How mental illness made me a better person: Joe Schaefer at TEDxAlbany 2013


It was during his senior year of college, less than 6 months before his first marriage, that Joe’s life drastically changed due to the onset of mental illness. In his TEDx Albany talk, Joe shares “How Mental Illness Made Me a Better Person and Enriched My Life.”

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


  1. a l says

    these videos are relaxing to watch; its like sorta revelations? O_O

    mental health~
    nobody wanna talk about it?


    life O_O_OAWldskjldjasx,zc.,xc.,…. stresses…

  2. Bryant Holbeck says

    I give you my respect, and say thank you..

  3. AJS Rabbit88 says

    Give them a chance… thank you

  4. Hannah Yeomans says

    Thank You for sharing x

  5. Elena Belacastre says

    Like the LGBTQ, which is complex, & genetic so are mental disorders! WHERE'S OUR PARADE? It takes a lot of mental strengh to pull out of each episode, as u all well know my friends! But Im grateful everyday when I hear stories of loneliness, Trauma, isolation & then recovery!
    The only thing in my opinion that worsens & affects our condition or can strengthen us, is how we view ourselves within the STIGMA!

  6. Radhae Krishna says

    First of all bosses in companies, Management/CEO/Principals/Managers in academic/non academic fields should be tested (normally like blood tests) and if they are mentally fit for the positions, then they should be selected to become leaders. This can be done like making identity card by Govt. This way society welfare will be taken care of and economy will improve along with protecting such professions in medical fields. Nice speech Sir. Thank you???

  7. coffee man says

    I have schizophrenia… Thank you for your video…

  8. Trebor Ironwolfe says

    …I believe there is something greater than "meeting again". As many greats have said to the effect of "Do not worry my child".

  9. Trebor Ironwolfe says

    So.. could schizophrenia be related to the Eastern philosophy of reincarnation? Only this experience occurs while in life, and not in death?

  10. Julian Jarquin says

    San Francisco CA has lots lots of people with mental illness, a lot of folks, like more than 70% probably…

  11. Liu Bliu says

    I in the middle of that path still feeling the pain you talk about, and I really hope to get to that place some day. It’s truly beautiful, to grow from all the hurt and despair we get from our brains and I hope I too can be in peace with myself one day so I have peace and love to give to others as well. Thank you ?? ?

  12. robin jardine says

    wow, what an amazing talk, I can't believe that he still did it after his mum had passed away, that was a shocker, ultimate respect, well done Joe.

  13. EMS 76 says

    I'm sorry to say that this talk is disorganized and rambling. I wish it were better.

  14. GodisRight ! says

    Thank you Joe for sharing. You really bring light into things for me.

  15. Sid Arthur says

    billy pilgrim doesn't look anything like the way i imagined him

  16. Excellent, I love this gentleman and can relate so very much! Thank you my brother!

  17. N Hess says

    Dear man … thank you . Helps me understand my daughter ❤️

  18. Cynthia Hawkins says

    Two people very dear to me, (both with mental illnesses, both now deceased) were improperly medicated. And their lives throughout…were..blighted, that's the only word I can use. The third one, received no meds at all, and one day had an episode: he threatened to kill our neighbor's kids before we got him out in the hall, and past the knife board. Mental illness covers a wide spectrum, of course.Not everyone with an episode becomes a potentially violent person. But with better understanding, stronger intervention, and more education for everyone, we can at least do better, more humane job… for those citizens among us who are often not dangerous, but extremely fragile. And get them help!!!

  19. raspberry1011 says

    I hope you see your mum again. Lovely talk, was really interesting.

  20. declan mather says

    Thanks for sharing your experiences , what you were saying is really informative but also changing peoples perceptions of mental health. Many thanks Declan

  21. Synnee Cha says

    Thank you for your beautiful inspiration story, noticed how every time I listen to everyone story and they started crying me to.

  22. Audrey S says

    Joe, thank you for sharing your story!!
    First off I want to mention that the commenting functions aren't typical on this video, and I wonder if that's why there isn't more dialogue here. Idk much, since I rarely comment.
    Your story tugged at my heart strings though. I'll be ruminating over this for awhile.

    I had some some observations about the talk that I wanted to share, but can't quite word them at the moment without inserting unnecessary personal monologue. I'll try to come back when I can be more concise.

    Best of luck in your endeavors and your treatment… whichever forms they may take 🙂

  23. eric wallker says

    Thank you for sharing so bravely…. I'm still working out of a 10 yr rabbit hole and you inspire me

  24. jlangdon says

    "compassion times 1000%" haha classic

  25. Joe Schaefer says

    I want to thank everyone who took valuable time out of their lives to watch me speak of my experiences and living a new reality. I hope that anyone having a difficult time will reach out and get help. I'm far from out of the woods, but this is better than it was. Much love. Peace to you all. Thank you.

  26. Crystal Andersson says

    I'm a bit taken aback that there are only 11 responses (12 including mine) to this talk and over 23,000 viewings. There needs to be more dialogue on the topic. So much of our arts, entertainment, revolutionary ideas, history and modern science can be attributed to those with mental illnesses. A beautiful genius it is. Great speech. Thank you for lending your bravery and for treading into territory that is apparently unspeakable to the vast majority. Much love! ❤

  27. deenababie says

    I'm so proud of my friend Joe!!!

  28. aleche96 says

    This was just wonderful.
    I'm struggling with my reality, but this makes me feel more relieved.

  29. Tony B says

    This delusion is Karma or the Golden Rule. That's awesome. This is how everyone should be. Even the wacky christians have this delusion and think everyone could be jeebus therefore they try to be good little confused people too.

  30. Johanna Goossen says

    Beautiful message. thank you!

  31. Annie Arthur says

    I Went Down The Rabbit HOLE, Sir. I Am Now WHOLE. For Over A Decade Of My Life, I Was Misdiagnosed With Bipolar Disorder, Which Is A Construct, And Which Also Used To Be Referred To As A Medical Disease. Own Your Schizophrenia All You Want, But Please Do Not Pretend To Think You Know Anything About NON-EXISISTENT BiPolar Disorder.

  32. lavidaesplendida says

    Very powerful. Thank you.

  33. Joel Fry says

    This is beautiful indeed.  Thank you.

  34. Rob Tyson says

    This is brilliant

  35. LukeSchaeferFilms says

    Beautiful 🙂

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