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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – 2 More #Officers Who Responded To Jan. 6 Capitol Riot Have Died By #Suicide

#PresidentJoeBiden weighed in on news of the officers’ deaths on Tuesday

By Luke Barr

On Jan. 6, rioters coming from a pro-Trump rally broke into the U.S. Capitol, resulting in deaths,

Two Washington Metropolitan #PoliceDepartment #officers who responded to the Jan. 6 riot died by #suicide in July, the department announced on Monday, nearly seven months after the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump supporters.

Officer Kyle DeFreytag, who was on the force since November 2016, and #Officer Gunther Hashida, an 18-year-veteran, are the latest of now three MPD #officers who have died by #suicide since Jan. 6, the department said.

#PresidentJoeBiden expressed his gratitude toward the #officers in a tweet on Tuesday morning, hailing them as “#American heroes.”

“When the #UnitedStates Capitol and our very democracy were under attack on January 6th, #Officers Hashida and DeFreytag courageously risked their lives to defend them. They were American heroes. Jill and I are keeping their loved ones in our prayers during this difficult time,” he said.

It is not clear if the events of Jan. 6 contributed to the officers’ suicides, and research shows that law enforcement officers experience stressors as a regular part of the job and can struggle with #mentalhealthissues.

PHOTO: Pro-Trump supporters clash with police on Capitol Hill, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
Pro-Trump supporters clash with police on Capitol Hill, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

“On a daily basis, #officers experience job-related stressors that can range from interpersonal conflicts to extremely traumatic events, such as vehicle crashes, homicide, and #suicide. This cumulative exposure can affect officers’ #mental and physical health, contributing to problems such as post-traumatic #stress symptoms, substance misuse, #depression, and #suicidalideation,” a research paper released by the Justice Department and #Police groups.

Jeffrey Smith, another MPD #officer, and Capitol #PoliceOfficer Howard Liebengood also died by #suicide after responding to the Jan. 6 attack.

“After assisting riot control at the Capitol on January 6th, USCP scheduled Howie to work lengthy shifts in the immediate days following. He was home for very few hours over the course of four days,” Serena Liebengood, his wife, wrote to Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., in March.

In the nearly seven months since the attack, law enforcement #suicide experts say the families of those who responded to the incident say they’ve behaved differently.

A Jan. 6 rally in support of then-#PresidentDonaldTrump turned deadly after Trump encouraged his supporters to march to Capitol Hill, where Congress was meeting to certify Biden’s election win.

PHOTO: A U.S. Capitol Police officer wears a black band over his badge in honor of officer Brian Sicknick, who died after the attack on the Capitol at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 8, 2021.
A U.S. Capitol Police officer wears a black band over his badge in honor of officer Brian Sicknick…Read More

Rioters breached barricades and security checkpoints, forcing Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers to evacuate or shelter in place and temporarily disrupting the certification. At least 140 #policeofficers were injured and the Capitol building suffered approximately $1.5 million in damage.

According to B.L.U.E. Help, a nonprofit that works to reduce stigmas tied to #mentalhealthissues for those in law enforcement., 87 #policeofficers from across the country have died by #suicide so far in 2021.

#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

Karen Solomon, who runs Blue H.E.L.P, said officers are afraid to speak to the media about the Jan. 6 events because for fear of losing their jobs.

“It’s compounded by the public scrutiny and lack of support for the #officers, not only by the public but from other officers who are still standing by the ‘it was one day’ suck it up mentality. We are now seven months out, what has been done? How are these #officers being assisted?” she said. “This is one of the most talked about events in the country, yet we are still ignoring the needs of some of the victims of this event — the #policeofficers.”

“There is still too much talk around first responder #mentalhealth, too much money being wasted discussing what needs to be done, and not enough action,” she added. “How many more families are going to watch their loved ones suffer, watch it sensationalized and then see it disappear again into yesterday’s headlines?

Last week, the House select committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol held its first hearing in which lawmakers heard dramatic, emotional accounts from officers who defended the building.

Capitol #Policeofficer Harry Dunn told lawmakers he is receiving private therapy for the “persistent emotional trauma” he faces from that day.

“I know so many other #officers continue to hurt, both physically and emotionally. I want to take this moment to speak to my fellow #officers about the emotions they are continuing to experience from the events of Jan. 6. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counseling,” Dunn said. “What we went through that day was traumatic, and if you are hurting, please take advantage of the counseling services that are available to us.”

He also pleaded with the panel, which hasn’t announced its next public hearing, to look into #mentalhealthresources available for #officers to decide if they are “sufficient enough to meet our needs.”

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Time To Rethink #Suicide Warnings On Labels For Anti-Seizure Meds?

By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter

Since 2008, anti-seizure drugs have carried a warning that they may increase users’ #suicide risk. But a new analysis finds no evidence of such a risk with newer medications.

Researchers found that five medications approved since 2008 showed no link to #suicide risk among #patients who participated in clinical trials of the drugs.

The findings, they said, argue against the “blanket” warning the #U.S.FoodandDrugAdministration requires for all anti-seizure medications.

“It’s our opinion that lumping all these drugs together is not good,” said senior researcher Dr. Michael Sperling, a professor of #neurology at Thomas Jefferson University, in Philadelphia.

Anti-seizure medications are commonly prescribed for epilepsy, a broad term for various chronic seizure disorders. They are also sometimes used for other conditions, including migraines and #bipolardisorder.

Back in 2008, the FDA issued a warning that anti-seizure medications may raise the risk of suicidality — suicidal thoughts and #behavior. That was based on an analysis of about 200 clinical trials of 11 medications, where some of the drugs were tied to a heightened risk of #suicide, compared to placebo pills.

However, only two medications showed a statistically significant increase in that risk. Two others, meanwhile, were linked to a decreased risk of #suicide.

Yet, Sperling said, the FDA required all anti-seizure medications — including ones approved since 2008 — to carry a suicidality warning.

#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

For the latest study, published online Aug. 2 in the journal JAMA Neurology, his team analyzed 17 clinical trials of five of those newer drugs: eslicarbazepine (Aptiom), perampanel (Fycompa), brivaracetam (Briviact), cannabidiol (CBD) and cenobamate (Xcopri). In total, the trials included 4,000 #patients randomly assigned to take anti-seizure medication and just under 2,000 given a placebo.

During the trials, the analysis found, #patients on medication were no more likely to contemplate or attempt #suicide than placebo #patients were: About 0.3% of #patients in both groups had those experiences.

However, that does not necessarily put the drugs in the clear, said Dr. Andres Kanner, an #epilepsy specialist who was not involved in the study.

The problem, he explained, is that more recent trials have excluded #patients whose #psychiatric history puts them at increased #suicide risk. And they are the very ones who would be vulnerable to any suicidality risk from anti-seizure medication.

“So we don’t know what happens with these #patients in the real world,” said Kanner, a professor of clinical neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

That said, he agreed that assigning a one-size-fits-all warning to every anti-seizure medication does not make sense.

It’s also a “big problem” for #patients, Kanner added, since the labeling can scare them off of a needed medication.

Kanner noted there were “methodological problems” in the FDA analysis that prompted the 2008 warning. For one, the trials in question did not systematically assess suicidal thoughts and #behavior; they relied on #patients to report them.

And then there was the fact that the 11 medications were tied to varying effects on suicidality risk, including beneficial ones.

Complicating matters, Sperling said, people with #epilepsy — especially those with difficult-to-control seizures — commonly suffer from #depression. So it can be difficult to distinguish any excess #suicide risk from medication itself.

Still, Kanner said that since 2008, additional studies have indicated that certain anti-seizure drugs are associated with higher #suicide risk in #patients who are already vulnerable because of their #mentalhealth history.

So when people are starting medication, Kanner said, #doctors should take a #psychiatric history and, when needed, choose a drug that has not been associated with increased #suicide risk. An example, he said, would be carbamazepine (Tegretol), which appears to have positive effects on mood.

Sperling agreed that the exclusion of high-risk #patients from recent trials is a limitation, and it’s important for #doctors to know #patients’ #psychiatric history.

It’s also vital, he said, for #patients on anti-seizure medication to tell their #doctors about any new mood symptoms.

But any risk tied to medication should be kept in perspective, both Sperling and Kanner said: #Epilepsy #patients with no risk factors for #suicide are not going to become suicidal because they started treatment.

And then, Sperling said, there are the risks from uncontrolled #seizures. Each year, about one in 1,000 people with #epilepsy die suddenly, according to the #Epilepsy Foundation.

The study had no external funding. Sperling and his colleagues report financial ties to various companies that make #epilepsy drugs.

More information

The #Epilepsy Foundation has more on treating seizures.

SOURCES: Michael Sperling, MD, professor, neurology, and director, Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia; Andres Kanner, MD, professor, clinical neurology, and director, Comprehensive #Epilepsy Center, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami; JAMA Neurology, Aug. 2, 2021, online

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Video Of Deputies Killing #Suicidal #Man Shows Multiple Failures, Experts Conclude

silhouette of a man in window
Photo by Donald Tong on Pexels.com

BY LEILA MILLERRICHARD WINTON

David Ordaz Jr. stood on the sidewalk outside his East L.A. home as sheriff’s deputies, as well as family members, yelled at him to drop a 12-inch kitchen knife.

Ordaz, 34, had told deputies he was upset because they wouldn’t shoot him. His sister had told a 911 dispatcher that Ordaz had talked about “#suicidebycop,” and that she was “afraid for that.”

As a deputy yelled at Ordaz to “stand back,” several shot beanbag rounds at him from what appeared to be several yards away. Ordaz then advanced a few steps forward and was hit with 12 bullets in a barrage that continued even after he fell onto the pavement.

Body-camera footage released of the March 14 shooting, which occurred within minutes of the deputies’ arrival, has drawn criticism from policing experts as well as Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who said Friday that he had “grave concerns” about the shooting and had relieved one of the deputies of duty. The Sheriff’s Department told The Times it would not be able to comment further on the incident because of its active investigation.

The Times asked five policing experts to review the video released by the Sheriff’s Department, and they found fault in the number of shots fired at Ordaz or the earlier effort to deescalate the situation before it led to violence.

“Even if he [Ordaz] took a step towards the #officers, it wasn’t that those #officers were in immediate danger,” said Jonathan Smith, a former chief of the special litigation section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, who called the incident “very concerning.”

“He wasn’t threatening, he wasn’t holding someone hostage, the knife wasn’t near anybody,” added Smith, executive director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. “It did not look like he was charging or closing a distance to the #officers in a way that poses a threat.”

Priscilla Ocen, a member of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission and professor at Loyola Law School, called the shooting “a clear policy failure” that underscores how the department should not be responding to #mentalhealth calls.

“It looked like the deputies did not give Mr. Ordaz enough space and they did not speak with the family to come up with a strategy to effectively manage what was clearly a very volatile situation,” she said. “It did not seem there was enough time given to manage and deescalate the situation.”

The incident underscores the challenges of police responding to calls involving people with suspected #mentalillness, including #suicidebycop attempts, in which a person tries to provoke #officers to use deadly force. In a 2009 study of more than 700 #officer-involved shootings nationwide, 36% of incidents were people attempting to provoke police force.

It’s possible, however, to avoid fatal encounters even in these incidents. A 2019 study of Los Angeles #police, coauthored by the LAPD and Cal State Fullerton, that examined 419 of these cases between 2010 and 2015 found that #officers used lethal force in a small number of incidents, killing four people. About 80% of the cases didn’t involve force.

Protests last year over the killing of #GeorgeFloyd in Minneapolis invigorated calls to reduce #police contact with the public in areas such as #mentalhealth, and some departments have already moved in that direction. A pilot program to divert 911 calls from people experiencing suicidal thoughts to certified #mentalhealthproviders instead of Los Angeles #policeofficers is being expanded into a 24-hour operation.

Ordaz, a father of three, had previously had encounters with law enforcement around #mentalhealth. A coroner’s report indicated that in 2007, Ordaz was placed on a 5150 hold, a detention of up to 72 hours for those deemed a threat to themselves or others, or for those gravely disabled due to a #mentalillness.

Federico Sayre, an attorney representing the Ordaz family in a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the county, said that in 2006 and 2007, deputies were called to the home when Ordaz was in a #mentalhealthcrisis and were able to subdue him.

But things took a deadly turn on the afternoon of March 14. At a news conference last week, Gabriela Hernandez, Ordaz’s sister, said that she was “lost and completely confused about what happened to my brother David.”

The incident began when another of Ordaz’s sisters called 911 to ask for help with her brother.

“I’m currently with someone who is telling me they’re suicidal,” she is heard saying in a part of the call that was publicly released. “I was just wondering if you could guide me on what I can do to help them.”

She told the dispatcher they were sitting in Ordaz’s car outside their family’s home, that Ordaz was carrying a knife, and that she believed he was under the influence of methamphetamine.

In a narrated video, a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said that deputies had requested less-lethal weapons and a #mental evaluation team.

Body-camera footage shows a deputy who arrived at the scene yelling for the car’s occupants to step out. Ordaz exited the driver’s-side door, holding a knife at his side.

A deputy trained a gun on Ordaz, telling him that they were there to help him. He said, “We’re not here to shoot you, dude, we’re here to help you out.”

The footage also shows deputies yelling at relatives who had gathered outside to go back in the home.

Experts who viewed the footage said that it was counterproductive for multiple deputies to have tried to communicate with Ordaz, potentially escalating the situation.

Gregory Gilbertson, a use-of-force expert at Centralia College in Washington state, said it would have been more appropriate for deputies to have designated one person — a sergeant on scene or someone trained in crisis intervention — to calmly speak with Ordaz.

Deputies should not have trained their guns at him knowing that he had spoken about wanting #police to kill him, he added.

“They say, ‘We’re here to help you, Mr. Ordaz,’ while they’re pointing a gun at him,” Gilbertson said. “At that point, he’s not advancing at the #officers.”

Vivian Lord, an expert on #suicidebycop# #behavior and professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, also said that in such situations #police should attempt to establish a rapport with the individual to try to calm them.

#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

In the Ordaz shooting, she said, multiple deputies addressed Ordaz, whose family member also shouted directions at him, creating more stimulation and confusion.

“Ideally, you would have one #officer focus entirely on communicating with this subject,” she said. “You would have another officer continuing to try to communicate with the family members to get them back in the house.”

After Ordaz was shot with beanbag rounds, deputies yelled at him to “drop it,” referring to the knife. Ordaz was then shot as he advanced a couple of steps forward.

Smith, from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, said that while troubling, the shooting was not surprising given how law enforcement officials are trained that someone who has a knife and is dozens of feet away can charge and “close the distance between them and an #officer in a very short period of time.”

Experts also called attention to how Ordaz continued to be shot at even after he hit the ground. The final shot occurred about two seconds after the gunfire had stopped. At that point, Ordaz was lying face-up on the sidewalk.

Seth Stoughton, a former Florida #policeofficer and University of South Carolina law professor, said the volley of shots went on longer than necessary.

“He was fully on the ground,” he said. “The last shot has no justification at all.”

Stoughton emphasized how #police sometimes need to engage less in order to avoid a dangerous confrontation.

“One of the most difficult lessons for policing is the issue of disengagement,” Stoughton said. “Could the deputies have parked down the street and waited for the #mentalhealthteam?”

Charles “Sid” Heal, a retired Los Angeles County sheriff’s commander and use-of-force expert, agreed that the incident raised the question of whether #police presence can make a situation worse and that the deputies should have done everything to buy time until the #mentalhealthteam arrived.

“Because someone is suicidal, it doesn’t mean they are homicidal,” Heal said. “Time is on your side.”

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 #JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #KathyGriffin Reveals She Attempted #Suicide in 2020: ‘It Became Almost An Obsessive Thought’

The #comedian, who underwent surgery for lung #cancer on Monday, details her #mentalhealthstruggles and battle with #addiction in a new interview

#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

#KathyGriffin is opening up about the darkest chapter of her life, which included a #suicideattempt in 2020.

The #comedian, who announced her lung #cancer diagnosis on #socialmedia Monday morning, discusses the news in an interview airing tonight on ABC News’ Nightline. She also delves into her #mentalhealth journey, her #addiction to pills, a #suicideattempt, her newfound sobriety and more.

In one clip from the interview, Griffin, 60, recalls the time she attempted to take her life.

“I started thinking about #suicide more and more as I get into the pill #addiction,” Griffin, 60, tells co-anchor Juju Chang. “And it became almost an obsessive thought. I started really convincing myself it was a good decision.”

“I got my living revocable trust trust in order. I had all my ducks in a row. I wrote the note, the whole thing,” she continues. “And I just thought, ‘I’ll just take a bunch of pills, and I will just go to sleep.'”

Kathy Griffin

RELATED: #KathyGriffin Recalls Being ‘So Unsteady’ amid ‘Nasty’ Drug Detox — ‘It Was Crazy’

Following the #suicideattempt, Griffin said she got in touch with a #doctor, and that her husband Randy Bick helped her get treatment.

Of her addiction, Griffin said she was first introduced to pills via Provigil, a prescription medicine used to treat the symptoms of excessive sleepiness. She said she was later prescribed Ambien to help her sleep, and then painkillers after various injuries.

Griffin, who does not drink, said she began seriously abusing the pills after she sparked widespread outrage for posing with a replica of then-#PresidentDonaldTrump‘s bloodied, decapitated head in her hand in 2017.

“To be honest, it really kicked into high-gear when the Trump thing happened,” she tells Chang in another clip from the sit-down. “Prior to then, I’m going to say I was, like, dallying with a pill #addiction in a way that wasn’t good. But then, after that happened [with Trump], I just thought, ‘Who cares?'”

kathy griffin

RELATED: Stars on Their Experiences with #Addiction

Griffin is currently in recovery after going through a “nasty” months-long detox. Throughout the process, she says she has come to recognize a “silver lining” in her sobriety.

“I am so thrilled and grateful [that] at 60, I’m going to get a next chapter,” she says in another Nightline clip. “That’s the thing everyone said wasn’t going to happen, [and it was something] I believed wasn’t going to happen. And even I thought, even if I do get a next chapter, what is that? Me sitting around and never working again? And no — I think, kind of, anything is possible.”

Griffin underwent surgery to remove the cancerous tumor in her lung on Monday. “She is now out of surgery and everything went well, per her doctor,” her rep told PEOPLE.

The full Nightline interview airs tonight at 12:35 a.m. ET on ABC.

If you or someone you know is considering #suicide, please contact the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 22: Kathy Griffin attends the HBO’s Post Emmy Awards Reception at The Plaza at the Pacific Design Center on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – The Connection Between #Alcohol And #Depression

close up shot of a woman with hijab drinking a glass of water
Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

Do you or someone you love struggle with #addiction and #depression? Are you curious about how #alcohol and #depression are connected?

If you or someone you know is battling #depression, know that #alcohol or partaking in recreational drugs will not make it any better. If you want to learn more about the correlation between #alcohol and #depression, you will want to continue reading below.

What Is #Depression?

#Depression is a mood disorder that can cause you to feel sad, loss, empty, or angry. Those who have #depression lose interest in the activities that once made them happy.

Those types of activities can include partaking in social events or doing your favorite hobby. If you are someone who suffers from #depression, you are not alone. Over 264 million people suffer from #depression.

  • Symptoms of #depression are:
  • Feeling worthless
  • Sadness
  • Loss of interest in activites
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Substance abuse
  • Guilt
  • Lack of energy

If you notice yourself having any of the listed symptoms, you may suffer from #depression. It is essential to know that there are several different types of #depression.

How Is #Depression Diagnosed?

#Doctors will use a physical exam, psychological evaluation, and some lab tests to confirm if you have #depression. Your doctor will also ask you some questions to rule out or confirm if you are depressed.

  • Questions you may be asked are:
  • How much sleep do you get?
  • Do you drink #alcohol?
  • Do you use any recreational drugs?
  • Does your mood fluctuate?
  • How often have you felt hopeless and sad?
  • Have you have suicidal thoughts?

Depending on how you answer those questions, the #doctor will prescribe you a treatment plan.

If there are any co-occurring conditions, such as #alcohol or #drug abuse along with #depression, they may refer you to another treatment provider. Co-treatment will help to make sure that both of your diagnoses are acknowledged and adequately taken care of.

#MajorDepressiveDisorder

Those diagnosed with #majordepressivedisorder suffer severe depression symptoms that interfere with their daily functionalities. These depressive episodes tend to only occur once in someone’s lifetime, but it can be a common occurrence for others.

  • Symptoms of #majordepressivedisorder are:
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep problems
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Slowed thinking and speaking
  • #Anxiety and agitation
  • Headaches

#Majordepressivedisorder is the most common form of #depression in the #UnitedStates. Individuals who suffer from this disorder tend to cycle through episodes of feeling depressed and then periods of feeling like they are doing just fine. 

#PersistentDepressiveDisorder

#Persistentdepressivedisorder is a depressed mood that can last for about two or more years. It is also known as #dysthymia which is chronic low-grade #depression.

  • Symptoms of #persistentdepressivedisorder
  • Feeling incapable
  • Sleep problems
  • Sleep Feeling guilt and worries over the past
  • Excessive anger
  • Decrease productivity

Symptoms of this disorder usually come and go, but symptoms typically don’t disappear for more than two months at a time. Those with persistent depressive disorder may find it hard to be upbeat even on the happiest of events. Others may perceive you as someone who has a gloomy personality or who is incapable of having fun.

Seasonal Depression

Seasonal depression, also known as #SAD or #seasonalaffectivedisorder, is linked to changes in seasons. Symptoms of #seasonalaffectivedisorder tend to emerge around the fall season and gradually worsen during the winter months.

  • Symptoms of #seasonalaffectivedisorder are:
  • Gaining more weight than usual
  • Losing more weight than usual
  • Oversleeping
  • Feeling sad and irritable
  • Changes in appetite
  • Heavy feeling in legs and arms

You may want to use #alcohol or recreational drugs to achieve a temporary sense of pleasure during this time. Unfortunately, frequent use and abuse of #drugs and #alcohol during this time can linger into the following year.

This problem of using #alcohol and #drugs to cope during these seasons can turn into a full-blown addiction. Addiction happens because the body becomes dependent on the chemicals released by those substances to feel numb or happy.

Understanding #Addiction

Anyone can be afflicted with addiction. The issue is not one of discipline or weakness. Rather, it is something that happens for a variety of reasons, most often caused by past experiences.

For example, take someone who gets addicted to their prescription medication after a procedure or surgery. In the aftermath of their accident, they took the prescribed painkillers to treat their pain.

Physical addiction and withdrawal symptoms were the results of taking powerful opioids. As a result, they do not suffer from opioid withdrawal but instead self-medicate in order to maintain their addiction.

On the other hand, individuals that are suffering from #depression might be dealing with intense #mental pain.

An individual with a #mentalillness or trauma in their life might experience drugs differently from others as a result of recreational use. In comparison to the pain they were experiencing, the release from that pain could be beneficial.

#Drugs or #alcohol used to cope with pain can become an addiction in the absence of insight into addiction or resources to try and find other ways to resolve it.

Lots of people have a close-minded disposition on addiction. There are many factors to addiction such as genetic ones that might contribute to the addict’s addictive behavior.

Hence, we can see that addictions aren’t always the result of a personal choice or character trait.

People become addicted to different substances for legitimate reasons, and the development of that addiction has nothing to do with their character or worth.

#Alcohol And #Depression

People who are depressed may turn to #drugs and #alcohol to self-medicate themselves to help distract them from persistent feelings of sadness.

Many people drink #alcohol or partake in drugs to help reduce their #anxiety or to reduce their inhibition. Those who have #PTSD or who have previously undealt with trauma are more likely to abuse #alcohol to soothe their feelings.

  • Warning signs of #alcohol abuse are:
  • Drinking too much in one sitting
  • Sneaking #alcohol so others won’t see
  • Continuing to drink despite health concerns
  • Continuing to drink despite it affecting relationships
  • Drinking throughout the day

Other warning signs of #alcoholabuse are avoiding certain activities to drink. If you or your loved ones do not treat #alcohol use disorder within a timely manner, it can become a lifelong struggle to stop abusing #alcohol.

alcohol-and-depression-infographic

Help With #Alcohol And #Depression

There are many different ways to seek help with #alcohol and #depression disorders, such as seeking therapy. You can find help from support groups or cognitive #behavioraltherapy. There are some cases when people will need to go through a detoxification process to rid their bodies of the #drugs and #alcohol in their system.

Cognitive-#BehavioralTherapy

Cognitive-#behavioraltherapy is a great way to help with #alcoholabuse or #depression because it is designed to help address emotional pain or trauma. Your therapist will help you learn to replace your negative thoughts with positive and uplifting thoughts and feelings.

Cognitive-#behavioraltherapy is also great for helping to develop and practice healthy coping behaviors. The goal of cognitive #behavioraltherapy is to teach you how to identify potential triggers and find ways to cope with urges to drink or use #drugs.

This therapy also helps guide you to be realistic with your goals, so you aren’t overwhelming yourself. After being evaluated by a doctor, they will determine if this form of therapy is best for you or if you need a more intense form of treatment such as outpatient care.

#Detoxification

Certain outpatient facilities don’t offer detoxing services, so they are usually referred to other locations that can. The first step in detoxing is to clear your system of any #alcohol or #drugs and to remain sober. The side effects of detox can differ from person to person, and detoxing on your own can be dangerous.

  • Detox side effects can be:
  • Light-headedness
  • Confusing
  • Blurred vision
  • Unsteadiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • #Nausea
  • #Vomiting

It is essential to detox with a #medicalprofessional to make sure that you are safe and healthy while your system is cleaned of the substances. Everyone reacts differently to detoxing, so you must detox in the presence of a #medicalprofessional so they can best accommodate your #alcohol withdrawal and #depression.

Antidepressants And Other Medications

Your #doctor can prescribe you antidepressants that can help you with your #depression and some of your symptoms of #alcohol use disorder.

You may receive an alcohol deterrent medication to help stop you from drinking and helps to reduce depressive symptoms. If you drink while on an #alcohol deterrent medication, you will experience uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is a way to meet and facilitate a discussion among others who are also going through what you are going through. The goal is to work together to overcome similar co-occurring disorders.

Group therapy is an open and safe space for you and your peers to openly discuss your addiction’s highs and lows or your conditions. It is a safe space to receive and offer advice that may benefit a peer. Sessions are typically held once or twice a week, depending on your program.

#Depression And AUD; What Comes First?

It is unclear what comes first: #alcohol misuse or #depression. One person may have frequent episodes of #depression and turn to #alcohol for self-soothing reasons, while someone else may have a drinking problem that turns into #depression. It is possible that genetics, personal history, and someone’s personality can cause #depression or #alcohol misuse.

Genetics

Those with family members who have had #alcohol use disorder or #depression may have a higher risk of having either disorder. Also, people who are influenced by their environment can be susceptible to #alcohol dependence.

Personal History

Those who experience abuse or trauma are more likely to be depressed and misuse #alcohol to help cope with the emotional and physical pain. Relationship problems can also cause #depression and #alcoholabuse.

Personality

It is believed that those with a “negative” outlook on life may be more likely to develop #alcohol use disorder or any form of #depression. People who have low-self esteem or difficulty in social settings may also develop #depression.

Does #Alcohol Make You Depressed?

Yes, #alcohol can cause #depression because #alcohol is a depressant. Excessive drinking can cause you to make bad decisions that can impact your life, causing you to be depressed. Drinking can cause relationships to be ruined, and it can also cause you to lose your job.

How Does #Alcohol Affect #Depression?

#Alcohol can enhance #depression and your depressive symptoms. If you are currently depressed and trying to make yourself feel better, alcohol won’t help. Alcohol causes you to stay in those depressive episodes and can interfere with your recovery.

#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

Get Help Today With Inland Detox

#Alcohol and #depression treatment is available to you if you are in need. There are so many different treatment options available to you, and it can be challenging to figure out what works best for your situation.

If you are looking for help with quitting #alcohol and #depression or a withdrawal from #alcohol and #depression, reach out to us now. We at Inland Detox are here to get you the proper help you need to get you back on your feet. To learn more about our programs, contact us now.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – ‘We Are In A State Of Emergency’: What’s Behind The Rising #Suicide Rate Among #Black #Kids

Today, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among Black children ages 10 to 19. And that rate is rising faster for them than for any other racial or ethnic group.(BIGSTOCK/motortion)
Today, #suicide is the second-leading cause of death among #Black #children ages 10 to 19. And that rate is rising faster for them than for any other #racial or #ethnic group

It’s been a tough year for everyone — especially kids. Hospitals across the country have been reporting a surge in #mentalhealthcrises among #children. One children’s hospital in Colorado even declared a “state of emergency,” for pediatric #mentalhealth.

There are plenty of reasons this could be happening — from family #financial stresses, to #isolation caused by #distancelearning. But as you peel back the layers of what’s been happening with kids’ #mentalhealth, it becomes clear that the distress goes beyond the #coronavirus #pandemic. In fact, in a bombshell report released in September 2020, the #CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention announced that the rate of #suicide among those ages 10 to 24 increased nearly 60% between 2007 and 2018.

#Mentalillness and #suicide don’t affect all people equally. For years, experts have known who is most vulnerable — for example, #suicide risk begins to rise sharply in #adolescence. It affects #boys more than #girls, though #girls make more attempts. And in terms of demographics, white young people far outpace almost everyone else (exceeded only by #AmericanIndian or Alaska native youth).

At least, that’s what experts thought they knew. For Arielle Sheftall, a principal investigator at the #CenterforSuicidePreventionandResearch at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, the realization that something else might be going on — something beyond the conventional wisdom of who #suicide affects — started in 2015 with a phone call.

“We were notified by a media outlet about a #suicide death that had occurred in a younger child,” Sheftall said — a child of 11 or 12. “And the media outlet was wondering, has there been an increase in this younger age group? And to be quite honest, we weren’t sure.”

So Sheftall and her colleague — epidemiologist Jeff Bridge, who also directs the #CenterforSuicidePreventionandResearch — downloaded some data from the #CDC website to do an analysis and figure out whether there had been any increase in #suicide among #kids ages 5 to 11. At first glance, the answer seemed clear.

“No — there hadn’t been,” she said. “It was very flat.”

Until, that is, they brought #race into the equation. That’s when they realized that, in fact, there were two very striking trends — ones that no one had noticed before. What they found was that among white kids ages 5 to 11, #suicide rates had been declining. But among #Black kids of the same age, they’d seen a steady rise. The reason no one had noticed before, Sheftall said, is because no one was breaking the data down by #race — and when you removed that factor, the two trends canceled each other out.

“So he [Jeff Bridge] ran it like five times — again and again and again,” she said. “Because, you know, when you find a finding like that, it’s pretty eye-opening and your jaw drops.

It was a shocking revelation. It went against everything experts had been saying for years about how #race affects suicidal risk.

Bridge, Sheftall, and other colleagues later solidified the findings in a 2018 paper that found that #Black #youth, 5-12 years of age, were approximately twice as likely to die by #suicide than their #white counterparts.

“Unfortunately, when you look at #youth, #suicide has been very white-centric, and the lens hasn’t really focused in on #minorities and #minority #youth specifically,” Sheftall said. “So during that time frame, we kind of were like, ‘OK, well, what is really happening?’”

So Sheftall, along with NYU’s Michael Lindsey, and researchers Yunyu Xiao, and Sean Joe, decided to dig into the data and see what they could find out. This time, they looked at an older group — #adolescents. They found that #Black #youth, both #boys and #girls, showed an increase in self-reported #suicideattempts, and that #Black #males showed an increase in self-reported #suicideattempts that led to injury.

Since then, Sheftall and other researchers have been trying to find out what’s causing the rise in #depression and #suicide among #Black #kids and #teens — a problem that’s continuing to grow. Today, #suicide is the second-leading cause of death among #Black #children ages 10 to 19. And that rate is rising faster for them than for any other #racial or #ethnic group.

(For more on these trends, see the #CongressionalBlackCaucus’ 2019 report Ring the Alarm: the Crisis of #Black #Youth #Suicide in #America, tracking the rise in #Black #youth #suicide, and #racial disparities in #mentalhealthtreatment.)

Though this trend has only recently attracted attention, it isn’t exactly new. According to Lindsey and Sheftall’s analysis of #CDC data, the rise in #suicideattempts among #Black #adolescents has been increasing since 1991 — rising a staggering 73% over the last 25 years..

“We have been dropping the ball, to be quite honest,” Sheftall said. “This change has been occurring, but we haven’t really noticed it until recently. And I really do believe we are in a state of emergency.”

Sheftall said the first step in addressing that emergency is realizing that it needs to be approached from “ground zero.”

“We need to really start at the very beginning,” she said. “We need to start at — OK, what are the risk factors? How do the risk factors look different? How do they look the same? What are the protective factors? What do those look like in #Black #youth specifically, compared to other youth of other #racial and ethnic backgrounds?”

In other words, researchers need to forget what they think they know about what causes #youth #suicide and who is most vulnerable — because that conventional wisdom is, for the most part, based on research about white kids and #teens. And, as the science is starting to show, #Black #youth #suicide just isn’t the same.

“What does that look like in #Black #youth specifically?” Sheftall said. “And unfortunately, we’re finding that it’s not what we think it is.”

#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

Discovering a child in crisis

For a lot of families, finding out a child is in crisis can come as a shock. For Lisa (who asked that we use pseudonyms to protect her family’s privacy), the news came via a group text from her sister. Her nephew, Jaden, who was 17 at the time, was in the hospital. His co-workers had noticed that he seemed out of it while working his part-time job.

“He was just, like, struggling to breathe,” she said. “And just completely out of it.”

At one point, he either nodded off or lost consciousness. So Jaden’s co-workers called 911.

Over at the hospital, the family found out that Jaden had overdosed on an opioid. That’s when it all came flooding out. Jaden admitted he’d been taking opioids since seventh grade — that he was depressed … and that he wanted to die.

“So that was the first kind of introduction that there was a major #depression and suicidal thoughts with him,” Lisa said.

It’s something Lisa had never expected of her nephew, whom she remembers starting out as a little beam of sunshine.

“As a kid, he was very talkative, very outgoing,” she said. “He was just very bubbly and friendly.”

That started to change as Jaden got older. He became quieter — withdrawn, almost. But Lisa figured that was normal for #adolescents.

“I just thought it was, like, that’s how you are when you’re a #teenager,” she said. “You just have an attitude.”

Lisa said there were some family problems. She’d always felt that her sister’s husband was too strict, to put it mildly. But nothing that prepared her for this new reality: that Jaden was depressed, that he’d been depressed for years, that he had a five-year opioid addiction — and that he wanted to die.

At the hospital, Jaden was treated for the overdose, but as far as Lisa knows, was offered no #mentalhealthassessment, or recommendations, or follow-up.

Seeking help — and the impact of #COVID-19

Over the past year and a half, plenty of families have experienced similar reckonings as they discovered their #children were in crisis: questions not only of, “How did this happen?” but also, “What do we do now?”

Tami Benton, the #psychiatrist-in-chief at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (known as CHOP), sees families like these every day.

“We have a large number of #mentalhealthproviders at CHOP, and still we struggle to meet the demand,” she said. “And that’s true across the city.”

That was already the case before #COVID-19 hit, Benton said, but the #pandemic made things exponentially worse, both thanks to the shutdown of #mentalhealthprograms and the added #stress being placed on families and children.

They started seeing more kids — both kids who had already been struggling, and those for whom the struggles were brand new.

“We started to see kids who were pretty much well before the #pandemic, who became overwhelmed,” she said, “due to the #socialisolation, the lockdown, the fear, the family #stress, all the things that happened during the #pandemic.”

The result is that CHOP, and children’s hospitals across the country, saw a major spike in #mentalhealthcrises — more than a lot of them could handle. Benton said there just weren’t enough resources, resulting in parents’ widely publicized struggles to get help for their kids.

“More of those kids required hospitalization,” she said, “and that’s where the big problems have really, really stood out this past year … the long lines of kids waiting in the emergency departments for inpatient hospital beds.”

The waiting alone can be a trying — and, depending on the other #patients who surround them, even a traumatic — experience, which discourages #parents from seeking care.

The impact on #Black families and barriers to help

The stressors affecting #children and the barriers to treatment have been especially magnified for #Black families. #AfricanAmericans were hit hard by the #pandemic, both in terms of their health, and their pocketbooks.

There have been other stressors over the past year and a half related more explicitly to #race — for example, the murders of #GeorgeFloyd and #BreonnaTaylor, which, thanks to #socialmedia, became inescapable for lots of kids.

But #Black families haven’t just been facing unique problems, they’ve faced unique barriers to getting help.

Tami Benton said one problem is a lack of cultural competency among health care workers, which can make #Black #parents feel like they’re not being treated with kindness, understanding, or even respect.

She cited the experience of another #Black #doctor she knows who had brought her daughter to the emergency room. Immediately, the ER staff began questioning the mother about whether she’d ever been incarcerated, or ever had a drug problem.

“Before they even asked her all of the questions about her child’s #mentalhealth, those were some of the questions that she was being asked,” Benton said. “It felt incredibly disrespectful, and it compromised their trust from the beginning of the assessment.”

For some #parents, that cultural gap translates into a feeling of alienation — even judgment, said Isha Metzger, a clinical #psychologist who teaches at the University of Georgia and whose work focuses, in part, on reducing #mentalhealth disparities among #AfricanAmerican #youth and families.

“I think the two main things are, one, not being comfortable enough addressing the elephant in the room, and, two, not taking a parent’s culture and background into consideration,” Metzger said. “And somehow that being conveyed as, you know, #parents feeling like they’re being told that they’re bad #parents.”

“For example, if a caregiver says that they spank their kid, oftentimes what we as clinicians do is we tell caregivers the many, many reasons why we shouldn’t be spanking our kids and why that’s bad,” Metzger said. “What they’re going to say is, ‘Well, you obviously know nothing about me and my family.’ So what’s better to do is to ask caregivers about why they spank their kids.”

Clinicians, she said, should educate themselves about the history surrounding slavery, the fight for civil rights, and #police brutality.

“The history that will lead #Black #parents to feel like they need to #parent their kids more sternly,” Metzger said, “because they know that if they’re noncompliant or combative, or don’t respond to requests in society, that they can get beaten, that they can get shot by #police, that they can get written up in school. So caregivers now are parenting their kids in a way for survival, right? So that’s a way that clinicians can say the wrong thing, or not necessarily ask about the values of a family that can lead them to think that, ‘OK, you don’t know how to talk to me,’ or, ‘You don’t know about my specific culture.’”

The lack of #Black #therapists

Lisa said that cultural disconnect came up when she was trying to get help for her nephew Jaden after his first trip to the hospital. She said the rest of the family had basically treated it like a stupid #teenage mistake — a one-off. But over the next few months, Jaden overdosed again, and then again. Lisa tried to convince him to get into therapy. But she said his #parents were reluctant.

“The first time he wanted to go to therapy, [his #parents were] like, ‘You don’t want these white people to know that we have problems,’” Lisa said.

Another problem was Jaden didn’t feel much of a connection with the #therapist.

“I really felt like he needed someone his own #race and possibly even gender,” she said. “There was just a lot of disconnect, I think, between him and the #therapist that they had chosen.”

This is a problem everywhere: #Black #Americans make up 13% of the country — but, as of the latest statistics, only 3% of #psychologists.

“Finding #black #male #therapist is like the hardest I think I’ve ever had to do in my entire life,” said Arielle Sheftall, the #suicide researcher who helped uncover the rise in #suicide among #Black #children. “That is a very low population of individuals, and finding them is really, really hard.”

While bigger cities might have more #Black #therapists, many places don’t.

“I think that that is, unfortunately, one of the biggest barriers … that we don’t have #therapists that are, number one, culturally competent in the things that #Black #youth experience on a regular basis,” she said. “And I think that makes it harder for #Black #youth and their families to open up during therapy sessions and to be ‘real,’ so to speak, on what they’re thinking and what they’re feeling.”

Finding solutions

It’s only been a few years since researchers first recognized the rising #suicide risk among #Black #youth — which means determining both the causes and the solutions is still a ways off.

But some experts have already started brainstorming changes that could make a difference. One of the first being simply recognizing when #Black kids need help.

It might sound obvious, but it’s a step that happens a lot less often than you might think — in part, #psychologist and researcher Isha Metzger said, because #depression and #anxiety often aren’t recognized in #Black kids, at least not for what they are.

“We often see those #Black #youth who are suicidal, but we don’t see them as suicidal,” Metzger said. “We see them as deviant. We see them as angry. We see them as fill-in-the-blank in how we pathologize and label them. And I think that as early as we’re able to catch them and change them from those courses of actions, of thoughts, of feelings, then we’re able to prevent and intervene upon suicidality.”

Not only do #adults need to recognize those red flags for what they are, experts said, they need to avoid the knee-jerk reaction of trying to punish #Black kids for “acting out,” which can involve discipline at school — or worse.

“An individual can be showing signs of #depression, and based on where they fall on a melanated scale, the reaction of society and community is definitely different,” said Mary May, a #veteran relationship therapist and #suicideprevention advocate in Philadelphia who works with both #youth and families.

She added that especially when #Black and #brown people are experiencing a #mentalhealthcrisis in public, “the #police may be called, and handcuffs is the first way of resolving it.”

Another barrier to receiving #mentalhealthcare is the deep-rooted #stigma in many #Black communities against #mentalillness and #mentalhealthcare.

For years, studies have documented a prevalent belief in #AfricanAmerican communities that #suicide is a “white thing.”

“Throughout my years, I’ve heard that over and over again,” May said.

That #stigma has created what May calls a culture of silence in a lot of #Black families, one that can make it difficult for #children to speak up about their emotional challenges.

“People who are of #AfricanAmerican descent, or identify as #Black #American, are always on the edge of trying to show that they are worthy, in a sense,” May said. “And the prevalence of silence comes from a space of, we don’t want to make ourselves look bad, but we definitely don’t want to make whomever our caregivers are embarrassed.”

May said it’s essential for families to have more open conversations about #mentalhealthissues.

Another solution touted by experts is expanding education about #mentalwellness — both for kids and their #parents.

“Simple things like social emotional learning curricula in the #schools,” said CHOP’s Tami Benton. “Teaching kids how to express their feelings and how to talk about them; how to talk to trusted #adults. And then being able to recognize when kids are struggling, and then have something you actually can do about it — because many providers will tell you, sometimes they know kids are struggling, but they don’t do anything because there’s nothing available.”

That’s something both Benton and researcher Arielle Sheftall have been working on: bringing programs to families who might otherwise not have the time or resources to get their kids help.

“Why can’t we go to them and actually do services where they are, versus having them always come to us all the time?” Sheftall said. “So I think we have to really change our mindset about the services that we are providing, and where we’re actually providing those services.”

Finally, there’s the aforementioned problem of cultural competency, or the lack thereof, which can destroy #parents’ trust in #healthcareproviders and make kids less willing to open up.

Though increasing the number of #Black clinicians would be ideal, Isha Metzger said there’s plenty white clinicians can do to connect better with #Black clients — first and foremost being to acknowledge and confront #racial differences head-on.

“If we’re unwilling to talk about #race, #racism, family, values, and culture, then our families are going to feel like, ‘OK, you’re only treating a very small percentage of my issues,’” Metzger said.

She added that therapists need to have the humility to admit when there are things about their clients — whether because of #race or age — that they don’t understand. When in doubt, she said, ask questions.

“So I’m an expert in cognitive #behavioraltherapy — but I’m an #adult,” Metzger said. “So I might say some things to you that let you know that I don’t really get what it’s like to be a #teenager. If I say something that confuses you or offends you, or if you say something that confuses me, I want us to be able to talk about that, to ask questions, to say if you’re offended. I certainly want you to know that my intentions, however, are to help you and to really get to know you and your experiences.”

A light at the end of the tunnel

For Jaden, it was a long road to finding any kind of treatment that clicked with him and seemed to work. But finally, it happened — an inpatient clinic for young men that focused as much on therapy as it did on addiction treatment.

There was just one problem — the cost. Lisa doesn’t remember the exact figure, but her guess is that it was into the tens of thousands of dollars. Insurance covered some of it — the rest, Jaden’s mom had paid for.

“It was like her scrambling, taking money out of a 401(k), just to find extra money to cover the balance,” Lisa said.

In the end, it was just enough. In June, Jaden checked into the program for three weeks. And at first, it seemed like it was really helping.

“He talked to his mom, and his mom said he sounded a lot better,” Lisa said. “He sounded really positive.”

He was paid up through 21 days. Shortly before leaving, the facility told Jaden’s family they thought he needed to stay. And Jaden agreed — he said if he came back out, he felt he was just going to relapse. But his family didn’t have the funds to keep him there.

So after 21 days, Jaden came out and moved back in with his #parents. Before long, the same arguments started happening. Soon, he relapsed. There was another hospitalization, another near-death experience. Eventually, Jaden decided that he just needed to get out — start fresh somewhere, someplace where everyone he knew wasn’t on drugs.

So he used the very last of his money to buy a plane ticket to go live with a friend in another city. And that’s what he was doing — living with his friend, working a low-paying job, trying to stay sober.

“He’s just working like a minimum-wage job for some reason,” Lisa said in mid-July, “and like staying at a hotel. So we don’t know what’s next.”

Lisa said the whole thing has been hard — not only for him, but for the whole family. She said it feels like a constant threat hanging over their heads.

“It’s just kind of feeling like I’ve been spinning my wheels, trying to just figure out how to best help him,” she said. “Because at the end of the day, his being alive is more important than anything else. So it’s taken over a lot of my life because I don’t want to slack on this and then something bad happens. So it feels like it’s do or die. We have to figure out a plan before something bad happens.”

But then came a flash of hope: The clinic where Jaden had been was offering him a scholarship to return, valued at $36,000.

Jaden went back and forth, but finally at the start of August, Lisa said, he had decided to go back. His life would be saved, at least for a while.


Support for WHYY’s coverage on health equity issues comes from the Commonwealth Fund.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #MentalHealth Online: #Police Posts Of Crises May Traumatize

In this Aug. 3, 2021 photo a man jogs past a sign about crisis counseling on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. In recent years, officials who oversee so-called suicide hotspots like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the George Washington Bridge, which spans New York City and New Jersey, have worked to install prevention or deterrent systems. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

#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

In this Aug. 3, 2021, photo Patrol officer Nicolas Serrano looks out at a suicide barrier under construction below the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. In recent years, officials who oversee so-called suicide hotspots like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the George Washington Bridge, which spans New York City and New Jersey, have worked to install prevention or deterrent systems. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this Aug. 9. 2021, photo pedestrians walk across the George Washington Bridge, underneath netting designed to prevent jumping off the bridge, in New York. In recent years, officials who oversee so-called suicide hotspots like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the George Washington Bridge, which spans New York City and New Jersey, have worked to install prevention or deterrent systems. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
In this Aug. 9, 2021, photo the lower Manhattan skyline is seen through the fence and netting covering the pedestrian walkway on the George Washington Bridge in New York. In recent years, officials who oversee so-called suicide hotspots like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the George Washington Bridge, which spans New York City and New Jersey, have worked to install prevention or deterrent systems. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
In this Aug. 3, 2021 photo people walk past an emergency phone and numbers for crisis counseling on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  In recent years, officials who oversee so-called suicide hotspots like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the George Washington Bridge, which spans New York City and New Jersey, have worked to install prevention or deterrent systems. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this Aug. 10, 2021, photo mental health advocate Kevin Berthia, who has survived his own suicide attempts, wears wrists bands with the name of his mental health foundation, in Sacramento, Calif. Berthia has turned his experience, including a suicide attempt on the Golden Gate Bridge, into advocacy for other people in crisis. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
In this Aug. 3, 2021, photo retired California Highway Patrol officer Kevin Briggs looks out at the Golden Gate Bridge near Sausalito, Calif. Briggs responded to many suicide attempts on the Golden Gate Bridge during his career. He met Kevin Berthia in 2005 when Berthia attempted suicide and now the two speak nationally about suicide prevention. Briggs joined the CHP in 1990 and began responding to emergencies on the bridge in 1994, where he would work with people in crisis four to six times a month. He retired in 2013. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this Aug. 10, 2021, photo mental health advocate Kevin Berthia, who has survived his own suicide attempts, poses in Sacramento, Calif. Berthia has turned his experience, including suicide attempt on the Golden Gate Bridge, into advocacy for other people in crisis. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
In this Aug. 10, 2021, photo mental health advocate Kevin Berthia, who has survived his own suicide attempts talks with his son, Karter, 7, in Sacramento, Calif. Berthia has turned his experience, including a suicide attempt on the Golden Gate Bridge, into advocacy for other people in crisis. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
In this Aug. 3, 2021 photo two women pass by as from left, service operator William Sangregory, ironworker Phillip Chaney, patrol officer Nicolas Serrano and lieutenant Roger Elauria, talk by a patrol vehicle on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this Aug. 3, 2021 photo retired California Highway Patrol officer Kevin Briggs poses below the Golden Gate Bridge near Sausalito, Calif. Briggs responded to many suicide attempts on the Golden Gate Bridge during his career. He met Kevin Berthia in 2005 when Berthia attempted suicide and now the two speak nationally about suicide prevention. Briggs joined the CHP in 1990 and began responding to emergencies on the bridge in 1994, where he would work with people in crisis four to six times a month. He retired in 2013. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Skip Ad By Stefanie Dazio The Associated Press

The videos are difficult to watch.

In one, a man dangles over the edge of an Oklahoma City overpass, his legs swinging in midair as #police grab his arms and pull him from the brink. In another, a woman hangs high above the Los Angeles Harbor as a half-dozen #officers drag her, head-first, up the side of the bridge. The panicked voices of cops cry out, “We got you, we got you!” just before they pin her to the ground and pull out handcuffs.

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EDITOR’S NOTE — This story includes discussion of #suicide. If you or someone you know needs help, please call the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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The short clips were posted on official law enforcement #socialmedia accounts, part of a longstanding practice by #police agencies to showcase their lifesaving efforts online — especially in 2021 as desperation grows for positive press amid accusations of excessive force and #racism following #GeorgeFloyd’s murder, and rising gun violence and killings.

But with renewed attention on #officer interactions with people who are suffering from #mentalhealthissues, experts and advocates are taking another look at these posts with an eye toward whether they exploit the very victims law enforcement just saved.

“It’s like we were living in this tragedy with them,” said Kevin Berthia, a #mentalhealthadvocate who has survived his own #suicideattempts. “Now how is that not creating trauma for anybody else? Who else is this triggering?”

The posts are easy to find on #Facebook, #Instagram and #Twitter. #Policedepartments nationwide may upload them without the permission of the person in crisis — though their identities are obscured — without a warning about contents and without consulting #mentalhealthprofessionals.

Debbie Plotnick, vice president for state and federal advocacy at #MentalHealth America, reviewed a half-dozen from around the country.

“Yes, they helped get a person down and that is commendable,” she said, but added: “I’m not seeing that this has value in helping people’s #mentalhealth.”

While #police say #mentalhealth is their priority, the footage appears to tell a different story. Law enforcement agencies have long tried to showcase the harrowing and dangerous work of fighting crime and saving lives, and the feeds also include officers delivering babies, acts of kindness and shows of strength.

The New York #PoliceDepartment, along with images of smiling cops, often tweets detailed captions that include the exact pier someone jumped from or the number of pills they swallowed before the officers “saved” them. Other posts include videos from the scene.

Yet the #AmericanAssociationofSuicidology specifically suggests that any reporting on #suicide or #suicideattempts not include the method or location. The association recommends that photos and videos from the scene also be excluded, even if the person’s identity is concealed.

The NYPD declined requests for comment.

Some experts fear copycats, saying such detailed posts — like the recent Los Angeles #PoliceDepartment posts with body-cam footage of the woman’s #suicideattempt on the bridge — basically give a manual to vulnerable people.

“Here’s a spot on the bridge where it literally took like six uniformed #policeofficers to drag this person back over the side,” said Jonathan Singer, president of the #AmericanAssociationofSuicidology.

The LAPD declined to comment, but said in a statement that it does not have a specific policy in these cases. The agency said it strives to protect the individual’s identity but does not typically seek permission beforehand.

In the 55-second video — posted to #Facebook, #Twitter and #Instagram less than a month after the incident — #police were called to the bridge in San Pedro after the #woman was seen climbing over the side. The scene is fraught with tension — rushing wind, the woman’s panicked breathing, the squawking of the radios echoing off the bridge’s metal, the clicking of handcuffs.

“Great teamwork resulted in her receiving the help she needed,” the LAPD’s posts said, with a link to the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline’s website. “Remember, you are never alone and there is always help.”

In Oklahoma City, the overpass video posted to the #police department’s #Facebook page in May includes body-cam footage and interviews with responding #officers. The man’s face is blurred out, though the department did not seek his permission before posting the video.

The final clip shows the man being loaded into a #police cruiser with the text: “After rescuing the man, #officers took him to the hospital and started the process of getting him the help he needed.” The phone number of the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline follows.

Master Sgt. Gary Knight, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma City #Police Department, said the goal was showing residents how the actions of the officers saved the man’s life during the two-hour incident.

“The last thing we ever want to do is hinder somebody’s recovery when they’ve been in a state of crisis,” Knight said. “We’re not out here to try to make somebody’s condition worse. That’s why we showed up in the first place — to try to help that person.”

Daniel Reidenberg, executive director of the Minnesota-based #SuicideAwareness Voices of Education, said such #socialmedia posts may actually deter viewers from calling 911, for fear they might also get handcuffed or arrested.

“It’s too complex of an issue to boil down into a video like that,” he said.

Ronnie Walker agrees. Her stepson died by #suicide when he was a college junior, prompting her to form a now-international support group that includes an online forum for other grieving families, the Illinois-based nonprofit Alliance of Hope For #Suicide Loss Survivors.

“It was really devastating for everybody who knew and loved him,” she said, speaking on the 26th anniversary of her stepson’s death. “It was as if a grenade went off in our family and everyone was wounded, each in their own way.”

Looking at the #police posts, Walker said, could easily be traumatizing for people who have lost loved ones to #suicide.

“I don’t want to dismiss the heroism of the #police or that they have kindness in their hearts,” she said. “I just don’t see some of those videos as portraying that or conveying that. It’s more sensational.”

The #police department of Appleton, Wisconsin — a city of 74,000 north of Milwaukee — took a different approach. They had discussions for nearly a month before going public in February with an eight-minute #suicide intervention video that is much less explicit than others. They also sought permission from the man who had been in crisis and his family and worked with #mentalhealth organizations.

“Is this going to be positive for our community? Is this actually going to cause the conversations that we want to happen around #mentalhealth?” Lt. Meghan Cash said. “Or is this just a video?”

In recent years, officials who oversee so-called #suicide hot spots like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the George Washington Bridge, which connects New York City and New Jersey, have worked to install prevention or deterrent systems.

About 30 people die by #suicide annually on the Golden Gate Bridge, and another 150-plus people try to take their lives there each year. Many come in contact with the 36 members of the bridge patrol — whose captain, David Rivera, hopes new conversations around #mentalhealth, like Simone Biles’ discussions at the Olympics, will encourage people to get help.

Rivera’s department does not post publicly about #suicide interventions, and instead chooses to privately honor its members and others who may have been involved in rescues, like bridge ironworkers, roadway staffers or officers from other #police agencies.

“We can recognize them and write up a commendation,” Rivera said.

Berthia, the #mentalhealthadvocate, went to the bridge in 2005 with the intent to end his life. His encounter over the railing with a California Highway Patrol officer was captured in a photograph published on The San Francisco Chronicle’s front page. The picture haunted him for years.

“It brought me back to the day,” Berthia said. “It brought me back to the moment. It brought me back to the wind, and the smell.”

Now, Berthia speaks nationally about #suicideprevention, and says there’s a long way to go on #mentalhealthawareness. Still, his message to people in crisis is a hopeful one.

“I need you here,” he says, “I need you here. So please call or reach out, do whatever you’ve got to do.”

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This story has been updated to correct where the nonprofit organization Alliance of Hope For #Suicide Loss Survivors, an international support group that has an online forum for families whose loved ones have died by #suicide, is based. It is based in Illinois, not Hawaii.

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Associated Press video journalists Angie Wang in Atlanta and Haven Daley in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – More than 40 NSW #Children And #Teenagers Rushed To Hospital For Self-Harm Every Day

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By Caitlin Fitzsimmons and James Massola

The #COVID-19 #pandemic and prolonged lockdown are severely damaging the #mentalhealth of #young people in NSW, with emergency department visits for self-harm and #suicidalideation up 31 per cent for #children and #teenagers compared with last year.

The mental health impacts of the pandemic and lockdowns are most severe for adolescents.
The #mentalhealth impacts of the #pandemic and lockdowns are most severe for #adolescents.

NSW Chief Psychiatrist Murray Wright told The Sun-Herald the ongoing lockdown, while necessary for public health reasons, was especially hard for adolescents who made up the bulk of self-harm and #mentalhealth problems in the 0-17 age group.

“[For] young people education is so important, both in terms of progressing towards whatever their career aspirations are but also for social interaction,” Dr Wright said.

“You might feel that you can tolerate an interruption for a certain period of time, but I’m sure lots of people hoped or expected that things would be better by now. That’s not a criticism of anybody but when things drag on, that’s a significant effect on people’s #mentalhealth.”

The latest figures from the NSW #suicide monitoring system show 17 people under the age of 18 are believed to have died by #suicide in the first six months of this year, compared with 13 in the first half of 2019. The draft figures for July, seen by The Sun-Herald, show a further significant jump.

In an interview with The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned of a “shadow #pandemic” of #mentalillness caused by ongoing lockdowns, particularly among younger Australians, echoing the words of #psychiatrist and former Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry.

“There is, too, a shadow #pandemic occurring before our eyes – #anxiety, #depression and far worse is on the rise – and only an easing of restrictions will stem the tide,” Mr Frydenberg said.

The Treasurer warned that if premiers and chief ministers didn’t stick to the agreed road map to reopening, the economic and health costs would be high.

“Jobs will be lost, businesses will close, debt will increase and the #mentalhealth of our community – particularly among kids – will suffer.”

NSW Health’s fortnightly internal report on #mentalhealthservice demand and care, dated August 17 and obtained by The Sun-Herald, shows demand for services has risen among all age groups since the #pandemic began, but the impact is most severe for #children and #teenagers.

Dire warning about NSW hospitals

New South Wales recorded another large number of new #COVID-19 cases as ambulances struggle to keep up with #virus-related calls.

In the year to July 29, 8489 people under the age of 18 were rushed to hospital for self-harm and #suicidalideation, equating to more than 40 a day. That was a 31 per cent rise on the same time in 2020 and up 47 per cent compared with 2019. Across all age groups visits to emergency departments for self-harm and #suicidalideation were up 13 per cent compared with last year.

Emergency department #mentalhealth presentations for 0- to 17-year-olds – a separate category which can include psychotic episodes – were up 26 per cent compared with 2020, compared with a 6 per cent increase for the general population.

Acute #mentalhealth admissions for #children and #young people for the year to July 22 were up 43 per cent on 2020, compared with a 2 per cent rise for the general population.

The Australian on Saturday reported on a similar crisis in Victoria, where figures to the end of May show an average of 156 #teens a week were rushed to hospital after self-harming and suffering #suicidalideation, an 88 per cent increase on last year.

NSW Chief Psychiatrist Murray Wright said young people are feeling the effects of lockdown the most.
NSW Chief Psychiatrist Murray Wright said young people are feeling the effects of lockdown the most.

Dr Wright said self-harm among #adolescents had been increasing in the western world for the past decade, so the impact of the #pandemic came on top of the long-term trend.

#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

The NSW Ombudsman last week delivered its Biannual Report of the Deaths of #Children in NSW, which found #suicide was the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 17 in 2018 and 2019, and had increased significantly for all #children aged 10 to 17 since 2005.

Among all age groups, 444 people died by #suicide in the first half of this year, compared with 428 before the #pandemic, with most of the rise in regional NSW.

The NSW budget in June allocated $109.5 million to enhance #child and #adolescent #mentalhealthservices in every local health district over the next four years.

On Sunday Minister for #MentalHealth Bronnie Taylor will also announce an additional $8 million in grants for #suicideprevention targeting specific communities, including #LGBTQ+ people, older people, people who have previously attempted #suicide in regional communities, #men and #young people. A similar grant to prevent Indigenous #suicide is pending.

Calls to crisis lines for 0- to 18-year-olds are 13 per cent higher this year compared with before the #pandemic, though down 9 per cent on 2020. #Mentalhealthservices on the Medicare Benefits Schedule for 0- to 17-year-olds were up 20 per cent on 2020, while new community clients for this age group were up 24 per cent year-on-year.

Dr Wright said this showed young people and their families were accessing #mentalhealth assistance earlier, which was “a good thing because we’ve spent decades trying to destigmatize #mentalhealth and telling people ‘don’t suffer in silence, please ask for help’.”

Christine Morgan, National #SuicidePrevention Adviser and chief executive of the #NationalMentalHealthCommission, said there were long waiting lists for #mentalhealthservices across Australia and there was a need to equip parents to help because they were akin to “frontline workers”.

“They’re in the homes with the young people, they can see it, and by engaging in these conversations, they can often help to de-escalate some of the #anxiety,” she said.

Ms Morgan was concerned about a rise in #young people expressing a sense of loss of hope in the future. She acknowledged #parents with #children and #teenagers at home during lockdown had a tough job but said they should try their best to help #children maintain engagement with education and friends and stay physically active, and encourage them to think about what they had to look forward to.

The #MentalHealth Commission along with other peak #mentalhealth bodies is starting a #socialmedia campaign called #ChatStarters to try to start conversations that go deeper than asking people if they are OK.

Dr Wright said it was important to talk about solutions because “a sense of helplessness” could create further harm. He welcomed the announcement of vaccines for 12- to 15-year-olds because this would not only protect them physically from #COVID-19 but would also give them a #mentalhealth boost by letting them control their response to the #pandemic.

Dr Wright said that when advocating for #mentalhealth among his colleagues, he promoted the need to increase social cohesion rather than targeting specific measures. He said he was comfortable with the fact it was a balancing act with the public health measures to fight the #pandemic.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Why Stereotypes About #Psychosis Are Harmful

By Ashley Peterson

People tend to fear the unknown. While there is prejudice associated with most #mentalhealthconditions, #psychosis is arguably the symptom the average person finds the most frightening.
 
#Psychosis refers to a cluster of symptoms involving #hallucinations, #delusions and/or profound disorganization. It can occur in primary psychotic disorders, like #schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, and also in other conditions like #bipolardisorder or major depressive disorder.
 
To the uneducated person, though, there’s likely to be a lumping together of “psychosis = crazy = schizophrenic = frightening = dangerous.” They reality of #psychosis is simply not a part of the social dialogue. Since it is not understood, stereotypes are clung to more tightly when evaluating or contextualizing someone who appears to have #psychosis.
 
As someone who has experienced both #hallucinations and #delusions, and as a #mentalhealth #nurse, I want to set the record straight on why the most common stereotypes about #psychosis are inaccurate and potentially harmful to the people experiencing them.
 

#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

You Should Fear The Broken System, Not The People It Has Failed

There is a stereotype of the disheveled, smelly person living on the street. This is the person whom the rest of society views as somehow less human and a lost cause. It likely stems at least in part from an underlying fear that the onlooker could someday end up in that position. However, when people with psychosis do end up resembling this stereotype, it’s because the system has failed them on multiple levels, repeatedly. It is not the unkempt homeless person that you should fear, but rather the #mentalhealth system that’s so broken it can’t catch people when they fall.
 

People Aren’t Talking To Themselves, They’re Responding To Their Reality

One classic stereotype of #psychosis is someone talking to themselves. This is a bit of a misnomer in that people aren’t actually talking to themselves, they’re responding to their hallucinations. This can be observed sometimes, particularly when people are highly unwell, but as a broad generalization, it’s just not accurate.
 

The Tinfoil Hat Is Only In Movies

Another stereotype is the tinfoil hat. While it’s true that severe #paranoia may lead some people to take steps to protect themselves from perceived outside energies, radiation or mind-reading attempts, this is not a run-of-the-mill occurrence for most people experiencing #psychosis. When this kind of #paranoia manifests, it’s more likely to trigger perceived protective measures around the home. In 15 years of nursing, I’ve never seen an actual tinfoil hat, but I have witnessed some elaborate strategies in people’s homes, including covering windows with paper and taping over electrical outlets.
 

Having #Psychosis Does Not Make You Violent

Perhaps the most harmful stereotype is the assumption that someone with #psychosis is inherently violent or dangerous. There’s yet another mass shooting? Suddenly everyone’s blaming people with #mentalillness and saying, “the shooter must have been crazy.” Because after all, how could someone do something like that and not be “psychotic”?
 
 
However, the fact is that the majority of people with serious #mentalillness are not violent and are far more likely to be the victims of violence than perpetrators. However, for the small portion who may use violence, it is other risk factors that are more likely to be related, such as gender and prior violence, not the experience of #psychosis itself.
 

People With #Psychosis Are Not “Psycho” Or “Psychopaths”

There is a lot of confusion between psychosis and psychopathy. Many people jump to the conclusion that “psychotic = psycho = psychopath.” This, simply put, is wrong. To clarify, “psychotic” is an adjective for someone experiencing #psychosis, while “psychopathy” is the lack of or inability to experience empathy, which is an entirely separate issue. “Psycho” is a slang term that derives from the Latin word psyche, meaning mind or soul, but gets tossed around loosely to label anyone who’s seen as “crazy,” despite being both insensitive and offensive to those with #psychosis.
 
This is precisely why language around #psychosis is so important. We cannot use words like “psycho” or even “#psychotic” to define people experiencing #psychosis because it leads society to associate #psychosis with these harmful stereotypes. However, words are a minor issue compared to the fear surrounding #psychosis. Fear flourishes in silence, which means we need to talk about what #psychosis really looks like.
 
Maybe it’s not #psychosis itself that’s perceived as scary, but rather the tightly held fear of the unknown. The best way to dispel that fear is by raising our voices.
 

Note: This article was originally published at http://mentalhealthathome.org.
 
Ashley Peterson is a #mentalhealth blogger and #mentalhealth #nurse living with #depression. She is the author of three books, latest is managing the #depression puzzle. You can follow her writing at mentalhealthathome.org. 

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – What People Get Wrong About #BipolarDisorder

By Emmie Pombo




#Bipolardisorder is a complicated #mentalillness. It has a variety of layers and symptoms, which can make it difficult to understand. However, this doesn’t mean that it — or the people who have it — should have to deal with unfair assumptions and misconceptions. 
 
As someone who has struggled with #bipolardisorder since I was nine, there are several misunderstandings I have faced from others because they had no idea what the condition is actually like. And for those of us with #bipolardisorder, these interactions make us feel as if we’re not loved or supported.  

#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


 
Here are some of the things I’ve heard that people get wrong about #bipolardisorder. 

Myth: We’re more troubled

The struggle associated with having a #mentalillness can be similar, regardless of what a person’s actual diagnosis is. Having #bipolardisorder is hard; having #schizophrenia is hard; having #borderlinepersonalitydisorder or #obsessivecompulsivedisorder or #depression is hard. We all have to work toward recovery. 
 
Just because a label makes an illness sound more “intense,” usually due to portrayals in popular culture, doesn’t mean that it actually is. The assumption that those with #bipolardisorder are more troubled due to the name of our illness is just a lack of understanding. In truth, the severity of #mentalillness varies across diagnoses. 

Myth: We only feel two emotions

Another common assumption is that since people with #bipolardisorder swing from mania to #depression, those are the only emotions we’re able to feel. Although it’s true those emotions are often a major part of a person’s symptoms and are felt very deeply, that doesn’t mean we don’t feel confusion, peace, confidence, happiness and all sorts of other emotions, too. 
 
It is also true that based on bipolar type, people with this condition experience varied intensities of mania or #depression. However, in no case are they the only two emotions we ever experience. 

Myth: We don’t know how to function in society

Despite all that may be going on inside, many of us with #bipolardisorder have learned how to put on a “normal” face for the outside world. We have learned over the years how to use our tools and coping skills to keep symptoms under control. For someone who actively works to manage their emotions and take care of themselves, others may not even know that they struggle with #mentalillness. 
 
With that said, please keep in mind that we’re not a danger to society — you probably can’t even tell us apart from anyone else. 

Myth: We’re always aware of how we act

During a manic episode, people with #bipolardisorder can have what’s called a #bipolar blackout. During a blackout, the individual is not aware of their surroundings or actions and has trouble remembering them afterward. This can make interacting with someone in a blackout very frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be. 

The more you educate yourself, the more you’ll be able to help during an episode. I had many blackouts growing up, which makes memories of my childhood very fuzzy. I only remember about 40-50% of my childhood due to incorrect diagnoses, wrong medications and inadequate coping skills. Remember to be patient when someone is experiencing a blackout or an episode, and to offer help when they come out of it.

Myth: Therapy and medication is a cure-all

Much like every other #mentalillness, #bipolardisorder cannot be “cured.” Even with treatment, people with #depression will still feel down, people with #anxiety will still have anxious moments and people with #bipolardisorder will still have swings from time to time. However, the introduction of therapy and/or medication can significantly help a person’s mood, actions and well-being. #Bipolardisorder canbe treated — and a person can learn to live well with #bipolardisorder — even if being cured is not currently possible. 
 
#Bipolardisorder can be considered a “rarer” disorder as opposed to #depression or #anxiety, which are talked about more often among the general public. However, that does not mean that having #bipolardisorder makes you any less of a person or that you will necessarily have a harder time getting through life. With the right tools, there is always a way to live with your #mentalillness and find the peace, rest and understanding you deserve.
 
 
Emmie Pombo is a #mentalhealthadvocate originally from Upstate New York hoping to bring knowledge and understanding about #mentalillnesses and struggles that go along with them. Majoring in Digital Journalism at Southeastern University, she works as an editor and marketing strategist and is looking to focus on #mentalhealthawareness.

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