Richetta Ann Moore is familiar with both sides of the mental health fence: she volunteers here at the Association as a compeer; she’s a regular volunteer at Sanctuary House; and she’s a member of the Client Rights Committee at Family Service of the Piedmont (FSP). Nearly 20 years ago she was hospitalized with suicidal thoughts and diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, which a Greensboro psychiatrist subsequently rediagnosed as bipolar disorder.
Richetta, a vibrant, tell-it-like-it-is woman, has been a library technician with the Smithsonian Institution, a Sears employee, and a collection agent. At one low point in her life, preceding her hospitalization, she experienced homelessness. These days she happily shares her Greensboro apartment with two cats and stays busy helping others. “I just try to live each day like it’s my last,” she says. “I try to make people happy.” Richetta credits her Christian faith for sustaining her, and expresses gratitude to her parents, Dr. Richard E. Moore Sr. and Mrs. Annie Belle Martin Moore, for raising her.
Along with her big heart and intricate history, Richetta has a whole lot of wisdom to offer from a client perspective. She shared the latter at an FSP Clients Rights Committee meeting, and we thought her wise words deserved reprinting. (Her last line got a big chuckle.)
From the Clients: What We Want You to Know
by Richetta Ann Moore
- We want to have fresh air outdoors, with birds and flowers. I have been hospitalized twice, and while I know we must be indoors for our own safety, we also would appreciate being able to see the beauty of the outdoors, not just look up and see a piece of the sky.
- We want to be asked for our input about decisions that affect us.
- We want you to call, write, or come by to see how we are doing.
- We want you to give us dates when we can be included in regular family get-togethers.
- We want you to take breaks from us so you can have your own happy life apart from us.
- We want you to acknowledge that we have a treatable medical condition.
- We want you to know that we are intelligent and that you can learn from us patience, love, compassion, and how to have a good sense of humor.
- We want you to know that our brain chemistry is different and we are not necessarily mentally disabled; and that if we are disabled, we still deserve respect, care, love, and friendship.
- We want you to know that we can and do drive, vote, shop, answer questions, and contribute substantially to your life and well-being.
- We want you to not be upset when we don’t “do right,” because if we could do better we would do better. If you feel we can do better, help and encourage us—don’t fuss at us.
- We want you to know that it is no shame to have a mental health diagnosis. We refuse to be hidden in the shadows and warehoused; our lives should be enriched with art, music, therapy, and religion or spirituality. We are loving, caring individuals who can be an asset in the community where we live as well as the community at large.
- Send us money sometimes. It shows us that we are not forgotten and that you care about us.
Thanks for sharing all you’ve learned with us, Richetta! You can reach Richetta at email@example.com.