Posts in Speaking Events

SC Could Expand Mental Health Court Program

April 15th, 2014 Posted by Advocacy, Media, News Commentary, Speaking Events, Video 0 thoughts on “SC Could Expand Mental Health Court Program”

April 15, 2014

Paton Blough of Rehinge spoke in front of the Greenville County Delegation last night on the topic of mental health courts. Paton is pushing for South Carolina to adopt more mental health courts in each county of the state. This expansion of mental health courts would reduce recidivism rates of mentally ill inmates and also save the state millions of dollars.

Watch and Read the Full Article at WSPA News Channel 7

A Greenville mental health advocate spoke with lawmakers Monday night to raise support for more mental health courts in South Carolina. Right now, there are three in Greenville, Richland and Charleston counties. The courts allow non-violent mentally ill offenders to meet with a judge and sign up for treatment.

Paton Blough graduated from Greenville’s mental health court several years ago. “I believe the program was a big part of my recovery without a doubt,” Blough said. Blough faced some misdemeanors as he struggled with bipolar disorder.

Federal money fund many existing courts. Blough has worked with a state senator and hopes that a bill can be introduced this year. Several members of Greenville County’s legislative delegation seemed supportive when Blough talked with them Monday.

Watch and Read the Full Article at WSPA News Channel 7

Greenville County Mental Health Court Presentation

April 14th, 2014 Posted by Advocacy, Media, News Commentary, Speaking Events 0 thoughts on “Greenville County Mental Health Court Presentation”

Greenville County Mental Health Court Presentation

Paton Blough has created a presentation pushing for a SC bill for mental health courts. The presentation includes mental health statistics throughout the nation and South Carolina, and shows the This presentation will be shown at the Greenville County delegation on 4-14-2014 by Paton Blough. The council meeting will include 7 Senators and 15 House members from the state.

View & Download the Presentation

Police Train to Better Handle Mentally Ill

November 6th, 2013 Posted by Advocacy, Articles, Media, Published Media, Speaking Events 0 thoughts on “Police Train to Better Handle Mentally Ill”

Local advocate shares his story

By Amanda Bradford, Staff Writer

Published in the Greer Citizen on November 6th, 2013

Two weeks ago, the Greer Police Department attended Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) where they heard Paton Blough’s story about his struggle with bipolar disorder that led to him being arrested six times.

It’s because of his experience with arrests resulting from his bipolar episodes that Blough believes it’s important for officers to be trained how to properly deal individuals with mental illness, which is the purpose of CIT. According to Blough, South Carolina only requires four hours of training specifically addressing mental illness, but through a free 40-hour CIT course departments can become better equipped to handle these situations, which Blough believes saves lives.

“We feel that although it is not mandatory training, it should be mandatory training because you deal with all sorts of people while you’re out on the street — you know victims of crime or people that are breaking the law,” Lt. Jim Holcombe said. “So you want to make sure you understand and can kind of pick up on some clues of people that might have a mental illness or are having some sort of problem in their life at that time. We try to ensure that every one of our officers go through that mental illness training.”

The Greer Police Department regularly handles situations involving the mentally ill, according to Holcombe. In the training, participants have three days of classroom training including speakers, such as Blough, sharing their stories and role-playing to teach the best ways to handle situations involving the mentally ill.

Prior to his first bipolar episode in 2002, Blough had never been arrested and he worked in the tree service and storm recovery business for 18 years.

“In 2002, I had my first experience with bipolar disorder, and I did OK for a few years, but I was going through a divorce and different things, a lot of personal trauma but I was doing OK business-wise. I was keeping my life together,” he said.

Shortly after helping with cleanup following Hurricane Katrina, Blough had what he calls the “mother-of-all manic episodes.”

“I basically got very paranoid,” he said.

Blough began accusing local officials in Mississippi of fraud, and in 2005 he ended up being arrested and for the first time was put in a mental hospital in Alabama. Over the next several years, Blough continued to struggle with his disorder and he ended up in and out of hospitals and jails.

“I would become extremely paranoid of police in particular, that they were part of a grander conspiracy,” he said. Although Blough’s delusions would begin small, they would escalate. His paranoia reached to the extent that he doubted the police officers were with the police department, but rather the KGB or the Nazis.

“What happens is you eventually think that half the world is good and half the world is evil, and in that state of mind you believe that you’re the one combating the evil — or at least that was my experience.”

With the assistance of his now wife and the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), Blough was able to begin his recovery process, battle legal issues and become an advocate for people with mental illness. Today, Blough takes part in the CIT by sharing his experiences with police officers so they can understand how to best approach and handle individuals with mental illness.

“[NAMI] really helped save my life quite frankly. But after I retained a little bit of stability in my life, about three and a half years ago I believe it was here in Greer, I was able to tell my story as part of the Crisis Intervention Training for the first time,” he said.

Though never officially diagnosed, Blough believes he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his arrest experiences, which sometimes involved tasers, pepper spray, and three of which placed him in hospitals.

“Out of the six arrests three went fairly well, and I don’t think the difference was me so much as the way the officers handled me in that crisis,” he said.

One good experience Blough shares when he speaks is when he was at Applebee’s and became paranoid people sitting at the bar were undercover and watching him. After he said some things to them, the manager called the police and Mike Ford, a Greenville City police officer, responded. When Blough challenged Ford to call his brother and he did, and he waited with Blough until his brother showed up with his medication. When Blough was paranoid the water Ford gave him was drugged, Ford took a sip from the water to show him it was OK to drink.

“I mean that’s kind of outside the box, but that’s the kind of patience and the time he was willing to take,” he said.

“Not everybody with a mental illness is a danger. There’s a small percent that are, but somebody with a mental illness is four times more likely to be a victim of a crime than commit a crime, but unfortunately these things don’t always reach the news and that adds to stigma,” he said.

For more information about NAMI or Blough’s story, visit nami.org.

 

Article published originally in the Greer Citizen.

abradford@greercitizen.com | 877-2076

Paton Speaking Next Week at the Supervised Visitation Network Conference

May 19th, 2013 Posted by Advocacy, Speaking Events 0 thoughts on “Paton Speaking Next Week at the Supervised Visitation Network Conference”

May 19th, 2015

Next week, Paton will be speaking at the Supervised Visitation Network Conference. This year’s conference will feature plenary sessions and workshops that address how trauma, mental health, and substance abuse impact our work in supervised visitation. Workshops and plenary sessions will focus on how to best serve the unique needs of these families and offer innovative approaches to enhancing our services for all participants.

Paton Blough, a mental health advocate and speaker based in Greenville, S.C will serve as a keynote speaker for the conference. Additionally, Paton will conduct breakout sessions on his work with Rehinge, while also discussing his own story and experience with bipolar I. Paton’s speech will focus on the stigma and issues that surround mental health, and his own custody battle and experiences with supervised visitation, while also discussing treatments and options that aid in living a healthy and happy life with mental illness. Paton works tirelessly as a voice for everyone who has dealt firsthand with the weight of the stigma surrounding mental illness.

You can learn more about the conference by clicking here.

Paton Speaking Alongside Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Patrick Kennedy in DC

May 4th, 2013 Posted by Advocacy, Speaking Events 0 thoughts on “Paton Speaking Alongside Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Patrick Kennedy in DC”

May 4th, 2015

Tomorrow at noon, May 5th, in Washington DC, Paton Blough will be speaking for the Stepping Up initiative, alongside of US Senator Al Franken and US Representative Patrick Kennedy. Mental health is an issue where all political sides can come together and find mental health treatments and alternatives to jail for people with mental illnesses. Here’s hoping that Paton, Senator Franken, Representative Kennedy and other speakers can inspire action throughout the country for mental health reform!

What is Stepping Up?

Stepping Up is a national initiative designed to push counties nationwide to work on access to mental health treatment and alternatives to jail for people with mental illnesses. NAMI is working with a powerful coalition of national organizations, including the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the National Association of Counties, the American Psychiatric Foundation and numerous law enforcement, mental health and substance abuse organizations. The initiative will challenge county, state and local leaders to work together to find solutions that work for the local community. Counties will be asked to follow a step-by-step process to build partnerships, assess current practices and develop a plan to implement research-based programs and services. It will also support local leaders by providing resources and examples of effective reforms and connecting them with other communities that are successfully reducing the number of people with mental illness in jails.

To kick off the initiative there will be four launch events around the country, starting on May 5. The events will be livestreamed here.​ If you can, please join us in person or plan to watch the livestream.

Paton as Keynote Speaker at the Supervised Visitation Network Annual Conference

April 30th, 2013 Posted by Articles, Media, Published Media, Speaking Events 0 thoughts on “Paton as Keynote Speaker at the Supervised Visitation Network Annual Conference”

April 30th, 2015

Paton will be a plenary speaker at the upcoming Supervised Visitation Network Annual Conference, as well as lead a breakout session on Rehinge and his personal experiences with bipolar type 1. Paton’s keynote speech will be discussing the stigma and issues around mental illnesses, as well as treatments and how to live healthy, happy lives with mental illness.

Paton Blough is a mental health advocate and speaker based in Greenville, S.C. Affected with Bipolar I Disorder, Blough works tirelessly as a voice for everyone who has dealt firsthand with the weight of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Paton is living proof that with support and appropriate treatment, those suffering from mental illness can overcome their issues and lead healthy, happy lives.

Paton has been free from severe depression and psychosis now for four years and has been blessed with a wife who understands his struggles and works with him to change the perspectives of people about mental health. Paton was honored as the 2011 “Recovery Member of the Year” award from NAMI South Carolina. He has started a nonprofit organization, Rehinge, “to provide hope, education, and spiritual inspiration for all people affected with mental health issues and to fight stigma while pushing for global mental health reform”.

Paton will also be speaking about his life’s journey with mental illness and how he started working as a mental health advocate through Rehinge.

Rehinged- One Man’s Journey
In this session you will meet Paton Blough, who has an incredible story of overcoming serious mental illness while fighting for the right to be with his children. His own custody battle and experiences with supervised visitation has inspired him to work tirelessly as a voice for everyone who has dealt firsthand with the weight of the stigma surrounding mental illness through his nonprofit organization, Rehinge.

Paton Blough is a mental health advocate and speaker based in Greenville, S.C. Affected with Bipolar I Disorder, Blough works tirelessly as a voice for everyone who has dealt firsthand with the weight of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Paton is living proof that with support and appropriate treatment, those suffering from mental illness can overcome their issues and lead healthy, happy lives.

More about the Supervised Visitation Network Annual Conference – Website

“Innovation, Integration, and Intervention”

Addressing the Unique Challenges of Families in Supervised Visitation
The 2015 SVN Annual Conference will feature plenary sessions and workshops that address how trauma, mental health, and substance abuse impact our work in supervised visitation. Workshops and plenary sessions will focus on how to best serve the unique needs of these families and offer innovative approaches to enhancing our services for all participants.

You can learn more about the conference here.

Paton Stepping Up in Washington DC

April 28th, 2013 Posted by Advocacy, Media, Speaking Events 0 thoughts on “Paton Stepping Up in Washington DC”
Paton speaking in front of the SC capital court house in 2014

April 28th, 2015

On May 5th in Washington DC, Paton Blough will be speaking for the Stepping Up initiative, where he will talk about his personal experiences with type 1 bipolar, his recovery and advocacy efforts.

What is Stepping Up?

Stepping Up is a national initiative designed to push counties nationwide to work on access to mental health treatment and alternatives to jail for people with mental illnesses. NAMI is working with a powerful coalition of national organizations, including the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the National Association of Counties, the American Psychiatric Foundation and numerous law enforcement, mental health and substance abuse organizations. The initiative will challenge county, state and local leaders to work together to find solutions that work for the local community. Counties will be asked to follow a step-by-step process to build partnerships, assess current practices and develop a plan to implement research-based programs and services. It will also support local leaders by providing resources and examples of effective reforms and connecting them with other communities that are successfully reducing the number of people with mental illness in jails.

To kick off the initiative there will be four launch events around the country, starting on May 5. The events will be livestreamed here.​ If you can, please join us in person or plan to watch the livestream. Click the links below for more details and to register:

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About Rehinge

Rehinge exists to provide hope, education, and spiritual inspiration for all people affected with mental health issues and to fight stigma while pushing for global mental health reform.

Learn More »

What People Are Saying

  • “It has been one of my greatest rewards as NAMI Greenville, SC Program Director to see your recovery from when we first met to your award as NAMI South Carolina’s Recovery Person of the Year to your appearance on the same stage with author Pete Early. I hope your book is every bit as successful as his has been.”

    Brian Lewis
    • Fletcher Mann
    • Program Director NAMI Greenville, SC
  • “It’s incredible. If you aren’t sure, always go for Cast. I don’t always clop, but when I do, it’s because of Cast. I made back the purchase price in just 48 hours!”

    Patrick Bates
    • Patrick Bates
    • CEO, SouthCentral
See all
  • “It has been one of my greatest rewards as NAMI Greenville, SC Program Director to see your recovery from when we first met to your award as NAMI South Carolina’s Recovery Person of the Year to your appearance on the same stage with author Pete Early. I hope your book is every bit as successful as his has been.”

    Brian Lewis
    • Fletcher Mann
    • Program Director NAMI Greenville, SC
  • “It’s incredible. If you aren’t sure, always go for Cast. I don’t always clop, but when I do, it’s because of Cast. I made back the purchase price in just 48 hours!”

    Patrick Bates
    • Patrick Bates
    • CEO, SouthCentral
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