Friday, November 27, 2009

NAMI Advocate E-newsletter, November 2009

Hi Everyone, I hope you are doing well. I am doing good. I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving with your family and friends. I had a very nice day with my family and relatives. So thankful to have them. Today I want to share with you the NAMI Advocate E newsletter. It is filled with inspiring stories and updates on the Health Care Reform bill and how it pertains to coverage for the Mentally Ill. I love the book they put on their shelves for the month. I have included the link below to take you directly to the newsletter. Be back soon with more updates and articles. Thanks for visiting my blog. Take Care, Janet :)

NAMI Advocate
NAMI | Advocate Magazine

NAMI Advocate e-newsletter, November 2009

In this issue: Health Care Reform Legislation Advances in Congress; Voice Awards Honor Those Who Give Voice to Mental Illness Issues; NAMI Receives National LGBT Award; Actress Glenn Close is Changing Minds about Mental Illness and more... Read this issue online.
NAMI ADVOCATE e-Newsletter

Actress Glenn Close: Changing Minds about Mental Illness

Emmy award-winning actress Glenn Close has launched a campaign to fight stigma and provide access to information and support for people with mental illness, their family and friends.

Depression Survey
Depression: Gaps and Guideposts

A new major survey report released by NAMI reveals gaps in Americans' understanding of major depression and explores caregiver and individual experience.

Healthcare Reform
Health Care Reform Legislation Advances in Congress

The U.S. Senate began debate on legislation to reform our nation's health care system. The Senate bill contains a number of coverage expansions and improvements critical for people living with mental illness.

Voice Awards
Annual Voice Awards Honor Those Who Give Voice to Mental Illness Issues

Hollywood reaffirmed its commitment to combating stigma through the annual Voice Awards, which were hosted by Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss.

MAC Award.
Fighting Stigma: NAMI Receives National LGBT Award.

NAMI's Multicultural Action Center received an award at the annual Alternatives Conference organized by the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-help Clearinghouse.

NAMI's Bookshelf

This month: Wrestling with Our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness and the Journey to Wholeness.

Join NAMI today!
When you become a member of NAMI, you become part of America's largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons living with serious mental illness. And now you can join online.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NIH Encourages Depressed Moms to Seek Treatment for Themselves


Hi Everyone, I hope you are doing well. I am doing good. I thought this was an important update from NAMI. When my mother first got sick, nobody knew what to think of the signs. Fortunately today there is more of an awareness. I still feel that women especially mom's and wives may still fear to talk out about their depression. They probably feel they are failing their families and themselves somehow. If you or someone you know suddenly changes their behavior and you sense something is wrong, talk to them. They may be waiting for you to reach out. You can always contact your local mental health center for assistance on how to approach the situation and find out what supports are in place in your community . Thanks for visiting my blog. Take Care, Janet :)

Science Update
November 13, 2009
NIH Encourages Depressed Moms to Seek Treatment for Themselves

Numerous studies have suggested that depression runs in families. Children of depressed parents are 2–3 times as likely to develop depression as compared to children who do not have a family history of the disorder. Other studies have shown that remission of depression in mothers is associated with improvements in psychiatric symptoms in their children. Despite all signs encouraging mothers to prioritize their own mental health, many suffer from untreated depression while managing treatment for their children's emotional or behavioral problems.

An NIH Challenge grant was awarded on behalf of NIMH to Judy Garber, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University, to develop and test a method encouraging depressed mothers to follow treatment recommendations. For this study, Garber is recruiting 200 mothers of children receiving psychiatric treatment at a community mental health center.

All study participants will receive a referral for treatment and an information pamphlet describing the symptoms of depression and anxiety, possible effects of depression on children, and different types of treatments. Randomly assigned participants will also receive a brief, one-session Enhanced Motivation Intervention (EMI). EMI uses special interviewing techniques to identify and resolve a person's concerns about and practical barriers to treatment.

The researchers anticipate that EMI will result in more participants getting treatment for mental disorders compared with the control group. If successful, such interventions would not only benefit the depressed individual, but may improve the well-being of her children as well.

The NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research program is a new initiative funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). This program supports research on 15 broad Challenge Areas that address specific scientific and health research challenges in biomedical and behavioral research that will benefit from an influx of significant two-year funds to quickly advance the area.

Within these Challenge Areas, NIMH identified 35 topics of particular funding interest that advance the Institute's mission and the objectives outlined in the NIMH Strategic Plan, the Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related Research, and the National Advisory Mental Health Council report on research training. These topics can be found at NIMH's Challenge Grant web page.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Coping with Traumatic Events


Hi Everyone, I hope you are doing well. I am doing good. I thought I would post this list of resources for anyone or any family that is coping with a traumatic event in their lives right now. After recent events in Texas it made me realize no matter how close or far away we are traumatize by violence more than we would like to be. Thanks for visiting my blog, Take Care, Janet :)

The National Institute of Mental Health conducts and supports research not only on a wide range of mental health disorders, but also on reactions to national crises and traumatic events. This research includes the reactions of people following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers; the Oklahoma City bombing; wars and violence in the Middle East; and disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, fires, floods, and hurricanes, including the 2005 Gulf Coast storms.

There are many different responses to crisis. Most survivors have intense feelings after a traumatic event but recover from the trauma; others have more difficulty recovering — especially those who have had previous traumatic experiences, who are faced with ongoing stress, or who lack support from friends and family — and will need additional help.

The NIMH provides information based on scientific research and evidence-based practice. We have compiled this information to assist you, your family, and friends. We have special information for helping children that many parents and organizations have found useful.
Mental Disorders That May Be Related to or Affected by Exposure to Violence or Traumatic Events

* Anxiety Disorders
* Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
* Depression

NIMH Publications and Reports

* Mapping the Landscape of Deployment Related Adjustment and Mental Disorders: A Working Group to Inform Research (PDF file, 22 pages)
* Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), A Real Illness
* Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Research Fact Sheet
* Depression: When the Blues Don't Go Away
* Panic Disorder, A Real Illness
* Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Parents Can Do
* Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Community Members Can Do
* Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Rescue Workers Can Do
* Mental Health and Mass Violence: Evidence-Based Early Psychological Intervention for Victims/Survivors of Mass Violence (PDF file, 123 pages)


* Information about Children and Violence
* U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Hurricane Information
* Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Does God Have a Place in Psychiatric Treatment Plans?


Hi Everyone, I hope you are doing well, I am doing much better, I got a bug this week along with a UTI, I know all my lady readers know how painful that is. I could barely get off the couch until today. I received a newsletter from NAMI Faithnet in a email today. This part of the newsletter touched me and I wanted to share it with you. I included a link at the bottom of this post to link you to the newsletter if you wanted to check it out. There are some good stories that are touching and maybe will inspire you. Thanks for visiting my blog, Take Care, Janet :)

One's identity is unraveled by psychiatric diagnosis and often, so too is faith.

In 1992, my father drove (more like sped) me to the emergency of Lion's Gate Hospital. I was floridly psychotic. I ran from one end of the parkade to the other, shouting ‘I am one with God'. Neither of us knew what was happening. My dad describes it as one of the most terrifying experiences of his life, for me one of the most devastating yet liberating.

My diagnosis: rapid-cycling, mixed stated bipolar disorder with mild temporal lobe epilepsy and generalized anxiety disorder. Yeah, say that five times fast!

Over the next five years I had four further psychotic episodes, innumerable manias and suicidal depressions and five visits to the psych ward.

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I feel lucky, for the most part I had incredible health care providers - from the psychiatrist I saw weekly, to the nurses and orderlies who helped me regroup in the hospital to the case worker I met with.

My treatment was fairly straightforward: medication, psychotherapy, group work, occupational therapy and vocational rehab. Accepting the diagnosis and treatment however, was a whole other bucket of fish.

And unfortunately the one discharge plan element, which could have helped me accept treatment more readily, was overlooked. My spiritual beliefs were not only ignored, but more accurately actively avoided. To some degree it was understandable. My psychosis involved images of God, the devil, allusions to birth and death and an intense focus on the nature of reality. Care providers were reluctant to discuss spiritual topics for fear of destabilizing my mood.

But this was a most heartfelt dilemma and conflict I needed to reconcile in order to start the healing process. I originally shot into psychosis while meditating deeply and within that altered state had my most profound spiritual experiences; ones that I still hold dear and affect how I am in the world today.

This doesn't mean all things that happened in the psychosis were significant or even remotely relevant. But my health care team only saw the psychoses as negative, never exploring with me what happened during them or what parts, if any, felt meaningful to me and why.

Because facets of my psychoses felt life changing, I was at odds with the medical profession. How could I label something of such significance as only pathological?

This is one of the most important points I wish to convey. I refused treatment and remained ‘non-compliant' largely because no one told me these two things were not mutually exclusive.

It was not until years after my initial diagnosis and visit to ‘Club Medication' that I met an exquisitely talented psychiatrist who helped me hold an apparent paradox. He explained what I went through could be spiritual as well as psychiatric, each profoundly affecting my life.

I can't emphasize this enough: if someone within the healthcare system had taken me aside earlier, told me that just because I have a mental illness doesn't negate the importance of what I experienced, I can guarantee I would have had less visits to the psych ward.

Ideally a doctor or nurse would have acknowledged the spiritual meaning and shifts I felt I had in the psychoses, asking what they were, how they were positive and why they were important to me. And explaining to me I would be able to look at them more closely when I my illness had stabilized.

Dialogues like these would have given me much needed validation, helping me see I could accept having a mental illness without abandoning my new life perspectives and realize the illness needed to be stabilized for me to effectively and safely integrate these insights and experiences.

Eventually my psychiatrist and I agreed we'd meet to monitor my medication and for psychotherapy sessions (often CBT with interpersonal therapy) and I would also meet with a spiritual counselor who could help me put the spiritual aspects I experienced into context. This created a beautifully effective blend of very traditional psychiatry and counseling with gentle yet very vital spiritual exploration.

When a discharge plan is being drafted for you, get involved. Say your piece. Or ‘peace' as it were. Don't underestimate your own power in the building of a rehab plan. And if it is important to you, make room for your spiritual life. Self-identity is unraveled by psychiatric diagnosis and so too is faith, a sense of order and place in the world.

A ‘spiritual action plan' is a map to help affirm purpose from something that appears to have none and establishes, for us as patients, reasons to recover; reasons to continue even while the going gets tough.

My trust in reality, in myself and in the Divine was deeply wounded when I was thrust through those emergency doors. Mental illness and in particular, psychosis, shakes the strongest of faiths. Whether that faith is religious in nature, or as in my case, a ‘life perspective', in order for the whole person to heal, spirituality must be addressed.

Without indulging my irrational thinking nor dismissing ideas I valued, a gifted nurse helped me start accepting treatment. I sat on the edge of my hospital bed, despondent and unclear as to how to reconcile accepting that I had a mental illness without abandoning my spiritual insights by calling them delusional. The nurse, who had been on shifts throughout my four weeks on A2, sat beside me, listening as I explained what had brought me there. Silence. And then with quiet confidence she said: ‘when you touch that limitless part of yourself, it can be overwhelming.' That's all I needed to know: someone in the medical field had heard how powerful and not completely negative my journey with bipolar disorder and psychosis had been.

I then realized that perhaps I could find others in healthcare who shared her same caring and inclusive view. I enlisted her help and she gave me the name of the psychiatrist who I credit with coaching me back to health.

© 2009 Victoria Maxwell