Brandon Marshall: Helping To Bring Mental Health Awareness To The N.F.L.

Taken from  NAMI   which can be found  HERE.

While many other players will be wearing pink cleats, towels, wristbands and gloves to support Breast Cancer Awareness, Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall will be wearing green shoes—with pink laces—to bring mental illness awareness to a national stage. Mental illness is an issue to which Marshall is personally connected. He was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2010.

But when you’re a player in the uniform strict NFL, this creates problems. Marshall will most likely get fined for his clashing footwear.

“I’m going to get fined and I’m going to match that, and we want to partner with a cancer-care [charity],” Marshall said, via ESPN Chicago. “We’re still working on the details to give, really give back to an organization that is doing work in the mental health area. [Also], the diagnosis of breast cancer can hit families hard. It affects all of us.”

On a flyer released by the Brandon Marshall Foundation, Marshall promised to match whatever fine he receives and donate it. He will also autograph and auction off the cleats that he wears for the game.

In addition to Marshall’s shoes, the Chicago skyline will be glowing green Thursday night. His foundation has arranged to light up the Trump Tower and the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago in bright green to “make the city aware.”

Leading up to his diagnosis, Marshall had lived for years with his mental illness. But after learning how to manage his own illness he has now put his focus on helping others get help. In 2012, Marshall attended the NAMI National Convention in Seattle and spoke to a packed room about his experiences with BPD. “If it’s me suffering to help thousands, and maybe millions in the world, I wouldn’t change it for nothing,” he said. “It started with me falling on my face. If you want to change, it starts with yourself.”

NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick released a statement applauding Brandon Marshall’s continuing efforts to raise awareness during Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) and encouraged all those watching the game to wear both pink and green.

“I like to say that green goes well with pink,” Marshall said on the flyer. “In fact, green goes with everything and it’s time we all talked about that.”

Update: Brandon Marshall was fined $10,500 by the NFL for wearing the green shoes.

Depression Costs Businesses This Much Each Year

Taken from  Main Street  which can be found   HERE.

Depression costs workplaces about $23 billion a year just due to absenteeism, according to a recent Gallup Poll, which found workers diagnosed with major depressive disorders call out of work between four and five more days than their non-depressed counterparts. Not covered by Gallup is the cost of depression on the individual, which can be financially devastating in both one’s career and personal life. Depressed people are at higher risks for job stagnancy, divorce, financial strain and alcohol abuse.

The mental disorder isn’t just a hindrance; it’s a debilitating disease with severe costs felt worldwide. The World Health Organization ranks depression as “the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.”

Ronald Kessler, Ph.D, who is the McNeil Family Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and has worked on numerous studies on depression, describes the path of the disorder in what can be described as almost cyclical, or like a snake eating itself. According to Kessler, the most damaging financial consequence of depression is “not getting a job that lives up to the individual’s ability” which “is due to a combination of depression leading to low educational attainment, not applying for jobs one could do because of low self esteem and not progressing as far up a chosen career ladder as one could because of poor performance.”

Poor on-the-job performance can also mean being fired or costing the workplace money. It can be especially harmful in hazardous environments where injury and accidents are likely to occur. Being demoted because of bad performance reinforces feelings of low-self esteem and inability of success.

Hiding from problems like unpaid bills can also become a cycle. Since depression saps energy, the willingness and means to fix a financial problem, like a sinking credit score, fades. According to Guy Winch, a clinical psychologist and author of the book Emotional First Aid (Hudson Street Press, 2013), a combination of “passivity, helplessness, and apathy” which accompany depression create a “recipe for financial problems.”

“People might skip payments on their credit cards or mortgages, not because they don’t have the money but because they just can’t get themselves to write out the checks,” he said. “If bills require any additional action, such as transferring funds from one account to another, it often doesn’t get done.”

Another concerning element: depression occurs rather close to the marrying age. The National Institute for Mental Health says the average age of onset for depression is 32. That’s about five years near the average U.S. woman gets married (27 years), and three years for men (29 years). One study, published in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica in 2011, conducted a multinational survey of 18 mental disorders and found that out of all 18, depression was one of three disorders associated with the highest risk for divorce and remaining unmarried. The disease can put added, unfamiliar stresses on a relationship. It can cause a spouse to act irrationally, like with spouts of anger, or cause one to act disassociated.

“The marital partner or spouse of the depressed person can feel terribly lonely living with someone who rejects her,” says Fran Walfish, a psychotherapist practicing out of Beverly Hills. Walfish notes that feelings of loneliness can be compounded by fear, as a “spouse may be frightened by this peculiar disconnect” brought on by depression, which can put a relationship under strain.

Alcohol abuse, which is also a high-risk factor for divorce and can affect job performance, is more likely to occur in individuals with psychiatric disorders such as depression. An article published by the Psychiatric Times in 2011 sources a survey that found “alcohol-dependent individuals were 3.7 times more likely to have major depression than those without alcohol dependence.” Drinking to wash away the pain of depression is a way of self-medicating, but a costly one that can lead to poor on-the-job performance due to tiredness. A study published in “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research” in 2013 found that alcohol in high doses affects rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which in turn makes sleep less restorative. (Researchers also found that REM sleep is disturbed in stressful environments and note there is a linkage with depression.) Alcohol abuse could also contribute to poor work performance and additional sick days because of hangovers.

Treatment Options

Treating depression the right way might not be cheap, but it’s not as costly as letting it go unchecked. Lindsey Pollak, career expert and spokesperson for The Hartford’s My Tomorrow campaign, which aims to educate workers about employee insurance, recommends disability insurance.

“The Hartford’s claims data shows that, after removing pregnancy from the mix, behavioral health, such as depression, is one of the top three reasons that young workers file a disability claim,” she said. “If you are unable to work due to a mental health issue, disability insurance – aka paycheck protection – can provide you with a portion of your income and it typically includes resources to help you get back to an active professional and personal life faster.”

Pollak notes that larger employers give their employees a window to alter their insurance, which typically falls on the months of September and October.

It’s not expensive, either. According to Pollak, the average cost of coverage through an employer is $250 a year, which is peanuts to what it covers. “Disability insurance provides a person with a portion of his income (typically 50 or 60%) that can used as needed, whether it’s everyday expenses like groceries, monthly bills like a cell phone bill, or medical costs, says Pollack.

That money could be used for medication costs, which can be burdensome. Anti-depressant prescriptions range from a $10 bottle of generic Celexa to $500 brand name prescriptions such as a monthly dose of 200mg sustained-release Wellbutrin, according to a study by Consumer Reports. Keep in mind many doctors are willing to find the medication that works for your price range, so ask them to work with you. Psychiatric visit costs vary. An article in the New York Times says it can cost $150 (not including initial consultation charges) for a 15-minute session every few months, but that cost can jump into the $600 range from top billers around Manhattan. Regardless, the cost of medication and treatment can be invaluable when compared to the devastating consequences wrought by untreated depression.

A Reason Many Can’t Accept Their Diagnosis Of Bipolar Disorder

Question: Why Can’t I Accept My Diagnosis?

Answer: Perhaps one explanation may be a physical condition known as anosognosia.

Taken from   About.com   which can be found   HERE.

The Online Medical Dictionary of Academic Medical Publishing & CancerWEB defines anosognosia as the “ignorance of the presence of disease” (2003). The term comes from Greek in which nosos is the word for disease and gnosis is the word for knowledge. A literal translation is “to not know a disease”; (TAC). It is the medical term used to describe a person’s impaired awareness or lack of insight into a disorder with which the person has been diagnosed. In other words, the individual does not recognize or believe they have the illness.

This condition, believed to be caused by damage to the right side of the brain, affects as many as 40 percent of those with bipolar disorder. It is of serious concern because it is why many of these individuals are not medication compliant.

Vicki, a member of the Forums on this Web site, shares, “There is a term for not believing that you are sick, anosognosia. It is a lot more than being in denial. This may be the reason that I’m not med compliant and really treatment resistant. I hear what they say but it all goes through a filter in my head, and comes out saying that they are wrong and I am right. As long as I can get away without taking meds then the better off I am. After all, I’m not really sick!”

Streams In The Desert: October27th, 2013

All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me   Psalms 42:7

They are HIS billows, whether they go o’er us,
Hiding His face in smothering spray and foam;
Or smooth and sparkling, spread a path before us,
And to our haven bear us safely home.
They are HIS billows, whether for our succor
He walks across them, stilling all our fear;
Or to our cry there comes no aid nor answer,
And in the lonely silence none is near.
They are HIS billows, whether we are toiling
Through tempest-driven waves that never cease,
While deep to deep with clamor loud is calling;
Or at His word they hush themselves in peace.
They are HIS billows, whether He divides them,
Making us walk dryshod where seas had flowed;
Or lets tumultuous breakers surge about us,
Rushing unchecked across our only road.
They are HIS billows, and He brings us through them;
So He has promised, so His love will do.
Keeping and leading, guiding and upholding,

To His sure harbor, He will bring us through.
–Annie Johnson Flint

Stand up in the place where the dear Lord has put you, and there do your best. God gives us trial tests. He puts life before us as an antagonist face to face. Out of the buffeting of a serious conflict we are expected to grow strong. The tree that grows where tempests toss its boughs and bend its trunk often almost to breaking, is often more firmly rooted than the tree than the tree which grows in the sequestered valley where no storm ever brings stress or strain.

The same is true of life. The grandest character is grown in hardship.
–Selected

Praise & Worship: October 25th, 2013

Song List

1.  Russian Chant-  We Bow Down Before Your Cross

2.  There Is A Kingdom-  Laura Story

3.  Christ Is Risen-  Keith & Kristyn Getty

4.  Jesus Reigns-  New Life Worship

5.  Mercy-  Matt Redman

6.  When Answers Aren’t Enough-  Scott Wesley Brown

7.  Karen Peck & New River-  Special Love

8.  Unto The King-  Darrell Evans

9.  Over All-  Phil Wickham

10.  Hear My Worship-  Jaime Jamgochian

11.  A City On A Hill-  The City Harmonic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do So Many Children Self-Harm

 

Taken from   iOl  United Kingdom  which can be found   HERE.

Chloe was just 12 when she started self-harming. “I was very quiet and an easy target for bullies. My brother was unwell, so I didn’t want to bother my parents, and I had very few friends. One day in class, I dug my nails into my arm to stop me crying, and I was surprised by how much the physical pain distracted me from the emotional pain. Before long, I was regularly scratching myself, deeper each time.”

The following year, on another particularly bad day, Chloe came home to find a knife on the kitchen side. “It felt almost instinctive to cut myself and afterwards, I felt so much better. By the time I was 15, I was using scissors or blades several times a day and never left home without something sharp.”

Chloe hid her scars, but one day a friend saw her diary. This led to Chloe’s mom, Jo, finding out.

“It was a big shock,” says Jo. “Chloe, who is now 17, has always been a very sensible, studious young lady. I didn’t even know she was unhappy. Making matters worse was the fact that I got such bad advice. I was told not to discuss anything with Chloe, just to march her into treatment. It didn’t work.”

Recently official British statistics revealed an alarming rise in children who self-harm. These figures show that in the past year, National Health Service hospitals treated more than 18,000 girls and 4,600 boys between 10 and 19 after they had deliberately harmed themselves – a rise of 11 percent. During the same period, cases involving children between 10 and 14 rose from 4,008 to 5,192 – a rise of 30 percent.

According to Sarah Brennan, chief executive of YoungMinds, “An equally striking finding, which reflects Jo’s experience, was the lack of confidence among parents and professionals about how to deal with it.”

So what’s going on? Why are so many young people – children, for goodness sake – self-harming? And where did the phenomenon, one that many people hadn’t even heard of until recently, come from anyway?

Rachel Welch, project manager at selfharm.co.uk, isn’t convinced self-harming is on the rise. It’s just we are more aware of it, says the 35-year-old. Indeed, even the Bible includes stories about self-harming and the World Health Organisation has long recognised it as a problem, not just in the West but in developing countries.

“If you think back,” Welch says, “you may well remember someone in your youth who bit their nails furiously to the point of bleeding or who pulled out their hair. I knew one woman who always wore shoes a size too small because she said each step reminded her of just how awful she thought she was. When I self-harmed as a teenager, I used bruising. Like these other people, I didn’t think of it as self-harm, though, because the label wasn’t around and there was no real understanding of it.”

In turn, this meant other people were less likely to look out for, or notice, it.

“And it certainly didn’t occur to me to contact anyone to help make sense of what I was doing. We had no phone except one static landline where everyone could hear you and I wouldn’t have known who to call anyway,” she says.

“Nowadays, people are much more likely to know about self-harm and they can contact organisations like ours, ChildLine and others privately by phone or online.”

But Sue Minto, head of ChildLine, believes the increase in cases has been dramatic. “In 2011/12, self-harm appeared for the first time in the top five main concerns for 14 year olds. This dropped further to 13 year olds in 2012/13, indicating that more young people are self-harming at a younger age,” she says.

While some headlines have blamed a society increasingly obsessed with body image (which may help account for why girls are more prone to self-harming), Minto believes a more serious problem is the 24/7 online culture.

“In my day, if someone was bullied, they could find escape at home, but that isn’t available now. Before you know it, something you said in confidence to one friend, or something unkind that someone else has said about you, is up there in neon lights for anyone to read for any amount of time.”

Then there’s the fact that families are increasingly fragmented and the inequality gap is widening. “Research shows that under-12s, in particular, are very watchful when their parents are stressed and often internalise it,” says Fiona Pienaar, head of service management at children’s mental health charity Place2Be.

No wonder so many more young people turn to self-harm to cope, she says.

“People report that the pain – and blood, if cutting is involved – can make them feel they are alive, when otherwise they feel numb or insignificant. People also talk about the overwhelming tension that can build up in their body, which hurting yourself can release. Then there’s the way that physical pain can push away emotional pain. Many people, for example, report banging their heads against a wall when dreadful thoughts seem to take over. And others talk about wanting to punish themselves.”

While it’s clearly positive that self-harm is now acknowledged as a problem, the increased publicity does have a darker side, she says. “It means it is more likely to be on the menu of options for young people. I do wonder if some who hear about it and are struggling, may then try it.”

With celebrities such as Demi Lovato, the US singer, increasingly making public that they self-harmed, it’s a concept that is much more likely to be on a young person’s radar, she explains.

Certainly much is made of copycat self-harming, a concept that took a particularly sinister turn in January when a mock campaign started by online pranksters urged Justin Bieber fans to self-harm themselves and film it in protest at controversial images of the pop star.

There are even pro-self-harm websites, which Welch says are even darker than pro-anorexia ones. “These are sites which urge competition about how far you can go or which get people posting their cuts as badges of honour.”

These are not reasons to stop discussions around self-harm, however, she says. “I think that if someone is going to watch a film with self-harm or read about it in a magazine and try it, then they probably would have a predisposition towards it anyway. In fact, I think the more we talk about it, the more likely prevention, support and treatment is likely to improve.”

As it is, she says, there are countless problems. First off, prevention, which has to involve young people feeling they have positive engagement with their families, schools and peers, clearly isn’t happening.

Second, while an adult facing mental health problems is likely to refer themselves to a doctor, youngsters almost never do until their symptoms are acute. It therefore falls to a parent or teacher, many of whom don’t notice the problem.

“A further issue is that GPs often measure the emotional distress by the severity of the scars. But a 15-year-old cutting herself down to the bone isn’t necessarily any more distressed than a 15-year-old scratching her wrist.”

Even youngsters who do get referred often have an 18-week wait. “That’s a long time for the problem to fester and they may no longer be in the right head space to talk about it.”

Then there’s the fact that youngsters need choices in treatment.

“I completely refused all counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy,” says Chloe. “I was very angry because it wasn’t my choice. Eventually, what sorted me out was the friends I made at college and a local therapeutic group. Rather than saying, ‘This is terrible, you need to stop right now’, which is what everyone else said, they said, ‘This is a coping mechanism. It’s not great, but we need to work out what’s caused it and find other ways for you to cope’. In my case, writing things down, talking to others and squeezing ice cubes can help. I self-harm a lot less now and I do feel I’m starting to move on.”

Indeed, if there is one piece of good news around self-harm, it’s that most adolescents who self-harm will stop in early adulthood, and often abruptly. “But this shouldn’t be a reason not to take it seriously. It’s a grave problem, with potentially fatal consequences, and some people continue or relapse,” insists Welch.

* Some names have been changed. For more information and support, visit selfharm.co.uk, childline.org.uk or youngminds.org.uk. – The Independent

The Pathetic State Of Mexico’s Mental Health System

Taken from the  New York Times  which can be found   HERE.

On a recent morning, a collection of people grappling with mental illness roamed the grounds of a psychiatric hospital here, stepping into dirty, dilapidated rooms; exchanging tales of anguish; and peppering administrators with questions.

But they were not patients. They toted notebooks, pens and cameras as they documented conditions at the crumbling hospital, part of a fledgling movement by former patients to hold the mental health system in Mexico accountable for a record of neglect and abuse that is considered among the worst in the Americas.

“We’ve become activists in order to protect our own rights,” said Raúl Montoya, executive director of Colectivo Chuhcan, an organization of people with psychiatric disorders demanding an end to the systemic problems.

In recent years, citizen groups have emerged in Mexico to fight for a wide range of causes, including broader access to public records, fair trials for those incarcerated under questionable circumstances and an obligatory evaluation system for teachers.

Now, a growing number of people with severe mental illnesses, a population that is largely mocked and ignored here, are joining the fray, pressing a well-documented issue. A 2010 report by Disability Rights International, a human rights group, found evidence of torture and other forms of cruel or inhumane treatment in Mexican psychiatric institutions.

In January, President Enrique Peña Nieto, promising to fulfill Mexico’s previous vows to clean up the mental health system, signed a bill intended to relieve overcrowding, improve treatment and reduce the stigma of mental illness by reintegrating people with psychiatric disorders into the general population.

But experts say that progress has been piecemeal, and that promises to improve the system repeatedly fall short. Often, money and attention focus on short-term or cosmetic improvements instead of the development of rehabilitation programs and other long-term care.

“Mexico, I have to say, is wasting some of its money,” said Dr. Robert L. Okin, a psychiatrist and an adviser for Disability Rights International, who visited several psychiatric hospitals last month to inspect conditions. “It’s rearranging the chairs of the Titanic.”

In one hospital, some staff members admitted that patients had no activities, their days spent in bed or scratching at the walls.

In another facility, construction was under way for three new buildings for outpatient visits and administrative offices. Yet a pilot program to help patients learn everyday tasks through regular restaurant and supermarket visits has served only six patients, and its expansion has been slow because of a lack of resources. The hospital also had plans for a halfway house for up to five patients, but it struggled to find basic necessities like furniture.

Formed in 2011, Colectivo Chuhcan began as a Disability Rights International project but has since broken off on its own. Its members encourage one another in their rehabilitation, give emotional support to psychiatric patients and mount information campaigns to eradicate the stigma related to mental illness. In August, they began touring psychiatric hospitals and pressuring the government to improve conditions.

Mental health issues are largely taboo and often misunderstood in Mexico. But hints of acceptance are emerging. Radio Abierta, a radio program in Mexico created by psychiatric patients, has been growing steadily since beginning in 2009. It allows guests, many of whom have psychiatric disorders, to own the airwaves for an hour a week, and it has expanded to include experts and students of psychology.

“These are no longer voices that no one listens to; they are empowered,” said Dr. Sara Makowski, a psychiatrist who founded and hosts the program, which fosters discussions about anything from soccer to Buddhism.

The show has its own version of humor — with slogans like “Once you join the crazy boat, it’s hard to get off it” — but also airs serious complaints.

“They bathed me with cold water; I object to this!” Jaime Gustavo, a patient at a hospital near the show’s makeshift recording site, recounted on one recent episode.

Dr. Makowski said fielding such complaints had led administrators at that hospital to cut off her access there. About 20 patients from the hospital participated in the program when it first aired; now, only about 5 contribute regularly.

Dr. Okin, too, knows how closed off mental institutions can be. During one of his hospital visits last month, a physician told him that he could not take photographs and threatened to have him arrested if he tried to do so.

Such restraints on access make observations by members of Colectivo Chuhcan all the more important, experts say.

“Having experienced the toxicity of these conditions, day in and day out,” said Dr. Okin, gives them “an unspoken understanding at a visceral level that we just don’t have.”

During a recent visit to an institution, Natalia Santos, Colectivo Chuhcan’s president, and two other members of the group took detailed notes about the belongings patients were allowed to have, their facial expressions and their extensive inactivity. They frequently asked patients how they felt and what they needed.

“Who better to do this work than someone who has this disability?” asked Ms. Santos, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and depression. “I can see that they are not well. Some reflect fear, others anger, others impotence.”

Some patients who recognized them from previous visits tried to tell them — some through moans and gestures — about cases of abuse in the hospital, and others simply craved an opportunity for human contact with outsiders.

The group looked shaken during the tour, overwhelmed by fetid smells and stepping along soiled walkways.

“Sometimes we stop to think that we could end up like that if we don’t control ourselves,” said Ms. Santos, who has been hospitalized twice. “I try to be strong.”