Category : Mental Illness

(CNN Belief Blog) Rick Warren on guns, God and son's tragic death

In his first interview since his son’s suicide in April, famed pastor Rick Warren told CNN that he knew his son, Matthew, had bought a gun, dismissed rumors that Matthew was gay and said he doesn’t blame God for the tragedy.

“I have cried every single day since Matthew died,” Warren said Tuesday in an exclusive interview with CNN.

“But that – that’s actually a good thing. Grief is a good thing. It’s the way we get through the transitions of life.”

Read it all

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Mental Illness, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Suicide

NY Times Letters–Medical Care and the Mentally Ill

(We posted the article to which these respond there)–KSH.

Read them all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Mental Illness, Psychology

Juliann Garey on why patients with a serious mental illness often recieve worse care than others

If you met me, you’d never know I was mentally ill. In fact, I’ve gone through most of my adult life without anyone ever knowing ”” except when I’ve had to reveal it to a doctor. And that revelation changes everything. It wipes clean the rest of my résumé, my education, my accomplishments, reduces me to a diagnosis.

I was surprised when, after one of these run-ins, my psychopharmacologist said this sort of behavior was all too common. At least 14 studies have shown that patients with a serious mental illness receive worse medical care than “normal” people. Last year the World Health Organization called the stigma and discrimination endured by people with mental health conditions “a hidden human rights emergency.”

I never knew it until I started poking around, but this particular kind of discriminatory doctoring has a name. It’s called “diagnostic overshadowing.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Mental Illness, Psychology, Theology

(CSM) Mental health in the US: New ideas on care emerge

[Patti] Sacher’s frustrations with the mental health care system in this country are typical. It’s a system nearly everyone agrees is fragmented, inadequate, and offers little help until someone reaches a crisis ”“ and often not even then.

Now, after a succession of shooting massacres ”“ by Adam Lanza in Newtown, Conn.; Jared Loughner in Tucson, Ariz.; James Holmes in Aurora, Colo.; and John Zawahri in Santa Monica, Calif. ”“ the mental health care system is in the limelight to a degree it hasn’t been in decades. In the case of Mr. Lanza, who killed 27 people, including 20 first-graders and his mother, before killing himself, there isn’t much conclusive known about his mental-health history ”“ and what information there is doesn’t explain what might have caused him to commit such violence. It is clear he was troubled, and the shooting sparked a massive outcry over the need for better treatment for the mentally ill.

President Obama called for a national conversation on mental health and sponsored a one-day conference on the issue in June, calling for more help for young people and veterans, in particular, and saying it’s time to “[bring] mental illness out of the shadows.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Mental Illness, Psychology, Theology

(Local Paper) Lost Among Us: Mentally ill languish in ERs awaiting scarce psychiatric hospital beds

[this U-shaped pod]… is part of MUSC’s emergency department.
There are no locks on doors. The lone bathroom is the only suicide-proof room.
There is no shower for patients here; nobody is supposed to stay long enough to need one. Yet increasingly, they do.
Psychiatric “boarders,” as they’re called, often dominate this pod intended for short-term, acutely ill patients. At times fully half of MUSC’s ER, among the region’s busiest, has been filled with psychiatric boarders.
These are folks at imminent risk of harming themselves or others and need emergency inpatient psychiatric treatment.
Yet there are not enough beds for them all.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Mental Illness, Psychology

(Local Paper) Lost Among Us: Committing a mentally ill loved one can be an agonizing decision

Perhaps the hardest part is that her son once was such a normal boy, a Mount Pleasant kid with loving parents, extended family and a life full of friends and dreams.

But at 17, Jack Youngs’ thoughts turned down a disturbing new path.

He began to rub his hands together anxiously. He hung his head at the table and avoided friends.

The boy who once swam on the neighborhood team and rode his scooter along its tree-lined streets now hid in the safety of his bedroom as he plunged deeper down that lonely turn in his mind.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Children, Marriage & Family, Mental Illness, Psychology, Young Adults

([London] Times) Daughter of Archbishop Welby makes mental illness plea

The daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury has called on the church to do more to eradicate the stigma of mental illness, revealing that she sometimes suffers from “unbearable” depression.

Katharine Welby, the 26-year old daughter of Archbishop Justin Welby who took up his new post last month, says she sometimes feels “very low”, with a “black veil of nothing hanging in front of me”….

Read it all (requires subscription) and please take the time to read Katharine Welby’s blog post also.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Mental Illness, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology, Women, Young Adults

An Interview with Amy-Wallace Havens on her brother David Foster Wallace

Take the time to listen to it all (and note there is a live excerpt of the Kenyon Commencement address).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Marriage & Family, Mental Illness, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Psychology, Suicide, Theology

(America) Mental Illness–Can Parishes Do More to Help?

Nancy Kehoe, a Sacred Heart sister and clinical psychologist, is the author of Wrestling With our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness, and the Journey to Wholeness. When she began working with people with mental illness 30 years ago, faith issues were ignored because mental health professionals were not trained to respond adequately when a patient spoke about spirituality, she said.

“It was really unheard of in 1981 to have anyone suggest that it would be worthwhile to have a conversation with people with serious mental illness about religion because up until then, it was really just seen as part of their symptoms or a defense,” she said. “Either people pathologized [faith] or they ignored it.”

Contrary to the prevailing belief that faith was a part of a patient’s mental illness, Sister Nancy soon discovered that it was often part of an individual’s inner strength.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Mental Illness, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Unraveling a tangled mind: One man’s journey from mental illness to recovery

A year ago, Lloyd Hale drove past the four-story building once called the S.C. Lunatic Asylum, now a hulking souvenir to a bygone day when thousands of the state’s most severely mentally ill were locked up on this campus in Columbia.

He passed a string of ghostly vacant buildings and slowed. He stopped at the final building, the one in whose wards he spent 18 months of his young life, the months when the real Lloyd Hale surfaced from delusions that had claimed his reality, his family, his freedom ”” and another man’s life.
Hale parked his state-issued work vehicle at the building.

In the silence and privacy of his car, he cried, sobbing for his younger self, the one so nearly lost to the delusional grip of schizophrenia. And he cried for the real Lloyd Hale, the one who was rescued, the one who now helps others tangled in mental illness.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Mental Illness, Psychology

(Local Paper) James Island family faces holidays after death by suicide

There were four of them growing up in Atlanta, four girls close in age, the daughters of an Episcopal priest and his wife….

…today Sarah Ball Damewood and one sister are all who remain with their father in a family robbed of its pieces by physical and mental illness. In 2009, they lost their mother to complications from a stroke.

In 2010, they lost the oldest of the four sisters to breast cancer. She was just 54.

And this year, they lost Caroline, the youngest daughter. They lost Caroline to herself, to the emptiness she had yet to fill.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Mental Illness, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theodicy, Theology

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Churches and the Mentally Ill

[THE] REV. MICHAEL] TANNER: What I see coming to us and joining us is a group of people who have been knocked down all their lives and who are just remarkably joyous and remarkably full of faith. They get it that God loves them and that their suffering is just part of life, and God loves them through it, and they love each other through it.

[DEBORAH] POTTER: One out of every ten people will experience a severe and persistent mental illness at some point in life, experts say. For decades society shut those people away in institutions. But now they’re more visible on the streets and in group homes, and faith communities have been challenged to respond.

Holy Comforter responded 15 years ago when a group home opened nearby and the priest at the time invited the residents to church. Today, almost two-thirds of the congregation is made up of people with mental illness””including bipolar disorder, clinical depression, and schizophrenia””who worship together”¦

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Mental Illness, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, TEC Parishes, Theology

At California Mental Hospitals, Fear Is Part Of The Job

At a recent demonstration held by Napa employees demanding better safety measures, finding people who had been attacked by patients wasn’t difficult.

There’s Chris Cullen, a psychiatric technician who says he was punched in the face; and Zach Hatton, a recreation therapist who recounted two injuries. “I was punched in the face about a year and a half ago,” Hatton says, “and then my wrist was twisted up pretty badly and just has never healed.”

Dr. Richard Frishman, a psychiatrist, was attacked while interviewing a new patient. “He came flying across the table, fists flying,” Frishman says. “He was able to hurl me against the wall where I struck my head and fractured my wrist.”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Mental Illness, Politics in General, Psychology, State Government, Violence

Seena Fazel: The Line Between Madness and Mayhem

There has been a lot of speculation about whether Jared Lee Loughner, the man arrested for the Arizona shooting, has a severe mental illness. But is mental illness a sufficient explanation for his actions? Recent research has found that mental illness is, in fact, tied to an increased risk of violence””but it is not a simple relationship….

…the vast majority of patients with severe mental illness are not violent during their lifetimes. The largest and longest study of schizophrenia and violence, conducted in Sweden over the course of 30 years, found that only 13% of patients had violent convictions after receiving their diagnoses. For most patients, the risk of becoming a victim of violence is higher than the risk that they will commit violence.

Nor should we make the mistake of assuming that a correlation between mental illness and violence somehow establishes a causal connection between them. It may be that schizophrenia is simply a marker for other factors that increase the risk of violence. Of these factors, one of the strongest is alcohol and drug abuse. Estimates from the U.S. indicate that around half of patients with schizophrenia also have problems with substance abuse. One study in American urban centers found that nearly a third of patients who were discharged from the hospital and also diagnosed with substance abuse were violent within one year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Alcohol/Drinking, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Mental Illness, Prison/Prison Ministry, Psychology, Stress, Violence

David DeGraw–Horrific Arizona Massacre Is A Sign of Tragedies to Come

As our economic conditions continue to deteriorate, mentally disturbed people like Jared Loughner are the first to breakdown and lose it, but there will inevitably be many to follow. This tragedy is not an isolated incident. In just the past few days there have been two more incidents. A lobbyist, who was the wife of a White House adviser, was found dead in a burning car. A man upset over his Social Security benefits threatened to set fire to Senator Michael Bennet’s office and shoot his staff. There have been dozens of similar incidents over the past two years. From John Bedell, the man who opened fire on the Pentagon, to Joe Stack, the man who had a tax dispute and flew his plan into the Austin, Texas IRS building, an increasing number of Americans are beginning to resort to violence as a last desperate act of vengeance.

We can dismiss and write off all of this as just crazy people doing crazy things and go back to living with our heads in the sand, business as usual, or we can begin the urgent task of fixing a society that is severely out of balance.

The choice is ours.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Mental Illness, Politics in General, Psychology, State Government, Stress, The U.S. Government, Violence

NPR–India's Mentally Ill Turn To Faith, Not Medicine

In India, there is only 1 psychiatrist for every 400,000 people, according to a recent study by the Indian government. It is one of the lowest ratios anywhere in the world.

It means that most people in India go untreated for substance abuse problems, severe depression and psychotic disorders. Or rather, they go untreated by doctors. Instead, they turn to the gods.

Many people believe one particular South Indian temple can heal the mentally ill.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Health & Medicine, India, Mental Illness, Psychology, Religion & Culture

Ethan Watters: The Americanization of Mental Illness

AMERICANS, particularly if they are of a certain leftward-leaning, college-educated type, worry about our country’s blunders into other cultures. In some circles, it is easy to make friends with a rousing rant about the McDonald’s near Tiananmen Square, the Nike factory in Malaysia or the latest blowback from our political or military interventions abroad. For all our self-recrimination, however, we may have yet to face one of the most remarkable effects of American-led globalization. We have for many years been busily engaged in a grand project of Americanizing the world’s understanding of mental health and illness. We may indeed be far along in homogenizing the way the world goes mad.

This unnerving possibility springs from recent research by a loose group of anthropologists and cross-cultural psychiatrists. Swimming against the biomedical currents of the time, they have argued that mental illnesses are not discrete entities like the polio virus with their own natural histories. These researchers have amassed an impressive body of evidence suggesting that mental illnesses have never been the same the world over (either in prevalence or in form) but are inevitably sparked and shaped by the ethos of particular times and places. In some Southeast Asian cultures, men have been known to experience what is called amok, an episode of murderous rage followed by amnesia; men in the region also suffer from koro, which is characterized by the debilitating certainty that their genitals are retracting into their bodies. Across the fertile crescent of the Middle East there is zar, a condition related to spirit-possession beliefs that brings forth dissociative episodes of laughing, shouting and singing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Mental Illness, Psychology

Surgery for Mental Ills Offers Both Hope and Risk

Caught this one through the paper edition that I get through the mail–a long searching piece which is a good illustration of the sheer agony of sustained mental illness. Money line (for me):

Leonard is still struggling, for reasons no one understands. He keeps odd hours, working through most nights and sleeping much of the day. He is not unhappy, he said, but he has the same aversion to washing and still lives like a hermit.

“I still don’t know why I’m like this, and I would still try anything that could help,” he said. “But at this point, obviously, I’m skeptical of the efficacy of surgery, at least for me.”

Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Mental Illness, Psychology

Shinseki Measures Scope Of Veterans' Mental Issues

Last week, Shinseki spoke to a group of young veterans attending college. A former Army chief of staff who was wounded during his service in Vietnam, Shinseki asked the veterans if any of them suffered from post-traumatic stress.

He got only silence ”” so Shinseki asked about symptoms.

“How many of you have a little trouble sleeping at night?” he asked the students, many of whom had been in combat.

The general then asked them if they were overly vigilant for threats in their own homes, or if any of them had been having anger management problems.

“And then hands go up,” Shinseki said. “And they looked at each other, and they suddenly realize they’re not the only ones in it.”

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Health & Medicine, Iraq War, Mental Illness, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, War in Afghanistan

Glenn Close Works Hard to reach out to and Support the Mentally Ill

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I served my CPE internship in a VA hospital where the two wards I was to help care for had many mentally ill people on them. My supervisor said, early on in the program, “Kendall, the mentally ill are the lepers of modern day society.” It rings ever more true the more distance I get from the remark. During that summer you cannot imagine how FEW of the patients on these wards who struggled with this kind of sickness were visited by their family members. Watch it all–and note particularly her response when she is asked about how she sees her sister–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Health & Medicine, Mental Illness, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Psychology