My family and I have been touched by schizophrenia through my dear
Our heartbreaking journey has inspired me to get involved in the BC
Schizophrenia Society Foundation.
When I think about people who have a family member with
schizophrenia, I first think of people like me who have brothers or
sisters with the disease. Then I think about moms and dads,
especially those I have met through BCSS, who are struggling to do
everything they can to support their son or daughter. But I had never
really thought about what it might be like to be a child, raised by a
parent who struggles with schizophrenia… until I read Phyllis Dyson’s
Silent Echoes: A Memoir of Trauma and Resilience.
Phyllis, a BCSS member from Sechelt, courageously shares how her
mom’s schizophrenia affected their entire family. Phyllis’ childhood
was full of secrets, confusion, and uncertainty. No one ever
explained what was happening with her mother; her questions were
mostly ignored and Phyllis was strongly discouraged from even speaking
about her mom.
But what I found most distressing was that Phyllis believed that
something she did as a child caused her and her brother to be taken
from their mom. For most of her life, Phyllis has been burdened with
this terrible guilt and shame. I cannot help but wonder….
How different Phyllis’ life might have been if she had been
able to attend BCSS’s Kids and Teens in Control Programs?
In addition to providing children and youth with information and
practical communication and coping strategies, the programs have a
core principle called “The Three C’s…”
“I did not cause it. I cannot control it.
I can care for myself.”
What a difference that would have made for Phyllis! When Phyllis
discovered BCSS as an adult, years after her mother died, she received
compassion, understanding, and support. And as she learned more about
schizophrenia, Phyllis found answers to some of her questions.
Phyllis’ story touched me because in my family, we did not know very
much about schizophrenia, even after Dave finally received his
diagnosis. At that time, there was no organization exactly like BCSS
to give families resources and support.
And just like with Phyllis, I can imagine how different my life would
have been if there had been a BCSS. With more education and
strategies, I might have been able to give my little brother, Dave,
more help and support.
Educating and supporting a family can change everything!
And BCSS is key. BCSS offers vital support, education, and resources
– free of charge – to anyone affected by severe mental illness, like
schizophrenia, so that they are better able to advocate and care for
their loved ones. Last year, new online program materials, including
key resources for our Strengthening Families Together course, were
only able to be developed because of the generosity of donors like you.
Donors who have designated their gifts to research are also
supporting research projects about schizophrenia here in BC that will
lead to better treatments and care, and will hopefully lead to a day
when our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be safe from this
devastating disease. You can read more about them on our website https://bcssfoundation.org/how-your-gift-makes-a-difference/research/.
Every gift matters.
More and more families are turning to BCSS for help. And
even when we will be able to meet with families in-person again, we
will continue to provide online options so we can help people no
matter where they live in BC. By giving to BCSS, you are helping
families today and funding research that will build a healthier,
Together, we can ensure families continue to have
“a reason to hope…the means to cope.”
Please consider making your gift today and I will personally match
all donations, up to a total of $10,000. This means you can double
your gift… $50 becomes $100; $100 becomes $200. And to inspire you
even more, I am extending my matching gift commitment to January 31, 2022.
Please make your gift today!
Volunteer Board Director
P.S. Let me double the impact of your gift… Every donation counts!