Brain chemistry strikes a delicate balance

Compeer is a program that assists adults that are in recovery from severe mental illness. The Compeer office is located at Far West Center on the St. John Medical Center campus. Our program is a 23-year-old branch of Compeer Inc., an international non-profit mental health recovery organization. In addition to assisting adults that are recovering from mental illness, Compeer strives to provide more accurate information regarding mental health recovery to the general public. 

Our Compeer office received a copy of a New York Times article published on June 23, 2011, from our Regional Director, Johanna Ambrose. The article, titled “Expert On Mental Illness Reveals Her Own Fight,” tells the first-hand story of Dr. Marcia Linehan in New York. It is an interview with Dr. Linehan written by Benedict Carey. 

The article describes the lifetime journey of Dr. Linehan from her suffering with mental illness to her recovery and becoming a doctor specializing in treating mental illness. Her story demonstrates how most persons managing mental illness can recover.

We at Compeer ask you to please look up and read this interview with Dr. Marcia Linehan in the New York Times. It very well may change what you think and have believed about the terms “mental illness” and “mentally ill.”

It is true that most of us do not truly understand any illness until we either know someone close that has a specific illness or we ourselves become ill. Mental illness is a physical illness related to how hundreds of natural brain chemicals operate to facilitate brain function. If you look into brain chemistry, I guarantee you will find it complex and amazing. The very fact that brain chemistry remains properly balanced in most people is miraculous. 

For a quick example, those of us that need our morning coffee to become alert and more pleasant understand that caffeine is essential in order to balance our morning brain chemistry! Also, many of us parents see behavior changes in our children when they either have too high or too low of a blood sugar level. The sugar level affects the balance of brain chemistry. 

The Compeer Program and staff of the Far West Center are happy to answer questions regarding mental health. Call us at 440-835-6212. Illness management and recovery is our business. Also, we ask that you please read the New York Times interview with Dr. Marcia Linehan.       

To read the New York Times article, access this story on the Observer website,, for a direct link, or visit and search "linehan."

Denise Ayres

Denise Ayres is Compeer Program Coordinator.

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Volume 3, Issue 13, Posted 6:36 PM, 06.28.2011