Last week, I had the opportunity to report from SAMHSA’s annual Voice Awards in Hollywood and to interview one of the consumer leadership award winners. Frederick Frese, Ph.D. is a psychologist with more than 40 years experience in public mental health care. Until 1995, Frese was Director of Psychology for 15 years at Western Reserve Psychiatric Hospital. Now he is the Coordinator of the Summit County Recovery Project, serving recovering consumers in and around Akron, OH.
Dr. John M. Grohol: So you’ve had a distinguished career, but it all seemed to start with your diagnosis of schizophrenia when you joined the Marines.
Dr. Frederick Frese: Actually, I was in the Marine Corps for about four years when I had the diagnosis and was discharged. Then spent 10 years, in 10 different hospitals, being hospitalized and re‑hospitalized, at one point being committed as insane. Then I went back to school, got my doctorate, became a psychologist functioning in a state hospital. I was actually director of psychology. I was being told not to tell anybody about my condition.
But one day, and thanks in large part to the last lady you just interviewed, Pam Hodge… She changed the laws in Ohio and encouraged persons in recovery to sit on mental health boards and become open about their conditions. So I did.
Since then, I’ve had quite a career. I’ve given over 2,000 talks. I’ve had movie contracts. No movie, but I’ve had a couple contracts!