Dear friends,

Over the last couple of decades, I have had the privilege of meeting incredible people around the world - men women and children living with mental health conditions, who have taught me that living well with a mental health condition is possible. At ASHA International, we are delighted to launch LIVING WELL  - a series of featured articles highlighting their insights on the multitude of pathways they pursue to live well.

Please read the feature article below by my dear friend Melody Moezzi, an Iranian-American  writer, activist, attorney and award-winning author. See her message of hope, and please use the SHARE THIS EMAIL link at the bottom of this newsletter to share it with your friends, family and social networks. 

Together, we can inspire our loved ones living with a mental health condition that they can recover and thrive. 

Wishing you wellness,
Founder & President
ASHA International
LIVING WELL by Melody Moezzi
For me, wellness is about being able to fulfill your purpose in life. It's not about the absence of illness or disability-certainly not in my case, as part of my purpose is to fight the stigma and discrimination surrounding illness and disability. To be well in my book is to be doing that which you are meant to be doing-not based on the judgments of yourself or the expectations of others, but based on the unique design and demands of your own singular soul. For me, that means creating art and pursuing justice-and doing it all, as much as possible, through love. In order to live well-that is, to be able to do that which I am meant to be doing-I need to take care of my body, mind and soul. This means eating largely real food with ingredients I can pronounce and exercising (which I admit I'm not that great at, but I try). It also means taking medication, attending weekly therapy, engaging in daily prayers, and spending quality time with the people I love most. Ultimately though, I don't think that we always need to be well in order to live well. A lot of living well-especially for those of us living with mental health conditions-is about learning how to manage when we're not necessarily feeling our best. As I see it, to be well is to experience the full range of human emotion and experience with grace and curiosity-to wonder what each experience and emotion has to teach us instead of immediately judging ourselves and the events in our lives as necessarily good or bad. Often, the same experiences that I felt were the worst things to ever happen to me (a pancreatic tumor and bipolar disorder, for example) at the time turned out to be the best things to ever happen to me, because they helped me the most along my journey to finding and following my true purpose in life. 

To learn more about Melody's journey to wellness, please read her memoir, Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life.
Melody's Message of Hope

April 7, 2017
Let's Talk About Mental Health
Mental Health Awareness Program
Presented by Bekah Miles & Gayathri Ramprasad
Canby High School, Canby, OR

April 24, 2017
The Power of Sharing Your Story
Keynote presented by Gayathri Ramprasad
PEERPOCALYPSE Conference, Seaside, OR

May 3, 2017
Be the Hope 
Keynote presented by Gayathri Ramprasad
If It's History, It's Our Story.
Diversity Day Presented by Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare
Melody Ballroom, Portland, OR

May 12, 2017
Living Proof: A Mental Health Advocacy through Storytelling Workshop
LifeQual Center for Health & Healing, Beaverton, OR
Workshop Facilitator: John Capecci
June 1, 2017
Storytelling Saves Lives
Presented by Gayathri Ramprasad
This is My Brave Leading Ladies  Women's Mental Health Symposium
National Press Club,  Washington D.C.

Stories have the power to inform, inspire and transform lives. 
If you have a recovery story, please  submit your story today. Your story will  give HOPE to people struggling with mental health issues around the world, and inspire them to recover and rebuild a healthy, meaningful, productive life.
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our videos on YouTube