Joanne Verbanic, founder of Schizophrenics Anonymous, an international self-help group for people with Schizophrenia that is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, died May 7th in Detroit of complications following abdominal surgery. She was 70 years old.

       Ms. Verbanic, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia throughout her adult life, put a small ad in a Detroit newspaper in 1984 inviting people burdened with the same illness to meet and talk in a diner in downtown Detroit. Three people came. Today, Schizophrenics Anonymous has peer-support chapters throughout the world and is linked with an umbrella mental health organization called Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America, or SARDAA. Schizophrenics Anonymous’ estimated global membership is thousands.

      Stricken with the illness as a young mother, Ms. Verbanic managed to continue working as a financial counselor at Ford Motor Company for more than 20 years following a divorce, despite the constant intervention of internal “voices” that plague so many patients with the disease. Acting alone, she taught herself to ignore the taunting and threatening that comes from internal voices, which are auditory hallucinations and a common symptom of the illness. Her ability to back away from them, almost unheard-of until she pioneered the technique, was a major lesson she passed on to her followers. She never attempted to suggest that she had found a cure for the illness, just a helpful way to manage it.

        Ms. Verbanic was also known as a tireless mother-hen to Schizophrenics Anonymous members, taking local and long-distance telephone calls any hour of the day or night in her Detroit home, sitting in on chapter meetings, organizing help for members in trouble, traveling to make speeches and accept awards. Beyond her interest in peer-group work, she was a tireless crusader against the public stigma that attaches to people with mental illness. “Sometimes I think the stigma is worse than the disease,” she told a reporter from Time Magazine.

       Ms. Verbanic is survived by her son, Dennis, her brother, Robert Gaynor Jr., sister, Jeanette Christiansen, and her granddaughter, Christina Bowers. She was preceded in death by her son, Douglas, her brothers, Tim and Jim, and her sister, Cindy Fraser.

Houston Homeless Donation Drive

Dear Friends in Houston,

For over a century, Star of Hope has been bringing positive change to the lives of homeless men, women and children through spiritual growth, education, employment, life management and recovery from substance abuse. This year, the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) has joined hands with Star of Hope to raise awareness amongst these homeless populations about mental health while offering a small token of our support.

Join us in our efforts to make a difference by donating essential personal care items that can be packaged and distributed to Houston’s homeless population.
**Drop off boxes will be available at our booth at the Greater Houston NAMI Walk on May 2 ( and also at the Second Annual Mental Health Dignity Day Rally on May 3 (
If you are unable to make it to either of these drop off opportunities, please contact to find out if we can collect your donation**

Donation Drive graphic 1

Accepted items include:

Baby Powder
Shower Gel
Shaving Cream
Feminine Hygiene Products
Hand Sanitizer
Body Lotion 
Band Aids
Toilet Paper
Wet Wipes
Brush or Comb
Washclothdonation drive graphic 3

Integrating Substance Use Disorder and Health Care Services in an Era of Health Care Reform

Integrating Substance Use Disorder and Health Care Services in an Era of Health Care Reform  This white paper is the first in a series of white papers from SAMHSA’s Addiction Technology Transfer (ATTC) Network discussing the unique issues involved in integrating substance use disorder services in health care Print PDF

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Help Support SARDAA!

Please take a moment to find out how you can help support SARDAA, not only today but every day – at no extra cost to you!! When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Schizophrenia And Related Disorders Alliance Of America. IT’S SO SIMPLE: just bookmark this link, startRead More

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Clinical connections between Schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Schizophrenia and Autism – Related Disorders  Written by Rebecca E. Hommer, Susan E. Swedo; posted on Print PDF

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Complimentary Webinar available: “Early Team Based Treatment For People With Psychotic Symptoms: The RAISE-Early Treatment Program Experience”

Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. EST Location: Online Hear from Dr. Nina R. Schooler, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, as she presents “Early Team Based Treatment For People With Psychotic Symptoms: The RAISE-Early Treatment Program Experience.” Click for more details andRead More

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Understanding and Managing Anxiety Disorder

Here is a great article from on Understanding and Managing Anxiety Disorder Print PDF

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Recreational marijuana use associated with increased impulsivity and hostility in daily life.

Despite high levels of marijuana use in the U.S., little is known about the effects of recreational marijuana use on daily life. In a recent study of recreational marijuana users, marijuana use was correlated with increased impulsivity on the day of use and the following day. Participants also reported higher hostility ratings – for bothRead More

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Maintaining a balanced lifestyle while living with a mental illness

Check out this informative article written by SARDAA Board Member Dustin DeMoss on maintaining a balanced lifestyle while living with a mental illness. Print PDF

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A recent paper reports findings on the reduction in life expectancy among people with mental illness

A recent paper reports findings on the reduction in life expectancy among people with mental illness relative to the general population. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director Thomas Insel discusses the magnitude and reasons for this excess mortality. <> Print PDF

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