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Posts Tagged ‘stigma’

You have to see this, if you haven’t already. Anyone who is interested in topics like mental health, pediatric health, teaching children, pharmaceutical research, or what to do about children with unusual behaviour should watch and pay attention. This is a 56-minute video called The Medicated Child, and it was aired on PBS recently. It really struck a nerve with me, both as a mother and as an adult with bipolar disorder.

http://video.pbs.org/video/1316921025#

What do you think?

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1-800-273-TALK. Call this number if you are thinking that it’s time to end it all. Why? You might appreciate it later when you’re in a better frame of mind. It might help you understand that there are people out there that really do care. It might help you see that those thoughts might be just a symptom of something bigger that’s messing up your mind. If that’s all it is, wouldn’t you want to find out what’s wrong so you can get back to the life you really want to live?

There are more and more studies being done to understand how big of a problem this really is in our country. Here are just some of the highlights:

http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/66/4/398

Most suicides committed by males age 18-24 had psych problems at age 8.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2009/black-teens-especially-girls-at-high-risk-for-suicide-attempts.shtml

Female black teens are at risk for suicide, even if they have never been diagnosed with a mental illness.

http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k9/165/suicide.cfm

Around one percent of adult Americans planned to commit suicide last year, and half of those actually tried it. A little under four percent of adult Americans admitted to thinking about it, and that number almost doubled when they looked at just those between 18 and 25 years old. How many of us aren’t even admitting that we think about this?

Call 1-800-273-TALK. I’ll bet they’ll help even if you’re just worried about someone that is close to you. Pull the old “my friend has this problem” if you need to. Just talk about it with someone who deals with this stuff all the time, and try to find out if there’s something bigger going on that’s making it easier to think that way. You might be surprised at the change it makes in your mood and your motivation to move forward.

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I have to say that I’m impressed.  Brand new to blogging, I’ve done a little surfing lately and found little mini-communities sprouting all over the place.  What hits me the most is how many people fighting in the trenches of the mental health system are using this type of forum to connect with others like themselves.  Those of us who like to write can spout off, share information, and encourage the others with funny stories and empathy.  Those of us who like to write and happen to be having an off-day can poke around and learn from everyone else.  It’s like therapy without all the bills.

Speaking of therapy bills, I have a couple of people I’d like to send my bills to…

It’s amazing to look at all the different types of people reading and posting about mental health.  Concerned professionals write about their experiences and their patients.  Patients write about their experiences and the mental health professionals they work with.  (These two groups had better be keeping in touch with each other – I love the “You don’t know what it’s like!!!” posts.)  Then there are the people who are simply trying to come to terms with whatever oddities they find between their ears.

I like the posts from people who are trying to encourage the rest of the world to understand the complexities of mental health and not lump us all into the “too weird to give a crap” basket.  What we have now is sort of a huge identity crisis.  Seriously – we label someone mentally ill if they’re hospitalized with next to no cognizance of reality, and we give the next guy the same label when he just gets overly excited once in a while.  Some of us are still not sure what to do with the bored housewives who go out and do something completely out of character, except maybe give them a reality show.  Really, the weird thing is that we apply the same term to so many different people.

I’m on anyone’s team who decides to attack the stigma surrounding mental illness.  There has to be a way to make it less of a fright or a scandal when we meet someone who has a problem with their brain.  I know – it’s hard to know how to react to people who are different.  Some people are scary, and some people aren’t.  Some people are fine with medication, and some people are hard to treat because there are other physical problems in the mix.  Let’s start with a little unconditional respect and see where that gets us.

If you have issues, find others who are in the same boat, even if it’s only online.  Keep in touch with each other.  Share stuff about how you deal with mental health.  You never know when you’re going to touch someone and help their off-day from getting worse.

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