Key Note Title: Life After Mental Illness. Bill was hospitalized 6 different times lived in 3 group homes and had a suicide attempt. Bill spent 5 years on his parents couch doing nothing. Bill will tell his story of recovery and take you to a world of delusions, illusions, paranoia, and the positive and negative symptoms of Schizophrenia.
Workshop: "The Bright Future Program" Bill will talk about recovery using six pillars of recovery and understanding your illness. The six pillars are Spirituality Relationships, Family, Mental Health/Physical Health, Vocation/volunteering/career and Finances.
A Bright Future
Born and raised in Fort Erie, Ontario, Bill’s first career evolved from what initially began as a favorite childhood pastime: swimming. At the age of 19, Bill was working in Singapore as a commercial scuba diver on oil rigs in the South China Sea. The future looked bright for a man already living his dream.
But five years later, Bill was living a nightmare.
Pacing a psychiatric ward, trapped in a world of illusions, delusions, paranoia and depression, Bill was out of reality (in psychosis); he was 24 years old and diagnosed with schizophrenia.
The diagnosis provided an explanation for his erratic and dangerous behavior, but it also spelled the end of Bill’s life as he knew it. He lost his friends, his home, and his will to live. He spent five years lying on his parents’ couch, watching TV and contemplating ways to commit suicide. He tried once. After six hospitalizations and time spent in three separate group homes, Bill knew something had to change if he ever wanted to triumph over the disease and regain control of his life.
With the help of medication, therapy, and the support of his family and a new network of friends, Bill took slow but steady steps on the road to recovery. He embraced new opportunities by volunteering and getting involved with community projects. He took an interest in local politics and sat in on regular town council meetings held at the local public library.
It was there that Bill noticed a book that would change his life: “101 Ways To Start a Business With Little or No Capital.” Intrigued, he paged through the book and was drawn to a story about a woman who, before the advent of VCRs, set up three separate television sets to watch three different soap operas each day. She then started a newsletter for her working friends to keep them updated on the story lines of each. The concept sparked an idea for Bill. Within a year, Bill launched his business, Magpie Publishing Inc., and published his first Canadian issue of SZ Magazine, a quarterly magazine intended to bring hope and information to people affected by schizophrenia. In 2008 he added a new magazine called Anchor to aid in the recovery of those with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders.
Since Magpie’s debut in 1994, Bill has prided himself on his work as a mental health advocate to help those who struggle with schizophrenia, just as he once did. In addition to producing SZ Magazine, Bill travels throughout North America to give inspirational talks about how he pulled himself from the depths of depression to become the successful businessman, husband and father he is today. Bill is also the focus of Canadian film maker Mark Ashdown’s 2009 film, Life After Mental Illness: The Story of Bill MacPhee, which not only highlights Bill’s life with schizophrenia, but the stigma attached to the illness as well. In 2014, with the help of co-writer John Mowat, Bill released his heavily anticipated personal biography To Cry a Dry Tear: Bill MacPhee’s journey of hope and recovery with schizophrenia. This book will take you on Bill’s open, honest and fascinating journey from the depths of mental illness and into the bright future of his recovery.
For the past 20 years Bill has lived and breathed recovery. Bill has been speaking at and attending numerous conference and workshops dealing with mental health. He has spent many years drawing best practices from those with mental illness, their caregivers, and other professionals. With Bill’s exposure and first-hand experience he has become a leader in the field who is highly respected in mental health recovery circles. Bill travels North America to help educate others on mental health recovery, and to help eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness. 2015 will see many years of hard work come to fruition as Bill is able to release his Bright Future Program webinar series! This launch allows Bill to increase his ability to reach those who are seeking his message of hope and support. Recovery is when you would not want to be anyone other than who you are today!
Bill has dedicated most of his adult life to inspire others along their mental health journey toward recovery. Through his publications, speaking engagements and tireless advocacy, Bill has touched many lives. Here are what some of his fans have had to say:
Thank you for continuing to provide important information and inspiration for all who deal with schizophrenia in our lives.
I would like to recognize Mr. Bill MacPhee for his creation of SZ Magazine. Thank you for the time you have dedicated to this field and I hope to continue to see the results of your efforts in the mental health field.
I have come to have great admiration for Bill's clear direction for his own future as well as his commitment to helping others that suffer the effects of mental illness of all kinds.
John Mowat, Co-author, To Cry a Dry Tear
I must say that meeting you was an honour and extremely enlightening. I have a male client with a diagnosis of Schizoaffective D/O who attended one of [your] presentations and was immensely impacted by it then and still is today.
I have battled depression in the past and I always thought that might hinder my future success in my hope of getting a job. Your story proved to me that I can be anything I want, I wont let the depression get in the way. So thank you again for your amazing speech!
Your ears should be ringing with all the positive feedback on your presentation. You were so inspiring and moving and informative. It was an honor and a pleasure meeting you and having the opportunity to hear your "recovery" talk.
Rena Finkelstein, President, N.A.M.I. Rockland County
Thanks again for the presentation today to students at Niagara College. Students had wonderful feedback from today. I have attached pictures. First one is my favourite. I am also attaching some messages from emails received tonight from students.
As always- inspirational!
“Today’s presentation by Bill was inspirational. I have struggled myself with mental health issues for many years. His message and story bring great hope. What a wonderful motivational speaker.”
“ I think Mr. MacPhee’s messages will stay with me a long time after I am out in the field. I love his definition of recovery. “
“ After Billl’s presentation, there are many lessons I will use as a social worker. I will never tell a person struggling with mental health issues that they are not trying hard enough. I will never suggest they pull up their bottstraps!”
Thanks again Bill.