Posts Tagged ‘mental health awareness’

Friday link roundup 4/21

Netflix has released a series called 13 Reasons Why, based on the book by the same name. While I’ve read plot synopses, I’ve never read or watched either one (my choice). The story is centers around a teenager who dies by suicide and the tapes she leaves behind to describe what (and who) contributed to her decision. I’m sharing articles about the series because the show addresses sensitive topics, and I think raising mental health and suicide awareness is important — and it’s also important to make an informed decision on whether to watch the show (or things to consider if you do). So, trigger warning in these articles for mentions and discussions of suicide, rape, and sexual harassment and assault.  A guide to the series for parents and teachers.  First-person articles from people who have watched it: Why I Wish I Didn’t Watch ’13 Reasons Why.’  4 Important Lessons From ’13 Reasons Why.’  About the show’s visual choices and using teen iconography.  From someone who lost a friend as a teen: 13 Reasons Why Tells a Captivating Story, but Not My Story.  How the show’s promise to raise teen mental health awareness backfired.  On how the show addresses rape culture.

Have some nostalgia with a show that depicts the background of an infamous fictional thief: A future Netflix release that might excite people who grew up in the ’90s: Carmen Sandiego! I don’t know how many hours I spent playing “Where in the World…” then “Where in Time…” on my computer, in addition to watching the PBS game show. I think I also watched the cartoon series a few times, too.

Creative Action Network: A global community of artist and designers making art with purpose. Plus, you can submit your own art that follow the different sayings and themes!

Live updates of the March for Science from all around the world.

There’s a theory that there are four types of introversion.

A few reactions to Starbucks’ limited-time-only Unicorn Frappuccino. What I’ve heard from people I know: “It’s sweet,” and “I’m not sure about this…”

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My list of ideal trainings for mental health practitioners

Another post from my drafts folder, started sometime last year.

I’m aware that realistically, there’s a limit to how many areas mental health practitioners can specialize in. However, I still think that they can gain training and awareness in a variety of areas. Based on my own experiences, I would appreciate it if mental health professionals – in both traditional and non-traditional settings – were trained or at the very least aware of the following:

Steps to take if a client is suicidal.  The mental health provider/practitioner wouldn’t necessary need to be a specialist in this area, but they would learn precautionary measures and proper points of referral (ER, inpatient, outpatient, ongoing programs, peer support, etc). They would know the questions to ask – and the questions and statements to avoid – and generally what to pay attention to.  It might be helpful have basic suicide hotline training or something similar.

Disability knowledge and awareness. From personal experience, I know it was extremely beneficial to me that my therapist had previously worked with individuals with disabilities. It helped her identify my sensory processing issues and refer me to an occupational therapist, and it also helped us both understand my responses in specific situations. As someone with different neurological wiring, I have noticed that many therapists in the past have interpreted my symptoms and behaviors as purely psychological and that posed difficulties in my healing process. I think it’s important to get the larger picture, and it can be tricky with differences and disabilities that may not be readily apparent. Also, disability is a very broad term, and can encompass those who are limited by their mental health conditions. Knowledge of disabilities can be important so therapists can more easily refer their clients (as needed) to disability related resources and programs, vocational training, and peer support.

The greater referral network of other therapists, specialists, psychiatrists, programs, etc.  Sometimes a practitioner is not the best fit and doesn’t have what the client needs.  And maybe they simply need more in addition to the services they are currently receiving.  While some individuals may have cohesive teams of support, others may need more resources.

Peer support training. Some mental health professionals have lived experiences of mental illness, but not all do.  I think it would be helpful to have individuals with lived experience lead trainings for mental health professionals to have more of an insider’s view.  Those with lived experiences could discuss what helped them; what seemed harmful or unhelpful; and how would they like practitioners to approach them. This might help practitioners gain a more in-depth perspective and have more ideas on how to effectively work with their clients who have specific mental illnesses.

Therapeutic approaches are not one-size-fits-all; if something doesn’t work, a client may need something else. I have had therapists and coaches who have approached my struggles with their suggestions or methods as my problem rather than insights into the overall treatment plan. “This works for my other patients/clients, so why isn’t it working for you?”  Good question, let’s try something else.  A practitioner may be an expert in their field, have in-depth training on theory, case studies, and have valuable experience with wide variety of clients. However, that does not mean they are experts on individual people. What works for some people may not work for others; even something that has worked for someone in the past may not work now. I would say: Don’t blame people for lack of improvement; look for other ways to help them or refer them to someone else who might be able to help them more effectively.

Through my own experiences, I have become more empowered and learned more ways to help myself.  I also know more of what I’m looking for in a therapeutic context and have become a stronger advocate for my own mental health. I think that there could be more feedback or exchange between clients and practitioners. Practitioners can help their clients be more effective in their lives, and consumers of mental health services have valuable input that could help practitioners improve and be more effective in a professional capacity.

Based on your experiences, what do you wish mental health practitioners were more aware of?

Friday link roundup 10/2

Fall Colors, September 2015

Fall Colors, September 2015

September was Suicide Prevention Awareness month.  Now that September has ended, awareness still needs to continue.  For me, my experience in a psychiatric hospital was helpful:  it gave me a break from my stressful life, and it also made me realize how I was really doing and that I really needed to prioritize my mental health. However, I wouldn’t want to go back. I know that others have had experiences at hospitals that did not serve them.  Huffington Post on why our approach to suicide prevention needs to change.

Glennon Doyle Melton on sliding back into anxiety and depression and coming back out again.

5 Myths that can get in the way of self-compassion.

Navajo Nurse Midwives in New Mexico plan to open the first Native American Birth Center.  Excited to see this happening in my home state!

An interview with Sarah Durham Wilson, who writes under the penname of DOITGIRL and co-leads workshops on healing and uncovering the feminine.  Quote from interview:  “You’re your greatest healer.  No one knows you or your own soul or heart or body better than you.  Just take time to listen in.  You’re it.  You hold the key, no one else.  There’s no one way to live or be.  Defy convention, be your own invention, and trust yourself like crazy.”

October is Sensory Awareness Month.  Rachel S. Schneider is posting a fact about Sensory Processing Disorder on her blog Facebook page, Coming to My Senses, every day this month.  This past week, The Mighty posted 22 Truths People Affected by Sensory Processing Disorder Wish Others Understood.

Friday link roundup 9/25

Lighting a fire to welcome fall in.

Lighting a fire to welcome in Fall.  Photo Credit:  Mine. 

The Fall Equinox was on Wednesday, marking a turn towards shorter days in the Northern Hemisphere.  For those who might want to celebrate Fall through gatherings and rituals, from Gratitude Circles to Tarot Card Readings, this article from Nylon has several good tips.

A photographer’s series of surreal self-portraits.

A Dear Daughter letter:  A heartfelt letter to girls of the world and anyone who needs an inspiring message about worthiness.

From The Mighty:  18 messages for people who view medicating mental illness as a weakness.  Based on their own experiences, people give advice to those who might benefit.

Why it Concerns Me When You Say You’re a Little Bit OCD:  a woman with OCD shares how using OCD as a catchphrase increases stigma about this mental illness.

Punk band Bikini Kill is re-issuing their demo tape, originally from 1991.  Bassist Kathi Wilcox reflects on the experience.

It’s Bisexual Visibility Week, and Angela from the musical duo The Doubleclicks shared her own experience here.  If you’re curious about their music – they often play at comic conventions and the like – visit their website here.

Friday link roundup 9/11

Mountains outside of Las Vegas, NV

Mountains outside of Las Vegas, Nevada

What to say to children with anxiety.  I find many of these suggestions to be both supportive and validating.

Books aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the migrant camps in Europe. I imagine I would want to read, too. On the Calais migrant camp library and makeshift libraries at other refugee camps.

A talk on using dance/movement therapy as part of substance abuse recovery.

Rachel S. Schneider on sensory shutdowns.

I regularly take photos of things in my day-to-day life that I find pretty or inspiring, but what if I were record the more mundane moments, too?  On the power of recording the everyday moments.

Poet Andrea Gibson’s tumblr post in honor of Suicide Prevention Day on sharing vulnerable moments and shedding shame.

On transmitting trauma:  an article from several years ago on the effect of 9/11 on the children of survivors who were pregnant during the attack.

Deciding to live again: How Nia helped me step back into being.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness month.  In honor of that, I plan to post what helped me decide that I wanted to live again.  I hope to write a series of posts.  This is the first.

Sometimes, I think it sounds flippant to say Nia saved my life.

In any case, it has definitely played a major part in healing my body, mind, and spirit.

I am a survivor, a dreamer, a sensitive spirit. I have wanted to live and feel strongly and passionately, and there have been times where I wanted to give up everything so I would no longer feel so much pain.  In the spring of 2014, I hit rock bottom.

Last summer, I was severely depressed, and trying to put distance between myself and the week I spent in the psychiatric hospital in the late spring.

For weeks, Nia was the only thing that would get me out of bed on a consistent basis.  I would wake up, blurry eyed and sad-hearted to make it to an 8 a.m. Nia class three times a week. The dance studio was the first place where I gave myself permission to smile again.

When I stepped onto the dance floor,
I did not think of myself as suicidal, lost, a failure.
I was simply myself, each step bringing me back into being. My fellow dancers welcomed me, no questions asked, with open arms.

I am now a year older, a Nia White Belt, and learning a routine to teach.  I am still discovering how to live in a way that works for me.

Nia is definitely part of that equation.

Friday link roundup 7/24

bubble burst - watermark

I made this as a reminder for myself. It will also be useful the next time someone attempts to tell me (with authority) what my experience is.

17 Offbeat Ways People Relieve their Anxiety.  I’m not sure if I personally would use a Taylor Swift song to alleviate my anxiety, but I might use other music.  Coloring definitely helps me, although I tend to color my own doodles.

This is not a new piece, but I’d only heard of spoon theory in passing (enough to ask, “why is she talking about how many spoons she has?”).   I realize that I definitely plan and calculate my days and weeks based on how much energy an activity might take and how much that might cost me in the long run.

A similar analogy – but using banking as a metaphor – in terms of sensory processing disorder.

A floating library on a lake in Minnesota. Yes, you do need a boat to get there.

An Iraqi singer/performer uses her voice to speak (sing) against violence and terrorism.

I’m about to go to a weeklong intensive Nia training.  In honor of that, I’m posting one woman’s story about mental illness and how Nia helped her.  After today, I will not be posting for the next week or so, but should be back in early August.