August 04, 2004

Blanket Awareness for Mental Illness

Dear Average American Citizen:

I've been a little busy.

It started like this when one mom wrote:

"Aids made a quilt. MADD sent a shoe to represent victims. The homeless coalition sent a penny for each homeless person.

Any thoughts on something that we could collect or assemble? A quilt was the prefect idea. Everyone sent a square

I thought of sending horse patties for all the crap we get. No! Seriously,
I wish I knew how to make a rug. We could assemble it with a piece of twine or rope, representing each individual.

PS has anyone heard an update on the STAMP

Toss the idea around. I am busy with other things right now.

I will check the national sites for Mental Illness and see if anyone is or has done anything.

This was actually my sister's idea, to make something for visual representation. This would be good for National Schizophrenia Awareness next year."

Then another mom wrote:

"I have an idea as to what we could send.

Whenever I think of all the psychiatrically disabled people of America collectively, I always think of blankets. It's a thing with me. A comfort thing.

Whenever I feel down, abandoned, or powerless, I find my self gravitating toward the linen department and looking at blankets.

It has become a symbol of care for me. Even self care. I think of the homeless and I think of blankets. In the winter, I think of electric blankets and outdoor outlets on buildings. I think of the poverty and shut off notices and I think of blankets. I think of the horrific hallucinations, which to me are nightmares with one's eyes open and again I think of blankets.

There's just something about a mother's love and tucking her kids in at night beneath their blankets that really gets to me. Like that one rendering from Norman Rockwell's Four Freedom's, "Freedom from Fear". The one where the mom and dad are tucking their kids in bed during war time. It's a universal message.

Any way, if we all just purchased one blanket and mailed it to our senators or congressmen, we'd definitely get their attention.

They come in those convenient, zippered, see through plastic covers. We could easily slip a sign inside that said "It's time to cover mental illness equally and adequately".

We could even purchase baby blankets and put a picture of our kids when they were an infant under the plastic too.

I have this image of some senator, sitting in his capitol office, with hardly no room to move, with stacks of blankets all around.

I have this vision of massive mailings of blankets to Washington. "

It grew into this:

cover my son - cover my daughter - cover my sister - cover my brother -cover my mother - cover my father - cover my husband - cover my wife - cover my grandson - cover my granddaughter - cover my grandpa - cover my grandma - cover my uncle - cover my aunt - cover my neice - cover my nephew - cover my cousin - cover my stepson - cover my stepdaughter - cover my stepfather - cover my stepmother - cover my daughter 'n law - cover my son 'n law- cover my friend - cover my neighbor - cover me

Americans are urged to mail a blanket to their Senators on September 1st, 2004.


Why a blanket? It's a universal message, it is a symbol of comfort, security and care.

Where to mail them: To locate the Washington address of your State Senator visit

What to mail: A blanket of any size with a note that reads:

"It is time to cover mental illness equally and adequately".

Blankets can be purchased in convenient, zippered, see through plastic covers.

Some individuals may wish to include a picture of their loved-one
with mental illness.

You could even purchase baby blankets and put a picture of your child
when they were an infant or toddler inside.

Others may want to send a blanket and note to show their support.

Literally, anyone can participate.

The U.S. Post Office offers a variety of different sized boxes and packaging materials.

To Learn More About Mental Illness,

or if you experience a problem locating your Senator:

Let's get them covered!

Send a blanket September 1st !

Please mail a blanket and note to show your support and to bring awareness to Mental Illness in our country.

Hug My Kids neither endorses nor opposes any political party, or any cause other than supporting the sufferers of mental illness, individuals with disabilities and their families.

Please feel free to forward, cut, copy, and paste, make hard copies and distribute, post this at websites, and remember your loved ones with a mental illness.

Posted by Doe at August 4, 2004 09:47 PM | TrackBack


I'll tell you what you could send to the representatives...... send a brass 9mm bullet. Tell them schizophrenics, esp the paranoid ones, have access to guns, issues with just about everybody, and a death wish. Tell them this could end up in a dearly cherished organ, like their brain. so much for doillies and bake sales. if i am bitter and cynical, i am. my child took the life of another young man, whose family is now in anguish, like mine, and another man whose family wonder if he'll make it. i did the system. worked with the caseworkers. even pleaded for them to put him into the long term facility. but their reply was, he isn't sick enough.... i guess now he is, he is dead. i think that may qualify.

Posted by: chaiteacity at August 27, 2004 07:04 AM

Dear Chaiteacity,
Again, my deepest sympthany. Such a tragic, avoidable lose.
"i did the system. worked with the caseworkers. even pleaded for them to put him into the long term facility. but their reply was, he isn't sick enough"
There are many of us that hear that same response, so many obstacles we face. We try and you tryed every avenue available.
One day something has to chance. We can no longer suffer in silence. Our childen and loved ones can no longer suffer inadequate services and just plain uncaring and incompentent professionals.
I know the blanket project isn't going to change the world. Maybe we could get one person to look at our needs. Maybe someone will realize we have a voice and that so many are dealing with schizophrenia.
I would sit down and send a bullet and your story to every representative and newspaper in the country if I thought they would get though the mail service. I am afriad the FBI would put a stop that.

So I am mailing my blankets tomorrow. That is all I know to do today.

We have so much more work to be done if anything is ever going to change for you children. Your family will not be forgotten in our efforts. All the families and individuals on this site along with our own family experiences motivates us to keep trying.

Posted by: TampaBayMom at August 29, 2004 09:18 PM


I understand your anger. I would be furious too. I am furious. I want it to stop. I want all the refusals to help our kids to come to an end. I am so, so very sad your son, like so many others, was turned away. What kind of a world do we live in? I am livid that this was preventable. I am horrified at the prospect of what you will now have to live with in your heart, in your mind, in your soul. No parent should ever have to go through what you are going to through.

I want our kids to count. I want their disease to be recognized as a disease. I want the stigma to be replaced with the truth. I want better meds, a cure. I want them to stop persecuting the persecuted. I want more power over my son's decisions when he is psychotic without having to negotiate the court system. I want the whole damn world to get it. Our kids lack of insight into their disease is a symptom of their disease not a choice to deny.

I want to be able to comfort you somehow. But I know the only thing that will is turning back the hands of time to when your son was still here.

Like Tampa Bay Mom, if we thought we could get away with it, I'd mail some bullets too. But with my luck the secret service would be knocking on my door when my son was having a bad delusional day. I don't think I have to paint a picture of how disturbing that would be.

But please, if there is anything we can do to help, just let us know. Anything.

Posted by: doe at August 29, 2004 11:11 PM

Thanks, guys. I snapped. I still like the bullet thing, though, maybe plastic bullets! But, I know the system enough, that it would not help. They'd look at us and question our sanity! They'd miss the point entirely. The ones that need to make the decisions, etc. Damm. I think the anger stage is making itself felt today. That and cynical humor comments, if you can call it humor. I wish we could do more than gripe. But then again, I am tired. I know I am every parent's nightmare. But then again, I am relieved that he, Paul, is out of pain, no one can hurt him, and he won't hurt anyone else. Paul never was aggressive. He was passive about things alot. He'd say it was not a big deal. We'd rationalize hurts and things away. I said yesterday there is more sorrow in living than death. And it's true. I go to his grave and clean leaves off of the grass seeds. How sad that I have to rationalize this illness away! What a desperate cure! We all ought to be angry with the system. Who decided to mainstream everyone? Why did they close down the old hospitals? Why did they tear them down? Who was in charge? Was money the issue? Who made the decision to close the mental hospitals, streamline services, etc? I think it is insurance, governmental bodies who sit up in the ivory white towers. When they realilze that there is MONEY TO BE MADE OFF OF THE TREATMENT OF MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE, THEN THINGS WILL CHANGE! I suppose too, the brain has been a bit hard to diagnose and treat. I am calmer now. Thanks, guys, for listening.

Posted by: chaiteacity at August 31, 2004 12:57 PM

blankets- where are they going? to whom? i'll send them a morgue blanket. and do what they call a performance art piece. i'll get the bloody shoes and clothes and hang them on a frame of a body, hunched on a couch or a car and then show them, hey you sports fanatics, you guys that voted for our two big million dollar stadiums, who voted to license panhandlers, (the mentally ill) from Cincinnati streets, esp during football games, etc., that this is what happens when you ignore a people's illness. But i don't have the cajones to make it so public. but i should. This story and others will be forgotten soon. Remember the Columbus sniper? paranoid schizophrenic too. Poor man.

Posted by: chaiteacity at August 31, 2004 01:37 PM


E fuller Torrey has a newletter entitled "Preventable Tragedies".

He is the biggest advocate schizophrenia has.

He keeps a database of preventable deaths due to the lack of treatment for the mentally ill.

The following URL will yake you there. You can post a news story.

Check it out. Hope this helps in some small way.


Posted by: doe at September 1, 2004 03:20 AM


I was the youngest of four children. I had 3 older brothers and all of us have had problems with mental illness and alcohol and drug abuse.

I recently lost the youngest brother to cirrosis of the liver due to years of alcohol abuse. All three of my brothers were transients and drifters, hopping trains and living in the streets all over the U.S. most of their adult lives. My middle brother is currently living with my elderly parents again.

My oldest brother as a young adult was diagnosed as schizophrenic. I never really remember too much about him, as from an early age, he was running away from home and never really was around much as I was growing up. As an adult he joined the Air Force, but something happened to him that my parents never really talked about with me. He was Honorably Discharged and receives veteran's benefits. He was always an institutional type person. If he wasn't in a mental hospital or veterans hospital of some sort he was in prison.

Once he broke into a dry cleaners and sat and waited for the police to come get him to take him to jail. He would walk away from a job and into the sunset without even collecting his last paycheck. His employers said "he was a very good worker and smart too", as they gave my parents his check. My parents would worry of his whereabouts until he would just show up later somewhere. It could be a month, a year, two years and now its been about 12 years since they have heard anything of him.

In the mid 90's a social worker from a hospital called from somewhere out west. I believe he was in Texas as they have said "last they heard he had a girlfriend in Tijuana Mexico." The last time we've seen him was 1989.

With the passing of my brother I know it is hard on my mom and dad and they would like to just know. We don't want to bother him or disturb his life in any way. We just want to know if he still walks this earth and is okay.

His name is Michael Patrick Ballard and he would be in his early 50's. I believe he was born in Alameda CA, but we grew up in Tallahassee FL and he went to Rickards High School in Tallahassee FL. If anyone has any idea how I might be able to find out what has happened to my brother any help would be appreciated.

Thank you and God Bless You!

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