Veterans Day and Mental Health

Veterans Day Mental Health

Read Mark C. Russell’s November 9th editorial published in The Seattle Times entitled, On this Veterans Day, where is the outrage over mental-health crisis?

Russell concludes with this call to action:

Honor our veterans this holiday by demanding the president and congressional representatives to urgently do the following:

  • Conduct independent investigations into the cause of the military mental-health-care crisis.
  • Establish a unified “Behavioral Health Corps” within the Department of Defense.
  • End hiring restrictions of licensed marriage/family therapists, mental-health counselors and clinical psychologists to address chronic staffing shortages.
  • Establish a “Joint Services Behavioral Health Lessons Learned Center.”
  • Compel the VA/military to ensure every veteran has access to all evidence-based therapies per the VA/DoD PTSD guidelines.

Mark C. Russell

Resources:

NAMI | Support for Veterans & Active Duty

Nearly 1 in 4 active duty members showed signs of a mental health condition, according to a 2014 study in JAMA Psychiatry. On this page we focus on questions that military personnel often ask, concerning treatment resources, disclosure and staying healthy during the transition to civilian life. If you are having thoughts of suicide, the Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7 by dialing 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1.

Veterans Crisis Line

#BeThere for Veterans and Servicemembers - Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.

Please Support Me #NAMIWalks #JoinTheMovement

Please help me support NAMIWalks at https://www.namiwalks.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=65748

 

Please support me as I raise money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI Orange County has been instrumental in my mental health recovery.

Help Me Support NAMI

NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer course introduced me to the concept of mental health recovery and gave me HOPE. As a NAMI Provider Education presenter and In Our Own Voice speaker I share my story of mental health recovery. You can see my speech here.

NAMIWalks provides NAMI Orange County with 1/3 of their operating budget, enabling them to offer free mental health educational programs, meetings and support groups.

Thank you!

Kitt

Barely Fiction: Kate.1

Kiss me, Kate? Good luck You cannot tame this shrew This woman of sometimes Violent temper and speech She remains wild and free At heart a non-conformist Pugnacious and proud

Her true and legal name is Kitt Kathleen O’Malley. She loves her name and is grateful her parents came up with it — a great stage name if there ever was one. Her first name is typically a nickname for Katherine or Kathleen, so her name is redundant.

She had thought that Katherine meant catharsis, or purification through emotional release, a meaning she’s always identified with. Now that she researches her name, the etymology is unclear, perhaps originating with the goddess Hecate.

Hecate (Hekate) is a goddess of Greek mythology who was capable of both good and evil. [Metaphor for bipolar diagnosis?] She was especially associated with witchcraft, magic, the Moon, doorways, and creatures of the night such as hell-hounds and ghosts. [Who knew?] She is often depicted carrying a torch to remind of her connection with the night and in sculpture with three faces, representing her role as the guardian of crossroads. [Interesting…]

– Hecate by  & [Bracketed writing by Kitt]

Anyway, yes, she openly expresses strong emotions, perhaps less so now that she’s medicated for bipolar disorder. She remains theatrical, loving attention and being on stage. She’s also a Leo, so add that to the mixture.

For this piece of flash fiction, she’ll go by Kate. Why? Because she named this piece Kate before she started writing and because it ties into the “Kiss me, Kate?” poem which ensues. Is she a shrew, a woman of violent temper and speech? At times she has been, but she hasn’t overthrown a table in over a year or two (she just did that once). She has been known to throw adult temper tantrums. Something she’s not proud of. Luckily her meds and psychotherapy help her keep an even keel.

Kiss me, Kate?
Good luck
You cannot tame this shrew
This woman of sometimes
Violent temper and speech
She remains wild and free
At heart a non-conformist
Pugnacious and proud

Writing in third person, as true or as outlandish as she pleases, taking liberties with the facts, perhaps this will grow into an autobiographical novel. More likely than not, these words will remain here as a flash and then die the death of so many other blog posts, lost over a relatively short time period to the archives.

Talking to Yourself in the Third Person Can Help You Control Stressful EmotionsMSU Today. July 26, 2017.
Third-person self-talk facilitates emotion regulation without engaging cognitive control: Converging evidence from ERP and fMRIScientific Reports 7. Article number: 4519(2017). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-04047-3.

 

Book Reviews: fAdE tO bLuE and mOnOchrOme

fAdE tO bLuE by H.M. Jones

He did not go gentle into that good night... Fade to Blue, H.M. Jones
fAdE tO bLuE is H.M. Jones‘ prequel to mOnOchrOme. Those of us who read Monochrome met the fascinating character Ishmael. This prequel gives us Ishmael’s back story and explains more about how the hellish world of Monochrome works. Monochrome is a creative metaphor for depression, specifically suicidal depression.

Ishmael’s childhood was filled with trauma and neglect. As the novel opens, he finds his mother’s body after she dies by a particularly gory suicide. He descends into a suicidal abyss, and finds himself in Monochrome.

Though my life was far less traumatic, like Ishmael, I was a suicidal young adult. What saved me, and what keeps Ishmael alive, was the fight to live. Fight depression. Fight those lies depression tells you.

mOnOchrOme by H.M. Jones

Monochrome: What would you do to save your most precious memories? H.M. Jones

mOnOchrOme by H.M. Jones is a blue cold scary fantasy world, a metaphor for depression, an infernal purgatory where the protagonist Abigail survives by paying for her basic needs with positive memories.

As Abigail struggles to leave Monochrome and return to her baby, she fights the despair of postpartum depression. She fights the lies depression convinces her are truths.

Monochrome is a powerful, compelling novel. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as a work of fiction that told important truths about depression through the metaphor of Monochrome.

Depression Lies

Depression lies. You matter. You have value. You are loved. Those you love are not better off without you. Fight the lies depression tells you. Fight and reach out for help. Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

You are not alone. I, too, have experienced the hell of severe suicidal depression. I’m thankful that I fought it and got the help I needed. Those I love, those who love me, are thankful, too.

Please Don’t Ask Me to Review Your Book

Recently I’ve written two book reviews, and am about to write one more. BUT, I do NOT consider myself a book reviewer, so PLEASE don’t ask me to review your book.

As a mental health writer, I have many online connections, authors whose writing is fueled by mental illness such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. My heart wants to reach out and support all mental health writers (all writers, poets and artists, for that matter), but I simply cannot.

I read far fewer blogs than I once did and very few mental health memoirs or novels, preferring to escape living with mental illness. Usually I read novels which do not involve the subject of mental health.

That said, I did read both mOnOchrOme and fAdE tO bLuE and thoroughly enjoyed them both.

Thank you.

Multicultural Mental Health Facts #MHM

Multicultural Mental Health Facts 1. Mental Health Facts MULTICULTURAL Prevalence of Adult Mental Illness by Race 16.3% 19.3% 18.6% 13.9% 28.3% Hispanic adults living with a mental health condition. White adults living with a mental health condition. Black adults living with a mental health condition. Asian adults living with a mental health condition. AI/AN* adults living with a mental health condition. www.nami.org Follow Us! facebook.com/NAMI twitter.com/NAMIcommunicate Ways to Get Help Talk with your doctor Visit NAMI.org Learn more about mental illness Connect with other individuals and families LGBTQ Community Use of Mental Health Services among Adults (2008-2012) Fact: Mental health affects everyone regardless of culture, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. 1 in every 5 adults in America experience a mental illness. Nearly 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in America live with a serious mental illness. One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; three-quarters by the age of 24. 11.3% 21.5% 6.6% 10.3% 16.3% 15.1% 4.4% 5.3% 5.5% 9.2% Hispanic White Black Asian AI/AN* Male Female *American Indian/Alaska Native Critical Issues Faced by Multicultural Communities Less access to treatment Less likely to receive treatment Poorer quality of care Higher levels of stigma Culturally insensitive health care system Racism, bias, homophobia or discrimination in treatment settings Language barriers Lower rates of health insurance *American Indian/Alaska Native LGBTQ individuals are 2 or more times more likely as straight individuals to have a mental health condition. 11% of transgender individuals reported being denied care by mental health clinics due to bias or discrimination. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth. 2X 2-3X 11% 1 This document cites statistics provided by the National Institute of Mental Health. www.nimh.nih.gov, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, New Evidence Regarding Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health and Injustice at every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.