To Write Love On Her Arms

  • Written by David B. Clark
Mental Health Awareness Month was May. Mental Health Awareness does not end in May. People living with mental illness often are unable to reach out for help or support and it’s essential that communities offer the resources and institutions to provide adequate care for people in need. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a branch called NAMI Eastside that caters to the sharing of similar experiences that can help break down the feelings of fear, aloneness, and complete isolation. “50% of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment,” states NAMI. NAMI Eastside Peer Support Groups meet in Woodinville, Bothell, Issaquah, and Redmond on a weekly basis. These groups are led by trained volunteers who have lived the experience or have someone close to them that has.
Northshore Youth and Family Services (19201 120th Ave NE, Suite 108 Bothell, WA 98011) are another excellent resource. This non-profit organization is determined to provide “professional, affordable, and culturally appropriate counseling services for individuals, couples, families and at-risk youth.” Just last year the agency moved to their new location across from Seattle Times campus in Bothell.
Julianna Buckmiller is a Child and Adolescent Therapist at Bothell’s Developing Minds (19515 North Creek Parkway, Suite 208, Bothell, WA 98011) which is a child and mental health clinic in Bothell. She was kind enough to share some of her passion. “These youth are our community’s future and we need to value them and take care of them, fulfilling their development from all angles,” said Buckmiller. When asked on the connectivity concerning mental health institutions on the Eastside, Buckmiller shared that “relationships between agencies and resources are crucial.” She explained that in this kind of work the needs of the individual or family can be vast and individualized from housing, employment, and even crisis-intervention. When asked about how some people on the Eastside didn’t find mental health issues as prevalent in their communities as others, Buckmiller responded, “We (Developing Minds) have a pretty consistent waitlist—I think that really speaks to the demands of this community.” Buckmiller thinks that mental health has a sort of stigma and once that is broken then it will be easier for people to push through the barriers and talk about treatment and therapy. She concluded, “Therapy is just as much about relationship building than it is anything else; just building a healthy, trusting therapeutic relationship with someone can be extremely successful or helpful on its own.”
Stretching beyond the Eastside or the Northshore School District is the nonprofit, To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA). This organization which was first started through a single story about a young woman’s struggle with substance abuse in central Florida as spread across the nation and even over to other continents. With a keen knack for identifying with teens and young people through music, TWLOHA has made it imperative to host informative booths at music festivals in Washington like Sasquatch!, Vans Warped Tour, and other big name, traveling events. “We’ve been able to grow up with our audience. The people that first learned about us on Myspace or Warped Tour 12 years ago are going to Sasquatch! or Warped Tour now… these mental health issues don’t play favorites with music genres. We just want to be where people feel alive and music festivals have been that,” said Chad Moses, Music and Events coordinator for TWLOHA who first started working for the organization 10 years ago. Then, self-harm was what demanded their attention when now it’s moved into the opioid epidemic. “There’s always going to be something that demands out attention and it’s rarely going to be one thing,” said Moses. He continued, “We don’t want to hand down this formula of how to treat this but how do we dignify the stories of the people who are actually living it. How we equip them to live lives of getting better.” Moses believes that “personal dignity and inter-personal connection” are central. The organization’s motto “Hope is real. Help is real. Your story is important” looks to flip the light switch in someone’s inner-turmoil to prove to them and the world that they are very much home, awake, aware, and alive.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness Eastside,
Northshore Youth and Family Services for Mental Health, northshoreyouth
Developing Minds, Please note Developing Minds also has another location on the Eastside in Bellevue.
To Write Love On Her Arms and their ties to Washington state,

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter