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#SkipBayless: ‘No sympathy’ for #DakPrescott sharing depression struggles

Read New York Post article here .. https://nypost.com/2020/09/10/skip-bayless-no-sympathy-for-dak-precttos-public-depression-talk/

Idiots like #SkipBayless are just the type of people who hamper people who need mental health help from seeking it, or talking about it.


I’ve talked about my mental health struggles, #DakPrescott talked about his, and I’m so proud and supportive of everyone who speaks up and seeks help.


A few weeks ago, former First Lady, #MichelleObama even spoke up about her depression that she was going through.

Hooray for #DakPrescott, hooray for #MichelleObama… hooray for me, and everyone else who seeks help!!!


Don’t ever be ashamed, or feel shamed into not seeking help by people like #SkipBayless.

You are loved and life is precious…..

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – The Best Ways To Prevent #Suicide

When knowledge is the power of prevention

#Suicideprevention is always a priority, especially during times of economic decline, illness, and uncertainty.  But what are some of the best strategies for success?  If you know someone whom you suspect is harboring thoughts of ending their life, what do you say? If you want to send a message within your community, what are some of the best methods of #suicideprevention public messaging? Research has some answers.

Donna Littlewood et al. (2019) examined the issue of #suicideprevention in a qualitative study involving a review of quality practices as described by clinicians.[i] They extracted data from the National Confidential Inquiry into #Suicide and Safety in #MentalHealth (NCISH) database, which examined suicides among people receiving #mentalhealthservices. 

They found five themes which illustrated positive practices, helping to: 

  1. promote safer environments, 
  2. develop stronger relationships with patients and families, 
  3. provide timely access to tailored and appropriate care, 
  4. facilitate seamless transitions, and 
  5. establish a sufficiently skilled, resourced, and supported staff team.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Littlewood et al. noted, however, the importance of context as a distinguishing feature, explaining that failure to deliver adequate care can be seriously harmful to patients. As an example, they note that failure to develop strong relationships with those providing care, or failure to facilitate timely access to care appropriate for the situation are linked with disastrous results, such as #suicide.

In addition to discussing the best practices, Littlewood et al. recognized that their study also demonstrated the value of allowing clinicians to share their experience, which can enhance quality improvements within the field of #mentalhealthcare.

Intervention Efforts 

Stephen Platt and Thomas Niederkrotenthaler (2020) reviewed best practices in #suicideprevention programs.[ii] They examined and analyzed the effectiveness of 13 different types of interventions that have become part of national #suicideprevention programs. They found strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of what they describe as structural interventions, such as restrictions on access to railways, tall buildings, and bridges, as well as restrictions on accessing pharmacological agents. 

But they found only weakly supportive evidence of the effectiveness of a wide variety of other types of programs and interventions, including everything from training and education of primary care physicians, to firearm access restrictions, to settings-based programs in workplaces, schools, and communities.  article continues after advertisement

Platt and Niederkrotenthaler conclude that major improvements are needed in bridging the knowledge gap about methods of effectively intervening to prevent #suicide. They describe this gap as surprising, but also disturbing. As an example, they observe the dearth of evaluation studies examining how substance misuse programs impact suicidal behavior, noting the importance and prevalence of alcohol and other substances abused by individuals who also exhibit suicidal behavior. 

Public Awareness Campaigns

Joie Acosta et al. (2017) examined some of the best types of public messaging strategies for preventing #suicide, specifically evaluating California’s ‘Know the Signs’ Media Campaign.”[iii] They developed a checklist of “best practices for #suicideprevention communication campaigns,” and then used the checklist to evaluate California’s Know the Signs (KTS-M) #suicideprevention mass media campaign. KTS-M endeavored to educate others about the red flags of #suicide, and how to talk with at-risk individuals at risk in order to educate them about resources that are available. 

Their results showed that the KTS-M campaign was among the best that they had evaluated. Core campaign messages include: Pain isn’t obvious; #Suicide is preventable; Know the warning signs of #suicide; Find the words to talk to someone you are concerned may be at risk; and You are not alone in helping that person—there are resources available.

Best Practices for Best Results

We are working as a society to find the best ways to identify risk factors, treat relevant symptomology, and ultimately prevent #suicide. By sharing information among community members, clinicians, and families touched by the heartbreak of losing a loved one through #suicide, we can continue to strive to reach out to those at risk to prevent loss of life. 

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #DallasCowboys QB #DakPrescott Reveals That his Brother Jace Died Of #Suicide

Jason Owens

Dak Prescott and his brother Tad opened up about Jace's suicide. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
#DakPrescott and his brother Tad opened up about Jace’s #suicide

In April, the #DallasCowboys announced that Dak Prescott’s brother Jace Prescott died at 31 years old.

The Cowboys quarterback discussed his brother’s death in an interview published Wednesday and revealed that the cause of death was #suicide. Prescott and his brother Tad made the revelation in an interview with “In Depth with Graham Bensinger.”

“I’ll never get another hug in my life like the ones he gave,” Prescott told Bensinger.

Dak and Tad told Bensinger that their mother’s colon cancer took a heavy toll on Jace. Peggy Prescott died after a long battle with the disease in 2013. Jace spent daily time with her as the cancer progressed and ravaged her body. Dak was in college at Mississippi State at the time.

‘Didn’t know how to be vulnerable’

“You can’t even put into words the burden,” Prescott told Bensinger. “It’s something only Jace knew. And he didn’t necessarily share that. Jace never was really much of a talker.

“When something like that was a huge burden on him, he didn’t know how to share it — didn’t know how to be vulnerable about it.”

How Dak found out

Prescott he said he was experiencing his own bout of #anxiety and #depression that’s become familiar to many during the #pandemic when he learned about his brother’s death. He said he woke up from his first night of good sleep in a while to missed calls from Tad and his father walking into his bedroom to break the news of Jace’s death.

Tad, in tears, told Bensinger that he didn’t recognize how much pain Jace was in prior to his death.

“I just saw my brother three days before it happened, and everything seemed fine,” Tad said.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Dak encourages others to seek help

Prescott encouraged people who are dealing with #depression to reach out to loved ones to ease their burdens rather than hold things inside.

“He had a lot of burdens on him,” Prescott said of Jace. “He had a lot of tough things, and my sense of saying that is it showed me how vulnerable we have to be as humans, how open we have to be.

“Because our adversities, our struggles, what we go through is always gonna be too much for ourselves and maybe too much for even one or two people, but never too much for a community or too much for people in the family that you love. So you have to share these things.”

Anyone struggling with thoughts of #suicide can all the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – How To Talk About #Suicide With Your Kids

How to talk about suicide with your kids

KENNEWICK, WA – It’s been a strange year for almost everyone. From all of this stress, kids might find it difficult to deal with.

#Suicide is a hard topic for all of us to talk about. Annie Gabriel with Lutheran Community Services said the more we talk about it, the easier it is to have these conversations.

“About how health impacts us and ask questions about safety, ask questions about #suicide, the more likely youth will be able to come to us or answer honestly when they are having thoughts about #suicide,” Gabriel said.

Gabriel said often warning signs of #suicide are extreme changes in behaviors or moods.

“So we want to ask really good questions when we start seeing things out of the ordinary,” Gabriel said.

If you see extreme changes in mood, she said you should pay attention.

“So becoming really irritable or sad or depressed or also when you see someone who has a low mood for a long time and suddenly have a bright mood,” Gabriel said. “You want to follow-up with them with some really good questions.”

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

When you see behaviors like giving away a prized possession, Gabriel said that is a red flag. She said giving away passwords to #socialmedia accounts is also a warning sign she has recently become aware of.

“If someone dies by #suicide, peers can be in control of their #socialmedia accounts,” Gabriel said.

She said you do not have to wait to reach out for support.

“So, they are both in person support or online support or hotline support that someone can reach out to, that we do not have to wait until we are in crisis,” Gabriel said.

Her best advice for someone who has thoughts of #suicide is to reach out.

“Let someone know whether it is someone you trust, a friend, a family member or someone from you faith community,” Gabriel said.

If you have negative experiences with #mentalhealthservices in the past, Gabriel said try somewhere else.

“I say that #mentalhealthservices are like shoes,” Gabriel said. “You have to try them on.”

She said sometimes they are not a good fit, but try another “pair of shoes.”

“So keep trying, keep reaching out, let people know what you need and help is out there,” Gabriel said.

One tangible way parents can support their kids is learning the symptoms and #mentalhealthchallenges. The Lutheran Community Services offers a program called “Youth #MentalHealth First Aid.”

Similar to first aid, Gabriel said you can learn how to respond in a medical emergency. You’ll also learn the signs and symptoms of #mentalhealthchallenges.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #Racial Discrimination Linked To #Suicide

by Laurie Fickman,

Racial discrimination linked to suicide
University of Houston professor Rheeda Walker is reporting that #racial discrimination is so painful that it is linked to the ability to die by #suicide, a presumed prerequisite for being able to take one’s own life, and certain #mentalhealthtools – like reframing an incident – can help. Credit: University of Houston

In this age of #racial reckoning, new research findings indicate that #racial discrimination is so painful that it is linked to the ability to die by #suicide, a presumed prerequisite for being able to take one’s own life. However, the ability to emotionally and psychologically reframe a transgression can mitigate its harmful effects.

Over the last decade, #suicide rates in the #UnitedStates have increased dramatically among #racial and ethnic minorities, and #BlackAmericans in particular. For #Black young adults ages 15-24 years, #suicide is the third leading cause of death with approximately 3,000 #BlackAmericans dying by #suicide each year.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Two studies conducted independently tell a compelling story.

“Our findings demonstrate that for #Black adults, perceived discrimination serves as a sufficiently painful experience that is directly associated with higher capability to overcome one’s inherent fear of death and achieve an increased capacity for self-harm,” reports Rheeda Walker, professor of psychology and director of the University of Houston’s Culture, Risk and Resilience Lab. As author of the newly released “The Unapologetic Guide to #Black #MentalHealth,” Walker is one of the leading researchers in the U.S. specializing in culture, #race, #mentalhealth and #suicide.

The studies were led by Jasmin Brooks, a doctoral student in the research lab, and published in the journals #Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior and Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, premier journals in #suicide science and cultural psychology, respectively.

Capability for #suicide: Discrimination as a painful and provocative event

In this study, the research team measured the relationship between a person’s experiences of discrimination and their level of capability for #suicide. The study included 173 #Black and 272 #white college #students, who responded to questionnaires about their experiences.

The findings suggest that while perceived discrimination creates emotional disturbance for #white adults, it is a uniquely painful event for #Black adults.

“For #Black adults, perceived discrimination accounted for statistically significant variance above and beyond both feelings of #depression and non-discriminatory stressors in predicting #suicide capability. For #white adults, perceived discrimination was not uniquely associated with capability for #suicide,” reports Walker.

In a separate, but timely study, Walker and her team examined how some of the effects of racism could be mitigated.

The moderating effect of dispositional forgiveness on perceived #racial discrimination and #depression for #AfricanAmerican adults

While perceived #racial discrimination is associated with #depression for #AfricanAmerican adults, insight into protective measures for #racism and #depression in #AfricanAmericans is limited. In this study, 101 #AfricanAmerican college students reported their personal experiences and feelings, and Walker’s team investigated whether dispositional forgiveness is associated with less #depression. Dispositional forgiveness, the ability to reframe an incident, is not the same as excusing, encouraging reconciliation, or freeing an offender from the consequences of their actions.

“Using internal coping strategies is vital for marginalized populations that experience #racial discrimination daily. The results of this study suggest that dispositional forgiveness, a robust internal coping mechanism, can serve as a helpful coping strategy associated with fewer depressive symptoms for #AfricanAmerican adults who have experienced #racial discrimination,” reports Walker.

Walker said the findings could have important clinical implications in that dispositional forgiveness, and specifically the ability to engage in cognitive restructuring and reframing, prevents prolonged rumination.

“In a better, more inclusive world, #racism would not exist. Until that happens, psychological tools are critical for mitigating acute and long-term emotional consequences of #racial discrimination in #AfricanAmerican individuals,” said Walker.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Act On Early Signs Of #MentalIllness

By Arthur Stockwell

Source: NAMI

Most #mentalillnesses are treatable and people who have them can live full, productive and independent lives. Why then are more than 50% of people who have #mentalillness not receiving any treatment or medication?  

In addition to the illness, these individuals have a significantly higher risk of being incarcerated, having an addiction, living in poverty and dying by #suicide. In 2019 America spent $26.4 billion incarcerating the #mentallyill who make up 65% of prison populations, according to the #NationalInstituteofMentalHealth.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

The signs and symptoms of serious #mentalillness often appear in #children and youth; 50% of individuals with serious #mentalillnesses show symptoms before the age of 14. The fortunate #children and youth have parents/guardians/advocates who recognize the symptoms and get them appropriate support. These youth typically stay in school, stay off drugs and go on to lead normal lives with careers and families.

Unfortunately, most children/youths who show symptoms of #mentalillnesses are neglected, faulted and even punished for manifestations of their treatable illnesses. These youth experience a significantly higher risk of dropping out of school, using drugs, becoming homeless, attempting #suicide or being caught in the “revolving door” of crisis that leads to repeated hospitalizations or incarcerations.

The reasons most #children and #youth with #mentalillness don’t get help include: 1) the parents or guardians fail to recognize the symptoms, 2) the symptoms are recognized but ignored because of the #stigma commonly associated with #mentalillness, or 3) the parent or family lacks the resources (or insurance) to obtain treatment for the youths’ illness.

These issues show that keys to reducing untreated #mentalillness include improving and expanding early symptom recognition and developing more accessible treatment and support programs. If a child is showing signs of #mentalillness, which can include sadness, #socialisolation, self-harm, fighting or harming others, intense #anxiety, difficulty concentrating, severe mood swings or changes in personality, don’t assume it’s just a phase or a part of childhood. A professional should make that distinction.

If your child has a #mentalillness, there is help and there is hope. Most #mentalillnesses are treatable and individuals who get help and treatment go on to live full and productive lives. Developing a treatment plan that will help your child achieve their best potential may take months or years, but there is help in the form of organizations that provide support and training, and mentors with similar experiences who have succeeded in achieving their best potential and are now helping others do the same.

If all individuals who are currently living with untreated #mentalillnesses had been diagnosed correctly when they were young and received treatment and mentoring services, there would be significantly fewer people living with addictions, in jail, in poverty or attempting #suicide. Instead, most of these individuals could have built careers and experienced the joys of raising their own families.

If you see the symptoms of #mentalillness in your child, please act and see a #medicalprofessional. If you need help or guidance talk to your child’s school counselor or call #NAMI (#NationalAllianceonMentalIllness) Gainesville at (352) 320-0457.

Arthur Stockwell is executive director of NAMI Gainesville.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – 2020 On Pace To Be Worst Year For Suicides In #Black Community in a Decade

Kristen Thometz | August 4, 2020 4:23 pm

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle talks about the rise in deaths by suicide in the Black community at a press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. (Toni Preckwinkle / Facebook)Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle talks about the rise in deaths by #suicide in the #Black community at a press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020.

More #AfricanAmericans in Cook County have died by #suicide this year than during all of 2019, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Tuesday.

“Most notably we’re seeing an increase of #suicide among our young people. The youngest victim this year was only 9 years old,” Preckwinkle said. “This is horrifying.”

According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, 58 #Black residents have died by #suicide so far this year, surpassing the 2019 total of 56.

“2020 is on pace to be the worst year for suicides in the #Black community in a decade,” Preckwinkle said. “There’s no single explanation for the rising number of suicides, but according to the #CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention, #anxiety and #depression has increased among #BlackAmericans in general amid the #COVID-19 #pandemic.”

Cook County Medical Examiner Ponni Arunkumar said her office had confirmed 218 deaths due to #suicide at this time last year, with 33 of those deaths in the #Black community. “This year we’re at 246 deaths due to #suicide, and 58 of those decedents are #AfricanAmerican,” she said.

Arunkumar says the county is on pace to double the number of deaths by #suicide this year, and attributes the rise to “an increase in the deaths due to #suicide among #Black residents – nearly 80% were #men and 40% were under the age of 30; three were under the age of 18,” she said.

The death of the 9-year-old is especially difficult to deal with, Arunkumar said. “It’s impossible to come to terms with a #child who felt so hopeless he believed his only recourse was to take his own life,” she said. “I believe if we work together we can prevent many of these deaths.”

Dr. Diane Washington, executive director of behavioral health at Cook County Health, said contributing factors need to be analyzed, including health disparities in #Black communities and #Black attitudes toward #mentalhealth and #suicide.

“There’s a lot of #stigmas in our community about #mentalhealth,” she said, citing examples to “keep it in the family,” or abide by a code of silence. “The shame that goes with #mentalhealth is huge in our community. Religion plays a huge piece in that: ‘You’re going to go to hell if you commit #suicide.’”

These factors influence whether a #Black person seeks care, as well as the misconception that #Black people don’t experience pain or know how to express emotional pain, according to Washington.

“This pain is unbearable and this despondency and despair is huge. It’s overtaken our community and we need to get serious about managing it,” she said. “There’s an overwhelming sense of #isolation, despair, #hopelessness that occurred during this #pandemic that shifted the curve to another level.”

Washington says a holistic approach to #mentalhealth is needed. “We need to approach this situation in a very systemic way,” she said, and look at treatable causes, assemble resources and navigate coordination of services, and take preventive measures. It’s also important to address systemic racism as it affects health disparities in #Black communities, she said.

The county is working on a #suicideprevention plan which it hopes to have in place before the end of the year, according to Washington. “We are building it as we speak and responding to the current data (and) needs presented before us,” she said.

The county is also “educating all staff around the key components of #suicide and what that looks like and how to manage it,” Washington said. “We have to educate all of the providers so they can spot #suicidalideation or issues around that #suicide so they can intervene immediately.”

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of #suicide, contact the #NationalSuicidePreventionLine by phone (1-800-273-8255) or chat (suicidepreventionlifeline.org).

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Many #Rape #Victims #Suffer #MentalDisorders, Have Suicidal Thoughts

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Professor Kingsley Akhigbe is a consultant psychiatrist at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Edo State. He talks to ALEXANDER OKERE about the spate of #rape in Nigeria and ways to help the victims and their families overcome the impact

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

#Rape has been given different definitions. What should Nigerians understand about it in simple terms?

#Rape is a forced sexual contact with someone who does not or cannot consent. It is forcing sex on someone who does not want it, is intoxicated or not legally old enough to give consent. For such, we count as #rape. It is regardless of gender, but when we talk about #rape, the #female gender is more commonly referred to.

Some people think it is a #mentallyill person that will carry out sexual assault. But research actually shows that most rapists do not have #mentaldisorder. Of course, there are people who may have severe #mentalillness and commit #rape or show abnormal sexual behaviour, which may be related or directly linked to the loss of inhibition. Patients who have bipolar affective disorder may become sexually disinhibited, leading to such offences. But by and large, those who commit #rape are actually mentally stable. In other words, they are devoid of a diagnosable disorder.

There seems to be an upsurge in #rape cases in Nigeria. What do you think is responsible for that?

It is like the world has become so disordered and many expressions of disordered behaviours and abnormalities in the way people behave are all coming to the fore, perhaps, as a result of the general upsurge of the stresses of daily living. And our value systems have commonly been disrupted. So, it’s like we are in a Sodom – everybody is just doing whatever they like and a number of persons may be on drugs. We have had instances of fathers raping their #children and older people descending on younger #girls. So, it (#rape) cuts across all ages and not restricted to youths, who may be under the influence of drugs and the likes.

On May 27, 2020, a young #female student of the University of Benin was raped and killed in Edo State, and there have been reported cases of #rape and murder in Oyo and Niger states in the last two weeks. What impression do these give you?

For the case in Benin City, the issue of raping the young lady before she was murdered raised questions in my mind as to whether people are so devoid of a conscience that they could go to that extent. I also wondered what could have kept her there (in a church) all alone studying at that time; many things don’t seem to tie up, I must say.

Many people wonder why criminals resort to raping their #female victims. Can this be explained?

To start with, there are a number of beliefs people have that suggest #women are sex objects, that the male sexual drive is uncontrollable and that #women are physically easier to overcome. There are some myths that seem to have been entrenched among some people. Some of them are that #women ask for sex with the way they dress and behave or that they could avoid being raped if they really want to. But none of these myths is factual. The problem can certainly not be the #woman who is raped as it is with the rapist whose mind appears to suffer cognitive distortion – errors in cognition that allows the offender to rationalise and minimise the perceptions and judgement that are used by the sex offender, who seems to justify his own behaviour. At that point, he may seek to act as though he has enough grounds for his action, whereas, he doesn’t.

I think the response on the #socialmedia is now becoming a typical response to any outrageous event. People seem to be thirsty for what used to be known as breaking news. The noise (on the #socialmedia) dies down after some time once there is something that appears to be more outrageous than or as outrageous as the previous one. If we hear tomorrow that some people came together and committed #suicide by jumping into the (Lagos) Lagoon, people will begin to talk about #suicide. So, I don’t see the rage depicted on the #socialmedia as being really critical. However, it may speak to the people in authority and motivate the judiciary to take cases of #rape or attempted #rape seriously by dishing out punishments to rapists.

There have also been calls for parents to educate their #male #children about embracing good moral behaviour. Can that help?

Honestly, charity begins at home. Social studies in the primary and secondary schools were geared towards promoting a conscience that feels for other people. But those things have been overtaken by the rush for many things. In the religious sense, preaching these days is more about how to make it, money and materialism; it is no longer about being God-fearing and having respect for life. The level of violence depicted in the #socialmedia has hit hard at the average young person. It is no longer difficult to see #children looking or forwarding posts of people being slaughtered or molested. How do such #children begin to have value for life?

Most certainly, it’s not only for #boys but also for #girls. #Girls ought to be more aware that the average #male is never to be entrusted with the totality of her safety. There are cases of gang #rape and date #rape, following #socialmedia interactions. They (#females) go out to meet guys at some joints and before they know it, they end up in some other places and their drinks are contaminated, and then a group of #boys have a go at them.

Do you think the punishments stipulated in our laws are strong enough to address #rape?

I think if cases are followed up according to the law and if investigations are thorough and fair, the rapists will get what they deserve in court. The weak implementation of our laws is reducing the seriousness of #rape as a criminal offence. How many of such cases of #rape do we hear have attracted many years of imprisonment for those convicts?

What are some of the #mentalhealth effects of #rape on the victims?

The first is #posttraumaticstressdisorder, which is an extremely debilitating disorder occurring after a highly traumatic event. It was found that almost one-third of all #rape victims develop PSD at some time in their lifetime. They are more likely to suffer #anxiety and other #mentalhealth-related problems. #Rape victims also end up with problems of substance abuse. The #mentalhealthproblems also include suicidal thoughts and suicide. Many #rape victims have thoughts of guilt and terror and blame themselves for the assault. After such, survivors may feel that their bodies are not really their own. So, such negative emotions linked to sexual abuse may predispose survivors to #depression, #anxiety, post-traumatic disorders, personality disruptions and the likes.

How does #rape affect the survivor’s ability to start a family?

Some survivors have fertility issues. There is a possibility of sexual assault resulting in pregnancy, and in cases where a young #female gets pregnant; giving birth may be an issue. That problem may persist for a long time.

Why do many #rape victims find it difficult to report or talk about the incident?

For the males, the shame and embarrassment may be particularly overwhelming. A #male victim may see himself as having been feminine or not being strong enough to ward off an attack. Some of such #male victims may have been assaulted by persons of the same gender. But for the #females, it is obvious that the shame, embarrassment and the consequent discrimination that they may experience make it difficult for them to speak out. The average girl wants to present herself as a virgin.

What impact does it have on the victims’ families?

The social impact is obvious. Their parents may feel guilty, that there was something they could have done to prevent it or that they were not protective enough of their daughter or didn’t train her properly, even when it is obvious that it was not the girl’s fault. The family bears the big brunt of the #stigma; it carries that negative appeal all over the place.

How can families help #rape victims reintegrate themselves into society?

Social and family support is very important for victims of sexual abuse. Sometimes, if there is a need for counselling by #mentalhealthprofessionals, it may be very helpful because the victim’s self-esteem may have been shattered by the assault. They don’t need condemnation.

What type of professional help can they get?

They can get therapy without judgment. Victims need empathy, not sympathy. Counsellors and therapists are trained to help people facing challenges in their lives. They can help individuals navigate conflicts, resolve internal struggles and address #mentalhealthconditions.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – ‘We’re Losing Our #Kids’: #Black #Youth #SuicideRate Rising Far Faster Than #or #Whites; #Coronavirus, #Police Violence Deepen Trauma

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Jayne O’Donnell

WASHINGTON – A decade after she tried to take her life as a college freshman, Victoria Waltz, a gifted #child who played the harp, is only beginning to understand how things got so bad.

“It’s been a journey and a process from then to now,” said Waltz, now 28. “It was a slow build up over time, starting in middle school. I had a lot of challenges trying to fit in and not knowing to talk about how I was really feeling.”

Girls started to bully the too tall, too smart girl with acne and glasses, who grew up middle class in Prince George’s County, Maryland, one of the wealthiest #black counties in the #U.S. 

Aabrielle Spear remembers the first time she felt truly hopeless. She was in kindergarten and also bullied by classmates. 

Aabrielle Spear is shown in Washington, D.C. in June 2019.

Spear had suicidal thoughts by third grade, compounded by her parents’ separation, strict teachers and her mother’s career and graduate studies, which sometimes kept her from home until late at night. 

Now 14 and more than a year from her last #suicide attempt, Spear joins Waltz among #black #teen #suicide survivors. Both are speaking out to dispel misconceptions about treatment and to raise awareness. 

The #AfricanAmerican #teen #suicide rate was already rising far faster than for #white #teens. Now these “quaranteens” of color have to deal with the disproportionate #COVID-19 death toll in #black communities, #socialisolation and what Washington psychologist Charlayne Hayling-Williams calls the “vicarious trauma” of #police violence, which is “particularly deleterious in our weakened conditions” from the #pandemic.

A recent 16-year-old black client at Hayling-Willliams’ core service agency Community Wellness Ventures threatened to kill himself at home with a knife. He “didn’t want to be here anymore,” and the compounding #stress of the #pandemic made it all too much, she said. Fewer than five clients have been hospitalized since the start of the #pandemic because of suicidality, but she said “people are underreporting and avoiding hospitals” because of #COVID-19. 

Charlayne Hayling-Williams is a psychologist and co-founder of Community Wellness Ventures, a core service agency in Washington's lowest-income neighborhoods.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

“#Suicide is sort of the tip of an iceberg,” said Hayling-Williams. “There are so many challenging conditions leading up to that. Take extreme #depression, #anxiety and grief and add the increased reports of #child abuse, neglect and #domesticviolence the #child is likely witnessing because they would have been at #school.” 

Calling #black #youth #suicide a “crisis,” the #CongressionalBlackCaucus issued a report in December showing #suicide attempts by black adolescents of both sexes rose 73% from 1991 to 2017. Injuries from attempted suicides increased 122% for #black #boys during the same period. #White #youth still die by #suicide at a higher rate,but the rate of #black #youth #suicide is increasing faster than any other racial or ethnic group. Black youth under 13 were twice as likely to die by #suicide than their white counterparts. 

“We must get at the bottom of why,” said Michael Lindsey, executive director of New York University’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, who worked on the black caucus’ report. “With #COVID and the continuous loop of news cycles we’ve seen in recent weeks around law enforcement and #blacks, we not only have to be concerned about vicarious trauma, but the fears it incites for kids.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., introduced the Pursuing #MentalHealth Equity Act of 2020 when the #CongressionalBlackCaucus’ report came out in December. There was little movement once #coronavirus hit. Now the House Appropriations Committee member is citing the dual traumas of #coronavirus and urban violence to argue for similar boosts in research and access to #mentalhealthtreatment for minorities in #COVID-19 funding measures.

The numbers and the stories challenge public perception #black #youth don’t die by #suicide, a misconception that helped prompt actor Taraji P. Henson to start the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. It’s named after her father, who had #mentalhealth struggles after his Vietnam service. 

“We’ve got to do something; we’re losing our kids,” said Henson. “Believe a friend when they say they are not in a good head space, believe your friends when they post about #suicide. It is very real.”  

‘Amazing they survive’

Spear began chronicling her #mentalhealth journey in the fall of 2018 for a class assignment. She wound up with a 7,000-word essay that became testament to the power of treatment. In it, she shared the time her mother found her self-inflicted cuts and took her to the emergency room.

“’No, Mama! Please! I’m begging you! I’ll be fine, Mama!’ I started to yell as she grabbed my arm and dragged me downstairs,” she wrote. “I fought with all I had inside me, but she kept pulling me as if I were a rag doll. ‘I’ll get better, I promise! Don’t take me!’”

Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former Surgeon General under President Bill Clinton, is shown at HealthWatch USA conference in 2018.

#Dr.JoycelynElders, a pediatrician who was surgeon general under President Bill Clinton, said the life stressors for #AfricanAmerican #youth, particularly those in low income households, makes it even more “amazing that they survive.” 

In 2018, Joe Massa, 24, decided to produce a Web “docuseries,” My Suicide Story,  after he learned childhood friend Kenny Serrano attempted #suicide a decade earlier. Massa had no idea and knew little about #depression or #suicide.

Kenny Serrano, left, and filmmaker Joe Massa hold an edition of the New Haven Register with a front page story about their Web series, My Suicide Story.

He wanted to tell others’ stories so searched Instagram for the hashtag #suicideattemptsurvivor.

“I wasn’t considering race as a factor in relation to #suicide,” said Massa, who lives in West Haven, Connecticut. “I opened it up to anyone willing to share their story.” 

But other than Serrano, who is Hispanic, everyone was white and straight. He decided he needed diversity, and found Philip Galbert, who is gay. It took more than a year to find Waltz, who will be featured in an upcoming episode.

“Many of the few #AfricanAmerican survivors that I could find were either not interested or did not answer,” he said. 

Melanie Warner, who is #AfricanAmerican, also is talking. Early last year, she joined the Facebook group for the nonprofit #SuicidePrevention Rocks, started by friends Bill and Dawn York after their son Josh died by #suicide. She wanted to support others and promote awareness around #suicideprevention. Members of the group paint colorful rocks with inspiring messages to commemorate loved ones who died by #suicide.

It wasn’t until her #teen daughter was facing #depression, #anxiety and thoughts of #suicide, that Warner turned to the group. Members gave her advice and encouragement on how to connect with her child. “Hearing words of affirmation” and knowing resources were available helped her and her daughter find treatment that worked. The #socialisolation has actually helped some and with medication and therapy, her daughter is thriving. 

“Never feel like you’re alone because there is always someone willing to listen,” said Warner. “That’s what I got from the group.”

Stuck, lost and scared 

Waltz, who always was “the smart kid,” got a nearly full scholarship at 17 to attend Howard University, where she was to study mechanical engineering. Everyone always expected her to go to college and “major in something great,” so engineering seemed logical. Except she did terribly her first semester and was placed on academic suspension. 

Victoria Waltz, 28, is working to raise awareness about suicide in the African American community. She survived an attempt when she was 17.

Home over the year-end holidays, she overheard her parents discussing how they couldn’t afford Howard without the scholarship. She knew she was in jeopardy of losing it. 

“I felt really stuck, really lost and really scared,” said Waltz. “I didn’t think I wanted to hurt myself. I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up.”

Because of lapses in insurance coverage in the years since, Waltz said she hasn’t been able to stay in therapy for more than a four-month stretch. Now with a new job and new insurance, she’s been back in therapy for a month.  

“We all need therapy,” she said. “Why aren’t we talking about it?”

Many #AfricanAmericans, especially #men, may be hesitant to get treatment or take prescription antidepressants, said Dr. Sidney Hankerson, a New York City psychiatrist and researcher. Not only are men resistant to talking about their feelings, there are “#racial norms tied to the distrust piece.”

#Black #men have historically been far more likely to be involuntarily hospitalized for #mentalillness, said Hankerson. The thinking becomes, “Why engage in #mentalhealthtreatment if I’m going to be brought to the #police. It’s very, very stigmatizing,” he added.  

Hankerson, a assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, works with #black #churches on #mentalhealth outreach. Many churches offer their clergy the option to become certified in #MentalHealth First Aid, a program that certifies people to be “first responders” when they detect #mentalillnesssymptoms in others.

When parents fail to talk openly about emotions, as was the case in Waltz’s home, #teens are more likely internalize their feelings. That’s especially common in #black families.

“It’s an unfortunate cultural trait,” said Waltz. “That’s why I wanted to talk.”

Even #AfricanAmerican therapists can hit walls of mistrust when treating #black patients. 

Medication isn’t the only way to address #mentalhealthissues, but Washington psychiatrist Dr. Terry Jarrett said she has to work hard to convince both parents and #teens that it’s often needed in combination with therapy. She keeps a model of a brain handy to illustrate how it’s a part of the body that, like any other, may need treatment. 

Dr. Terry Jarrett, a Washington psychiatrist, points out parts of a model brain  in her office in February 2019.

Washington psychologist Bruce Purnell, who runs the Love More Movement, uses “transformative life coaches” to help young people think positively. By helping young people feel good about themselves and their futures, it “builds a resilience that can be a filter against all of their problems,” he said.

Jarrett said she will ask, “Is there a chance for you to create a scenario where you break the cycle so you and your future generations don’t have this as a cultural norm?”

A new bully every year 

When it came to bullies, Spear said she “would have a new one every year” until fifth grade. Toward the end of sixth grade, Spear said she “started to cut and burn myself.” 

In October 2018, when Myrna Spear first noticed the cutting, she took her daughter to the emergency room. Aabrielle was placed on a 72-hour hold and then sent by ambulance to inpatient treatment at the Loma Linda Behavioral Medical Center. That was followed by months of outpatient treatment through the Behavioral Medical Institute’s “Shield Program.” It provides #teens with coping mechanisms to prevent self-injury and promote open communication with parents, who are part of the therapy with other parents and their #children.

“Shield was developed by our hospital in response to the number of people coming for in-patient care,” said Glen Scott Jr., director of Loma Linda’s Youth Partial Hospital Program.  

The 15-year-old program started after an “epidemic of young people engaging in self-harm,” said Scott. It uses “dialectical behavioral therapy” approach, which uses mindfulness, emotion regulation and other tools. 

“Eighty percent of our patients are one and done and there is a very small percentage that need to come back,” Scott said. “Family involvement is a huge success.”

While in treatment for the cutting, Myrna Spear and doctors learned Aabrielle had tried to take her own life. Then, in January 2019, Aabrielle tried a second time to die by #suicide despite her mother’s attempts to hide everything sharp. After more in- and out-patient treatment through the Loma Linda behavioral health programs, Spear has been relying upon virtual therapy and Prozac. 

After initially dreading the start of high school last fall, Spear has hit her stride. She remains on the honor roll, has consistent friend groups, was in the #black #student union and played junior varsity basketball but lost her track season to #coronavirus.

“I had #socialanxiety before I got into high school really bad,” said Spear. “I was by myself a lot, but now I want to go out more than just stay home. I want to be around people my age.”

For Myrna Spear, the change in her daughter is remarkable.

“There is really good communication between she and I now; we talk very openly,” she said. “She’s really upbeat and happy. She actually often helps her friends cope with stressful situations based on the strategies she has learned.”

Aabrielle Spear’s advice for those resistant to help: “Accept treatment and let yourself be happier.”  

Contributing: Sierra Lewter, Rhea Warren and Davon Harris of the Urban Health Media Project

The #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline is available for you any time you need it: 1-800-273-8255

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #SuicideIdeation And #SuicideAttempts Are Common In #Teens With #MentalHealth Problems

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Miranda Hester

#Suicide has been on the rise in the pediatric population. Now a new report looks at the prevalence of #suicideideation and #suicideattempts in #teenagers and young adults with #mentalhealthproblems.

The pop culture of the past few years along with continual reports shedding light on the increasing number of suicides and incidence of #suicideideation has made #mentalhealth a critical area of pediatric care. A new report in Pediatrics adds more data about #suicidalideation and attempts.1

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

The investigators used data from the Québec Longitudinal Study of Child Development. Validated questionnaires were used to assess externalizing, which included oppositional/defiance, conduct issues, and attention deficit and/or hyperactivity, and internalizing, which included #depression and #anxiety.

The study included 1618 patients. The lifetime prevalence of passive #suicidalideation in patients aged 13 to 17 years was 22.2%; lifetime prevalence of serious #suicidalideation was 9.8%; and the lifetime prevalence of a #suicideattempt in patients aged 13 to 20 years was 6.7%. The rates of passive and serious ideation increased with time, but the rates for #suicideattempt were stable. Following univariable analyses, #suicide-related outcomes were linked to all the studied #mentalhealthproblems. The association was of similar strength for both #male and #female participants. Following multivariable analyses, depressive and conduct symptoms were linked to #suicide attempt and internalizing problems were linked to #suicidalideation.

The researchers concluded that #suicideideation and #suicideattempts were common among adolescent and young adult patients. The common nature of suicidal risk in these groups should lead providers to assess #suiciderisk in all #teenagers and especially in those who have #mentalhealthproblems.

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