• Event Time 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
  • Event Start Date October 2, 2018
  • Event Location 140 Lower Terrace

Mental Health PEER Connection (MHPC) is gratified to be part of WNED-TV / WBFO-FM’s free screening and panel discussion of the PBS film, “God Knows Where I Am” – A Community Dialogue on Mental Illness, at 4:30 pm, Tuesday, October 2nd at the WNED studios, 140 Lower Terrace, Buffalo.  The film is a moving story of a homeless woman with mental health disabilities who slowly slips further into insanity as she starves to death, spending a horribly cold winter in an abandoned New England farmhouse, waiting for God to come, as told in her journal entries. While there will be four other community organizations participating in the panel discussion that follows, none of them are run by, and for, recipients of mental health services. 


Most organizations that seek to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities follow some version of the Medical Model: that disabilities are rooted in individuals’ physical bodies, and the disability must be cured or managed medically to improve their functioning and provide a more “normal” life.  The logical conclusion: those who cannot be “fixed” must be resigned to a lifetime of institutional care.  Fortunately, panel member MHPC Director Maura Kelley, CPRP, NYCPS, will provide a much different view, which she employs to deal with her own mental illness: the Peer Model.  Much less confrontational than the Medical Model, the Peer Model helps people with mental health diagnoses to find their way without force, every day.  For the last 24 years, Maura has directed MHPC, a very successful peer program which has provided a better quality of life for thousands.  It is vital that her more circumspect viewpoint be heard.


Particulars on the film “God Knows Where I Am”


LindaBishop-closeThis program explores the story of a homeless woman whose body was found in an abandoned New Hampshire farmhouse. A diary was found that documents a journey of starvation and the loss of sanity, told with poignancy, beauty, humor, and spirituality. For nearly four months, Linda Bishop, a prisoner of her own mind, survived on apples and rain water, waiting for God to save her, during one of the coldest winters on record. As her story unfolds from different perspectives, including her own, we learn about our systemic failure to protect those who cannot protect themselves.


“This film vividly illustrates the heartbreaking reality of one person’s struggle with severe mental illness and its effect on families across our community,” said Michele Brooks, executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Buffalo & Erie County.


Following the film segment, we will have a panel discussion, moderated by Kenneth Houseknecht, Executive Director of Mental Health Advocates of WNY, to explore themes from the film and how it relates to our community. Some of the themes may include the family’s role in mental illness, self-identifying mental illness and the need for treatment, homelessness, and safe discharge plans.


Other participants in the panel besides Maura Kelley:

 Michael Ranney, Commissioner of Mental Health for Erie County

 Dr. Yogesh Bakhai, Chief of Service of Psychiatry at Erie County Medical Center (ECMC)

 Anne Showers, founder and CEO of Accessible Academics


“God Knows Where I Am” will be broadcast in its entirety on WNED-TV at 9 pm, Monday, Oct. 15th.

For free tickets and more information, visit wned.org/godknowswhereiam.


Mental Health PEER Connection is a peer-driven advocacy organization, dedicated to facilitating self-directed growth, wellness and choice through genuine peer mentoring.

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