Sunday, 1 November 2015

This Week in Mental Health... 1st November 2015

Welcome back to another round-up of mental health related stories! To read this week's Halloween special, click here. This week people have been writing about Professor Green's documentary on suicide, how a physical disability impacts your mental health, and the impact foster care can have on your depression.
Check them out:

1) Can Professor Green teach men to talk about suicide?, NicolaSlawson
Seven years ago, Stephen Manderson aka Professor Green, lost his father. He and his grandmother never discussed it until now, and only after letting the cameras in to raise awareness about the lead killer in men under 45 in the UK – suicide. Prior to the documentary airing, Slawson examines whether Manderson can spark a change in conversation around mental health.

The Guardian, 27th October 2015;
“In a heartbreaking documentary for BBC3, Manderson, who was raised by his grandmother in the London borough of Hackney, let the cameras in as he delved into his father’s past in an attempt to work out what led him, like so many others, to suicide. A common thread in his research is how many relatives and friends of men who have taken their own lives did not see it coming. Despite the devastating impact this has on the people left behind, families often brush suicide under the carpet. “The documentary was actually the first time me and my grandmother talked about it,” says Manderson. “It is difficult. It’s not something even family like to talk about. It’s really hard”...
Have any of Manderson’s fans been in contact since the publicity for the documentary started? Manderson’s voice shakes as he responds: “Yesterday, someone told me I had saved his life.””
**The documentary aired on BBC Three on Tuesday 27th October**

2) 17 Things Only People With Mental Health Issues Know, Jordan Davidson

Amy Sefton / BuzzFeed
I love the coverage Buzzfeed gives to mental illness. As one of the most popular online news websites, especially among the younger generation, their focus on mental health is encouraging conversations and helping many young people feel less alone. Not to mention how damn relatable their posts are!

Buzzfeed 27th October 2015;
““Psycho.” “Crazy.” “Insane.”
We’ve all heard someone use one of those terms to describe another person’s behavior, or even said it ourselves. As harmless as the words seem, they carry a lot of weight, especially for people living with a mental health condition — around 1 in 5 Americans, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. 
BuzzFeed Life reached out to 17 people living with mental health conditions to learn more about the challenges and stigma they face....
11. It can strip you of your personality.
“Depression has stripped me of many of the qualities and quirks that make me, me. What’s left is a husk of a person — someone I don’t particularly like, so how can I expect others to like me?”

2) Suicide rate by girls here is highest in the EU, John Brennan

We talk about male suicide rates a lot – and with good reason. The number of men taking their own lives is rising, and is substantially higher than the number of females doing the same. But Ireland’s rate of female suicide is also alarmingly high. Not to mention the disproportionate number of LGBT suicides. But as awareness grows, and more and more young people try to seek help, our health system has become overburdened; with 3,000 children on waiting lists for mental health services in May 2015. A couple of hundred waiting over a year for help. Perhaps we need more action to go along with all of these facts?

Irish Independent 28th October 2015;
“Ireland had the highest rate of female youth suicides, and the second highest rate of male youth suicides in the EU between 2009 and 2011, the Children's Rights Alliance report found. It said it was a "stark reality" that one-third of LGBT young people have "seriously thought about ending their lives" and 20pc have attempted suicide. The report reiterated concern about teenage suicide, particularly among boys, and the apparent link between underage substance abuse and the suicide rate.
The report also found that there were over 3,000 children on waiting lists to access mental health services across the country in May of this year. This equated to an increase in referrals of 49pc between June 2014 and May 2015. Of these, over 1,700 were on waiting lists for more than three months - while some 383 had been on waiting lists for over a year.”

3) When I’m Depressed, The Homeless Poet

It’s short and sweet, but poetically beautiful. Take a minute and give it a read.

RhymeNRevolt, 27th October 2015;
"When I’m depressed I’m incapable of making choices
Because my head is split between numerous voices
When I’m depressed I can’t get out of bed
Unable to act on any of the thoughts in my head"

4) The link between physical disability and mental health, Kate Eveleigh

One of my favourite blogs is Hayley’s Pull Yourself Together. I love how she’s so passionate about mental health and continues to write open and engaging topics around the subject.  This week she invited a fellow blogger, Kate Eveleigh, onto the blog to write about what impact her physical disability has had on her mental health. Kate normally blogs at

Pull Yourself Together, 28th October;

“I have Cerebral Palsy, a neurological disability I have had since birth, which alters the command pathways in the brain and causes muscle tension and involuntary spasms. I use a wheelchair and require support from a Personal Assistant to do most daily tasks, such as using the toilet and shower, and preparing food. I also have depression and anxiety, which was formally diagnosed about 9 years ago, although in reality, my symptoms began much earlier. I also have a history of self harm... I was determined that I wouldn’t be defined by my disability, and for a long time, I treated my physical disability and my mental health as separate entities, refusing to admit that the two were connected. When I attended counselling, I’d focus on “micro” issues, such as arguments with my parents and exam stress. These were important to me, but they were part of a much deeper issue – my difficulty in coming to terms with my disability and its implications on my life.”

5) Spark in the darkness, Stephanie Trzyna 

Stephanie is a foster carer who has been living with depression for over 20 years. In this post she reflects on what it can feel like to take in a child for only a short amount of time before you have let them go and move on to another home.

S Paige Depression, 29th October 2015;
“I now continue to suffer daily from a Depression so soul sucking that after going on holiday for a few months, it decided to move back into that empty spot in my head and not only reside, but take over.  It brings constant images of T back then, Sophia back then, Jimmy back then and the horror of myself from back then... a year ago.  It causes me to hate myself, to think of myself as worthless and undeserving of love... undeserving of my husband and my daughter.  It brought back that guilt I felt because it was me who had the anxiety and panic that caused T to leave us.  It brought back the blame game... the blame that I feel toward myself because I am the one who is Mentally Ill.  It brought back the anxiety attacks, the crying fits, the desire to want to remain in my bed and not move.  I am immersed in it.  I fear the next few months but hope my new therapy will make it somewhat bearable.”

6) "Suicidal Teen" Now the Most Common Halloween Costume in Ireland
Ireland's version of The Onion strikes again using cutting satire to highlight Ireland's problem with discussing mental health. Their shock tactics may not appeal to everyone, but it sure is relevant and one way to highlight our high rate of suicide.

Waterford Whispers, 30th October 2015;
"DESPITE the rise in popularity of Minions costumes and the continuing appeal of “sexy” variations on classic outfits, the most common Halloween costume among teenagers in Ireland remains that of someone pretending they’re absolutely fine despite struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide. The costume, which is suitable for both boys and girls, consists of an outward appearance of everything being alright despite the wearer struggling to cope with anxiety, depression and a feeling of helplessness. Many people have been known to wear the costume at all times throughout the year, not just at Halloween. In some instances, friends of people wearing the costume may not actually be aware the smiling face and cheerful demeanour is in fact nothing more than a mask in which the wearer has spent years crafting. In other cases, teenagers are well aware of the outfit, but don’t want to talk about it. “There’s a bunch of us going out this Friday dressed like zombie Spice Girls, ” said one teenager we interviewed."

See you again next week for another update,

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