Suicide has had an impact on my life since I was a young child.
My grandfather completed suicide when I was just 5 years old. I saw the impact on my family from a child’s eyes, but the true depth of that impact wouldn’t come to pass until later in life.
We all feel stress from time to time … at home, at work, in our everyday experiences.
Stress can be short-lived or as a reaction to an external situation, such as missing your morning train, or stress can persist. Longer-term stress can negatively affect day-to-day functioning, increasing the risk for certain health problems, such as depression.
So often when we speak about mental illness and substance use disorders, we talk about numbers: the number of people who have died from overdoses; the number of people who take antidepressants; the cost of mental health to society at large.
However, at the Kennedy Forum Illinois in December, keynote speakers put a face and soul to addiction.
As a Beacon Health Options Peer Support Specialist raising a child with multiple disabilities, I never fully grasped that recovery is an inside job – until I had to recover myself.
Many Beacon locations employ peers, people with lived experience of mental illness or substance use disorder, to empower the individuals we serve to live their lives to the fullest potential. We might help them to navigate the health care system, or to define their own paths to recovery.
This past July marks the twelfth year I’ve had the privilege of supporting the Consumer Welcome Center at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) National Convention.
This year’s theme was Act, Advocate, Achieve. These are welcome calls-to-action for Beacon Health Options. Our core values reflect our focus to act with integrity, build community, foster resiliency in ourselves and those we serve, treat all with dignity, and advocate for continual improvements in behavioral health awareness and systems of care.
I started running when I was 8. This was right around the time that my parents divorced and my world changed in numerous ways.
I was having anxiety attacks and battling depression. I was having trouble concentrating at school. When I started running, I couldn’t tell you why I was doing it, I just felt compelled. When an anxiety attack surfaced, I put on my shoes and headed out the door.
I know when some people see that July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, they may ask themselves why such a thing is even necessary.
Why talk about minorities specifically? Why can’t we focus on mental health issues generally? The answer is that mental health issues do not discriminate, but societal inputs can make identifying and treating mental health issues in minorities even more difficult than in the population at large.
Last week, Beacon Lens’ blog post explored the latest developments around Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in honor of June as PTSD Awareness Month.
However, there is an element to PTSD that doesn’t get its due: Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) which, in brief, is any positive change that results from a life-altering or traumatic event.
Since the dawn of time, humankind has realized that there were negative consequences to experiencing overwhelming stressful situations.
For example, reactions to wartime trauma have many names: soldier’s heart, shell shock, combat fatigue and, since the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III, 1980), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
It’s not always easy to look in the mirror, especially at my age when the blemishes of experience start to crop up as brown spots and fine (or not-so-fine) lines.
However, my age has also taught me that the real difficulty of looking in the mirror is beyond a skin-deep reflection. I had an experience recently on my way to a hair appointment that forced a look beyond the fine lines.