The Sad Ghost Club

There are a lot of organizations that rally round the idea of promoting a better understand of mental illness. One of them is The Sad Ghost Club.

The Sad Ghost Club is a creative project that makes comics and apparel to bring a positive awareness to mental health issues.

a-spooky-ghost

The organization is not limited to these things. They also work with mental health charities alongside artists in hopes to put out a big, positive message about mental health. They also have a blog of their own.

The group also holds workshops and talks based around mental health, and also emotional well-being.

The group really prides themselves on the products they sell, because they really bring out the conversation about mental health.

pocket_tee_front_and_back_grande

In fact, many of their products are either sold out or very limited in availability because the response has been so positive.

You can get anything from a pin, to motivational cards that assure you things are going to get better.

The group wants to make sure people who are sad or mentally ill understand that life can get better for them, they just have to keep going. Though making “light” of something as serious as depression really isn’t something I would condone, I think The Sad Ghost Club does it tastefully.

Upon many of their sales they donate money to mental health organizations like Off the Record who provides free mental health services and resources to young people.

Sadly, The Sad Ghost Club is based out of England, so their reach is not quite on the US fronts given they are still finding their footing. However, they want those who feel sad or lost to feel included. It’s the club for those who “don’t feel like their a part of any other club.”

Advertisements

Not So Happy Holidays

It’s again that time of year- Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is in a week and soon it will be Christmas Day. For many people the holiday season is a chance to have fun, spend time with family, travel, and get presents. To some, the holiday season is a reminder of not-so-nice things, and even means to fall into holiday anxiety or depression.

This news piece with Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal explores why for some, Christmastime doesn’t always mean fun and games.

Christmas can be a reminder of loved ones we have lost, or even if we end up alone and see people on Facebook or even those phony Christmas cards people send with everyone wearing the same sweater, we can feel a little on edge during the Holidays. Not only this but excessive drinking is also linked to holiday depression. holiday drinking can often be an issue. Bars might be filled with friends and family, but what about the guy all alone drinking a beer by himself? This happens a lot more than you would think, sadly.

There are always negative things about when the holidays roll around, weather your Vegan cousin comes to town to make you feel like shit cause you eat meat or your grandma always has something to say about your relationship status or that you have too many tattoos (the tattoo thing happens a lot) so coping in other ways besides drinking yourself into a coma can help with the holiday blues.

We often feel inadequate during the Holiday season. Everyone seems to have it all together, like half your Facebook friends decide to get engaged, and as cliche as that is, it can be disconcerting to some. Remember what you see online isn’t always the 100% truth. Don’t assume others are better off than you because they got a puppy for Christmas.

Of course we talked about loneliness, which seems to be the saddest thing of them all. Remember, not everyone has family, and some don’t have anyone to share the holidays with. Even if you are surrounding by friends and family, if you already are depressed nothing can really bring you out of that, in fact sometimes it can make things worse, because once again you’re comparing yourself to your cousins, or someone else- this can ruin your holiday too.

Financial woes is also a big contributor to holiday sadness. Many people struggle with paying their rent or feeding themselves, during the holiday they want to buy things for not only themselves but for others- and sometimes it’s not always a possibility. Studies have also found the over-commercialization of Christmas can be over whelming and it brings people down because they feel once again inadequate because they can’t afford a brand new car or expensive new phone. It seems every year they start throwing Christmas in your face earlier and earlier- I saw one the week before Halloween and was immediately like,ok, no.

We’ve also talked about Seasonal Depression before. This obviously comes with the territory as days get shorter, nights get colder, and you are less inclined to go out and do things because of the snow and cold.

Also, as we get older Christmas isn’t as fun as it was when we were kids. Getting socks and new comforters really is not the highlight of my year- therefore reminiscing can often lead you down a negative path. thinking about “the good old days.”

You might notice these things in yourself as Christmastime approaches, and some other things might come about like excessive drinking, over eating, and even trouble getting sleep because you are worried about how you might pay for a present for your mom, or in my case my mother lost her job and I worry about her during this season too. It’s important to remember what you get at Christmas doesn’t define you.

Coping with the holiday blues can go beyond having a glass of wine, though that might help in moderation.

Remember to think of yourself during the Holidays, you are your number one priority.

Don’t be unrealistic about what you cannot do- your parents aren’t going to love you any less because you can’t buy them a present.

Talk to your family and friends, and let them know how you feel, that’s what they’re there for.

If you see someone is lonely, maybe invite them for over- or if you yourself are feeling lonely you could volunteer and help others have a Merry Christmas.

I know the Holidays can be a hard time for everyone, not just those who suffer from depression, but it’s important to remember (most) people are in a better mood this time of year, so surround yourself with the love that’s meant to come from celebrating the Holidays.

How the Donald Will Get Vets Mental Health Care

Here we are. On the other side of a presidential election. Love him or hate him President-elect Donald Trump has always been in big support of the veterans who often get brushed under the rug. VA Hospitals have the worst track record for psychiatric care, and often they find that many people commit suicide while waiting for help.

Donald Trump has never been quiet about, well, anything, but has often expressed the lack of care that veterans are getting from the VA hospitals. This article goes into great depth about it, but let me highlight the important things.

Number one is Trump is more than willing to make civilians aware of the veterans’ situation. He says in the video posted above he doesn’t talk about the military unless he’s also talking about the veterans. Mental Health First Aide receives Federal funding, and hopes to be expanded under the new presidency.

Not lumping everyone into the category of having PTSD is also a big problem in the VA world. Many people do suffer from PTSD, but there are other forms of mental illness than veterans have faced. A therapist has called some of it “moral injury” because of the things they have done in war makes them feel ugly on the inside.

Technology is also an under utilized asset in the medical world sometimes.In a survey Vets expressed interest in getting medication reminders via text, or even a therapy session via Skype. Also, electronic records would help out tremendously- and the transition of their medical records from active to civilian would go much smoother.

Lastly, Trump doesn’t want vets to feel they are bound by the VA hospitals. He also thinks it’s important for them to get help elsewhere, and it would be absolved by the government. This is helpful to those who live farther away from VA hospitals or have been wait listed for a month, which happens a lot. Also outside of the VA hospital, peer support groups are popping up for those who have served our country, and getting federal funding. They can talk with someone who has also served, and in doing so making a positive connection.

I think it’s really sad how the government has seemed to treat so many veterans, they lay in the streets, homeless and unable to cope. The VA is overrun with people seeking help. But maybe under this new presidency they can feel valued again and the Veterans for Trump will welcome him with open arms. Oh, and happy Veteran’s Day,  what an appropriate post- thanks to everyone who has ever served our country.

The Beauty of Music Therapy

Happy November, this is my first post this month, exciting stuff. I recently read in the news the use of music therapy has been proven to help children with depression.

In this study British scientists used 251 children to conduct it’s study. What they found was the children who received music has improved their mood and had less depression than the children who attended conventional therapy.

Professor Sam Porter said in a press release, This study is hugely significant in terms of determining effective treatments for children and young people with behavioural problems and mental health needs. The findings contained in our report should be considered by healthcare providers and commissioners when making decisions about the sort of care for young people that they wish to support.” (I had to spell behavioural cause he’s British.)

This form of music therapy incorporates children playing their own instruments while they are given words of encouragement. Music therapy has also been proven to improve communication and interaction with others, as well as general social function in all age groups.

Study similar to this have been conducted before, but never to this magnitude, and the results were highly definitive. Music therapy is on the rise, they even have their own website with an abundance of resources for those looking for a music therapist or those who want to pursue a career in it.

In fact, within the last academic year West Virginia University’s School of Music has added a program for a degree in music therapy.

Here’s kind of a long Ted talk about music therapy.

Also, the use of music therapy is not limited to those with depression, it serves beneficial to many different people, such as people with cognitive problems, or even autism.

In the coming recent years, we are likely to see an explosion of this method of therapy, instead of clocking in and spilling your guts out to a shirk, also it can prove to be more cost efficient than popping pills on a daily basis.

Drake vs Cudi

The battle with depression can be a debilitating one. In times where reassurance and love is heavily needed, many people on the outside are not sure how to lend a helping hand.

However, some people are genuinely inconsiderate of mental health and one of those people happens to be Drake. A few weeks ago I posted about Kid Cudi’s public announcement that he was putting himself in a rehab facility to get help for his major depression. Many celebs fired back with Tweets of love and support, like Pete Wentz- another advocate for the mental health community.

However, Drake, being Drake, took this moment of weakness to shoot negativity in Cudi’s direction.Drake released a track, “Two Birds, One Stone” that included a verse obviously directed towards Cudi- who released an album “Man on the Moon” and other rappers have taken stabs at him, including G-Eazy.

The verse reads,“You were the man on the moon/ Now you just go through your phases/ Life of the angry and famous/ Rap like I know I’m the greatest/ Then give you the tropical flavors/ Still never been on hiatus/ You stay xanned and perced up.”

Even after the release of the song Drake took to Instagram and other social media to diss Cudi ever further. Plenty of fans took to Twitter in outrage, saying this is how Drake is going to lose fans, and of course Cudi had some choice words for him too. He challenged Drake to say those words to his face- and made a point to bring up he would be out of rehab soon.

Surprisingly enough, Kayne West, the king of assholes, took a very different approach to Cudi’s situation. West dedicated a song to Cudi is Los Angeles and performed “Father Strength My Hands Pt. 1.” West encouraged the crowd to sing Cudi’s part, and said “Lets sing this one time for Cudi.”

sure, rappers beef all the time, but for someone to call someone out on their mental health is really awful. Not only does it contribute to stigma, it leads others to believe it’s okay to do the same thing, especially when you’re someone in the public eye like Drake. You can read more about why Drake sucks here. Though I would never consider myself a fan of Drake, I know now I have an even more genuine distaste for him than before.

Born to Run

If you don’t have older parents much like I do you may or may not be familiar with Bruce Springsteen. Bruce is probably one of the most influential singer/ songwriters that came from my parent generation, and recently he put out a book called Born to Run- which is also a song by Bruce.

Like other celebrities like Jimmy Buffet, another example of an influential singer and song writer, who has been open about his own struggles with alcoholism- Springsteen just recently was very open about his battle with mental illness. “It sneaks up on you,” Springsteen explained. “I got to where I didn’t want to get out of bed, you know?”

Sure, if you’ve had depression or have known and loved someone with depression you’ve been just where Bruce has. However, he said without his wife’s undying love and support he’s not sure how he would have survived it otherwise. Also, with having children, it was hard for him to show that side of him to his kids, and openly admits he tried to hide it from them.

Springsteen also says one of the many reasons he struggled so with depression is because of his rocky relationship with his father. Growing up, Bruce says he never heard his dad tell him he loved him, and his father also suffered from mental illness. Bruce says he “went there” in the book, talking about his troubled past, but admits it helps him feel better about the situation. Not only this, but Bruce also finds happiness in his music. He says his depression, if anything has made his songs mean more to him over the years. Bruce calls performing “the trustiest form of self-medication.”

“One of the points I’m making in the book is that, whoever you’ve been and wherever you’ve been, it never leaves you,” Bruce explained in a People magazine interview, and goes on to say ““I always picture it as a car. All your selves are in it. And a new self can get in, but the old selves can’t ever get out. The important thing is, who’s got their hands on the wheel at any given moment?”

Bruce, who is now in his late 60s, is still touring and loving music, though he admits he will go through periods of persistent depression. He says he’s tried therapy and medications, but really, music is what keeps him the happiest. Bruce’s wife also talked about his book saying,

“That’s Bruce. He approached the book the way he would approach writing a song, and a lot of times, you solve something that you’re trying to figure out through the process of writing – you bring something home to yourself. So in that regard, I think it’s great for him to write about depression. A lot of his work comes from him trying to overcome that part of himself.”

Not only does Bruce help himself in his work, but surely reaches countless fans with his openness to dismiss the stigma and social stereotypes of depression. Newsweek expands the conversation, as we all should.

Healthcare & Mental Health

We’ve talked about the crippling numbers of people in the US who don’t seek help for their mental illness. In fact, a new study shows that more than half of adults with some sort of mental illness are not getting the treatment they need. Sure, the stigmas are still there, but the access people have to mental health care is also something that is overlooked.

As bad as it is for adults, 6 out of 10 children who need to see a doctor for their mental illness do not even have access to a doctor qualified to help them, whether it be by medication or any other kind of assistance. It’s also been found those who visit the ER for psychiatric problems seem to have a harder time getting the correct treatment, and once they leave, rarely do they have a follow up.

The general doctors are not entirely well versed in the treatment of mental illness, however, it can be just as serious as any physical injury or illness. The problem, as previously said, is even worse for children.

There are only about 8,000 qualified child psychiatrists in the US- and there about about 15 million kids who suffer from mental illness. And once they leave an emergency room, again, their follow ups get lost in the crowd, or they end up in family medicine offices or with their pediatrician, and sadly, they may sometimes need more than that.

With the ever changing medical field and the dreaded Obamacare (sorry not sorry) many mental health patients get lost in the sea of numbers and charts, and many of them are not getting treated, or treated correctly.

From personal experiences, not only from me but from friends and others, I hear all too often it will be weeks, even months before a specialist can see you- but the reality if it is, some people don’t have weeks or months to wait, they need immediate help. Even if you have private insurance, it can be a headache to find psychiatrists who accept it. In only 55% of them accept private insurance as opposed to the 89% of other doctors who accept private insurance- and many of them are also specialists.

Love him or hate him Donald Trump has even made the comment about the healthcare system and how mental health facilities and doctors are on the medical back burner. (We aren’t going to get political) but this is a very real problem for many people. Not everyone lives in a town with 2 hospitals and countless medical offices, and even here it can be like pulling teeth trying to see a mental health doctor.

This is something I will more than likely discuss again, with it being so close to the election and the governments woeful part in the medical world, things need to improve. Wanting help and getting help are two different things, and it’s really awful to see so many people out there would could easily be helped and treated but can’t find anyone to do it.