Maybe It's America, Not Us, That's Crazy (But writing – and, refuge in good literature – can help keep us sane)
This Week in Mental Health – Sept. 8 – 14
Mental health clients need to be included as an essential voice at the table when services being designed to help them are in the works, says Gloria Dickerson of the Center for Social Innovation. She was interviewed by SAMHSA’s “Voices From the Field” blog. She also talks about professionals utilizing what’s known as the “recovery model” more. Even SAMHSA changed its definition of “recovery” in 2012 to: “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”
The World Health Organization published its first global report on suicide prevention this week. Some of its numerous findings include that 75 percent of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries; overall, suicide rates are highest in people 70 year or over; more responsible reporting on suicide by the media can help reduce deaths; and throughout the world a person dies by suicide every 40 seconds. For the press release and full report, visit the the WHO media centre here.
Disability Rights California will be challenging L.A. County’s “Assistant Outpatient Program” (basically, a euphemism professionals and law enforcement agencies use for involuntary outpatient commitment) in court this coming year. DRC plans to follow suit with challenges in San Francisco and Orange County as well. Legalized by Laura’s Law, AOT programs allow government agencies to force those diagnosed with mental illness into treatment programs if they don’t meet the criteria for involuntary inpatient commitment. Read the story at Mad in America.
It was also National Suicide Prevention Week this week. Several mental health orgs hosted various online forums to discuss suicide this week. SAMHSA hosted a Webinar on integrating the voice of suicide attempt survivors into prevention approaches.The APA hosted a Twitter chat on suicide, hosted by Gabriela Cora, M.D. You can revisit that discussion on Twitter by searching the hashtag #yourMH, or visiting @APAPsychiatric. @MHChat also hotted an interesting discussion. If you would like to read the guest op-ed a wrote for the San Francisco Bay Guardian on my experience with suicide, you can read it here. One of the best articles written on suicide is this one profiling Dr. Thomas Joiner and his comprehensive theory on the suicide “epidemic” in Newsweek. Joiner boils down suicide risk to three conditions which, if they overlap at the wrong time and you end up in the vortex, results in an often-deadly outcome.
The National Institute of Mental Health director finally acknowledged what reform activists and investigative reporters like Robert Whitaker have been talking about for years – evidence shows that drugging the “mentally ill” to the hilt, even schizophrenics, is not the answer. Read the story here.
As a 40-year-old, single woman who constantly grapples with the pain of never having had a long-term mate – and now being too old to ever have children – I was delighted to discover a psychologist who researches and blogs on this subject at PsychCentral. Bella DePaulo is the author of several books, including “Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After”and“Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Stop It.” I will definitely be checking her work out. For now, you can visit her “Single at Heart” blog here.
Here is a great column on 4 tips for improving your emotional resilience, also at PsychCentral.
Patient Centred-Care Doesn’t Go Far Enough: We Need Patient-Perspective Care – the article at Mad in America.