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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Perhaps the hardest part is that her son once was such a normal boy, a Mount Pleasant kid with loving parents, extended family and a life full of friends and dreams.
But at 17, Jack Youngs’ thoughts turned down a disturbing new path.
He began to rub his hands together anxiously. He hung his head at the table and avoided friends.
The boy who once swam on the neighborhood team and rode his scooter along its tree-lined streets now hid in the safety of his bedroom as he plunged deeper down that lonely turn in his mind.
Read it all.
The daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury has called on the church to do more to eradicate the stigma of mental illness, revealing that she sometimes suffers from “unbearable” depression.
Katharine Welby, the 26-year old daughter of Archbishop Justin Welby who took up his new post last month, says she sometimes feels “very low”, with a “black veil of nothing hanging in front of me”....
Read it all (requires subscription) and please take the time to read Katharine Welby's blog post also.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Psychology Mental Illness Women Young Adults * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Take the time to listen to it all (and note there is a live excerpt of the Kenyon Commencement address).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Poetry & Literature Psychology Mental Illness Suicide * Theology Anthropology
Nancy Kehoe, a Sacred Heart sister and clinical psychologist, is the author of Wrestling With our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness, and the Journey to Wholeness. When she began working with people with mental illness 30 years ago, faith issues were ignored because mental health professionals were not trained to respond adequately when a patient spoke about spirituality, she said.
“It was really unheard of in 1981 to have anyone suggest that it would be worthwhile to have a conversation with people with serious mental illness about religion because up until then, it was really just seen as part of their symptoms or a defense,” she said. “Either people pathologized [faith] or they ignored it.”
Contrary to the prevailing belief that faith was a part of a patient’s mental illness, Sister Nancy soon discovered that it was often part of an individual’s inner strength.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Psychology Mental Illness Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Anthropology Pastoral Theology
A year ago, Lloyd Hale drove past the four-story building once called the S.C. Lunatic Asylum, now a hulking souvenir to a bygone day when thousands of the state’s most severely mentally ill were locked up on this campus in Columbia.
He passed a string of ghostly vacant buildings and slowed. He stopped at the final building, the one in whose wards he spent 18 months of his young life, the months when the real Lloyd Hale surfaced from delusions that had claimed his reality, his family, his freedom — and another man’s life.
Hale parked his state-issued work vehicle at the building.
In the silence and privacy of his car, he cried, sobbing for his younger self, the one so nearly lost to the delusional grip of schizophrenia. And he cried for the real Lloyd Hale, the one who was rescued, the one who now helps others tangled in mental illness.
Read it all.
There were four of them growing up in Atlanta, four girls close in age, the daughters of an Episcopal priest and his wife....
...today Sarah Ball Damewood and one sister are all who remain with their father in a family robbed of its pieces by physical and mental illness. In 2009, they lost their mother to complications from a stroke.
In 2010, they lost the oldest of the four sisters to breast cancer. She was just 54.
And this year, they lost Caroline, the youngest daughter. They lost Caroline to herself, to the emptiness she had yet to fill.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Psychology Mental Illness Religion & Culture * Theology Pastoral Theology Theodicy
[THE] REV. MICHAEL] TANNER: What I see coming to us and joining us is a group of people who have been knocked down all their lives and who are just remarkably joyous and remarkably full of faith. They get it that God loves them and that their suffering is just part of life, and God loves them through it, and they love each other through it.
[DEBORAH] POTTER: One out of every ten people will experience a severe and persistent mental illness at some point in life, experts say. For decades society shut those people away in institutions. But now they’re more visible on the streets and in group homes, and faith communities have been challenged to respond.
Holy Comforter responded 15 years ago when a group home opened nearby and the priest at the time invited the residents to church. Today, almost two-thirds of the congregation is made up of people with mental illness—including bipolar disorder, clinical depression, and schizophrenia—who worship together…
Read or watch it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Psychology Mental Illness * Theology Pastoral Theology
At a recent demonstration held by Napa employees demanding better safety measures, finding people who had been attacked by patients wasn't difficult.
There's Chris Cullen, a psychiatric technician who says he was punched in the face; and Zach Hatton, a recreation therapist who recounted two injuries. "I was punched in the face about a year and a half ago," Hatton says, "and then my wrist was twisted up pretty badly and just has never healed."
Dr. Richard Frishman, a psychiatrist, was attacked while interviewing a new patient. "He came flying across the table, fists flying," Frishman says. "He was able to hurl me against the wall where I struck my head and fractured my wrist."
Read or listen to it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Psychology Mental Illness Violence * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Politics in General State Government
There has been a lot of speculation about whether Jared Lee Loughner, the man arrested for the Arizona shooting, has a severe mental illness. But is mental illness a sufficient explanation for his actions? Recent research has found that mental illness is, in fact, tied to an increased risk of violence—but it is not a simple relationship....
...the vast majority of patients with severe mental illness are not violent during their lifetimes. The largest and longest study of schizophrenia and violence, conducted in Sweden over the course of 30 years, found that only 13% of patients had violent convictions after receiving their diagnoses. For most patients, the risk of becoming a victim of violence is higher than the risk that they will commit violence.
Nor should we make the mistake of assuming that a correlation between mental illness and violence somehow establishes a causal connection between them. It may be that schizophrenia is simply a marker for other factors that increase the risk of violence. Of these factors, one of the strongest is alcohol and drug abuse. Estimates from the U.S. indicate that around half of patients with schizophrenia also have problems with substance abuse. One study in American urban centers found that nearly a third of patients who were discharged from the hospital and also diagnosed with substance abuse were violent within one year.
Read it all.
As our economic conditions continue to deteriorate, mentally disturbed people like Jared Loughner are the first to breakdown and lose it, but there will inevitably be many to follow. This tragedy is not an isolated incident. In just the past few days there have been two more incidents. A lobbyist, who was the wife of a White House adviser, was found dead in a burning car. A man upset over his Social Security benefits threatened to set fire to Senator Michael Bennet’s office and shoot his staff. There have been dozens of similar incidents over the past two years. From John Bedell, the man who opened fire on the Pentagon, to Joe Stack, the man who had a tax dispute and flew his plan into the Austin, Texas IRS building, an increasing number of Americans are beginning to resort to violence as a last desperate act of vengeance.
We can dismiss and write off all of this as just crazy people doing crazy things and go back to living with our heads in the sand, business as usual, or we can begin the urgent task of fixing a society that is severely out of balance.
The choice is ours.
Read it all.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Psychology Mental Illness Stress Violence * Economics, Politics Economy Housing/Real Estate Market Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market The U.S. Government Politics in General State Government
In India, there is only 1 psychiatrist for every 400,000 people, according to a recent study by the Indian government. It is one of the lowest ratios anywhere in the world.
It means that most people in India go untreated for substance abuse problems, severe depression and psychotic disorders. Or rather, they go untreated by doctors. Instead, they turn to the gods.
Many people believe one particular South Indian temple can heal the mentally ill.
Read or listen to it all.
AMERICANS, particularly if they are of a certain leftward-leaning, college-educated type, worry about our country’s blunders into other cultures. In some circles, it is easy to make friends with a rousing rant about the McDonald’s near Tiananmen Square, the Nike factory in Malaysia or the latest blowback from our political or military interventions abroad. For all our self-recrimination, however, we may have yet to face one of the most remarkable effects of American-led globalization. We have for many years been busily engaged in a grand project of Americanizing the world’s understanding of mental health and illness. We may indeed be far along in homogenizing the way the world goes mad.
This unnerving possibility springs from recent research by a loose group of anthropologists and cross-cultural psychiatrists. Swimming against the biomedical currents of the time, they have argued that mental illnesses are not discrete entities like the polio virus with their own natural histories. These researchers have amassed an impressive body of evidence suggesting that mental illnesses have never been the same the world over (either in prevalence or in form) but are inevitably sparked and shaped by the ethos of particular times and places. In some Southeast Asian cultures, men have been known to experience what is called amok, an episode of murderous rage followed by amnesia; men in the region also suffer from koro, which is characterized by the debilitating certainty that their genitals are retracting into their bodies. Across the fertile crescent of the Middle East there is zar, a condition related to spirit-possession beliefs that brings forth dissociative episodes of laughing, shouting and singing.
Read it all.
Caught this one through the paper edition that I get through the mail--a long searching piece which is a good illustration of the sheer agony of sustained mental illness. Money line (for me):
Leonard is still struggling, for reasons no one understands. He keeps odd hours, working through most nights and sleeping much of the day. He is not unhappy, he said, but he has the same aversion to washing and still lives like a hermit.Read it all--KSH.
“I still don’t know why I’m like this, and I would still try anything that could help,” he said. “But at this point, obviously, I’m skeptical of the efficacy of surgery, at least for me."
Last week, Shinseki spoke to a group of young veterans attending college. A former Army chief of staff who was wounded during his service in Vietnam, Shinseki asked the veterans if any of them suffered from post-traumatic stress.
He got only silence — so Shinseki asked about symptoms.
"How many of you have a little trouble sleeping at night?" he asked the students, many of whom had been in combat.
The general then asked them if they were overly vigilant for threats in their own homes, or if any of them had been having anger management problems.
"And then hands go up," Shinseki said. "And they looked at each other, and they suddenly realize they're not the only ones in it."
Listen to it all.
I served my CPE internship in a VA hospital where the two wards I was to help care for had many mentally ill people on them. My supervisor said, early on in the program, "Kendall, the mentally ill are the lepers of modern day society." It rings ever more true the more distance I get from the remark. During that summer you cannot imagine how FEW of the patients on these wards who struggled with this kind of sickness were visited by their family members. Watch it all--and note particularly her response when she is asked about how she sees her sister--KSH.
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