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September 28, 2006 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-09-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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ference."
Now Lora is in her sophomore
year at Oakland Community
College studying culinary arts.
She says she's gone from taking
30 medications daily to only two,
and she's living in a supported,
independent program at a home
in Farmington Hills with three
roommates.
"I tried to go to school before,
but I never really succeeded:'
she said. "I almost had a ner-
vous breakdown over school,
but I've had a lot of support
here. They've helped me stay on
track."
Now she does the same for
others as one of two peer coun-
selors who work part-time for
Kadima.
As Lora tells her story, friend
Steve Katz recalls when Lora
first came, agreeing that she was
a troublemaker. She can't deny
the truth and clowns around,
holding two fingers to her head
to signify she was a little devil.
Steve shakes his head and says,
"Not any more."
He's been involved with
Kadima for nine years.
Diagnosed as schizophrenic,
he says he wasn't doing well
at home, so he moved into a
Kadima house. He's since "grad-
uated" and now lives in his own
apartment in Oak Park.
"I come to the activity center
a lot, and I have a lot of friends
from Kadima," Steve said. "I've
gotten a lot of support here. I'm
moving forward."

Stigma Lingers
Mental illness cuts across gen-
der, social and economic lines,
catching those who are single,
married, parents and profession-
als in a web that allows them to
cope as long as they can before
spiraling downward.
"How does it happen?" Shallal
said. "Who knows? Sometimes
it depends on how you're able to
handle the stresses of the world.
Sometimes something just puts
you over the edge."
For many, onset happens in
late adolescence, perhaps late in
high school or early in college.
"There's a tremendous amount
of shame for family members
— shame, resentment, anger:'
Shallal said. "Shame and stigma
start from Day 1. Denial often

36

September 28 2006

goes on and on
until the kid is
into early adult-
hood. Then the
dark curtain falls
and they start
accepting and
medication is
introduced.
"No one likes
the labels, even
the professionals.
There's fear asso-
ciated with the
mentally ill. And
the only time you
hear about it is
when someone is Janette Shallal, Kadima executive director: "I
hurt or killed by feel like clients are my brothers and sisters."
someone who is
mentally ill."
When Shallal learned she had
Shallal says Kadima is commit-
cancer last year, she debated
ted to educating and sensitizing
about telling her clients. The
the community about mental ill-
cancer now is in remission.
ness. Even some clients don't want
"But they are family and they
to be associated with Kadima and
really helped me," she said.
mental illness, she says.
"Every single one sent me a
"How do you do surgery on
card, called or dropped by for
stigma and shame?" she asked.
hugging and kissing. Here are
"It's an unfortunate
these people with
thing."
the worst disease,
While Kadima is not in
who put aside their
competition with JARC,
troubles and gave
an agency that's been
me their love. It was
around more than 45
so healing, and it
years, Shallal sees JARC's
or brought me closer to
cause getting more hype
understanding their
in the community.
pain."
Steve Katz
"Mental illness is not
Shallal says she
sexy enough — am I sup-
also feels a kinship
posed to take my clothes
with Jewish people.
off?" she said jokingly, but
"I'm very grateful
with genuine frustration.
to the community
"These clients are adults.
for taking care of its
It's easy to say they need
own. You have to step
to get off their butts. But
forward. If not, who
people need to be under-
will?"
standing."
D. Mic hael
Shallal, a Chaldean
Looking To
Kratc hman
married to a Russian
The Future
Jewish immigrant, is an
Thanks to donors,
empathetic, hands-on
Kadima owns its own
director.
three-story building
"I feel like clients are
on 12 Mile Road in
my brothers and sisters,"
Southfield, complete
she said. "How much suf-
with the activity cen-
fering should they and
ter on the lower level
their families have to
that offers a kitchen,
live with? Kadima helps
TV, billiards and ping-
Nancy Stein
them to feel less pain
pong tables, crafts
and turmoil and to live
area and room to
as productive lives as possible
relax and enjoy friends.
— with dignity, respect, love
Its $2.3 million budget sup-
and caring. And the reward is
ports programs run by 65 staff,
immediate changes in people's
including Nancy Stein, clini-
lives."
cal director. She says fees for

Lora Dibiase, 26, of Farmington Hills used to be a "little devil"

when she first came to Kadima.

services are very nominal and
that most clients are on fixed
incomes from Social Security •
or Social Security disability
and receive assistance from
Medicare or Medicaid.
D. Michael Kratchman of
Bloomfield Hills is chairman of
the Kadima board, which has
32 members, including a client.
About 10 on the board have a
family member who is a client.
"During my term, a goal has
been to add to the financial
stability of the organization:'
Kratchman said. "The other
main goal is to introduce
younger people to take over in
the future.
"It takes little arm-twisting
because Kadima sells itself. The
quality of what we do is impres-
sive. People realize it's an orga-
nization they can start with now
and grow with. And we're .fairly
unique in the U.S. We get calls all
the time. People don't know how
we do it."
Kadima is unique in its com-
prehensive approach — from
group homes to clinical services.
"I can't just offer shelter
and medication and not try.to
improve people's quality of life
by adding employment, social-
ization and therapy," Shallal said.
"This has added tremendously
to their lives and that of their
families."
At Kadima, clients are moni-
tored closely to make sure they
don't fall into the cyle of starting
their medication, then stopping
it when they feel better — which
leads to problems again.
"The staff knows everybody,

so someone will figure it out
quickly," Stein said. Also, the two
clients serving as peer counsel-
ors keep an eye out for trouble.
Families, too, are involved
in the healing. "No one family
or one agency can do it alone,'
Shallal said. "When we mobilize
parents, staff and resources, we
can do something.
Though the challenges are
great, Shallal remains optimistic.
"There is no cure," she said,
"but the research going on out
there is wonderful. I know we're
going to find some answers!" 7:

What did Abraham
Lincoln, Vincent van Gogh,
Charles Dickent, Winston
Churchill, Michelangelo and
Leo Tolstoy have in corn-
mon? Mental illness.
Kadima will host Joshua
Wolf Shenk, author of
Lincoln's Melancholy: How
Depression Challenged
a President and Fueled
His Greatness, at 7 p.m.
Thursday, Oct.19, in its
Zussman Activity Center,
15999 W.12 Mile Road,
Southfield. Shenk's talk
will be followed by a panel
discussion with Dr. Martin
Hershock of University of
Michigan-Dearborn and
Drs. Richard Ruzumna and
Seymour Baxter, both psy-
chiatrists and psychoana-
lysts.
Cost is $25, adults; $15,
students. For reservations,
call Leah Foltyn, (248) 559-
8235.

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