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Tuesday, October 26, 2021
11:00 am PST / 2:00 pm EST

[In Conversation With Peers] Surviving Schizophrenia and Suicide Through Art

[In Conversation With Peers] Surviving Schizophrenia and Suicide Through Art

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

11:00 am PST / 2:00 pm EST

Although about 1% of people in the United States are affected by schizophrenia, many misconceptions still exist. Additionally, up to 55% of individuals who experience schizophrenia also report suicidal attempts. Negative stereotypes exist, but people who live with schizophrenia are not dangerous. In fact, they can live healthy meaningful lives. They can thrive in this world. Meghan Caughey is one example of this. 

In her book “Mud Flower: Surviving Schizophrenia and Suicide Through Art” she shows the perspective of someone living with mental illness who survived extreme treatments. She speaks about her experience of being given up on by both the mental health system and family. But she defied all expectations. Meghan describes the role art played in her survival -- she grappled with how life can be either nurtured or destroyed by elements in our environment. 

For our next “In Conversation With Peers,” we will listen as Meghan shares her battles and victories navigating a system as someone living with schizophrenia. 

Mental Health America’s (MHA) “In Conversation With Peers” series is a dialogue by peers, for peers. A peer is someone we identify with based on their lived experience. This lived experience can be having a mental health condition, but it also includes gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, language, and even disability. Peer support allows a person to share this lived experience and lets people support one another. This mutual support is important to move toward long-term recovery.


Meghan Caughey M.F.A. (she/her) - Meghan was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and is an artist, musician, poet, and mental health activist. She has taught in art schools and universities in California and Oregon. Her drawings and paintings are exhibited and published nationally. A respected advocate in mental health reform, her essays have been published in medical journals. She is a keynote speaker and presenter at numerous mental health conferences. As a cellist, she previously performed with symphony orchestras. Currently, she is senior director of peer-delivered services at a health nonprofit in Portland, Oregon. She has designed innovative behavioral health training curricula and programs. She is also a clinical faculty member of the Psychiatry Department at Oregon Health and Science University. Her service dog, Ananda, is her muse.


Patrick Hendry (he/him) - Patrick has worked as a mental health advocate for the past 29 years. His areas of expertise include peer-provided services, self-directed care, recovery-based trainings, organizational development, and management and sustainability. Patrick received MHA's highest honor, the Clifford W. Beers Award, in 2012, and a SAMHSA Voice Award, and Eli Lilly Reintegration Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. He is the former Executive Director of the Florida Peer Network and has assisted in the development of numerous peer-run programs and organizations. Patrick is a strong supporter of the inclusion of mental health consumers in all aspects of the behavioral health system.