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.

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Perpetuation of Violent Masculinity & Misogyny in Today’s Society

A week after the massacre in Isla Vista, a community near UC Santa Barbara, Laci Green’s video post (via Upworthy) hits the nail on the head. In addition to having conversations about how mental health, gun regulations/gun control and race intersect as ways to understand school shootings, Green highlights the need to discuss the perpetuation of violent masculinity. Green also highlights the need to include misogyny in the discussion about violent masculinity in order to understand how misogyny bleeds through today’s society. Misogyny has contributed to many accepting violence as a male characteristic and therefore, approving violence against women.

We, as a country, need to learn from our mistakes.. instead of watching more tragedies, like the one in Isla Vista, continue to take the lives of future leaders.

 

Redefining Strength

Redefining Strength

How do you define strength? Do you define it as “sucking it up” and “pushing through”? I define strength as allowing yourself to be vulnerable with another person, even though you may not know how the person will respond, and sharing your story with him or her.

I believe in moments of vulnerability.
I believe in uniting others by providing space for that vulnerability to linger.
I believe in the deeper level of understanding that is the outcome of that vulnerability.

“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.

Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan Relief: Collective Effort

Philippine Typhoon Haiyan Relief: Collective Effort

Last year had its experience of natural disasters. The Philippines Typhoon remains to be a natural disaster is one that took me by storm (no pun intended). As I have shared in my June blog entries, I traveled to the Philippines with USC’s Global Immersion Program focusing on Human Trafficking. We traveled to Manila, Subic Bay, and Querzon City, to name a few locations. The women I spoke to and the experiences I gained while walking through the slums will forever be part of my memory. When I first found out about the typhoon that hit Tacloban and surrounding areas in November 2013, I was surprised to hear the amount of devastation the disaster caused. People lost loved ones, homes, and a sense of safety in their neighborhoods.

Casey Neistat, a guy who received $25,000 from 20th Century Fox to originally create a trailer for the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, decided to use the funds to provide food and supplies to the victims of the typhoon. With the funds, Casey and his volunteers provided over 10,000 meals, tools to 35 villages, and basic medical supplies to local organizations. Although the average person may not have access to this large amount of money at any given time, we can work together and assist one another in times of need. The key word here is together.

[Click on this link to watch Casey’s video]

The natural disaster relief efforts for the Philippine Typhoon that I am happy to have participated in was a clothing & supplies drive with the Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus (APISWC) of USC’s School of Social Work. Donations were collected from students, faculty, and staff over a two-week period. After packaging the donations, APISWC produced 20 large box donations that were delivered to Goldilocks, a Filipino bakery, where the donations were then shipped to the Philippines. API SWC also collected approximately $1,500 in monetary donations as of today, which will be provided to WeGovern Institute, a resource and advocacy institute that “seeks to advance new politics that empowers the people” of the Philippines (wegoverninstitute.org).

Everyone has a mission to assist those in need, regardless of your political beliefs socioeconomic status or education level. We are all equally vulnerable to some level of devastation and pain, like the Filipino people experienced in November. Together, we can continue to assist the Philippines rebuild again.