My name is Bob Bienvenu, host of the local Acadiana television show, Insight Into Mental Health. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 21 and for the past 15 years, it has become my mission to assist others who are debilitated or suffer with mental illness, as well as educate families and loved one on the issues associated with mental illness. I am the author of 15 books, one of which is Mental Illness, God, and Healing. In this book I delve into matters such as how mental illness was once treated. I am finalizing my second book on this topic now. I have written other books which are spiritually based as well as fictional scy-fy. My genre is diversified, my illness, however, takes its own path.
I am proud to be one of the first members of FOCUS Clubhouse, located in Lafayette, Louisiana. I will be leaving my thoughts to readers on my own website, Insight Into Mental Health, located on my site, Bob Bienvenu, as well as sharing my thoughts with FOCUS Clubhouse.
I was born in 1948 in St Martinville, Louisiana, a small town located in Cajun Country, as it is known. I had a fairly regular childhood, though looking back, fitting in was always a troublesome issue. I went to high school at Catholic High, a school in the neighboring town of New Iberia. In the 1960's life was a dream of sort. No serious issues, however, things were subject to change after High School. I attended USL, now known as UL, the college in nearby Lafayette where Focus Clubhouse is now located.
During that time, the Vietnam War was going on, and because of the draft, I was drafted after flunking out of school. After being drafted into the army, I had a nervous breakdown and was sent to the Mental Health Unit at Fort Polk to await my Medical Discharge. It was there I was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia and when I was released, I would say I was in a cloud filled with denial. After a stint of partying with my hometown friends, smoking Marijuana and doing drugs, I meandered from job to job. After that I was all alone. It wasn't until 20 years later I began taking medication and truly seeking help for my condition. In all honesty, however, despite the issues of today, help wasn't available as it is now. And now, assistance in the mental health field suffers greatly, with Louisiana ranking 8th in prevalence to mental illness issues and 46th in access to mental healthcare services.
In my future blogs, I will be going back in time, some of which I experienced personally, others to times before me, but I am going to share with viewers the road traveled for mental illness.
I caution you. It hasn't been pretty and we have a long way to go, but it is much better than where it was long ago. I am grateful to have been born to my loving mother, Henrietta Bourque Bienvenu, who never gave up on my me during my delusions and manic periods. She always had a listening ear and a calming demeanor. It is due to her and a man named Mike Fusilier who introduced me to Jesus Christ, that I am gratefully indebted.
Which takes us to my mission these past years and now my assistance with FOCUS Clubhouse. Every person wants somewhere to belong. That's where FOCUS Clubhouse comes in. FOCUS is a place to belong, where you are treated as an equal, where life becomes a gentler, kinder place. A place like life was long ago when my beautiful, comforting mother was alive. We all need that.
My name is Bob Bienvenu, host of the local Acadiana television show, Insight Into Mental Health. I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at the age of 21 and for the past 15 years, it has become my mission to assist others who are debilitated or suffer with mental illness, as well as educate families and loved one on the issues associated with mental illness.