“‘She’s OCD!’ ‘He’s Schizo!’ How Misused Health Lingo Can Harm”

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This December 29, 2014 NBC News article raises the question of whether or not words can hurt.

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“Leonard Pitts Jr.: Mental disability is not a fad”

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This February 4, 2015 article on the Centre Daily Times website talks about President Lincoln’s struggle with what is now called Bipolar Disorder, and the responses both Lincoln and those around him had to his illness.

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States. Latviešu: Abrahams Linkolns, sešpadsmitais ASV prezidents. Српски / Srpski: Абрахам Линколн, шеснаести председник Сједињених Америчких Држава. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My personal thoughts on the death of Robin Williams

Robin Williams

Robin Williams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I first saw a post yesterday that Robin Williams was dead … the post was on Facebook, and my first thought was “this has got to be a sick rumor type joke”  I did some investigating and found that NBC and CBS both had articles about it on their sites, so then that reality of the situation hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was aware that he struggled with depression, but like many I admired his skill as a comedian and actor while being oblivious to his life beyond the lights and cameras.  People in the mental health profession had suggested he could be someone I could look up to because of how he had managed to reach beyond his diagnosis.

On some level I am furious that he has died, but at the same time, knowing first hand what it is like to be wrestling with depression and feel like you will never truly feel joy or happiness again, I feel like on some level it was a desperate attempt on his part to find peace.  I feel like the wind has been knocked out of me also, but I feel like I need to turn my focus away from his final desperate act, if it was indeed a suicide.  Last I read suicide was what was suspected, but that they would be investigating further to be sure that assessment was accurate.   My focus at this point is on those who are left to pick up the pieces after his death.  The ones who will be asking many variations of the question “Why?” or “What could I have done to prevent this?”  they are questions his family and those who were closest to him who knew him not just for who he was on camera, but would also know who he was in private will likely wrestle with for a long time depending on what the conclusion is in the investigation into the death of Robin Williams.   While I am deeply saddened by this tragic loss, I do hope that something good will rise up from this loss.  What lessons can we learn from this?  Will this be a wake up call that the stigma surrounding mental illness can be fatal if left unchecked?  Will we realize that the people we put on pedestals who are actors and actresses or whatever glorified role they may have in society are still human and that it’s possible that we need to see them as humans and not as superstars?

So many questions but ultimately the answers we gain as we mull over the loss of Robin Williams will be as individual and unique as those asking them.  There is no single answer that is the end all answer to every question that will be asked.

My prayers go out to Robin’s family, friends, and for everyone else in the world who is suffering from a mental illness of any kind.  I also pray that as a society we wake up and realize that fearing those with mental health issues is not beneficial and that reaching out to them can truly mean the difference between life and death for some.  Hope can be the most powerful thing any of us can offer to someone else regardless of their illness or situation without hope we have nothing, but as long as we have hope, there is the possibility of a better tomorrow.

“‘A Serious Epidemic’ — Mentally Ill Speak Of Struggles”

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This July 20, 2014 InsuranceNewsNet.com article focuses on Alabama, but talks about an issue that is seen across the country.  The issue of employment among those with serious mental illnesses.  Studies have shown many want to work, but find it impossible to do so because of a lack of effective supports and other factors.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

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Mental Health Awareness Month is used in the United States to raise awareness of mental illness and it’s impact not only on the person who has a mental illness, but the impact their diagnosis has on the world around them.

“Mental Illness Not a Driving Force Behind Crime: Study”

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This April 22, 2014 Health Day article on the Philly.com website offers some interesting statistics based on research done in Minnesota where they looked at 143 inmates with a couple different types of mental illness and found that the crimes they committed rarely had anything to do with their mental illness.  The article seems to imply that substance abuse could be a more likely culprit for their actions.

Location of state of XY (see filename) in the ...

Location of state of XY (see filename) in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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“Fábregas: Bridge jumper to share his healing at mental illness conference”

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This March 28, 2014 article talks about the passion for helping others seen in one of a handful of people to survive jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.  His passion is to reach out to those in their 20’s to encourage them to seek help if they are feeling suicidal or otherwise in need of mental health treatment.

Suicide prevention message on the Golden Gate ...

Suicide prevention message on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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