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  • SubGod22
    KMUW - Online mental health screenings provide significant value to the population of Wichita

    Do you have trouble falling asleep, or are you sleeping too much? Are you so restless that it’s hard to sit still? How afraid are you of gaining three pounds? Not afraid…slightly afraid…very afraid?

    These are just a few small examples of the kinds of questions asked through some online mental health screenings. Dedicated screening tools exist for depression, anxiety, substance use, and many more. And they are available in a variety of languages. The questions are not straight yes or no, but rather allow you in answer in gradations to ensure a personalized result. And most of them are only a dozen or so questions long.

    But perhaps the best thing about these screening tools is that they allow you to take them in the privacy of your own home or office without requiring any identifying information such as names, addresses, or telephone numbers. These tools provide significant value to the population of Wichita, as evidenced by a national organization called Mental Health America who reported that use of the screening tool for anxiety increased by over 650% in less than one year during 2020. And the screening tool for depression saw an increase in usage of nearly 900% in the same time period.

    A few questions on a computer screen are not a valid replacement for a qualified diagnosis. But for those who harbor concerns about their own behavior or the behavior of a loved one, these tools can be a good start in determining if there might be cause for concern. And if there is, these sites often offer local and national resources for care. Please consider looking online for these screenings and mentioning them to others as well.
    There's definitely some value in using something like this. As they say, it's not a diagnosis, but it can give you and idea as to what might be troubling you. Then you have something to work with should you seek a professional for a true diagnosis and help.

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  • SubGod22
    She Was About to End it All, Until a Stranger She'd Never Meet Told Her 'Don't Jump'

    If the suicide of Anthony Bourdain, the beloved restauranteur and travel personality taught the country anything, it’s that depression is still poorly understood.

    In 2014, a young woman named Trieste Belmont was struggling with depression. Her grandmother had just passed, and she was going through a dramatic break-up.

    She was teaching a dance class at this time, but without a driver’s license, she relied on a friend to drive her to and from work every week. One day however the friend didn’t show, and Belmont waited for hours before being forced to walk home.

    The route she used went over a high bridge. And when she got there, she stopped for a moment.

    “I was just having one of the worst days of my life. And I was looking down at all the cars, just feeling so useless and like such a burden to everyone in my life that I decided that this was the time and I needed to end my life,” Belmont told NPR.
    This story just reiterates what I hope most of us truly know deep within our souls. You never know what someone is going through. Even those closest to us can hide certain pain and thoughts as to not be a burden to others. You also never know what act or words will push someone over the edge or pull them back from it. We could all be more kind to our fellow humans. More compassionate. More understanding.

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  • SubGod22
    MSN - More than 20,000 calls made in first year of 988 Lifeline in Kansas

    It’s been a year since the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline went live in Kansas. A new study looked into how much the hotline has been used and how effective it’s been.

    The study by the Kansas Health Institute found there were more than 20,000 calls made to 988 in Kansas this past year.

    One advocate wishes the resource had been available sooner.

    It’s been two long years since Lori Barnes’ oldest son, Daniel, took his life after battling mental illness for nearly a decade.
    Parents started dialing into the 988 lifeline once it went live.

    The COMCARE Community Crisis Center in downtown Wichita takes calls directed to 988.

    “We received a lot of calls from family and loved ones and people who might be concerned about a loved one,” said Jennifer Wilson, director of the crisis center. “They called just for information and connection to resources.”

    About 1,600 calls were made to the 988 line every month in Kansas in the year since it became available, according to the recent KHI study.
    This was long overdue but at least it's an easily accessible resource now for people. And it sounds like it's being used a fair amount and I'm sure it's done a lot of good for a lot of people.

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  • Shockm
    Pro Life isn’t just about Abortion. 60,000 people in the Netherlands were killed by medical assisted suicide between 2012 and 2021. 40% of the people asking for suicide help were autistic, and mentally handicapped youths who were depressed, and their decision making was impaired by their mental health diseases and difficulties.

    Belgium, and Canada also have laws to help people kill themselves. Many doctors are opposed to assisting people kill themselves. Depression is a problem everywhere, and support is necessary, but helping people kill themselves isn’t the answer imo.

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  • Shockm
    Wokeness evidently is bad for your mental health. For 30-40 years, Liberal thinking and permissiveness dominated the SCOTUS. Laws were often made from the Bench instead of Congress. Now Boston University Law students need mental therapy because the court said people have a right to free speech in the area of Religion. The interesting thing is that the web designer was willing to design web spaces for gay and lesbian people except in the area of weddings which she didn’t agree with for religious reasons. Other cases that affected their mental health included Affirmative Action voted down, Biden’s student loan forgiveness Plan also lost. All of these decisions resulted in Boston Law students decline of mental health. Not sure I want a lawyer like that representing me if need a lawyer.
    Last edited by Shockm; July 1, 2023, 08:19 AM.

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  • SubGod22
    Obviously an important topic to me and others. This article has some things that make me want to cry. We can do better. We can be better. I love that the topic is being discussed much more openly in recent years, but we still have a long way to go. Kansas has an even longer way to go.

    WBJ - BRINGING LIGHT TO THE DARK: Wichita businesses have opportunity to grow and lead on mental health

    There is more for business leaders to do, though, in ensuring mental-health awareness is not just a trend that fades, but leads to sustained, improved quality of life within their companies and in the community.

    "It's all about purpose," said Ed O’Malley, president and CEO at the Kansas Health Foundation. "Your purpose has to deeply be about the care of your people — and your purpose has to be deeply focused on creating a culture of wellness. When you have that, your company will thrive.

    "But if your purpose is to check the box. If your purpose is, 'Everybody else is talking about this, I guess we need to have something to show that we're talking about this,' I think it will fall flat."

    Look no further than Mental Health America's 2023 "State of Mental Health in America" report for a sobering reminder of the progress needed in the state.

    Kansas finished last, out of all states and the District of Columbia, in the rankings that analyzed metrics related to mental illness prevalence and access to care.
    Dead ****ing last. That's appalling.

    The Kansas Construction Safety Network meets monthly and is preparing for its second annual event during Construction Suicide Prevention Week in September.

    Leaders being able to talk openly about mental health — from the office to the job site — and meaningfully check in with their employees are keys, De La Torre said.

    "What we're really trying to do — rather than emphasize the end result (suicide) ... let's do more on the front end by bringing this awareness level on the mental-health piece," he said.

    This year's event will take place Sept. 8 at Old Town Square in downtown Wichita, and De La Torre said he hopes many in the community — from government leaders to those in other industries and organizations — can engage and attend.

    Wichita-based Thrive Restaurant Group is also making employee mental health a top priority, the company's chief people officer Ryan Bond says.

    As part of its name change from Sasnak Management to Thrive in 2018, the company had already tried to stand out in the industry with how it treated employees.

    Then, in 2020 and 2021, Bond says the company had "seven or eight team member or team member-adjacent suicides," with five in Iowa — sparking a further ramp-up in what Thrive could do for its team.

    "That was just a massive wake-up call," he said. "That is when we started talking about mental health as an organization."
    It's a shame that it often takes suicide to happen first before some will wake up to what's going on around us. But the silver lining is that people are waking up to the importance of mental health and hopefully that grows and because of it, more lives can not only be saved, but improved. There are still so many people who feel that they can't talk about it. Can't talk about their struggles. Can't talk about their invasive thoughts. Their fears. Their hopelessness.

    Suspenders4Hope, which began in 2015, has grown from a campus-centered effort to now serving workplaces with online and in-person training.

    In addition to Thrive, the initiative has also partnered with Ascension Via Christi, the Kansas Leadership Center, Wichita Journalism Collaborative and Wichita Foundation, among others.

    Jessica Provines, a Suspenders4Hope leader and WSU chief psychologist, said the loss of a student to suicide around the time of the organization's beginning drove her to "handle my grief and to try and help prevent anyone else from experiencing what I had gone through."

    That's included an emphasis on bringing hope to people who might be in despair.

    "What the Suspenders4Hope campaign calls people to do is to be visible, vocal and vulnerable in sharing their own mental-health journeys," Provines said. "Because when we talk about our mental health, it is what helps us heal."
    I'm proud of WSU for starting this campaign and being a positive voice for change in how mental health is viewed. And the fact that they've partnered with some local organizations to help expand the reach is a beautiful thing.

    I've been blessed that the last two places I've worked have had a positive work environment, at least in the groups I have worked. In my previous job I had a boss who would meet with us individually in her office I believe it was every other month to sit and talk. She truly wanted to know how things were going at work as well as outside of it. Wanted to make sure we were doing well and what she could do to help make things better if need be. Despite her being a work-a-holic, she stressed the importance of work life balance and made sure that as employees we knew she always had our back. It's also the job where I was encouraged to start seeing a professional as I'd talked about it for years with some of those closest to me. We had a good team where everyone was pretty open about things and it did make for a positive atmosphere and one you could trust and looked forward to being at.

    My current job isn't quite like that in regards to bi-monthly meetings, but it is a very positive and encouraging atmosphere. They've never once batted an eye at me leaving early on Tuesday's to see my therapist. They've never asked me to change times or days. They've never questioned anything about it. It's also a very warm and positive atmosphere which helps make one want to come to work. Heck, I lost one of my dogs a couple of weeks ago and they were completely understanding of me taking a couple of days off. I felt guilty because I know there are people who don't get the connection some of us have with dogs, but my boss, one of the owners, went out of his way to make sure I knew that he gets it and there was no judgement. He, and others, would ask about her as I was going through a number of vet visits over the last couple of months. If they didn't truly care, they sure fooled me.

    The job I had before these two was not good. It was toxic. Nobody trusted their direct supervisors and some didn't trust some of their co-workers. And I understood every part of that. That was a place that mostly saw you as a cog in the system and didn't give a **** about how you were doing. I remember sitting with an co-worker who was pretty upset at some bullshit that had just gone down and we were quietly talking about it when my supervisor stopped and stared at me and "encouraged" me to get back to work. I just stared back and my eyes told her to **** off. There were more important things, at least to me, than pumping out a few more billings that I would get done anyway.

    So basically, as this article states and I completely agree with, businesses can go a long way in helping with mental health. If they're doing it for the right reasons, it will only make the company stronger in the long run. A more positive work environment generally means better productivity. Being open and honest about mental health and encouraging/supporting those who need/want to get help will only improve the environment as well. Happy employees want to work hard and stay. Supported employees want to work hard and stay. Business can go a long way in helping this cause and help themselves in the process if they're serious about it. And it sounds like more and more of them are becoming that way and that's a beautiful thing.

    Kansas still needs to get its **** together though.

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  • SubGod22
    This could go in any of at least three threads, but I'm putting it here. Also, you'd hope that proofreading would be stronger from the University paper, but whatever.

    The Sunflower - Therapy dogs on campus free to anyone anyone in need

    Dogs are in tune with human hormones, smelling when people are stressed, anxious or depressed. As finals come up, these emotions appear more often, students are more than welcome to play and cuddle with the therapy dogs on campus.

    When dogs sense these emotions, they often lay their paws on a person’s body. Through the feeling of fur and the pressure of the paw, the brain is told to release oxytocin, which calms the nervous system.

    “(Dogs) are very good at recognizing those signs in people,” Mahsa Maghsoudi, the clinical director of the WSU Integrated Support and Empowerment (WISE) clinic, said. “They read your body language and facial expressions.”

    At Wichita State, students and community members can go to the WISE Clinic and play with three therapy dogs – Rex, Cumin and Sam – when they are feeling stressed.

    “We have some clients that come in 20 to 30 minutes before their appointment times just to play (with the dogs),” Maghsoudi said.

    WISE is also willing to accommodate clients who are scared of dogs.
    Anyone who owns or has owned dogs know these things to be true. It's part of the reason we don't deserve them. And I know I've said many times over the years that had I not had my Shai or Adina that I have no idea where I'd have ended up mentally or otherwise.

    I recently lost my oldest dog, Adina, as she passed away April 30th at home, next to the couch where I was laying, watching TV, and loving on her. She had a 9am vet appointment to say goodbye last Monday but didn't make it to it. I'm thankful that she seemed to be pain free and was able to pass at home surrounded by the love of me and my two younger ones. Even had a parade of family that stopped by that evening with my mother, my sister, two nieces and a nephew showing up to say goodbye to her. Just shows the impact that she had on them all in her nearly 14 years of life.

    That's getting a bit sidetracked, but Adina had also been very good over the years with my nephew who has struggled with some anger issues and ADHD. He was always way more relaxed and at peace when he was with her and she was really good to him. He's taken her loss a little rough.

    But again, dogs are amazing and I'm glad to see WSU utilizing their abilities and positive effects to help those who are stressed, especially during the end of the semester. Everyone needs ways to cope with different stressors and other potentially negative effects on the body and mind and we're seeing future therapists working with dogs in some cases to help with some of that. It makes me happy and I hope that this continues on campus and elsewhere.

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  • moshock
    Mark Potter is a good friend of mine. He does speaking engagements all over the country about Mental Health. He started D2UP to help people with Mental Health issues.

    My youngest daughter deals with this on a daily basis. She had a brain tumor removed 2 years ago and has struggled ever since.

    Prayers to all that are struggling and to their families.

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  • SubGod22
    Here's some interesting data on helping with anxiety and depression.

    New Study Suggests Acts Of Kindness May Be The Best Medicine For Depression And Anxiety

    A new study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology found that performing acts of kindness can heal depression and anxiety.

    Researchers from The Ohio State University split 122 people into three groups.

    Two of the groups were assigned to techniques often used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for depression: planning social activities or cognitive reappraisal (identifying negative thought patterns and then revising the thoughts).

    Members of the third group were instructed to perform three acts of kindness a day for two days out of the week.

    Participants followed their instructions for ten weeks.

    The findings showed that participants in all three groups showed an increase in life satisfaction and a reduction of depression and anxiety symptoms.

    However, the group performing acts of kindness led to improvements not seen in the two other groups.

    "These results are encouraging because they suggest that all three study interventions are effective at reducing distress and improving satisfaction," the study's co-author David Cregg said.

    "But acts of kindness still showed an advantage over both social activities and cognitive reappraisal by making people feel more connected to other people, which is an important part of well-being."
    I wouldn't mind seeing more research done on this. The logic brain tells me there are valid reasons that support this conclusion and I fully comprehend how the social connection aspect of this would have a greater impact on the overall well being of the subjects mental health. That makes sense as we are at our core, social creatures. And making those social connections and having positive results in doing something maybe out of your norm and having positive impacts is more rewarding and stimulating to the mind, than simply forcing yourself into social situations.

    I'm currently seeing someone and we're focused a lot on exposure therapy. It makes sense to me and I've made a lot of positive strides. But as this article points out, being in public in itself can be a challenge for someone like me, but I feel better when I am involved more in the social setting. However, in my experiences when I have more social involvement, it's generally because I meet a friend in these social settings and that in general puts me more at ease and makes me feel better.

    I've used Spaulding's in Andover as a base of operations on and off over the past 7 months or so. I've gone in a lot by myself and it was hard at first. I struggle in social settings in places I'm not familiar with and/or around a lot of people I'm not familiar with. To this day, when I go in alone, I still fight with the run away part of my brain. It has gotten easier over time, but I still get that little voice in my head that tells me to leave and go home. With that said, I have a friend who will on occasion come up and join me for a drink or five and a meal. Last time I was there his wife and two of their kids came up. It was great. Going in and enjoying myself when I have true social interaction and connection is much easier and more rewarding.

    In regards to this study, I would need to be in a scenario like this, on my own, and do something to initiate a positive social interaction/connection. Only in my dream world is that possible for me at the moment. I'm still working on going to new places on my own and more consistently. I'm still essentially terrified to initiate and sort of action or conversation with a stranger. Sometimes I hate being me, and I don't mean that as negatively as it may sound. More just frustrated that I have not yet learned how to be more vulnerable is social settings and take such risks around strangers.

    I still found this study interesting and it does make sense. I would like to know more about the level of anxiety or depression they're talking about in getting people to do this. It sounds very overwhelming from where I'm currently sitting.

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  • WuDrWu
    I don't want to forget this and need to come back to it when I have more time and thoughtfulness.

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  • shoxlax
    Fun fact: Back when I was in college, MDMA was not a controlled substance. Not that I ever partook, but it does explain some of my professors break from reality.

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  • shoxlax
    Some options DoD has tried with success:

    Ketamine, Magnetic brain stimulation (not shock therapy), MDMA, and Psilocybin.

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  • AndShock
    I debated posting my super long mental health story but decided against it as it would certainly make me sound like a crazy person if you haven’t done the research or experienced it for yourself. I’ll just say I struggled with severe suicidal ideation for years and the only thing that fixed it was an illegal drug that the DEA and US government say has zero medical use and a high potential for abuse. Luckily Johns Hopkins, MAPS, and a few other great organizations are working to change that.

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  • SubGod22
    The importance of 988 will probably never be truly understood, but in the six months or so since it went live, it's been very active in helping people all across the country.

    Eagle - Callers keep flooding 988 mental health, suicide helpline

    Brill works in one of more than 200 call centers fanned out around the country tasked with answering an uptick in calls day and night from people considering suicide or experiencing a mental health emergency.

    With bipartisan congressional support and just under $1 billion in federal funds, the 988 mental health helpline has quickly expanded its reach in the six months since it launched — raking in over 2 million calls, texts and chat messages.
    When the around-the-clock phone launched last summer, it built on the existing network that staffed the old national lifeline, 1-800-273-8255. The new 988 number is designed to be as easy to remember as 911.

    It couldn’t have come at a more needed time: Depression rates in U.S. adults, overdose deaths and suicide rates have been on the rise.

    “The call volume is, in some instances, well beyond what we anticipated,” said Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use in the Department of Health and Human Services. “It does let us know that people are struggling, people are having a hard time. Where I feel heartened that people are getting connected to services and supports, as oppose to struggling on their own.”

    The 988 helpline registered 154,585 more calls, texts and chat messages during November 2022 compared to the old national lifeline in November 2021, according to the latest data available.

    Texting has been particularly popular, with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration noting a 1,227% increase in texts to the line during that same time.
    I can never stress enough how important it is to reach out to someone if you're struggling with anything. Some people may have a friend or family member they might be able to lean on and that's great. I know many of us worry about bothering other people with our problems, but believe me, there are people around you that love and care for you and would be more than happy to listen and be there. However, if you don't have that kind of system around or just worry about annoying people, please reach out to 988 or any other avenue with people who volunteer their time to be there for you. You're never as alone as you think you are in these battles. People care. You matter.

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  • SubGod22
    I like the logic and ambition behind the piece I'm about to link. I think I'd have a hard time coming up with enough things to do this, but I could see the benefits of at least attempting something similar and how it could positively impact ones mental health.

    Improving Her Depression, Woman Tries Something New Every Day for a Year-And Vows to Keep it Up

    During the pandemic, the 34-year-old suffered from anxiety and depression—but the lockdown made her realize that she was depending upon her routine as insurance to keep her going.

    So, last year on December 27th—as the pandemic was fading—she decided to try something new every day for 100 days. When that period ended in April, she found herself eager to do more.

    One full year later, the Englishwoman has completed her challenge—yet still has no plans to stop.

    Jess completed a wide range of ‘firsts’, including bleeding a radiator, using a sewing machine, and joining a gardening group.

    From her home in Surrey, she was able to visit European cities like Vienna, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, and Krakow—and, back on home soil, she tried speed dating and line dancing.

    “I feel pretty emotional about it to be honest,” said the resident of Redhill. “I can’t believe it.
    They share a large list of things she did. Being able to push yourself to get out and experience things like this is kind of an exciting thought. It gets you out of the "norm" which will generally feed your anxiety and/or depression. I might try to do one new thing a week or something and see how it goes.

    She admitted that one new thing every day was fairly unrealistic, and changed her goal to 365 things over the course of a year. So she could do multiple things one day which makes a lot more sense to me. Sometimes you simply need some rest and to chill, regardless of your mental state.

    I have been working on exposure therapy so maybe that's why it does make more sense to me, though I've struggled with it in recent months. I think I rely on getting outside and away from groups so much that when the weather turns cold, I have less desire to do things, as my options are more focused on going into places and I worry about crowds. Even though I'm pretty sure most museums and such aren't going to be crowded, it's still a mental block I'm trying to push through. Same with dining out, though that has more to do with I don't really enjoy experiences like that, or going to the movies, solo. Not saying my anxiety doesn't play a part, but I've done those things and I think having grown up with those being shared experiences all of the time that that's still how I associate them and they lose some of the joy of the experience, at least in how I perceive it all.

    I am hoping that when the weather gets consistently better that I will begin to get out and explore more of Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas on the weekends. I still need to work on enjoying some indoor things as well, but we'll get there.

    I am going to look at her list more in depth later and see what I might be able to incorporate into my life and think about other things I can do and experience in a similar effort to stimulate my mind and see how that goes.

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