Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bob Marley (Happy Birtday) Rainbow Country

I can't provide great articles to think about everyday due to my very busy schedule, but I can provide great music! Rainbow Country by Bob Marley is on the album, "Lively Up Yourself." I have this album in my own musical library and yesterday I downloaded it onto my computer and thought, "What beautiful words! I'd love for this to be a rainbow country!" I especially love the shots in this video of Marley dancing with little children-it makes me smile! (BTW, Bob Marley's birthday is not today, but February 6.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How a Radical Feminist Can Still Have an Eating Disorder

This is an older posting from my other blog, Hope is Real!

I am hesitant to write about this, but I feel I must, so here goes:

A couple of weeks ago, I was standing in the hall near my therapist’s office writing out her check and I see her out of the corner of my eye help her next client step onto a scale. All at once, I am consumed with envy! And then shame. How can I claim to be a radical feminist and yet want to be sick? And it’s true. The woman on the scale was crying and I was and am still insanely jealous.

My therapist last week also asked me why I wanted to be sick. That evening, right before my writing group, as I was convincing myself to eat a turkey and cheese sub at Savage Pizza, I wrote out my thoughts on the pad of paper that I carry with me wherever I go. This is what I wrote:

“I feel the need to accomplish something great and that is how I, a radical feminist, can fall victim to an eating disorder-somehow-and I do credit society with this-I have internalized the message that to be superskinny-to be thin to the point of death-is a great and wonderful accomplishment. And I fully blame society for this. When “The biggest loser is a big hit on TV, when Jessica Simpson is labeled fat, when Jessica Alba is lauded for working out so hard to get back to her pre-pregnant weight that she cries, when subsisting on a liquid diet that includes maple syrup and cayenne pepper is deemed a healthy and acceptable way to lose weight (Beyonce), then I have every right to be angry and to blame society for murdering the souls and bodies of people in this land. I grew up watching and idolizing TV and by, I believe, simply growing up in this country with the added bonus of having the mental illness called schizoaffective disorder wired into my brain, it is no wonder that I struggle with an eating disorder. In fact, I believe it is much more miraculous to be doing as well as I am!”

Perhaps I should have said, “media,” instead of society, but I’m not going to change a single word of what I wrote in that moment. Of course, there is more to it than the media. Eating disorders are strongly linked with obsessive compulsive disorder and with family relationships, but I sometimes wonder how my OCD would manifest itself if it wasn’t spent obsessing about food and weight and looks.

2008 was a rough year-I feel like a victim of a war between the gods struggling to cope with the aftermath. I relapsed in my eating disorder and had to be hospitalized; I moved in with a friend, only to realize that she too was unstable and so lived in my car for two weeks; I was sexually harassed by a psychiatrist and by several customers at the store where I worked; all leading me to the conclusion that I could not, at least for now, finish my education to fulfill my dream job of being a music therapist, but must instead leave the negativity that seems to reside in the lovely little town of Milledgeville and move back home.

But I can write and embroider and college and play piano and attend writing groups and get involved with NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness-America’s largest grassroots mental illness advocacy group). And be honest!-which is what radical feminism to me is all about! I no longer care about much about discussing fancy theories, but in telling my truth. My personal is very political! Georgia’s public mental health care sucks and that’s putting it nicely! The insurance from the college I just came from, Georgia College and State University, would not pay for my reviving had I tried to commit suicide! And I tell you, when I first read that statement in my insurance policy, I finally knew what it felt to feel inhuman-that according to law, a person with mental illness (for those who commit suicide do suffer from an illness) is better off dead. As I write this, I feel fury gather in my veins, and I tell you feminists-it is time you include the women and men who live with mental illness-that skinny woman crying on the scale may be your embarrassment, but she is still a woman!

(BTW, this post was also cross-posted on one of my favorite blogs in February, Womanist Musings!)

Monday, July 27, 2009

At Eddie's Attic: Barnstormers, Gypsee Yo, and Kodac Harrison-July 29!!!


Date: Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Time: 8:00pm - 11:00pm
Location: Eddie's Attic
Street: 515-B North McDonough Street
City/Town: Decatur, GA

Phone: 2563037144

Gypsee Yo + Barnstormers will be doing their DUST BLOOD LOVE collaboration. Gypsee Yo's poetry and storytelling explores the dichotomies of post-war Eastern Europe and life in Rural America with the music of Barnstormers.

Both eye-opening and tender, DUST BLOOD LOVE is a powerful collaboration.

Also featuring legendary musician & poet Kodac Harrison.

"Imagine a Southern Tom Waits or a rural Leonard Cohen. That's as close as we can come to a nut-shell description of the music of Kodac Harrison, a genuinely gifted artist and one of the southeast's musical treasures.
Creative Loafing, Savannah, Ga."

Doors @ 6:30
Ticket: $10 General Admission / $50 for reserved tables of four

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Womyn of the Week - Arlene Istar Lev and Her Thought-Provoking Article, "Feminism and Psychiatric Diagnosis"

Much is written about mental illness, but alas, rarely from a feminist perspective.

I found this article online and found it to be thought-provoking and well-written and wanted to share it. The article is written by Arlene Istar Lev, LCSW, CASAC, is a social worker, family therapist, educator, and writer whose work addresses the unique therapeutic needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. She is the founder of Choices Counseling Associates in Albany, New York, providing family therapy for LGBT people. She is also on the adjunct faculties of S.U.N.Y. Albany, School of Social Welfare, and Vermont College of the Union Institute and University. She is the author of The Complete Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guide (Penguin Press, 2004) and Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and their Families (Haworth Press, 2004). Additionally, she maintains a “Dear Ari” advice column, which is currently published in Proud Parenting and Transgender Tapestry. She is also the Founder and Project Manager for Rainbow Access Initiative, a training program on LGBT issues for therapists and medical professionals, and a Board Member for the Family Pride Coalition. Her “In a Family Way” column on LGBT parenting issues is nationally syndicated. She is an activist, a writer, a gardener and a mom. Lev is Sundance's partner, and Shaiyah's momma.

*This biography is mainly taken from

This article is in response to a previous one published in The Women's Building News and I regret that I could not find the issue that she is addressing.

As a feminist therapist, I found the last issue of The Women's Building News on mental illness as a feminist issue to be well-written and timely. I thought Janet Chassman's article was an excellent overview of many of the issues, and the coverage of both cultural diversity and legal issues to be important areas to examine. Despite the cover title, "The Last Closet", may I dare to suggest that there are still many many closets left to open in our feminists communities, and though issues of psychiatric disabilities is one of them, it is certainly not the "last."

Focusing on the treatment of women within the psychiatric system is an important issue, however, I must admit to being somewhat surprised by the lack of critique of the psychiatric system in general. The absence of any discussion regarding the use of language and labeling as a feminist mental health issue -- including such terms as "mental illness" and "psychiatric disorder" -- was glaring in its absence. The psychiatric profession is permeated by Eurocentric, patriarchal, racist, sexist, and homophobic thinking that has done enormous damage to the mental health of women, children and people of color.

The psychiatric profession has developed a manual to label mental illnesses. This document, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, called the DSM, is in its fourth revision, and is extremely controversial in a number of ways. In my role as a Social Work educator, I teach Master's level students how to utilize the DSM; as a feminist and holistic practitioner I also teach them to be very wary of labeling. The DSM is the primary tool used by the managed care system to determine insurance reimbursement, and eligibility for disability determinations; it is often utilized in legal settings and educational institutions. To paraphrase Audre Lorde's eloquent statement, "Can we tear down the master's house using the master's tools?"

Diagnosis is a political tool. It has been used to medicate angry and powerless women and to take away our children. It has been used to hospitalize political activists and other radicals. In the not very distant past women were routinely diagnosed with Hysteria, and treated with clitorectomies! In the latter part of the 1800's African slaves were diagnosed with drapetomania, which was believed to be a blood disorder, and according to the diagnostic texts, was "cured by whipping"!!! Benjamin Rush, the "father of modern psychiatry" believed that the reasons Africans had dark skin was because they had a form of leprosy which he called Negritude, and to the embarrassment of his biographers, worked diligently his whole life towards a "cure." Other medical textbooks list the size of men's heads to prove that people of African descent had smaller brains, and that people with larger noses (Semitic people) had certain communicable diseases. Homosexuality was considered a psychopathology until approximately 20 years ago, which meant that ALL gays, lesbians, and bisexuals were diagnosed with this "psychiatric illness."

If the above examples sound absurd, or irrelevant, remember that the removal of these diagnoses is only within the last 100-150 years, and as I will outline below, many current diagnoses are equally offensive. The popularity, utilization, and frequency of particular diagnoses changes with the seasons. Whether "illnesses" are viewed as biological, psychological, behavioral, or moral shifts back and forth throughout history. Behaviors that are considered "normal" in one country are considered "psychopathologies" in another. Diagnoses that are considered rare in one part of the country, are considered "rampant" in others.

For example, in the late 1880's upper class white women in England and the U.S. were diagnosed with Conversion Disorder whereas they would suddenly lose the ability to see or walk, without any known physical reason. Women also displayed symptoms of Hysteria -- manifested by fainting, yelling, and depressive "fits." It is interesting to note these illnesses, and behavior manifestations, are today extremely rare, and was considered rare then among poor women, women of color and women from other countries. Today women are commonly diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Multiple Personality Disorder (now Dissassociative Disorder).

It is clear to most therapists today, -- due to the powerful lobbying of feminist therapists over the last two decades --, that most of the above disorders are the results of trauma, most commonly physical and sexual abuse. Can the same illness manifest in different ways at different times? Do women who are traumatized by abuse, exhibit different symptomologies across class and racial lines? Can it be that human beings manifest certain symptoms in ways that are politically and socially acceptable within certain historical times? Certainly it cannot be true that only wealthy white women in Victorian England were being traumatized, but the symptom and behaviors of other women were not perceived as important, or perhaps poor women and women of color were not "treated" for medical problems, but punished by the penal system.

The DSM does not identify mental illnesses by their etiology (i.e. their causes) but rather by their effects. This means that if three women are sexually abused one might be labeled with depression ,one might be labeled with anxiety, and one might be labeled with bulimia, -- if those are the principal manifesting symptoms. The unhealthy ways a woman copes with the trauma becomes the avenue for diagnosis, instead of labeling the way she was victimized, or recognizing the healthy ways she has adapted in order to survive.

Changes in the DSM are not immune from political pressure. Some changes are beneficial, others more problematic. For instance some positive changes in the past 50 years include the shift from viewing Alcoholism as a moral problem to a medical one, the removal of Homosexuality from the DSM, and the utilization of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in treating victims and survivors of incest, domestic violence, and sexual assault.

Current trends that are more questionable include the labeling of children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Gender Identity Disorder. The numbers of children labeled with ADD continues to rise yearly, -- young males, and particularly young African-American males are most often labeled. Are more children having attention problems now than they were 20 years ago, or has something else changed about our society, our school system, or perhaps how we view the normal energy of young males? Is it possible that something about the energy of young Black boys is so frightening to our society that we need to medicate it?

In the last issue it was stated that "1 in 5 children/adolescents may have a diagnosable mental disorder." Statistics like these frighten me, and I am left wondering who was the researcher who studied this social malady. Could it perhaps be the pharmaceutical companies, or perhaps, the administrators of psychiatric hospitals? As managed care has become more and more resistant to paying for services for adults, the concerns for young children have suddenly risen. Many managed care programs are willing to pay large sums of money to support the "care" of disturbed young people, and many psychiatric hospitals have suddenly re-focused their entire treatment programs on the care of young people. We cannot ignore the role that profit plays in the diagnosing and treatment of vulnerable populations.

One of the common "new" diagnoses that young people are given is Gender Identity Disorder. This diagnosis is for children whose behavior and manner deviate from the accepted socially sanctioned appropriate gender behavior of boys and girls. Since Homosexuality was removed from the DSM in 1973, this has become the new diagnosis for young gays and lesbians. It has been used to treat gender transgressive young people who are gay, transgendered and/or just plain rebellious with shock therapy, medications, and hospitalizations in some cases lasting for 5 and 6 years. Can you tell me that this is not feminist backlash? The psychiatric profession is an institutionalized arm of a sexist, heterosexist, and transphobic patriarchal system. Diagnosis, I repeat, is political.

In the last issue of Women's Building News, the word Depression was frequently used as a psychiatric label. I am aware that this is technically correct (i.e. Depression is listed in the DSM) and I am also aware that severe or chronic Depressions can be debilitating and disabling. However, most people do experience some depressive episodes in their lifetimes, and I would argue that, like colds and intestinal flues, they are a part of the ebb and flow of health and illness within a "normal" human lifecycle. Depressions require familial and perhaps therapeutic support -- and maybe even pharmacological support --, but calling it a psychiatric illness??? "Depressions" can also be times of transformational change in people's lives -- spiritually referred to as "dark nights of the soul", -- times of reflection and self-examination.

I want to be clear that I am not in anyway denying the pain that human beings experience or the horrible realities of addictions, depressions, behavioral disorders in children, or dissociation in trauma survivors. I have dedicated my life to working with people who are struggling with these realities. I am saying that it is not entirely clear to me what words like "mental illness", "mental health", "psychiatric disorder" -- or even words like "treatment" -- mean. I am saying that diagnoses have been used historically to hurt and repress women and children, homosexuals and bisexuals, people of color, people who are genderly "different", and that I am very very leery to use the language of that system without clearly asking what it means and to whom.

Feminism has taken the psychiatric profession to task in the last few decades questioning the overuse of psycho-pharmacological intervention, and questioning diagnoses like Co-dependency, Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, Battered Women's Syndrome, and Borderline Personality Disorder. I was surprised that in a feminist publication there was so little questioning of the institutional sexism of the psychiatric system, and only a focus on how the system can better serve women who are already victimized by it.

I believe that as feminists who care about the mental health of women, children, and those we love, we must look at the patriarchal system of labeling illness with some skepticism. We must, of course, dismantle the stigma attached to "mentally ill" people, and work toward humane treatment and adequate resources. However, we must also examine the mental health system as a tool of the patriarchy, and cease labeling human differences as psychopathologies. We must stop hiding behind psychiatric diagnoses and examine the realities of trauma, oppression and abuse on the lives of women and children.

*Everything in bold is my own emphasis.

Note: While I was looking up the pages for the links for this post, I found some really interesting stuff!

On Benjamin Rush: While studying psychiatry, Rush devised two curious instruments, the gyrator, based on the principle of centrifugal action to increase cerebral circulation, and the tranquilizer, "to obviate these evils of the 'strait waistcoat' and at the same time to obtain all the benefit of coercion". These instruments provided a form of shock therapy, which was interpreted as effecting cures according to his theory involving nervous states.

Just reading the technical language for the diagnosis and treatment of Gender Identity Disorder made me want to hurl.

What Lev didn't mention was that one of the "cures" for Conversion Disorder, also known as "hysteria," was the use of a vibrator. These are ads from a 1918 Sears catalog. If only they were still sold at the store I frequent!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What You Need to Know about GLBTQI Mental Health

This is a previous post from my other blog, Hope is Real! *******

Many queer folk have some kind of serious mental illness and need help. Unfortunately, many times these people do not get the help they need, because they are afraid to ask for it or because they do not know if anyone will listen to them without judging. I know this from personal experience.

I am a bisexual, who is more interested in women. In fact, it is only recently that I have decided to embrace my bisexuality and not claim to be a lesbian.

Proposition 8 really messed me up.

I already had issues with feeling less than human, what with my school insurance hardly being willing to pay for my needs, so when the people of California decided that two people who love each other and who also simply happen to be of the same sex should be denied the right to marry, my humanity suffered. Fortunately, by this time in my recovery, I had learned enough coping skills, so that I did not relapse into my illness, but in 2005 that was not the case.

In February 2005, my best friend informed me that she was engaged. I felt incredibly good for her, but also incredibly jealous and sad for me. I was the one who had always dreamed of getting married in a church with the white dress and I had to face the fact that that might never happen.

I was told on a Monday and by Friday I was in the hospital being treated for an eating disorder for the first time. I can barely remember what happened in that space in between Monday and Friday-I stopped eating completely and pretty much stopped drinking water too. I had no memory-I was a zombie.

Fortunately, I was also attending SkyLand Trail-a wonderful recovery center in Atlanta-at the time and when I told them that I had called a suicide hotline the night before, it was decided that I needed to go to the hospital and I agreed.

NAMI has come out with a 12-page booklet called, A Mental Health Recovery and Community Integration Guide for GLBTQI Individuals: What You Need to Know
(Click the picture to read the booklet for free!)

This NAMI page has links to all kinds of GLBTQI mental health resources and mental health fact sheets, including a reference guide to the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists- many resources offered including a directory of therapists who are gay and lesbian affirmative.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Go With the Flow" - Celebrate Your Fertility

This piece of art is by Kat Grandy and is titled "Go With theFlow." This is what she says about the painting, "[...] I was painting this woman wild and free and since I love the color red these days I thought that maybe it would be good to show that red is a good thing - it pumps throughout our body and makes us a warm-blooded animal and so the blood that leaves our body does not have to be considered a bad thing either. It is real, bright, rich and a necessary part of our womaness. Hence - Go With the Flow."
I also believe that the color red "is a good thing." It's my favorite color and I often also use it to symbolize blood in my artwork. When I am feeling angry, sad, frustrated, or just introspective, I many times find myself exploring my feelings throught the use of the color red, though I tend to use either a red color pastel or thick paint.
When I looked at this red womyn, I noticed that her arms are spread as if she is on an invisible cross and I cannot help but think about how many times womyn are tortured for the ability to produce life.
I started my period today and I am glad! I have been really stressed out lately and was a little worried that it was late and that I may need to be concerned about my health. I saw my nutritionist yesterday, who is wonderful and who helped me feel like life is more manageable again. For most womyn who are not postmenopausal or pregnant, having their period means that they are healthy-that they are "wild and free" like the womyn in red who is going with the flow.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Healthy Anger

This is a older post from my recovery-centered blog, Hope IS Real! I am posting it here because I believe that white womyn, as a consequence of being placed upon a pedestal, are expected to suppress their anger, while womyn of color are considered less than human whenever they show their own rightful anger, while womyn with disabilities are presumed to not even be able to feel anger at all. And so...

Let me get this straight-there is nothing wrong with being angry!

I am an angry woman and I have been angry a very, very, very long time. My anger is not the problem. The only problem that comes from being angry is when someone does not know how to handle the anger or even worse, when they think that having anger makes them a bad person. What angers me the most is when I see parents tell their small children not to be angry. I remember one time when I was working at JCPenney's and as I watched a young couple leave with their young, moody child, I started to boil with rage, for I heard them tell him, "Don't be angry! You won't get pizza if you're angry!" I wanted to go over, pull the parents aside, and inform them being angry is healthy, but that telling their son how to feel is not and that they will damage their son's emotional growth if they try to control their son's feelings. But I didn't. The boy perked up and they left smiling, but I was left wondering what will happen to their relationship a few years down the road.

I was reminded of this when one of the facilitators at NAMI told a new person to not be angry. I responded by telling the new person that there is nothing wrong with being angry, but that she needs to find healthy ways of expressing her anger. You see, anger is not the problem-knowing what to do with it is.

I was an angry child-I see that now, but it took me a long time to realize that and I am only now learning how to positively handle my anger. Growing up there were constant yelling matches between my parents and my brother, who is three years older than I am. When I was in sixth grade, my brother was sent to a military academy and I am not mad about that. It made life easier and it did seem to help my brother-he and my parents get along much better now and he's got a great job as an officer in the Navy. But it did leave me angry at the time with no clue as to how to deal with it, so I starved my emotions. Anger, like fat, was designated "bad" in my mind, so I concentrated on how little I could eat, instead of dealing with my emotions. In fact, for a long time, I didn't even think I was capable of anger-just sadness. And that makes me sad.

So let me say it again-anger is not "bad," but not knowing how to deal with it is. Fortunately, that can change! One can learn how to constructively deal with anger. Express it! Talk about it! Don't let it remain stagnate!

Writing about my anger works well for me. Creating art that expresses how I feel works well too. Sometimes I need to do something mindless, like bearing down hard with a red crayon on a piece of paper, over and over and over again. Playing and singing to loud music does wonders. So does humor, so I will leave you with this quote from Stephen Colbert, "I retain all my vitamins, because I am always steamed!"

Remember, it is far better to be angry than apathetic.

What works for you?

Free Health Fair for Atlantan LGBT Folk on July 25

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Feminist Fluff

I LOVE Dinosaur Comics! I must admit, though, that I thought the punchline at the end was going to be "feminists" instead of "romantic relationships." Thought I should share. (And feminists do not have a sense of humor, my ass!) Discuss!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

For Afghani womyn, true liberation will not come by war!

Trigger Warning-Graphic images of abused womyn

Womyn are not free in Afghanistan! It is a myth! War destroys lives-it does not create peace! True peace and liberation for the Afghani womyn MUST come from within and from themselves!

Friday, July 3, 2009

I Am Not for Sale!

This is a piece of advice that I posted on my other blog, Hope is Real!:

I have worked in retail off and on for a long time, which unfortunately-as anyone who has worked in retail knows-means that I have been abused for a long time. Sears is no exception, but fortunately I have coworkers that make me feel comfortable and that told me that they would throw out any customers that tried any sexual harassment. I am very grateful for the support.

Now, I understand that sometimes when you do not get what you expected or are disappointed by the service you received that it is easy to get upset. But when I had a lady yell at me when I didn't even sell her the refrigerator that did not have the butter dish lid that she wanted, I decided that I need to write some rules of conduct when dealing with someone in sales. This advice also applies to dealing with anyone in the service industry, from fast food service to janitors to loaders.

1. When you are really angry about your service, step back for a minute, and think hard about what just happened. Is this valid anger? Is what happened really that bad? Will your life REALLY crumble just because the delivery man did not deliver the butter dish lid?

2. When you are yelling at the person on the other end of the phone and you are tempted to exclaim, "You're not listening to me!" Consider that perhaps you are not being clear enough for the other person to understand you.

3. Don't ever call a worker, "sweetie," "honey," "cutie," or anything similar to a worker-even if you are an elderly man from a quaint little southern town. It's fine to call someone those names when you know them, but if they are working, stick to "ma'am" or "sir" - it's what we call you!

4. Similarly, don't pat anybody on the head. It is offensive and demeaning to anyone who receives it. We are not little children who are grateful you gave us candy-we are adults who are doing our job.

5. Do not ask personal questions. It does not concern you whether I have a significant other or how old I am or where I live. I will not ask these things about you, as they are none of our business. I am trying to sell you a refrigerator, not my body.

6. Do not try to set up a worker with your best friend, son, daughter, or really, anybody else. I'll say it again: we are trying to sell you products, not our bodies.

7. Do not quiz us on our product knowledge if you already know the answer just to see if we know as much information as you. And don't laugh after doing this-it is extremely condescending and to people like me who have trouble with anxiety, extremely anxiety provoking.

8. Think before tarnishing a company's reputation over the mistakes of one individual. For instance, if a salesperson tells you that they would order you a butter dish lid and it would delivered to the house, but it is not-go back to #1! Think before you accuse someone of lying or of accusing the company of, "not being what it used to be." Even during those grand ole times that you remember when everything was lovely and worked right, workers sometimes got confused or tired or forgetful. Just like then, if someone made a mistake and then apologizes for it and then offers to do what's right, then things are still working right. Do not immediately jump to conclusions just because the person you are dealing with looks or talks differently from you.

Remember this: we are selling you a service and/or a product, not our bodies, souls, minds, love, or even friendship. We are business partners-you are not above me, nor are we above you. Treat us with respect and let us both keep our dignity and self-respect in tact.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Womyn of the Week - Bebe Moore Campbell 1950-2006

I know I said that this week would be about Dorothea Dix, but considering that the U.S. House of Representatives established July as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month just last year, because of Bebe Moore Campbell, I decided I must write about her instead. The idea behind having a national month is "to increase public awareness of mental illness among diverse communities."

Campbell was the author of three New York Times bestsellers, Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir, and What You Owe Me, which was also a Los Angeles Times "Best Book of 2001". Her other works include the novel Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the winner of the NAACP Image Award for Literature; her memoir, Sweet Summer, Growing Up With and Without My Dad; and her first nonfiction book, Successful Women, Angry Men: Backlash in the Two-Career Marriage. Her essays, articles, and excerpts appear in many anthologies.

Campbell's interest in mental health was the catalyst for her first children's book, Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, which was published in September 2003. This book won the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) Outstanding Literature Award for 2003. The book tells the story of how a little girl copes with being reared by her mother, who has bipolar disorder. Ms. Campbell was a member of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and a founding member of NAMI-Inglewood. Her book, 72 Hour Hold, is a novel that focuses on an adult daughter and a family's experience with the onset of mental illness. It helped educate Americans that the struggle often is not just with the illness, but with the health care system as well.
Her first play, "Even with the Madness", debuted in New York in June 2003. This work revisited the theme of mental illness and the family. Campbell's last book was another children's book, called I Get So Hungry, about childhood obesity.

As a journalist, Campbell wrote articles for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Essence, Ebony, Black Enterprise, as well as other publications. She was a regular commentator for Morning Edition, a program on National Public Radio.
She died in 2006 due to brain cancer.

Raising Awareness
During July, individuals and families can raise awareness of mental illness, treatment and research in diverse communities during this month by hosting special events and partnering with local businesses and organizations.
2009 National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Events:

NAMI National will host a variety of sessions and events covering multicultural issues including a Town Hall meeting in honor of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month during the NAMI 2009 Convention, July 6-9, in San Francisco.
NAMI Urban Los Angeles is planning a wealth of activities including a Veterans of Color Health and Wellness Fair, a ”Color of Justice” symposium and a quilting bee in honor of Bebe Moore Campbell, a founding member of the affiliate. Visit the NAMI Urban Los Angeles Web site for more information.
NAMI Tennessee will be hosting a Native American Mental Health Summit in late July as part of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
The National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED) will host a Webinar on July 14 in partnership with the NAMI Multicultural Action Center. The Webinar will celebrate National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month by featuring presentations on how individuals across the country are working to raise mental health awareness among diverse communities. Click here to access the NNED Web site for further details and to register.