Category Archives: Mental Health in America

Mindfulness for Schools

According to UrbanDictionary.com, the term “urban youth” refers to young black people living in the city. I don’t know if that’s correct or not, but it does have relevance to what I am about to talk about.

Earlier today, I saw an article on FaceBook, posted by the American Psychological Association (APA) regarding urban youth and the problems they face. What disturbed me was the comment by an obviously disengaged viewer. I have included a snapshot of the comment below.

The post stated:

Many urban ‪#‎youth‬ are repeatedly exposed to significant negative stressors including violence, poverty, and substance use. A new study suggests that a ‪#‎school‬-based ‪#‎mindfulness‬ program may lessen effects of these stressors. apapsy.ch/school-mindful‪#‎mentalhealth‬

The post linked to this article:

School-Based Mindfulness Program May Help Urban Children Deal With Negative Stress, which is linked to PsychNews.org.

Ignorant comment

As you can see, I did not black out my name with my response to this person. I am still shocked by such disregard for the problems that face people today. Those with no problems seem to have no heart or mind for hearing about the unpleasantness of growing up without money and resources.

What this male does not understand is the definition of pathetic. What is pathetic is the attitude of people sharing his belief that education should not include teaching people how to cope with desperate situations, how to have hope in the midst of trouble, and how to remain focused on preparing a better future for yourself.

There are many mindfulness curriculums already in effect in many inner city schools.

Goldie Hawn has had success with her curriculum on mindfulness, which is sold through Scholastic. You can read more about her program, MindUp, and the many great reviews at the Hawn Foundation.

You can also follow their progress on their FaceBook Page.

Mind Up provides this extremely affordable curriculum in three age groups, covering ages 3 to 14. You can find them at http://store.scholastic.com.

It is never too late to learn to be mindful, to learn to still the mind and focus on this moment, which is all we truly have for certain.

Become mindful of your power to create a better future.

Become mindful of your power to create a better future.

You can also purchase tools for using at home. If you know a student who would benefit from the art of mindfulness, perhaps consider becoming a mentor and teaching this unique yet simple approach to a small group.

Meanwhile, let us continue to expand the awareness of those people who are out of touch with the realities and suffering of young people all over the world.

Namaste.

 

 

Over half of all suicides involve guns

According to the APA (American Psychiatric Association), over half of all suicides involve guns.

Suicide deaths by method from the APA.

Suicide deaths by method

This is a difficult problem to solve, but there are things that can be done to minimize the danger.

A family member may buy a gun with good intentions of protecting the family.

Unbeknownst to them, another family member might use that gun to commit suicide.

We must emphasize to gun owners that their guns should be under lock and key where no one who is depressed or experiencing overwhelming stress can have access to them.

They need to become mindful of the emotional and mental health of everyone in their home.

Can they commit suicide another way?

Of course they can, but that doesn’t make it okay to leave guns in easy access areas.

Be a responsible gun owner.

Protect your family by locking up your guns.

You probably won’t need it for anything else anyway, according to statistics. I understand that having a gun makes some people feel safer, just don’t let fear rule your actions.

Be responsible.

Learn more at the APA blog.

Separation of Church and Psychology

Separation of church and psychology may seem like a strange topic, but considering recent developments in the state of Texas, it is a topic that must be addressed.

The governor of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott, has decided to let the church dictate his views on mental health. The particular church using its influence in this way is Scientology.

Remember the Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields Debacle?

As many may already know, Scientology does not believe mental illness exists. This particular tenet of their faith became well known when Tom Cruise criticized Brooke Shields in 2005, for saying she had suffered from postpartum depression and had taken medication for her illness. Tom Cruise insulted her and caused quite a stir.

You can read about that argument at Today.com.

10 Years Later… cropped-helping-hand512.png

Meanwhile, fast forward to 2015, and dare to believe that we have a governor in the United States of America, who does not believe in mental illness or mental health treatments because a religious group has deemed it to be so.

This is all the proof one needs that religion should never be allowed to debate with science. It is ridiculous.

The particular bill that was vetoed in Florida would have allowed mental health intervention for those whom were deemed dangerous to themselves or to others, a much needed intervention that is needed all over this country.

I sense that many will disagree with this need, so please allow me to present a tiny piece of my argument for mental health intervention.

 

Could an intervention have helped in Arizona?

Gabby Giffords, then the congresswoman from Arizona, was shot in 2011 by a young man who needed an intervention. Instructors at the local college reported having arguments with him, people who had contact with him said he spoken of strange things and said he heard voices in his head. You can read about these findings at CBS News.

Our hands are tied.

You may or may not be aware that you cannot have someone like this arrested or committed until they commit an act warranting such action. This is a travesty of justice not only for potential victims of the mentally ill, but for the mentally ill themselves, who are also victims. People do not choose to be mentally ill. 

Are Interventions Safe?

I agree that it is scary to think that someone could potentially report you as being mentally ill and then have the state government send a big white van to carry you away in a white straight-jacket.

This fear exists based on how things were done many decades ago. It would not have to be such a harrowing experience today, unless the person being committed was physically unmanageable – an assessment that should only be made by a licensed psychologist that is sent to pick up the potentially violent patient.

There are many safeguards that could be put in place today. A person’s medical records could be pulled, including a list of medications prescribed as well as taken (not all prescriptions get filled). The individual could also be run through the police database to see what, if any, violations and arrests might appear.

Here’s the bottom line – I would rather take the chance on an intervention. If the reports are accurate and the person in question is mentally ill, who knows how many lives may be saved by the intervention.

If the person is determined to be in good mental health, and a hoax was perpetrated against them, then the “hoaxter” should be arrested and prosecuted.

I find it more frightful to imagine an innocent person being shot down while in a movie theater, at a political rally, while shopping in a mall or while sitting in a classroom.

 

How do we stop churches from interfering with the safety of the public?

Under no conditions anywhere in this land of the free, should a church be allowed to have such an influence over a governor or any members of legislature or government at any level.

Any person advocating a denial of verifiable, evidence based science at the legislative level is putting their constituents at risk of violence perpetrated by a person needing medical attention and should be dismissed from their public service position immediately. 

The mental health issue revolving around Governor Abbott of Texas is alarming, but that is not the only strange position he has taken on important issues. Read more about this and Greg Abbot at the Greenville Gazette.