson went through an experiment to see what it can be like for someone who hears voices.  Dr. Pat Deegan designed the experiment to allow others to have a taste of what it is like for those who like Pat are diagnosed with Schizophrenia and need to deal with hearing voices day in and day out.

Anderson Cooper, primary anchor of the show AC...

Anderson Cooper, primary anchor of the show AC360 on CNN, poses with a fan during the Obama Inaugural in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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“Patricia Deegan’s amazing story”

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This YouTube video was uploaded on August 8, 2013, but I’m not clear about who uploaded it.  The description which appears to be Hebrew translates to “A fascinating lecture from a woman patient with schizophrenia who is also Dr. psychology.” when I run it through Google Translate.  The video itself is in English though, and is of Pat Deegan discussing her story of being diagnosed with Schizophrenia in contrast to what the mental health system often offers people with mental illnesses and includes suggestions she has for how to change or improve the system.

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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“Pa. managed care entity lauded for using collaborative care tool”

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This November 7, 2013 article on the Mental Health Weekly website talks about Community Care Behavioral Health (CCBH) and how they have helped to increase recovery oriented treatment with Common Ground software at 12 locations.  Common Ground was designed by Dr. Pat Deegan and her team.  The software encourages two-way communication between patients and the psychiatrist about things like medication use/concerns, how the person is doing overall, if they have any concerns or questions about their medications or treatment in general.

The agency I receive my mental health treatment from is one of the 12 locations using Common Ground, and to be honest, I love the software.  I am able to have remote access to the common ground library, and can update things like medications, personal medicine and my power statement from home.  I am not able to do a health report from home, but that is done before I go in to see my Psychiatrist and they schedule my appointment to make sure I have time to do the report and see my doctor in a reasonable amount of time.  In general my appointment takes about an hour and includes my use of Common Ground, seeing the Nurse, and seeing my Psychiatrist.  One thing that I find helpful about Common Ground is that with me having ADHD, I often forget or lose things, so before Common Ground, I would write a list of things I wanted to discuss with my Psychiatrist, and 9 chances out of 10 I would end up losing the list before I got in to see him, so I would then forget to ask about things I felt were important.  With Common Ground, I still risk losing my list, but the approach Common Ground uses by asking questions about various things that are important for me to discuss with my doctor, it seems to help get my mindset in a mode where I not only remember more of what I wanted to ask or mention, and I feel like my appointment is more productive than it use to be before Common Ground.

On behalf of the folks who have benefited from Common Ground so far, I would like to say thank you to Pat Deegan and her team for the work they have done to help me and many others like  me feel like we really truly have a voice when it comes to our mental health treatment.

I once saw a video where Pat Deegan was talking about why she created Common Ground.  At one point in the video, she said she started her work on improving the mental health system to “save myself”.  I would like to once again, thank Pat Deegan for taking a risk and trying to save others while she saves herself.  The work she has done has made a huge impact on my life and the quality of my mental health care, but I’m sure that I’m not the only one that has benefited from her efforts since many others also use Common Ground.

Common Ground is in the top 5 finalists for the Scattergood Award!

The following is information posted by Dr. Pat Deegan about the status of the nomination of her Common Ground software for the Scattergood Award.  She is asking for people to cast a vote of support for Common Ground to get this award.  Here’s Dr. Pat Deegan’s words as she said them on facebook today.

We did it! We are one of the top five finalists in the Scattergood Foundation’s Innovation Awards. We couldn’t have done it without you! Your comments were fantastic.

Now we need your help again. The top winner – and financial prize is awarded based on the number of votes received. We believe we are an innovative and progressive team and we want you to vote for us. Just click on the link below, peruse the information about Common Ground, and then VOTE for us. Feel free to pass this information on to your friends and family, too. This is exciting. Thanks for your support.


There is a link on the nomination page that offers the opportunity to view a 3 minute video about Common Ground for those not familiar with it.
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