Our Nurse of the Week is Lisa Bails Froyd, a psych nurse from Indiana, Pennsylvania, who is no stranger to mental illness. After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she pushed through her personal setbacks to finish nursing school and now uses her experience to help others.

People are often shocked to find out that Froyd is a registered nurse (RN) with a mental illness, but she tells Observer-Reporter.com, “We’re out there like anyone else. We have the same struggles as anyone else.” People are often fearful of mental illness, but Froyd uses her own struggles with mental illness in her role as an RN with Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services.

“I tell people not to be fearful of mental illness. It gives us an ability to see things differently.”

Froyd hasn’t always had a diagnosed mental illness. It wasn’t until a few summers after graduating high school when an abusive relationship left her feeling haunted and unsafe, causing delusions that forced her into psychiatric treatment. However, being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and beginning a regimen of medications to manage her mental illness allowed her to start nursing school a couple of years later.

Being exposed to a hospital environment while still in school left Froyd feeling uneasy, but she didn’t let her diagnosis stand in her way and eventually finished school. Letting go of the harmful stigmas surrounding mental illness allowed Froyd to fulfill her potential as a nurse, and she now encourages others with mental illness to pursue their own dreams and passions.

In addition to her role as an RN, Froyd is also involved with her local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Mental Health Association of Washington County. To learn more about her experience with mental illness and how it has positively motivated her nursing career, visit here.

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