Serious mental illness (SMI) is one of my areas of expertise. As a freelance mental health writer, I’ve written about a number of mental disorders and illnesses. These include obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD, see page 20) bipolar disorder, schizophrenia (see page 26), and schizoaffective disorder, among others.
For many years, if you asked my favorite reading material, I would have responded “psychology textbooks,” if you can imagine. I have a strong interest in human behavior, whether it’s psychological or neurological.
Of course, some illnesses are of particular interest to me because of my family’s history of mental illness. My dad suffered from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Not to mention, I have a son with schizoaffective disorder (bipolar and schizophrenia combined). My son’s dreadful disease ultimately led me to become an advocate for better national mental health care policy. It also resulted in my becoming a writer on serious mental illness, in particular. I have other family members with mental health problems as well.
Myself, I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety, panic attacks, dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), major depression, attention deficit disorder, and bipolar II. Whew! That was a mouthful. Fortunately, with bipolar II I don’t experience the mania of bipolar I. I just become incredibly driven, resulting in great achievements. Still, this lengthy list makes me sound like quite a mess. I’m happy to say though, medication does wonders. So rest assured, I’m very reliable, capable, and accomplished. As a freelance writer on mental health, my experience brings great insight into these brain diseases.
As an avid reader and freelance psychology writer, I also have strong knowledge of personality disorders, such as narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder, among others. I’m sure we’ve all had a few run ins with these types. So I’m fascinated by what makes people tick. My favorite subject in college, aside from writing, was psychology. It still is.
Taking a Scientific Approach as a Mental Health Writer
One thing I feel strongly about is that a mental health writer should be as objective as possible because people’s well-beings are at stake. When misinformation is published, or unproven therapies based only on anecdotal evidence are recommended, those with mental health problems suffer. Therefore, I rely on scientific evidence when discussing available treatments. I’m not a psychiatrist, so I can neither diagnose nor determine which treatment is best for someone. But I can provide facts about the illnesses, details about treatment options, and direct readers where to seek help.
I’d also like to say, as a mental health writer I certainly recognize the validity of the field of psychology. But there’s a small percentage of psychologists and therapists who fail to be objective. These practitioners often reject psychiatry (and sociology as well, for that matter). This small group of practitioners insists all human behavior stems from personal experience and that psychotherapy is the only cure. That’s often true. But equally true, our brains can and do have deficits or diseases just like any other organ in our bodies. And just like the diseases of all our other organs, medication is often necessary due to chemical imbalances or diseases of the brain.
There’s also a big push by some mental health professionals for alternative (scientifically unproven) therapies. These therapies can be both risky and costly and are often ineffective. Most alternative therapies have only anecdotal evidence and provide merely a placebo effect, at best. At worst, pseudo medicine or pseudo psychology can be unsafe resulting in negative consequences either psychologically or physiologically, or both. It also allows mental health problems to persist.
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If you need a freelance writer on mental health, and especially a writer on serious mental illness, I’ll provide well researched, evidence based content for your blog, website, print publication, or book. So be sure to request a free quote or your writing project.