Why I Wear the Lime Green Ribbon
By Laura C. Domasneanu-Miulescu
We have swept under the carpet for too long the existence of mental illness, but I believe educating people about mental illness is crucial to our society. I arrived in the U.S. from a society in Eastern Europe where most people do not believe in the existence of mental illness. I have firsthand experience with mental illness in more than a professional capacity.
My father has lived with a mental illness since his late teen years and he has successfully become the CEO of his company, and consequently the inspector of the county I was raised in. In a world plagued by stereotypes and inaccuracies about mental disorders, it took understanding of mental illness and support from family and friends for my father to overcome his diagnosis. He did not allow his mental illness to define him. It takes work but I am proud of the work and progress he has made over the last five decades.
I recently moved to Marin County from Detroit and I am so proud to say that we have ample resources and programs here versus the mid-west. There is a real understanding and desire to help people here in Marin. We have recently added the new Mobile Crisis team, the Triage team and the Outreach and Engagement team. We are out there on the front lines trying to help people who may be suffering from a range of mental disorders from mild to severe; which may be homeless or people in jeopardy of losing their housing.
We are working with a wide gamut of agencies and organizations, law enforcement and the county jail system to curtail the cycling of people with mental disorders through the system. We work to minimize the stigma, to change the fear and lack of desire to receive help from a mental health professional. We want to teach people that each mind matters, each mind is unique, and that there is hope for this society if we work together to eliminate the stigma by educating others about mental illness, while helping the people who suffer from it.
I know that we still have a lot of work ahead of us, but I am hopeful, especially after I have seen what Marin County is doing and how dedicated our teams are to create positive change and restore faith to our vocation as mental health professionals. Together we can make a difference, break myths, and support those in need!
One of my favorite quotes is Demi Lovato’s declaration about her own mental illness and struggle. “It’s my mission to share this with the world and to let them know that there is life on the other side of those dark times that seem so hopeless and helpless. I want to show the world that there is life — surprising, wonderful and unexpected life after diagnosis”. This makes me hopeful, and in many ways I hope it helps people realize that mental illness can happen to anybody regardless of social class, education, status or other demographics.
Laura is a mental health professional with experience in working with active duty personnel, veterans and their families, the LGBTQ population and many more diverse groups. She is trained in various government programs, and able to recommend alternative solutions to complex problems. Moving from Detroit, Mich. to Marin County has given her the opportunity to experience a wide range of mental health services and strategies, and looks forward to growing more in the mental health field.