As suicides rise in Wisconsin and across the U.S., our ‘wounded healers’ are more important than ever

THEY ARE THE COUNSELORS AND SOCIAL WORKERS OFTEN BEST ABLE TO HELP PEOPLE RECOVER BECAUSE THEY’VE BEEN THERE THEMSELVES.

Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or text “Hopeline” to the National Crisis Text Line at 741-741.

From China to Europe, from India to South America, average suicide rates around the world have fallen 33 percent since 1990.

Not in the United States. American suicide rates are at their highest levels since World War II, making suicide the second leading cause of death between ages 10-34, government data show.

The increase in suicides, combined with record levels of drug overdoses and alcohol-related fatalities, are so extreme that they’re lowering the life expectancy of the average American. Mental health problems disable more American workers than any other affliction — suburban, rural or urban — and caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue are epidemic.  more

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Avicii’s family launches mental health foundation

In the wake of his death last year, the family of superstar DJ-producer Avicii has launched a new foundation.

The Tim Bergling Foundation will raise money for a variety of causes including mental health and suicide prevention, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

Tim Bergling was the Swedish superstar’s real name.

Avicii, 28, was found dead last year in Muscat, Oman. He was 28.
The Swedish star had been open about his struggles and took a break from touring in 2016.  more
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Powerful essay about by being in the psych ward at age 14

Over at YR (formerly Youth Radio), Desmond Meagley wrote and illustrated a moving, sad, and ultimately hopeful personal story about being committed to the psych ward at age 14. From “5150’d: My Journey Through a Psych Ward“:

After I had a meltdown in the middle of my sixth grade class, my school gave my family an ultimatum: if I was going to be enrolled there, I also had to be in therapy. Just like that, my struggle to be heard was confined to dimly lit sessions with the school counselor and an outside therapist. I tried to be honest with them, but I was a little too young to grasp what was at the root of my mental health issues. I was also scared of what might happen if I was *too* honest.  more

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Pressures to Breastfeed Can Harm Maternal Mental Health

Many mothers suffer from stress, shame, and guilt associated with breastfeeding.

Florence Leung of British Columbia, Canada went missing on October 25, 2016 while struggling with post-partum depression. Less than a month later, her family discovered that she had taken her own life, leaving behind a husband and infant son.

In an emotional public letter, Leung’s husband Kim Chen wrote an impassioned plea to new mothers asking them to seek help if they felt anxiety or depression. He also revealed that his wife’s difficulties with breastfeeding, and the resulting feelings of inadequacy, likely contributed to her condition. Urging women not to criticize themselves about an inability to breastfeed or a decision not to breastfeed, Chen wrote:  more

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Why do there seem to be so many mentally ill people in French cities?

One hundred French psychiatrists have written to the health minister to highlight the problems with mental healthcare in France, with one doctor saying it is “not normal” to see so many mentally ill people on the streets.

So, why does the situation seem so bad?

It is not uncommon to see people who seem to be suffering from serious mental health issues on the streets of major cities but in Paris and other large cities in France the situation seems to be even more acute than you might expect.
A letter sent from 100 French psychiatrists to health minister Agnes Buzyn on Tuesday and revealed by Le Parisien explains why this might be the case.
According to the health professionals, patients with mental disorders, sometimes of a serious nature, are not being treated because the country’s psychiatry services are overwhelmed.   more
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I survived combat in Iraq and a suicide attempt at home. But many veterans aren’t so lucky.

Sometimes, trauma can be more deadly than war itself. But the VA’s existing mental health services are woefully inadequate for a growing problem.

I’m supposed to be a statistic.

On July 14, 2012, drowning in grief and guilt, I tried to kill myself. Like so many veterans, I had found civilian life desperately difficult. War had drained me of joy. The sights, sounds and smells of the battlefield had been relentlessly looping in my head. The suffering seemed endless. And so, thinking there were no other options of escape, I turned to suicide.

Luckily, I survived. I avoided becoming one of the 20 veterans who kill themselves every day in this country. But I also witnessed firsthand all the ways that our nation’s mental health resources fail our fighting men and women. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities and the military simply aren’t equipped to properly treat sick vets. We must do better.  more

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Military veterans and suicide: How to help before it’s too late

The family of a veteran who took his own life is sharing his story in hopes of saving others.

Ricky Holmes, a United States Marine, was 22-years-old when he committed suicide.

“He grew up in North Providence and West Warwick,” said Ricky’s father, Russ Holmes.

Ricky’s stepmother, Sherry Holmes, described him as a gentle giant.

“He was always so kind to everyone,” Sherry said.

Russ shared similar sentiments.

“He was a happy-go-lucky kid with the whole world in front of him,” said Russ.  more

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Veteran Traumas and how best to Help

After applying for DD214 online and receiving the document, it could be easy to think that the veteran has left everything to do with their service behind.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Many veterans suffer with mental illness after returning from duty and this affects everyone, including the service members and their families.

It is entirely possible that some people may not experience some of these symptoms until a few years after leaving the armed forces. They may also delay seeking help for several reasons, such as thinking that they can cope, fear of criticism or feeling that therapists will not understand.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is perhaps the most infamous mental health problem veterans face after returning from duty.  more

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Dual Diagnosis: Why Substance Abuse Worsens Your Mental Health

Drinking and drugs worsen anxiety, depression, other problems

Mental illness can overwhelm those who are affected and their loved ones. Substance abuse is similarly distressing for addicts, alcoholics and families.

When the two problems merge, a bigger challenge arises: dual diagnosis, or co-occurrence. “We see a large overlap between substance use disorders and mental health issues,” says psychiatrist Mohsen Vazirian, MD.

“For example, substance use disorders are twice as common in those diagnosed with anxiety or depression than they are in the general population.”  more

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To help the homeless, offer shelter that allows deep sleep

I barely slept for the full two years I was homeless. One night, I searched for places to sleep in all the wrong places, including the top of a plastic slide in a playground. At about 3 a.m., I curled up on a portion of soft, thick grass. But an hour later, automatic sprinklers came on, drenching my feet. I sloshed to the edges of a wilderness park, where I finally found a generous-size wooden bench. I changed my socks and fell in and out of sleep for the next two hours, waking up to my own violent shivering.

Sleep deprivation haunts unhoused people, worsening the trauma that sometimes caused their unsheltered situations in the first place, as well as any mental and physical illnesses they have. Bobby Watts, chief executive officer of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, says that “sleeplessness in homelessness is a public health crisis.”  more

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