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Event recap: Sheila Hamilton Book Salon

Cristina Spencer

Today we’re sending out a special thank you to Sheila Hamilton, Sharon Roth, and Katherine Olivetti, NAMI San Mateo County and to everyone who attended our book salon on Friday December 4th.  The love and support in the room that night was palpable.

Sheila presented a moving talk based on her experience living through her late husband’s, ultimately fatal mental illness.  Sheila was unflinching in her willingness to expose the rawness of her story.  When asked how she sat down to write such a painful narrative she responded, “I did it to figure out how I became the person who made those choices.  I felt my healing depended on my willingness to be vulnerable in a way that my own husband’s crippling shame would not allow.  I did not know if I would ever publish the book.  I felt called to write it.”  Her talk ended with a spirit of hope and a call for action around mental health care reform that would take a more holistic approach to healing.

In the panel discussion that followed, audience participants gleaned wisdom from the personal and professional experiences of the panel members.  And while the topic was painfully difficult, it was encouraging to come together as a community, to support one another, and to consider avenues for productive action and conversation.

Thanks again to Sheila for joining us.  Her story has so much to say to our community in Palo Alto.