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- Activism / Philanthropy / Civic Engagement
- Addiction / Substance Abuse / Recovery
- Children and Youth Health
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- Mental Health / Psychology
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Heidi A. Swan Local, State and Federal Advocate; Cannabis-Induced Psychosis and Homelessnes Prevention Expert
Heidi Swan presented on January 27, 2021, to NAMI Solano County Members and the general community. She was the evening speaker for our General meeting and presented the book she co-authored, titled A Night in Jail. The book was inspired by her brother's experiences with homelessness, drug addiction, eighteen arrests and a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The book details Cannabis Induced Psychosis (a diagnosis found in DSM-5). Heidi uses the story to promote education and prevention. Her professional and personal experiences are weaved into the story which captures the audience's attention. She is an outspoken activist, dedicated to preventing addiction, reducing homelessness, and providing mental health support. Her presentation was organized, empathetic and energized. She easily adapted her presentation to the mood and needs of the audience, making the experience mutually beneficial. It was a pleasure to have her present and the audience feedback was entirely positive. As the Executive Director for NAMI Solano County, I highly recommend Heidi as a presenter.
"Your presentation to the students was very encouraging. Your story of struggle and redemption when confronted with the power of drug addiction spoke volumes to our students, many of which have their own stories of addiction. Your story however, came from a place where many of our students can't relate, and that is, a fairly wealthy and privileged individual who had the world at his fingertips but instead decided to succumb to the addiction of drugs. It provided our students with opportunity to see that no matter who you are or where you come from or how much money you have, drugs are powerfully addictive and are capable of ruining lives regardless of your background. The story of your brother's journey will enable students to see the other side of the coin and provide a different perspective for inner-city youth who are socio-economically deprived." Thank you again for sharing your story.
The facts and information you shared are powerful and extremely relevant to our mental health community and the general public. I agree that this information must be made available to more people so we can help other prevent these same mistakes in their own lives and the lives of their loved ones.
In Heidi Swan's heartfelt, enlightening presentation to our Beach Cities Prevention Community Council, she skillfully weaved science-based research with facts from her brother's story of substance abuse to help us better understand the causal relationship between marijuana addiction and the onset of mental illness.
Heidi Swan recently presented to the Professional Fiduciary Association of California (PFAC), a trade organization representing over 1,200 professionals serving as trustees, probate administrators, financial and health care decisionmakers, conservators and guardians, and their affiliated professionals, who coordinate and hire case managers, custodial care and skilled care providers of health care, mental illness, substance abuse, addiction and homelessness services. Heidi's presentation about the dangers of marijuana use - the high toxicity; its effect on biology and the brain (particularly teens and young adults whose brains are still forming); its use as a "gateway" drug that leads to use of more powerful illegal drugs; its impact on human performance and mental development that strongly correlates to later physical and mental illness; its contribution to rapidly increasing numbers of "failure to thrive", hospitalization, incarceration, ODs and deaths; the personal effect on her own family due to a sibling's use of marijuana - was a tremendous education for those families and PFAC professionals who are on the front lines dealing with these issues every day. The presentation provided substantial data from trusted, reliable sources - healthcare professionals, researchers and government agency representatives - that shed light on the origins, evolution, current state and trends of marijuana use and related illnesses, and the enormous financial impact on families, society and government. It was helpful to learn of various advocacy groups who are lobbying for change and the results of their efforts. I strongly recommend that everyone watch this presentation to inform themselves and their loved ones and friends of the dangers of marijuana use, and to learn how to participate in the discussion.