“According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Mental Health, Black people are 20% more likely to suffer serious psychological distress than White people. Although our suicide rates are lower, it’s clear that our community is under severe mental health distress and there are many of us who find ourselves…
When I was undergoing treatment with a therapist, she actually tried to get me involved in group sessions. The sexual abuse survivor group I attended a few times was not for male survivors, it was for any survivor, and I just happened to be the only male in the group. It didn’t last long. To get any help for me, as a male survivor, I had to kind of be wedged into programs and tools that were designed for female survivors. It still helped me, but it could have been better, and might not have helped a lot of men. I do believe it’s gotten slightly better over the years, but only slightly. It’s still a huge problem. We still don’t have any real idea of how many male survivors there are, or how to make resources available to them. Partly because we don’t talk about it enough, and partly because when men do talk about it, they aren’t listened to.
We pay the price for that. Those survivors grow up, and struggle, on their own, with mental health and other issues. They don’t feel safe coming forward, and they are often made to feel weak if they even consider asking for help.
That’s no way for anyone to go through life.
I will say that his discussion around what people come into therapy for in terms of defining good mental health is often an issue. When I started therapy I wanted to not dissociate, because the dissociative states were proving to be more and more dangerous. But, it wasn’t like we could sit and discuss plans to simply stop, we had to dig into what happens right before I dissociate and learn better ways of dealing with that. (In my case, stress)
Even then, the desire to simply feel less stress is not always possible. It would have solved the immediate reason why I was in therapy, less stress would make me less likely to dissociate, right? But it also wasn’t sustainable because at some point life is going to be stressful. The key was not to avoid stress but to learn how to recognize it, acknowledge it, feel it, and deal with it in a healthier way.
So yes, I agree our definition of good mental health needs to incorporate much, much more than “not feeling sad, anxious, depressed, etc.” because we will feel those things again at some point. They are unavoidable, but succumbing to them without a proper response is not. We can, and should, learn how to do that.
Kevin Eikenberry, who blogs on leadership, has a quick write up of this book, obviously written from the perspective of being a leader and helping identify loneliness in your own life, and the lives of those who follow you in the workplace. That being said, I thought the subject really applied to us when it…
Go get some facts about human trafficking, because it’s probably a much larger issue than you think it is. During the month of January, advocates, organizations, and individuals unite to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking. While movements like #MeToo have started to bring crimes like sexual harassment and sexual assault out of…
When I think about Monika’s point, and my own look at the numbers, I repeat what I said back then, when looking at one individual, the ACE survey is never the whole story. There are lots of childhood experiences that go unaccounted for, there are individual levels of resilience that are not accounted for, and there are early interventions that are not considered. One traumatic experience equals one traumatic experience in the final number, regardless of whether that experience was immediately followed up with support and maybe even therapy, or if it was ignored and maybe even repeated. There are numerous factors beyond simply answering more than 4 questions yes and assuming you’re an addict, or not answering enough questions yes and assuming you aren’t. It is much more complicated than that.
The ACE information is important though because it points us back to that childhood trauma and says “what happened to you?” when treating an individual for depression, or addiction, so that we can include that in our healing. What we want to be careful with is turning it into a blunt instrument when there is still so much not being accounted for within it.