This Is Crazy: Criminalizing Mental Illness

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You’ve seen it in the news whether on tv, newspapers, social media on people living with mental illness are treated before, during, and after (sometimes reported) incarceration. Perhaps you are familiar with these names:

Charlenna Lyles

Joseph Mann

Kelly Thomas

Michelle Cusseaux

Reginald Murray

David Montalbelo

Antwon Banks

These are a but a few names of those with mental illness that have been mistreatment by  the police,  the judicial system, and prison system . When I’m saying this please don’t think that inmates living without mental illness are not worth being treated as people too, for they too should be treated fairly as human beings especially in spite of their socioeconomic status.

Brave New Films, completed a short documentary film titled, “This Is Crazy: Criminalizing Mental Health”. This three part series tells the maltreatment of individuals with mental illness “Before”, “During”, and “After” imprisonment.   The video also talks about the lives of three individuals Rebecca Brasfield, Herb Cobbs, and Stacy Hamilton and their experiences with the police, judicial and prison system. And then you have a mother by the name of Tama Bell who tells about the horrific experiences, her son, Masai, experienced in jail.

I personally enjoyed the film and the rawness of the stories of those living with mental illness and their experiences especially in the prison system. Unfortunately as you might probably  know, in the U.S., all the prison systems do here is make profit on those in jail and even after they their time, they are unprepared for the new life that awaits them that is often met with impoverished living. I wish I could say they were just solely made for people to serve their time….but it’s not. Inmates must be shown humanity and inmates with mental illness should be living in a mental health hospital. These injustices must stop.

To view the film, click on the link below:

This Is Crazy: Criminalizing Mental Health

For further resources on the maltreatment of individuals living with mental illness, click on the link below:

Half of People Killed By Police Have a Disability: Report

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The Treatment of Persons With Mental Illness in Prisons and Jails: An Untimely Report

There Are 10 Times More Mentally Ill People Behind Bars Than in State Hospitals

 

 

Tool Talk

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I like Bring Change 2 Mind’s website tool so far, ’cause to be honest it’s pretty hard and even HARDER to explain to people you love have an anxiety disorder or depressive disorder without the fear of being misunderstood or rejected. I mean first you gotta think of WHAT to say much less THINK about how for example, a friend, a parent, a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse will FEEL and RESPOND about about you admitting you have a mental health disorder, ya know? Yeah, so it’s a BIG responsibility living with mental illness while living in a world that might misunderstand or reject you and being able to have to the EVERYDAY strength to live with that.

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How To Talk 2

When you choose a disorder and choose the person who you wanna talk to, it gives you a script of what to say

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How to Talk 4

A variety of disorders and types of people you would wish to talk to about your disorder to

Now this may not exactly be the words you wanna use, but it gives some sort of idea of what to say, which again is the hardest thing to do. I hope this tool will help you to better explain you mental health disorder to your loved ones.

       For more information, click on the link below:

       How  To Talk With Mental Illness With Anyone

 

Summer Reading….On Mental Health

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On vacation, but don’t have anything interesting to read? Want to know more about mental health? Want to find more books to read before you go back to school in the summer ends? Well look no further! I have a couple books (most from my bookshelf) I could recommend:

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It’s Not Your Journey

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“It’s Not Your Journey” chronicles a 2 year period the where, author, Rebecca Lombardo, discusses her bouts with bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, self-injury, and recovery from a suicide attempt, while overcoming the loss of her brother and mother. Mrs. Lombardo’s book sheds light on what living with mental illness actually looks like in contrast to the negative depictions seen on mass media. And while yes, there are descriptions on the symptoms of mental health disorders, like for example, depression (e.g.  anger or irritability, concentration programs, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness), through her experiences you “see” what that looks like day to day.

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Author Rebecca Lombardo

Her novel provides, in addition, encouragement to her readers keep on pursing their dreams and goals despite living with mental illness. I, myself, who struggle with mental illness have been inspired to stay strong and be best self, no matter what situation or person is against me…even if it’s my own mental illness. I highly recommend to book to anyone who lives or doesn’t live with a mental health disorder. It’s sure to make laugh, cry, and empower you and/or those with/without mental illness. I highly recommend you read it!

*I received a copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review

You can also check out her website at:

RebeccaLombardo.com

Wonder Twin Powers Activate: Pop Culture In The Form Mental Health Awareness

Like comic book/superheroes? Want to know about your mental health and mental health in general? Why not have both? Like I mentioned in my previous post “Superheroes and Mental Health”, sometimes you could understand human behavior behind these masked/unmasked heroes, because they represent the throes of humanity. The sites I’m about to introduce YOU to are two great sites that I find do a great job at intertwining mental health awareness and the world of superheroes together:

The Arkham Sessions: Batman: The Animated Series

Pop Culture Hero Coalition

Superhero Therapy

Under The Mask: A Deeper Look at Heroes and Villains

Superhero Therapy

Superhero Therapy

Superhero therapy, ran by Dr. Janina Scarlet, a licensed clinical psychologist, uses various forms of pop culture such as comic books and videos games along with evidence based practices such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help individuals achieve optimal mental health. As being refugee and being bullied herself, she decided to use her pain to help others by attaining her Ph.D in Neuroscience and clinical psychology and of course, her love comics/pop culture to create “superhero therapy”. She has contributed her knowledge of behavioral health in various books like “Star Trek Psychology”, “Doctor Who Psychology”, “Game of Thrones”, “Captain America Vs. Iron Man: Freedom, Security, Psychology,” “Dark Side of The Mind: Star Wars Psychology,” and “Psych of the Living: The Walking Dead.” She is about to release a new book titled, “Superhero Therapy: A Hero’s Journey Through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” coming out in the U.S. August 1st this summer (out already in the U.K.).

In addition to that, she contributes to the Saga comic series, aids Veterans with PTSD and other mental health disorders. She is also a curriculum creator for the “Pop Culture Hero” organization and website. For more information on her, her site, her works, and contributions, click on the websites below:

Superhero Therapy

What Is Superhero Therapy?

Contributions

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Family Support for Military Sexual Trauma

Paths To Recovery For Military Sexual Trauma

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Books

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Under The Mask: A Deeper Look at Heroes and Villains

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“Under the Mask” created by Dr. Andrea Letamendi “uses fictional heroes and villains to discuss mental health awareness”, while reducing the stigma and misconception toward achieving optimal mental health while still being able to nerd out!

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Using her degree in clinical psychology (and love of pop culture, comic books, especially Batman) her sites goes health topics like, “panic attacks”, “PTSD”, “recovery and rehabilitation” and “bipolar disorder”.

While promoting mental health awareness, the website also aims to bring about “awareness and knowledge of psychology” and “strengthen and broaden the public impact that scientists and academics have about important scientific discoveries” through topics like “sports psychology”, “relaxation therapy”, the “recovery oriented model”, “positive psychology”, “neuropsychology”, “ethics and morality”, “cognitive psychology” and “electroconvulsive therapy.”

If you want to know more about her and her works in clinical psychology and pop culture, look at the links below:

 Under The Mask: A Deeper Look At Heroes and Villains

Batgirl’s psychologists

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/01/batgirls-psychologist/384661/

Captes, Cowls, and Courage: The Psychological Power of Superheroes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv9nlrM28Ro

“Iron Man 3”: Does Tony Stark Have PTSD? (Guest Column)

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/iron-man-3-does-tony-520868

Meet Batgirl’s Psychologist

https://femmagazine.com/meet-batgirls-psychologist/

the Mock Trial of the Winter Soldier

Saving Lives For 75 Years: “Batman Helped Me Find My Voice.”

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/26/living/batman-anniversary-irpt/

The Legal Geeks

http://thelegalgeeks.com/2016/02/14/sdcf-winter-soldier-mock-trial-report/

 

The Arkham Sessions Batman: The Animated Series

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This weekly series by Dr. Letamendi and Brian Ward gets into the psychological views of Batman: The Animated Series, while still providing educational and comical views of the iconic Batman Heroes and villains.

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Co-host Brian Ward

The show does use other characters of the DC Universe to further explain mental health and world of psychology. Here are a few topics/characters they discuss:

The Arkham Sessions, Episode 102 “Joker’s Millions”

The Arkham Sessions, Episode 101 “WonderCon 2017: The Psychology of Animated Series

For more information, click on the link below (you can also download them via podcast; very fun and informational stuff. Trust me):

The Arkham Sessions

Pop Culture Hero Coalition

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The “Pop Culture Hero Coalition” is a non-profit organization that “stories from TV film, and comics to make a stand for real-life heroism over bullying, racism, misogyny, LGBTQ, bullying, cyber-bullying and other forms of hate”. They have a team and have partnerships with non-profit (Random Acts and To Write Love On Arms, and the United Nations Associations of the United States of America: San Diego Chapter) with various organizations that discusses crucial information on how we can make this nation, this world a better place. Two of people who are a part of the Pop Culture Hero Coalition, team include the two doctors I mentioned earlier, Dr. Letamendi and Dr. Scarlet.

They have also made visits to various schools and conventions around the country (I’ll tell you about the one I saw at this year Wonder Con) to discuss about pertinent details that is essential to living a great and optimal livelihood. For more information, click on the link below:

Pop Culture Hero Coalition

Dual Diagnosis

Being that this year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness month is “Risky Business” I’m going to talk about dual diagnosis. So here is a problem we have here…does drugs and/or alcohol lead to mental illness or…does mental illness lead to drug and/or alcohol abuse? It’s hard to say. It’s kinda like the “chicken or the egg” thing. Anyways, if you are not familiar with the term, dual diagnosis is a term for individuals who live mental illness and substance abuse. According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). It’s a broad category. It can include, for example (“Dual Diagnosis”, n.d.):

  • Mild depression due to binge drinking
  • A person’s symptoms of bipolar disorder becoming more severe when they abuse heroin during periods of mania.
  • Drug abuse leading to mental illness because of how the drug has an influence on a person’s moods, thoughts, brain chemistry and behavior.
  • Self-medication using drugs and alcohol to mollify the symptoms of an existing mental health disorder

Regardless of how a dual diagnosis begins it impacts an individual’s interpersonal & intrapersonal relationships (“Dual Diagnosis”, n.d.):

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Using substance under dangerous conditions
  • Engaging in risky behaviors when drunk or high
  • Loss of control over use of substance
  • Developing tolerance & withdrawal symptoms
  • Feeling like you need the drug to function

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About 1/3 of people experience mental illness in the U.S. and about half of people who live with a severe mental illness and undergo substance abuse (“Dual Diagnosis”, n.d.). Men are more likely than women to have a dual diagnosis, then, individuals on a lower socioeconomic status, part of the military or veterans. So how can dual diagnosis be treated? Individuals can be treated by detoxification, attending impatient detoxification, medication, psychology and/or self-help and support groups (“Dual Diagnosis”, n.d.). And I know one resource that can help you and/or your loved one overcome that problem.

Drug Rehab.com is an informational website that provides resources and tools to help break from addiction, so individuals and/or loved ones can achieve long term recovery. The site covers various forms of addiction such as

  • Alcohol addition
  • Drug addiction
  • Prescription drug addiction
  • Crystal meth addiction
  • Heroin addiction

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Details on Adderal, its potency and how it’s digested.

Then some of these topics have subtopics; for example, in the discussion of Prescription drug abuse it covers:

  • Prescription Drug Abuse
  • Chronic Pain & Prescription Addiction
  • Who Addiction Affects
  • Mental Illness & Addiction
  • Commonly Abused Prescribed Drugs
  • Signs & Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

Other topics  Drug Rehab.com goes into are:

  • Eating disorders
  • Functioning alcoholics
  • Teen Drug Abuse
  • Withdrawal Symptoms
  • Co-Occurring disorders (aka: dual diagnosis)

For example, in the topic on Co-Occurring disorders, discussions include:

  • Mental illness
  • Self-medicating mental illness
  • Common mental health disorders
  • Symptoms of Co-morbidity
  • Stigma of mental illness & addiction
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Causes of mental disorder & drug use

In addition, the Drug Rehab website is an extension of Advance Recovery Systems or ARS. The ARS—which also funded and provided information for the website—helps people treat addiction, substance abuse eating disorders and mental health issues. They offer services such as:

Therapeutic learning

Cognative Healing

Medication

They also (which I find awesome about this mental health services) provide various mental health words to assist in substance abuse recovery:

  • Doctors
  • Dietitians
  • Case workers
  • Nurses
  • Therapists
  • Education

Whether you or someone you know has abused substances that has led to a mental illness or visa versa, everyone deserves to live a full life. Most importantly, you/they deserve to be happy and find the peace and serenity that has been within you/them all this time.

For more information, on Drug Rehab.com or ARS, click on the links below. Also check out 2 free resources the site offers. They have a free 24/7 confidential hotline you can call at: 855-402-0161. And they have a free Sobriety E-Book you can download.

Advanced Recovery Services

DrugRehab.com

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The Sobriety E-Book

Reference

Dual Diagnosis. (n.d.). National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Dual-Diagnosis