Is your family watching 13 Reasons Why?

If you and your family are watching isotretinoin purchase 13 Reasons Why? on Netflix, you may want to have some discussions on the topic of suicide. From the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)’s newsletter, April 7, 2017:

suicide

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) has released a set of talking points to address suicide-related content in the new Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, which is based on a fictional novel by the same name. SAVE developed the talking points in partnership with the Jed Foundation to help parents, teachers, and other gatekeepers talk with youth about suicide as it relates to the situational drama that unfolds in the series.

SUICIDE

Who gets Depression? What does it look like? How will I know?

what is depression

What is depression?

I love this video created by the Canadian Family Law Firm of Neinstien & Associates.  They published this video to show their support for the annual follow site  Let’s Talk Day.  This event helps bring the topic of mental health and depression to the forefront in an attempt to break the stigma of suffering from a mental disorder.

Quotes from the participants in the video include:

I am a mother, a father, a student.  I am loving, smart, generous.  I am alone, in a room full of people.  I want to feel anything, I can’t stand to feel anything, I want the pain to go away.  Depression is not a mood, depression is not a bad day, depression is a disease.  It feels like I am underwater, I need help.  Please don’t judge me, don’t give up on me.

Take a few minutes to watch and see what you think.  Please spread the word.

Holly Scott, MBA, MS, LPC sees clients at Uptown Dallas Counseling. Holly is trained in the specialty of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and holds the position of Diplomate in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Holly works with clients to help them overcome challenges in their daily lives that may be preventing them from achieving happiness. She helps clients with stress management, depression, parenting, marriage counseling, and other mental health concerns. If you are looking for a counselor or therapist, explore this website to see if Holly may be able to help you. 

To make an appointment for therapy or counseling with Holly at her Uptown Dallas Counseling, you have the option of using the Online Patient Portal to register and schedule. 

Getting through the Hard Days of Depression

Getting through the hard days of depression can be extremely difficult.  People diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder often feel better pretty quickly once they begin treatment with therapy, medication, or both.  Unfortunately, even when the person is completely compliant with treatment recommendations, there can be relapses.  Patients can experience an unexpected setback as they are recovering.
major depressive disorder
Many times the patient is completely surprised and alarmed by this sudden drop in mood.  Illinois therapist and writer Jacqueline Marshall gives suggestions on how to handle those really bad days as part of her article on PSYWEB.com.

Ms Marshall’s techniques can provide relief for many people. Her suggestions include relaxation, breathing, distraction, and seeking support from friends and family.

It is important to remember, however, there may be a time when you do not find relief from any of these methods.  If you think you are in danger of hurting yourself, call 911 and ask for help.

Holly Scott, MBA, MS, LPC sees clients at Uptown Dallas Counseling. Holly is trained in the specialty of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and holds the position of Diplomate in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Holly works with clients to help them overcome challenges in their daily lives that may be preventing them from achieving happiness. She helps clients with stress management, depression, parenting, marriage counseling, and other mental health concerns. If you are looking for a counselor or therapist, explore this website to see if Holly may be able to help you. 

To make an appointment for therapy or counseling with Holly at her Uptown Dallas Counseling, you have the option of using the Online Patient Portal to register and schedule. 

Suicide Awareness Program.

Active Minds, an organization dedicated to spreading suicide awareness on college campuses, kicked off its tour of Send Silence Packing on September 10, 2013.  The tour is an exhibit of 1100 backpacks that represent the 1100 college students who die by suicide every year.  More details of the tour can be found here.

Are you in crisis? Please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 
at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

suicide awareness

Active Minds traveling suicide awareness program of 1,100 backpacks representing the 1,100 college student lives lost to suicide each year is taking a heading to California. The tour is kicked off on September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day, at Riverside City College in Riverside, CA.

 
Suicide is one of the most frightening possible outcomes of mental illness. If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) immediately. This is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a 24-hour service available to anyone in need of help. Never ignore or underestimate remarks about suicide. Take them seriously, and make certain that the person in crisis is cared for. And if you think your friend is in immediate danger, do not leave him or her alone—stay there and call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Additional Information from Active Minds:
An extensive list of web resources can be found here:  http://www.activeminds.org/issues-a-resources/mental-health-resources

Fighting Suicidal Thoughts

Natasha Tracy writes in her blog, Breaking Bipolar, about the effect of her grandmother’s end-of-life struggle on her ability to fight off suicidal thoughts.   In her post, she shares her thoughts as she stood by her grandmother in the hospital and how those thoughts now help her in her struggle with bipolar disorder.

Breaking Bipolar

College and Mental Health

Adolescents-2The Jed Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that promotes emotional health among college students.  The foundation’s Medical Director, Dr. Victor Schwartz, states “of the 20 million students in post-secondary education in the United States, 20 percent have received counseling or some type of mental health diagnosis.”

Many colleges and universities are reviewing and updating their comprehensive mental health and suicide prevention programs.  In an article based on an interview with Dr. Schwartz, Matthew Lynch, Ed. D. summarizes the Jed Foundation’s recommendations for schools to strengthen their mental health support systems.  The foundation recommends:

  • Engaging in campus-wide strategic planning to identify specific issues related to mental health and substance abuse and develop action plans to address them
  • Training new faculty, students and staff to identify at-risk students and refer them to appropriate counseling services
  • Advocating for mental health as a campus-wide issue
  • Creating a task force to promote mental health
  • Increasing programs to identify and support incoming at-risk students
  • Engaging in environmental safety scans of a campus to locate potential sources of danger
  • Building student affairs programs that enhance life skills and student connectedness
If you have a college student, I encourage you to explore the school’s mental health program.  Increasing awareness of resources available to students is key to their success.
  Dr. Lynch’s entire article appears in his HuffingtonPost blog here.

A Great Web Resource on Teenage Suicide, written by Kurt Cobain’s cousin

Living Matters Website

Bev Cobain’s Living Matters website is an outstanding resource for anyone dealing with youth depression and/or suicide.  Ms. Cobain’s bio from this site reads:

Bev Cobain is a Registered Nurse, with credentials in psychiatric/mental health nursing. Her own struggle with depression and the suicides of three family members–most recently the 1994 death of her young cousin, Kurt Cobain, front man for the band, Nirvana–ignited a passion in Bev to educate professionals, lay persons, and youth about depression and the significant public health issue of suicide. Her desire to educate resulted in her writing the acclaimed book, “When Nothing Matters Anymore: A Survival Guide for Depressed Teens” and developing the Living Matters website site to provide an additional avenue to share her knowledge and experience of youth depression and suicide.

Latest Facts About Teen Suicide

The following statistics will probably surprise you.  Teen suicide is a serious problem in the United States.

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the U.S. for ages 15 through 19.
  • In this country, a child or adolescent dies by suicide every 80 minutes, and a youth attempts to take his/her life every 45 seconds.
  • One of ten high school students attempt suicide, while one in five has had suicidal thoughts within the previous year.
  • The suicide rate for 10 to 14-yr olds has tripled in the last three decades.

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE and help change the current statistics on suicide.  Please take a few minutes to review this list.  If you, your friends, your family, or anyone you know has any of these symptoms, please reach out and share with someone.

Sadness (with or without crying)
Anxiety
Lack of energy and/or motivation
Temper outbursts and/or violent episodes
Easily irritated
Sleeping too little or too much
Little or no appetite, or eating too often
Withdrawal from friends and family
Loss of interest in activities usually enjoyed (including school activities)
Feelings of fear (even if there is no conscious reason)
Feelings of extreme guilt or shame
Inability to concentrate
Poor memory
Increased use of alcohol or drugs
Worsening grades
Skipping school or classes
Self-critical remarks
Feelings of helplessness to change a situation*
Feelings that things will never get better*
Comment(s) about death or dying*
Writing, drawing, or listening to music about hopelessness, guns, or death*
Threatening suicide (even in a joking manner)*

*These last 5 symptoms should be taken very seriously, do not wait to contact a parent, counselor, teacher, or other trusted adult.  Please let someone know right away.

For immediate help, call National Suicide Hotline Number:  1-800-273-TALK, or 9

My Psychiatrist says I have Bipolar Disorder. What do I do now?

iStock_000017908199SmallI had two new patients last week who came in for therapy after being diagnosed by their psychiatrist with Bipolar Disorder.  In each case, the patient wanted to spend most of the session expressing his/her relief, sadness, grief, shock, etc. over hearing those words, “you have Bipolar Disorder.”  I often hear, “so this means that I am really crazy.”  Encouraging the patient to learn as much as possible about the disorder is a key part of the therapy at this stage.


The book I most often recommend to patients struggling with a new diagnosis of bipolar disorder (BPD) is Bipolar Disorder Demystified, by Lana R. Castle.  In her opening chapter Ms Castle identifies the following common myths and misconceptions about mental illness.  Patients often find it is helpful to talk about how these myths affect their ability to cope with their BPD.

  1. There is no good reason for the mentally ill to act so crazy.  They just need to learn some self-control.
  2. We all get depressed from time to time.  Positive thinking should be enough to turn things around.
  3. Lots of people think about suicide at times, but don’t actually attempt it.  Those who say they want to kill themselves are just seeking sympathy.
  4. People with mental illness come from bad families.
  5. The mentally ill are immature and self-absorbed.  They just need to grow up and become responsible.
  6. Talking about problems won’t solve them.  It only makes you dwell on them more.  Instead of yammering endlessly in therapy, these people should take action.

Ms. Castle goes on to list 10 more common misconceptions similar to the ones above.  She further points out that the use of the phrase “the mentally ill” reflects the language people often use when making such statements.  She does not (nor do I) condone the use of the phrases “the mentally ill” or ” the bipolar” or “the schizophrenic” .  We both prefer “a person with a mental illness” or “an individual with bipolar disorder” or “my sister who has schizophrenia.”  These phrases help to emphasize the fact that the person and the illness/disorder are separate.  The illness/disorder does not define the person.  The person learns to live with the illness/disorder.

Depression-2

If you have BPD, or love/know someone who does, think carefully about your assumptions and preconceived notions regarding the disorder.  Talk openly about your feelings related to the above myths.  These discussions are key to the process of dealing with BPD.  Some healthy, important steps in  coping with BPD are: 

  1. understanding the disorder – its symptoms, treatments, and possible causes
  2. grieving the impact the disorder has on you life
  3. committing to making adjustments (including medication and therapy) to make your life a long, happy, and productive one.
  4. Recognizing you may have setbacks, along with your major improvements, as you work through this process.

BPD is a difficult condition to deal with; however, the more knowledge and understanding you have of the condition, the better you will be able to manage your life.  I highly recommend Lana Castle’s book, Bipolar Disorder Demystified.