Their offices are simple wooden seats, called Friendship Benches, located in the grounds of health clinics around Harare and other major cities in Zimbabwe.
But the impact, measured in a ground-breaking study, shows that this innovative approach holds the potential to significantly improve the lives of millions of people with moderate and severe mental health problems in countries where access to treatment is limited or nonexistent.
Funded by the Government of Canada through Grand Challenges Canada, the randomised controlled trial was conducted by the University of Zimbabwe, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and King’s College London. The study is published today in JAMA, the world’s most widely-circulated medical journal.
New research has identified a host of factors associated with the risk of adults with mental illness becoming victims of violence, as well as perpetrators of violence.
“This work builds on an earlier study that found almost one-third of adults with mental illness are likely to be victims of violence within a six-month period,” said Richard Van Dorn, a researcher at RTI International and lead author of a paper describing the work.
The unfortunate reality is that many who suffer from a mental illness like schizophrenia, enter into isolation and have difficulty maintaining a functional life.
Imagine your reality was terrifying – hearing derogatory voices or believing that the world is conspiring to kill you. One minute you’re positive and energetic, and the next you’re spiraling into a deep depression.
“Often the person with the illness doesn’t even believe that they are in need of help,” says Larry Clum, Director of Community Mental Health Programs at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. “Additionally, mental illness puts a strain on a person’s closest support systems, often resulting in shame, isolation and abandonment.”
The winter blues can set in as temperatures drop and days shorten, but for some people, winter can mean developing an actual case of seasonal depression called seasonal affective disorder.
As the sun sets earlier after the end of Daylight Saving Time, many people start to develop the telltale signs of seasonal affective disorder, including irritability, excessive sleeping and loss of interest, said Jeff Janata, professor of psychiatry and director of psychology at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.
“The weeks immediately after the switch to Daylight Saving Time is often the period of time when this emerges,” Janata told ABC News.
Mental illness is not perceived as an actual “illness”, and because of the stigma attached to it, families try to manage it at home. A 2008 ethnographic study in Sierra Leone found that families might take patients to traditional healers and herbalists to seek a solution. It is only when the patients then become violent that they resort to taking them to either the “kres yard” or City of Rest, a privately run Christian rehabilitation center. Finding a professional psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist, is impossible. They simply do not exist. As there is not enough information and education abut mental illness, patients and their families seek answers in church to find out the meaning of their psychosis. However, the churches are not always safe spaces for people with mental illness, which is often misunderstood as demonic possession by many evangelical churches. They face the same level of stigma and are categorized as “spiritually weak” since there is a myth that “good Christians” cannot be depressed or suffer from PTSD. Therefore churches cannot be used as a replacement for properly structured, sophisticated and professionally equipped mental health resources in Sierra Leone.
No matter what demographic you fall into, there’s a good chance this presidential election is stressing you out. A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association in October showed that 52 percent of Americans say that the election is “a very or somewhat significant” source of stress in their lives. Fifty-six percent of millennials say the same, as do 45 percent of Gen Xers. The story seems to be the same across party lines as well — 59 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats are dealing with election-related stress.
But for most of us, it is the prospect of Donald Trump becoming president that appears to be the most stressful factor of all. According to a poll conducted by Washington Post ABC News, 69 percent of Americans report feeling anxious about the possibility of Trump being President of the United States. More than half say the concept of “President Trump” makes them “very anxious,” while 18 percent claim it makes them “somewhat anxious.”
Big Pharma has played a significant role in manufacturing the ADHD epidemic in the U.S., convincing parents and doctors that ADHD is a common problem amongst children and one that should be medicated. However, many countries disagree with the American stance on ADHD, so much so that they have entirely different structures for defining, diagnosing, and treating it. For example, the percentage of children in France that have been diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than 0.5%. This is largely because French doctors don’t consider ADHD a biological disorder with biological causes, but rather a medical condition caused by psycho-social and situational factors.
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Bipolar disorder has the ability to transform your life. Its symptoms can range from mild to severe, while influencing many facets of who you are, how you behave and what you enjoy. When symptoms are mild, you can function relatively well and maintain your routines. When symptoms are severe, they leave you feeling like someone else, in a highly depressed or manic state.
Bipolar disorder is one of the most known and recognizable mental health issues. It may seem like this is a good thing, but that’s not always the case. The more popularized something becomes, the greater the risk of skewed, biased and false information on the subject. Though there are many that have a firm grasp on bipolar disorder, there are even more that misunderstand or have been misled.
Ordinarily, this misinformation would not be a problem. After all, labeling something does not really change it. But with bipolar disorder, there are hazards associated with lack of appropriate recognition. If you do not understand your disorder, your symptoms (including the lesser-known symptoms of bipolar) or your triggers, you cannot treat them effectively. Also, people that incorrectly think they have bipolar could be wasting valuable resources inefficiently.
There are examples of asylum-based Halloween attractions all over the country. Every year at this time, right next to the chainsaw-wielding masked men and flesh-eating zombies, are the mental hospital patients. The message isn’t subtle: People with mental illness are to be feared.
But this year, under pressure from mental-health advocates, haunted attractions big and small have begun to change names and descriptions of — or have shut down completely — scenes that depicted mental illness as frightening. The activism is part of a broader, burgeoning movement to lift the stigma about mental illness, which has long led to social and employment discrimination.