Marja Bergen

author, mental health advocate, follower of Christ

Category: Heard and understood (page 1 of 3)

The best way to reduce mental health stigma

LISTEN TO THE VOICES OF THOSE WHO LIVE WITH IT Trying to reduce stigma by having educators teach us about mental illness, only serves to show people how we’re different. It’s only by hearing from people who live with it—only by hearing how they’re hurt by stigma and discrimination—that compassion can grow and understanding reached. […]

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Becoming victors again

MENTAL HEALTH AND PEER SUPPORT   [Some men] said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days […]

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Breaking ground – A true story

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS IN THE CHURCH In 1993 the Vancouver Sun published Sick, But No One Brought Me Flowers. This article marked the coming out of a woman who—starting at the beginning of the next century—was to introduce mental health awareness to the Christian Church. She was determined to reduce the stigma affecting people with […]

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Narrowing the gap that divides

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS IN THE CHURCH After many years of fighting to overcome the stigma of mental illness in the Church, starting with publication of a couple of articles for the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division in 2005 and 2006, I’m coming to see that “well” people will never truly understand what it is […]

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Psychiatric care denied

WRONG-DOING ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE ER In November 2021, my file was closed by a mental health department at a local hospital after I had been a patient there for eight years. Treatment for my bipolar 1 disorder (first thought to be schizophrenia) began at Riverview Hospital in 1965 where I was a patient for ten […]

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“Our human rights are non-existent” – Mental health activist

“MY FIRESTORM OF FRUSTRATION” Human rights for people with mental health issues are almost non-existent. This is shameful and beyond the basic understanding of what I had thought it meant to be considered human. I know what it feels like to be thus treated, and can truly say that I, and others like me, don’t […]

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Are we really so “crazy?”

PSYCHIATRISTS SHOULD LISTEN BEFORE DIAGNOSING I was regularly abused for a year by someone I had least expected. It left me with emotional damage wrongly diagnosed as borderline personality disorder (BPD), the most stigmatized of all mental illnesses. This diagnosis assumed that my reaction to the mistreatment was simply due to over-sensitivity. The psychiatrist did […]

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Misdiagnosis tears my life asunder

PSYCHIATRIST’S POWER ABUSED Unfortunately, I’ve been like an innocent child, trusting the person at the helm of my mental health care for years. I believe most of us who live with mental illness do lean on our psychiatrist, especially when we live with low self-esteem. After all, we think, the doctor knows best. I was […]

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Psychiatrists have too much power

PSYCHIATRIC DIAGNOSIS, INPUT NOT ALLOWED In 2015 I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). My psychiatrist told me I had only about three features, “not the whole thing.” And yet, my file—for all medical personnel to see—showed that my diagnosis was borderline, the whole thing. In their book Beyond Borderline: True Stories of Recovery […]

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Who will be there when you need to be heard?

MENTAL ILLNESS AND BEING HEARD I’ve been reading about William Wilberforce and how he worked to ban the Atlantic Slave Trade. It took years before the British Parliament would listen and abolish the trade. Wouldn’t we all like to have a voice like Wilberforce’s to speak for us when no one wants to listen? Some […]

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