When it comes to mental illness you must absolutely pay meticulous attention to detail. Misconceptions and preconceptions are the reason funding is inadequate, why people who suffer from mental illness do not wish to come forward, why people with gender dysphoria suffer minority stress, why the mentally ill are targets of physical and verbal violence.
Mental Illness: a prome for speculative fiction creators
. [more inside]
Brave and afraid and heading down the longest road [Part 1/3]
The cars made a wet rushing sound as they swept past him, close enough that he could feel their motion in the air. He was certain if he tried, he could reach out and touch them. Mike Bourne stretched out both arms, fingertips extended. He was walking in the middle of the busy street. The yellow line on the pavement told him where to go. He thought of it as the yellow brick road. It would take him somewhere, he knew, somewhere beautiful. [more inside]
magazine looks into Toronto police shootings of the mentally ill
and the Memphis Crisis Intervention Team model:
Memphis, one-quarter of Toronto’s size but with a homicide rate nine times higher, has developed a progressive approach to de-escalate high-tension confrontations, improve police attitudes toward those suffering from mental illness, and divert them from the criminal justice system. The Memphis Crisis Intervention Team model centres on dispatching specially trained beat cops to emergency calls as quickly as possible, and giving them the authority to take charge of the scene. That approach triggered a revolution in policing that has now been emulated in 2,700 jurisdictions across the US, including large urban centres such as Chicago and Los Angeles. A handful of Canadian cities, among them Hamilton and Vancouver, have also adopted the CIT model. While the TPS has not, senior officials claim that all of its 5,500 uniformed officers receive some training in how to handle mental illness, which makes the recent proliferation of shootings that much more perplexing.
For those of you unfamiliar with the history of Gary Busey
), a quick recap: His first appearance on film was in 1968. He would receive his breakout role ten years later playing the title role in The Buddy Holly Story
. Ten years after that
, Busey was involved in a serious motorcycle accident
in which he did not wear a helmet, resulting in a fractured skull and suspected brain damage. In the years since, he has continued to work in Hollywood and also projected an increasingly erratic personality. How much of it is an act? Only Busey knows for sure. But given his recent commercials
for Amazon Fire TV (and outtakes
), we have to ask ourselves: Is this in poor taste?
Why Isn't Delonte West in the NBA?
David Haglund takes a detailed look at the treatment and perception of mental illness and "crazy" behavior in the NBA and in the sports world at large. [more inside]
A videoblogger from the U.K. named Jonny Benjamin
started a social media campaign
to track down
the stranger who convinced him not to end his life
Earlier this year, Benjamin found "Mike"
(whose real name is Neil Laybourn) with help of Rethink Mental Illness
, the organization that helped launch Benjamin's search. In the video
, you can watch
their heartwarming reunion
Twilight in the Box.
"The suicide statistics, the squalor and the recidivism haven’t ended solitary confinement
. Maybe the brain studies will." [Via]
“What makes you think I will be safer away from school, away from my support system?” School was my stimulation, my passion and my reason for getting up in the morning.
“Well the truth is,” he says, “we don’t necessarily think you’ll be safer at home. But we just can’t have you here.”
(article contains description of cutting behavior)
Would you take a mentally-ill stranger into your home to live with you like family, possibly for the rest of his life? What if your town had been doing it successfully for 700 years? Welcome to Geel, Belgium
. [more inside]
Veterans Administration hospitals performed lobotomies on more than 2,000 mentally ill soldiers during and after World War II. Today, the Wall Street Journal published the first part of a story extensively documenting
the lives of the men who underwent this procedure, and those who performed it.
Kelli Stapleton kept a candid blog
about the struggles
of raising Issy, a teenager with autism who suffers frequent violent episodes. A newspaper profile from earlier this spring
detailed the family's trouble accessing the professional help Issy requires. Kelli admitted in her most recent blog post on September 3rd: "I have to admit that I’m suffering from a severe case of battle fatigue." Later that day, [Kelli's husband] received a message from Kelli that police described as "despondent"
. Kelli Stapleton is now under arrest on charges of attempted murder and Issy remains hospitalized after what appears to be a failed murder/suicide
. Bloggers from the national autism community have responded
"And so went the next seven years of my life, or my "life", I should say. Because when the pure O exploded, my life grew inverted commas and flew away. All that was left was an effigy of a young woman and a neon pink MySpace profile." What it's like to live with pure-OCD.
The most frustrating part of my situation is that I can count on one hand the number of people who know about my mental illness. The stigma that surrounds mental health is suffocating, and I don’t feel comfortable talking about it with most of my friends and family, and certainly not my boss or colleagues.
Writer opens up about mental illness stigma in the workplace
"In every society, democratic or totalitarian, the sensible, grown-up thing to do is to commit to the long haul of sleazy conformity.
The rewards are mostly guaranteed: if not freedom or happiness, then respectability and degree of security. What spoils it is the obstinate few who do otherwise – those, absurdly, who actually believe in the necessary fictions; enough to be moved and angered by the difference between what an organisation does in reality and what it says in public." (SLGrauniad)
In 1973, The Who released their sixth album, Quadrophenia
. The epic double album tells the story
of a boy named Jimmy Cooper who deals with mental illness on top of the run-of-the-mill stresses of teen life. But Jimmy Cooper isn't just any London teen. Jimmy Cooper is a Mod
. [more inside]
Schizophrenic. Killer. My Cousin.
"It's insanity to kill your father with a kitchen knife. It's also insanity to close hospitals
, fire therapists, and leave families to face mental illness on their own." [Via]
About a year after her participation in the groundbreaking Comedy Central documentary series the Comedians of Comedy
, Maria Bamford
was on stage at the Friars Club in LA when a heckler began shouting at her. What happened after that isn’t entirely clear, other than Bamford had a breakdown, walked off stage, and disappeared. She was found three months later selling clock radios on the sidewalks of Detroit. A fellow homeless person, who was also a Comedy Central fan, recognized Bamford and eventually her parents were contacted. They brought her back home to Deluth, Minnesota and began to get her help. Maria decided to document her recovery in a series of short videos called The Maria Bamford Show
, which were first posted to the TBS networks' now abandoned Super Deluxe
Web site. [more inside]
"There are plenty of reasons to recover from addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma....But comedians are perverse people who often don't care about any of those things. So maybe this will convince them, and maybe this will convince me: get better — so you can get funny."
In a frank, personal, and revealing article, essayist Jaime Lutz interviews comedians Marc Maron
, Eddie Pepitone
, Paul Gilmartin
, and Anthony Atamanuik
about the uneasy relationship between mental illness and comedy.
is a beloved weekly Buenos Aires radio show run by psychiatric patients that breaks down boundaries between the "interned" and the "externed." During his Argentina tour, radio supporter Manu Chao
invited a few Colifatos to join him. LT22 Radio La Colifata
is 94 minute a documentary (in Spanish) shot over ten years that celebrates the station and the tour.
Did you know? Today is World Mental Health Day.
World Mental Health Day was started by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1992 to raise awareness about mental health issues around the world. The World Federation for Mental Health
has more information about this year's theme, Depression: A Global Crisis
. Meanwhile, the Alternatives conference
also starts today in Portland, Oregon. Now in its 26th year, this conference is the U.S.'s oldest national mental health conference organized and run for mental health consumers, offering tons of workshops on peer-delivered services and self-help/recovery methods. How will you celebrate World Mental Health Day? [more inside]
"Beyond the Brain" In the 1990s, scientists declared that schizophrenia and other psychiatric illnesses were pure brain disorders that would eventually yield to drugs. Now they are recognizing that social factors are among the causes, and must be part of the cure.
is an operating system written by a schizophrenic
programmer. [more inside]
Culture, delusions, and the early treatment of schizophrenia.
Greg Downey: Living in the prodrome, part 1, part 2. [more inside]
There is a critical shortage of acute mental health services
throughout the nation
that is making it increasingly difficult for people who don't meet standards for "imminent danger" to receive adequate care.
Barring a dramatic change in the systems that provide care, what alternatives are there for seriously mentally ill people? Incarceration has often become a form of care provision
, but behavioral courts are an emerging alternative
.) [more inside]
"If you think health care in America is bad, you should look at mental health care," says Steve Leifman, who works as a special advisor on criminal justice and mental health for the Florida Supreme Co
" Fifty years ago
, the U.S. had nearly 600,000 state hospital beds for people suffering from mental illness. Today
, because of federal and state funding
cuts, that number has dwindled to 40,000. When the government began closing state-run hospitals in the 1980s
suffering from mental illness had nowhere to go. Without proper treatment and care
in the last place anyone
wants to be." Of course, it's not just a problem confined
to the US.
Who Pinched My Ride?
"Stolen bicycles have become a solvent in America’s underground economy, a currency in the world of drug addicts and petty thieves." Outside's
Patrick Symmes tells his story of loss(es), frustration and the failures of modern technology. [more inside]
"What was really most healing, for me, besides the drugs, was meeting my own people, my tribe. When you meet each other the relief of knowing you’re not alone and that you both feel like the walking dead. It’s such a relief to be with someone who will never say, “Perk up.” Black Dog Tribes
is a (beta) social platform for people with depression created by Ruby Wax
In 2003 and again in 2009, Director Andy Glynne, with Mosaic Films and BBC4 created Animated Minds
, a series of animated documentaries
to express the subjective experiences of various kinds of mental health disorders. [more inside]
"Transient is a black comedy
about a homeless man who's visions lead him to believe he is an inter-dimensional savior of humanity, on a mission to save the universe. Is he indeed the 'one', chosen by mystical divine forces to embark on a crusade against ultimate evil, or a hopeless lunatic, aimlessly wandering the streets of San Francisco? Transient is a spoof on the hero's journey that's part Men in Black, part Raising Arizona, flavored with liberal portions of Ghostbusters and John Steinbeck. It is a ballad to the city by the bay, and a heartfelt tale of the sacrifices one man will take for his love for his family, his friends, and all of humankind." [Via]
“The irony is [that Greg’s parents] were saving this for him,” she says. “Every little baby bottle, every little scrap, every rock that you see. In their minds they were doing it for him. And it’s just turned into this beast." Inheriting the Hoard
is the story of Greg M., a man whose parents were hoarders, and his year+ struggle to clean out the house they left behind. [more inside]
The Brain on Trial.
Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order.
"We may someday find that many types of bad behavior have a basic biological explanation—as has happened with schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, and mania." [more inside]
The epidemic of mental illness plaguing the Americans and the overmedication of psychiatric patients are in part artifacts of the diagnostic method
. [more inside]
Is the contemporary epidemic of mental illness fueled by useless or even harmful anti-depressants and other psychoactive drugs?
A review of books by Irving Kirsch
, Robert Whitaker,
and Daniel Carlat
, notes that per Kirsch, "[a]n active placebo is one that itself produces side effects...there was no difference between the antidepressant and the active placebo" (new research claims very severe cases are different
). Whitaker argues that psychoactive drugs may actively "disturb neurotransmitter function" and cause mental illnesses which a mounting cascade of drugs are then needed to manage. (previously
"But when Britney [Spears] got healthy, Jamie’s lawyers actually pushed for greater authority and, on October 28th of 2008, Jamie secured a permanent conservatorship. PERMANENT. HE OWNS HER FOREVER.
Steinbolt1 battles with depression. On his Tumblr blog
, he chronicles his week-long stay in a mental health facility somewhere in the American Midwest. First installment can be found here
. There's two installments per day of his stay, and he posted part two of day four two days ago. And, by the way, he's currently feeling a lot better
Donnie Moore was the California Angels' relief ace in 1986. After he gave up a home run
that began the Angels' collapse in the ALCS, Moore's life and psyche steadily deteriorated, until he committed suicide in 1989
. Steve Hofstetter wrote about Moore
and the divergent paths taken by other athletes in similar situations.