• Categories

  • Advertisements

Letter to the Editor: Mental Health

Article Link

This post is one that is very personal to me, in that I am posting a letter I wrote to the editor of the Warren Times-Observer in response to this linked article I had read on their site.

The letter is one that tries to shine a positive light on the mental health community, while also touching on a prominent myth about people with mental health issues. I also share a story about a personal encounter I had while shopping to help show how the myth impacts the mental health community.

Peace be with all who read my letter!

Jenn

Advertisements

“Asylum for the severely mentally ill”

High Royds solitary confinement - geograph.org...

High Royds solitary confinement – geograph.org.uk – 1047059 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Asylum for the severely mentally ill.

This undated audio segment found on the WHYY – Voices In The Family, talks about the issues surrounding the treatment of people with mental illnesses describing how state hospitals have been run in the past, the closure of many of them, and the result of poor funding of community based services which has resulted in an influx of people with mental illnesses ending up in jails and prisons where they are often heavily medicated or placed in solitary confinement for long periods of time.   There is a link within the description of the segment pointing to an article on the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) “Improving Long-term Psychiatric Care Bring Back the Asylum” is a freely accessible publication and is the article that the interview in this segment is based on.

My personal goals for 2015

As 2014 comes to a close, my mind is moving into 2015 and thinking about the possibilities I have for goals for the coming year.  Here’s a list of some of the things I hope to continue working on and a couple of things I hope to try for the first time.

  • Kinda cliché but I plan to continue working on my weight loss goals.  At the time of this post I weigh 226 pounds, and am hoping that by this time next year I can say I weigh less than 200 pounds even getting to 199.9 pounds would impress me at this point.  I’ve lost 30 pounds already, but ultimately hope to get back down to 125 pounds, but that may take a couple of years.
  • To continue to post things here and maybe even add a few more items that are a bit more of my own original work, I’m thinking I will aim for a minimum of 3 posts in the coming year that aren’t simply relayed articles, but are something I create based on my own experiences.
  • Now that I have a fitbit Flex and can easily track how many steps I take each day I would like to work on increasing my number of steps per day to where I am able to easily reach a minimum of 8,000 steps per day my goal is to get to where I am doing over 10,000 per day on a fairly consistent basis.  My best since getting my Fitbit Flex is about 6,480 steps in a single day, but I only did it once so far, so I feel like striving for 8k steps is a reasonable goal.
  • I have done more knitting and been getting more looms that allow me to knit different things on them, but I hope to knit 6 scarves by Halloween so I can give them to the Hat and Mitten Ministry at my Church.
  • This one is a tad odd, but one goal I have for this year is that by this time next year to have spent $200 on new clothes they can either be brand new or new to me from secondhand stores, but I really need to get new clothes, because it’s been ages since I went clothes shopping and I’m reaching a point where I have more clothes that really need to be replaced then I have stuff that is in really good shape, I think in the past 10 years I’ve bought 2 t-shirts, 3 packs each of bras, underwear and socks, and a pair of winter boots.  Some of the clothes I’m wearing probably should have been re-purposed 10 years ago.
  • In conjunction with my clothing purchasing goal …. I am setting a goal to re-purpose as much as I can of my old clothes, even if it means turning them into cleaning rags or to wipe my hands off when I oil the chain on my bike, my goal is to find as many non-clothing uses for the clothes I am replacing as I can so they aren’t just being tossed into the landfill.  They are in bad enough shape I wouldn’t consider donating them to goodwill, so cleaning rags or maybe stuffing for craft projects might be the best I can do, but I want to use them until they can’t be used any more basically.
  • Continue the work I’ve done at better addressing my health issues both in my mental and physical health.  Like a lot of people I hate going to the doctor, but honestly I’m finding that if I address things when they first become a problem they are easier to treat, and I typically feel better sooner than I do if I wait.  I’m pretty much sick and tired of being sick and tired, so continuing to address and manage my heath care needs is a huge priority for the coming year.  I addressed a couple of things last year and learned that by simply having 2 infected toenails removed, I felt a lot better overall, not only did my toes stop hurting, but the rest of me felt better too.  I also started getting treated for Asthma this past year and it too was something that made a huge impact on my quality of life.  I have other stuff that I want to address, so basically I’m building on what I learned in 2014 when I had those pesky toenails surgically removed.
  • I want to ride my bike at least 10 miles per week once the weather is better for riding, further would be better, but my minimal goal is 10 miles per week.
  • I think my most challenging goal though is to find ways to better distribute items through a ministry I started in 2014.  Collection is going great, but distribution is slow so I want to try to balance that out during the coming year so that folks who need the items will benefit from what has been collected.
  • Read 2 books during 2015 (either e-book or physical bound books)
  • And finally do some more work on researching the history of Warren State Hospital, that got put on the back burner for the most part in 2014, and I would like to dust off that project and see if I can make some more progress on learning about its history, because I found that while researching the history of Warren State Hospital, I was also gaining insight into the history of the mental health system and how people with mental illnesses have been treated in the past and started to better understand why things are the way they are now. So, basically learning about the past is helping me better wrap my head around the present when it comes to the topic of “Mental Health” and all the subtopics found under that heading.

“Forteniters Club in Norristown celebrates 40 years of fellowship”

Article Link

This December 28, 2014 The Times Herald article talks about a group that meets every couple of weeks and consists of people who have been in treatment for mental illness.  the group focuses on getting together to have fun, socialize and feel a sense of belonging to a community that is something people with mental illnesses tend to struggle with.  The atmosphere is one of acceptance.

“Holidays not a good season for everyone”

Article Link

This December 14, 2014 Bucks County Courier Times article is a good reminder that there are people who struggle immensely not just during the holiday seasons, but other times of the year as well.  The article includes a video of an interview with someone who answers a hotline number and shares her perspective on what happens that causes the spikes in calls to hotlines across the country.

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Bucks County

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

“Showing Up for Recovery ” (Video)

Video Link

This video was uploaded to YouTube by Dr. Pat Deegan on February 9, 2012 and offers a message of hope for recovery while reminding us that medication isn’t a cure for mental illness but rather a tool to aid us in our recovery journey.

Español: Logo Vectorial de YouTube

Español: Logo Vectorial de YouTube (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A heavy heart”

Blog Post Link

This is a post I placed on another blog of mine on February 12, 2014, about something I had posted on Facebook on February 11, 2014.  I was deep in thought that morning and feeling both hopeful and hopeless at the same time.  It was an odd place to say the least, but I will let my words from that day speak for themselves.

%d bloggers like this: