Stanley Kutcher was stumped. The psychiatry professor from Halifax's Dalhousie University was in Malawi to develop a mental health program for rural communities when he learned from the locals that there was no word in Chichewa for depression. How do you diagnose and treat an illness that doesn't linguistically exist?
If you are among the lucky population who does react well to medication, taking a pill may allow you to work through the problems you're facing in therapy and hopefully you won't have to be on medication for the rest of your life. But the reality is that for some of us suffering from chronic mental illness, therapy isn't enough.
Dear Teacher: You called after me today. I was frustrated. Angry. Tired and lonely. And I didn't want to hear someone tell me for the bazillionth time all that I had done wrong. Tell me how I had been a bully. A bad boy. The truth is: I know. I know I am a bully. I have a hard time making friends because I'm different. But you took the time.
In the last few years, two high profile youth suicides in the Ottawa region garnered tremendous media attention and, as a new study suggests, resulted in increased emergency room visits by youth for mental health distress. But what at first sounds like an alarming link may serve as an important positive lesson.
What divorcing spouses and partners don't realize is there are very real consequences of dysfunctional divorce that affect mental, emotional, and developmental well-being and behaviour of children. The effects of divorce trauma become more pronounced the longer a divorce drags on. And two or five years in the life of a child is a huge percentage of time.
While it's always good practice to stop and celebrate our achievements and accomplishments, we still have a long way to go to truly empower girls. The non-profit organization, Girls' Inc. coined the term "supergirl dilemma" in a 2006 report to describe the pressure on girls to be everything to everyone, all the time.
Increasing insurance benefits increases access to private care, which has become a necessity in Canada. Those wanting psychological treatments must either choose between public care (ex: psychologist in a hospital) or private care (ex: psychologist in private practice). Unfortunately, there tend to be unreasonable wait lists for access to public care (typically one year or longer).
For those who are unfamiliar with this latest science story, researchers in the U.S. claim they can diagnose depression using a blood sample. Why would we need a blood test to do something professionals can already accomplish on their own in a fairly short period of time? The most touted benefit of this test seemed to be that it would offer the first "objective" measurement of depression. In the present case, the problem with trying to find an "objective" method of diagnosing depression is that "depression" and "diagnosis of depression" are two separate things.
Farmers are committing suicide as you read this article. In countries like India, the rate of farmer suicides has become a national crisis. The World Health Organization (WHO) is particularly concerned with farmer suicides because of the impact it is having on families. WHO estimates that one person commits suicide every 13.3 minutes.
The death of comedian Robin Williams last month sparked a worldwide discussion about suicide, its underlying causes and how it might be prevented. And, with World Suicide Prevention Day taking place Sept. 10, the subject is certain to generate more debate as people seek to understand this important health issue. Having spent 10 years researching the subject while working as a professor of psychiatry, I believe there are things we can do as a community to tackle this problem. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to reflect on what researchers have learned over the years about strategies for preventing suicide.
Depression should no longer be hidden behind closed doors and under bed covers. Rather, society should become as sympathetic to the disorder, as they were eager to pour ice water on their heads. We might even be able to lessen the very obvious divide between those who suffer from mental illness and those who do not. So this is why I love the idea of mounting a campaign in which children and adults band together to acknowledge the severity and the legitimacy of this epidemic.
I read Zelda Williams's tribute to her dad. I could barely focus on the accolades because my mind zeroed in on the few words "While I'll never, ever understand how he could be loved so deeply and not find it in his heart to stay..." Because that's the bottom line. His children loved him deeply, and he loved them, and yet, all that love was insufficient to keep him here...Or rather, the pain was just too much. That scares me.
I understand why people kill themselves. I think about it every day. That's not an exaggeration. It varies how much I think about it each day, but there hasn't been a day in the last six months that I haven't thought about it, and it's been this way since I was about 10. Very very occasionally I get a day where I'm struggling really bad, but I don't want to be dead. But it's not often.
I cried a lot, and slept when I could, and felt like shit. I can't even tell you how shitty I felt because there's actually no way to articulate it. I didn't want to die, but I felt like I was completely out of control, because I was, and that shit is scary. And of course, no one knew. I told no one. I acted fine, just like I still do, because I don't really like to talk about this kind of shit. Those emotions have been catalogued and put away.
Go ahead and post that suicide hotline number. I've used it and I'll continue to use it. But even better, recognize that this darkness is a monster that -- even with all the help and resources and puppy cuddles -- is lonely and demoralizing and confusing and exhausting to fight. And please recognize all of the work we do to stay alive.