Tag Archives | Mental Health

Robin Williams, Mental Health, and Social Insanity

A make-shift fan tribute to Robin Williams at the steps of the San Fransicso house used for Mrs. Doubtfire, taken on August 13, 2014. By rulenumberone2 via Wikimedia Commons

A make-shift fan tribute to Robin Williams at the steps of the San Fransicso house used for Mrs. Doubtfire, taken on August 13, 2014. By rulenumberone2 via Wikimedia Commons.

Michael K. Smith writes at CounterPunch:

“We are made miserable . . . not just by the strength of our beliefs, but by the weight of hard and all-too real situations, as they bear downward, robbing us of control . . . unhappiness treated by clinicians has much more to do with the sufferer’s situation than with anything about themselves, and for those with few privileges, this unhappiness is pretty well beyond the reach of therapeutic or any other conversation.”

– Paul Moloney “The Therapy Industry”

Robin Williams’s body was scarcely cold when liberal commentators began using the tragedy of his death as publicity for suicide hotlines and professional mental health intervention in general.  He had long-standing depression, we were told, and his “mental illness” was manifest in his decision to take his own life.

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A Buddhist Perspective on Suicide

Happy Feet Two Australian Premiere With Robin Williams And George Miller At Entertainment Quarter In Sydney. By Eva Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons

Happy Feet Two Australian Premiere With Robin Williams And George Miller At Entertainment Quarter In Sydney. By Eva Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons.

One of the most effective ways to combat depression is to do the exact opposite of what you feel like doing: taking care of yourself.

via The Huffington Post (please click through to read the entire piece):

The news of Robin Williams’ passing is shocking and touching so many of us. I was waiting for a friend at a bar when I first heard. All around me people erupted in a variety of emotional reactions as the word quickly spread. In the time since, a common reaction has been deep sadness, often paired with a sentiment of “I never thought someone like him would kill themselves.”

What we mean when we say “I never thought someone like him…” is that we can’t wrap our minds around certain people whom we deem successful or joyful or wise suffering from the same sorts to the demons that we ourselves face.

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Twenty Percent of US Soldiers Had Mental Illness Before Enlisting

120117-A-0000X-771 (7016614597)Some people might say you’d have to have a mental problem to enlist in the military, but that’s not exactly the point of a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry as reported in The Guardian:

The first three studies in a large research initiative to better understand US military suicides indicates that some patterns in military suicide are reflective of mental health problems in the civilian population.

The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army Starrs) uses data from existing army systems and what researchers can collect from soldiers to better understand why soldiers might be at an increased risk for suicidal behavior compared to the civilian population.

Two of the three papers, published Monday in Jama Psychiatry, show the results of surveys and interviews with 5,428 soldiers which looked at theprevalence of mental disorders among non-deployed soldiers and suicidal behavior among currently deployed soldiers. The third study tested common theories about military suicide using historical data.

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Is ADHD a Mental Health Crisis, or a Cultural One?

Children in a classroomKate Lunau looks at the reasons behind the rapid rise in ADHD diagnosis rates for MacLeans:

Any visitor to North Carolina and California will know that the two states have their differences. The former is a typically “red state”; California is staunchly “blue.” Each has certain geographic, ethnic and cultural peculiarities, different demographic makeup, family income levels, and more. Yet perhaps the most surprising divide, one many wouldn’t expect, is that North Carolina appears to be a hotbed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD—especially when compared to California. A child who lived in North Carolina instead of California in 2007, according to U.S. academics Stephen Hinshaw and Richard Scheffler, was 2½ times more likely to be diagnosed.

In their forthcoming book The ADHD Explosion, Hinshaw and Scheffler—a psychologist and health economist, respectively, at the University of California at Berkeley—examine the causes behind the startling and rapid rise in diagnosis rates of ADHD, a neurobehavioural disorder that has somehow become epidemic.

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Study Says Suicide Rate Will Fall Significantly In States With Legalized Marijuana

Marijuana jointApparently legalizing weed saves lives, the New Republic reports:

The American Journal of Public Health has just published a study suggesting that states that legalize medical marijuana can expect a reduction in suicide rates.

A team of economists looked at state-by-state statistics on suicide rates over a 17-year period, from 1990 to 2007, comparing data from states that voted to legalize medical marijuana with those that kept it criminalized. According to their calculations, in the three years following legalization, the suicide rate dropped, on average, 10.8 percent among men in their 20s and 9.8 percent for men in their 30s.

“The negative relationship between legalization and suicides is consistent with the hypothesis that marijuana can be used to cope with stressful life events,” wrote the authors.

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Sadistic Cops Videotape Themselves Torturing Mentally Ill Man With Taser


As stupid as they are sadistic, a bunch of cops and their paramedic buddies taped themselves torturing a mentally ill man witha  stun gun.  Naturally, they uploaded it to YouTube.

Via BoingBoing:

Police and paramedics in Millvale, Pa., were recorded on video laughing as they repeatedly stunned a handcuffed and mentally-ill man as he pounded his head against the side of a desk. The video–predictably–ended up on YouTube, and the police officers involved became targets of an FBI investigation and a federal lawsuit.

Keep reading.

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Should Lithium Be Added To Drinking Water To Prevent Suicides?

lithiumMother Nature Network has the latest news on the previously discussed sort-of-logical-yet-profoundly-horrifying concept:

A study carried out in June of 2011 demonstrated that drinking water contaminated with lithium could actually lower suicide rates. So should lithium be added as a supplement to the water supply, as is done with fluoride?

In the study, 6,460 samples of drinking water were tested across 99 districts in Austria. Districts with higher levels of lithium tended to report lower suicide rates. In some areas lithium occurs naturally in the water supply, likely leached out of rocks and stones.

The results weren’t terribly shocking, as lithium has been used for decades to treat depression. This was the first time its effect was measured based on trace amounts within drinking water, however.

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Using Facebook For Witchcraft

CaptainAldenDenouncedOK, it sounds crazy, but sociologist Robert Bartholomew believes that Facebook and other social media platforms can give rise to Mass Psychogenic Illness (MPI), also known as Mass Hysteria. Laura Dimon reports for The Atlantic:

“Eerie and remarkable.”

Those are the words that Robert Bartholomew used to describe this past winter’s outbreak of mass hysteria in Danvers, Massachusetts, a town also known as “Old Salem” and “Salem Village.”

Bartholomew, a sociologist in New Zealand who has been studying cases of mass hysteria for more than 20 years, was referring to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-1693, the most widely recognized episode of mass hysteria in history, which ultimately saw the hanging deaths of 20 women.

Fast-forward about 300 years to January 2013, when a bizarre case of mass hysteria again struck Danvers. About two dozen teenagers at the Essex Agricultural and Technical School began having “mysterious” hiccups and vocal tics.

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Back Alley Jinn Exorcism in the UK

jinnLast year, the BBC reported on a case where four family members were found guilty of murder.  The victim, Naila Mumtaz, an expectant mother, was found smothered in the home she shared with her husband, Mohammed, in Birmingham, England.  Mohammed and his parents, Zia Ul-Haq and Salma Aslan, along with his brother-in-law, Hammad Hassan, denied the allegations and defended themselves by claiming that Naila’s injuries were self-inflicted, and that she was possessed by a jinn (djinn), an Islamic evil spirit, similar to the Christian concept of a demon.

Although it received some media attention, this was not an isolated case.  Catrin Nye (BBC) reported a rise of criminal abuse in the UK related to the exorcism of jinn (a practice called “Ruqyah”) in recent years.  Some of these cases have resulted in the victims’ death, with the so-called “healer” (“raaqi”) often escaping punishment, being hidden by members of their communities.  Even in the majority of cases, where death does not occur, we find victims of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental health issues being denied the proper medical treatment in favor of exorcism.… Read the rest

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Coffee May Prevent Suicidal Thoughts

coffee2I’ve heard many people say that they can’t live without their coffee. Turns out that there may be more truth to that than they know, although in my case, lack of coffee tends to bring on homicidal feelings.

Via PopSci:

According to a new study by the Harvard School of Public Health, subjects who drank two to four cups of coffee daily were 50 percent less likely to commit suicide. This was observed in comparison to those who drink decaffeinated, very little, or no coffee.

Researchers examined data from three U.S. studies evaluating coffee and overall caffeine intake every four years. This included 43,599 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1988-2008), 73,820 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (1992-2008) and 91,005 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II (1993-2007). The subjects shared information about their caffeine intake via questionnaires, and the studies involved 277 cases of suicide.

Read the rest of the story and then go chat up that cute barista… for mental health reasons.… Read the rest

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