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A Psychiatrist’s Perspective on How to Overcome the Stigma of Mental Illness

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I was a third-year medical student when I discovered my calling to become a psychiatrist. To this day, I remember the gentleman who changed the trajectory of my life. 

He was a middle-aged individual who presented to the clinic due to difficulties with depression. As I entered the exam room, I remember feeling uneasy by the magnitude of his suffering. I could not see his eyes as he slumped over his chair resting his head in his hands. He spoke very slowly as he mustered the strength to answer my questions. The interview lagged with noticeable pauses in his answers. His answers were brief, but his suffering was pervasive. 

As I was about the exit the interview room, I remember telling him “You have battled and defeated this illness before. I believe that you will defeat it again. We are here to help.” Then something amazing happened. I saw him break a faint smile. He had regained a flicker of hope. Witnessing the change in his facial expression was exhilarating. I felt a deep human connection between us. I knew I had finally found my calling. 

I remember being so convinced that I had to share the news. I decided to call a close family member that same day. They had played a pivotal role in my upbringing. My inner child was coming out as I was seeking the sound of validation in their voice. 

Their response was quite unexpected. It left me feeling hollow and dismissed. In their words “I think you should become a cardiologist. You will make more money and not work with the insane.”

Though painful, I appreciate their response because it taught me a valuable lesson. I was on the path of becoming a physician and experienced judgment. I could only imagine the magnitude of the stigma experienced by those who battle mental illness.

The stigma against mental illness is real. If you have any doubt, consider there is a median delay of 10 years between the onset of mental health symptoms and receiving healthcare. One reason for this delay is that people try to hide their mental illness due to the fear of being judged.

Look around society and you will see that discrimination against mental illness is widespread. In the workforce, people who suffer from mental illness are less likely to be hired because they may erroneously be labeled as unreliable or incompetent. In addition, employees may be reluctant to seek mental health treatment out of fear that revealing their mental illness may jeopardize their job security. 

In a mental health crisis, people are more likely to encounter police than get medical help. About 15% of individuals in jails, compared to 4% in the general U.S. population, have a serious mental illness. Once in custody, people with serious mental illness tend to stay longer than their healthy counterparts. 

However, the stigma of mental illness is not always readily apparent. It can sometimes be present in subtle ways. Consider the language we use to describe mental illness. We frequently identify people by their mental health diagnosis. For example, one may inadvertently perpetuate the stigma by saying “They are bipolar.” A more appropriate statement would be “They have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.” Please recognize that one’s identity expands beyond a physical or mental health diagnosis. 

Each one of us needs to play a role to eliminate the stigma of mental illness. Here are three ways to make an impact. 

1. Education

It is important to educate people that mental illness is prevalent. In 2017, there were an estimated 46.6 million adults in the United States with mental illness. This number represents about 1 in 5 adults. In addition, almost half of adult Americans have at some time had a psychiatric disorder. 

Evidence also shows that mental illness is on the rise. A new Lancet Commission report concludes that mental disorders are on the rise in every country in the world and will cost the global economy $16 trillion by 2030

I share such statistics with my patients to convey the message that “You are not alone”. This statement does not intend to minimize the experience of suffering from mental illness but to remove any shame associated with seeking help. People generally do not experience shame in seeing their family physician for a physical complaint. Why the double standard when it comes to mental health treatment?

2. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to emotionally understand another human being. You are standing side by side with them and seeing things from their point of view. 

Please recognize that people SUFFER from mental illness. When someone suffers from Major Depressive Disorder, they struggle with a host of symptoms such as depressed mood, fatigue, a lack of pleasure or joy, insomnia, feelings of guilt or shame. People with an anxiety disorder may be tormented with worry thoughts, irritability, concentration difficulties and panic attacks. 

The suffering from mental illness can become so unbearable that it affects one’s ability to function. One may even experience suicidal thoughts in an effort to escape the suffering. Why exacerbate the suffering by being judgmental?

3. Advocacy

Be an advocate for raising mental health awareness. Contact your community leader to officially recognize national mental health awareness events such as Mental Health Month in May. Connect with local businesses and media outlets to spread the word.

Support groups that advocate, educate and care for individuals and families affected by mental illness. 

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Psychology Around the Net: February 22, 2020

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In this week’s Psychology Around the Net, we explore the mental health benefits of exercising alone, how poor concentration feels in bipolar disorder, how to avoid depression during menopause, the promising research of psychedelics for mental health, and the importance of discussing severe mental illness on the college campus, and more.

 

 

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercising Alone: In this article, the author argues that exercising alone has distinct benefits that you can’t get while working out in a group. “Exercising alone, inarguably, gives you a sense of intrinsic reward: the feeling you get when you’re motivated by your internal satisfaction instead of a compliment or accolade from another,” she says.

How Bipolar Symptoms Really Feel: Difficulty Concentrating: Mania and depression are the two most commonly-known symptoms of bipolar disorder, but other symptoms can seem just as debilitating for those who experience them. In this article, the author discusses poor concentration in bipolar, which can occur in both depression and mania, but in different ways. She shares her experiences with both.

Menopause and Mental Health: Not only does menopause bring changes to the body, but it can affect mental health as well. During the menopause years, the incidence of depression doubles, and women who have struggled in the past with depression or anxiety might also see a resurgence in symptoms. This article highlights what you can do to protect your mental health during menopause.

Can Magic Mushrooms and LSD Treat Depression and Anxiety? Scientists are Optimistic: A growing body of research supports the benefits of using psychedelic drugs for anxiety and depression, especially among treatment-resistant patients. This article highlights promising research as well as personal success stories.

Inactive Teens May Be Prone to Depression: A recent U.K. study suggests that even light walking can help sedentary teens reduce their risk for depression. Lead study author Aaron Kandola of University College London said “Our results suggest young people should aim to reduce their sedentary behavior and increase their light activity during adolescence, a time when the opposite tends to occur. This could reduce the risk of depression in the future.” This article details the study’s findings.

I Don’t Want Your ‘Mental Health Awareness:’ In this student opinion article in Duke University’s The Chronicle, the author laments that college conversations tend to revolve around the less taboo mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression, and rarely tackle serious illnesses like bipolar disorder and OCD. “I am proud that mental health advocacy is becoming more apparent on campus, but it is insulting when the awareness is constantly limited to the ‘tame’ side of mental health rather than the actual difficult symptoms and behaviors caused by severe mental illness,” the author writes.

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Top 9 Best Health & Fitness Gadget Innovations #1 | Available On Amazon

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There are a lot of new innovation coming out
every day that monitors our health and help us to maintain a healthy lifestyle. So, today in this video we will showcase you top 9 health fitness gadgets that you should get to keep appraised of your health. All Gadgets are Available On Amazon. We hope these 9 health & fitness gadgets keep your body health and perfect.
Hey Dears, We always share the best for you. If you are new to our channel Please Subscribe and hit the notification bell. If our video is helpful for you, Support us by clicking the like button. It gives us another cup of tea!!!

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Top 9 Best Cheap Smart Home Devices 2020 Available On Amazon:
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1. Wi-Fi Smart Blood Pressure Monitor

2. iHealth Forehead Thermometer,

3. Sensing Headband

4. MUSE S: The Brain Sensing Headband

5. GLO Brilliant Complete Teeth Whitening

6. Pie by Bagel Labs Smart Tape

7. Intex Pure Spa

8. PowerDot 2

9. Theragun G3PRO Percussive Therapy

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DISCLAIMER: This video description contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission.
Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.
#Tech_Emperor

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Great Running Spots Across America

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Welcome to the Running newsletter! Every Saturday morning, we email runners with news, advice and some motivation to help you get up and running. Sign up here to get it in your inbox.

Dear Readers:

I’ve spent part of this week planning my summer vacation. If you’re like me, vacation planning also means “where am I going to run?” planning.

In 2017, I finished my quest to see all 50 states, and I’ve gone on some big road trips since then (including driving cross country and back last June). I’ve tried to run as much as I can along the way, not only to maintain my fitness, but to see new things.

So here are cool places I’ve run, both while traveling and close to home. It’s not a “best places to run” list because I haven’t run everywhere, and if your favorite run is not on this list, most likely I haven’t run there yet!

Tell me about it on Twitter and maybe I can add it to my running bucket list. I’m at @byjenamiller.

Bar Harbor, Me.

Acadia has 45 miles of gravel carriage roads, which are perfect for a run of any length. You can also challenge yourself by going up Cadillac Mountain, which tops out at 1,529 feet. I got a bit lost on the mountain trail there in 2018, so I finished by running on the paved road that cars use to get to the top. People who passed me on their drive up applauded when I reached the summit.

Huntsville, Ala.

This pretty paved trail, which runs along the Aldridge Creek, is just over four miles. It’s shaded most of the way, which is critical if you’re running in Alabama in June, which is when I ran it in 2017.

New York City

Not only are you part of a flow of runners without feeling overwhelmed by crowds, but there are also plenty of places to stop for food and restrooms. Registration for the New York Road Runners’ New York Mini 10K, a women’s race that circles the park, just opened on Thursday.

Flat sand and gorgeous sunrises: What’s not to like about running on Daytona’s beach? For the full Daytona experience sign up for the Daytona Beach Half Marathon, where you start and finish on the Daytona International Speedway (and run to and from the beach in between). It’s already been run this year, so you’ll have to wait until Feb. 9, 2021, for your chance.

Philadelphia

For this Philadelphia park, I recommend the 8.4-mile ring around the Schuylkill. Almost every major race in Philadelphia uses at least one side of this loop — and the Philadelphia Marathon uses both. It also connects to trails that take you to Wissahickon Valley Park Trail System if you’re looking to run on unpaved roads.

Fraser and Winter Park, Colo.

If you’re like me and live at sea level, this trail is really high up: between about 8,500 and 9,000 feet. But it’s mostly flat, so it’s a good spot to run while you get used to the elevation. My dog also liked to run into the Fraser River itself, which you can enter at multiple points along the way.

Haddon Heights, N.J.

This New Jersey park may not be on everybody’s list, but I’m biased because I have been coming here my entire life. My parents first took me when I was a baby and then as a kid to play on the playground. Now, as an adult, it’s one of my regular running routes. It has a small creek, shade and a new water fountain near its outdoor amphitheater. To extend your run, hook into the paved path around Audubon Lake.

Idaho Falls, Idaho

I stopped here overnight on a road trip and wondered why it was called Idaho Falls. I found out the next morning when I ran along the city’s Greenbelt Trail and smack into the falls themselves, which are 600 feet wide. The trail covers five miles on both sides of the Snake River. You can hear the thunder of the falls on most of it.

Chesterton, Ind.

There are a lot of places you can run at the Indiana Dunes, which includes both a state and national park along Lake Michigan, but I recommend the 3 Dune Challenge, which is a 1.5-mile course up three of the tallest dunes in the state park portion: Mount Jackson (176 feet), Mount Holden (184 feet), and Mount Tom (192 feet). It’s challenging because the dunes are at 40-degree slopes and the trails are sand, which means you need to work hard to keep your footing.





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