Defying Mental Illness

Friday, December 28, 2012

Publisher's Weekly likes our book

The technology of digital publishing and print-on-demand makes it possible for us to make our books available. It's also made marketing books even more competitive. Fewer than 20 percent of books listed in Publisher's Weekly's program for independent publishers ever get reviewed.  We're grateful for the review we received.

Defying Mental Illness
Paul Komarek and Andrea Schroer
Church Basement Press, $19.99 paper (246p) ISBN 978-1-4793-6946-1
For the uninitiated, mental illness can be confusing, vexing, and even terrifying. Komarek and Schroer present educational and resource material for people suffering from psychiatric maladies and those supporting them. In basic terms and scope, the authors seek to demystify mental illness. Chapters on recognizing symptoms and managing disorders, as well as treatments for both adults and children are enhanced with case histories and quotes from people who lucidly recount experiences with such maladies as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Readers would be wise to recognize that Komarek and Schroer are not clinical professionals, but teachers with compassionate and enthusiastic intentions. And while their approach to and perspectives on mental illness are well-meaning, readers who find themselves (or a family member) in the throes of a psychiatric condition would be wise to seek the advice of professionals before diagnosing or treating their own symptoms. This book is mainly a useful primer for those looking to understand mental illness.

Here's the link to  Publisher's Weekly's full coverage of independently published works.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Defying Mental Illness 2013 Edition Now Available

Andrea Schroer and I are pleased to announce the 2013 Edition of Defying Mental Illness: Finding Recovery with Community Resources and Family Support.

This is a major update. We reorganized the material so it is even easier to read -- and added new material on eating disorders, family support, suicide prevention, anti-stigma programs, and violence prevention, plus we updated our sections on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

More importantly, we responded to reader suggestions and included new material that helps churches and community groups do outreach to people with mental illness. We have included a simple script that anyone can use to provide support and screen for trouble. It's just four questions. We think that simple scripts and some very basic training can accomplish for mental illness recovery what AA accomplished for sober recovery. Anyone can use our book to help a friend stay safe and engaged in a recovery process.

Defying Mental Illness is the only book of its kind. It is a one-volume quick reference, plus a resource guide, plus a guidebook to recovery. It works as a basic textbook. Most importantly, Defying Mental Illness is truly strength-based, focused on recovery, and designed to keep families working together to support each other.

The new edition is currently migrating through our distribution channels. It will be available on all e-book platforms and through Amazon, and distributed to libraries and institutions through Baker and Taylor. The distribution process should be complete within about two weeks.

The following direct links work right now.

Defying Mental Illness 2013 Edition on Amazon -- print edition.

Defying Mental Illness 2013 Edition - Kindle Version on Amazon

Defying Mental Illness 2013 edition - All ebook formats on Smashwords - includes Nook, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and PDF versions.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Autumn Speaker Series for Defying Mental Illness

Andrea and I are in the process of setting up some public events during Autumn 2012.

Here's our basic program blurb:

Mental illness is a serious problem that is surprisingly common but usually misunderstood. The good news is that people can recover from depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and schizophrenia.  In this one-hour presentation, local authors Paul Komarek and Andrea Schroer will help take the mystery away from these illnesses and identify common sense recovery strategies that work for you, your children and your family members.
If your group is interested in booking us, we're available, and can customize programs for your needs. Please contact us at

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Special Needs Book Review recommends Defying Mental Illness

Special Needs Book Review recommends Defying Mental Illness.
It is easy to understand and complete so it is suitable for people in recovery, caregivers, faith-based, church and community outreach workers who work in mental health.  Readers will appreciate the chapters on finding treatment, paying for mental health care, housing, employment and disability, involuntary hospitalization, the criminal justice system, and links to allies and advocacy groups.
The case studies describing a few journeys towards recovery bring hope to the readers.
Read their very kind review here.

An interview with Paul Komarek

Thanks to Special Needs Book Review and Lorna d'Entremont for the opportunity to talk about my life and work. Here's the link to my interview.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Meet Paul Komarek Sept 18 in Cincinnati

Empowerment Conference 


“Connecting Service System Users with Opportunities in the World”

We are inviting people who use any sort of "service system" (and their allies) to come together and have a conversation. Sponsored by Human Intervention and HOPE4Change. Two sessions, Noon and 6 PM on September 18, 2012.
Download the conference preliminary brochure
Reserve your seat via Eventbrite

Professional Learning Opportunity

“Fostering solutions outside of systems we control.”
What might happen if we left our credentials at the door? Professional caregivers, treatment teams and public servants want people to succeed in the larger world, but all systems have their limits. At their best, system boundaries keep clients safe. But sometimes they just ration out resources. And at their worst, systems trap and disempower the very people they are meant to benefit. Paul Komarek, author of Defying Mental Illness: Finding Recovery with Community Resources and Family Support will lead a conversation about solutions within the expertise of ordinary citizens. What can we create in the larger world to help people achieve success in their lives? Free to attend. $50 with CEUs. Reserve your seat today.

Monday, April 23, 2012

NAMI - Defying Mental Illness "provides just what's needed"

We were happy to see NAMI's review of our book. Read the full review here.

"Defying Mental Illness offers tangible, person-focused strategies that deliver information in a reader friendly manner that takes the initial overwhelming feeling of experiencing a mental illness and helps parse it out into easy to understand categories. "

And Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein says our book really takes the sting out of mental illness.

Friday, February 10, 2012

MBR Bookwatch Recommends Defying Mental Illness

"Mental illness can shatter relationships, and it may be hard to rise up and strike against it. "Defying Mental Illness" is a discussion from Paul Komarek & Andrea Schroer as they move through the challenges that are faced by friends and families of those with mental illness, that encourage doing what one can to answer illness and help those who struggle find the strength to live their lives. "Defying Mental Illness" is a useful reference and much recommended reading for health and spirituality collections."

Friday, January 6, 2012



Paul Komarek is the author of Defying Mental Illness, which brings the techniques of mental illness recovery to general audiences. Through his consulting practice, Human Intervention, Mr. Komarek helps non-profit agencies, small businesses and government agencies create sustainable community programs that transform people’s lives. He is an adjunct faculty member at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

Mr. Komarek is a graduate of American University's School of International Service and Northern Kentucky University's Chase College of Law.

Mr. Komarek began his career as a Claims Representative for the Social Security Administration. He practiced law, worked for Catholic Social Services and the Urban League, and served as Executive Director of Recovery Resource Center, a substance abuse treatment program. Mr. Komarek has been active in NAMI, and developed a NAMI Ohio training program, "Working with People with Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System," which has been presented in courts and jails across Ohio, and has become mandatory training for deputy jailers in Kentucky.

Mr. Komarek's consulting work focuses on licensing and accreditation, curriculum development, community engagement and communications. His clients have included YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, Joseph House for Homeless Veterans, Collaborative Law Center, the Center for Mediation of Disputes, Envision Learning Center, HOPE4CHANGE Business Development Center, and Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy.

Mr. Komarek served on the Hamilton County SAMI Initiative, a multisystem effort to develop an integrated system of treatment for people with co-occurring mental illness and addiction disorders. In 2010-2011 he led a public-private planning initiative aimed at creating a system of volunteer-delivered mediation and restorative justice programs to divert misdemeanor cases from court. He serves on the Board of Directors of West End Health Center and Winton Hills Opportunity Connection.

Learn more about Paul Komarek at Follow Paul Komarek on Twitter @pkomarek


Andrea Schroer is a teacher and educational consultant who assists schools, non-profit organizations, and businesses in reaching self-sufficiency through recommendations and training in the areas of tutoring, after-school programming, and child care licensure.

Learn more at

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Author Randye Kaye Reviews Defying Mental Illness

Here's what author Randye Kaye has written about Defying Mental Illness.
For all of us, I think this book is an excellent companion. It is well-researched, well-written, and clear. My congratulations and thanks to the authors for providing an accessible manual that I can recommend as a concrete resource to anyone needing clear guidelines about mental illness, its effect on the family, and the recovery process.
They state, in the introduction, that the goal was to write “a book that is not too technical, and suitable for community outreach work.” This is beautifully accomplished.
We're grateful for this kind review, part of the "mental illness in the family" blog at - read the whole review at this link.

Randye Kaye is the author of Ben Behind His Voices, the story of a family coping with the onset of schizophrenia in its midst. Ms. Kaye and her family have had to live through times of conflict, separation and difficult choices on their path towards a resolution. Their courage and determination show through.

It's a story many of us have experienced. Family members struggle to understand what is happening as we watch a person's behavior and course of life change. After things settle, sometimes years later, people come to terms with what it takes to lead or support a stable successful life.

Ms. Kaye tops off her storytelling by including helpful resource links. Readers can see parallels with their own journeys, and connect with resources they might have missed. Plus, if you are the person in your family who has symptoms, Ms. Kaye's book can help you see how your struggles affect the people you love, and how their love and concern for you can help inform your choices as you move towards recovery. 

Direct link to Randye Kaye's review of Defying Mental Illness:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Defying Mental Illness Authors Present at Northern Kentucky Counselor's Association Meeting

Paul Komarek and Andrea Schroer presented at the Northern Kentucky Counselor's Association, December 2, 2011.

Their three-hour workshop focused on how conversations change lives, demonstrating techniques that help people generate possibilities and build commitment. These techniques are built into Defying Mental Illness: Finding Recovery with Community Resources and Family Support.