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About the Author
Bluebird was trained as a registered nurse at Thomas Jeffereson Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. She has written a number of guidebooks and manuals, many under the auspices of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA,) on topics relating to the development of arts programs, Reaching Across with the Arts; she also produced a film, Leaving the Door Open: Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint. She is renowned as one of the foremost advocates on the removal of seclusion and restraint practices in mental hospitals, and has developed a program centered around “Comfort Rooms” as an alternative. She worked for many years in Broward County, Florida, where she developed a regional Office of Consumer Affairs. She also worked as an advocate at South Florida State Hospital (Geo Care). She moved from Fort Lauderdale to Gainesville, Florida in 2006 to be near her daughter Wendy during her dying process. She continues to work for National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), where she coordinates an office of technical assistance for peer networking.
She is a co-founder of “Altered States of the Arts,” a national network of artists, writers and performers with disabilities: www.alteredstatesofthearts.com
Bluebird on Wendy:
Gayle Bluebird lost her daughter, Wendy, at age 43, July 14, 2008. Her poems, “Pink Hats for Wendy,” are a tribute to her and also an exploration of their relationship to each other. Mother and Daughter relationships are never easy and have many twists and turns over years. But when a mother has left children at early ages, due to mental illness, it is especially hard to recapture, redefine, what has been lost. Nevertheless, it is never too late to love; love can always communicate and heal. Bluebird and Wendy tried and partially succeeded. These poems are another way Bluebird could love her.
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