Living With A Mental Illness Isn’t A Death Sentence

Annie Gldzhyan, Loop 21 | July 27, 2011

Ashley Smith was a typical college student before dropping out her junior year due to what she thought was stress. Months later, she was arrested for stealing a car. While in jail, she refused to speak, eat, drink, or care for herself, which lead to her official diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia at age 20. Her crime was the result of apsychotic episode.

The 24-year-old has since founded and serves as executive director of Embracing My Mind, Inc. (EMM), a nonprofit support group aimed at helping others living with schizophrenia. She is also back in school and is studying psychology.

People diagnosed with mental illnesses are faced with discrimination in their daily lives, partly because of what the media portrays of such conditions. Crime related to people with mental disorders are regularly covered in the news, but yet we don’t hear about all the recovery stories. (Read more)