Music Helps Heal Ewa Man with Schizophrenia

Craig Willers
Craig Willers

EWA BEACH (KHNL) - It is estimated that more than 51,000 people in Hawaii are living with a serious mental disorder.  You see some of them on the streets, lost, alone, or homeless, maybe even pushing a shopping cart while they speak out loud.  However, an Ewa Beach man says that's a stereo type, one that he wants to change.

Craig Willers is known for his unique style of music.  He strums his guitar at Geiger Park in Ewa Beach, as he sings passionately about the deep sometimes dark struggles in his life.  His lyrics are profound and personal.  He is married, has a full time job and has battled paranoid schizophrenia for about 25 years.  Anyone who encounters him on the street would never notice his silent battle.

"It's very frightening and you feel like you have no privacy in your mind.  The voices hear everything you think, they respond to everything you think and its very difficult to focus on life tasks every day", Willers said.

He has had control of it for many years, thanks to treatment, staying on his medications, his strong faith, his wife Mindy, and especially his music.

He said, "I turned to music early on because it was that I could sit there and play my guitar and sit there and sing. Then, I could take my mind off of what was happening up here {in my head} the voices would fade out a little bit".

Willers wants to give hope to others who might need help, by sharing story and sharing his songs.

"I hope that people will get a positive message from this and that they will seek out help and you can go on and live a full life and be successful as much as possible. Its not the end", he said.  For Willers its just the beginning of living a healthy, happy life.

He's been working for the same company for 21 years and credits a former manager for encouraging him to get help when he first started.  He hopes to go back to school to become a psychiatric nurse.  His wife Mindy is already in nursing school.

For local information on mental health issues and getting assistance you can call United Self Help at 947-5558.