Brent on a cool day.

Brent was majoring in Architecture at Georgia Tech when his battle with a Bipolar disorder began.  I’ve never known Brent to be less than a gracious intellectual man.   At a reception for his senior thesis, he presented paintings that tell the story of his struggle with mental illness.   The painting’s navigate the compromised reality of schizophrenia and convey the shame and confusion he endured when he was most ill.   This body of work has been a cathartic review of that time for Brent. There is an understanding for him that comes from applying these ‘ceaseless connections’ to canvas and other found objects.

After incarceration and time in a mental hospital, the Rosalynn apartments offered Brent a foundation of Hope.  The Rosalynn Apartments are a place where they focus on the whole person and not just the illness.  The apartments were named for Mrs. Rosalynn Carter, a lioness for mental health.  It has been her goal for 40 years to reduce the stigma: * “Changing stigmas will change not only the willingness and acceptance to gain access to treatment by those affected by mental illness but also the quality and quantity of mental health treatment options.” 

Ms. Carter has become an advocate for the world with the development of The Carter Center.  The Carter Center is focusing on many projects, from improving agriculture to improving democracy to improving the lives of the mentally ill. One of the programs designed to jump the ‘stigma hurdle’ are Fellowships that provide stipends for journalists to stimulate discussion and inform the public about health care for the homeless, suicide, aging and mental health issues through newspapers, magazines, television, film and books.  Five writers, producers, or editors are selected each year to create projects and increase awareness about mental health issues.  * “There is tremendous potential for journalists to improve the public’s understanding of mental health issues and to play a critical role in reducing stigma and discriminating against people with mental illnesses.”    As one of the recipients of the Fellowship for Journalist’s, Joshua Wolf Shenk wrote about one of our greatest President’s who suffered from a lifelong battle of severe depression.  ‘Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness’, which was named one of the best books of 2005 by The New York Times.

Recently Brent spoke at a fundraiser for Project Connections; a program that enables the homeless to achieve dignity and self-sufficiency while living with and treating their mental illness.  Shown here, Brent shared his story and introduced Mrs.Carter.

“Habits of thought and behavior become blinders that must be removed to see that life is both half empty and half full and when it is either, we’ve decided so, because the level of life and water in our glass has never changed.” Jerome Lawrence

*quotes from Rosalynn Carter


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