North Platte, Neb.— A mental health consumer proves there is hope in mental health recovery. Paul Cumming, a mental health consumer himself, is traveling the state this week to talk to folks about a new online resource that helps people develop their own plans to avoidrelapse and focus on wellness and recover.
53 year old Paul Cumming knows firsthand what it's like to live with a mental illness.He has suffered from bipolar disorder for more than thirty years.
Paul Cumming, Trilogy Integrated Resources LCC of San Rafael, CA, says, “Right now I take two medications. At one point I was taking seven.”
At 15 he was diagnosed with the disorder. But he didn't seek treatment until he was 23.
“My anxiety level and my frustration and trying to work and losing jobs would have been reduced in learning that recovery is possible,” says Cumming.
Paul spent eighteen years searching for information to help in his recovery.
Cumming says, “I was going to the library picking out books. Even though I was seeking information my inquiry of good information took a long time.”
In 2001 Paul discovered Network of Care, an online resource that helps empower people to take charge of their lives.
“We have all kinds of built in modules and personal health records. We have so many features the sight is 300,000 pages deep. The library has 40,000 articles on 4,000 topics. For instance, everything that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration from aspirin to herbs to all of the psychiatric medication,” says Cumming.
The program has helped Paul in his recovery and for his family coping with his illness easier.
Cumming says, “I was surprised at this site it had everything I was trying to do from getting better from my one illness, to sharing information with my brothers to advocating to someone.”
Paul now travels the country speaking to groups about the program.
“We are now in twenty states, including Nebraska with over five hundred website,” says Cumming.
Jennifer Melvin, of Voices For Families/Family Care Partner, works with families whose children have special needs.
“I think this will be very beneficial for a lot of families," says Melvin. "It's got tons and tons of information. There are times when families ask for information that I don't know. So they can come into the office and we can sit down together and help navigate them through and hopefully help get them the information they need before they go to the doctor or where they need to be.”
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