Message From Family Friends Coordinator Mary Ross

SARDAA FFS, Families and Friends, serves as a supportive group for those living in a support role of one challenged with Schizophrenia or related disorders. We are foremost concerned about being there for our loved ones, but also, very importantly, we must be there for ourselves. A couple of comments which I’ve come across which resonate with me are to ‘take care of your body…where else will you live’? And also, ‘I am my lifelong partner…others may come and go in life, but I’ll be there throughout’, hence it is of utmost importance to treat oneself with the care we readily give to others.

I am a nonprofessional ‘health aficionado’, devoting possibly an inordinate amount of time to this in my life, but given fairly good health in my retirement, it seems I have chosen well. Ideas I’ve come across from valued health professionals, and through my own natural and holistic search of a healthy lifestyle, include efforts of transitioning to a whole foods way of eating in place of commercially prepared foods; participation, ideally 5 times weekly for approx 30 minutes in ‘FPA’ a.k.a. ‘fun physical activity’ as opposed to struggling with the need to ‘exercise’; another option in this realm is the fairly new idea of aerobic ‘interval training’ which is shorter in time than 30 min for those of us who are time challenged but likely more effective in preserving health. Practicing Qigong and/or Tai Chi are health supportive in many ways. Committing to get 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, which serves as our repair and regenerative time, is very important. Striving to reduce stress in our lives is crucial through practices of mindfulness, meditation which reduces stress at a cellular level, yoga, etc. I find that listening to some classical music can be uplifting during a stressful or down mood. Time spent in nature can be renewing. And last but not least, being sure to set aside time EVERY day to do something enjoyable for oneself, whatever that may be. A favorite of mine includes sitting in my yard with coffee, a book in hand and dog at my side. These practices, which if we incorporate into our every day, will support us and may bring well deserved peace into our lives. Taking care of ourselves is not selfish, rather strengthening for us to meet the challenges in our lives. I wish you well.

With heart,

Mary Ross, FFS Coordinator

Message From SA Administrator by Brian Donahue

On July 4TH, we celebrated America’s 240TH birthday.  240 years seems old to us in America, but consider that China can trace its civilization back 4000 years or more.  What does China have in common with America?  One thing is that there is a SA group forming in China.

As SA Administrator, I have been sending and receiving emails with a woman in China who wants to start a SA group in a psychiatric hospital there.  She has the same cares and concerns as others in the United States who want to start SA groups.  We have SA groups forming in Kentucky, 2 in Florida, one in Portsmouth, Virginia and another in Westland, Michigan.  Today I have received an email from a man in India, who wants to start a group there!

As America celebrates its birthday, we should be thankful that we have the freedom to form SA groups by and for persons with brain disorders.  Also we should remember all the men and women who fought and died to protect our freedom to assemble peaceably.  Freedom is not free!  Happy birthday America!!!

Updates you don’t want to miss!


Thanks to all your amazing feedback, we’re back with some shiny new updates to share and we can’t wait ‘til you see them! Check out your SARDAA Health Storylines app and explore the new bottom navigation bar. Sometimes self-care can get tough so we want to make it a little easier for you. With the new navigation bar you can:

  • Find all your health tools by clicking the Home Button
  • Use the Menu Button to build your circle of support, sync with other apps, or get help
  • Participate in the Health Storylines community using the Polls Button
  • Add or remove health tools using the Edit Button

If you need an extra hand, we’re here to help! Contact us at 1.844.475.4637 or at

The Lewis Family’s Review about SARDAA

“We feel so sincerely blessed to have the opportunity to know such an organization as SARDAA. Over the past year of our experiences with SARDAA, we have learned so much about brain illness that we never really knew before. The expression “Knowledge is power” certainly applies in our opinion to SARDAA’s Brain Campaign – to educate society and bring awareness to an illness that is real, which affects many people around the world. Thank you SARDAA for such tremendous efforts!”
Please leave your reviews about SARDAA on our Facebook page HERE.  
Your opinions are very important to us!

The Legal Action Center released Health Insurance for Addiction and Mental Health Care

A Guide to the Federal Parity Law.   This guide explains rights to insurance coverage for substance use and mental disorders.  Answers to questions such as:

  • My health insurer denied me inpatient addiction treatment. Now what?
  • My health insurer will only approve 2 days of residential addiction treatment at a time. What can I do?
  • My health insurer’s network has no doctors who prescribe Suboxone. What are my rights?
  • My health insurer says my psychologist visits are not medically necessary. Is there anything I can do?  READ MORE

Mental Illness Doesn’t Kill, Hate Does

by Dustin DeMoss, Writer, Veteran, SARDAA Board Member and Individual Focused on Brain Health Reform

The recent tragedy in Dallas, Texas illustrates a point I’ve wanted to make for a long time; it’s unfortunate and totally tragic that this happened, but it is hate that kills rather than mental illness. Hate for society or academia, hate for either side of ethnic diversity, hate for a group, hate for colonial sympathizers (as evidenced by the Tutu’s and Hutu’s in Rwanda). It is categorically and without denial that hate is what kills; not mental illness.

In fact, there are numerous studies that have been done to show the position I’m referencing. You can find those studies using Google but since linking to it and educating the public does not work to reduce the stigma of mental illness, nor does writing about, making a movie about it, or advancing this position in any logical, contemporary, innovative way amounts to anything. This is because nobody wants to hear the truth when the truth about mental illness is suppressed by greedy, illogical, contemptuous, and shady characters who do work to dehumanize and stigmatize the population from making historically inaccurate depictions of those with mental illness, or advancing their own agenda for organizations and themselves in the sphere of advocacy.

The deception of mental illness being the result of mass murders and shootings across America is inaccurate. Yes, people have mental illness. But certainly, mental illness alone is not the reason for the spread of mass shootings. Hate is. That is what I want you to learn from this.

For instance, myself, I suffer from schizoaffective disorder. I have military training. But have I committed a mass shooting due to my mental illness? No, I have not. Why is this? Because I do not have hate in my heart. I do not hate society even though at times it is almost as if I am a pariah in it due to the perceptions society has of mental illness. I do not hate my fellow man or woman. I do not have hate in my heart. I have not killed anyone because of my mental illness.

My opinion, which may differ from yours, is that I believe essentially hate is the reason people kill. ..I’d encourage you to think about how mental illness is portrayed and challenge the perceptions that are fed to you on a daily basis.

Message from Linda Stalters, Executive Director of SARDAA

Let freedom ring for people affected by schizophrenia-related brain illnesses! Millions of individuals deserve appropriate treatment and the research to determine the causes and what those treatments are.  It is time for everyone to recognize the BRAIN is the most important organ of our body and people living with a brain illness deserve the same opportunities for treatment as other organ illnesses.  People deserve a bed in a hospital not a prison if their brain is causing symptoms.
Congratulations on your hard work, calls and messages to your representatives urging the passage of HR 2646 The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act passed 422 – 4  in The House of Representatives, NOW on to the Senate –  Contact your Senators for their vote to start fixing the system.
If you have not yet joined the BRAIN Campaign, join the hundreds of others who have and change the way people are treated.  Everyone visiting our exhibit at the NAMI conference enthusiastically support the BRAIN Campaign.
Volunteers are working every day to help answer questions, provide support, find resources and prepare for the upcoming event in Houston.  November 19th will be a special day to learn how to start and maintain a Schizophrenia Alliance (SA) group and have an evening of celebration.  Mark your calendars.
SARDAA will have a Public Service Announcement in the Southwest Airlines in flight media during the months of October and November.  Look for it.
Thank you to all who spend many hours providing support for those who need it most.
Linda Stalters, MSN
Executive Director
Schizophrenia And Related Disorders Alliance of America

The Effects of Deployment

0705 3
When it comes to deployment, service members may experience both stress and excitement at the same time. This is also true for family members left behind. Parents, a significant other, and children can feel overwhelmed with a variety of emotions during the duration of deployment for their loved one and excitement upon returning home. But what happens after the service member returns home?
       Although there haven’t been enough studies to really explain the experiences and outcomes of service members and their families following a deployment, a book titled Risk and Resilience in Military and Veteran Families briefly discuss this topic in the chapter titled War and Family Life. It is more specifically discussing a sample of 1,046 veterans who were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom. To read more, click here.
    An article by the American Academy of Pediatrics titled Mental Health Diagnoses Rise Significantly for Military Children studied approximately 1.6 million children that received care from 2001 – 2015. It concluded over the past 15 years, there has been a 4% increase each year in the number of children being diagnosed with mental health conditions such as anxiety and ADHD. Throughout this period of time, the amount of visits from children regarding mental health conditions doubled. It further explains that the largest increase found includes children who have had thoughts of suicide which increased 22%.  To read more of this article, please click here.
    It’s important to know there are resources for service members and family members post deployment. One of these include Fleet and Family Support Center, to learn more about how they can help, please visit their website by clicking here. For more information after deployment and mental health you can also visit: The aftermath of deployment should not be placed on a time table, meaning different stressors or mental health conditions do not always appear right away. If you are having any concerns with a loved one’s mental health or your own, you can also contact your nearest VA health care facility.

Your Contributions are Vital to Saving Lives

Dear Friend,

It’s time to invest wisely. Invest in lives affected by schizophrenia-related neurological brain illnesses so successes like the Lewis Family are possible.

“We feel so sincerely blessed to have the opportunity to know such an organization as SARDAA. Over the past year of our experiences with SARDAA, we have learned so much about brain illness that we never really knew before. The expression “Knowledge is power” certainly applies in our opinion to SARDAA’s Brain Campaign – to educate society and bring awareness to an illness that is real, which affects many people around the world. Thank you SARDAA for such tremendous efforts!”

 The most severely ill, the homeless and incarcerated are our priority.

 Many people affected by schizophrenia-related neurological brain illnesses live in isolation. Our support groups for diagnosed individuals and loved ones offer an alternative. With your support our groups continue to grow in size and number.

 “SARDAA has given voice to many of my experiences and perspectives. When I am in the midst of crisis and I am unable to speak, SARDAA continuously carries the messages that are so important to enable constructive change in the treatment of brain illnesses.” Gina

 SARDAA’s Schizophrenia Health Storylines™: FREE App Provides Innovative Mobile and Web-based Help for Persons living with Schizophrenia & Related Disorders or a loved one caring for them

 “Finally, an organization that can help change things for our family members who suffer from a BRAIN disease! We need so much support, awareness and a change in direction from behavioral to neurological so our family members can get the medical help, research and awareness they deserve. Thank you SARDAA for leading this charge! A NEW BRAIN advocate here to fight on! Marla mom of a daughter with a BRAIN DISEASE…”

 Your tax deductible donation makes it possible for us to continue for another year, and reach even more people.

Thank you in advance!




Linda Stalters, MSN

Executive Director,

Message from Executive Director

Dear Friends,
Thank you all for your contributions to support the mission of SARDAA – improving lives affected by schizophrenia-related brain illnesses.
With your support we have accomplished much but there is so much more to do.  Our Schizophrenia App has been a great success and Harvard researchers are collaborating with SARDAA to make a difference in lives utilizing the App.  We exhibited at the American Psychiatric Association Conference in Atlanta and received many supportive comments from the clinicians who visited our booth.  They were in support of the BRAIN Campaign, showed great interest in the Schizophrenia App and the SA and FFS peer support groups.  We look forward to exhibiting at the national NAMI conference in Denver next month and always enjoy meeting people at their conference.
We continue to collaborate with many stakeholders in our efforts to advocate for improved access to treatment and the elimination of discrimination.  Our BRAIN Campaign video will be aired on Southwest Airlines inflight media during the months of October and November.  We are collaborating with thebloc communications to create a video showing the importance of supportive carers in the lives of individuals living with a schizophrenia-related brain illness.
Congratulations to the SA leadership, especially Brian Donahue, for the many hours and efforts to support SA – they provided a great workshop in Detroit, MI. where Zach E, Randen O, Sr Lucindia, Nora B and Emmett Biffle were fantastic speakers and trainers.
The SA leaders have worked diligently to distribute and collect surveys to help make the difficult decision to update the name of SA to Schizophrenia Alliance.  The new name will help people recognize that they are not their diagnosis as group members work together in their recovery journeys.
Happy Father’s Day and best wishes,
Linda Stalters, MSN
Executive Director
Schizophrenia And Related Disorders Alliance of America