Author and humanitarian Mary Jean Teachman hails from Detroit and made her home in Bloomfield Hills with husband Dr. Gerard W. Teachman.
“There is such beauty in Bloomfield Hills,” she shares. “I still feel attached to the entire area. I have many friends and relatives who reside there and I take great joy in visiting.”
She studied pre-law and mathematics at the University of Detroit and had two children, Arthur Forrest Tull, II and Valarie Tull from her first marriage. She then married Mort Lieberman, and was widowed, yet met the challenge, raising her creative and resilient children, who both attended Cranbrook Schools.
Teachman, now in her 70s, is positively stunning and youthful. She credits yoga, spirituality and healthful living for her inner and outer beauty.
She enjoyed a successful modeling career for eight years, appearing in Vogue magazine. She is also passionate about gardening, gourmet cooking and investing.
“I have been a longtime activist,” shares Teachman. “I started and ran a successful campaign, ‘Real Americans Buy American Cars’ (RABAC) in the late 70’s. I started the grassroots movement because the American auto industry was in a severe slump.”
However, her career took a very different path when she tragically lost her son to suicide when he was 37.
“I am now an activist for taking away the stigma of all brain diseases such as bipolar, depression addictions and schizophrenia,” she shares. “I have been dealing with mental health issues since my son was in high school.
“He had bipolar depression and struggled for many years. Tragically, the disease finally won,” she shares. “He took his own life in 1995.”
Teachman refers to bipolar depression, depression and schizophrenia as genetic brain diseases. “They are physical illnesses,” she asserts. “… those who die by suicide have been living a life of pain. Somewhere in the world every 40 seconds, a person dies by suicide.”
Teachman was introduced to MIRA (Mental Illness Research Association) in Bloomfield Hills, where she met others who shared the same loss. Determined to learn all she could about brain diseases, she became board president and initiated a research grant – one in her son’s honor – through the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.
The process of writing her book, “Never Saying Goodbye: A Life Changing Road to Acceptance and Joy After the Loss of a Loved One,” which is available on Amazon and her website, maryjeanteachman.com, was a cathartic experience, she said.
“I was devastated when my son left and about how he left. I think of my son, Forrest, every day. He is my spiritual son who resides in my heart. There is no closure. I want to help those who have lost their loved ones through suicide, addictions or any other way. I want to help anyone experiencing a tragedy. There are concrete steps in my book on how to heal.”
These include ‘Mindfulness Meditation,’ which she says can alter areas of the brain in a positive way and “let the light in.”
“Addictions are an epidemic in America,” she states. “Forrest was addicted at one time in his life. I am familiar with what pain and suffering can result from addiction.”
Teachman currently resides in Juno Beach, Florida, and Asheville, North Carolina with her husband and their cat, Jackson. She is currently writing a book about the process of aging, which she is doing quite gracefully.
Photo: Gerald Teachman