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David Israelian joins Kerry Morrison in a conversation that explores his passion about the importance of work, vocational rehabilitation, and purpose for people living with a mental illness in our communities.
David is the founder and CEO of Peer Mental Health and co-founder and CTO of Painted Brain.
Painted Brain has developed an effective clubhouse model for art, media, and tech group interventions for psychiatric populations that have been shown to increase connection, trust, and decrease anxiety.
Peer Mental Health was launched in August 2019 to create virtual community-based and workforce solutions to address the digital divide and access to care via telecommunication platforms. Peer Mental Health is the collaborating partner for this Heart Forward podcast.
In this candid conversation, David will share how his personal journey has informed his life’s work to create opportunities for peers to pursue purposeful careers and test their capabilities in the disciplines of technology and the arts. One emerges with a profound appreciation for the role that peers play in coming alongside others because they have walked the walk – often they’ve experienced hospitalization, incarceration, isolation, homelessness, and survived attempted suicide – hence they can help to inspire those on their recovery path to create solutions for others and serve as a beacon of hope.
[00:00:00] Hello friends. Welcome back to heart forward conversations from the heart. This is Carrie Morrison. We are now more than halfway through our first season. And I am so encouraged by the tremendous feedback we have received about the interviews uploaded so far. And today I am especially excited to share a conversation with David Israelian leader of two very unique organizations, co-founder of painted brain and founder of peer mental health peer mental health, as you may have figured out by now is our collaborating partner for this podcast.
[00:00:35] Today, you’ll hear about the mission and vision of these two organizations, but you are also going to gain a glimpse into David’s life that informs his passion for equipping peers to pursue purpose wives. I have to admit in real time while recording this interview, I almost could not breathe because I was so taken by the authenticity of David’s story, his willingness to share in such a transparent [00:01:00] way, the journey he has been on.
[00:01:02] Living with and adapting to a mental illness has impacted me deeply. And I trust it will for our listeners as well. This was my experience hearing David’s story. I cannot imagine anything more frightening than visiting a grandmother’s house and seeing the heads on the angel sculptures on the wall, turning and talking to me.
[00:01:24] But as a child, how do you know whether that is real or not? What is so remarkable about David’s life story of surviving the onset of childhood schizophrenia, the bullying of classmates and the torment of delusion, which shattered his grip on reality is the evidence of an inner core of resilience and optimism that defines this life.
[00:01:47] He shares something quite profound in this interview. He says, people asked me if you could take schizophrenia away, well, why would I? That’s what makes me, me. That’s my lens. [00:02:00] Why would you take away what has actually supported my development and becoming who I am? Why would you take that from me?
[00:02:08] Prepare to be inspired. He welcomed heart forward in another conversation from the heart this week. I am so excited to. Welcome my friend, David Israelian to this zoom chat we’re having. And, David, you know what. I, I feel like I’ve been talking to you all summer. We’ve always been texting or on the phone or on zoom, but you have the dubious distinction of being the very last person.
[00:02:39] I actually had a restaurant meal with before this pandemic hit and I just checked my calendar. you and me and Ellen Sachs had a lovely. Breakfast together in Westwood on March 14th, right before everything shut down. I trust you. Remember that morning. [00:03:00] I do. I do. And I mean, I can’t pronounce the name of the restaurant properly, so I won’t, but, leg pain code Le pain.
[00:03:09] Quotidien well I don’t speak French, I’m sure that’s why I just didn’t want to mess up. But that’s good. Not big the last day. Well, welcome. So, so glad you’re here and I can’t wait till we can have breakfast again in person, but, yeah, it was, I want to talk today about, Your, the organizations that you work with, which are very unique and play a very important role, in the space of providing purpose and vocation for people living with mental illness in our society.
[00:03:39] But I also want to understand your, your journey and your passion for this work and how you got to this place. So let’s start with what, what are, you know, who are you right now with respect to these organizations? There’s. Three that I see referenced a peer mental health painted brain and Cody PI T tell us [00:04:00] who you are in relation to those three organizations.
[00:04:03]that’s a great question. The way that I identify myself in these organizations is first appear because, you know, it’s kind of like if you don’t use your own application, you’re always going to have a bias perspective of what you’re serving others. And so I’ve been able to allow myself to be vulnerable by saying, Hey, I’m a peer first.
[00:04:29] So that I have a very clear perspective of how we’re addressing challenges of mental health and homelessness, and then professional second, and how I view myself in between as a mental health advocate, I tie those two together because although it’s, yes, you are a peer, but it is your job. It’s your occupational identity.
[00:04:49] That’s tied to that. So it becomes sort of the. The central point of how I conduct myself as a mental health advocate. So painted brain is what is painted [00:05:00] brain. I think that’s the first organization you affiliated with. Yeah. So going back to 2009, I had the vision of integrating technology applications for the mental health community to support wellness and painted brain.
[00:05:15] The inception of it came from the idea of connecting individuals that were siloed. Given the deinstitutionalization policies of 1970, that moved folks from communities into an individualized support model. And so painted brain was responding to that. As you can see, as decades of Domino’s effect that you have to sort of undo.
[00:05:39] And so connecting like-minded individuals through different types of community-based organizations or mental health agencies that provide clinical support was the key to bridge them together. And we did that through the publication of a magazine and it grew, and as it grew, we knew that we have to be in the forefront of technology.
[00:06:00] [00:05:59] So that we can lead them into a social media workforce that we can offer, which is around creating jobs for peers in technology and media. And so that naturally grew and painted brain in 2009. Our platform was the magazine. It wasn’t social media. Now it’s all social media. So we’re talking about 11 years later, magazines are perhaps not as relevant a medium anymore.
[00:06:23] So what is Cody pie? Which I love that name. Thank you. Cody pie. I thought of it as like, okay, this is a pie and everybody gets a slice, right? Unless you’re a glutton and you just consume everything, which is what seems to be in the for-profit model. That a lot of people don’t really put social enterprise in the forefront of their mission.
[00:06:44] So for me, I said, okay, We’re going to be very transparent. I have mental health challenges of grandiosity and whatnot. And so it’s very easy to fall victim to your own mental illness when you are a narcissist, when, when you [00:07:00] have delusional thoughts around grandiosity. And so I said, okay, how do I challenge myself simultaneously and start something that gives back to the community.
[00:07:09] And also ties in with this recovery model, like a vocational rehabilitation program. And so I said, well, you’re going to be the first of your own patients. I call myself a peer. I don’t like the word patient, but you’re going to be the first. And so that discipline is what keeps you centered and focused on giving back and supporting others rather than looking at it from the, when you look at a pyramid model, the executives sit at the top.
[00:07:33] Right. But the idea of this is that. You flip it, you flip it and it becomes this vertical pyramid. And the idea is that all of the constituents, the peers, the stakeholders are at the very top now. And there’s a Staffold that builds up to that. And so you’re keeping them in mind and if they’re having an enriched life experience, then you’re doing the right thing.
[00:07:56] Otherwise you’re living it for yourself. And so again, you’re [00:08:00] no different than any other core profit company. Cody pie is a technology company. That’s a social enterprise focused on supporting peers, living with mental health challenges and housing insecurity to overcome their adversities and create opportunities around the workforce.
[00:08:17] And so a lot of what we do with CodiPie is we think of all the challenges that peers are going to face, especially during this COVID pandemic, that we’re going to be able to address those challenges using technology. And as you can see technology companies, they’re thriving. All the physical spaces now have been taking a hit, but on the virtual end we are thriving.
[00:08:40] And so the more we focus on that, And not to detour from how to bill, you know, the idea of building something that people consume physically, like drinking coffee or eating obviously. But the idea is that we’re looking for sustainable solutions. We don’t want to be a part of the problem. Right. And so that’s the [00:09:00] idea of moving forward with what’s viable.
[00:09:01] You’re on the cusp of where the jobs are going to be in the 21st century and especially the post pandemic world. So let’s press pause for a moment on these two roles. And we’ll also return back to Peer Mental Health in a few moments. I want to get to know you a little bit better. Well, you, you and I have actually communicated a lot this summer because we’ve been working together.
[00:09:22] And we’ll talk a little bit about that in the course of this conversation, but I realized, I just don’t know much about you as a person, like where you were born, where you’re from a little bit of your life story that kind of brought you to this place and kind of informs your passion for this space. So tell me a little bit about that, David.
[00:09:39] Thank you. Yeah, I, I’m a private type of person, you know, I’m a recluse and so I. I definitely, you know, I think about it, like, I’m, I’m just gonna unload, you know, I’m not going to hold back. The transparency is, is real. I’ve always kept distant with people because I live with so many different challenges that the closer people get, then they realize, Hey, [00:10:00] you know, I thought the world of him true.
[00:10:02] But at the same time, wow. He is really living with these challenges and I don’t know how close I can get before I hit my threshold. And it’s not to say I’m not warm or that I don’t have the level of compassion or empathy to be able to have people congregate with me. But it’s the idea that. There is so many different complications of how I live my life as a part of my recovery that I don’t want disruptions.
[00:10:28] It’s a level of controlling my environment, controlling myself so that I can, Hey, provide solutions to the mental health community and be able to focus. So going back to my Genesis, I was born in Burbank, California. I wish I could say I was born in another country and make it very exotic, but no, just Burbank, California.
[00:10:51] And, I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in Westwood and my father was Jewish and I grew up with this very interesting split [00:11:00] between, Israeli Armenian to, Russian Armenian family. Both at odds and it did surprise they ever came together, but there, and very passionate, hot blooded individuals.
[00:11:12] So I think that’s why I. That’s why for the schizophrenia and OCD. Now, when you make some Israeli in Armenian, you get schizophrenia. No kidding. it was quite a combination. Yeah. But, but the idea really was that, you know, I grew up in this neighborhood with very cultured, individuals, very passionate, very selfless, and I began to experience.
[00:11:33] At a very young age, visual and auditory hallucinations, as well as our factory hallucinations. And so I was really the first experience that I can remember is I was in the living room and my father was soldering. He was a electrical engineer. He was an inventor, a great guy. And not really, he was, I mean, he’s a great guy, but he’s gotten a lot of complications in himself.
[00:11:57] Like he was soldering. And so I [00:12:00] began to hear something happening in the kitchen that wasn’t no one was in the kitchen. So I, I started to hearing, drawers, cabinets, opening up and things that were happening and I’m like, what’s who’s in there. So I walked over and no one was in there. And my father was focused on his work.
[00:12:20] So he didn’t really care, you know, like he wasn’t questioning anything around him. And in that time, I, I began to, you know, I was confused. I was very young. How old were you? I was about four or five between that age. And from there I would visit my grandmothers. Frequently. And I was in her living room and she had the TV on and there were these angel sculptures statues and different types of art that were all framed mounted to the wall.
[00:12:52] And they began turning their heads. That seems so young to be having, they called it [00:13:00] schizophrenia form form. It’s when you, when it starts at a very early age of schizophrenia. And so it was childhood schizophrenia is another term for them. And so they turned and were talking to me, but I couldn’t comprehend.
[00:13:12] It was an audible sounds that I was hearing. And, but the interesting part was I didn’t love this until later in life that every time I would have a visual hallucination, I would first smell soldering. And that began to, I started to put it together that what I was tying it in was my, and I don’t know if this is trauma.
[00:13:32] Right, because it’s always that trauma is a loop or if it’s simply a part of that experience, because it was my first impression that I had of auditory hallucinations when my father was soldering and I was smelling him solder. So it made that connection. So every time I was about to experience, auditory or visual hallucination, I realized.
[00:13:54] I smell soldering. So it’s coming. Let’s like someone who has an ARRA before a migraine, a kind of a [00:14:00] warning sign. Exactly. Wow. So that was my take of, okay, this is what’s going on now with you. You have warning signs and you just need to be mindful of that. That every time you might experience something other worldly.
[00:14:14] Well, that might just be up in here, not so much as out here. And so having that type of grounding, it centered me into my recovery, but it didn’t necessarily mend because as I got older, you know, leaving Westwood, my father left us at a very young age. I was eight years old. He dropped us off on the one, 10, one, 10 South freeway.
[00:14:36] And I love my father, you know, but I’m just going to kind of come out because eventually everyone’s going to hear about it and he couldn’t take it anymore. He lived with schizophrenia as well. And so he couldn’t handle having responsibility over his businesses and also being a part of a family. and so we were left on the side of the freeway.
[00:14:55] And that was the start of my, sort of, I would say where things got really [00:15:00] dark in my experiences with schizophrenia. How old were you when that happened? The darkness stepped in and around the age of nine and all of my visual and auditory hallucinations became extremely dark. And I used to turn on the blow dryer to, to shut off the noise because I couldn’t take the distortion.
[00:15:17] I would hear a conversation with somebody, but the problem was I wasn’t hearing it in their pitch of what they were delivering. I was hearing it several octaves lower. So it was, it sounded very demonic. So somebody would talk to me and say, Hey, how are you? I would hear, you know, or. So as a, as a child, you probably had no one to even help process that with that would be horrifically scary.
[00:15:43] Yeah, it was extremely scary. It was calm. It was, it was. And then, the problem too is, you know, blow dryers cost a lot of money to run. So it was, it was a very costly child. I, I used to also run a lot of baths. And so my mother was like, look, we can’t [00:16:00] afford this. So whatever you’re doing, you need to stop.
[00:16:03] But when I think back, that was my way of addressing my own mental health challenges is turning on the blow dryer for white noise. I love vacuums. I couldn’t wait until my mother would vacuum. I almost, I would set it up. I wouldn’t, I would literally throw up a bunch of crackers on the floor and tell my mom, Hey, you know, come and vacuum here.
[00:16:22] There’s it’s a big mess, just so that I could hear the white noise. And it was, it was that that’s how desperate I was to escape. The sounds. And for the visual I would see. And just people always ask me, what do you see? I would see waves of energy. That was one thing. I describe it now as an adult, but then I was just thinking, what the heck is this?
[00:16:43] Right. and then I would see ghosts, Sterling, silver individuals that were translucent. And again, I used to question myself at an, at a later age. I’m like, am I a medium? Or am I just schizophrenia? Because I don’t, it’s very, [00:17:00] very controversial because in the religious and the faith-based communities, they’re like, you’re a medium, or you’ve been gifted by God to have these, the ability to see the other side.
[00:17:09] And then on the more clinical side of the, of the argument it’s, Hey, you are a schizophrenic, but if you think about it, it’s really beautiful because everybody has their translation of what they call mental illness or what I’m experiencing. Somebody says I’m a medium and their language and the other person says no, you’re schizophrenic.
[00:17:30] Right? And so you, when I think about it, I’m like, it doesn’t really matter to me what you want to call or label this. You can call it Frank, you can call it Bob. I’m still going to experience it. So, whatever it is, your reality. Exactly. It’s the perception. And in reality, that makes through the projection of your own reality.
[00:17:48] So who cares? Right. So with this experience as a child, I grew up, I went through that downward spiral after my father left us. And I began having these negative [00:18:00] experiences with my visual hallucinations and it grew and grew to the extent that I wasn’t able to focus in school viewer, a teacher or a principal or any faculty member in the school that I was at at the time that you would find me mainly in the restrooms, I would have been in the, you know, in this just hanging out in the stall or.
[00:18:21] And trying to just be in by yourself, kind of sequestering yourself away from the kids and the kids didn’t know, no one really liked me. I had a speech impediment and a stutter, which didn’t help to prevent getting bullied, which honestly, I’m going to say this cause a lot of people are against bullying.
[00:18:39] At least in my experience, bullying strengthened me. Let’s put it that way. I’m not going to say I can don’t bullying. But when I look at myself, when you think of what, everything that sums up of your character, who you are and where you’re going, where you’re heading, everything has to be included. You can’t, nothing goes in vain, all the bad, all the good, all the ugly has to be included.
[00:18:59] And [00:19:00] so I’m not against somebody trying to bully me because it’s my decision that I make. Of what I’m going to do with that energy. It’s the transference of energy that you have to be more focused on rather than the actual idea of being heard. And so that victimization, like I never took that idea of and victimize myself.
[00:19:17] I just said, you know what, thank you. You know, that’s growth. So coming back into this whole downward spiral, I was between the ages of 18 and 19. My father came back into my life and he said, son, here’s, here’s some money I’m going to invest in me. He was a businessman. and by the way, just, just letting everybody know when my father left us, my mother had to go on welfare.
[00:19:42] So, you know, I wasn’t privileged at that point. So I’m just letting everybody know this is, this one, some sort of Disney fairy tale of any sort of, you know, people think of success and success can be very subjective. And so my father left us [00:20:00] shackles to me. And so we were all, you know, desperate just to put it out there.
[00:20:04] I used to steal. Just to get by. There would be a book fair. And I would go in to the book fair as a child. And I would memorize exactly where the books were positioned to every single thing. And I would wait, I would go under the chairs and I would grab them from the back of their frame. And I would grab all the books and I would put it into my backpack and go home sad because I knew my mother couldn’t afford it.
[00:20:26] And they didn’t have a program to support kids that were low income. So they left me with no choice and I was very curious to learn. So I couldn’t help him this between the ages. Again, coming back to this, my father coming back in my life and he invested in a production company. You said you’re going to be in charge.
[00:20:45] And I say, wow, like a movie, like a movie production company, production and company. And I said, wow, are you, are you out of your mind? And so with that, my father came back into my life. He invest in the production company. And that production company [00:21:00] entailed. We had a movie sets. We had, you know, sets and actually what we, where I met, Paul Robinson, who was, supporting on the technical level.
[00:21:07] You’re right. He’s our technical guru. That’s right. Yep. And so it was during that time that I started to leave my mind. I was disassociating. I was losing track of time. I was losing track of reality and it was, so let me just ask a question. You were around 18 ish at that time, just prior to that, David, did anybody through the school system or through, your, your doctor, did anyone start to provide some language or assessment to what you had been experiencing since you were four years old?
[00:21:38]what the school accommodated me with was how they were viewing me rather than what the therapist would relay. I had anger management issues, so they put me in anger management class and they would pull me actually really paint the picture. They would pull me during class to be placed in that room, which mortified me, everyone knew what was going on.
[00:21:59] Even [00:22:00] with my speech impediment and stutter, they would pull me from class. So every kid in there con witness that I was being pulled into my speech therapy and they knew because they would make fun of me. They’re like, ah, he’s going to go and exercise his tongue, that lazy tongue of his, I can’t move around.
[00:22:18] It was terrible. I don’t, I, I don’t like public school system. That’s all I can say because first of all, the teachers are underpaid. They’re not incentivized to care. You know, they have their own problems. You can’t expect them to all be saints and they’re, and they’re not mental health professionals. So again, I think mental health ed, it, it kind of shows me, I know you have a huge heart for children and for, for those who are marginalized by poverty, and I’m seeing a little bit of where that came from.
[00:22:48] So let’s go back ups now, you’re, you’re a young adult. Now your illness seems to be manifesting itself in different ways, which is. Pulling you in a new direction. So yeah. Continue that, that part of the [00:23:00] story. Yeah. So my illness began to draw me out of reality. I had developed a new identity. I had an accent.
[00:23:08] I had a different origin story. I wasn’t from America. And when people met me, they, they remembered me as a different person. You know, even they said, even your, your face looked different, everything was just different, your persona. And so at that point, I had stepped into a psychosis. And so I was living as that individual that I had, created.
[00:23:31] As maybe a defense mechanism against the world. And so that person was strong. There was nothing that can get in their way, no hurdle that can stop them. And so for me, that was powerful. So I began doing things. and I don’t want to use the word. Apparently I began doing things, but I want to say, apparently I began committing to show the power.
[00:23:53] It was a power move on your part. It was a power, it was control. It was a part of my healing process, which [00:24:00] I don’t want to condone and tell people, Hey, yeah, do what I did. That’s a part of your recovery story. You’ll be fine. No, what I did was terrible and I will never. Repeat that obviously again, and it’s not even something that I’d like to take responsibility for as saying I take credit for all the things I did, but it’s a level of, if you’re impeding in others, freedom to me, that’s mental illness.
[00:24:23] If you, you are managing your mental health challenges, then that’s that’s mental health. Health illness. Those two are very different. It’s an illness when it’s current it’s health, when you’re managing it, it’s in remission. Right. And so that’s why, when people say mental health challenges, you know, it’s kinda, it takes the power away from managing it and recovery, because what’s the word that you use when you’re in remission.
[00:24:50] I don’t think anybody knows, they say, Oh, hello. My name is David Israelian. I’m living with mental health. It’s like, well, [00:25:00] okay, this is good for you. But, so yeah, so coming to this point of, this gray area of my, my time. Where there was no center. I was an extremist. I began committing grand theft. And so it was a level of grand theft auto and grand theft.
[00:25:17] I look back on that time. So fascinating for me to hear the story told in your own words. But do you look back and does it feel like you at that time or does it feel like a different person? Do you remember that? How do you process that now? I, I can’t relate with the person who was committing the act in the sense of it happened.
[00:25:39] I can relate with the reasoning, I can say, Oh, well, of course, you know, you’ve cornered this person. They don’t feel like they have another direction. And so they’ve taken that. So that’s the idea of when you see recidivism, they don’t have the platform, they don’t have the foundation. They’re not privileged.
[00:25:56] They don’t feel empowered. They don’t feel they have the [00:26:00] resources. And so they’ll do what, they’ll, what they have to do to survive. And then simultaneously cope with whatever trauma or mental health challenge that are living with at the time. And so when I look back on my actions, I’m like, Whoa, you were homeless.
[00:26:14] You were looking for solutions that you weren’t privy to. And so you created your own, you crafted your own plan of, you know, robbing banks was something that it was, it was in that narrative. You thought that it was the right thing to do at the time. So looking at you now, knowing you’re the CEO of an organization or two organizations, and you employ people, it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around that, but it, it strikes me as is so profoundly important to know.
[00:26:45] That that’s the trajectory of someone who’s not connected with treatment or help. So what changed that trajectory for you? You know, when did you get the help that you needed to move the life in a different direction? That’s a really great [00:27:00] question. I, so, and, and just to add, I had a Stanford university, a scholarship to study computer science that dropped off because of my psychosis, just that.
[00:27:09] But that didn’t happen. Obviously I did take the online course and it went, it went downhill from there, because of my mental health challenges. And so I, I, I believe being put into a confined space being, in a locked facility experiencing, the loss of freedom was very, very helpful for me. Yes.
[00:27:34] True. I did want to commit suicide while I was in there and I did attempt. And when I did get out, I did, because it was a question Mark on my identity. I didn’t know who I was any longer. I couldn’t trust my own. My, my mind I’ve I, I, I was, at a loss of time, a loss of, responsibility over my actions and that’s scary to be.
[00:27:56] Swimming in that concept. Like, just picture yourself [00:28:00] now, carry that you’re doing this podcast with me and you black out, and now you’re waking up in a mental health hospital. So it’s scary. You’re not gonna, it doesn’t feel good. And you question everything about yourself and then you sometimes join in on the stigma around mental illness.
[00:28:17] You say, yeah, those people are sick and they need to be locked up. And so for me, I was one of them. I was like, geez, lock me up. Don’t and throw the key away because who knows? I was convicted. They have me as a criminally insane person that could maybe, you know, never be reentered into society and shouldn’t be, indefinitely in a mental health hospital.
[00:28:38] And what a, what a shame and what that would have been in vain, because I mean, what I’ve contributed to our community and I can acknowledge it is a lot more than 90% of the world population in the sense of if they have the same challenges. What would they have done? Right. It’s a psychological warfare that you experience when you have schizophrenia of how I was [00:29:00] able to do this.
[00:29:01] I think that having that initial experience of being in a locked facility, appreciating the freedom, taking responsibility over all of the things I did. I hacked systems. I was committing bank fraud or bank robbery hacking and getting ahold of cards. I had stolen 40,000 credit cards. That’s a lot of credit cards to have in your back pocket.
[00:29:22] And I was on the run and I was homeless. So having that was terrible. And the FBI coming after you, and it’s just this really weird world that you’re living in. You’re, you’re running, you’re constantly running. and it was just uncomfortable. I can remember the one thing I can, I remember feeling cause I would come in and out of my psychosis and I do recall.
[00:29:45]looking at myself and being confused, very confused at times, like, what is going on? Why am I in this? What am I wearing? Like, I was just so confused from the border and also confused by the text messages. I [00:30:00] had people calling me and texting me that I didn’t even recognize their phone numbers. I didn’t, I didn’t even know what the hell they were saying.
[00:30:06] I had, a girlfriend at the time that I didn’t even recognize. I didn’t, I didn’t know who this person was. And they were texting me saying, how dare you call me such and such? And I said, I’m sorry. Sorry, who is this? Oh my goodness. Which made it worse. And so can you can’t imagine when you’re in that state and you’re building relationships with some weird people or maybe not so weird people in your you’re apparently in a relationship.
[00:30:33] It is scary. So I have to ask this question, forgive me, because as you know, I’m a lay person and I I’m learning a lot, about this illness. When you say you came out of a psychosis, so the psychosis is a place where you have these delusional thoughts that are not really attached to reality, as I understand it.
[00:30:51] And then does the brain just naturally like emerged from that into a time of lucidity on its own. And then. Then the pattern can start up again. Just [00:31:00] describe how you could be at that place of lucidity, where you are detached from what the girl you met, the text messages you’ve received. Yeah, it’s I can’t put a timeframe, but I do know that depending on if, if somebody was administering like a tranquilizer, for instance, to put me to sleep so that I can force me into sleep because I wasn’t sleeping during that time I was up, I couldn’t sleep.
[00:31:24] And that perpetuated that psychosis. Because the key is really sleep. And so in, it takes about two weeks to a month sometimes to get people out of a psychosis. And so the problem is when you’re not in a care facility, you’re not gonna have that controlled environment to come out of this. So randomly I would have this clarity.
[00:31:44] I’m like, Whoa, What the hell is going on, but then it would suck me back in like a black hole into a new, alternative alternate reality. And so it was complicated. And then from there it perpetuated the next, you know, the [00:32:00] next stage, but there was no preparation. Then I woke up in prison and then you wake up and you’re in the mental health hospital.
[00:32:07] And so you’re constantly losing track of time location feelings when you wake up and you can’t recognize. Even the scent of where you’re waking up from. That’s scary. No one really talks about how, when you wake up in the morning, there is certain expectations of what you’re going to smell, even then, you know, it’s Oh, it’s it’s morning, you know, nothing is smelling weird, you know, hopefully.
[00:32:31] And if you smell smoke, Oh my gosh, there’s a fire. If you smell urine. That is another level of what the heck is going on with me. Why am I smelling urine? And it’s not that I urinated on myself. It’s because I woke up and I was in prison and somebody had urinated on the phone. That is wild. Oh my gosh, David, again, it’s just hard for me to wrap my mind around.
[00:32:55] Knowing you now in this chaos you were experiencing, it sounds [00:33:00] like through your twenties, likely we’re really early twenties and it lasted about three and a half years. So what also helped people always ask what’s the recovery story? I was a part of a full service partnership with. Hathaway Sycamore for at-risk youth.
[00:33:14] So when I say I’m a peer, so describe what a full service partnership is for the lay people listening to this podcast. Okay. So a full-service partnership, they meet you where you’re at. So if you’re living in an apartment complex or a homeless shelter, their therapist, their case manager, they’ll come to you.
[00:33:34] So they’re mobilized. And the idea of having to schlep over all of your belongings to get to the clinic is not practical for so many folks. So when they’re at that at-risk point, the team comes out to you and they do whatever they can to support you and build that infrastructure. The foundation for your recovery.
[00:33:53] So if you need financial aid, if you need a therapist, if you need a ride, if you need stipend, if you need a [00:34:00] job, every single, which way they have this whole person care. And so for me, it was perfect. I’m like, Oh my gosh, but it was extremely embarrassing too, because mind you, I come from a very, and I, and I’m not proud of this, but.
[00:34:13] Armenians and Israelis Jews are sometimes they’re nationalists. So they’re very proud. You know, they’re very ethnocentric and they’re like, Oh, I am me. And I can stand for myself and no one can support me. I made it on my own. No, no one really typically makes it on their own. You know, it takes a village.
[00:34:31] And so. Being open-minded to gaining those services was a key to my recovery because you have to throw away your ego. You have to throw away your pride and say, you know what? Just wait for me outside the door. I’ll come back to you when I’m ready. But right now I just need support and you need to stop deluding me from, from how you think I’m doing.
[00:34:51] Okay. And I’m not. And it’s okay to not be okay. That’s saying that you hear now, so yeah. You know, one thing I want to mention about being a peer and how that reflects on painted [00:35:00] brain and its development, it is a surprise to most people. When I give talks, like everyone says, well, you’re so well cut in a sense that you look the part of an executive or a leader, but again, what does that even look like?
[00:35:11] Right. So I think that idea of when you, when you try to develop this occupational identity or even just general identity, you’re always looking around you and you’re trying to adapt and adopt simultaneously. Oh, I like how, the way they dress. I like the choice of words. And for me as a person with the social developmental issues, you know, being that, you know, having schizophrenia, I did have to take from my environment.
[00:35:37] And try to construct this very neuro-typical looking or acting person to get by. It’s a defense mechanism. It’s either I’m going to survive or I’m going to fail and I’m going to end up being another statistic. And I didn’t want that. So I know, I know that you had, interviewed Dr. Mary Watkins. Utila accompaniment.
[00:35:55] Yes. Mutual accompaniment. And it’s so powerful to me because a lot of what [00:36:00] painted brain and peer mental health in its development, and, you know, sort of the motto is that we go into places where individuals as peers dwell, we go to those social abandonment areas and we sort of in solidarity to them as well as having that compassion and that word, compassion being walked, being in their shoes.
[00:36:22] Being able to understand and empathize with them on a very personal level. That’s the power. Right? And so that to me is suffering with them is a part of that resistance. Right? And I really what Dr. Mary Watkins said about that creating this term mutual accompaniment is powerful because it’s the consistency of that that allows people to recover and to feel connected in their community.
[00:36:48] And so for me, the world is broken, but if we can have a place, a safe space, right. That is a safe Haven that we can congregate and be around and [00:37:00] not feel judged and not feel so broken as the world projects. Then we can project our own reality into the world. That’s why I wanted painted brain and peer mental health to be in the forefront of, of media and technology.
[00:37:14] Not because. It’s going to support overall wellness necessarily. It’s also because when you look at the great giants of technological advancement in an inventions discoveries, most of the people were all mentally ill that discovered it. Excuse me. Our people are the reason why we’re on this zoom call.
[00:37:32] You know what I mean? This is Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, you name it. All these people came forward. They all lived with their own mental health challenges and people forget. So again, even that narrative of like, you know, me being an executive and starting on this companies, it’s not a big deal because our people, and I don’t want to say our people and put that divide, but they were the ones that.
[00:37:55] Lay the foundation for technology to be built and to be, you know what [00:38:00] I’m saying, to have this launching pad. And so of course, you know, as long as you’re managing it, you’re going to be fine about your story. So inspiring to me in the Italian context in , what I learned is they really hold dear to the values of the United nations, declaration of human rights in the UN declaration of human rights.
[00:38:20] People have a human right to a sense of purpose and vocation, which is something we don’t really embrace the United States because we kind of lean towards civil rights or constitutional rights, but a human right to purpose. And I see that baked through everything that you stand for, something I read, or maybe heard you on some of the research I did for this.
[00:38:40] You mentioned that teaching people, coding and technology is a way to accelerate mental health recovery. Talk about that, because I noticed that you even will take these workshops into IMDs, which for the lay audience, those are locked facilities. And you wouldn’t necessarily think about taking technology [00:39:00] courses into a locked facility.
[00:39:01] So talk about your logic there. Yeah. So for me, you know, I was in a locked facility. And they didn’t have computers. They didn’t have any smart devices around the new moon exists then. I mean like the tablets and smartphones, but I wanted to actually smartphone did exist. I wanted something to code, to program software programming, right.
[00:39:23] A text editor, but I didn’t have it. So I was coding on paper and then the clinicians would walk by and like, what are you doing? Like I’m coding and you know, I’m going to render this code eventually in my mind. And then I would hallucinate the visual rendering of this code because that’s what kept me going.
[00:39:40] I’m like, okay, I’m going to be okay. They don’t have computers who cares? I’m going to be okay. And so I would code. And then when I thought about it, I said, wow, look at this. I wonder how many other individuals that are bored out of their minds? Technically they’re already out of their minds. Now they’re even more, there is no mind.
[00:39:56] They’re just in this weird limbo, limbo [00:40:00] between realities and what if we can get smart devices? Into those facilities. What if we can train them? What if we can keep them occupied on an occupation so they can develop their identity around that? Cause most people, when you meet them, you say, Hey, how are you doing?
[00:40:14] What’s going on? Nice to meet you. What do you do for a living? That’s one of the first questions. That’s what, one of the most profound questions that people always ask, because they’re trying to connect. They’re trying to figure out what you like, what you do, how do you survive in this world? What feeds you every day?
[00:40:30] Right? And so without that, these people get discharged. They have nowhere else to go. They don’t have a network. And so they’re left with their meds for seven days, and then they have a bunch of this, you know, paper, piece of paper that says these are resources for you. And then they’re like, well, great. I don’t have a phone.
[00:40:48] Let’s start there. Where, where is my smart device? Where’s my phone. So that I can call the people up. Where’s the location home. I don’t even have a tap card. I don’t have, you know, I don’t have the resources to even [00:41:00] transport my body from point a to B. And so for us, we said, okay, we need to prepare them for re-entry because once they leave the facility, They’re going to be thinking exactly what I was thinking, what the fuck am I going to do now?
[00:41:14] Right. And so I, I said, okay, they need digital resources. They need to be technologically savvy. And there’ll be more competitive in the job market because we’ll get their resume built. We’ll get them certified while they’re in there. And even if no one recognizes it, Hey, we do. So then we’ll hire them when they come out.
[00:41:31] Right. And so that was the idea is keeping their mind occupied because when they’re focused to me, it seemed that their symptoms have decreased. My observation was that their symptoms have decreased and by the way, have soda in mind. So, you know, using this train, the trainer model, You know, this pure run, a training program, empowered them.
[00:41:53] They felt safe. They didn’t feel like somebody was coming in there to speak down to them. Like, Hey, you are [00:42:00] so screwed up. And so uneducated, we’re about to educate, you know, it was more like, Hey, tell us your story and let’s see how we can help you build your strengths and focus on that and turn it into an asset.
[00:42:13] Even your mental illness is an asset. You know, people ask me if you could take schizophrenia away. Right. Would you? I was like, no, why would I that’s what makes me me? That’s my lens. Why would you take away what I’m so used to? What’s actually supported my development and becoming who I am. Why would you take that for me?
[00:42:32] They basically take my left. You can take my left leg. You could take my right leg, take my arms, but don’t take my mental illness. That’s my statement to the world. Don’t take that because that’s me. Yeah, no, that is, that’s your calling. Everything you’ve gone through gives you the very special and unique standing to come alongside people, just as you’re describing in the solidarity of having been in those scary places in those dark places.
[00:42:59] So let’s [00:43:00] talk about peer mental health, because I know that that is kind of your dream to create an organization kind of on your terms, that with your vision on your website, it’s a virtual community for peers looking to. Redefined mental health through arts technology and science. Tell us about this organization and your dreams for peer mental health.
[00:43:19] So pure mental health was created in response to a lot of the adversities I saw and it’s painted brains development. So a lot of what we couldn’t do the limitations. Right. So when you think of a five Oh one C3, non-profit, there’s a lot of red tape and it’s difficult to navigate that, you know, and, and be creative because even the provisions of a grant, like there’s very specific funds that are allocated for that very specific tasks.
[00:43:45] Whereas when you look at a for-profit company, there is unrestricted funds that you can use to do social experiments, to do workforce experiments, to just get creative and build and have no limitations. It’s [00:44:00] basically like painted brain on steroids. And I don’t condone on people. Shouldn’t take steroids, but I’m saying like metaphorically speaking, please.
[00:44:07] Let’s not get too politically correct. Because then we just end up becoming robots. That’s the idea is that I didn’t want a ceiling. I didn’t even want to sky to say the sky’s the limit. I wanted no box for us to say, let’s think outside of the box. No, there is no box. There’s no sky. There’s nothing. It’s just, you are the creator.
[00:44:26] What can you do? How can you resolve these challenges? Right. And so peer mental health now, I mean, it’s incredible. We’ve got, you know, we have a virtual community where we’re fostering, we’re building. We have a peer support program. And by the way, I do keep paying a brain in mind and I wrap painted brain into it as much as I can, because the idea is to.
[00:44:46] As I expand peer mental health, then it creates a, another chapter for painted brain. So that it’s, they’re both working together rather than separate. Right. It’s just, there’s no interest. There’s no like a symbiotic relationship, [00:45:00] but peer mental health is a for-profit company. Exactly. Purposely because there’s another level of challenges.
[00:45:06] Folks that come in through our nonprofit. They’re like, well, you know, I can’t work. So what can you do for me? Where, where is that pain and brain? He was like, Oh, well, we can only provide you this much for this amount of stipend. And we can only do that. And there’s just, it’s like, it doesn’t work for a peer.
[00:45:22] If you think of a, of a peer. You need to operate from a for-profit model. You can’t operate from a nonprofit and say, you’re going to cover all of the grounds to make them sustainable. That’s the thing. You can put a bandaid and put them in a house supportive housing, but how long are they going to be there?
[00:45:38] You know, and how, how flexible and how agile are you to support them? Not very, so there’s a lot of challenges, right? And so right now, pure mental health is working with Anna volt. A psychological corporation. They’re the clinical team and they’re supporting us on things that we just can’t administer. We are peers.
[00:45:55] And so one of them is VR XR therapy. And it’s incredible because it’s [00:46:00] cutting edge. It’s next level. It’s going to change the face of how therapy is administered. Even the idea of the comfort around going into a therapy office is going to be taken. You can walk in as a banana. You can walk in as a strawberry.
[00:46:14] You don’t want your identity exposed. You don’t want us to show your face. Go in there as any avatar, create that avatar. Right? So this is, it’s a beautiful development to sort of counter the challenges of peers, feeling safe and feeling equal. And when you think of the culture around providers and peers, they don’t feel that they’re seeing eye to eye there’s that hierarchy.
[00:46:35] So at pure mental health, we’ve said, look, there’s no hierarchy. Yes, I’m the founder, whatever, I’m the CEO. But it doesn’t matter. I, when I work, when I interface with you, you are my equal. I don’t want to treat you that I’m the, I’m the head honcho, whatever I’m coming into you with compassion, that mutual accompaniment, using that with Dr.
[00:46:54] Mary walk-ins, I’m coming to you with, you know, this, this peer run model. And so we’re linear. [00:47:00] We work together and if you’re doing well, I’m doing well. So we all have a stake in it for each other, rather than, Hey, can you work really, really hard so that I can make all the money. That’s basically what a lot of CEOs and executives say, listen, you guys work really, really hard so that I can get on my yacht and sip on some nice, you know, red wine, you know, of my choice.
[00:47:20] And I can’t tell you the name of it, but you know what I’m saying? It’s just, it’s terrible. We, we, we see this practice in for-profit and, and even nonprofit. I mean, there’s so many nonprofits where the executives make so much money and then all of a sudden you see their, their workers and they’re struggling.
[00:47:35] They almost enter into the same population they’re serving, you know, it’s just one month away and they’re going to be the ones that are getting served. And that to me is disturbing. It’s like, what are we going to do about that? Well, not much because it takes a new shift of a culture and awareness to create that opportunity and to create that platform.
[00:47:53] So that’s what I feel pure mental health is. And so we’re going to grow globally. This is not going to be just a California [00:48:00] for-profit company that stays California to me. Again, it goes against the nerve of the reasoning behind it. If you think small, then close your shop. If you think big, then grow to the capacity of this earth.
[00:48:13] Why? Why not? You know, and you know, therapists would say that’s grandiose. Thank you. That’s my asset. Yeah. That’s what you own that. So how has. The pandemic impacted peer mental health. On the one hand, it sounds like you were already preparing for like a virtual world prior to the pandemic, you know, is that accelerated and how do you think your business model is going to be changed perhaps in 2021 and beyond?
[00:48:39] Beautiful question. I’m going to just take a second to acknowledge two people right now. Thank you, Paul Robinson, because first of all, Paul was my mentor when I was. A teen and I was homeless runaway. He was there for me. And so that’s the incredible story of Paul. And there’s more to come. He’ll tell you one day, but Paul is one of the reasons why I [00:49:00] ended up having this idea of supporting a vulnerable population, right.
[00:49:04] Besides I lived in it. So Paul got me into a lot of different software programming languages and was able to support my development. So thank you, Paul Robinson, second person now is, Dr. Joshua Lee Cohen. He’s he’s brilliant. He and I came together from the sax Institute. I gave that talk in 2019 on a discussion of a clubhouse model with fountain house that was present and amazing people.
[00:49:26] And we, we came together and he said, look, I believe we can work together. There’s something that I envisioned in a virtual space. And using VR XR therapy. And he was just sharing that with me because I was so focused on how technology can support overall wellness. And that’s how we connected when we connected.
[00:49:45] Both of us were in line and we knew that there needs to be a shift into working in tele-health. We were already in it before the pandemic, we knew something was going to happen. We even discussed it. We said, well, if there’s ever a war, we [00:50:00] actually have had a discussion with Dr. Christopher Harz. Who’s worked with Rand corporation and the DOD said when there is war, how else can you connect?
[00:50:08] Is through a tele-health, you know, or a VR headset, and you can do trainings, you can do all sorts of things and support people from afar. And we said, wow, peers struggle. Like I said, to get from one location to the next, without transportation, without having the supportive services or having the means.
[00:50:25] Right. And so I said, wow, if we can empower peers and provide headsets, Right. And Dr. Cohen has been heading this program. He’s one of the pioneers, by the way, in film, video based therapy and VR therapy, along with Dr. Skip Rizzo from USC has creative technologies and these individuals solve a need. I saw it.
[00:50:44] We’ve been working together prior to the pandemic to create the solution that once this hits we’re going to be the providers for administering VR XR therapy. Right? So Anna volt does that for us because they’re the clinical piece to this. And we are just. [00:51:00] The peers. Right? And so, anyway, with that being said, I do see peer mental health as the pioneering, something that should have been done 10 years ago.
[00:51:09] Look, VR has been around for a long time. Why are we just getting it to it? Now it’s becoming, as people are slow people at the top level, they become so big that moving their left foot is it’s a chore. And then you have to go through a bunch of the bureaucratic morass as you put it to just say, can I move it an inch?
[00:51:28] Oh, what about two inches? What about four or five? Six? Oh my goodness. I crossed the line and now we’re shutting down that program. So again, when you’re a for-profit company, you have a social enterprise model. You’re able to move lightening fast. Because everybody is in line and you choose those individuals carefully.
[00:51:45] You assemble the Avengers. And I honestly, Gary, I think of you as one of the Avengers, I just can’t put up which hero you are, but you’re definitely one of the pioneers, right. And Ellen Sachs is a doctor, Joshua Cohen and even, Paul Robinson, because. Again, this [00:52:00] man has created a thousand jobs for peers because of what he’s inspired in me.
[00:52:05] So we don’t, that’s why you never know how you impact one individual. You, you go and you support one person. That person goes and starts their own organization. And all of a sudden hires 5,000 people you just impacted. 5,001 people. Yeah. So let me give a shout out back to you and peer mental health and, and Dr.
[00:52:23] Cohen and Paul. When I, I had to do the pandemic pivot this summer for heart forward, because things changed with the prospects of, of a mental health pilot in Hollywood. And I realized my opportunity was to. Tell the story to a wider audience and find the kindred souls, the other Avengers, who, who believe in a, in a new model in bold system change.
[00:52:44] And if it wasn’t for your moral support and the three of you, you know, coaching and encouraging. And now Paul, as my. Technological guru. We would not be where we are right now. And I’m so excited. You know, the themes of [00:53:00] this first season of this podcast, I’m going to be speaking with Dr. Ashwin Vassen from fountain house.
[00:53:06] We want to do a clubhouse in Hollywood, and I know that you’re all about that as well. The kind of clubhouse ethos is incorporated into painted brain and peer mental health. We have those linkages. I love the idea maybe in the new year, in the second season of this podcast, exploring this virtual reality technology a little bit more, maybe we do a podcast, which is actually a virtual reality experience.
[00:53:31] I know Dr. Cohen would like to do that. So we have so much more to talk about. I’m going to put all of the links to these technologies and the, you know, these. Businesses in the show notes for this episode. I just want to finish David because we could talk all day. I wish we could, but just two things about you.
[00:53:48] What do you do to kind of like give yourself a sense of equilibrium during this pandemic during this stressful time? What is your self-care routine? Where do you find joy? How do you ground [00:54:00] yourself in all the uncertainty that we’re going through right now? Wow. That’s so I’m a masochist. No, I’m not going to start.
[00:54:06] I’m kidding. Okay. So with self care, I do hiking. I’ve put on a sunscreen because I don’t want to skin damage. I am on the ketogenic diet. That is, I guess, the masochistic diet staying away from carbs and sugar really does help my mental health because the gut makes a huge difference. And how, how you perceive or react to the world around you.
[00:54:27] And so it’s very important for me to keep that in mind, I do regular exercise, although I want to basically get rid of my body and just hover as a mind as a, as a brand, if I could, but I, I have to account for my body and, music. I play the piano and I love singing and writing music that helps I do meditation.
[00:54:48] And they say that if you don’t have time or the patients to meditate, meditate longer. So, I drink two cups of coffee and I’m taking back is something [00:55:00] that’s really great as well as doing comedy stand-up, but I haven’t been able to do it since the pandemic, but I work alongside with a lot of different comedians and thanks to comic cure, and they’re supporting us and getting comedians to support mental health.
[00:55:12] So I want to actually. Connect with them again, I’m figuring out, you know, that, and also we have an event coming up a fundraising call culmination event that you’re invited to as a keynote speaker. Yeah. Tell us about that. David, give us your pitch for that event. Yeah, sure. So, it really is a culmination of several organizations coming together, including USC and Anna volt, a psychological corporation with, Dr.
[00:55:33] Marlene. Balter also with the host. Dr. Joshua Lee Cohen who discusses the different community-based solutions to mental health challenges, as well as housing insecurity with different individuals that are pioneering, whether it’s VR, XR therapy, or creating virtual spaces for groups like Verbella so that folks can come into.
[00:55:54] So we have a lot of individuals that are filmmakers as well as documentaries as [00:56:00] Amanda lip, who is one of the youngest. Individuals to serve NAMI national on the board level. And it’s, it’s amazing. So, and Dr. Ellen Sachs will be there, discussing the mental health law, ethics and policies in regards to the virtual space of rendering different types of supportive services.
[00:56:20] And so we’re really excited, you know, a few things that I wanted to mention around my self care that I didn’t get a chance to discuss was this is, I know a lot of people look for alternative medicine and that’s what peer mental health is all about. We’re looking for different solutions to our challenges so that we don’t have to have the side effects of losing our liver function right.
[00:56:41] Or kidney. And so, and I’m not saying I’m against a psychotropic drugs, that’s not what I’m saying. You know, I look at that as sort of short term in my, from my experience, but using emotional freedom technique, EFT, like tapping has been very helpful for chronic pain or for, you know, Reprogramming the mind, you know, cause I do [00:57:00] believe the brain is malleable as well as eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing EMDR, which is the psychotherapy treatment that supports distress association or traumatic memories.
[00:57:11] So for me, it’s anything and everything that can change my narrative around trauma. Because it’s all linked together. Right? And so with that, I leave you with, I appreciate this platform. I appreciate being able to share my challenges. I again, please, whatever I’ve shared, the result is that I’m functional.
[00:57:35] I’m here. I’m contributing to the society. I do not condone any criminal acts, even my own past. Please do not go out there and commit crimes and say, I’m just searching for my identity. Just like David Israelian. That is not what I’m saying. I just happened to do that as a part of my human experience. And I believe that we have.
[00:57:55] The awareness and the tools and resources, you know, that we can provide [00:58:00] as, as an organization so that you don’t have to be alone in this recovery process. We have that. And I want to just say your resistance to your challenges. I love the fact that you can speak so directly and be transparent about this journey you’ve been on and the recovery that is evident, but it’s a continual process.
[00:58:22] It’s not something. You know, life is not a static, we’re on a continuum. Exactly. And I’m going to put links to all of those ideas and technologies and measures that you’ve brought up today in the show notes. So people can do more research. So I think we should make a pledge. David Israelian, since you and me and Dr.
[00:58:40] Ellen Sachs our last meal in a restaurant. Was before the pandemic, as soon as Le pain, Quotidien opens up for indoor dining. Again, hopefully sometime in 2021, let’s have a reunion meal and make it our first meal. As we emerge again from this time of quarantine, is that a deal? [00:59:00] Yes, it’s a deal. You’ve got it.
[00:59:02] And by the way, the event, the virtual fundraising event is December 12th. It’s a Memorial for my father’s death. He had taken his life at the time that, December 12th. And so it’s very important date that, that, fundraisers on symbolic for my own development. So hopefully anybody who’s listening to this can join us and be there present.
[00:59:20] It’s going to be beautiful. A lot of. Interesting topics and people. So please join us. Talk to you guys soon. Thank you so much. I look forward to being there. Likewise, it’s been great to spend this time with you, David. Hope you have a lovely day. Thank you, Terry. Don’t you feel like this conversation could have gone on for hours.
[00:59:41] I trust you can appreciate David’s inner strength, that resilience, that self knowledge of who he is and how his life events have shaped him. This is what emerges and what informs David’s approach to his work at painted brain and peer mental health. It’s what I noticed in trio stay also what matters is the person’s [01:00:00] life story, the person’s aspirations compared to how we view things in the U S the diagnosis is a minor character, hardly noticed and tucked away at the back of the stage and the passion play of a person’s life.
[01:00:14] See, you might ask, how do I come alongside David and his work? Well, I have several ideas first. You can always directly communicate with him to see how you can help on the non-profit side painted brain. You will note that they have a virtual fundraiser coming up on January 23rd, and a link is provided in the episode notes.
[01:00:34] In the interview. He mentioned it was planned for December 12th, but it has been moved into the new year. So good news. More time for you to come along as a supporter. Second, if you are interested in social enterprise and the mission of his company, peer mental health, you might want to find a way to enter into a strategic partnership.
[01:00:54] Collaborating and building technology solutions for overall wellness, such as the [01:01:00] VR XR applications. He mentioned biofeedback hardware, research development. Additionally, you might be in a position to offer employment opportunities for their peer trainees. Please take advantage of his contact information next week.
[01:01:14] I hope to see you back as we interview a mother, an artist and an author, Marianne Feldman will join us. She is the author of a book. Released just this year, it is called. He came in with it, a portrait of motherhood and madness. Talk about resilience, come listen next week. And you will see what I mean.
[01:01:33] Thank you for being here today. Thank you to peer mental health, my collaborating partner on the heart forward podcast, and most especially thank you to Paul Robinson whose technical support has made this podcast possible. I will see you next week. Yeah.
Podcast Reference Link: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1283882/6391372-vocation-purpose-and-bridging-the-digital-divide-a-conversation-with-david-israelian-of-peer-mental-heath-and-the-painted-brain
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