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Thursday, November 22, 2018

One Of Our Own.

"As a gay man living with HIV, mental illness and addiction, Mark wanted to help others living with such conditions.  To that end, in 2003, Mark, who has survived suicide attempts as well as prostate cancer, founder Pink & Bluesa peer-run recovery support group and safe space for LGBTQI people living with mental illness, substance abuse and health conditions, including HIV."


click here--> The POZ 100 2018 Mark A. Davis <--click here 
for the POZ Magazine listing 



"In 1987, Mark was elected founding president of the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association. A year later, he was diagnosed HIV positive."

"In 2009 Mark was awarded a Consumer Leadership Voice Award by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for his work in the mental health field, including advocating with survivors of suicide attempts.  Mark's goal is to help eliminate needless deaths by suicide and overdose that disproportionately affect LGBTQI people from all generations." (POZ 100 2018)"



I had the pleasure of meeting Mark back in 2008 at the LGBT Center in NYC where he was presenting on a panel discussion on Mental Health sponsored hosted by the Rainbow Heights Club.

Mark and I continued working together on various projects with the National Alliance on Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration since then.

Pictured above is a recent photo of Mark and I attending The Reunion Project Philidelphia.  We both spoke up on mental illness that day when the mic was passed around, others that same day started opening up about their own mental health and addiction recoveries.  Know you are not alone.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Help Feed Low Income LGBT New Yorkers with a Mental Illness


Become A Magician for a Day



Your Donation Helps to Feed Low Income LGBTQ New Yorkers Living With Serious Mental Illness. 
thank you  



November  21, 2018
  
Dear Friends,

Six years ago I came on board helping Rainbow Heights raise money for their Meals Program using my platform as the Bi Polar Bear by raising $1500.00, which became $3,000 by becoming a magician for a day as this is a $1 for $ 1 matching gift campaign.   What a joy it was for me to be able to perform such a trick.

I'm inviting you to also become a magician for the day knowing that your contribution doubles the minute you say these three magic words, "I can help." when you hit the make a contribution button found on the Rainbow Heights Club Go Fund Me Page  

I invite you to watch the short clip put together by Christian Huygen Ph.D Executive Director of Rainbow Heights Club and by the members who are asking you and also thanking you.

To do this simple click on the link below:


Deadline December 20, 2018


We need to raise $15,000 so we can continue to provide a free meal for our members each afternoon for the next 6 months.

Because of the generosity of one of our major donors, if we meet our goal of raising $15,000 through this campaign, that amount will be matched dollar for dollar, resulting in a total of $30,000 which will fund the program for a full year!

 Your Donation Helps to Feed Low Income LGBTQ New Yorkers Living With Serious Mental Illness. 



We need your help so that we can continue to provide a free hot meal to our consumers at the end of the program day.  100% of your donation will go directly to feed hungry New Yorkers by purchasing groceries and other consumables.
Meals are planned and prepared by members and volunteers.  Members suggest menus, create recipes and help to prepare and serve them. Each meal includes a vegetarian option, a healthy salad, a sugar-free drink, and a snack.
  • We provide over 200 free meals per week, over 8,000 free meals a year!
  • 94% of our members eat dinner at the club.
  • 87% of our members report this is usually their main meal of the day. 


If you prefer to mail in a donation, please do this ASAP as the deadline is December 20, 2018

Send Checks: Make checks payable to 
Rainbow Heights Club
Heights Hill Mental Health Service CAB
25 Flatbush Avenue, Third Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11217
ATTN:  C.Huygen



Your Donation Helps to Feed Low Income LGBTQ New Yorkers Living With Serious Mental Illness.  



Homeless LGBT Youth a Year Round Problem

Homeless LGBT YOUTH, Help Out However You Can 

Although never homeless, I did experience being told to get out being shouted at me when I was 21 by my dad who was just angry, the news daily was on AIDS and here I was coming out, thanks to mom who spoke up I remained.

Today I see many homeless people, not just homeless veterans, but younger people, with signs about being HIV+ and homeless, and although I wasn't HIV+ when my ordeal happened, I could easily see it happening and although not a remedy to these young homeless people I do what I can, which is giving them half of my lunch, water in the warmer months and hot beverage in the colder months.

Homelessness dates back as  1640, fast forward 1980's,  1981 the beginning of the National Coalition of the Homeless and my shining light on LGBT youth who are homeless, that and donating when I can, as I'm a resident in HUD housing and know the importance of permanent housing is to my own mental illness and substance abuse recoveries, as to tackle these one needs a safe place to live.

Facts on Homeless LGBT Youth


YOUTH    Source:  National Coalition of the Homeless

  • 20% of homeless youth are LGBT. In comparison, the general youth population is only 10% LGBT.
  • While homeless youth typically experience severe family conflict as the primary reason for their homelessness, LGBT youth are twice as likely to experience sexual abuse before the age of 12.
  • LGBT youth, once homeless, are at higher risk for victimization, mental health problems, and unsafe sexual practices. 58.7% of LGBT homeless youth have been sexually victimized compared to 33.4% of heterosexual homeless youth
  • LGBT youth are roughly 7.4 times more likely to experience acts of sexual violence than heterosexual homeless youth
  • LGBT homeless youth commit suicide at higher rates (62%) than heterosexual homeless youth (29%) 

There's less then a dozen non-profits in the USA today, mostly on the West Coast and East Cost, today I'm putting a donation in the mail to The Ali Forney Center, and writing this small piece raising awareness and to also ask you to donate through their website www.aliforneycenter.org
or by mailing a check payable to;      The Ali Forney Center
                                                           and mail to:
                                                           224 West 35th Street, 15th Floor
                                                           New York, NY     10001
                                                       



Tuesday, June 19, 2018

It's No Good to Suffer in Silence, to Treat Loneliness With Isolation



One of my dear Facebook friends posted a repost that she and I share a common interest in, loneliness and Isolation.  We all get these posts from time to time, they end by asking,  "at least one friend copy and repost (not share).  I wrote that I'd do better and repost on my blog, but read that it's good a good idea and would be better if I wrote my own story.

How we know one another is from local Senior Activity Center where we both met, and partake in programs that help bring people together.

Here we play bingo, parties like give-n-take where participants each bring three gifts worth $3.00 and we get five numbers and when a number is called we go to the table of gifts and take a bag, here's the thing there are more attendees then bags and anyone left with numbers gets to take from someone who has more than two bags.  It's a fun social event where lunch and dessert are served.


Other programs available are lunches for $1.25 suggestion, open to Seniors from town and surrounding towns and their friends.  It's here where I volunteer to teach basic computer skills, how to access wifi, the difference between data and wifi as the center offers wifi for free.

Rosemary and I understand these issues, we are both non-judgmental, supportive of one another, supportive of me as all who know me here know I struggle with Bipolar.  and aging with HIV“Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, or about 2.6% of the U.S. population age 18 and older every year.” (National Institute of Mental Health)."

Both of us have invited one another for coffee, made ourselves available to each other if we need to talk, we know the value of talking one on one, not with a text or email, those work and I have many friends around the World so meeting one on one isn't an option, but we do use Face time, Skype or Messenger or one of the many platforms that technology offers.

Just this past Sunday another friend asked me for help with her phone, I showed her how to take selfies and send to her family via a text where we asked if they have Skype as she wants to download and start video chatting.  

Many of our friends struggle with Isolation, Isolation doesn't discriminate it affects all walks of life and all ages.


Other Articles on Isolation and Loneliness:



Source: AgingCare.Com 


Resources:






Saturday, June 9, 2018

Long Term Survivors Awareness Day June 5th, 2018

HIV Long Term Survivors’ Awareness Day

With all of the recent advances in HIV treatment and prevention, it can be easy to forget those who have been living with HIV/AIDS before these advances – before the approval for PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) as prevention in 2012; before approval of the first ‘highly active antiretroviral therapy’ (HAART) that began the transformation of HIV into a chronic illness in 1996; before the approval of the first antiretroviral drug, AZT, in 1987 – before that, when HIV/AIDS was a death sentence. These people are considered Long Term Survivors, commonly known as LTS, and we honor this community on June 5th – the anniversary of the first report from the CDC on the illness that would come to be known as HIV/AIDS.
People who contracted HIV between these advances have very different lived experiences. Often dubbed “longest term survivors,” those who were HIV+ before the HAART era of treatment can suffer from forms of PTSD, not knowing whether they would live or die, and had often seen many friends wither away from the disease. Many survivors from this period also have long term side effects from early forms of therapy, which were much harsher on the liver, kidney and nervous system than current medications. Many also suffer not just from HIV, but from AIDS.
People living with HIV post HAART era, or after 1996, in many cases – though not all – had access to medications that were not only life-saving, but began the shift from HIV/AIDS as a fatal disease to a manageable chronic illness. And even more recently, going from a cocktail of drugs to only one or a few medicines a day.
Together, these LTS have witnessed monumental shifts in the way HIV/AIDS is treated, prevented and perceived, which is not to say that stigma and disparities do not exist.
Patient and Callen-Lorde Community Advisory Board member Bruce Pachter empathizes with people who have been recently diagnosed while acknowledging the perspective time has offered him. “I remember when I was first diagnosed. I made an appointment at Callen-Lorde and cancelled maybe 10 times because I knew. But I finally did it, and when the nurse called me in, I said you can’t tell me, but I know, and have to tell you. I’m HIV positive. At that point I was ready to accept my diagnosis. I had 86 T cells and a million and a half viral load. But I’ve come a long way since then.”
“Recently I was on a panel about being gay and aging, and I said, ‘Not only do I have to worry about geriatrics, but I also have to worry about how it affects my HIV status’ – and there were gasps. Someone went up to me after and said ‘You just outed yourself, how could you do that?’ And I said, ‘Everyone knows I’m gay, why do I care if they know I have HIV?’ So now, when people say to me ‘Why do you tell people?’ I say ‘Why not?’ People still have a stigma, but we have to break the stigma. If we just see each other as people instead of feelings attached to a label it’s a breakthrough. I’m proud of who I am.”
Callen-Lorde CAB Chair Stephen Pubiello agrees. “June 5th celebrates and honors long-term survivors of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and raises awareness of their unique needs and journeys. Each year since the inception, more and more LTS groups have started all over the country, each celebrating with a party, dinner, dance etc. There are also LTS groups on Facebook where groups range 200 – 4,500 members, offering day to day support on aging, questions on medications, and day to day life situations. It’s here in these groups where I’ve gotten my own support on mental health; it’s here that I know I’m not alone.”
Today, we honor all of the long term survivors and support them in their journey not just to survive, but to thrive.
Learn more and get resources at https://letskickass.hiv/