Link – Mental health and suicidal thoughts in children

“Mental illness and suicidal thoughts can affect anyone, of any age, of any background, at any time. Like with physical illnesses, people don’t choose to have a mental health problem. And they need the appropriate care to get better.

Mental illness and suicidal thoughts are common issues for young people. In 2014-15, nearly a third of concerns expressed to ChildLine related to mental health.

It can be difficult to know if a child is suffering as they often keep it to themselves. But we’re here to help you spot the signs and know how to support them.”

We might not like to talk about, or even think about mental health issues affecting children but they do and it is important to be aware. 
Mental health and suicidal thoughts in children

Link – The Mysterious Connection Between Smell and Our Past

“It has been well-documented (link is external) that autobiographical memories associated with smell are frequently more intense and emotionally tinged than memories associated with other sensory cues. This is due to the uniquely direct access smells have to the olfactory cortex, and the proximity of this area of the brain to the limbic system and the amygdala. Several recent studies, however, reveal another singular characteristic of olfactory-cued memories: In addition to arriving at the brain through different channels than other sensory information, olfactory cues tend to trigger memories from a different part of our past than those our other senses.”

Unfortunately, for survivors, these experiences can be powerful and disturbing. Smells that trigger abuse memories can come at very arbitrary times and can leave us utterly unable to function for a short time. I’ve been somewhat lucky in this regard, I don’t have any every day smells that serve as reminders to my abuse, but I know some others have had to deal with that struggle.

Are there smells that remind you of your abuse? How have you dealt with them?

The Mysterious Connection Between Smell and Our Past

Link – Child abuse may play role in military suicides

“Histories of child abuse are common among military members and may be important to consider when treating their mental health needs, according to a report from Canada.

People who join the military are more likely to report being abused as children, and that trauma may be more closely linked to suicide risk than trauma experienced during deployment, researchers suggest.

“It’s not that deployment-related trauma is not significant, but the relationship is less than childhood-related trauma,” said lead author Tracie Afifi, of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.”

This study was related to the military in Canada, and found that the risk of suicide was significantly higher in members of the military who had a history of child abuse, regardless of what type of trauma they may have experienced while in the military.

What this tells us, is that adults dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts may also be survivors of abuse. That means that telling an adult to look around at their current life, and ask what they have to be depressed about, is missing the point in a million different ways. Current mental health issues are very possibly not tied to current events, but to childhood ones. Trying to “be happy” about the current state of affairs is pointless. The problem goes back much further, and deeper than that.

If you’re struggling with depression now, and were abused as a child, get help for both of those things. They are likely related.

Child abuse may play role in military suicides

Link – How Do You Talk About Mental Illness? This Study Shines Light On What To Say — And What To Avoid

“According to a study from Ohio State University, something as subtle as phrasing can have an effect on someone’s tolerance. Using a questionnaire designed to measure attitudes toward people with mental illness, participants were given one of two versions of the survey: In one version, all references were to “the mentally ill,” and in the other, all references were to “people with mental illness.” Unsurprisingly, researchers found that across all demographics, people who received the “mentally ill” survey showed less tolerance than those who read about “people with mental illness.””

I haven’t given that a lot of thought, but I do know I try to not refer to specific people as being “mentally ill” as much as I try and describe them as struggling with mental health issues or depression, etc. It just sounds nicer to me, and apparently can have an effect on how those people are perceived by readers. So, I will try and be even more aware of it going forward!

How Do You Talk About Mental Illness? This Study Shines Light On What To Say — And What To Avoid

Upcoming Webinar – 1in6 Webinar Discussion: Love and Healing After Childhood Sexual Abuse

From the description of this webinar, scheduled for Noon Eastern (US) time on Feb. 29:

How might men’s unwanted or sexually abusive experience in childhood affect their relationships with the people they love? How do partners heal together?

Marriage and Family Therapist, Chris Tickner will join 1in6 for a thoughtful discussion (and Q&A) about how men, and their loved ones may identify and address presenting issues to better achieve happy and healthy relationships. We invite survivors, partners, and professionals to learn and share in the spirit of love, community, and hope.

For more information, and to register, check out the link.

It sounds like a really interesting discussion topic for male survivors and their significant others. Unfortunately, I’m unlikely to be available on that day, I’m very likely to be traveling, but if you attend, be sure to come back and leave a comment about the discussion!

Link – 22 Messages for People Who Think They ‘Don’t Deserve’ Therapy

“Sometimes the first step is the hardest. A step towards acceptance. A step towards treatment. A step towards recovery. When you live with a mental illness, often times that step involves therapy.

But therapy can be a scary concept, especially if the same voice in your head that’s fueling your mental illness is saying you don’t deserve it. There’s always someone worse. It would be a waste of time. Therapy makes you weak.

But who cares if there’s “always someone worse”? Therapy is not a waste of time, and it certainly doesn’t make you weak. If you think you might need therapy but are hesitant to take the first step, here are some messages from our readers that might change your mind.”

It’s sad to think that folks dealing with mental health issues don’t think they deserve to get help, but it’s just another example of how issues like depression lie, and cause us to not see ourselves clearly.

Everyone deserves to get help of some sort. If therapy is available for you, don’t talk yourself out of it.

22 Messages for People Who Think They ‘Don’t Deserve’ Therapy

Link – We Need to Support Mental Illness, Even When It’s Not Cute

“I completely get it. It’s easy to say you accept mental health issues until you actually see it. Sometimes, it’s messy. Sometimes, it involves F-bombs. It’s easy to look at her and just think she’s “one of those bad kids.”

But she only swears when she’s really feeling bad and is starting to lose control. I wanted to walk over to those parents and explain: “She has bipolar disorder. She gets to a point where she’s no longer in control of her words or her body. She was overstimulated and overwhelmed and feeling horrible inside. She’s not stable yet. It will get better soon. She’s not really like that, she’s lovely!” But would that make a difference?

It’s easy to share memes on Facebook say you support mental illnesses, but until you’re there, in the thick of it, you can’t understand what it’s like. Would you accept it if a mental illness incident happened in front of you? Would you feel compassionate, or would you judge? Does my daughter need to have a giant sticker on her forehead saying “Mental illness on board, please be kind”? Why can’t people just be kind anyways?”

I found this article interesting on it’s face. It is easy to say we support people struggling with depression or child abuse survivors, but when someone is in the worst of it, and it’s not cute and sympathetic looking, can we really say that we’re supportive?

On another level, I also found this interesting when thinking about boys who are abused or dealing with mental health issues. Boys don’t tend to just “look sad” when they have depression, or when they are dealing with trauma. They might just act out, and it might even be somewhat violent or anti-social. It happens, because pain can take that form sometimes, and can be expressed that way.

It might not be easy to understand that kind of expression of pain, but it might even be more important that we do, before those struggling people damage themselves, or others.

They need support, and healing too.

We Need to Support Mental Illness, Even When It’s Not Cute

Link – Invisible Boys: Inside the Push to Help Unseen Victims of the Sex Trade

“”There was this predominant narrative out there that this is an issue solely affecting girls,” project manager Meredith Dank recalled. “Then we found all these boys, and we complicated the narrative a little bit.””

It’s interesting that the existence of male victims of sex trafficking somehow complicated the narrative. I’ve never understood how when it comes to trafficking children, the sex of the victim somehow matters in how people view it. Victims are victims, but somehow girls are seen as victims, and boys we get these concerns about how they might be criminals or drug addicts. I can’t help but wonder if the locals would have the same concerns if it were a house for female victims of sex trafficking?

If it’s a case of viewing male victims as a problem, but not female, then it only shows how much we, as a society, are lacking in understanding and compassion. Males do get sexually assaulted, boys are trafficked and sexually abused, and survivors deserve the same support that females do.

Invisible Boys: Inside the Push to Help Unseen Victims of the Sex Trade – NBC News

Link – 24 Questions People With Mental Illness Wish You’d Ask

“If you don’t know what it’s like to have a mental illness, but have a loved one who does, sometimes it can be hard to know what to say. Even with the best intentions, you might find yourself avoiding the subject all together or giving unsolicited advice that doesn’t end up being that helpful.

Knowing what to ask in these moments — moments you want to show a loved one you care but don’t know how — can be key.

So, we asked our Mighty readers who live with mental illnesses what questions they wished others would ask them.

Here’s what they had to say. Hopefully some of these can help you start an important conversation with someone with a mental illness:”

Go. Read. Learn. Act

24 Questions People With Mental Illness Wish You’d Ask | The Mighty