In a blockbuster move, General Hospital’s Maurice Benard launched not one, not two, but three State Of Mind video podcast episodes this weekend. Part one and Part two consisted of in-depth conversations with Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance’s (DBSA) CEO Michael Pollock and Facilitator and Chapter President Michele Bibby, discussing the mental health tools that can save you or your loved one’s life. Part three started where it all began…but more on that later.
Maurice Benard & Michael Pollock: Family Intervention
Benard (Sonny Corinthos) quickly set up his first guest’s road to mental health awareness. For Michael Pollock, college life provided a refuge from dealing with mental health issues within his family. “I left Pittsburg to go to college in Ohio. Partly to put some distance between me and those experiences.” The future non-profit CEO explained, “And I had a family member in crisis, and like a lot of families, we didn’t talk about mental health. It forced us to talk about the individual family member’s condition and what it meant.”
The soft-spoken man shared the call that changed everything. “I got a call from a family member, about a week or so before coming home for the holidays, saying, ‘I just want to prepare you for what you are going to walk into. This family member is not doing well. We are not sure what to do. We need you to come home and take care of this.’ I was 19.”
“I went home. Understood the situation. Called a family meeting.” But, as is common when dealing with mental illness, things did not go as planned. “Then I learned that this person apparently had a diagnosis and went off their treatment and had been off their treatment for a while and nobody knew what to do about it. So, we tried a family intervention, but it didn’t work.”
The experience made Pollock change his business major when he realized he had a new calling, and that was to find out more about mental health. Now, with 40-plus years of serving in mission-based work, he has found his groove. “One of our core beliefs is that every individual is going to find their path to wellness. I think encouraging the individuals to find what that path is really critical and being there to support them on their journey.”
Benard shared an experience of losing hope, and Pollock acknowledged that DBSA addresses that. “One of the things on our mission statement is to help individuals find hope. And our tagline is to ‘find community and to find wellness,’ and the last part of that tagline is, ‘to find hope.’”
Maurice Benard & DBSA’s Michele Bibby: An Angel In Disguise
Michele Bibby’s own journey to DBSA began in Law School when she experienced her own mental health crisis. “This was in 1985. In 1985, doctors, and family members, did not have a lot of hopes or expectations for people living with a mood disorder.
“I had doctors say to me, psychiatrists, ‘it’s amazing that you graduate from college, but you will never make it through law school, and you need to get just a very small job that is not stressful,” she shared. “And you might be able to hold down a job like that.’ Basically, like a ‘best of luck to you.’”
The fiery dynamo decided to prove them wrong. “I started attending DBSA support groups as a participant probably about 20 years ago. Then I got trained to be a DBSA support group facilitator, and I facilitated DBSA support groups for about five years. Then I was elected Chapter President of my local DBSA chapter.
“And in all of these years of participating and facilitating DBSA groups,” she continued. “People come to these groups, and they share stories of adversity, darkness, and despair, but people keep getting back up, and that speaks to the resilience of the human spirit. People are fighting for their lives.”
Benard bravely shared his story of dark times with two people who had also been touched by mental illness and understood the journey. Pollock and Bibby shared more of their personal stories. The trio also took a deep inside look at DBSA and how peer groups can offer a lifeline to anyone struggling with mental health, a step-by-step guide of tools to help spot, guide, or encourage someone who is in a mental health crisis, the power of the right medication, and the pros and cons of hospitalization.
The host ended the expanded weekend of content where he first began his podcast journey — in his car, talking straight to his fans about his journey and how it could help Kanye West. For the full episodes, Michael Pollock part one, Michele Bibby part two, and the short podcast with Benard sharing his personal thoughts on Kanye West’s current crisis.
General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.
For more about what’s happening on your favorite soaps, join the conversation over on our Facebook Page, check out our Twitter feed, or look for an update on our Instagram stories. See you over there!