Thanks to the PAW for featuring such an important and powerful story. We need to shine a light on mental illness, especially in the Princeton community where it can sometimes feel that only "perfect" lives are valued or acceptable. Princetonians, like all people, struggle with mental illness, job loss, addiction, chronic illness, suicide, and all the other challenges that life brings. Talking about these things more openly may lead people to seek help earlier and can also help normalize the experiences of families when a loved one is facing these challenges.

For April: I am inspired by your determination to build a life of meaning and fulfillment, even when there have been difficult and unexpected twists and turns on your path that could have derailed others. I am also touched by your description of the support your family has provided and how transformational that has been for you.

Mental illness impacted my family as well growing up. Unfortunately, as was so often the case in the past, it was not talked about openly, which just served to add an additional layer of confusion and frustration to the already present shame and stigma.

I applaud your openness in sharing your experience so others can learn from you. The more we all understand about mental illness and the wide ranging experiences people may have, the better we can collectively support people to live their fullest, best lives.

Harriet Patterson ’98