Addiction

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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Bullying

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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General

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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Disorders

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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General

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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Creativity

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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Anxiety and Panic

Why It’s Important to Be Positive About Mental Illness

I love hope-filled stories of recovery from mental illness. Living with bipolar disorder has led to many instances of triumph over my circumstances and I often write about them. As anyone who lives with or knows someone with mental illness is aware, it’s a horrible disease.

Do Positive Experiences Glorify Mental Illness?


As a writer and speaker about my experience with bipolar and
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Bullying

Bullying: Schools’ Dirty Little Secret

Meet Eric. Eric was every parents’ dream: motivated, sincere, and well-rounded. He excelled in music and theatre. High school teachers lauded Eric for his intelligence and compassion. But thin, introverted, and painfully self-aware, Eric’s classmates at Mentor High School preyed on the boy’s sensitivity.

At first, Eric shrugged off the name-calling, better to ignore the merciless teasing. But, sadly, the harassment escalated into something more sinister. Pushing, shoving, and physical threats were daily realities. Teachers looked the other way, implicitly condoning the bullying. In a math class, a student glared at Eric and coolly remarked, "Why don't you go home and shoot yourself? No one will miss you."

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General

Trump: Enemy of Those With Mental Illness?

As the United States enters its election season full-swing, it's time to look at the candidates' positions on mental healthcare in America. First up is Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president. Throughout the campaign, Trump has said very little about mental illness and what he would do to help change the conversation of mental health in America.

But what he has said speaks volumes.

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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: July 9, 2016


Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

I hope my fellow Americans enjoyed last week's Fourth of July celebrations! Unfortunately, my neck of the woods has been devastated with rain and extreme flooding, so I didn't get to celebrate as much as I would have liked.

However, the sun is shining today, and it's time to catch up on this week's latest mental health news! Keep reading for information on how medical marijuana has lowered prescription drug use, see pictures one photographer uses to chronicle his quest for peace amid anxiety and depression, which habits say a lot about your personality, and more.

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Depression

Project Semicolon: For Lives that Could Have Ended But Didn’t

There was a girl in front of me in yoga class yesterday with a long piece of text written on her side. I was squinting to see what it said. I almost pulled out my readers, but then I realized we had mirrors in front of us so she could see me struggling to try to read her skin. I thought I’d better return to tree pose.

I find all tattoos intriguing. Even the tacky ones that cover an entire body. They always tell a story that I want to hear.

I am especially intrigued when I see a semicolon, because I know, without having to utter a word to the person who has that specific kind of tattoo, that he or she is a kindred spirit.
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