814.452.4462 1101 Peach St. Erie, PA 16501

Advocate’s Voice

Essays by Brian McLaughlin, Advocate

In these essays, Brian Patrick Mclaughlin MS/CPS addresses important issues affecting the mental health community and recommends specific improvements.

Brian is a 1987 Graduate of Gannon University Graduate Counseling Program located in Erie Pa. Further he is 2006 Graduate of Pennsylvania’s Certified Peer Specialist Initative. Brian has been a member of Pi Gamma Mu-The International Honor Society in Social Science, and Psi Chi-The National Honor Society in Psychology since 1985.

Brian was first diagnosed with serious mental illness in 1989. His present diagnosis is Bi-Polar 1 disorder.

He began work in the public mental health system in 1986. Since 1995, Brian has served as a mental health advocate employed by Erie County’s Public Mental Health System. Today, he is Director of Advocacy and Recovery for the Counties new MH BSU, Erie County Care Management.

Brian can be reached by email here.

Recovery: In Search of Self

Advocate Brian McLaughlin advises that you must actively engage in the work needed to bring about your own recovery and offers several ideas for a successful plan.

Housing and Mental Health Recovery

Access to housing is vital to mental health recovery and advocate Brian McLaughlin offers several paths to obtain safe housing.

Seeking Ikigai. Health, Well-being and Longevity

Advocate Brian McLaughlin suggests that the Japanese concept of Ikigai may lead to a greater sense of well-being and a more satisfying life.

Play and Mental Health

Advocate Brian McLaughlin recognizes that play and playfulness enhance a person’s sense of joy and well-being and add to mental health.

Money and Mental Health

Advocate Brian McLaughlin observes that Access to money and resources are well proven insulators from the stresses that often lead to mental illness.

Love and Mental Health

Advocate Brian McLaughlin describes the role love plays in reducing feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.

Time and Mental Health

Advocate Brian McLaughlin advises that personal time and relationships are vital to mental health and well-being. Approach wisely.

Negative Thinking and Mental Health

Advocate Brian McLaughlin describes the harmful effects of negative thinking and offers several methods to correct this behavior.

Creative Expression and Mental Health

Advocate Brian McLaughlin explains that the four means of creative expression can be very healing and improve mental and physical health. They are sadly underemployed.

Toxic Relationships and Mental Health Implications

Advocate Brian McLaughlin examines toxic relationships, how to recognize them, their inherent dangers, how to avoid them and successfully exit them.

Touch and Mental Health

The many positive outcomes of human response to touch are applied to wellness recovery and the author suggests paths for mental health consumers to receive this treatment

Coping with a Mental Illness: Sometimes Old Dogs Know Some Way Cool Tricks

The author lists a number of actions that have been effective for him and that others may use, to help in living with mental illness.

Anxiety: What is with that?

A contemporary description of anxiety with methods of managing stress and flawed thinking.

Physical Health and People with Mental Illness: A Crisis

Mental health treatment requires early intervention at onset and a multidisciplinary treatment protocol.

The Care and Feeding of the Human Brain: Things Your Doctor and Mother Might Have Never Told You

A diet high in plant based proteins and fats (chicken, fish, nuts, beans, whole grains, and things like olive oil) is the key to both physical and mental health.

Serious Mental Illness, Recovery and Other Junk

A deceptively simple, useful technique to manage thoughts and emotions.

Diagnosis of Serious Mental Illness: What is in a Name?

Author describes the symptoms of a person with the diagnosis of Bi-polar One Disorder and how these symptoms very from person to person.

Mental and Emotional Health and the Dark Art of Self-Medicating

The danger and the fallacy of treating mental and emotional illness by self-medicating with street drugs, supplements or alcohol is explained. It is better to seek expert medical advice.

Good Mental And Emotional Health And The Art Of Facebook

Used properly Facebook can be a powerful tonic. Facebook friends can be a source of great company, support, encouragement, entertainment, advice, and information.

Surviving Major Depression

The secret to surviving major depression is the knowing that depression will end.

My Personal and Ongoing Recovery Journey

Brian finds the structure of employment key to his personal and ongoing recovery journey.

The World Is Not All About Me

You never really know what the other guy is going through if all you think about is yourself.

Suicide Becomes Epidemic Problem

If you feel you are at risk or if you sense someone around you is at risk, talk about it and ask for help.

Seeking the Approval of My Father

Seeking the approval of my father. In the end I learned something very important. Dad thinks I am more than enough just for showing up.

My Middle Name is Patrick

This is one time I went to the doctor well and left feeling ill. I went in feeling like a person and left feeling less so.

Warm Line: How a fellow CPS Made all the Difference

Brian discusses his use of the Warm Line (1.877.550.4007) to help resolve personal issues.

Reframing Parental Instincts

Brian shares his thoughts and feelings on parental regrets and what he has discovered.

My Father, My Hero: Moment Saved by Pen and Page

Memories of childhood moments with his loving father are recalled in this fathers day greeting by Brian.

As Long as you do your Best with the Situation you Find Yourself In, you are Recovering.

Brian McLaughlin recalls words from his former professor, a priest, whom he encountered later in life: “All work has value. Do your best with the situation you find yourself in, and there is no room for shame.”

A Path Away from Depression and Anxiety

Renewing old friendships and making new ones can be a path away from depression and anxiety.

The True Secret To My Success / Recovery

Recovery from serious mental illness should not be defined by academic or vocational success.

Put Your Game Face On!

Three purposes of wearing your ‘Game Face’.

Self Worth

Defining self worth is vital for a person in recovery

Mantra Combined with Rhythmic Breathing Helps to Quiet the Mind

Mantra combined with rhythmic breathing helps to quiet the mind and still one’s flawed thoughts and emotions.

Acceptance of Mental Illness can be Half the Battle Toward Recovery

Acceptance can be a powerful force in relation to one’s recovery from mental illness.

Limitless Goals to Recovery

There are no limits to our recovery from mental illness. Brian reflects on moments with his deceased grandmother and realizes that limits to recovery are self-imposed. He has decided to imagine his limits to be great and far.

Memories of My Grandfather Influence My Work

My Grandfather was the reason I chose to study Psychology. When I encounter a difficult person in my work I envision my Grandfather and this allows me to give my best.

Write A Wellness Action Plan

Brian McLaughlin explains the value of a wellness action plan in dealing with his recurring health issues in this essay.

I Left Them, They Didn’t Leave Me

Brian unconsciously isolated himself from his friends before recovery.


“Never, Never, Never, Give Up!” – a lesson learned from a child.

Little Green Apples

Once one gives all they have, what more can be asked or expected of them?

Suicide: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Suicide has become epidemic. This course of action by advocate Brain McLaughlin, suggests immediate action, if you or someone around you is at risk.

The Nature of Depression

Clinical depression can occur absent an external catalyst or event.

Great Expectations

Far too many consumers are not living or even seeking their highest potential.

Being A Peer Specialist: The Part That No One Told You

Peers are caught off guard when they encounter stigma and discrimination from a most unlikely source: other Mental Health Professionals.

The Engine of Recovery

Recovery components are both intellectual and economic.

Recovery and the Great Pyramid of Egypt

A person’s basic human needs must be met first before that individual can move upward toward recovery.

Man Bites Dog

Alcohol, whether it be beer, wine, or hard liquor, acts to further deepen depression.

Recovery: Dreams Delayed But Not Forgotten. Recovery Comes In Small Steps

Recovery comes in small steps. The smallest step towards your dreams brings you closer to recovery.

The Funny Thing About Miracles

Being spared from mental illness was not the real miracle. The real miracle was to be found in the mental illness itself, and the resulting struggle towards recovery. Most academics can only imagine the wonders I had discovered.

Pennsylvania’s Peer Specialist Initiative: An Idea Whose Time Has Come!

Supports assert that mental health consumers are naturally qualified to become healers and supporters of their peers living with serious mental illness.

To Thy Known Self Be True

Clearly, the hardest part about being a person with a serious mental illness is being true to your self.

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