What do YOU say about Mental Illness?

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Our mental health seriously affects our physical  health, so there should be absolutely no stigma around mental health, none at all~First Lady, Michelle Obama

Depression. Bipolar Disorder.  PTSD.  Schizophrenia.

What do YOU think of when you hear any of these illnesses?

Do you remember the first time you heard someone speak about mental illness?

Has the way you have heard others speak about mental illness impacted your perspective?

Most of us hear  about mental illness or mental health in the news when something tragic happens.  A mass shooting, a mother or father killing the kids, or or a murder-suicide.  We hear about it when our parents or other relatives discuss family members that have a diagnosis.  We may talk about it with our friends if one of them opens up about their own struggle with mental health or in relation to a story-line from a TV show.  But what do YOU have to say about mental health and mental illness?  What is the impression YOU convey to others when discussing either topic? Read More


A Hidden Pain: Anxiety & Depression

This submission is a part of Lauren Hope’s #MentalHealthMondayMondays series at Good Girl Chronicles

Avoidance. I’ve come up with so many excuses not to write these blogs about mental health. I’ve pressed snooze on my alarm clock on days I was supposed to write. I blamed my period. Told myself I needed a mental break, and then convinced myself that no one cared anyway. I’m sorry. I had promised Facebook followers in the month of February every Monday I’d write about an aspect of my mental health journey or someone else brave enough to share. I even found one brave soul who is still waiting to share her story. I have to ask myself, “Why have I been pushing off this blog?”

 

L. Hope quote

Sometimes I don’t want to be the depressed, anxiety attack prone girl. In 2016, I became a real bold mental health advocate. I spoke publicly at huge venues about suicide, depression, and anxiety. Yet, I won’t lie there are many days I wish depression, anxiety, and suicide never knew my name. Depression and suicide are the main reasons I had to walk away from television news career and I’m afraid it’s the reason I can’t get back in. I am mad at it, and sometimes even madder that an anti-depressant is not an instant fix. It’s not a 21-day pill regimen or something I take until symptoms improve. I will ALWAYS have to take that little orange pill to keep the darkness away. ALWAYS. There are so many days I feel weak, damaged, and abnormal because I have severe depression. A condition of the mind no one can see or sometimes even understand.

I was first prescribed an anti-depressant when I was sixteen, a little blue pill called Buspar. When I was on it, I was extra alert, calm, and focused. I wasn’t as forgetful, and the intense pain I felt in my chest when I was anxious didn’t come as much. A gentle, kind Navy doctor explained ….continue reading here


SPEAK OUT: Christina shares her story about Depression.

“ I think I’m depressed”

“What makes you say that?”

“Well, I am sad all of the time, I don’t want to do sh*t, and this isn’t like me”

This is a conversation I had with myself a few years ago.  Yeah, this was one of those conversations you have in your head, but some of questions you answer out loud.  For months I knew something wasn’t right because I’d been feeling down. I’d have periods that I felt OK, but my overall mood for months was sad.  Outside of being sad, I just wasn’t feeling like myself. I was irritable, and always tired (more than usual). I would either overeat, or not eat at all and I had difficulty focusing on my job.  For months I felt like I couldn’t get a grip on my life and I began to feel the affects. I gained weight, I quit pursuing my Master’s degree, lost my desire to go out with friends and I eventually got fired for my low performance.

CL-Depression 2

What brought on my depression?:  The short and simple answer is I was trying to handle all that life was throwing at me on my own.  (This is my opinion before therapy)  What I learned in therapy was all that I had been through led me to believe certain things about myself.  In addition to learning how to ask for help, I had to unlearn a lot of shit, and learn a new way to look at myself and how I responded to life. Read More


3 things that could impact our conversation on Mental Health

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”-MLK

Mental health,  self-care, and therapy are words that we are seeing almost daily.  From the news to social media, the conversation about mental health is increasing, but is it decreasing the stigma?  Are we more educated on mental health and mental illness than ever before?  The current conversation mental health proves that there is still a lot of work to do.

On February 14, 2018 a former student entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and when he left, 33 people had been shot.  On February 15, 2018 news stories began telling the story of the accused gunman and words like “troubled” and “depressed” were used.  Those words gave way for many people to blame “mental health issues” for this terrible crime.  The accused gunman had never been diagnosed with a mental illness, yet many Americans believe that our mental health system failed the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High that fateful day.

Despite the increased talk about it, despite celebrities opening up about going to therapy and their own diagnosis of mental health conditions, there is still a stigma that mental illness and violence go hand in hand.  In reality, most people with a mental illness are not violent.  Maybe we need to shift the conversation, get more specific and  be more inclusive. Read More


A letter….

At 13 years old I learned the name of the illness my mother had be dealing with for years.  It was written on a court document: paranoid schizophrenia.  It would be almost 20 years before I would actually learn more about the illness and would begin to separate my mother from her illness.  Over the years I have met many people that have a loved one (parent, sibling, child, spouse, or friend) that had been diagnosed with what is sometimes labeled a “serious mental illness.”  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “ One in 17 (adults) lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder”.  If I had the chance to tell someone what to expect, this is what I would say.  (This based off of my experience with my loved one, everyone’s experience will not be the same.)

For those that love someone with a serious mental illness…..

If you love someone that has a serious mental illness I don’t know if anything will fully prepare you for the roller-coaster ride that comes along with loving someone with a serious mental illness.  There will be high and lows, good days and bad days.  There will be feelings of guilt, anger, helplessness, and sadness.  You will begin to enjoy the “simple” moments that you previously took for granted.

You patience will be tested and used up, but you will find more.  You may say some hurtful things, hurtful things will be said to you-you will forgive and be forgiven.  You will learn about boundaries, but you won’t use them as you should in the beginning.  You will become OK with saying “no”, although you will likely feel guilty, say “no” anyway.
Read More


The Founder of Speak Away the Stigma shares her story

Author Kendra Bell  host the podcast “Calming Sense” where she discusses mental health related topics.  Kendra reached out to find out more about Speak Away the Stigma and what led Christina Lattimore to become a Mental Health Advocate.  Check out Calming Sense and find out more about Christina, how mental illness has impacted her family and the future plans for Speak Away the Stigma.  img_0234

Kendra’s book, Battle Scars of the Mind: Do You Have What It Takes to Overcome the Enemy’s Temptations? is available on Amazon.  “Using biblical narratives and personal stories of others overcoming atrocities, Kendra brings a much needed, fresh insight to the important issues we face in our society. Using compassion and empathy, she shows you how to:
•Challenge negative thoughts
•Embrace healing
•Avoid temptation using biblical principles
•Overcome rejection
•Receive the gift of forgiveness, grace, and mercy
•Live a life of redemption”

**The November event PTSD & Her has been pushed back, however there will be a different awareness event in October or November!  Sign up to get our updates so you’ll be the first to know about our next event**

 


15 Questions for Your Consideration

“People talk about physical fitness, but mental health is equally important. I see people suffering, and their families feel a sense of shame about it, which doesn’t help. One needs support and understanding…”  Deepika Padukone

 Whenever there is a story about someone with a mental health condition in the news there are a wide range of comments and questions.  No matter if the person was killed, injured themselves or someone else, or if they are just displaying odd behavior, one question that will be found in the comments section:  “Where is the family?”.  While it is  a simple question, the answer can get complicated.

Most recently videos of Maia Campbell have surfaced, and there was a call for LL Cool J to help her (Her mother Bebe Moore Campbell passed away in 2006).  While it is easy to @ someone or retweet the call for help, Mr. Todd Smith, or anyone else, may find if difficult to extended the helping hand she truly needs.

I say this not to discourage anyone from helping someone with a mental health condition, but to help people understand that getting help for an adult isn’t easy.  I don’t want this post to discourage anyone with a mental health condition from opening up to their loved ones, many people that have been diagnosed are living great lives.

The point of this post is to help people understand that helping can get complicated and a support system is necessary (as with any other illness).  Without awareness and proper funding those that struggle with a mental illness will continue have trouble getting help and those that want to help their loved ones will have trouble finding and accessing the resources.

In minority households getting help for a loved one can be difficult because of money, time, awareness and the stigma associated with mental illness in our communities.

Here is a list of questions (and things to remember) I would like people to think about if your your adult daughter, sister, cousin, best friend, mother, wife or child’s mother had a mental health breakdown and was diagnosed with a serious mental illness?  (This could result in the loss of income, a home, or extended hospital stays)  

  1. Would you be embarrassed OR empathetic for your loved one?

In my opinion you can be both.

  1. Who would you turn to in order to get her the help she needs?

Maybe the better question how do you get them to agree to help because you cannot force an adult to go to the doctor.

  1. Would you let her stay in your home?

Remember she could lose her home because of the inability to hold down a job

  1. Would you try to get her admitted for inpatient treatment?

Remember, she is an adult  and she has rights.

  1. Would you have the ability to help pay her medical bills?

Hospitals aren’t free…..

  1. Would you have the ability to help pay for her medication?

Neither is medication…….

  1. Would you have the ability to help pay for basic necessities?

They will need food, clothes, underwear, toiletries…..

  1. Would you have the time to help her get public assistance?

Public assistance may be available but there is an application process.

  1. Would you make the time and effort to ensure she takes her medicine every day?

Again this is an adult and just like most of us when we start to feel better, we stop taking medicine.

  1. How would you get access to speak to her doctor, because doctor patient privileges…..

Yes, this still exist if your loved one has been diagnosed with an illness.

  1. How would you respond when your love one complains about the side effects of the medication?

A few side effects of  medications can include headaches, nausea, tremors, skin rash, fever.

  1. Would you have the money to help pay for an attorney?

It may be to get a Power of Attorney or Guardianship or Custody of children

  1. Would you be be worried about opening up to your friends and neighbors? What do you think they would say?

Many people feel shame when it comes to a loved one’s diagnosis.

  1. Who would you turn to for support for yourself?

Self-care must be a priority if you are helping care for someone else, maybe even get a therapist.

  1. How would you explain the illness to children in the family?

Yes, they deserve an honest explanation.

Read the list of questions again, but replace mental health breakdown with Epilepsy, Cancer, or Rheumatoid Arthritis.   Are the questions easier to answer?  Are your answers the same?


“Everyone can be part of the solution, if we know what to look for…” Q&A with Joanna Nunez for Dads & Depression Event

On June 24 Speak Away the Stigma is hosting Mental Health Conversations: Dads & Depression.  Mental Health Professional Joanna Nunez will be one of the speakers.  Read more about why Joanna knew from an early age she wanted to be in the Mental Health Field.  Find out why she believes that sharing stories can eliminate the stigma, and why Depression impacts more that just the person with the diagnosis.  The event will be held in Fayetteville, NC at the Cumberland County Headquarters Library Downtown from 2-4pm.


Joanna Nunez MSW, LCAS, LCSW, CCTP
Hometown/Current City:  Fayetteville
Education:  UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina University (graduate)
Name of Practice: Square One Counseling PLLC
Q:  Why did you choose a career in Mental Health?
A:  From about the 8th grade on I was fascinated by the nature vs nurture debate. How could two people from the same household experience the same event and have different outcomes? I was hooked from that point on.
Q:  What makes you a great Mental Health Professional?
A:  I am extremely non judgmental, to the point where I don’t think I’m shockable anymore. I won’t judge your past, your lifestyle or decisions you’ve made. I’m just here to help.
Q:  Why do you believe there is a stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health?
A:  I think many people don’t fully understand that there is a spectrum of levels of care- and that most people have received outpatient therapy in some form or another in their life.  Unfortunately, we tend to glamorize and seek out the negative, so people associate mental illness and the help that comes with mental illness in the extremes they see on the news- 1 out of 4 people suffers from a mental illness, but they aren’t all going to be on the news involved in a mass shooting, or as a serial rapist, or a police standoff, thank goodness. We need to put more focus on what is the norm, not the extreme.
Q:  Do you think it is possible to eliminate that stigma?  If so, how?
A:  I think if more people shared their stories, even a anonymously, that would help. I’ve had so many clients get relief when they realize there is a name and treatment for their disorder and they are not alone.
Q:  In your opinion what is the biggest obstacle when it comes to men getting care for their mental health?
A:  I think in many cultures, men are told to be strong, and part of asking for any kind of help is seen as weak. In Fayetteville, so many people are connected to the military and there can be clearances involved. So many people think that going to therapy will make them lose their job or their clearance.
Q:  What is a common myth people have about going to therapy?
A:  Other than the aforementioned immediate loss of job and clearance, so many people think therapy is “just talking” and that there’s no way that it can help help them. It’s so much more than talking.
Q: It is estimated that Depression affects 6 million men per year, how would you say that impacts communities or families?
A:  In communities its loss of productivity, loss of resources, loss of creativity. In families, its the loss of a parent from time to time, putting all the parenting responsibilities on one parent. Its children walking on eggshells and wondering what kind of mood the depressed parent is going to be in today.
I choose to Speak Away the Stigma of Depression because…….everyone can be part of the solution, if we know what to look for and how to help.

Dads & Depression Event speaker, Travis Andrews, LPC believes in “Challenging men to reduce levels of ego, pride and identifying the importance of mental health.”

On June 24 Speak Away the Stigma is hosting Mental Health Conversations: Dads & Depression.  Licensed Professional Counselor Travis Andrews will be one of the speakers.  Read more about why Travis feels there is a stigma surrounding Mental Illness, the obstacles that prevent men from seeking help and how Depression impact the entire family.  The event will be held in Fayetteville, NC at the Cumberland County Headquarters Library Downtown from 2-4pm.

Travis Andrews, LPC

Hometown/Current City:  Wilmington, NC

Education: NC A&T State University; Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling

Name of Practice: Andrews Counseling & Consulting (He is mobile and he will come to you!) FullSizeRender (3)

 

 

Q:  Why did you choose a career in Mental Health?

A:  I chose this profession because I believe in helping people and that everyone can reach their goals by identifying and addressing current issues, adopting new habits and developing an effective action plan.  I have the experience and the passion for helping you put the plan in place for the life you want.

Q:  What makes you a great Mental Health Professional?

A:  I have a passion for helping people improve their emotional well-being by providing solution-focused counseling services.  I am committed to helping people identify the root cause of their challenges and working with them to develop attainable and sustainable strategies to resolve those issues.

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor who has provided individual, group and family therapy to children and adults in the North Carolina, South Carolina, and Military Installations in North Carolina and Japan for nearly 10 years. 

Q:  Why do you believe there is a stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health?

A:  Society, in general, has stereotyped views about mental illness and how it affects people. Many people believe that people with mental ill health are violent and dangerous, when in fact they are more at risk of being attacked or harming themselves than harming other people.

Stigma and discrimination can also worsen someone’s mental health problems, and delay or impede their getting help and treatment, and their recovery. Social isolation, poor housing, unemployment, and poverty are all linked to mental ill health. So stigma and discrimination can trap people in a cycle of illness.

The situation is exacerbated by the media. Media reports often link mental illness with violence or portray people with mental health problems as dangerous, criminal, evil, or very disabled and unable to live normal, fulfilled lives.

Q:  Do you think it is possible to eliminate that stigma?  If so, how?

A:  Yes, it is possible to eliminate the stigma, the best way to challenge these stereotypes is through firsthand contact with people with experience of mental health problems.

Q:  In your opinion what is the biggest obstacle when it comes to men getting care for their mental health?

A:  The biggest obstacle, in my opinion, is challenging men to reduce levels of ego, pride, and identifying the importance of mental health.

Q:  What is a common myth people have about going to therapy?

A:  A misconception that only certain type of person or “crazy” people seek help.

Q:  It is estimated that Depression affects 6 million men per year, how would you say that impacts communities or families?

A:  Depression is not just a medical matter. It’s a family one, too. The behaviors and mood of a depressed person affect the whole family. There’s the irritability, which sets off conflicts and derails family dynamics.

I choose to Speak Away the Stigma of Depression because…….

As a man, I want to bring community awareness and psycho-education to the male population.


“Men are the backbones of our families…” Q & A w/Richale R. Reed MA, LPC, LCAS for Dads & Depression Event

On June 24 Speak Away the Stigma is hosting Mental Health Conversations: Dads & Depression.  Therapist and author Richale R. Reed will be one of the speakers.  Read more about why Richale decided on a career in the Mental Health field, what lead to the stigma around Mental Health and why she is speaking away the stigma of depression.  The event will be held in Fayetteville, NC at the Cumberland County Headquarters Library Downtown from 2:00pm-4:00pm.
Richale R Reed
Hometown: Linden New Jersey  Current city:  Raeford, NC
Education:  Masters in Professional Counseling Liberty University
Title or Name of Practice:  Richale R Reed PLLC aka CateRRRflies Lifework

 

Q:  Why did you choose a career in Mental Health?

Due to my mother’s battle with mental illness, it greatly molded my life.  I too have battled mental illness, specifically, depression in the past.

Q:  What makes you a great Mental Health Professional?

A:  I love what I get to do everyday!!

 

Q:  Why do you believe there is a stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health?

A:  Simply because we don’t talk about it…we were taught that it’s taboo!  I know I was! I  learned that there was no one there to listen as a child and it’s easy to keep that idea as an adult but I choose not to believe that.

 

Q:  Do you think it is possible to eliminate that stigma?  If so, how?

A:  Forums like the one you are creating. We need a safe place to share our hearts.

 

Q:  In your opinion what is the biggest obstacle when it comes to men getting care for their mental health?

A:  The stigma that they are weak for seeking help is a major barrier.

 

Q:  What is a common myth people have about going to therapy?

That its for “crazy” people when its for a any person who simply needs support.

 

Q:  It is estimated that Depression affects 6 million men per year, how would you say that impacts communities or families?

A:  Men are the backbones of our families so it would naturally negatively affect the family on all levels and the community.
I choose to Speak Away the Stigma of Depression because…….
I am now a part of this community and this is a way to share my support for it and my love for all people using the gifts I have been given. I want the men to represent on June 24th and let’s speak away the stigma!!!