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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #BodyImage Affects Half Of #Men’s #MentalHealth, New Study Shows

By Michael Baggs

Spencer Cooper, Jamie Laing, Stevie Blaine, Russell Kaine and Leon McKenzie

Almost half of UK #men say poor #bodyimage has affected their #mentalhealth, according to a new study.

Research by #suicideprevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and Instagram found 48% of #men aged 16-40 had struggled because of how they feel about their body.

Of 2,000 males asked, 58% said the #pandemic had affected how they feel about their body in a negative way.

Only 26% said they were happy with how they look.

And 21% said they don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone about it.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

‘Everyone was getting fitter – except me’

Spencer Cooper, 22, is among the 48% – and says the #pandemic played a big part in his poor #bodyimage and #mentalhealth.

“During lockdown, I saw everyone was doing home workouts on Instagram Live and on Facebook, I was thinking, ‘Right, okay, I’m going to try that,'” he tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

“I did a couple, but it wasn’t for for me, I couldn’t do it, and I think I made myself feel quite guilty for that.

“Everyone on #socialmedia seemed to be getting fitter, healthier and doing well – and I seemed to be doing the opposite.”

Spencer says that even though the new figures are high, he would have expected them to be even higher.

“When your clothes start not to fit, the shops aren’t open and all of a sudden you don’t look good, you don’t feel good and you’re very unhappy in your #bodyimage,” he adds.

“When you already didn’t feel good to start with because of the #pandemic and not seeing friends, it hits you quite hard.”

Spencer feels the reason some #men don’t feel comfortable chatting about how their #bodyimage affects their #mentalhealth is because #men are simply “programmed not to”.

CALM and Instagram are launching a new series, CALM Body Talks in an attempt to start that conversation.

#Bodyimage campaigners Jamie Laing, Stevie Blaine, Leon McKenzie, and Russell Kane are all involved in the series.

“Growing up I was quickly aware that my body was different to those around me,” Stevie Blaine tells the BBC.

Stevie says he struggled with his weight during his #teens and later when he experienced hair loss in his late 20s – and says he went through “a decade of self-hate”.

Jamie Laing, Stevie Blaine, Russell Kane and Leon McKenzie
Jamie Laing, Stevie Blaine, Russell Kane and Leon McKenzie

CALM Body Talks aims to promote positive #bodyimage in #men – but of course it’s something that affects #women too.

‘#Men missing from the conversation’

“#Women face these issues everyday too, and that’s why it has been so great to witness the rise of the body positivity movement over the past few years,” says Jamie Laing.

“You scroll through hashtags like #bodypositivity and #selflove on Instagram and you see so many #women sharing experiences of body changes during lockdown, advice for self-care and motivational messages to support their community.

“It’s hard to ignore the fact that there is a stark gender divide here, and #men are often missing from the conversation.”

‘Ripped, muscly #men’

Spencer says his self-esteem is affected by what he sees in his feed.

“I think there’s this huge expectation to look and act a certain way,” he says.

“The image that keeps flashing through my mind is these buff, ripped muscly #men who post their bodies on #socialmedia a lot.

“#Socialmedia is still kind of dominated by these images of how you should look as a #man.”

‘Instagram causes pressure on #boys’

During the first #coronavirus lockdown in 2020, CALM says it saw a 40% increase in calls to its helpline and visits to its website by 16-24-year-olds double.

CEO Simon Gunning admits Instagram has been part of the problem for #young people’s #bodyimage.

“Unquestionably Instagram has caused the pressure for #adolescent #boys to be big and muscly, it is unhealthy and unattainable,” he says.

“This campaign tackles the issue at its core, #bodyimage on Instagram.”

“#Bodyimage issues are massively prevalent in #women and #girls. The same pressures apply to #men but we don’t discuss it in the same way – the way we portray body image for #men is decades behind. There is no debate for #men on this topic.”

person taking dumbbells from a rack
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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #GunViolence In #America: #MentalHealth

The U.S. has seen nearly 11,000 #gunviolence deaths so far this year.

By Stephanie Pawlowski

The #NationalAllianceonMentalIllness says whenever a tragic act of #gunviolence occurs, people with #mentalillness are often unfairly drawn into the conversation.

But experts say the relationship between #mentalhealth and #gunviolence is complex.

“Someone who goes out and massacres a bunch of strangers, that’s not the act of a healthy mind. There’s something wrong with that person,” Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, professor in Psychiatry and #BehavioralSciences at Duke University’s School of Medicine told ABC News. “But it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have one of these disorders of thought or mood regulation that psychiatrists commonly treat.”

Swanson, who co-authored the study “#Mentalillness and reduction of #gunviolence and #suicide: bringing epidemiologic research to policy,” said the issue is complicated because there’s rarely just one explanation for mass shooters; they could also be grappling with trauma, drug use, alcohol abuse, alienation or #mentalillness.

“When we think about #gunviolence, what we know is that extreme anger, hatred and violence can motivate people to hurt or kill others. But we should never confuse strong emotions and beliefs with #mentalillness,” Angela Kimball, national director of advocacy and public policy for #NAMI, told ABC News.

Because politicians, police and the public put so much attention on #mentalhealth in the wake of #gunviolence, Kimball said those who have been diagnosed with things like #schizophrenia and bipolar disorder face discrimination and marginalization. She said the world will often confuse those conditions with things like psychosis, which has many causes, including paranoia, #Alzheimer’s disease, drug use, trauma or sleep deprivation.

According to Kimball, people with #mentalhealthconditions are 23 times more likely to be the victims of violence than the general public.

PHOTO: NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 19: People gather at the "Stand Up Against Gun Violence" rally at Bronx Borough Hall on July 19, 2021 in South Bronx in New York City.

“Blaming #mentalillness or #mentalhealthconditions for #gunviolence is really a distraction from the real issues at hand which are evidence-based risk factors and the fact that in our country, it’s easier to get a gun than to get #mentalhealthcare,” Kimball said.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Access to #mentalhealthcare has been a passion of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, whose county seat is Chicago, a city no stranger to #gunviolence. In 2020, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot released a three-year violence reduction plan that addresses what she calls the root causes of violence, including systemic #racism, disinvestment and poverty. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed 875 gun-related homicides in 2020, breaking the previous record of 838 set in 1994.

Dart, who was first elected to the office in 2006 and has seen first-hand the effect #gunviolence has had on communities, said #mentalhealth also plays a role. He started a series of #mentalhealthprograms to help the inmates in his jail, like the Sheriff’s Anti-Violence Effort, or SAVE program. It offers intensive therapy and life-training skills for 18 to 24 year-olds who live in the county’s 15 most violent-prone zip codes.

“They spend eight hours a day going through cognitive programming, we tweak it every once in a while but it’s a pretty solid plan that we’ve had going for about five years now,” Dart said. “It (targets) what we and experts have suggested are some of the triggers for violence.”

Dart also developed a #MentalHealth Transition Center, a place that offers a complete schedule of #behavioral treatment like cognitive programming, anger management, therapy, meditation, parenting classes, and a discharge process so there’s a hand-off to the community.

Oftentimes, police are the ones who are called when someone who has a diagnosed #mentalhealthcondition is in crisis. That’s why Dart said he makes sure his officers get training and why he developed a unit called Treatment Response Teams.

PHOTO: Access to mental health care has been a passion of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, whose county seat is Chicago, a city no stranger to gun violence.
Cook County Sheriff's OfficeCook County Sheriff’s OfficeAccess to #mentalhealthcare has been a passion of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, whose county

“We now have iPads, that our #policeofficers have, so when they go to a #mentalhealthcase, we literally hand the iPad to the mother or father or we’ll actually hand it to the person in a #mentalhealthcrisis, and they’re sitting on the iPad talking to a #mentalhealthprofessional,” Sheriff Dart said.

Although most of the attention given to guns and #mentalhealth focuses on #massshootings, the #CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention said on average, 60% of all the gun deaths in the #UnitedStates are suicides.

Linda Cavazos, a #gunviolence survivor and advocate, lost her brother Louie to gun #suicide when he was 26 years-old. She said Louie was experiencing #depression and #anxiety over job loss and a relationship issue before his death.

“All five siblings got phone calls that day from Louie,” Cavazos said. “It wasn’t unusual for him to call. He sounded like Louis. I realized later that he was sentimental and I realize now that he was saying goodbye.”

The death changed Cavazos’ family, and their #mentalhealth, forever. She said her father became a shell of the man he was for at least five years. The brother who found Louie withdrew and his personality changed, Cavazos said while another brother felt anger and hurt for years. She and her sisters were left with feelings of grief, shock and survivor’s guilt.

Cavazos said not only did the family not know Louie was having suicidal thoughts, she also said he lied to a friend to get the gun.

“The friend basically left the gun unsecured with ammunition and told him that he wasn’t going to be home and to come over and get it,” Cavazos said.

It’s one reason she is pushing for more secure storage laws and what’s known as Red Flag laws. Nineteen states plus Washington, D.C., have passed Red Flag laws, which Swanson said lets police or a family petition a court to temporarily remove guns from someone who poses a threat to others, or themselves.

“Even if you’re someone who says ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people,’ here’s a law that’ll help you figure out who those people are,” Swanson said.

According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, the country has seen nearly 11,000 gun violence deaths so far this year. Last year, that number was more than 19,402, the highest number of #gunviolence deaths in more than 20 years. That was during the height of the #pandemic when there were fewer #massshootings, the overwhelming majority were gun suicides.

If you are struggling with thoughts of #suicide or worried about a friend or loved one help is available. Call the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-8255 [TALK].

This story is part of the series #GunViolence in America by ABC News Radio. Each day this week we’re exploring a different topic, from what we mean when we say “#gunviolence” – it’s not just #massshootings – to what can be done about it. You can hear an extended version of each report as an episode of the ABC News Radio Specials podcast. Subscribe and listen on any of the following podcast apps:

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #Suicide, #MentalHealth And #Bereavement

It’s no longer acceptable for #mentalhealth staff to claim they ‘don’t do’ #bereavement, writes RUTH HUNT


IT HAS now been categorically proved those exposed to #suicide are at a greater risk than those not, yet despite this knowledge, #mentalhealthservices are failing their #patients who are suffering from complicated grief.

As Antonia Murphy says in Out of This World: “#Suicide leaves its mark on those left behind in a particular, peculiar and devastating way.”

For such #patients, issues and problems they could face as a result of this loss include:

• Need to understand

• Guilt, responsibility

• Rejection, perceived abandonment, anger

• #Stigma

• Trauma

• #Suicide risk in survivors (thoughts, plans, attempts)

Tom was an inpatient on a psychiatric ward, when just before 5am he heard a scream followed by the sound of a man shouting and staff running down the corridor. Later that morning he found out that a close friend on the ward had taken her life, but despite his anguish and distress Tom wasn’t offered any help on the ward, nor in his care when an outpatient.

That led him to try and find services locally but when he told the #bereavement group organiser about what caused the grief, the panic attacks and night terrors he has suffered since and his diagnosis, he was told he would be better going to his GP and getting referred back to the #mentalhealthservices.

At a total loss, Tom made an appointment with his GP. The GP hadn’t been informed about this #suicide on the ward, so asked Tom to tell him what happened. For the first time Tom felt able to talk about that morning on the ward, and his feelings, guilt and how it reminded him of what happened to his gran; something he hadn’t told anyone else about.

The GP recognised his need for someone to simply listen to him in a non-judgemental way, someone who wasn’t scared about the things he might say and not being able to deal with them.

#Mentalhealthservices often give a stock answer to service users, that work with those bereaved is something they “don’t do” and leave the service user to seek out their own help.

It does seem bizarre that, as liaison psychiatrist Dr Chloe Beale says, “for people who have experienced #bereavement due to #suicide, there really is very little help available for them in the #mentalhealth system.”

John was initially able to get help from a specialist #bereavement service (which is now closed due to cuts). He says: “I had counselling with a #suicide loss specialist but then the specialist thought I was clinically depressed, so I had to go to the #Child and #Adolescent #MentalhealthService (CAMHS) but as soon as I was moved to the team, I got no support and that has been the same story to this date.”

Unfortunately in John’s case, grief was seen as unimportant compared to his #depression, meaning the #depression got treated, but not the grief. Being discharged from counselling services, might also give the impression to some #mentalhealth staff that his grief had been “dealt with” so was no longer a matter of concern.

It can also be the case that #depression is seen as grief, leaving the #depression untreated.

Another route service users often face is being given medication instead of help to deal with their #bereavement. This is what happened with Chris.

Chris was already in secondary #mentalhealthservices when a close member of his family died, so he asked whether he could receive specialist support such as counselling. They refused, saying they didn’t think he would be able to cope with it.

Instead, they prescribed medication without informed consent as to the risks of this drug, especially with regard to dependency. It is only now, some years later, he is getting the help he needs to taper off the drug in order to stop taking it completely.

As Chris couldn’t get the support he needed from #mentalhealthservices, he looked online and found a self-help group he could attend. During the session he disclosed he had himself attempted #suicide, but was then informed how distressed and alarmed certain members of the group were about what he had said – making Chris feel like he didn’t fit in.

To this day Chris has still not received specialist support for his #bereavement, yet on his notes it says he is at high risk of #suicide due to the #suicide of the member of his family.

Why aren’t many #mentalhealth #nurses able to help their #patients who have suffered a bereavement due to #suicide? What is behind the “we don’t do #bereavement” attitude?

There could be many reasons, but generally we all as a society find it difficult to talk about death, as we all will have suffered a #bereavement either directly or indirectly.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

#Mentalhealth staff might feel that bringing up the subject of #suicide #bereavement will be very painful for a #patient, so much so that they might both be unable to deal with the emotional fallout.

Concerns regarding potential litigation may also prevent staff from talking openly with their #patients.

Then there is the widely held view by society that those bereaved need specialist #bereavement counselling, when what is needed is an empathic, listening ear.

If they feel the third-sector offers such support, the #nurses might feel it is better to tell the service user to access these services rather than access #mentalhealthcare. Third-sector support is still patchy even though changes are underway. It can also lead to difficulties in sharing information between services.

Such factors can act as a barrier between staff members and #patients, preventing an honest conversation with the #patient in front of them, that, yes, might be upsetting, that might mention death, but might be just what the #patient needs.

The community picture for those bereaved by #suicide is changing for the better and this is due in a large part to the research from Dr Alexandra Pitman and her colleagues showing severe risks to the #mentalhealth of those who have experienced the #suicide of a family member or friend, including an increased risk of self-harm, hospitalisations and #suicide.

Pitman also is a Patron of Support After #Suicide (supportaftersuicide.org.uk), a hub of information and support with the aim that everyone bereaved or affected by #suicide is offered timely and appropriate support.

This hub links in with the NHS Long Term Plan, which aims to implement #suicide #bereavement support in every area of the country. Professor Tim Kendall said: “We aim to offer practical and emotional support to those closest to the person who’s died. It needs to be available for family and friends in the early days after a #bereavement. Our new model will deliver support locally to a national standard.

Beale acknowledges the plan for all areas to have postvention support for those bereaved, but she said: “I still worry it will leave a gap for some of the most vulnerable such as those bereaved who also have #mentahealthproblems.”

That is especially the case for those who are inpatients on a ward when another #patient takes their life. This is what happened to Vicki who one day heard a lot of commotion with nurses congregating in the bathroom directly opposite her room.

She was told by a staff member to put on her headphones but despite that Vicki heard everything. As Vicki was already suicidal, knowing this patient had completed the act gave her the confidence to try herself, and she only just survived.

At no point on the ward was she or any other #patient offered the chance to talk about what happened or were given the details of where they could access support if they needed it.

Like Tom, details of the #suicide on the ward were not passed onto her GP or CPN. When asked about this, Vicki said it would have helped if this information had been shared, but added: “I’m not surprised as it wasn’t spoken about on the ward when it actually happened.”

There are currently big improvements in the community support of those #bereaved by #suicide underway. It is now imperative that this is matched by support in #psychiatric services. It’s no longer acceptable for #mentalhealth staff to claim they “don’t do” #bereavement.

Some names have been changed to protect confidentiality.

Ruth F Hunt is a freelance journalist and an author. Linda Gask is a writer and #psychiatrist. Her most recent book is Finding True North (Sandstone Press).

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Feeling off? Here Is How To Know When To Seek #MentalHealthSupport And Where To Turn.

Andrew Bahl

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked an increase in anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Resources are available in Topeka and throughout Kansas — here's  where to turn for help.

Feeling out of sorts because of the #COVID-19 pandemic has been a commonplace feeling ever since the #pandemic hit like a ton of bricks last spring. 

From the potential loss of loved ones to changes in work and school to #isolation from friends and family, the past 14 months have been difficult.

Scores of Kansans were already grappling with #mentalhealth. An estimated 8% of the state’s residents suffer from #depression, according to the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services. That comes out to about 232,000 people.

Meanwhile, the Substance Abuse and #MentalHealth Services Administration estimates 4.5% of all Kansans suffer from a serious #mentalhealth condition.

And a state survey of students found Kansas #teenagers are struggling with a years-long, upward trend in #mentalhealthissues and risk of #suicide. The state saw a steeper-than-normal increase in #depression rates for young people last year.

A decrease in the #stigma surrounding #mentalhealth has prompted some folks to seek support when they might not have in the past.

“We are seeing more and more individuals acknowledge that they are struggling with something that just isn’t right and that it’s OK to say, ‘I’m not OK,’ and to get help,” said Sherrie Vaughn, executive director of the Kansas chapter of the #NationalAllianceonMentalIllness.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

It can be difficult, however, to know when it might be time to find help.

Karen Smothers, director of clinical operations for Family Service and Guidance Center in Topeka, noted changes in eating, sleeping and other “basic survival” tasks should serve as a sign that something more serious is amiss.

“If they’re feeling very isolated and lacking the motivation to get out, to go to work, to show up, and that’s interfering with their functioning, I would definitely suggest people reach out for help, whether that be virtually or in person,” Smothers said.Get the Afternoon Headlines newsletter in your inbox.

The last year has been especially disruptive, Smothers said, for those who thrive on routine.

That can be particularly true for #children and #teenagers.

Smothers noted #parents should be looking to see if their child doesn’t seem like themselves. 

An extroverted kid who withdraws or an introvert who is putting themselves in risky situations are both signs that they could use additional support.

“You live with them, you know them the best,” Smothers said.

According to #NAMI, symptoms of #depression include the following: Changes in sleep and appetite; lack of concentration and energy loss; a decline in interest in activities; #hopelessness or guilty thoughts; physical aches and pains and suicidal thoughts.

Symptoms of #anxiety include the following: Feelings of apprehension or dread; feeling tense or jumpy; restlessness or irritability; pounding or racing heart and shortness of breath; sweating, tremors and twitches; headaches, fatigue and #insomnia and upset stomach; frequent urination or diarrhea.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #Depression Isn’t Crying In The Corner: #Employees Lean On Eight Strategies To Disclose – Or Conceal – #MentalHealth At Work

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Employees who experience #depression are tasked with the decision to disclose their #mentalhealth to others at work.

For these employees, one West Virginia University researcher found that they utilize eight strategies on how to disclose (or conceal) this often-stigmatized social identity.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Kayla Follmer, assistant professor of management in the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, recognized that #mentalillness can be a concealable identity, much like religious affiliation, sexual orientation or having conditions such as #HIV or #diabetes: you can’t always see it from the outside.

This led her to wonder how people manage this identity at work. 

“Are people with #depression disclosing their disorder at work?” Follmer asked. “Are they telling other people and how are they going about it?”

After a series of interviews with 30 employees ranging from a candy display builder to a pharmacy technician to an active-duty member of the Navy, Follmer discovered that individuals employed eight strategies when it comes to managing #depression identity in the workplace.

  • Concealing: Employees simply hid their #depression from others at work. This entailed actively hiding both information and #behaviors.
  • Fabricating: This is a non-disclosure method where a person shares false information to hide their #depression. For example, one participant lied to their supervisor about psychiatric appointments. Instead, they told the boss they had to see a doctor for migraine issues.
  • Masking: Another non-disclosure method, masking includes putting on a façade or fake persona, like smiling when you don’t feel like it.
  • Signaling: Considered a semi-disclosure method, signaling means alluding to one’s #depression, in either passive or active ways. With this strategy, individuals did not openly disclose but did provide hints about their stigmatized identity. Respondents felt their natural dispositions were enough for colleagues to catch on that they might be depressed. Others said they openly vocalized life’s challenges, such as divorce or loss, to their colleagues.
  • Limited Disclosure: With this limited disclosure strategy, participants told others at work about some aspects of their #depression but did not disclose full information. For instance, one might disclose struggles with #mentalillness but not mention taking prescription medication or hospitalizations.
  • Selective Disclosure: This strategy occurs when individuals tell only certain individuals at work – not everyone – about their #depression.
  • Transparency: This full-disclosure method happens when a person is generally open about their #depression and tell everyone about it.
  • Advocacy: Those who are advocates take it a step further. Not only did they fully disclose their #mentalhealth but they advocated for awareness for others.

Follmer’s findings are published in Group & Organization Management.

“What’s novel about this study is that we were able to show support for a continuum of disclosure,” Follmer said. “We have this continuum, which had been theorized, but now it’s supported empirically. In other words, people do not simply disclose or conceal, but rather there are gradations of these decisions.”

Follmer said those who fall on the non-disclosure end of the continuum are fearful of the stigmatization of #mentalillness and facing unjust consequences such as being fired or mistreated at work.

For people who semi-disclose information, Follmer believes those employees are dipping their toe in the water to test how others may react to their disclosure.

On the far end of the continuum is full disclosure, in which participants are open about their #depression diagnosis.

“It’s not necessarily telling every single person you meet, rather it’s a general openness that if it comes up, you’ll talk about it,” Follmer explained. “You’re willing to share your experiences and you don’t feel afraid or ashamed.”

In this study, participants were least likely to use full disclosure strategies, suggesting that many employees are still afraid to fully embrace their #mentalillness at work. 

Follmer also observed the outcomes of her participants’ decisions. Individuals may have switched strategies over time based on the reactions of their peers and supervisors.

“If they changed jobs, maybe before they were very open but not now because of a bad experience,” she said. “Perhaps they weren’t open before but now they have a supportive climate. So we see this change across jobs and also within jobs. For instance, there were some individuals who disclosed to their boss and their boss was not receptive or supportive at all. Now they don’t talk about it anymore.” 

Overall, these results show that employees choose to manage their #depression in unique ways, and there isn’t one best approach. According to Follmer, organizations can benefit by providing an inclusive climate in which employees may choose to manage their identity however they see best.

For Follmer, her research matters in the business world.

“In organizational research, we don’t focus on people with disabilities,” she said. “We have stereotypes of the ideal worker. They’re always going to be very productive and very healthy and we’re going to work them to the bone. But there’s a gap here. On one hand, there’s the notion of epidemic levels of #mentalillness and #suicide. None of that is reflected in organizational research. I feel it’s an injustice that millions of people each year are experiencing #mentalillness and we aren’t doing a good job bringing their experiences to light.

“We’re managing human beings and sometimes we would do better to just simply check in and say, ‘How are you doing? What can I do to support you? If you need anything I’m here,’ rather than saying your performance is not good. We should take a more humanistic approach first to manage the individual rather than always just focusing on their work output.”

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #Veterinary Industry Grapples With High #Suicide Rate Amid Staff Shortages, Inadequate Pay

By Tahlia Roy

Woman holding a dog
Mara Hickey says she has suffered a panic disorder and #depression due to her work as a #veterinarian.

Mara Hickey’s love of animals is as admirable and expansive as her #veterinary credentials.

But the emergency and critical care specialist — who has saved countless lives — has become one of many #veterinarians to suffer from poor #mentalhealth.

“I developed a panic disorder due to dealing with animals that were not accidentally injured,” Dr Hickey said.

“I’ve had periods of time where I’ve had to go on medication due to #depression.

“Regardless of how strong I am — this is something that is inherent in the career … and I think it’s important for us in #veterinary medicine to be open with how working in this field affects us.”

parliamentary committee on #mentalhealthandsuicideprevention recently heard that the #suicide rate among #veterinary workers was four times greater than in the general population.

Vet with dog on a table
Mara Hickey does her best to help sick animals at all hours of the day and night.

Dr Hickey recently lost a colleague to #suicide and said many in her profession were dealing with compassion fatigue, staff shortages, long working hours, inadequate pay and frequent loss of life.

She said verbal abuse from pet owners was also a frequent and unnecessary stress.  

“We put our hearts and souls into this job, and to have people that we’re trying to help accuse us of not caring, or only being in it for the money, is essentially heartbreaking,” she said.

“So you can put all of those different stresses together on a person who is usually very driven and very self-motivated to do the very best they can, and that just tips us over the edge often into not wanting to continue on.”

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

‘Remarkable, talented guy’ lost too young

#Veterinarian Flynn Hargreaves was just 27 years old when he took his own life in 2018.

“Flynn was a remarkable, talented guy who was loved by many,” his best mate, Jack Levitt, said. 

“He was someone who loved life to the fullest.”

Veterinarian Dr Flynn Hargreaves
Dr Flynn Hargreaves took his own life three years ago.

Mr Levitt knew his friend was under pressure in his job at times, but his #suicide came as a devastating shock.

“He worked late and long hours, and the job was stressful, but he loved his work and loved putting in the extra yards to be a good vet,” he said.

Man wearing a beanie
Jack Levitt started Flynn’s Walk to raise awareness of the #mentalhealthissues in the #veterinary industry.

The loss spurred Mr Levitt to establish the charity Flynn’s Walk, which encourages #veterinary workers to speak up about #mentalhealth.

“The walks are giving everyone the opportunity to be together and remember [those lost] and build some understanding and compassion around #mentalhealth — it’s OK to speak about it, it’s OK to speak up, it’s OK to ask for help,” he said.    

#Veterinarian award ‘inappropriate and outdated’

Australian #Veterinary Association president Warwick Vale has taken the fight to improve the industry to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

“The federal award that covers working conditions for #veterinarians is totally inappropriate now and outdated,” Dr Vale said.

“We have lobbied for quite a long time for the federal government to look at the award … but we haven’t had much success.

“The starting salary is far too low; the increases in pay as they go through their levels of experience post-graduation need to change dramatically.

“Those effective pay rates that are in that award make up one of the lowest paid professions upon graduation — up to half the amount of #dentists, #lawyers and #doctors.”

Dr Vale said he had been dealing with “far too many” complaints from workers about clinics with toxic cultures that risked the #mentalhealth and lives of staff.

“We recognize that the profession has a problem with adverse work practices that are creating #mental ill-health … and that, along with fatigue and #financial insecurity, are identified as risk factors for #suicide,” he said.

“We know these workplace cultures are a significant factor in why too many young #veterinarians are dropping out of the profession.”

The association is developing programs to educate members about the standards and conditions they should be trying to achieve so the “profession can take responsibility for itself”.

“Stopping those workplace practices — the poor pay, the long working hours, the #stress and #anxiety sort of driven cultures that exist in some of these practices,” he said.

“The whole profession needs to take a look at itself and make a change.”

The federal government has acknowledged the staffing shortages, allowing overseas #veterinarians to apply for an exemption to work in Australia. 

‘Positive change’ filtering through 

While the #veterinary industry as a whole grapples with a shocking #suicide rate and toxic workplace cultures, some vet workers say change is already starting to take shape.

Canberra vet #nurses Chrisna Brunskill and Carrie Traynor-Doble have seen the benefits of positive workplace #mentalhealthinitiatives and support networks in their clinic. 

Both #women have worked alongside people who have taken their own lives.

“Our industry is really starting to realise what a big issue this is,” Ms Traynor-Doble said.

“But unfortunately, [the realisation] has come about because the statistics about #suicide have been put out in the public and they’re absolutely shocking. 

“I really want to make change in the industry. I want to be involved with positive change.”

Two women smiling holding a dog
Chrisna Brunskill and Carrie Traynor-Doble are seeing positive changes in their workplace.

Ms Brunskill added that peers were also increasingly looking out for one another to help cushion the stresses in the industry.

“We’ve really become family, and we’re a great team together,” she said. 

Despite the immense occupational pressures and damning #suicide statistics, #veterinary workers like Dr Hicky remain wedded to their hard-earned careers, essential work, and the animals they adore.

“This isn’t just a career for me, it truly is a calling, for me” she said.

“So I don’t ever see myself as not continuing to be in #veterinarian and emergency and critical care, but I know I have to work with my general practitioner and a variety of other things, to keep myself as healthy as possible so I can keep helping these #patients. 

“That’s what I do every day — work out how I can keep myself strong so I can keep sending #patients home to be with their families.”

veterinarian with a koala
Photo by International Fund for Animal Welfare on Pexels.com
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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Breaking #Stigma Around #MentalIllness With #PAWS For Prevention

unrecognizable person holding dog paw on grassy meadow
Photo by Turgay Yıldız on Pexels.com

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

By Diamond Nunnally

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) – The #AmericanFoundationforSuicidePrevention Nebraska Chapter gathered all dog parents to raise awareness on #mentalhealth.

They hosted their #PawsforPrevention event on Saturday at Hall County Park to help break the #stigma around #mentalhealth and to promote how these furry friends can be comforting during tough times.

“#Animals are a very important part of #mentalhealth,” #Paws for Prevention Coordinator Sandy Manfull said. “They have known to lower stress help with #anxiety, #depression, just you know, you have to take them for walks, they’re there for you. So many people will say because of my dog, it’s just made my day.”

Many people who struggle with #mentalillness may feel shame for getting help because so many people around them still don’t want to recognize the severity of the issue.

“They don’t believe it’s real, they don’t believe,” Manfull said. “It’s just that we can turn that off and it’s not that way, you know #mentalillness is real, we might not be able to see it but we can’t see heart disease, we can’t see high blood pressure, it’s just as real.”

Manfull hopes as they bring this issue to the forefront through events and spreading the word, it will encourage people to talk about it.

unrecognizable person holding dog paw on grassy meadow
Photo by Turgay Yıldız on Pexels.com
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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Discussion Explores Why #Suicide Is More Prevalent Among #Youth From Marginalized Communities

KERA | By Mia Estrada

An illustration of a generic head in profile with a green ribbon pinned to it.

Experts held a virtual event to talk about the pressures faced by #teens of color and #young members of the #LGBTQ+ community, and how to support those groups.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

This story discusses #suicide. If you need help, please call the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741741.

#Suicide has become the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10 to 24 — and experts say there are disparities by #race, sexuality and economic status.

To date, #NativeAmerican #young people experience #suicide rates at almost three times that of the national average. #Lesbian, #gay and #bisexual #young people are five times more likely to attempt #suicide than their #heterosexual counterparts. And the rise and death by #suicide for #young #Black people has been called a crisis by the #NationalInstituteofMentalHealth.

“While all these groups differ in their risk of suicidality, this is in part due to access to culturally appropriate #behavioralhealthtreatment, experiences with, of course, discrimination and historical trauma and other factors,” said Jaya Davis, Associate Professor, the University of Texas at Arlington, on Wednesday.

Davis and other experts spoke at a virtual discussion hosted by the advocacy group called #Children at Risk, a Texas-based organization. The researchers discussed their findings on #youth #suicide risks, featured in the current issue of the Journal of Family Strengths 

Darius Reed, an adjunct professor at Indiana Wesleyan University, studied the factors, including environmental, faced by Black #youth.

“An individual’s environment plays a large role in decision making when it comes to suicidality,” Reed said. “#Youth who live in poverty, go to school daily and may not have the ability to eat breakfast before they head to school or have #parents who are very involved— all of that weighs on a person, heavily, mentally when you step out of your household.”

Reed and Raymond Adams co-authored the article, “Risk and Protective Factor specific to #AfricanAmerican #Youth and #Adolescents: A Systematic Review.”

The two said that universal health care and greater access to #mentalhealthpractitioners and social workers within the school system would help make a change in #youth #suicide risks.

“That would completely change the game,” Reed said.

Oregon Alliance to Prevent #Suicide founding member Julie Magers said more ground-level data could help inform prevention efforts. Her article is called, “Youth Crisis and Transition Services (CATS): Incorporating Family Peer Support Specialists to Assist Families During Crisis.”

“A better understanding of what the #youth and their family need in their community, where they live,” Magers said.

The panelists acknowledged the research between youth #suicide and suicidal behaviors is limited by underreporting and other limitations.

But Camille Gibson, executive director at Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center at Prairie View A&M University and editor-in-chief of JFS, said the journal gives us insight on how to prevent #youth #suicide.

“We need to make that investment of resources, we need to pay attention to our children when they are experiencing a crisis,” Gibson said.

The full discussion is available on Facebook.

Got a tip? Email Mia Estrada at mestrada@kera.org. You can follow her on Twitter @miaaestrada.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com
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Ever wish you could talk directly to the candidate who wants to represent you?

James Donaldson here. Your candidate for Mayor of Seattle.

I’ve set up a 2nd line that I will be answering myself from now until the primaries on August 3rd.

I want to hear from you and you deserve the opportunity to talk to me.

Here are the basic guideline to keep in mind:

  • I’ll probably be in the phone off and on throughout the day, so if it goes into VM, just leave a message and I’ll call you right back
  • Please limit your call time with me to 5 minutes or so, so I can get in as many calls as possible
  • I’ll be available during typical work hours (8am – 5pm), I’ll even pick up your call if I’m in the gym or walking my dog
  • Weekends and Sunday after church is a good time as well
  • Please be respectful, no screaming and shouting. Have a couple of questions ready that you’d like me to answer for you
  • I’m open to listening as well, that’s how we learn and share ideas
  • Please spread the word about our campaign to other Seattle voters (50% are still undecided) Have them give me a call as well

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Rise Of #Self-Harm And Use Of #MentalHealthServices Since #COVID #Pandemic Began, New Data Reveals

By national medical reporter Sophie Scott and political reporter Stephanie Dalzell

Emily, with blonde hair over her shoulders, stands in front of a white background wearing a black blazer and white shirt
Emily Unity was diagnosed with #depression when she was 13

The #loneliness of the #pandemic lockdowns stirred up dark feelings Melbourne-based Emily Unity had worked very hard to overcome.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Key points:

  • New data shows more people are using crisis lines like Lifeline and other #mentalhealthservices
  • Despite this, rates of #suicide have not increased since the start of the #COVID-19 #pandemic
  • Figures also show rates of self harm for young #women and #girls on the rise

“Last year, it was the most intense period of #loneliness I had experienced,” she said.

“All my coping mechanisms I had accrued over 10 years of therapy just weren’t working anymore.”

Now 24, Emily was diagnosed with #depression and #anxiety at 13 and had her first attempt at #suicide at 14.

While traditional #mentalhealth therapy and medication brought some relief, online peer support communities showed her recovery was possible. 

“For me, the catalyst was finding people who really understood what I was feeling because they had lived it,” she said.

New data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare gives an insight into exactly how the #pandemic has affected the #mentalhealth of Australians like Emily. 

Figures from the AIHW’s National #Suicide and Self-Harm Monitoring System show more people are using crisis lines like Lifeline and other #mentalhealthservices since the crisis began, while there has also been an increase in ambulance attendances for suicidal thoughts and self-harm in both NSW and Victoria.

Lifeline Chairman John Brogden said there were more than 3,100 calls on Sunday from Australians at high risk of #suicide, in line with the average daily number during the height of the #pandemic last year.

“It is OK not to be OK, but please reach out for help, don’t suffer in silence, whether it’s ringing your friend, GP, counsellor or #psychologist, whether it’s ringing organizations like Lifeline, there has been a phenomenal increase in our calls,” he said. 

However, despite experts warning the crisis could result in more people taking their own lives, data from #suicide registers in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales shows that has not happened, even with key risk factors like unemployment worsening since the start of the #pandemic.

The AIHW report said the stability of #suicide figures could be partly attributed to the impact of both the federal government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme and JobSeeker supplement, given the association between the risk of dying by #suicide and poorer socioeconomic outcomes. 

However, the report noted modelling by the Australian National University suggesting the “protective impact” of the government’s income-boosting programs on housing #stress and poverty had been reduced since the supplements were changed. 

Rates of self-harm highest among young #women

Data on ambulance attendances included one month per quarter snapshots from New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT from 2018 to 2020.

In those states and territories, ambulances attended a total of around 22,400 incidents involving #suicideattempts or thoughts during the months of March, June, September and December of 2020. 

And while higher rates of deaths by suicides were seen in #men, the rates of ambulance attendances for #suicideattempts and intentional self-injury were higher for #women.

A screenshot of a graph with green and purple lines showing different rates of mental health service use

More ambulances were called for young #women aged 15-19 for self-harm, #suicidalideation and #suicideattempts than for any other age group. 

The data also revealed from 2008 to 2020, the rate of self-harm hospitalization in #girls aged 14 and younger doubled, peaking in 2016-17, prior to the #pandemic.

AIHW deputy CEO Matthew James said young #women aged 18-24 also had the largest proportion of high or very high levels of psychological distress of any age group. 

“We were seeing an upward trend there prior to #COVID,” he said. 

“In the US in particular there is concern about rising levels of anxiety among young females.” 

Mid shot of Morgan, wearing a black top, grey hair, standing in front of out-of-focus Australian flag.
National #MentalHealth Commission CEO Christine Morgan says it is important to remember the figures represent real situations.

National #MentalHealth Commission CEO Christine Morgan said the figures were worrying. 

“I think we all have to acknowledge it is concerning when we see those increased rates continuing for psychological distress, for self-harm, for #suicide attempts,” she said. 

“It is certainly something that, across the sector, our colleagues are working towards better understanding.”

If you need support, please reach out

Ms Morgan said it was important to remember the figures released represented real situations of significant distress. 

“For many, this data will be difficult to receive and we remind anyone needing support to please reach out to someone you trust, your GP or the support services available,’ she said.

Emily Unity now works as a lived experience peer worker at Orygen #Youth #MentalHealth and said seeking support from others who could relate to her has been very important during the crisis. 

“It was very difficult last year. I had to be kind to myself and to reach out to people who were experiencing similar things to me when I couldn’t see people in real life,” she said.

“We are not all in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm and sharing that storm with other people was a big motivator for me.”

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com
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