Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven, Part 3

This is part 3 of the series "Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven." Don't miss Part 1 and Part 2 too.

The Future of Therapy and Recovery

There is not a one track solution to this problem. Various schools of thought will need to come together to thoroughly evaluate the best ways to make high quality care affordable and accessible. The World Health Organization promotes ways for institutions to integrate mental health services into primary health care, aiming to raise...
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Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven, Part 2

This is part 2 of the series "Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven." Don't miss Part 1.

Hear the Rattle and Click as the Door Slams Home. Welcome to Prison.

Without true understanding of how many people were touched by mental illness and what actions needed to be taken to help care for their personal welfare upon release from healthcare facilities, a concurrent rise in homelessness and surge of patients into correctional facilities began to unfold. (11) In a 2013 report to Congress...
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Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven, Part 1

If you go into your internet browser’s search bar and type in the word “asylum,” a host of terrifying images of dirty hallways, rusty beds, and screaming faces will pop up. Let’s face it -- asylum is mostly known as a negative word, a place where unspeakable things occur in the movies that keep us awake at night. Regardless of its roots in providing protective safe haven, the concept of asylum receives a bad reputation mostly because of historical documentation of the awful and dehumanizing conditions of psychiatric hospitals.

"It's not easy to talk about. You don't want people to think you're 'nuts' when everyone in there is not nuts," Ann explains while sipping a cup of coffee. "During certain stays I had dignity, but there was one hospital where there were bed bugs all over. They had to keep changing my sheets and the staff would come in to clean them out of the lights." Now in her fifties, Ann has experienced many years of hospital stays at different institutions while combating major depressive disorder (MDD).
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Children and Teens

ER Beds for Kids Lacking, But School Programs Can Help

Everyone who is a front line clinician in an emergency room (ER) knows the hard reality of the lack of psychiatric services available. Discharging someone from an ER into inpatient mental health treatment is virtually nonexistent for adults. For kids, the situation is usually far worse.

The good news is that if we focus more on preventative care in school -- helping kids and preschoolers long before they have a full-blown diagnosis -- we may be able to stop them from ever having to use an emergency room. All we need do is start making mental health a funding priority for both the states and the federal government.

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Law and Disorder: How Police Practices Antagonize

Charlotte. Baton Rouge. Tulsa. Minneapolis. Los Angeles. Ferguson.

The violence explodes on your television set. You seethe.

“This is 2016 -- not 1968. Does the U.S. now stand for ‘Under Siege?”’ you fume.

Your anger is righteous. Racism is prevalent in the United States. And, yes, there are racially tinged police officers infecting American police forces.

But is your anger misplaced?
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Hillary Clinton on Mental Health in America

In the run-up to the Presidential election in America, we're examining the candidates' views on mental health and mental illness. Last month, we examined what little Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, had to say on mental health. He has spoken using terms for mental illness that most people have long since abandoned in order to insult others -- that's been the gist of his policy statements about mental illness.

This month, we'll examine the proposed mental health policy agenda of the Democrat's nominee for President, Hillary Clinton.

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Mental Health and Addiction Among Inmates

Working with offenders allows you to see many interesting phenomena. Not only do you get to observe interesting behaviors and get a glimpse inside the thinking patterns of criminals, but there are interesting sociological observations as well. One of which is how life inside the walls mirror what is going on in society; cultural diversity, violence, drug use, etc.

While there is nothing new about drug use inside prisons, a new and interesting occurrence seems to be taking place. It would appear that much of the drug\alcohol use may be attributable to the inmates engaging in self-medication to treat known (or undiagnosed) mental illness.
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Child Sexual Abuse: Don’t Hide Your Head in the Sand

Right as the Summer Olympic Games started in Rio, the IndyStar reported that USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for gymnastics, ignored sexual abuse allegations filed against coaches. Complaints were reportedly filed against more than 50 gymnastics coaches, but authorities were not contacted about the complaints if they did not come directly from a victim or her parents. Three of those coaches have since been convicted, while a fourth killed himself in jail.

Before I mention any details, I have to give a trigger warning to trauma survivors. This news brought up a lot of poignant, ugly feelings for me.
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Mental Health Care in Massachusetts: Needs Rise While Spending Falls

What happens when society decides it will reimburse tens of thousands of dollars (or even hundreds of thousands) for a surgery that may offer only incremental improvements to a person's health or longevity, but won't spend thousands to help that person's mental health?

You get a second-class system of care. In America, we call this the mental health system, which is a separate and completely unequal player in the U.S. healthcare system. In fact, it is so dysfunctional and underfunded that American mental health care resembles some third-world countries.

The Boston Globe continues its examination into the Massachusetts mental health care system. And what they find is hardly surprising.

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Psychology Around the Net: August 20, 2016

A few weeks ago, my beau and I decided to tackle a huge home improvement project together.

According to Amy Kipp, a couples and family therapist in San Antonio, "Working through the ups and downs of a big project helps you hone your communication skills [...] The sense of accomplishment and teamwork that results from a challenging shared experience strengthens a couple’s bond. (Her quote is featured in 7 Relationship Milestones That Are Just as Meaningful as Marriage.)

Thus, it seems working on this project is a way to strengthen our relationship. This project is not an improvement our home needs (i.e. we're not renovating a bathroom with a leaky toilet and busted shower tiles); it's an improvement we -- as the homeowners -- want (basically, we're a large part of our backyard into a sort of outdoor oasis). As such, creative ideas are flying everywhere. We have both collective and separate visions, and we're working to combine those visions while making sure each of us is happy.

We haven't thrown any paint brushes at each other yet, so I'd say we're succeeding so far.

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We Need More: A Call for Action

Dear Hillary,

Congrats on the Philadelphia convention. It had to feel good to accept the Democratic nomination. Even rumpled Bernie managed a smile!

With the Donald self-immolating, your likability ratings are cresting. Chelsea humanized you, and then you delivered a Hillary special: a heady, policy-laden convention speech.

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Using our Sports Culture to Ignite Mental Health Discussion

It’s a strange dichotomy. Endless chatter about sporting minutiae is common, while serious discussion on mental illness remains rare. But inject sports into the mental health conversation, and you find a plethora of Outside the Lines reports, peer-reviewed studies on sport-induced chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and arguments about the respective mental fortitude of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Even when we talk about mental illness in art, as in the Oscar-nominated movie "Silver Linings Playbook," the main characters are Philadelphia Eagles fans. Indeed, it seems mental health only interests our society when it relates to sports.
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