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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Author Sheds Light on Mental Illness Problem in the Virgin Islands — Turns Childhood Tragedy into Triumph

Yassin Hall, author of Journey Untold

Yassin Hall, author of “Journey Untold”

Orlando, FL — Yassin Hall is on a mission to end the stigma of mental illness among disenfranchised families in urban communities in the United States and in the United States Virgin Islands. A native of St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. who resides in Orlando, Florida has outlined her struggles as a result of the impact of mental illness in her personal memoir.

Journey Untold – Twisted Love: My Mother’s Struggle with Mental Illnesses, which relayed the story of the internal torment, bullying and shame she endured from a child, into an inspiring journey to fulfilling her dreams. Hall shares her personal pain of growing up on a small island with a mother whose mental illness was publicly known, yet left untreated.

The Governor of the United States Virgin Islands, Honorable Kenneth Mapp stated in his State of the Territory Address on January 27th, 2015: “It is no secret that this territory has taken a backward step on the issue of mental health, leaving those who need care to walk the streets, languish in our prisons, or enter the revolving door of a criminal justice system that is ill-prepared to address their needs. As a community, we have earned an “F-” in the care and services we provide to the mentally ill.” This is a sad and hard pill to swallow for “America’s Paradise”, but an undeniable truth.

Millions of Americans struggle with varying types of mental illness and/or mental health problems. These illnesses include social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, drug addiction, personality disorders, etc. In many instances, these conditions go undiagnosed and/or untreated resulting in the destruction of families; homelessness; infant mortality; loss of employment; incarceration, isolation and in some grave situations, death.

The U.S.V.I. although considered a picturesque destination of sunbathing and frolicking, it harbors a secret that has permeated society causing irreversible consequences. These consequences are evidenced in the lives of many Virgin Islanders. Contributing factors to this pandemic is the adverse economic conditions resulting from inflation and lack of employment in a struggling economy. Like in years past, the state of mental health in the territory of the U.S.V.I. is dismal. The mentally ill are ridiculed and left untreated as a result of limited resources and unskilled personnel. These individuals become permanent fixtures on streets and neighboring parks. While this should poses a grave concern to the people, mentally ill individuals have become invisible.

Journey Untold is written in a first person account about Yassin’s childhood in the Virgin Islands and her life as an adult. Yassin’s mother struggled from clinical depression (undiagnosed) unbeknownst to the family (due to lack of resources) which ultimately led to schizophrenia. As a result, Yassin’s mother became delusional which evolved in violence behavior including trying to kill Yassin. The paranoia further caused her to take residence on the streets. Her ultimate demise was he succumbing to cancer. For years Yassin carried this silent trauma as a child and it affected her well into adulthood. Her mom received minimal help, she suffered in silence and there was no awareness or treatment on Yassin’s behalf from her teachers, counselors or the mental health professionals.

Today, similar struggles continue for thousands of Virgin Island children and adults living in dysfunctional and abusive situations.

This transformative book grips readers from the beginning and takes you on an emotional ride through the eyes of a child as she matures into womanhood. Hall is traveling to the U.S.VI in October and using her platform #endthestigmaUSVI to improve the care system for the mentally ill in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She has plans to expand on the Journey Untold series with other books in the future. Journey Untold is available for purchase in print, e-book, Kindle, Google Play, Nook and sold on Amazon.com. It is also distributed in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the following locations: St. Thomas – The Owl and Seahorse Bookstore; St. Croix – Undercover Books; St. John – The Pink Papaya Shop.

For more information about Journey Untold, please visit www.journeyuntold.com


YouTube “Plea for Help Video”: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVkhxMO02QI
YouTube “August 12th Radio Station Interview”: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_HC6iEtT_I


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