“Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end. And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”—Audre Lorde
“The idea of happiness as a process of self-realisation also grates. As if being unhappy somehow puts you further down the karmic food chain and that if you’re not happy it’s because you’re a less worthwhile person. Misery is not always optional and the last thing the miserable need is to be guilt-tripped by the emotionally cleansed.”—John Crace, on the UK Government’s positive psychology movement Action for Happiness.
The dangers of using Positive Psychology as a political tool...
(Action for Happiness is a UK movement committed to building a happier society based on Positive Psychology)
The following are some interesting critiques of the UK Government’s ‘Action for Happiness’ campaign. What are your thoughts?
The trouble with the economics of happiness, Aditya Chakrabortty
One of the best gauges of whether a statement actually means anything is to stick a not in its middle. If the opposite sounds ridiculous, then the chances are the original proposition is mush. Who would seriously argue that banks shouldn’t be well-regulated, that the starvation of African babies is perfectly OK, thanks, or that civil liberties aren’t worth a fig?
Run the mush test over the launch of the campaign group Action for Happiness. “I’m up for more happiness!” was one slogan – as if anyone but a Dickensian villain, hobbling around Victorian London and sending ragged-trousered tots scattering in fear before him, would ever admit otherwise….
When you quantify happiness, you make it prescriptive. There is a right way and a wrong way of being happy. Which rather takes the joy out of it.
The idea of happiness as a process of self-realisation also grates. As if being unhappy somehow puts you further down the karmic food chain and that if you’re not happy it’s because you’re a less worthwhile person. Misery is not always optional and the last thing the miserable need is to be guilt-tripped by the emotionally cleansed.
In a time of spending cuts, I can see the attraction of focusing on the areas of one’s life over which one can exercise some control. But this pursuit of individual happiness is a distraction from the real causes of unhappiness.
I’d be willing to bet that the reason the Danes are so happy is because they have less poverty, less inequality and more social mobility, not because more of them are meditating. And poverty, inequality and social mobility can be quantified. Those who set their store by happiness indices, go out and get measuring.
The pursuit of happiness makes me queasy, Madeline Bunting
…Action for Happiness seems to suggest that it is simply a matter of providing the information and people will develop the right happy habits – getting to know the neighbours, saying thank you etc…The only thing I know about happiness is that long ago I was told that it arrives as a byproduct to other activities, it doesn’t work so well as a goal in itself.
In my spare time (lol what is that though I mean really) I work freelance for an amazing psychology practice in Central London. I run their twitter account which I try to fill with interesting psychology and mental health-related tweets. If you’re into that sort of thing, click through to follow!
[Image: An infographic based on research conducted for Time to Change…]
-that’s not fair…it’s not something easily controlled if controllable at all. people need to be better educated and more compassionate towards each other. understanding and acceptance people look up those two words, they’ve been in the dictionary for years *nods*
Friends, and friends of iPhone. Hi, my name is Billy. I wrote an iPhone app called TranSquat. In a nutshell, it is a gender neutral bathroom finder that locates bathrooms that are gender free relative to your current location. You can search, add and share safe locations. It was written by and for the trans community. It is powered by data from safe2pee. You can help build the app by downloading and adding locations in your own communities.
On a personal note, I wanted to write an app for the trans community. It is also my fundraising goal to get 3000 downloads to help finance my surgery with Dr. Charles Garammone. So far, I only have 2956 to go. Every download helps.
Even better, if you would like to support this project you can donate to my top surgery fund at:
“I finally blurted out “I stick my finger down my throat three times a day and throw up. I’ve been throwing up for years. I’m bulimic. Okay? I have no intention of stopping. Ever. Why would I? I don’t want to. Get it? I’m not stopping. That’s it. End of discussion. And nothing you say will ever convince me to change. I hope we’re clear on this. We’re clear, Dr. Landau, right? Right! Okay!!” Six months later, I stopped. One morning I went to the freezer and didn’t open a half gallon of rocky road ice cream. I don’t know why. I know one thing though: All those disjointed words and half sentences, all those complaining, awkward phrases shaping incomplete monologues blurted out to a sixty-five-year-old woman smoking a cigarette for fifty minutes five times a week, made the difference. It was the talking cure; the talking cure that gave me a way out of my addiction; the damn talking cure.”
Diane Keaton, on how therapy helped her finally conquer her severe bulimia in the early 1970s, as recounted in her recent memoir, Then Again.
Psychiatrists have identified a new form of psychosis: people who believe their life is a reality TV show or film…
”If you pick up a psychiatry textbook, they will say your patient thinks they’re Jesus, or the old ones would say Napoleon. They are just variations on a theme, and the themes are usually profound paranoid beliefs about being under surveillance, and at some level being special … a variation of a grandiose delusion. In the middle ages, someone might have thought they were a saint. It’s the same story, just a different setting.”
“Indeed, the D.S.M. [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders] is the victim of its own success and is accorded the authority of a bible in areas well beyond its competence. It has become the arbiter of who is ill and who is not — and often the primary determinant of treatment decisions, insurance eligibility, disability payments and who gets special school services. D.S.M. drives the direction of research and the approval of new drugs. It is widely used (and misused) in the courts….
Psychiatric diagnosis is simply too important to be left exclusively in the hands of psychiatrists. They will always be an essential part of the mix but should no longer be permitted to call all the shots.”—Allen Frances, former contributor to the D.S.M.
MPs admit to mental health problems in House of Commons
I meant to comment on this a couple of weeks ago but forgot. Anyway, politicians in the UK have been ‘coming out’ of the mental health closet recently, admitting to having mental health issues such as OCD, depression, postnatal depression etc.
I think the more that high profile people (celebrities, politicians, high ranking professionals) speak openly about their mental illness, the closer we get to having any reasonable hope of reducing stigma. My only worry is that Severe Mental Illness (SMI) such as psychosis may be underrepresented in this process, and it seems to be SMIs that the public are most fearful of. Still, a promising start, and much respect to the politicians who took the difficult step of speaking up…
15th June 2012
Politicians hide their mental health issues because to admit fault or frailty is tantamount to throwing away their career, MPs were told in the House of Commons.
Calling himself a “practising fruitcake”, Tory MP Charles Walker revealed details of his obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) which he has had for over 30 years. This caused him to “bounce in and out of a room” four times and even destroy photographs of his son because voices told him that if he kept them his child would die. After initially guffawing at his “fruitcake” comment, at this point the Commons fell silent.
Labour’s Kevan Jones told MPs about the “deep depression” he suffered from in 1996.
"I just hope you realise, Mr Speaker, what I’m saying is very difficult right now," Jones said. "Like a lot of men, you try and deal with it yourself. You don’t talk to people."
He went on: “In politics … if you admit fault or frailty you are going to be looked upon in a disparaging way, in terms of both the electorate and your peers as well.”
As to whether his admission would blight his career, Jones said: “I actually don’t care now because if it helps other people who have suffered from depression in the past, good.”
Sue Baker of the mental health campaign Time to Change said the speeches would go down in history because MPs have never previously felt able to discuss their mental health problems openly without fear of discrimination.
"We want people from all walks of life to be able to do the same and it’s great to see politicians making a stand," she said.
“I was heavily involved in the third and fourth editions of the manual but have reluctantly concluded that the association should lose its nearly century-old monopoly on defining mental illness. Times have changed, the role of psychiatric diagnosis has changed, and the association has changed. It is no longer capable of being sole fiduciary of a task that has become so consequential to public health and public policy.”
Hey! I notice that when people talk about the Autistic spectrum they tend to neglect Dyspraxia, which I'll openly admit isn't as impairing as other neurological disorders, but can be stressful all the same even if, like me, you suffer from it only mildly so it causes you to be shy for a tiny bit longer than normal and can sometimes make me forget stuff. I feel as though people don't take my diagnosis seriously but even in minimal amounts Dyspraxia can be vert stressful.
Thank you for pointing this out. I will try to be more inclusive in the future, and hopefully your message will encourage the zine’s followers to do the same!
I get very pissed when people get angry with me for not being vegan or vegetarian. I KNOW that anything like that would be very very dangerous for me. We are not all healthy/lucky enough to be able to go vegan.
I think veganism in and of itself is not necessarily ableist, but its use can be.
When the phrase ‘Go Vegan’ is thrown out without caveats or considerations to disability and illness, it can certainly be a tool of discrimination and oppression, whether the people wielding it realise it or not.
Absolutely, for people with Selective Eating Disorder, or other food-related mental health problems such as Anorexia, keeping up a healthy vegan diet can be extremely difficult, if not totally impossible. This population really shouldn’t be browbeaten or judged for their dietary choices: people should recognize the strength it takes them to eat at all. Also, discussing food and diet in itself can be extremely triggering to people struggling with and recovering from eating disorders so as much as you may want to educate and inform others, this may involve compromising their emotional and mental well-being, which I think we can all agree is no good at all.
If this is something you’re interested in reading further on, Nathan Gilmore, a vegan of colour with cerebral palsy-related learning disability and deafness wrote a very illuminating article here called 'Earning the Right to Be Vegan: On the Intersection of Ableist Privilege and Speciesist Power'. He has some really important points about discrimination towards people with learning disabilities:
Ability prejudice can also play out in the even subtler forms of animal rights activism that demand a intimate familiarity with every single hot topic in the movement, or at least, the ability to show yourself well-versed any of a number of disciplines ranging from law to sociology to ethics. While each of these certainly is germane to the broader issue of animal rights, and can be used with great efficiency, might it not be conceivable that the vegan, who for whatever reason (e.g. disability), honestly and truly cannot engage these issues so deeply might read this demand as a slammed door in the face?
I haven’t touched on class privilege in this post because that’s a whole other kettle of fish, and the theme of this blog in particular is mental illness.
Hope that’s of some help to you!
Edit: A related point just popped into my head, so I thought I’d add it: the majority of psychiatric medications are tested on animals, and many contain lactose. If anyone demands that people give these up, well, I’m sure I don’t need to explain how ableist that is.
Deafness has a far-reaching impact on people’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. The condition is heterogeneous, and about 7 in 10,000 people are severely or profoundly deaf, with about 70,000 people in the UK alone being profoundly deaf. About 15 to 26% of the global population suffers from hearing loss; most of them come from the poorest countries. Most hearing impaired people see themselves as a cultural minority, the deaf community, that has to use sign language in order to communicate. A study in this week’s Lancet by Dr Johannes Fellinger and his team in Austria, demonstrates that deaf people are twice as likely to suffer from mental health problems, compared with the general population. The study also reveals disparities in terms of access to and the quality of mental health care that deaf people receive.
U.S. research has established that about one in four deaf students also suffers from other disabilities, such as learning difficulties (9%), developmental delay (5%), specific learning difficulties (8%), visual impairment (4%), and autism (2%). Fellinger and his team discovered that deaf children who cannot communicate efficiently within their own family have a four-times higher risk of being affected by mental health disorders, compared with those who can. Deaf children also have a higher risk of being maltreated at school. For instance, one study of deaf young Norwegian people revealed that deaf boys had a three times higher risk and deaf girls double the risk of sexual abuse compared with their hearing peers. Deaf patients have reported they mistrust, fear and are frustrated in health-care services, given that aside from having to overcome communication barriers in clinical situations, they also reported that deaf patients’ have limitations in accessing health information.
The researchers highlight two documents that can potentially reduce inequities in access to mental health care and improve the quality of services. The first document is the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which several countries have already approved and which describes the positive value of sign language. The second is the UK Government document Mental health and deafness - towards equity and access, which offers guidelines for best practice, that include establishing eye-contact with the patient, explanations with added visual elements, ensuring the patient has a good view of the speaker’s face, and avoiding simultaneous comments during examination. The document recommends treating each part of an examination process as an individual step, i.e. explain first what is about to be examined, examine the patient, and then explain what has been found. Fellinger and his team conclude:
"Improved access to health and mental health care can be achieved by provision of specialist services with professionals trained to directly communicate with deaf people and with sign-language interpreters."
Dr. Andrew Alexander from the Royal United Hospital in Bath, UK, Dr Paddy Ladd from the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of Bristol, UK, and Steve Powell from SignHealth in Beaconsfield, UK, emphasize in a linked comment that lip-reading is unreliable, writing notes inadequate, and British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters are rare amongst health-care settings for the deaf. They write:
"Patients from the Deaf community have the same need for good communication and safe care as everyone else. Clinicians have a responsibility to recognize that communication is a two-way process, and that they need assistance to communicate with this group of patients. So what should you do when you meet your next patient from the Deaf community? Putting yourself in their shoes and asking them how best to communicate would be a good start."
The comment will be available for viewing in British Sign Language. The Lancet editorial summarizes:
"The poor state of communication between the UK Government and medical professionals and patients must be addressed. Deaf patients face the prospect of a fragmented health service under the current Health and Social Care Bill. Fragmented services cause poor communication between agencies, and poor communication damages patient care.
If this government continues to ignore the warnings, a Deaf Clinical Network of the kind proposed by SignHealth will be more important than ever. Deaf people have long been denied the services they need. The Lancet looks forward to publishing more on the wellbeing of deaf people in future, and hopes to contribute to a new era of better communication and access to health care.”
The intersectionality of disability is a very important issue. Hopefully research like this will bring more much needed attention in medical communities to the joint experience of mental health problems and deafness, as well as other disabilities and physical illnesses.
Why are people with schizophrenia starting to respond better to placebos?
Studies of drugs that treat schizophrenia, what are also known as antipsychotics, are having fewer effects over time — and it’s not because these drugs are becoming any less effective. Rather it’s because patients are responding better to placebos – and it’s not immediately obvious why this is happening.
Antipsychotics have been helping schizophrenics manage their symptoms — such as hallucinations and delusional thinking — for decades. For many people, these drugs have been indispensable, allowing schizophrenics to live a relatively normal life. But a strange thing has been happening since the introduction of second generation antipsychotics nearly 20 years ago: clinical trials of these drugs have been finding less dramatic effects, compared with trials from the early 1990s.
What this means is that the impacts of the drugs are narrowing over time, when you compare patients who are taking the real thing to people who are given a placebo.
The discovery was recently made by the Food and Drug Administration, which recently concluded a meta-analysis of 32 clinical trials that were submitted to the agency between 1991 and 2008. The trials, which involved 11,567 patients, showed a tendency towards decreased effects, compared to older studies.
But the FDA says this wasn’t because the new drugs were ineffective — it was because patients given placebo pills were starting to show more significant responses. The researchers are stumped.
Ok so, me and my boyfriend are being evicted from our house (thanks to the Olympics) on July 5th, and really really really need somewhere to live, preferably in East London.
On a very low wage and benefits, being able to afford somewhere now (thanks to the Olympics) is becoming very depressing. I don’t want to have to move back to Nottingham with my parents as I know that will affect Girls Get Busy!
So I’m asking people of London, if you know of any spare rooms for a cute creative couple? And PLEASE could you all reblog this for me ☮
Hey, I just wanted to say that I'm really glad to have stumbled upon this project! I'm planning on going into some area of psychology, and if I end up going into one of the medical professions, I want to make it a goal of mine to combat ableism and be a good mental health ally. I've been looking around for perspectives toward mental health professionals written by the people that they serve, which seems to be exactly what the next issue of this zine is going to be about. Can't wait to see it!
If sounds like you’re getting into psychology / medicine for all the right reasons: I’m sure you will be a real asset to the profession, whichever you decide on!
Is it possible to simply "grow out" of your depression?
Absolutely; this is referred to in medical / research literature as “spontaneous remission” i.e. recovery from an illness (that previously seemed to be progressing in severity) not due to any external intervention. Estimates vary but this study for example claims that "As many as 20% of subjects who participate in a short-term antidepressant trial may experience a spontaneous remission.”
(As a side-note, this is one of the reasons why controls are used in studies; you have to make sure when you’re testing the efficacy of an intervention that any improvements aren’t just spontaneous remission!)
There’s always so much confusion about this, so here are some tips.
Don’t tag something triggery with just epilepsy or seizure; epileptics and others who get seizures tend to, you know, spend time on those tags talking about those things. Occasionally someone will troll the tag with trigger posts—should you see a warning about that, repost, leaving out all the potentially saviored tags/phrases so we’ll see the warning!
For basic tumblr usage, I rely on tumblr savior for a certain level of safety. Because these triggers are not phrases in the body of the post, the tags are really crucial. So: if it moves, tag it. Obviously, there’s a whole slew of different tags available; I focus on the stuff I see most people using on both the warning and avoiding fronts.
There are different levels of movement, and some are infinitely more triggery than others.
Blingees? Tag ‘em, they’re basically flickering lights. I have blingee andblingees saviored.
Anything that moves very fast, very repetitively, flashing lights—think of that old gif of the dj-ing and dancing club cats—that needs eitherepilepsy or seizure combined with either warning or trigger. Anything that seems strobe-like should get tagged this way.
Simpler gifs, like reaction shots, won’t cause problems for most people, largely because gifs are the lifeblood of tumblr; if you can’t handle slight giffage, you’re not nearly as likely to be on the site. In my case, for instance, when those sort of gifs get to me I need to be off the computer altogether. Nonetheless, I use either gif or moving gifwith those.
A single moving gif is processed differently from two distinct sources of independent movement. I personally like having gifset or gif settagged, as sometimes I can handle a single gif just fine, but a set will hurt.
A big one: TAG YOUR GIF DUMPS. I have both gif party and gif dumpsaviored. These are kind of a big deal, because you have tons and tons of distinct movement that can take a while to scroll through, which can be almost as triggering as a strobe-style gif.
I’m very sensitive to visual stimulation, but not so much that I can’t be on the computer—which is, of course, a set of minutely moving lights. My savior constants in terms of epilepsy crap are
[Occasionally I see strobe warning or strobe trigger, but that’s far less common. It’s useful—just not standard.]
When I’ve got a bit of a headache but not enough to log off, my savior also includes
I know other people who sometimes need to savior
When in doubt, go a level higher—I dislike missing neat posts, but I hate seizures a whoooole lot more.
Is it possible to think there's something wrong with you and feel painful symptoms (stomach or chest pains, for example) when really you're physically perfectly fine?
Absolutely. This is something that can crop up commonly for example during panic attacks, when a person may be thoroughly convinced in a state of heightened anxiety that they are having a heart attack, or may die. (NHS info page about panic attacks here).
There is also something called somatization disorder, whose DSM criteria are:
A history of somatic (bodily /physical) complaints over several years, starting prior to the age of 30.
At least four different sites of pain on the body, AND at least two gastrointestinal problems, AND one sexual dysfunction, AND one pseudoneurological symptom.
Such symptoms cannot be fully explained by a general medical condition or substance use OR, when there is an associated medical condition, the impairments due to the somatic symptoms are more severe than generally expected.
Complaints are not feigned
Somatization (the expression of distress in physical symptoms) is also quite common with depression and anxiety. I personally noticed several chronic and severe physical symptoms such as lethargy, headaches, stomach pains and other complaints which resolved drastically as I began to recover. I now am thankfully very healthy (emotionally and physically), but when I was at my most depressed I was also plagued with physical illnesses which I am sure, in hindsight, were a somatization process. In recent years, researchers have found connections between the brain, immune system, and digestive system which may be the reason why somatization affects those systems.
Hi! A while ago you defined what you meant when you said "cis". I had never heard of that descriptor and I am wondering how you pronounce it? "kiss" "sis" "C.I.S." Can you help me out? Thank you so much for helping spread awareness!
Lately I’ve seen people explaining this simply as “it’s a more inclusive term” and leaving it at that. But there’s a reason it’s seen as more inclusive: the asterisk. And that asterisk makes an important change to the meaning.
An asterisk is a wildcard character in computing. It means “in place of this asterisk, what follows can be any number of other characters or nothing”.
Most often it’s used in search functions within documents or for files on a PC. Any time you hit Ctrl+F and don’t choose “search for complete word only”, you’re telling the computer to search for *whateveryoutyped*. In english, you’re searching for (any characters)whateveryoutyped(any characters).
It’s also used frequently in programming for text input form validation using something called regular expressions(which is a mind-bending syntax for a beginner and I recommend not googling it unless you’re big on autodidactism(which you SHOULD google)).
As it relates to trans*, if you were to search for “trans” in a system that defaults to not including wildcards (in other words, you checked “Search for complete word only”), it would only find:
But if you searched trans*, it would recognize:
trans transgender transsexual transportation transducer transformation transhuman
You get the idea.
It started as a somewhat-geeky way of being inclusive of multiple identities at once without listing them individually. For the identities typically included, I think “trans” works pretty well without the asterisk, but for those who do use it, now you know.
This is popular referenced among communities of people with chronic illnesses, including mental ones. Many feel it is an accurate explanation of their day-to-day life and use it to explain it to those who are fortunate enough to not have personal experience with chronic illness. If you have a loved one, or are just curious, you can read the Christine’s explanation for some insight.
Prolific punk writer Mik Scarlet (who has a disability) writes about how keeping a sense of style can help a person with disability to feel better about themself.
But there is much more to this need to shake off the effects of ill health than just vanity. The benefits of rebuilding the old you are both medical and psychological. Nothing feels like the first bath or shower you take after being ill, and the pleasure of washing off the grime of sickness not only boosts your confidence it also marks the end point of the fight against illness.
Something that really made me feel like me was my first shave in ages. Scraping away the beardy weirdy allowed me to see the Mik I knew staring back at me in my shaving mirror.
Washing my hair and the subsequent styling/lacquer fest that followed, combined with a quick spray of fake tan, put the finishing touches on the whole affair. Within an hour I no longer felt like a patient and was back in charge of my body, and smelt nice too. Even if all the effort was so much I had to go straight back to bed!
As many disabled people find themselves in the situation of having an impairment that causes them to continuously feel unwell, how do you stay stylish while you are poorly? The key issue is finding a look that is comfortable and easy to maintain. No one wants to find themselves feeling worse because they tried too hard to look good.
As the partner of the person who wrote the piece in issue #1 about FAED, it makes me so proud to read that people are discovering that it does indeed exist, understanding their own issues and being able to tell others that it isn't just a 'phase' or 'being difficult'. As an update, James has pretty much overcome his FAED, for the most part, though some of it is still present. F, send people my way if they have any questions/want some advice from someone with personal experience :)
Thank you: that’s really kind of you! Heads up guys, if you want some advice about Food Avoidance Emotional Disorder (FAED) from someone with lived experience, send a message to mydarlingafraid! The spirit of community I’m feeling around here lately warms my heart.
Some will find the subject matter to be too negative, but they can avoid it - heavy material like that is inevitable in psychology and mustn't be ignored, and the benefits of disseminating an issue which can act as outreach to victims and their families at a personal level is too great to pass this up, just look at how forthcoming your followers have been already.
I think you make a good point. Of course I will be using trigger warnings in the index again, so people can choose to skip any articles which they feel might negatively affect them, or choose to save them for if/when they feel more capable of broaching that particular subject matter.
I have engaged the support of a contact who works within the mental health profession in a care capacity, and has personal experience of mental health issues. They will be writing something for issue #3. If anyone else involved in mental health care professionally would like to contribute I would definitely love to hear from you!
Centre for Economic Strategies Press Release: 'Shocking discrimination against mental illness within the NHS'
A report from the London School of Economics reveals the horrific scale of mental illness in Britain – and how little the NHS does about it…
Mental illness is now nearly a half of all ill health suffered by people under 65 – and it is more disabling than most chronic physical disease. Yet only a quarter of those involved are in any form of treatment.
The report by the Mental Health Policy Group – a distinguished team of economists, psychologists, doctors and NHS managers convened by Professor Lord Layard of the LSE Centre for Economic Performance – concludes that:
The under-treatment of people with crippling mental illnesses is the most glaring case of health inequality in our country. It is a shocking form of discrimination because effective psychological treatments exist but are still not widely enough available.
Therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy lead to rapid recovery from depression or anxiety disorders in over 40% of cases. If they were more widely available, this would cost the NHS little or nothing because of the savings on physical healthcare. The cost would also be fully covered by savings on incapacity benefits and lost taxes.
For these reasons the government started in 2008 an excellent 6-year programme for Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT). This is making the situation much better than it was, especially in some areas. However, in other areas local commissioners are failing to fund the necessary expansion and are even cutting mental health provision, especially for children.
It is essential that the IAPT programme is completed as planned, since even this will only provide for 15% of need. Beyond 2014 there should be another major expansion, aimed especially at the millions of people who have mental illness on top of chronic physical conditions.
Lord Layard says:
‘If local NHS Commissioners want to improve their budgets, they should all be expanding their provision of psychological therapy. It will save them so much on their physical healthcare budgets that the net cost will be little or nothing.
Lord Layard adds a call for the challenges of mental health to be placed at the heart of government:
‘Mental health is so central to the health of individuals and of society that it needs its own cabinet minister.’
I think a cabinet minister for mental health be a step in the right direction.
I think, after I have enough submissions to publish issue#2 (‘Dear Doctor’), I really need to make issue #3 about stigma, discrimination, victimization and perceptions of violence towards people with mental illness. I have a great article on this that I wrote as a postgrad and would like to include as my introduction.
Would that be something you’d like to read or submit an account to, or am I getting too negative here? Your input on this would be very much appreciated; I want people to have a say in this!
(Part 1)Hi! I don't have a question but I wanted to share my experience of Psychosis through my Grandfather's struggle. He was diagnosed with Psychosis 13 years ago, after he survived Prostate Cancer. His Psychosis made him paranoid and made him believe that he was going to get jailed for something he didn't commit. My family became aware of this after a change in his behaviour(refused to travel in certain areas of the city, collected newspaper articles, filled journals with theories, etc...
(Continued…) He rooted all of his troubles to a distant relative(who my Grandfather met once or twice), this relative wrote a column in a local newspaper every weekend. Every weekend the newspaper article would get cut out, glued to a journal and analysed by him. Soon his doctor prescribed him with Antidepressants, this resulted in less emotional output and a muted lifeless personality but did not remove the intense paranoia. 2 years ago this columnist passed away(from natural causes). As sick as it sounds my Grandfather cried for relief/happiness when the columnist passed away. I ask my Grandfather about this today and he recalls this entire ordeal and says “it’s finally over”. After the paranoia disappeared, with the consultation of a Doctor my Grandfather stopped taking Antidepressants. Soon he started travelling all over the city, making friends, He went from a lifeless body to a body that contained a soul that wanted to live life to the fullest.
Thank you for sharing. I think your story demonstrates how upsetting delusions can be for the affected person. This is the emotion to connect with when discussing or interacting with people with psychosis. Rather than a preoccupation with not being able to understand or relate to the actual content of their thoughts, we should develop empathy and consider how upset, confused or vulnerable we would feel if experiencing the same thing.
As a parent of a child with possible mental disorder from moderate to severe learning disabilities, I can attest to this. She would be bullied and when she fought back, SHE got in trouble, not the bullies. According to the school, SHE was the problem. Ugh!
“People associate mental disorder with violence. We found that crime and mental disorder are linked, but not in the way people think: Persons with severe mental disorders are terribly vulnerable to victimization.”—Linda Teplin, discussing her research paper ‘Crime victimization in adults with severe mental illness' (This paper is under paid access, but free articles summarizing it can be read here and here)
I totally get this. My psychosis is always most dangerous to me. I recognise the signs and prn additional anti psychotics. It is more likely that some pissed up idiot will hurt you on a night out than I ever would. Stigma sucks
Since deinstitutionalisation has made it possible for people with mental health concerns to live successfully within community settings, people with serious mental illness are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crimes (evidence here), I think that’s a point that the public need to hear more often. You’re totally right: stigma sucks, but you and so many other people speaking up about their experiences will hopefully fight it.
I also wanted to ring in about psychosis: one of my long term partners suffered from psychotic episodes and he was never, ever violent. Quite the contrary, he would become meek and scared and be very frightened of the voices and shadows he would see that would tell him terrible, terrible things about himself. The worst that ever happened was that he tried to leave to kill himself because he was being told to do so. But I was never afraid of him, only for him.
Thank you for sharing your experience. You sound like you were very understanding of his struggles.
is there any credible research/data discussing the recent increase in cannibalistic behavior by individuals high [intoxicated] on bath salts? this seems to be a fad and, while i understand the violent outbursts from snorting the crystals, the eating of human flesh/body parts blows my mind. any thoughts? thanks!
As far as I know, it’s too early yet for any established credible academic studies to have taken place, but stay the hell away from them, y’all! There’s a super extensive information leaflet all about ‘bath salts’ here, if anyone’s interested.