Mental Health Infograph of Children and Teens

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Click on the image above to magnify the information in the graphic.

 

Children & teens susceptible to experiencing anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts that intersect with various areas of their lives. Some areas of a child’s/teen’s life that are impacted by mental illness include their school (academic performance, academic attainment), family dynamics, conflicts in the home, socially (disruptions in interpersonal relationships with peers), and personally in how one relates to themselves (i.e., low self-esteem, poor body image, etc).

It is important to keep in mind that the way in which mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, are exhibited in a child/teen’s behavior may differ from how an adult experiences similar symptoms. For instance, a depressed child of nine years old may demonstrate higher levels of irritability or externalized/aggressive behavior, in comparison to a depressed adult who may miss days of work due to being unable to get out of bed.

Luckily, mental illness symptoms can be identified early (in childhood or adolescents) in order to prevent long-term debilitation and struggle. There is hope.

Thank you National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for creating this informative graphic. http://www.nami.org.

“Depression, the Secret we Share” by Andrew Solomon; a TedTalk

“The opposite of depression is not happiness; it’s vitality”- Andrew Solomon

This is an amazing video about depression, both the humanistic experiences of depressive symptoms and the medical/psychiatric realms that interact with the mental illness.

While you watch this, please keep in mind that Solomon’s descriptions of depression are his subjective experiences of living with the illness. However, the stories he shares about what other people have experienced and the research he mentions can be generalized as a way to provide hope and to remind ourselves about the courage that exists in all of us.

Comics that Highlight Frustration of Depression

 

I came across this BuzzFeed page, from Sept 2013, earlier today. This webpage provides a collection of comics that highlights the multiple frustrations that people experience with depression. For myself that knows someone who is living with depression and battles its ugly darkness every day, I feel a bit of relief that these comics exist. The relief I experience as I read through these comics comes from the idea that my relative can also read these comics and understand they are not alone. You are not alone in the depths of sadness that you feel. You are not alone in the excruciating pain you experience while you attempt to find any reason to get out of bed or to tackle the overwhelming pile of laundry that waits to be washed. You are not alone. 

These comics are also tools in the continuous efforts to create and enhance awareness for mental illnesses, like depression. Lastly, the use of expressive therapies, such as art therapy, is a wonderful way to express one’s experiences and struggles (as clearly displayed above). 

The four comics provided below are my favorite:

Comic #1: The persistent, engulfing darkness (art by Sylvie Reuter)

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Comic #2: Carrying the darkness with you where ever you go (art by Kristian Nygård)

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Comic #3: The inability to communicate how you actually feel (art by Elysian-Dreams).

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Comic #4: The difficulty in trying to get your friends to understand (art by B. Patrick)

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To check out more comics, visit: http://www.buzzfeed.com/hnigatu/comics-that-capture-the-frustrations-of-depression.

Speak out about how Mental illness has impacted your life: Here’s How

How has mental illness impacted your family? Whether are you have the diagnosis personally or if you are a family member and friend of someone who does, you are still impacted, in some way, by mental illness. A wonderful friend of mine, brought these amazing resources to my attention. I would like to share them with you and provide you with the opportunity, as well, to become involved and share your story.

I highly encourage EVERYONE to participate in sharing their story regarding mental illness. Even if you have not been a diagnosis, just sharing your challenges with others can provide a feeling of camaraderie with those who share similar experiences. We can begin to understand the immense of strength that we own by hearing others’ stories & sharing our own.

The first opportunity is sharing your story on the radio:
If you would like to share your story with 89.3 KPCC, a radio station, please click on this link: http://www.scpr.org/network/questions/mi. After clicking on this link, there will be text boxes for you to share your story with the world. A KPCC radio journalist will respond to you by email.

The second opportunity is to participate in a campaign called “I Will Listen” (iwilllisten.org). The campaign is based in New York by NAMI, but has sent ripples throughout the country. By visiting this site, viewers will be able to watch hundreds of videos of ordinary people and celebrities share their stories of how mental illness has impacted their lives.

A link for the NY Times newspaper article about the “I Will Listen” campaign: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/02/business/media/a-campaign-urges-listening-to-those-torn-by-mental-illness.html

The way we get rid of the stigma is coming together and sharing our courageous stories about how we are impacted my mental illness. Mental illness is an issue that we are all experiencing on some level, every day of our lives. Luckily, you don’t have to experience it alone.

SHARE YOUR STORY

Was the suicide a nightmare or real life: a True Story

A few years ago, I woke up and was unable to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Since it is September and this month is recognized as Suicide Prevention Month, I thought this would be a wonderful time to share this story with you.

The story goes like this:

One night I went to bed after a long day during my undergraduate years. I woke up sleepily from my cell phone ringing.

“Hello?”, I said.

“Hi, Brittany. I am calling to say bye.” Someone I hold very close to my heart was on the other line.

“What are you talking about? What do you mean by ‘bye’? Where are you going?”, I said from disbelief.

The other person stated, “I am going to kill myself. I can’t live like this anymore. I am sorry I have let you down”.

Tears began to stream down my face uncontrollably.

“What? What are you saying? You promised me you wouldn’t. Wait… Please DON’T!”

“I have to.” The phone hung up. My mouth remained open in shock. My heart felt like it stopped beating and time stopped.

The next moment I remember is waking up drenched in sweat and hearing myself scream. What just happened? Did I cry myself back to sleep after that phone call or was that phone call only a dream? A nightmare? It had to be a nightmare!

To make sure what happened was truly a nightmare, I called the person’s cell phone. The next five seconds seemed like eternity. The phone was not being answered fast enough. It must have been…

“Hello, Brittany.”

Oh my God! I heard the person say my name!

“Hello! Is that you?”

“Yes, are you okay? Are you crying? What’s wrong?” I attempted to explain for the next ten minutes what just happened as my tears of happiness overcame me. I then heard, “That will never happen. I promised you that I wouldn’t do that. And I plan to follow through with that promise”.

I began to cry again. “You promise?”

“Yes, I promise”.

 

Luckily, that phone call I experienced was only a nightmare. Unfortunately, some people’s nightmares do really happen in real life. Talking about suicide or discussing one’s thoughts about suicide is nothing to be ashamed of. Discussing the signs and concerns about a loved one or a friend is what can be done to prevent suicide from happening in the first place. For support, for either you, a family member, or a friend, please call:

The National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK
The Youth America Hotline: Counseling for Teens by Teens at 1-877-YOUTHLINE
The Trevor Project: Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth at 1-866-488-7386.

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