The University of Illinois at Chicago has a National Research and Training Center on Psychiatric Disability with some free tools you can find here. These include online workbooks, such as, "Express Yourself: Assessing Self-Determination in Your Life", This is Your Life: Creating a Self-Directed Life Plan, Raising Difficult Issues with Your Service Provider, and more.
I learned about this in an email from the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse. In this email, they also mentioned that an organization called People, Inc. which is in its 12th year of running a peer-support respite center developed a manual on how to create such a program. I first heard about these types of programs at a consumer conference two years ago, here in Florida, when a speaker from Georgia talked about one that they had there. We don't have any in Florida that I know of. Only a few states have them. Basically what these are, are places that are run by consumers, for consumers, to off-set hospital stays, so that people can avoid going to the ER when they are in a crisis by learning to use their own coping skills and resources with assistance from peers. I think this is an amazing idea! I wish I had the ability to start one myself. Basically you need a number of people and some funds to start one of these, and the ability to keep it running, which is obviously no small task. So I don't expect that most people who read this will be able to do that, but just so you have the information, check out this: Hospital Diversion Services: A Manual in Assisting in the Development of a Respite/Diversion Service in Your Area. If you want to see if one of these cool places already exists in your state, then check out this directory of peer-supported respite services.
In further news that was linked in this email I received, low Vitamin D levels (which I happen to have myself) are linked to depression, amongst other problems. I found this interesting especially because I recently found out from blood work done by my rheumatologist that my Vitamin D levels were so low, it requires me to take a supplement by prescription which is 50,000 mgs of Vitamin D per week. That is a lot of Vitamin D in comparison to the kind you buy over the counter, which is like 1,000 mgs per day. I have noticed that this has helped with the joint pains I have recently been experiencing, and that my hands don't hurt nearly as much now as they did before I started this Vitamin D. I am not sure that it has affected my mood at all, but then, I would say I am only mildly depressed in the first place right now, not severely depressed or anything of that nature.
In the future, if you want to get these informative little emails yourself, go to sign up for them at the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse website and click the button to sign up for the Key Update Newsletter.
From elsewhere on the web, I found out about John Cadigan's documentary on living with Schizophrenia, called People Say I'm Crazy, which you can read about or purchase online. It is billed as "the only documentary about Schizophrenia by someone with Schizophrenia". You can also go to this website to share your story of life with Schizophrenia.
I found out about that from the Eli Lilly Center for Reintegration.