mental illness

Treating the Cause (not the Symptom) of Mental Illness

Anna Challet

While policymakers and government officials acknowledge the importance of mental health – the Surgeon General has named it one of his top six priorities – less attention has been paid to the root causes of poor mental health and to creating safe, supportive, and well-resourced neighborhoods and communities for people to live in. Mental health problems often start with difficulties in childhood, and if the work of youth service providers shows anything, it’s that addressing this will require expanding the current notion of what young people need in order to have good mental health. 

New Korean TV Show Tackles Taboo Subject of Mental Illness

YeoJin Kim

The TV show, titled “It’s OK, That’s Love,” stars Gong Hyo-jin, who plays Ji Hae-soo, a psychiatrist working in a hospital in Seoul. She meets a successful novelist struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and schizophrenia. What begins as a series of comedic encounters soon transforms into a budding romantic relationship between two individuals coming to grips with their own inner turmoil.

The Link Between Overcrowded Housing and Mental Health

Rabiya Hussein

A younger son of Ramirez was diagnosed with ADHD, and she worried about the impact of the frequent yelling in the home, which she attributed to the stress of living in a cramped environment. “When a kid who has ADHD starts listening to someone who’s yelling, they start feeling anxious [and] he just doesn’t want to be home.” Ramirez said her two teenage children, a girl and a boy, also suffered from having to share a room. 

Aaron Alexis’ Military Service Is the Clue to Navy Yard Shootings

Yoichi Shimatsu

Alexis attributed his mental-health issues to his assignment in cleaning up contaminated debris at the 9-11 Ground Zero site, but the Navy claims no such record of this work. A report in British paper Daily Mail notes Alexis was seen exiting a subway near the World Trade Center just as the twin towers were collapsing. The sight, it says, quoting Alexis' father-in-law, left him "traumatized." Indeed, the career of Alexis runs parallel to the 9-11 era, when thousands of servicemen were assigned to secret combat missions that do not appear on their military records.

How Popular Media is Helping to End the Stigma of Mental Illness

Gabrielle Acierno

Whether your understanding of mental illness is limited to what you’ve seen on the silver screen, or as intimate as a firsthand struggle, the topic has occupied a continual space in our national discussion, eliciting controversy and fascination. Today, there are nearly 60 million Americans who suffer from a mental illness, and it continues to present a quality of life, household and community issue. 

Laurel Ann Bogen and the Healing Art of Poetry

Mark Bizzell

“Poems like this are called occasional poems and are difficult to write,” says acclaimed poet Laurel Ann Bogen, who also teaches poetry at UCLA.  “Of course, in this type of circumstance expectations are high and as a writer you are constrained by time and subject.” Writing inspiring and healing poetry is familiar to Bogen, who won the esteemed American Academy of Poets College Prize while attending the University of Southern California at only age 17 in the late 1960s.  

Spiritual Psychology and the Search for Nirvana

Mark Bizzell

The National Institute of Mental Health says that up to one-quarter of Americans have been diagnosed with a mental disorder.  And the CDC reports that while one in 10 Americans over age 12 use prescribed antidepressants, most don't see a therapist.  This is despite evidence that talk therapy can help.   A new study from the United Kingdom published in The Lancet shows that while up to two-thirds of people don’t respond fully to antidepressants, they are three times more likely to experience a reduction in their depression symptoms if talk therapy was added to their treatment regimen.  

New Psychiatric Disorders Manual Is Approved Amidst Controversy

Pamela MacLean

The American Psychiatric Association gave its final approval to the latest guide to psychiatric disorders, despite strong criticism that it created new mental disorders when none exist and could lead to misdiagnosis and unnecessary medication. The first rewrite in 20 years of the diagnostic Bible of psychiatry was approved in the midst of heated controversy. The guide, known as DSM-5, defines a host of symptoms that are categorized to help doctors identify specific mental disorders. 

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