Advocacy

Check out these articles, resources, and events about what’s going on in the mental health world!

September, 2014

 

Students struggling with mental health find solace in UW suicide prevention programs

“In a sea of more than 43,000 students, a University of Wisconsin program focusing on suicide prevention is hoping to teach Badgers to care for one another…

“‘Whether it’s something personal, whether you know someone, it’s still okay to talk about the topic. And that’s something we are really trying to get students to be okay with … We can’t just ignore it. We have to be able to talk about it, bring it to light, so we can start making strides to lowering suicide rates among college students,’ Dietz said.”

Stop Saying ‘Committed Suicide,’ Say ‘Died by Suicide’ Instead

“You can also be reactive by sending letters every time that you hear the media use “Committed Suicide” instead of “Died by Suicide.” Refer to the exact article or news story and let them know that you strongly object to their usage of an INACCURATE, INSENSITIVE, and OUTDATED term…”

“And you can START conversations about suicide and interject that phrase. Many people are afraid to discuss ANYTHING about suicide. That is absurd. We need to talk openly, intelligently, accurately, and sensitively about all aspects of suicide so we can raise suicide awareness, prevent more suicides, and assist more suicide survivors.”

Kayla’s Story: Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

“My symptoms began in early adolescence, as I quickly became aware that I was not like my peers. Separation anxiety, fear of abandonment, self-harm and emotional instability prevented me from experiencing what should have been the typical life of a teenager. I spent my days in isolation, not understanding the overwhelming emotions that attacked me from every side, often crying myself to sleep wondering why the feelings just wouldn’t go away, and why I couldn’t put a name to them…”

“So few people are willing to look at the person behind the personality disorder. There can be such immense creativity born in the minds of those tormented by mental illness, and when harnessed through poetry, art, music or writing it can be a powerful tool for recovery. My hope is that by reading these words, that you will see the human being behind the label and perhaps that the stigma can be reduced by just one more person today. Something has to change, and it needs to change now – before another life is lost.”

August 2014

How Bipolar Disorder Destroyed Joe’s Life

“My husband refused to believe he had bipolar disorder and there was literally nothing I could do to change his mind or help him. I felt trapped at times and constantly grieved the loss of the person I once knew, the happy life we once had and the many dreams we once shared.”

Setting the Record Straight

“Two significant bills have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, one by Representative Tim Murphy (R – Pa.), the other by Congressman Ron Barber (D. – Ariz.).  Both bills contain many excellent provisions that, if enacted, would represent major improvements in the mental health system.”

“For example, both bills include urgent resources for suicide prevention. Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death for young adults in the U.S. Having lost someone close to me to suicide, I know the consequences of inaction in this area and the devastating impact of suicide on families and those close to the person.”

For mental health patients, an unmarked ride to psychiatric care

”Now, a number of hospitals and local officials across Minnesota are experimenting with ways to transport mental health patients in a more dignified manner, such as unmarked vehicles with plainclothes paramedics. They aim to reduce the stigma associated with a psychiatric crisis while also reducing the enormous cost of sending ambulances long distances. In addition, these alternatives could ease the pressure on local fire departments and police, who spend thousands of hours each year transferring psychiatric patients who pose little or no safety risk.”

July 2014

When Pete Earley, author of “Crazy: A Father’s Search through America’s Mental Health Madness” wrote about mental illness and his family, he referred to his son by his middle name to protect his identity. Since its publication, his son, Kevin, has become a peer-to-peer specialist and an advocate for individuals with mental illnesses. They were recently were interviewed by an local NBC station. Here’s what Kevin had to say about it:
 
“For anyone who hasn’t heard, I was interviewed by Mark Segraves of NBC channel four Washington today. They are doing a two minute piece for their Changing Minds series on mental illness and specifically for this piece they are focusing on the ordeals that my father and I went through during my past, and also profiling my current position in the mental health field. They interviewed me for about thirty minutes and my father spoke for just as long. I will update everyone as to when the piece airs, as of now, all I know is it is not slated for this week.
 
My dad was tearing up when he spoke about the time he felt like he wished I had “never been born” because he didn’t want to see me suffer and how it made him feel like a bad father for feeling that way. He talked about how he lied to police to get them to take me to the hospital and not to jail. We revisited what it is like getting Tasered, and how I now help to teach police better ways to avoid escalation and the irony of how I went from one side of the experience to the other side.

I talked about how I live day to day and what people can do to recover and control their own destiny in regards to their treatment. It was an emotional and surreal experience, especially since we were revisiting some of the darker parts of my life, but it reminded me how far I have come on my journey and how fortunate I am to still be alive and able to help others with my story.

I know there are probably some of you on my timeline who know me casually and may not be aware of my past, but I feel that being open and honest is the best way to deal with it. If you are afraid to tell your story, then the stigma wins, the fear wins and nothing changes. I am not naive, but hopefully, the story will reach others going through similar challenges and inspire them on their path. If that means that some people will look at me odd, or criticize me or think of me badly, then that’s the price I pay.
 
This continues to be a big issue in our country, as people everywhere are reaching their wits ends and violent shootings seem more and more commonplace, and I know that my name will be linked to this if I apply for jobs or if potential dates Google my name. But I can’t hide who I am and what I’ve been through and most importantly, how I overcame and ended up where I am now. I am fortunate that I beat the odds and have a happy ending to my story.
 
This is my life story and I’m not ashamed of my life or my story.”
 
-Kevin Earley

80 Mentally Ill US Prisoners have died since 2003

Cost of Not Caring: Stigma Set in Stone

US Jails Struggle with Role as Makeshift Asylums

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