Mental health in boxing: Fighting the longest, hardest fight

Recent attempts to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health issues can only be positive for the sport of boxing.

“It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.”

Sure, it may be a little reductionist, a little trite, to lead into such a sensitive topic of mental health with a quote from a Hollywood movie, however, this infamous Rocky quote subtly underlines the plight of hundreds, thousands, millions of people across the world struggling with what goes on between their ears.

There is no exception to this rule in boxing; in fact, mental health issues are predicted to be prevalent in our sport more than others on a comparable level. Think of the fundamental associations made with boxing. Fighters, expected to be the “tough guys” of the sporting world, unaffected, unstirred, unmoved by any emotional or psychological troubles that may attempt to counter their perceived strengths.  more

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‘Maniac’ Nails What It’s Like Living with Mental Illness

The Netflix series stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill as New Yorkers seeking a psychological cure-all.

The best part of Netflix’s new series, Maniac, isn’t Emma Stone and Jonah Hill in 1980s Long Island cosplay, or the show’s superb retro-futuristic imagining of New York. It’s not even those adorable pooper scooper robots that act like Roombas for dog shit—though honestly, the city should look into them. Aside from falling onto subway tracks or being crushed by a construction crane, stepping in poop is one of the biggest hazards of NYC habitation.

No, the best part of the 10-episode limited series created and written by Patrick Somerville (The Leftovers) and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) comes midway through the season, when Annie (Stone), Owen (Hill), and the other subjects of a mysterious pharmaceutical trial talk through their drug-fueled hallucinations, or “reflections” as they’re called in the show, with the scientist in charge of their study, Dr. James K. Mantleray (Justin Theroux).  more

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5 Things Movies Don’t Tell You About Mental Institutions

Everyone knows that mental hospitals are horror movie prisons for crazy people, with padded walls, flickering lights, and evil nurses wearing tiny hats. Well, everyone might want to get their head checked, because psychiatric hospitals are nowhere near as exciting as all that. Most look more like college dorms with extra locks on the doors. I should know: I’ve been in six psychiatric facilities in three states, from the fancy McLean Hospital (aka the Girl, Interrupted place) to crappier state-run facilities. I’ve been diagnosed and misdiagnosed with everything from major depressive disorder to borderline personality disorder to schizophrenia. But I’m better now, and I swear that all this shit is true.  more

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The psychiatric ward taught me it can be OK to laugh about mental illness

Surrounded by bizarre characters and nonsensical routines, humour became my shield against the stigma and isolation of life as a mental health patient1975-ONE-FLEW-OVER-THE-CU-009
 Will Sampson as Chief Bromden in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975). ‘Since One
Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, all psychiatric wards must be issued a giant Native American as standard.’ Photograph: Allstar/United Artist

Ten years ago I spent time in a residential psychiatric ward. Not to visit a friend, or as research, but because I was mentally ill and a danger to myself.

Two things become clear when I read my diary from that period. One is that I was an utter state, and the other is that everyday life on the ward was ridiculous, with a cast of characters to match any sitcom. The diary names a lot of them: the Sleeping Chief, the Knitting Lady, Kid Zombie and “Norman Wisdom”. In the next bed along from mine – and I promise I’m not making this up – was a 6ft 6in Native American man, probably because since One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, all psychiatric wards must be issued a giant Native American as standard. Sadly I never saw him throw a concrete water fountain through a window, though I’m sure the shockwaves from his constant, rumbling flatulence must have caused some structural damage to the building.  more

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Cary Grant: how 100 acid trips in Tinseltown ‘changed my life’

In the late 1950s, at the height of his fame, Cary Grant set off on a trip in search of his true self, unpicking the myth he had spent three decades perfecting. He tried hypnosis and yoga and felt that they both came up short. So he began dropping acid and claimed to have found inner peace. “During my LSD sessions, I would learn a great deal,” he would later remark. “And the result was a rebirth. I finally got where I wanted to go.”

Grant’s adventures in psychedelia – an estimated 100 sessions, spanning the years 1958-1961 – provide the basis for Becoming Cary Grant, a fascinating documentary that plays at next week’s Cannes film festival. It’s a film that takes its lead from Grant himself, undressing and probing the star of North by Northwest to the point where the very title risks feeling like a red herring. “Like all documentary makers, we started out looking at the construction of Cary Grant,” says producer Nick Ware. “But we ended up deconstructing him through the LSD sessions.” 

“In one LSD dream I imagined myself as a giant penis launching off from Earth like a spaceship”

    —  Cary Grant
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When Hollywood Tackles Mental Illness: The Best Psychological Movies

Honestly, it’s a hard topic to tackle as there are so many stereotypes of mental illness, and films can come off as degrading to people who suffer and struggle.

M. Knight Shyamalan attempted to address Dissociative Identity Disorder in the film Splitand missed terribly. The film Adam, a love story about a man who is on the Autism spectrum, similarly failed. There are plenty of times when Hollywood flops on the accuracy depicting mental health, but occasionally, a director nails it.  more

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Mental Health Expert Talks Hollywood’s Battle with Depression

Mental illness has long had a stigma associated it, and Hollywood is working to shine a light on the problem, both for those in and out of the entertainment industry.

Kita S. Curry has made a career of studying mental health as president and CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, the nation’s leading provider of community health and substance use programs. Curry spoke to Variety about the struggle many actors and musicians have with depression and substance abuse, due both to their hectic schedules and dealings with fame.  more

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How Good Is Hollywood at Portraying Mental Illness?

Not great, says psychologist and film buff Danny Wedding.

Look at any classic horror film—Nightmare on Elm StreetFriday the 13thThe Shining—and you’re likely to find mental illness. It’s a convenient, if inaccurate, explanation for the maniacal violence that makes up the backbone of these stories. But in most films portraying mental illness, especially violent and bloody horror films, real life pathology is willfully abandoned in favor of melodramatic storytelling. At best, it’s lazy; at worst, it publicly and repeatedly demonizes the people who need the most help. In a recent article I wrote about the mentally ill being killed in disproportionate numbers by police, many people commented along the lines of “Well, of course, they’re much more dangerous,” which anybody working in mental health can tell you is not only untrue, but is the direct result of the media’s focus on a fictitious link between mental illness and violence.

I spoke with Dr. Danny Wedding, a former director of the Missouri Institute of Mental Health and co-author of Movies and Mental Illness: Using Films to Understand Psychopathology, to learn more about some of the more common movie myths.  more

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