Mental illness is an equal-opportunity illness. Every one of us is impacted by mental illness. One in five adults are dealing with this illness, and many are not seeking help because the stigma prevents that.~ Margaret Larson
Depression. Anxiety. ADHD. BiPolar. These are some common words were use or hear almost daily in our conversations, on the news, or on our favorite television shows.
We are hearing more about the importance of mental wellness, and self-care.
We see the green awareness ribbons and read the stories about our veterans’ suicide and PTSD rates.
We are hearing and seeing more and more about mental illness, mental health, and mental wellness more than ever before, but what are we doing with this information? According to a report by Mental Health America (MHA), a non profit organization, Americans are not getting the treatment they need. Many people may immediately say that there is a lack of access to the help they need, however the report’s findings disagree with that. The report entitled “The State of Mental Health in America” gives facts, statistics and other data on mental health from across the United States. The report also list the best and the worst states for mental health care, and Connecticut is at the top and Nevada is at the bottom. Even though Vermont is the 3rd best state, 43% of adults that have been diagnosed with a mental illness did not receive treatment. This number is just under the national average because 56%
of Americans with a mental illness did not receive treatment despite there being more access to insurance and access to treatment. Continue reading “Are we ignoring mental illness? “
When you first look at these pictures of Kris you may see a beautiful young Black woman. In speaking to Kris, you will sense she is sweet, intelligent and kind. What you won’t see are the scars that are healing, from several suicide attempts. (Yes there were several) Kris had been diagnosed with depression, sever panic attacks and anxiety. She has been admitted to what she refers to as a “Psych Prison.” Dealing with all of the things that life can throw at us is difficult. Dealing with all of these things while suffering in silence with mental illness can take a toll on even the strongest person. On August 11, 2011 there was another suicide attempt, however after this one Kris made a decision to fight and fight Continue reading “@KrisNichole Celebrates Her Life Anniversary!”
The was originally written in 2014, and posted on a personal blog. Kara of The Frugal Feminista came across the post on Twitter and shared it on her site. This is one post I will continue to share because the question of ‘should I see a therapist?’ is one that continues to be asked. The energy of the mind is the essence of life~Aristotle … Continue reading 3 Signs It’s Time To See a Therapist
I wrote this last year for The Frugal Feminista, but I felt it was important to share again. Saturday, October 10 was World Mental Health Day and this year’s theme was Dignity and Mental Health.
Dignity is defined as “the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect”, and one of the least respected groups of people in our society are those who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness. They are often the butt of jokes and we believe that we should be afraid of them. They are pushed into a corner and not discussed until a tragedy happens. Although mental illness affects 1 in 5 Americans, it is still one of the least discussed and underfunded health issues, especially in minority communities.
Words like “crazy”, “psychotic”, and “lunatic” are often used to describe people that have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Many people do not know that serious mental illness is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. Just like any other major organ can become defective, so can the brain. Sometimes this imbalance is due to biological factors, sometimes due to environmental factors. Can you imagine forever labeling someone as “lazy and undisciplined” that had a heart attack as a result of bad eating habits and lack of exercise? No matter what the cause of the illness, the fact remains that members of our society that have become ill. We often sympathize and hope to cure lung cancer, even for the person that smoked a pack a day for 20 years, however when it comes to the person with paranoid schizophrenia we want to lock them up throw away the key. The ability to empathize and support those with cancer, heart disease and even some mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s came from being made aware of these illnesses-the who, what, & whys. It was because of knowledge, understanding and maybe personal experiences that we all came to know about the dangers of breast cancer and heart disease. Let’s begin to increase our knowledge of mental illnesses. Continue reading “Dignity & Mental Health; Why awareness matters!”
Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word movement and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than a parent. ~Bob Keeshan
Dear Parents (mom, dads, and those who take on the role),
You have the pleasure of having one of the most important jobs, you’re a parent.
You are your child’s first teacher, friend, and confidant.
Your children have changed your life ways you never imagined.
Your children have shown you the true definition of unconditional love.
Parents did you know that your child could have a mental illness, by as early as 14-years old. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, “…half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14.” If an illness has an onset at 14 years old, it is highly likely that a diagnosis will come years later. The symptoms of a mental illness may be difficult to notice for 3 reasons:
- They are teenagers! This is a time when your child’s body and brain goes through so many changes. Puberty brings not only physical changes but emotional changes as well. Ask almost any parent that has a child that has been diagnosed with a mental illness and they will tell you that they thought their child was just acting out, or that they would grow of the behavior.
- Parents don’t know what they don’t know. Often parents do not know the history of mental illness in their own family and are unaware of the early symptoms. We may think that since children are resilient that they are immune to trauma, they are not. Many parents are unaware that mental illnesses has an affect the brain, and there is no amount of punishment, spanking, talking to or prayer that can change that.
- Mental illness carries a stigma. The stigma of mental illness is so great that many refuse to believe that their child could be ill. It is natural that any parent would not their child to face discrimination and be shunned by friends and family. There is also a natural fear that they will be shunned because they have a child w/a mental illness.
Many families share the good, the bad and the ugly with each other, especially spouses. But how do often do spouses speak about their mental health? Some moms and daughters and sons and fathers are best friends, but would they open up about being depressed? In this week’s episode of The Carmichael Show, Cynthia, the wife, and mother (Loretta Devine) is caught crying while she is … Continue reading Mama has “the blues”? The Carmichael Show gets serious about depression
Imagine seeing black spots on a wall, but no one else can see them? What if you heard someone calling your name, but you were home alone? What if your family was trying to poison you or your friends were trying to harm, or so you thought? This is the reality of someone who has schizophrenia. Literally the reality they experience, the sights and sounds, are not real at all.
Learning more about his illness changed my life. Growing up with a family member with this illness wasn’t easy, but Surviving Schizophrenia changed my life. NIMH, the National Institute on Mental Health, describes schizophrenia as “a chronic, severe, and disabling, brain disorder that has affected people throughout history”. While I don’t have the illness, I am at risk for it. I had to learn about it and learn to live with Schizophrenia because my mother has it. The challenges a family goes through trying to support a loved one with this illness are difficult to describe. I believe the only way a family can survive these trying times, is to first learn about the illness. There are many books that help you understand this disorder. Also, learn about local resources: your local NAMI chapter, your local hospital, and even reach out to a therapist. Once I learned more about the illness, I had I began seeing a therapist, and I would recommend it for anyone that is close with someone suffering from Schizophrenia. There will be incredible highs and lows, and self-care must be a priority. I strongly suggest that if there are children involved, they are educated on the illness given additional support. What I’ve learned about the illness so far: Continue reading “Could you survive Schizophrenia?”
Would you rather make your next Facebook status: “I’m having a tough time getting out of bed because I hurt my back.” OR “I’m having a tough time getting out of bed because I am depressed.” That quote is one of the most powerful questions asked by Kevin Breel during an inspiring talk for TEDxYouthTalk. During the talk, he discusses being depressed and his struggles … Continue reading Kevin Breel Speaks about Depression #NSPW
It’s a time for new beginnings! It’s a new chapter in life, but it feels like a whole new book! Freshman year is a year of first and forevers. This is a time when new friends will be made, and experiences will yield life-long lessons. This year of learning and transition will be exciting, yet stressful. One thing that needs to be maintained is … Continue reading 7 Tips for a (Menatlly) Healthy Freshman Year
I share this story and ask you to read it because any of us could be the next Alfred Postell or we may know him (or her). I hope this story will show how important it is to at least be aware of mental illness, and the importance of paying attention to our mental health, as well as our loved ones. Continue reading The story of Alfred Postell