Link – #ItsOKToTalk: Australian men join viral selfie mental health campaign

“Thousands of Australian men have joined a viral selfie campaign to promote open conversations about suicide and mental health.

The #ItsOkayToTalk campaign has gathered momentum globally after UK rugby player Luke Ambler posted a selfie that encouraged his friends and teammates to start opening up.

Mr Ambler started the campaign after the sudden death of his brother-in-law.

Thousands of men worldwide have since posted their own selfies featuring an okay hand sign, as well as details of suicide statistics for men.”

Good for everyone involved. It is OK to talk about mental health.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-20/itsoktotalk-australian-men-join-selfie-mental-health-campaign/7769294

Link – Christopher Anderson Leads MaleSurvivor to Assist Abused Males

Christopher Anderson is the executive director of a national organization called MaleSurvior – an organization dedicated to assisting and advocating for men who have suffered some form of sexual abuse.

This is an interview for WOUB with Christopher. If you want to know more about the organization or about male abuse victims, take a listen!

http://woub.org/2016/08/17/christopher-anderson-leads-malesurvivor-to-assist-abused-males/

Link – Justice isn’t always done for child sexual abuse – I know firsthand

Two things from this article I wanted to comment on:

People always ask me what I think should have happened to Youssefi. Years in prison? Intensive counseling?

Even after all my reporting, I’m still not sure.

But I do know one thing: When Dodd told her school counselor about Youssefi, I hadn’t started taking gymnastics yet. If the prosecutor then had decided to charge Youssefi, maybe he never would have become my coach.

This is why we have to do better. This is why it’s important that these claims are investigated, because even if there isn’t a prosecution, we need to make people aware that these things are going on with people in these positions.

Having her case dropped again hit Dodd hard, Newton said. “Every time she brought herself to a place to be able to confront this, to be able to be honest about it, to voice what happened, and then nothing was done, I think the weight just grew. And then, you know, ultimately Jeanna’s death.”

Now, having said that yes, we need to do better, we also need to understand how much the justice system depends on a lot of things going right. Sometimes, there really won’t be enough proof to convince a jury, or other victims won’t come forward, or someone within the system will fail a victim. It happens, as much as we don’t want it to. So while we should be doing what we can to improve all of those things, we also need to make sure that we are doing what needs to be done to help survivors heal regardless of what happens within the justice system. Jeanna Dodd struggled all of her adult life because of her abuse, yes. But also because she never got the help she needed to heal. I’m on record as saying that we need to separate healing from justice. Healing can happen regardless of the justice system’s outcome, and making sure victims get the support they need to heal should be a priority.

https://www.revealnews.org/article/justice-isnt-always-done-for-child-sexual-abuse-i-know-firsthand/

Link – Humans Of New York Post Makes A Brilliant Point About Therapy

If you needed any proof that therapy can change lives, here it is.

Humans of New York shared an anonymous story on Monday of a man who served in Afghanistan and has since been diagnosed with PTSD as part of a recently-launched series focusing on veterans who have returned home from deployment.

The man’s account of struggling with his mental health after war and initially resisting treatment is a moving example of how seeking support for mental health can really make a difference.

“I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to get help,” the man says in the caption.

“At first I dreaded going to therapy. I went through a treatment called EMDR. My therapist would take me back to every point of trauma and have me describe it in detail … But it worked,” he continued. “The symptoms started to go away. After a few sessions, I remember walking into my therapist’s office and saying: ‘This stuff actually works!’ And he said: ‘Yeah. It does.’”

Note also, how getting help doesn’t make him weak, it means he had the strength to do what was necessary. Good for him!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/humans-of-new-york-ptsd_us_57b3252ee4b0c75f49d83be2

Link – Don’t Let Depression Steal Your Sexuality

“To that end I have come up with this handy little list. Because I’ve found that, sometimes, depression can suck the sexy right out of you, which can lead you even further into depression.

Here are 5 ways to find your sex positive state of mind when you’re struggling with depression.”

This is an interesting list, if only because we rarely stop to consider the sex lives of those dealing with depression. Often because it tends to be non-existent. Depression does rob you of pleasure in many ways, and sometimes medication can rob you of desire, but it doesn’t have to be that way. These are a few things that could help if you find yourself in that situation.

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2016/08/16/dont-let-depression-steal-your-sexuality/

Link – Abuse – a Societal Issue

“I too have been both disheartened and dismayed at the recent conversations I have had with others on the topic of educational campaigns, especially in relation to campaigns focussed at younger children. Comments such as the following have been made by those not willing to discuss abuse with their children:

“The childhood years are so precious and a time of innocence”

“it seems very sad that children at such tender years have to be exposed to this information which takes away their innocence and drags them into the awfulness of the real world far too soon”

“it seems unfair that to prevent abuse of a few, all children have to lose their innocence”

The attitude which concerns me most is reflected in the last comment – fundamentally, “it doesn’t happen to my child so why should I care about it happening to others”, or alternatively, “I acknowledge that abuse happens to other children but I don’t care enough to do anything about it as it doesn’t affect me or my family”.”

Again, I repeat. Given the number of child abuse reports, let alone the number we know that go unreported, there is no way anyone can say they do not know anyone being affected by it. It truly is a societal problem that requires a societal solution.

Abuse – a Societal Issue

Link – Free Book Club for School Mental Health Leads

“I’m excited let you know that the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust have agreed to fund a pilot phase of a free mental health book club for schools.  The hope is that if we can prove a demand for, and a positive impact of, the book club then we will be able to secure a sponsor or funding to make the offer sustainable.  We’ll be working in partnership with the lovely people at Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Who is it for?

The book club is primarily aimed at, but not exclusively for, mental health leads in UK primary or secondary schools.  If you have a different role, or work with an organisation other than a school and would like to join, you are welcome to do so.”

Just passing it on for anyone who may be interested.

http://www.inourhands.com/bookclub/

Link – Depression impairs forward-thinking

A new study shows that the hippocampus – the part of the brain that supports memory – is less active in people with depression, who therefore have trouble not only remembering, but also imagining.

Once again, we see that the all too common advice to simply think more positively, just isn’t possible for people dealing with depression. The brain simply isn’t capable of responding like that. It’s not functioning correctly and needs treatment, the same way you would get treatment if your thyroid was not functioning correctly.

You wouldn’t tell someone with a thyroid condition to just think about it working, would you?

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201811737/depression-impairs-forward-thinking

Link – Kayla Harrison: Victim, survivor — and now two-time Olympic judo gold medalist – The Washington Post

Never let it be said that being a victim of child abuse is a life sentence to misery. Survivors have gone on to do amazing things, just like any other group of people. Overcoming isn’t easy, but thanks to survivors like Kayla who are willing to share their stories, and their triumphs, we can all take heart that overcoming is possible.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/kayla-harrison-victim-survivor–and-now-two-time-olympic-judo-gold-medalist/2016/08/11/c784dc1e-6007-11e6-8e45-477372e89d78_story.html

Link – Why Openness About Mental Illness is Worth The Effort And Discomfort

“You can make a difference. You can be open about how you’ve fought depression and anxiety. You can talk about how you felt hopelessness. You can talk about how you reached the point where you got help. You can describe how you had doubts about the point of getting help, too. You can talk about how getting help has changed your life — even if the process hasn’t been smooth. You can convey to people out there that they aren’t alone, that other people have felt the way they feel, that there is life and love and fun and success and normality following treatment for serious mental illness, and that it’s achievable. You can spit in the face of the social stigma against mental illness and its treatment. You can defy the trolls and assholes who will mock you and use your openness against you — because what’s their opinion worth, anyway? You can show that it’s possible to get better even if you’re broken, flawed, afraid. You can show that a setback isn’t the end of the road to getting better. You can help them understand there’s no magic instant cure, that recovery can be a lifelong process.

Your — you personally, not the collective you — can make a difference. It might be your story that connects with someone, that helps them imagine getting better. It might be someone in your social circle who is suffering and doesn’t know anyone else talking about these issues. It could be your take on this process that tips the balance towards treatment for someone you’ve never met or heard of. Your story counts. Tell it.”

Such a great reminder of why it is important to tell our stories. Because too many people don’t believe there is hope, or that they are not alone.

Why Openness About Mental Illness is Worth The Effort And Discomfort