Learning to Live with Bipolar Disorder

Carolie

Caroline HeeJeon Gale

I am person with bipolar disorder and a suicide attempt survivor. Bipolar disorder has affected my family and me in many hard ways, but it has also encouraged my family to express how much we mean to each other, and how much I mean to them. I would not have made it through without their love and support, and I probably would not be here to tell my story if I hadn’t had the kind of individualized care I received from my county mental health system.

My family emigrated from Korea to the United States when I was 10 years old. As symptoms of my mood disorder surfaced within the next couple of years, my parents, whose primary language is Korean, had difficulty accessing resources in our community. They were supportive, but because of language barriers and unfamiliarity with the mental health care system, they had limited ability to act on their concerns and to help me. Without the aid of translators, my parents would be excluded from participating in my mental health care and treatment.

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Through the Eyes of the Patient

mood network

Roberta Tovey
Director of Communications, MoodNetwork

The concept of patient-centered care is not, on the face of it, a very complicated one. Nor is it new: developed in the 1980s, and based on the famous psychiatrist Carl Rogers’ humanistic approach to psychotherapy in the 1950s and ’60s, it has been widely promulgated in modern healthcare theory and has been the credo of family practice medicine for decades. Nevertheless, patient-centered care has turned out to be harder to implement than to describe, and is still not incorporated into most medical practices. This is especially true of the area of mental health.

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Suicide, Stigma, and the Role of Religious Faith

Matthew S. Stanford, PhD
Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Biomedical Studies, Baylor University

We acknowledge the collaboration of American Association of Pastoral Counselors in developing this post.

Throughout history, suicide has frequently been misunderstood and religion has played a significant role in adding to its stigma. Sadly, due to misinformation that typically dates back to Biblical teachings, many Christians consider suicide to be an unforgivable sin. But demonizing suicide is outdated and ignores the real cause: mental illness.

It’s time for religious communities to play a pivotal role in addressing this nation’s mental health crisis and many are rising to the challenge. Congregation by congregation, attitudes are evolving.

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Preventing Depression in Vulnerable Youth: To Prevent Suicides, We Need to Do More

Preventing Depression in Vulnerable Youth

In order to reverse the trend in youth and adolescent suicide rates, we need to implement effective interventions to prevent depression. Though that remains a challenge for the population as a whole, there are vulnerable subgroups – including socioeconomically disadvantaged, sexual minority, and racial and ethnic minority youth – for whom it is not clear that common preventive interventions are effective. There is a reason we don’t know this: we’re not doing enough to find out.

Last week, Dr. Donna Holland Barnes discussed the horrific upward trend of suicide rates among very young Black males, ages 5-11. We know that one of the key strategies in preventing youth depression and depression symptoms–often precursors to suicidal ideation–is to use early interventions that help to develop resilience, coping and communication skills, and capacity for emotional expression. Dr. Barnes notes that there are some excellent programs for introducing coping mechanisms but, unfortunately, funding and access limit their implementation in schools.

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Why Are Children Taking Their Own Lives? What Can We Do?

Donna Holland Barnes, PhD

Donna Holland Barnes, PhD
President/Co-Founder, National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide
Howard University, Department of Psychiatry

Suicide is a painful and sensitive topic under any condition, but it becomes exponentially more so when we’re talking about the most vulnerable members of our society: children.

A recent study entitled “Suicide Trends Among Elementary School Aged Children in the United States,” published in JAMA Pediatrics, showed that the suicide rate among Black males between the ages of 5 to 11 has nearly doubled in the last two decades.

This is a shockingly young age bracket. While we know little about why these children are taking their own lives, we can only guess that there is a disconnect somewhere.  So where do we begin to address such a tragic and complicated issue?

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The Hospital Failed My Father – And Our Family

Jess and Dad

by Jessica

My father battled depression his entire life but two years ago he suffered a debilitating setback. My mother took him to the local hospital to get help. He stayed for a few days and did very well while he was there. He loved the staff and talked about them for days afterward.

A few weeks later, my dad’s depression worsened. My mother decided to take him to a bigger hospital because they had a psychiatric unit. She thought they would be more help than our local hospital. I went with them to offer my support.

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Are There Alternatives to Emergency Departments when Facing a Psychiatric Emergency?

Robert Haggard

Robert Haggard, CRSS
Recovery Support Specialist
Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center, Skokie IL

The answer is a resounding yes, there are alternatives to emergency departments (EDs) for psychiatric emergencies. Person-centric, community-based crisis interventions found outside of traditional emergency departments serve a population with much-need, save lives and money, and offer hope. The Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center (TP) where I work is a viable, safe, accessible, welcoming, warm, and caring space that has provided an alternative to EDs since 2011 with an amazing 97% deflection rate from the hospitals in its surrounding area.

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How Can We Improve Emergency Department Psychiatric Care?

Scott Zeller, MD

Scott Zeller, MD
Chief of Psychiatric Emergency Services for the Alameda Health System

“John,” a 28-year-old man, is brought to a small community hospital emergency department (ED) after difficulty at home; he is at the time of arrival yelling at his mother and pulling painfully at his hair. John’s mother, who lives in the suburbs of a metropolitan area, is employed full-time as a software engineer and is prominent in the local community. Her employer-sponsored health insurance does not include coverage for John, but he does have Medicare.

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