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“Brains get sick too: How neuroscience can teach children about mental health”

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This September 25, 2014 article on The Independent, talks about how something as simple as teaching kids about the brain could help them understand mental illness better and overtime work to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

“Mental Health Days Should Require a Doctor’s Note”

This August 29, 2014 Liberty Voice article talks about one step that could help with the battle to decrease the stigma often attached to mental illness.  A simple solution of employers requiring a doctor’s note for mental health days the same as they would require a note from a doctor for a sick day taken because of a physical illness or injury.  The idea being that if employers treat mental and physical illness absences equally then it’s possible that other people who may not view mental and physical health equally may begin to also do the same.  While there doesn’t seem to be any research backing the idea, I do feel that it is something that could be helpful over time.


“Hoarding reclassification shines light on disorder”

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This July 14, 2014 InsuranceNewsNet.com article talks about Hoarding and what is being done in Allegheny County to try to help those with this disorder.  The article points out that they don’t believe that the number of cases involving hoarding is increasing, but rather that there is an increased awareness and attention being made into the disorder that poses health and safety risks not only to the person with the hoarding disorder, but also to anyone who may need to enter the home in the event of an emergency like a fire or medical emergency.  The article also points out that hoarding is an illness it is not that the people with this condition are lazy, they have an illness.  This, in my mind suggests that the people with a hoarding disorder, should be treated with respect and dignity just like anyone with any other type of illness would expect to be treated, no matter how difficult it is to not treat them with disgust, they are people first and that is where the focus needs to be …. on the person.  I feel that if you treat the person, then the other stuff will fall into place over time, but if you jump in and start treating symptoms first and not treating the person, it becomes a cycle where the person is less receptive to help and feels like their world is out of control.

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Mentally ill inmates need better, earlier treatment”


English: Images of the mentally deficient clas...

English: Images of the mentally deficient classified as feebly gifted (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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This June 18, 2014 Article from The Inquirer on the Philly.com website talks about the criminalization of mental illness and points out that people with diabetes or hypertension aren’t locked up because of their medical condition and asks why people with mental illnesses are locked up in prisons because of their medical condition when they need medical care.

“On Anxiety, Control, and Video Games”

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This May 18, 2014 article on the Opening Turn website talks about some of the reasons that video games can offer someone with an anxiety disorder a bit of a refuge or place to escape their illness for a little while.

Being a gamer myself, and also someone who has an anxiety disorder among other diagnosis, I find that gaming offers me a break from facing a seemingly endless stream of unknown variables that seem to be ever changing in their dynamic.  Most games I play have a set of boundaries that are the same for every player, and each player can’t change the rules of the game on a whim, so for me I don’t feel like I’m dealing with curve-ball after curve-ball like I do in the real world.  I feel like I get a break from facing unknowns and get to exist for a little while in a realm where I know that if I do X then Y will always happen and that predictability is what lets me relax my mind and step away from all the anxiety I feel when I face the real world.  Not saying that I game 24/7 but for me it’s like a mini-vacation throughout my day … I’ll do some house work or attend a meeting and then spend a little time running around in a video game for a half hour or sometimes a couple hours depending on what else I need to accomplish, and then I’m off doing the next thing.  I love gaming, but I also recognize the need for a balance between my gaming and real world activities, but I find that for myself that as long as I keep up a good balance between the two, gaming can be very helpful in making my real world activities easier to carry out because I’ve gotten those breaks from my anxiety during the day.  I do feel that for me, the amount of time I spend gaming is something that helps me gauge how well I’m managing my illness.  I find that when I’m doing a good job at managing my illness, I tend to spend less time gaming, but if I slack off and get lazy about managing my illness, then my gaming tends to take over my entire life.  I’m not saying this is true for everyone, just that I’ve noticed in myself that if I pay attention to things like how much time I spend gaming I can have a pretty good idea whether I need to review how I’m managing my illness so I can function in the real world.  A vacation into a virtual world is a great thing, but living there is probably not the most brilliant idea in the world.  I do know I tend to spend more time gaming then most people I know, I would argue that I’m not everyone else.  When my illness is poorly managed I would easily find myself gaming from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed.  On the other hand when I’m managing my illness in a more balanced way, my gaming on average is about 2 to 3 hours a day depending on what else I have going on.

Future events marker for video games

Future events marker for video games (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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“Living with anxiety is hard, but there are coping mechanisms”

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This May 18, 2014 article on The Guardian website talks about what it is like to have an Anxiety Disorder and offers the hope to those with anxiety disorders that there is a possibility that they can begin to recover from their illness and lead a life similar to what someone without an anxiety disorder might experience.  It takes a lot of work and patience on the part of the person with the illness and having folks around them who are compassionate and understanding, to act as a support, is always helpful regardless of the type of mental illness a person may be experiencing

English: An anxious person

English: An anxious person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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“The Stigma of Mental Illness Is Making Us Sicker”

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This May 13, 2014 Psychology Today article talks about the very real impacts of stigma on people with mental illnesses and their families, and offers some thoughts on what changes are needed and what those changes could mean to those with mental illnesses.

Mona Lisa - Caricature


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“Mental Health series: The high cost of health care for untreated illnesses”

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This May 11, 2014 Insurance News Net article talks about what is happening as a direct result of mental health not being treated at the same level as physical health.  The article talks about things like frequent trips to the emergency room, the high cost of not treating someone with a mental illness until they end up in the legal system.  The article also talks about how the high cost of untreated mental illness could be prevented by routinely including things like depression screening when people go to see their PCP.  The article indicates that yes the cost is high, but that the money should be redirected to preventive care as opposed to waiting for someone to be in crisis.


Health (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

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“Stigma of Mental Illness Remains Barrier to Treatment”

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This Health Day article published on the Philly.com website on February 26, 2014 talks about the effects of stigma on the ability of people with mental illnesses to get the help they need.  The article suggests that as many as 75% of people with mental


English: 1857 lithograph by Armand Gautier, sh...

English: 1857 lithograph by Armand Gautier, showing personifications of dementia, megalomania, acute mania, melancholia, idiocy, hallucination, erotic mania and paralysis in the gardens of the Hospice de la Salpêtrière. Reprinted in Madness: A Brief History (ISBN 978-0192802668), from which this version is taken. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


illnesses go untreated due to shame or other stigma related reasons for not seeking help.



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“New study shows saliva test could predict which teen boys get depression”

On the Threshold of Eternity

On the Threshold of Eternity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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This February 19, 2014 The Mercury Lifestyle article talks about a new test that may be helpful in predicting whether there is a risk for a male teen to later be diagnosed with major depression.  The test has been tried in both men and women, but findings show that it is more exact in men then it is in women.   The test looks at cortisol levels in the saliva which is used as a gauge to predict the risk of depression.  The test is being looked at in London, but is something that could be useful if it proves to be accurate in the long run.

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