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Advocate By Honesty

It is high time that those suffering from mental illness come out of the closet. Could you imagine if the millions in America who suffer from psychiatric problems could confess their ‘secret’? I think many would be shocked as the grip of this miserable ailment is far deeper than one can imagine. That is why whenever I visit my psychiatrist the office is overflowing. Let’s face it we live in a troublesome world and we all have troubled minds, unfortunately some have chemical imbalances that magnify the day by day trepidation

I never tried to hide my mental illness, so to say, but I certainly wasn’t vocal about it. What was I supposed to do walk up to somebody and say “Hi my name is John Kaniecki and I suffer from bipolar”? The notion is absurd and ridiculous, but I say this only because mental illness as a whole is misunderstood. For far too many people the image of the mentally ill are ‘crazy’ serial killers.
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Psychology Around the Net: October 21, 2017

Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

It's a gorgeous day here in my neck of the woods, and trust me when I say we'll be taking full advantage of it! After all, the days are getting shorter and soon there won't be as many warm and sunny days (at least, not here) until spring. Many people begin experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as fall really kicks in. As many of you know, for a lot of people light therapy is an effective way to treat SAD.

However, did you also know light therapy might be able to help with bipolar disorder? That's just one of the topics we're covering in today's Psychology Around the Net!

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The Psych Central Show Podcast is a WEGO Health Award Winner

We are honored to be the winner of the 2017 WEGO Health Award in the Best in Show: Podcast category for our outstanding weekly podcast, The Psych Central Show, hosted by Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales.

We are humbled by this achievement for our podcast, which offers a candid chat on mental health and psychology topics. Congratulations to Gabe & Vincent for doing such excellent work each and every week!

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Ethics & Morality

Gunning for a Solution

“There will certainly be a time for that policy discussion to take place, but that’s not the place we’re in at this moment,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

And then she teared up at the horrific Las Vegas shooting.

I rolled my eyes--not because I am questioning Sanders’ sincerity. Like all of us, she is aghast at the latest senseless tragedy. But I roll my eyes--and chuckle ruefully--at the practiced condolences. American society: the equivalent of a Hallmark card.

We decry senseless gun violence in the most visceral of terms. Our Twitter feeds and Facebook post lament the latest tragedy. And following Vegas or Orlando or San Bernadino, we buy a cup of coffee for an appreciative stranger. We reaffirm -- at least temporarily -- our collective faith in humanity’s benevolence.
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Want to Die? Call 911 & Hold a Closed Multi-Purpose Tool

You would think that university police would have such great mental health training -- given that they are dealing with a population of young adults exploring limits, learning about themselves, and one of the groups at the greatest risk for a first-episode incident of mental illness.

Apparently not at Georgia Tech. This is a school where I would never send my child, given the most recent incident of a person with mental illness being killed -- rather than being counseled -- in mid-September. One second of poor judgment on an officer's part, and suddenly an entire life is snuffed out. Not because a criminal was threatening anyone (other than himself) with harm. But simply because the man -- Scout Schultz -- had a mental illness.

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Ethics & Morality

Pathologizing the President Reinforces Mental Illness Stigma

A large group of psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and other mental health workers have declared Donald Trump mentally ill and unfit to be president.

They don’t name the mental illness, or cite any specific behaviors that make him a threat to the country or constitution. They merely state that he is sick and call for his ouster.

“Duty to Warn” has the signatures of 60,000 mental health professionals, none of whom have assessed the president, on a petition calling for Trump’s removal due to “serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States.” [Ed. - Actually, as we pointed out here back in August, this is simply a petition of 60,000 signatures -- NOT of ONLY mental health professionals. For context, there are 340+ million individuals in the United States. Psychology Today was pedaling its own version of "fake news."]

To take the petition at it’s word, it is not any deviant acts that disqualify Trump, but the mere fact that the undersigned believe he has a mental illness, and that alone disqualifies him. Many responsible people have serious mental illness that they manage, and they function very well. But they still have a serious mental illness. Would these doctors disqualify this group of patients from doing their jobs?
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Recommendations for Reporting on Mental Health & Mental Illness

Despite providing education online for mental illness and mental health issues for more than two decades, here at Psych Central we still see people -- and sometimes even fellow journalists -- reporting on mental health and mental illness in ways that perpetuate ignorance and misunderstandings. I'm sure that in many cases this is not intentional, but simply because the journalist didn't know any better.

In celebration of mental health week (Oct 2 -8) this year, we've developed the following guidelines and recommendations for journalists on how to report and write more thoughtfully and respectfully about mental illness and mental health issues.

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Psychology Around the Net: September 30, 2017

Ah, the leaves are changing and the air's getting crisper...goodbye September! I can't say I'll miss you (you kind of whizzed right on by?!) and October is my favorite month anyway!

This week's Psychology Around the Net covers the real psychology behind taking a knee, what really creates the "grit" personality trait, why some people don't need to hear "I love you" in relationships, and more.

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Podcast: How Has Mental Health Advocacy Changed?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales welcome Andy Behrman, veteran mental health speaker, writer, and advocate who is the author of Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania. Andy shares his views on how mental health advocacy has changed over the past fifteen years and the ways in which our views of stigma have evolved. He also shares the story of his interview with noted actor and bipolar advocate Stephen Fry, his ideas on how to help fund advocacy groups, and his experiences with electroconvulsive therapy and memory loss. And, yes, he tells us how he got the nickname of "Electroboy." 
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Criminal Justice

Hurricane Irma: A Chance to Lock up the Homeless in Miami

You know how many people pull together in a natural disaster, treating each other with more kindness and pitching in to help? While hunkering down here in the path of the hurricane that has devastated parts of Florida, I've seen many people lending a hand to help strangers. It's been very heartwarming.

But I've also seen a darker side here in Florida. Some officials have discovered that Hurricane Irma is a different kind of opportunity -- to clear the homeless from the streets of Miami. Police, working in conjunction with an activist group and a handful of mental health professionals, gave homeless individuals what seems like a simple choice: either go to a shelter or get sent for a psychiatric evaluation against their will.

This is a flagrant violation of a person's individual liberties, twisting a law meant to protect people with a mental illness. The law was not crafted to make people do all manner of things against their will.

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Why I Wouldn’t Take Google’s Depression Test

At the end of August, Google decided to make available directly on its site (through a "knowledge panel") the ability to take a depression screening quiz. We know a thing or two about online depression screening quizzes, because back in 1996 I put one of the first interactive depression screening quizzes online, long before Google even existed.

Here's the thing... Depression screening tests -- like the PHQ-9 that Google is now offering on its website -- are super helpful tools to give a person a little more insight into the possibility of having a serious mental illness. The problem with Google offering it is that this mega-marketing company is collecting your health data. Do you really want Google to have this kind of sensitive information about your mood?

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