Sure, buying a new pair of platform sneakers or bike shorts can give you a little hit of happiness in the moment. (Dopamine, I know what you’re up to.) But can fashion make a meaningful difference when it comes to improving mental well-being in the long term?
A small but growing contingent of brands are banking on it. While their aesthetics and missions are all a little different, each one draws on the lessons of the mental health realness movement—namely, they’re aiming to start a conversation around mental health concerns in order to normalize and destigmatize them. more
Mental illness is incredibly common: Nearly one in five adults in the United States lives with a mental illness, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH). But in spite of its prevalence, there still exists a tremendous amount of stigma associated with mental health conditions. That stigma can have far-reaching consequences, from limiting our understanding of these conditions to interfering with a person’s willingness to seek treatment when they truly need it.
The good news is that, culturally, we’re making some headway on that stigma. I have written and edited health content for a little over a decade, and it’s been amazing to see how the conversation around mental health has evolved in that time. Many brave people have publicly shared stories about their experiences navigating mental health conditions. And as the wellness industry has exploded, so too has our cultural understanding that being well and taking care of yourself requires tending to your mental health, and that means seeking help if you need it. more
The conversation around mental-health disorders has been more vocal in recent years and it’s not a moment too soon. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five Canadians will experience a mental-health issue in any given year, and 8 per cent of adults will experience an episode of major depression in their lifetime.
But while depression, suicide and bipolar disorder are well-known terms and their symptoms relatively well-documented, there is a host of other illnesses that go largely unmentioned and misunderstood.
Here are five notable mental-health disorders that you may not know much about, but that can come with real repercussions. more
This could be a revolution for diagnosing and treating the disorder
Cayenne Barnum is a 24-year-old artist and designer who has bipolar disorder.
While she was officially diagnosed at 20, Barnum struggled throughout her teenage years to get a clear diagnosis of her mental illness. “It takes so long to diagnose because it manifests in so many different ways,” she told BuzzFeed News.
Barnum is currently in the process of weaning herself off Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug that she was originally prescribed for her manic periods, but that had taxing side effects for her body. “It turned out that it had made me put on 18 kilos or something, so right now I’m getting off that and I’m on a weight-loss supplement that people with diabetes take so they’re not hungry.”
Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental health condition that’s characterised by extreme mood changes; people with the disorder cycle between manic, hypomanic, and depressive periods that can last a week or longer and severely affect thought patterns and behaviour. more
Luke Watkin was in year eight at school and alone in a corridor when he first heard a strange noise.
“I heard what sounded like a train brake, followed by a metal on metal noise.
“It was just something completely out of the ordinary. It was a bit of a shock to the system, something I just couldn’t understand or really process.
“My experience at the time was quite terrifying.”
It was his first experience of the mental health condition, psychosis. Luke was 12 years old.
He said it went on from noises to hearing words, hearing his name, to eventually hearing whole sentences “of it almost trying to talk to me”.
The main symptoms of psychosis are hallucinations and delusions and it can be caused by a specific mental health condition, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or severe depression. more
Steven Soderbergh: Unretired. The director announced in 2013 that he was quitting because “movies don’t matter any more”. But he has continued to work steadily since – in television and, since last year, film again. The film he made before announcing his “retirement” was Side Effects, a psychological thriller exploring big pharma, that followed a young woman (Rooney Mara) detained in a psychiatric hospital against her will. His new film, Unsane, is a psychological thriller that follows a young woman (Claire Foy) detained in a psychiatric hospital against her will. It is clear, then, that Soderbergh finds mental illness and psychiatry interesting topics to explore.
He’s not alone. But how has the onscreen treatment of mental illness evolved over the years?
One of the screen characters we most associate with mental illness is Jack Nicholson’s Mac McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest who, lest we forget, was not insane, just hoping to avoid a prison sentence. Miloš Forman’s film, based on the Ken Kesey novel, was praised at the time for a sympathetic treatment of the inpatients, its “battle against the system” narrative and the more-or-less accurate portrayals of the often inhumane treatments routine at the time (lobotomies and electroconvulsive therapy without muscle relaxants). more
Conversations about mental health are too few and far between at work. No surprise there. They can be awkward and often feel like an overshare. Just talking about talking about mental health can make some people anxious. But you have to start somewhere. The numbers of people affected by poor mental health are growing too fast, and they are too serious to ignore. The truth is that World Mental Health Day, which I completely applaud, should be every darn day.
To make a dent in the most difficult issues—chronic depression, suicide, anxiety, and addiction—employers need to create as many opportunities as possible to learn more about the serious issues facing our workforce and their families. But how can you get people’s attention when there’s so much information and so little time? By sharing amazing stories that will bring to light the issues facing one in four Americans right now….and who very well may be sitting at the desk next to you: more
Soon I concluded that for me to get better, my friends and teachers needed to know what I was going through. Fortunately I was on good terms with my form tutor who appeared sensitive and understanding. Indeed, this proved to be the case when one day I stayed behind to discuss the problems that I had been having. (Matt)
Depression: “I am a stronger person… because I talked about it”
How can I help?
The aim of the Time to Change campaign is to encourage us all to be more open about our mental health, and to start conversations with those who might need our support.
Why not find out how you could start a conversation about mental health? more
Keith O’Neil lived with undiagnosed bipolar disorder throughout his NFL career, including his final year with the Indianapolis Colts as they won the Super Bowl in 2006. After his diagnosis, Keith became an advocate, starting the 4th and Forever Foundation, which is dedicated to assisting those living with and affected by mental health conditions, through programs that raise awareness, promote education and fund research to alleviate mental illness. Keith tours the country, speaking to high school students. He shares with us his secret to getting through to them, and the single most frequent question they ask. He also speaks candidly about writing his book and about the people in his life who helped him, both before and after diagnosis.
Listen to the podcast here