1464 Mental Health Humor by Chato Stewart RIP Robin Williams Shazbot


Port Charlotte Suicide Rate Top 5 in Florida

One report

2013 Florida Stats on Suicide:

Suicide     TOTAL    WHITE    BLACK   OTHER     MALE     FEMALE
Suicide#   2,892        2,648        156               80         2,206         686

Was Robin Williams bipolar or was he depressed? He would be the first to admit, he never had a clinical diagnosis for it. Yet in the next breath say, “OH sure I get bummed.”  He brought so much joy to us all. Yet, he suffered for years with depression.

We acknowledge Williams himself has never stated, to our knowledge, that he had been formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder or depression. Yet given his behaviors and symptoms, it seems far more likely he suffered from bipolar disorder — of which depression is a very significant component. News accounts saying he suffered from depression don’t appear to be substantiated by Williams’ own statements on the issue.

Triggers = Illness  = Risk = Help or Suicide

Robin Williams succumbed to his years of undiagnosed mental illness and depression illness on Monday August 11th.

I personally don’t believe in the term “committed” or “made choice” to end his or our life via SUICIDE. I think it adds to the fear and misinformation of mental illness/health disorders. You can’t commit cancer or commit debates, they are illnesses and mental “illness”… Therefore, I believe you cannot “commit mental illness.”  There are many complex factors that go into pushing the mind over the edge of reality, making you think the world is better off with out you. In the days to come, we will hear TRIGGERS like money troubles, compounding his anguish over drug or alcohol (substance abuse) relapses and/or  medical conditions.  These triggers cause depression and SHOULD NOT BE CHALKED UP AS SOME light issues… One match can trigger a forest fire, burning thousands or acres or trees and woodlands and homes and anything in its way…just by lighting 1 match and tossing it on grass!

I look at it as: Robin Williams’ illness finally won out, and not “committed suicide.” I do believe, we pay the consequences for our actions we take while in a “mental fog,” Whether that is psychosis based or chemically based or drug induced. We should be held accountable ultimately even with our own life or death.

Speaking from the point of view of someone who has be at the edges of my own life’s end and multiple times, even jumping off and being saved a few times…only to try again until I got HELP…I can tell you, yes life is gorgeous and beautiful when you’re balanced! For years I dealt with suicidal idealization and suicidal behavior – it was not who I am, it was my “illness,” and it was trying to kill me and almost did; till I got help.

As we say good bye, remember one thing… Shazbot!

Is Self-Assessment Important For Our Recovery?

Thursday, August 7, 2014 @ 01:08 PM
Author: Chato Stewart

ID-10026029 Image courtesy of Rawich FreeDigitalPhotos netPrior to making a doctor’s visit or shopping trip or visit to a friend, it’s a good time to assess ( self-assessment ) our needs before we take that first step out the door. Yes, self-assessment is paramount in our day-to-day recovery necessities. If we survey what are our top priorities are by utilizing a to-do list (paper old-school style or on your smart phone or iPad via an app), for sure, we’re not wasting valuable time doing things that could be a trigger, non-productive, or just a waste of time.

If you do things for a purpose, you’ll get things done. Even if that purpose is checking it off your list. There is a great value in recording your daily moods, journaling, keeping track of your days…even if it’s to self-evaluate a week from now or a year from now.

ID-100109373 Self-assessment - Image courtesy of RawichWe are all individuals with unique personalities, mindsets and chemistry makeups. Self-evaluation can help us have the forethought that will help conversation with our doctors about testing out or trying out different therapies based on our self-evaluation. We can make changes to our spending habits based on our self-evaluation. Maybe, we can save more money by not spending sporadically if we only pay with cash and not rely on plastic credit cards. Self-evaluation can also help us in choosing up-building friends.

Self-Assessment and  Friends.

Yes, we can choose our friends, but just like social media…we can choose to unfriend if we deem our friendship to be toxic, troublesome, triggering, or enabling us in some unhealthy way. True before we unfriend anyone for me personally I would like to give that person the benefit of the doubt. And speak to them about what it is that is bothersome to me that that is not helping me keep my balance. Perhaps, you have had friends that are heavy smokers and find out you have bronchitis and took you five months to quit. You finally quit, but your friends still smoke around you without a care. Thinking about this to the next step: what if you are an alcoholic, and you’re sober but all your friends are heavy social drinkers. Can you honestly say you will not be tempted by hanging out with them in a bar, or hanging out with them while they drink?

I heard it once said, “Show me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” Yes we are sometimes who we are with…So self-evaluation can help us make any needed changes, maybe with our doctor, maybe with our daily actions, maybe how we are interacting with friends and family.

If we are willing to adjust ourselves when needed and be flexible we will, without a doubt, benefit! Indeed, all of us need to receive encouragement and positive reinforcement. Self-assessment is one tool we can use to make sure we get the best treatment possible.

Consumer ambassador
Chato Stewart


*Image 1 courtesy of Rawich / Image 2 courtesy of adamr / 

6 Ways to Cope with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 01:07 PM
Author: Chato Stewart

What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Everyone worries from time to time about all kinds of things. Worry itself is quite normal. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a condition of too much worrying. If anxious thoughts seem to be increasing, it may signal a problem. Worry has to do with fears. Sometimes worrying can occur even when there is no clear cause. Fears can be confusing and may not make sense to the person who has them.”~ ₍₁₎


Who Is At Risk?

Generalized anxiety disorders affect about 3.1% American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year, causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty.The average age of onset is 31 years old.

GAD affects about 6.8 million American adults, including twice as many women as men. The disorder develops gradually and can begin at any point in the life cycle, although the years of highest risk are between childhood and middle age.” ~₍₂₎


6 Ways to Cope with Generalized Anxiety Disorder 

  1. Don’t let anxiety over tomorrow weigh you down today.
  2. Try to focus on the good things that you’ve done/happened to you – NOT the Negative.
  3. Don’t dwell on past mistakes…LEARN from them – then MOVE ON – (Allow for true forgiveness for yourself and let go of shame.)
  4. When anxieties weigh you down, talk to someone that can cheer you up.
  •    Mild Anxiety / moderate anxiety is extremely common, but goes way beyond just basic anxious feelings that everyone normally feels.  It is a clinical condition and is a  moderate even mild type of GAD.  Nevertheless, it causes extreme emotional stress. Yet talking with a  friend or family member might be just what you need to help take the edge of the anxiety.
  •    Severe Anxiety may require a more clinical talk therapy such as: “Psychotherapy. A type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavior therapy is especially useful for treating GAD. It teaches a person different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that help him or her feel less anxious and worried.” ₍₂₎
  1. Avoid giving into negative Thoughts.
  2. Meditate on your pass successes. Understanding that anxiety is only a “by-product” of a “condition” has been helpful to some in dealing with its affects.

Anxiety has many faces and many triggers and each person has their own set of fears to overcome. However, the above 6 coping tools may help you deal with anxious periods making them a little more manageable.

I love being the Consumer Ambassador  here at Charlotte Behavior Heath Care, but I also blog for other networks like the International Bipolar Foundation, BP Hope Magazine,  and  Psych Central (the Internet’s largest and oldest independent mental health social network. Since 1995, this award-winning website has been run by mental health professionals offering reliable, trusted information and over 200 support groups to consumers).

At Psych Central, there are a bunch of free NON-clinical screening quizzes. You can use the “Anxiety Screening Quiz.”  This quiz can help determine if you might need to see a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment of an anxiety or panic disorder.   It’s not a real  screening, only a professional can do that, but if you are –I HATE TO SAY THIS –  Worried/Anxious about having Generalized Anxiety Disorder this could help you have the strength and courage to make an appointment with the capable CBHC Staff.

Anxiety Screening Quiz


Consumer ambassador
Chato Stewart



₍₁₎ What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Achieve Solutions® is a ValueOptions® website.:

₍₂₎ Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):

₍₃₎ Anxiety Screening Quiz:


Fred Lang Foundation Eleventh Annual Summer Ball

Monday, July 21, 2014 @ 03:07 PM
Author: Chato Stewart

Fred Lang Fundation and Charlotte Behavioral Health Care Port Charlotte

Punta Gorda, FL- Join us for the 11th Annual Summer Ball, presented by Fred Lang Foundation to benefit Charlotte Behavioral Health Care. The Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center will be transformed into Venezia, Italia for an elegant Summer Night in Venice on Saturday, July 26th. Take a stroll along the Grand Canal. Relax in a graceful gondola. Enjoy dinner and dancing, live entertainment by The BoogieMen and an incredible silent auction all while benefitting Charlotte Behavioral Health Care.

Summer Ball 2013 CBSC FunSummer Ball Fun Photos

The Summer Ball is an annual signature fundraiser that benefits children, adolescents, and families of Charlotte County who are in urgent need of crisis counseling, mental health counseling and/or substance abuse addiction treatment at CBHC. This event helps fund additional children and family programs and services at CBHC, including group therapy for children and parents and an Art & Soul Summer Camp.

Each year mental health is gaining more attention as an essential key to our community’s quality of life. Charlotte Behavioral Health Care is here to make sure that no one has to face a mental health or substance abuse problems alone. Together we can ensure that everyone living in Charlotte County has the opportunity to receive the support and hope needed to maintain overall mental health and wellness.

Fred Lang Fundation Port Charlotte 2013 group checkThis year’s Summer Ball will be held July 26th at 6:00 pm at the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center in Punta Gorda. Tickets are $100 each and the event is black tie formal. Last year’s Summer Ball raised almost $30,000, which went directly to provide urgent health care services for our community.


A special thanks to the following for sponsoring this year’s 11th Annual Summer Ball: Margo Lang, Mr. & Mrs. Nicholas Lang, SunTrust, Ambitrans, Smugglers Foundation, Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, Attorneys at Law, Palm Auto Mall, Valic, Wotitzky, Wotitzky, Ross & McKinley Attorneys at Law,The Mosiac Company, Bayfront Health, Dee’s & Dee’s, CPA, Sylvia Orr, Fawcett Memorial Hospital, Alliance Business Printing, Law office of Kevin C Shirley and Law office of Jesus M. Hevia, Riverview Cardiac, Louis Lavoie at Merrill Lynch, Christina Narr, Robert and Carolyn Hansman, Panther Hollow Dental Lodge, Riverview Cardiac, Lydia Gattanell, Monarch Printing, Sun-Herald Newspapers and Port Charlotte Florist.

If you would like to become a sponsor or buy tickets to the 11th Annual Summer Ball planned for July 26, 2014 at the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center in Punta Gorda, please contact Jessica Boles, Director of Public Relations at Charlotte Behavioral Health Care at 941-347-6407, or visit


The Drop In Center at CBHC Will Give Hope for the Charlotte County:

In recent years, The Haven Drop-In Center provided services for the Charlotte County (Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda) community since 1992. It ran as peer to peer and clubhouse model type facility that accommodated to the wellness and recovery of the mentally challenged residents living in our Charlotte County community. Everyone visiting “The Haven” had an opportunity to socialize, mingle, and make friends while associating with those who share similar experiences. Not only was it about the socialization, but members got to participate and get involved in results-based group programs. The Haven was there to support you when you needed it. The system of support was not just helping you, you soon found out you could be part of the help of each other’s recovery for a healthy and lasting life experience.

The Haven:

Over the years, there have been many hands in the success of the “The Haven” and yes, along with any success there will be times of failures. I came to The Haven in 2007, I was fresh in the area and in need of support. I walked in filled out a basic paperwork for membership. The director at that time read that I ran and facilitated support groups in Sarasota for the depression, bipolar support alliance organization as a chapter leader. He asked if I would mind facilitating that bipolar group that day. Of course, I could not say no! So that was how I started my association with the Haven. I developed a very simple bipolar support group format that anyone could follow and lead their group for about a year. My blogging was starting to take off so, I had to part ways. I kept in contact with the Haven from the outside. Once in a while dropping in, although every time I would drop-in there would be new changes. Some for the better, some not so good.

The Haven Drop-In Center  provided

services for the Charlotte County for over 22 Years!

But at last count, talking to the director a few months back, The Haven Drop-in Center was averaging 40+ people a day and had some days nearing 60 in our community receiving hands-on services and help. I think that’s incredible! I applaud them for their efforts and all their services to the community over the years.

All the hard work of all the volunteers over the last 22 years needs to have an award ceremony for all their incredible sacrifice and service to members of our community! They are the unsung heroes, but alas, like all good stories that come, this one unfortunately, is a bit sour. You see, at the end of June 2014, the Haven drop-in center lost its funding and had to close its doors. No money -no play. I am not privy to the type of funding that was lost, why it was lost, and how it happened. I’m not tied up in the red tape nor am I on any side other than my peers who are caught up in not having a place to go…

Don’t let the hard work go waste

With all the hard work of the last 22 years dangling over the edge of infinity, ready to be lost, what should be done? If we wait too long, all could be lost, then any organization coming in, or trying to start up will be starting from scratch. No, that’s not what CBHC wanted to see happen. It is my firm belief that Charlotte Behavioral Health Care had only our peers in mind as they have taken over what would’ve been lost. They are saving the Drop-In Center

On Wednesday, July 9th, 2014, CBHC’s Drop In Center opened its doors from 11 o’clock to three(3:00 PM).
Located in the in building B on 1700 Education Avenue…for the time being until property can be secured.

Over-sighted by Gina Wynn, BA Dir. of Residence and Healthy Start & Adult Case Manager Service assisted by David Stone, LMHC, they plan to reorganize the Haven
I asked David how the first day went while visiting. He told me they had almost 30 participants and a well-planned out day. I saw some familiar faces, shook some hands and just chatted a little bit with some old friends when I “dropped-in.” Everyone seemed happy to have someplace to go. The fact that CBHC could put together this interim Drop In location (They NEED a new location – if you can share one let them know.) in such a short period of time is quite an amazing feat all on its own!  Here is what they did today: (see image).haven

I look forward to helping out in any way possible.

Consumer ambassador
Chato Stewart