|National Alliance on Mental Illness
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National Board of Directors
Eileen D. White
From 1981 to 1984, Eileen White served in the United States Air Force and rose to the level of Staff Sergeant with a Top Secret Security Clearance. After being diagnosed with Dysthymic Disorder and Anxiety, her military career came to an abrupt and disappointing end. Additional diagnoses in 1989 included General Anxiety Disorder, Major Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Anorexia.
Following years of psychotherapy, seven electroconvulsive therapy (shock therapy) treatments over a two-week period, and medication she continues today, Eileen is an advocate who has found her "purpose in life." She completed her Bachelor of Science degree (Magna Cum Laude) and travels extensively to address law enforcement agencies, mental health conferences, hospitals, service clubs, correctional facility employees, college, and high school classrooms (over 60 in South Dakota). In recognition for her efforts, Eileen received the 2003 "National NAMI IOOV Speaker" Award. What remains tantamount to her "job" today, however, is the goal of increasing awareness and helping end the stigma, misperception, and discrimination experienced by those living with serious mental disorders.
According to Frederick J. Magnavito, Ph.D., who serves as the in-house psychologist for the Rapid City (SD) Police Department, "Eileen is an engaging presenter who can render the most difficult and complex subject matter understandable and relevant while adding both a personal touch and sense of humor."