Then, on Thursday, May 17, 2012, they will be honoured at the Courage To Come Back Awards gala in front of their friends, families and more than 1,000 special guests.
Sandra's struggles with schizophrenia began in her teens and resulted in numerous hospitalizations over the years. However, she managed to complete a fine arts program at Langara College and then an art history degree at the University of British Columbia. She married in 1994 and began sharing her experience with others by public speaking and in radio and TV interviews about her life as described in her memoir, My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery From Mental illness published by Bridgeross Communications in 2010.
Sandra's book has received praise throughout North America. Library Journal called the book "remarkably compelling.....will hold readers captive.....provides a surprisingly gripping narrative" and compared her to Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness,
New York psychiatrist, Julie Holland, the author of Weekends at Bellevue: Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych ER said "Sandra MacKay's story is an important one for all of us in the mental health field --doctors, patients, and their families. It is imperative that we take in the lessons she is imparting to us all, on how to manage, and in many ways, triumph, over chronic mental illness."
Occupational therapist, Paulette Guitard, in her review in the June 2011 issue of the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy said "I recommend this book to students, novice therapists, clients and care givers as it not only helps us understand.....but also because it is inspirational and fosters some hope for recovery".
My Schizophrenic Life is recommended by the National Alliance On Mental Illness in the US and The Mood Disorders Association of Canada. In a review on Psych Central, a popular psychiatric website, the reviewer concluded Sandra's book "was a brilliant and inspiring read. MacKay makes the reader believe that if she can recover from mental illness, anyone can. Reading this book gave me a sense of hope, as well as opened my mind to a new understanding of a misunderstood illness. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what it’s like to have schizophrenia or who just wants to enjoy an inspiring story of great personal recovery." See http://psychcentral.com/
My Schizophrenic Life is one of a number of Bridgeross books and documentaries on mental illness. Schizophrenia Medicine's Mystery Society's Shame by Marvin Ross is recommended by the World Fellowship for Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders.
After Her Brain Broke: Helping My Daughter Recover Her Sanity by Susan Inman is recommended by the National Alliance On Mental Illness in the US, EUFAMI in Europe and The Mood Disorders Association of Canada. Ms Inman has been invited to give a workshop at the NAMI Annual Conference in Seattle in June.
The recently released What A Life Can Be: One Therapist's Take on Schizo-Affective Disorder by Carolyn Dobbins, PhD chronicles the author's battle with schizo-affective disorder and her success acquiring a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. It has been described as "powerful and revealing, and provides a unique insight into chronic mental disease" by Dr. Thomas G Burish, a professor of psychology and Provost of Notre Dame University.
The documentary film, The Brush, The Pen and Recovery, deals with the very issue of schizophrenia, the lives of the people it affects and the role of artistic expression in their recovery. It was chosen to be screened at an international virtual documentary film festival Culture Unplugged.
Coming soon is When Quietness Came: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey With Schizophrenia by Erin L Hawkes, MSc and a new documentary film, Schizophrenia in Focus based on psychiatrist/
For information about Bridgeross titles see http://www.youtube.com/
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Bridgeross Communications is a publisher and documentary film producer based in Dundas, ON, Canada. It specializes in books on mental illness but is not limited to that topic. Other titles include The Adolescent Owner's Manual, the mysteries of David Laing Dawson, Prose to Go: Tales From a Private List described as "reading this book becomes a life-enhancing experience" by the New York Journal of Books and My Life and Other Lies: Tales From a Writer's List by Steve Pitt who is described as a Canadian Garrison Keillor