Mental Health Awareness


The Patient As Advocate
March 22, 2009, 12:01 pm
Filed under: awareness, Education | Tags: , , , ,
Stand Up, Speak Up – Getting the Best Care for Yourself
Everyone has a role in providing the best health care for you – organizational executives, physicians, therapists, nurses and technicians. And, above all, YOU! You do this by becoming an active, informed, and involved consumer and member of the health care team. 

Medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, with almost 98,000 occurring annually according to the Institute of Medicine. The more involved we are, the less likely we are to have an adverse reaction. Ways to do this include

Speaking up if you have any questions or concerns, and ask again if you still dont understand. It is your body and you have the right to know.

Pay Attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you are getting the right medications, for instance. Don’t assume anything. 

Educate Yourself about your diagnosis, any medical tests or procedures you will have done, and be an active participant in determining your treatment plan.

Ask a trusted family member or friend to be an advocate for you that can ask questions you may not think of under stress, and may not remember the answers to.

Know what medications you take and why you take them. Know their side-effects, and how long the side-effects should last if you are just beginning a medication. Learn if there is anything you can do to alleviate the side-effects. Medication errors are the most common health care mistake.

Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.

After following these general rules, more specifically, try to:

Inform your doctors about medications your are taking, including prescriptions, over the counter drugs, and herbal or dietary supplements.

Inform your doctors about your allergies any any adverse reactions you may have experienced

Inform your doctors of any dietary restrictions you may have

Ask your staff for written information about possible side effects to your medications

Be an advocate of your own care. Ask your friend or relative to also be your patient advocate

Question your nurse, doctor, or pharmacist if your medications look different from the way they looked before, or if the number of medications is different

Learn about your condition by asking your doctor, nurse, therapist, or any other reliable sourse any questions you may have regarding your illness

Make sure that your prescriptions are legible

If you are in the hospital, when you are discharged if you have any questions regarding your treatment plan to be used at home, ask your doctors or staff for an explanation.

Finally, discuss any concerns you have with your caregiver in an assertive (not aggressive) manner.

Source
 
 

 



Grading The States

NEW REPORT CARD: NATION’S MENTAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

 National Average is a D 14 States Improve Grades; 12 Fall Backwards State Budget Crises Threaten Ruin Washington, D.C. – The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has released a new report, Grading the States, assessing the nation’s public mental health care system for adults and finding that the national average grade is a D.

Fourteen states improved their grades since NAMI’s last report card three years ago. Twelve states fell backwards. Oklahoma showed the greatest improvement in the nation, rising from a D to a B. South Carolina fell the farthest, from a B to a D. However, the report comes at a time when state budget cuts are threatening mental health care overall.

“Mental health care in America is in crisis,” said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. “Even states that have worked hard to build life-saving, recovery-oriented systems of care stand to see their progress wiped out.” “Ironically, state budget cuts occur during a time of economic crisis when mental heath services are needed even more urgently than before. It is a vicious cycle that can lead to ruin. States need to move forward, not retreat.”

This is the second report NAMI has published to measure progress in transforming what a presidential commission on mental health called “a system in shambles.” NAMI’s grades for 2009 include six Bs, 18 Cs, 21 Ds and six Fs, based on 65 specific criteria such as access to medicine, housing, family education, and support for National Guard members.

“Too many people living with mental illness end up hospitalized, on the street, in jail or dead,” Fitzpatrick said. “We need governors and legislators willing to make investments in change.”

In 2006, the national average was D. Three years later, it has not budged. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.

Full Grading the States report online at: http://www.nami.org/grades09



How can I help myself if I am depressed?
February 27, 2009, 11:42 pm
Filed under: depression, Education, Resources

How can I help myself if I am depressed?

See your doctor or mental health professional to set up a treatment plan; this may include medication, support groups, or psychotherapy.

Try to be an active participant in your care. Stick to the treatment plan and educate yourself about your condition.

Engage in mild exercise: it has been shown to reduce depression symptoms.

Take care not to become isolated; stay involved with or expand your support network.

Make sure that you continue to do things that you love doing.

Set realistic goals for yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by tasks of daily living, break up large tasks into smaller ones; set some priorities and do what you can as you are able.

Try to spend time with others and confide in a trusted friend or relative.

 Expect your mood to improve gradually. Often times with treatment, sleep and appetite will improve before your depressed mood dissipates.

Remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as you respond to treatment.

Where can I go for help?

Mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors.

Recommendations can come from your local NAMI affiliate, your health insurance provider, or the SAMHSA treatment locator (800) 729-6686, option #2).

Community mental health centers or outpatient clinics. Mental health programs at universities, medical schools, and state hospital outpatient clinics.

Family/social services or clergy.

Peer support groups or education programs can be found through your local NAMI affiliate, local hospital, or other mental health organization.

Employee assistance programs.

Check the phone book or internet under “mental health,” “health,” “social services,” or “physicians” for other resources.

If you are thinking of hurting yourself, please call a crisis line at 1 (800) 273-8255. You will be routed to the crisis center near you, or go to your local hospital emergency room.

Information adapted from http://www.nihm.gov, http://www.nami.org, and http://www.mayoclinic.org.



The Jed Foundation
January 16, 2009, 12:29 am
Filed under: awareness, Education, Resources, Site Recomendation

The Jed Foundation

The Jed Foundation represents the Jerry Greenspan Student Voice of Mental Health award for college students who have mental health issues.

The award is for a video on their experiences with mental health issues and how they are working to raise awareness and encourage their peers on the issue. The award includes a $2,000 scholarship, a trip to NYC to our annual gala in June 2009, recognition through our site and events and possibly appearing on MTVU.  

You can find more info on their site. (Linked above)



Advocacy

“Advocacy For Mental Illness” PDF.

“Advocacy is an important means of raising awareness on mental health issues and insuring that mental health is on the narional agenda of govenrnments. Advocacy can lead to improvements in policy, legislation, and service development.”



Seasonal Affective Disorder
January 9, 2009, 1:41 am
Filed under: awareness, Education | Tags: , ,

Seasonal Affective Disorder

The holidays are a celebratory time for most people, but those affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may experience continuing episodes of depression during the late fall and winter, alternating with periods of normal or high mood the rest of the year. While the environment can trigger the disorder in some people, a new study suggests that others may have a genetic predisposition to SAD.

People living with SAD may experience oversleeping, daytime fatigue, and weight gain. Others may show symptoms associated with depression, such as decreased sexual interest, lethargy, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, lack of interest in normal activities, and social withdrawal. Many people with SAD do not feel “normal” until May.

In the study, researchers observed 220 people, including 90 people without depression and 130 people diagnosed with SAD. In the latter group, seven people had two mutated copies of the photopigment gene in the eye, which helps detect colors. The mutation makes a person with SAD less sensitive to light.

This information one day may be used to predict whether a person may have a higher risk for developing SAD, or whether light therapy will be effective.

While researchers have not identified specific causes of the disorder, seasonal circadian rhythm interruption, as well as changes in serotonin and melatonin production, may also play a role in the disorder.   

When seasonal changes trigger recurring mild feelings of depression, some people living with SAD find that light therapy—using bright lamps or scheduling more time outdoors in winter—helps to manage symptoms. If symptoms noticeably affect one’s daily living, he or she should consult a mental health professional who is qualified to treat SAD.

Source



Famous people with mental illness…
December 24, 2008, 1:02 pm
Filed under: awareness, Education | Tags: , , ,

Famous People with Mental Illness

Mental Illness is not confined to any particular ethnic, racial, religious, or financial group. Anyone can get it, at any time.

Even though most mental illnesses have devastating effects on the lives of those affected, many have found that these illnesses can produce extraordinary clarity, insight, and creativity as well.

Below you will find the names of many famous people who felt not only the devastation, but also the extraordinary creative potential, as well as the courage to use it. It’s quite a list. Please take the time to browse it thoroughly.

Abraham Lincoln
The admired sixteenth President of the United States suffered from severe and incapacitating clinical depression which sometimes led to thoughts of suicide as well.
Virginia Woolf
The British novelist who wrote To the Lighthouse and Orlando experienced the severe mood swings of bipolar disorder which included feverish periods of writing and weeks spent in the gloom of depression. Anthony Storr wrote about her story in The Dynamics of Creation .
Lionel Aldridge
As a defensive end for the legendary Green Bay Packers of the 1960’s, he played in two Super Bowls. During the 1970’s, he suffered from schizophrenia and spent two and a half years homeless. Before he died in 1998, he gave many inspirational talks concerning his battle against paranoid schizophrenia.
Eugene O’Neill
The famous playwright, author of Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Ah, Wilderness!, is documented as having suffered from clinical depression.
Ludwig van Beethoven
The brilliant composer is documented as having suffered from bipolar disorder, in The Key to Genius: Manic Depression and the Creative Life by D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb.
Gaetano Donizetti
The famous opera singer suffered from bipolar disorder.
Robert Schumann
The “inspired poet of human suffering” lived with bipolar disorder, as one of many creative people discussed in The Dynamics of Creation by Anthony Storr.
Leo Tolstoy
Author of War and Peace, Tolstoy revealed the depth of his own mental illness in the memoir Confession. He suffered from clinical depression, hypochondriasis, alcoholism, and substance abuse. His experiences are discussed in both The Dynamics of Creation by Anthony Storr and The Inner World of Mental Illness: A Series of First Person Accounts of What It Was Like by Bert Kaplan.
Vaslov Nijinsky
His autobiography, The Diary of Vaslov Nijinksy, documents the dancer’s battle with schizophrenia.
John Keats
This renowned poet’s mental illness is documented along with the illnesses of many others in The Dynamics of Creation by Anthony Storr and The Broken Brain: The biological Revolution in Psychiatry by Nancy Andreasen, M.D.
Tennessee Williams
The playwright wrote about his personal struggle with clinical depression in his own Memoirs, and his experience is also documented in Five O’Clock Angel: Letters of Tennessee Williams to Maria St. Just, 1948-1982; The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams by Donald Spoto; and Tennessee: Cry of the Heart by Dotson.
Vincent Van Gogh
The bipolar disorder that this celebrated artist suffered from is discussed in The Key to Genius: Manic Depression and the Creative Life by D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb and Dear Theo, The Autobiography of Van Gogh.
Isaac Newton
The English mathematician and scientist who formulated the theory of gravitation is suspected of suffering from bipolar disorder, as discussed in The Dynamics of Creation by Anthony Storr and The Key to Genius: Manic Depression and the Creative Life by D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb.
Ernest Hemingway
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist’s bouts with suicidal depression are examined in the True Gen: An Intimate Portrait of Ernest Hemingway by Those Who Knew Him by Denis Brian.
Sylvia Plath
The suicide of this poet and novelist was caused by her lifelong struggle with clinical depression, as discussed in A Closer Look at Ariel: A Memory of Sylvia Plath by Nancy Hunter-Steiner.
Michelangelo
The Dynamics of Creation by Anthony Storr discusses the mental illness of one of the world’s greatest artistic geniuses.
Winston Churchill
The quote “Had he been a stable and equable man, he could never have inspired the nation. In 1940, when all the odds were against Britain, a leader of sober judgment might well have concluded that we were finished,” was written by Anthony Storr about Churchill’s bipolar disorder in Churchill’s Black Dog, Kafka’s Mice, and Other Phenomena of the Human Mind.
Vivien Leigh
The British actress of the 1950’s & 60’s, star of Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire suffered from the mental illness bipolar disorder, as documented in Vivien Leigh: A Biography by Ann Edwards.
Jimmy Piersall
The Truth Hurts, written by the baseball player for the Boston Red Sox, detailed his experience with bipolar disorder.
Patty Duke
The Academy Award-winning actress revealed her bipolar disorder in her autobiography and made-for-TV move Call Me Anna, and in A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic-Depressive Illness, co-authored by Gloria Hochman.
Charles Dickens
The clinical depression of one of the greatest authors in the English language is documented in The Key to Genius: Manic Depression and the Creative Life by D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb, and Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph by Edgar Johnson.
John Forbes Nash
Mathematician, author of the game theory of economics, winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics, he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. He was also the subject of the book and movie “A Beautiful Mind” <!–
persons name
Description of person
persons name
Description of person
persons name
Description of person
persons name
Description of person

–> Source