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Mental Health Resources National Depression Screening Day

Friday, October 10 is National Depression Screening Day

This year, Friday October 10 will be National Depression Screening Day.

Fifteen years ago this month, the medical school that I was attending at the time was one of the screening sites for National Depression Screening Day. I went for kicks. I mean, I already knew that I was depressed for most of my life, so they weren’t going to tell me anything that I didn’t already know. They gave me a multiple-choice test; I sat down and took the test. Took maybe 15, 20 minutes tops to complete it. The test results were discussed with me right afterward, and it was strongly suggested that I seek professional advice. Okay, THAT part, I didn’t know. Not long afterward, I saw a psychiatrist and was formally diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

Screening sites are located across the country. The cost is FREE. You may also choose to take the screening online.

If you are at all curious, please take an hour out of your busy schedule and get screened.

Categories
ADHD CHADD Mental Health Advocacy Mental Health Parity Mental Health Resources

Mental Health Parity Call-in Day 12/07/2007

I love the USA and am proud to be an American, but mental health care here sucks. As far as health insurance goes, even though psychiatry is a medical specialty, benefits pertaining to mental health are in a separate section of the policy and are NOT the same as those pertaining to other medical specialties.

Please, if you or someone you know would appreciate access to mental health equal to that of all other health care, take a little time today to read this blog entry about Mental Health Parity Call-in Day in the US, and make a quick phone call to your elected government officials. To shamefully borrow from the NAACP, “The mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

Thanks for your time.

Categories
ADHD Mental Health Resources

Piles

I’m finally getting through Michele Novotni‘s book What Does Everybody Else Know That I Don’t?: Social Skills Help for Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. In her chapter on disorganization, she relates a story about a woman who was getting a divorce. Now, this woman knew that the marriage was over, but she was hesitant about the divorce. She knew that part of the process would be to sell their home and divide the proceeds of the sale. She described her home as having piles of stuff “thigh high” with narrow pathways between for walking through. Walls were lined with stacks of boxes. She knew that in order to sell the house, she would have to clear out all of her piles of stuff first. THAT was going to be the hard part of the divorce!

Much as it pains me to admit it, that description fits my apartment to a T. The mere thought of moving can send me into a panic.

One more anecdote from the book that hit me hard:

An employee who thinks that he might have ADHD goes to see his company’s psychologist. The psychologist has a simple three-question test to make the diagnosis.

Look at your desk and ask yourself:

  • How many piles of stuff do you have there?
  • How big are the piles?
  • How old is the stuff at the bottom?

I have unopened mail that is at least two years old. I just recently threw away print-outs of email messages from 2003.

And to think that I was thisclose to becoming a full-fledged psychiatrist …

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Destiny Inspiration Mental Health Resources

“Your destiny can’t be ruined by the decisions of others.”

I have been known to blast the radio when I am in the driver’s seat of a car. When driving alone, I will belt out Life After Love right along with Cher. But I don’t always listen to music. I often switch to talk radio, just to change things up a bit.

Thursday, September 27, I was making my monthly trek from Massachusetts to New York (to see my shrink, I’ll explain that one in a future entry). After listening to Dr. Phil’s TV show, which for some reason I can pick up on the radio while driving through Rhode Island at 5 pm, I bounced around the radio dial. As I approached the New York state line, I tuned in to a Christian radio station. Now, I am not Christian. I don’t even consider myself religious. But I do like to listen to Bible lessons and sermons on the radio. It always amazes me how often my personal life philosophy lines up with Christian teachings.

I caught Enduring Truth hosted by Pastor Paul Sheppard. The topic was When God Closes A Door. His following words hit me like a ton of bricks:

Your destiny can’t be ruined by the decisions of others.”

I immediately thought of the “closed door” on my career as an academic psychiatrist. I have been spitting nails at that door for five years now, trying to figure out how to get “them” to change their minds and open it back up again. It’s time for me to realize that it just ain’t gonna happen.

I believe that everything in life, good and bad, happens for a reason. I used to think that my “forced” resignation from psychiatry residency was a sign to simply take a break from my hectic life before resuming my career path. Looking back now, I realize that I had been struggling desperately to stay on that path for several years. Dogged determination was what got me as far as I went. Something or Someone was trying to tell me that it wasn’t meant to be. I refused to listen; my entire life had to go to hell in a hand basket before I would even think about considering an alternative pathway.

Search for knowledge and self-discovery are my passions. Using those passions in an academic medical setting isn’t in the cards for me. That doesn’t mean, however, that the 12 years I spent in training will go to waste. I am simply meant to use my training elsewhere in a non-traditional manner. It is up to me alone to find “elsewhere” and fulfill my destiny.

I tagged this post with Mental Health Resources because I know that many people find comfort in their faith. Even though I have no specific religious affiliation, I can find solace in the teachings of various faiths.

Humans are social creatures. We are not built to “go it alone.” Be it your pastor, your therapist, or your best friend, help is available to you in times of need. I say get help wherever you are comfortable.

Categories
Capgras Syndrome Mental Health Resources

From Jokester to Jailbird

I found the link to this article in a post on a blog about the television show Saturday Night Live. The article beautifully explains the plight of this brilliant, talented, mentally ill man caught up in the Canadian justice system. The United States has similar problems dealing with mental illness within its prison systems, as I suppose other countries do as well. I wish I had an answer to the problem, but I don’t. Please click the link below to read the article.

read more | digg story

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Mental Health Resources

Caregivers need love, too

My dearest and bestest friend from college called me the other day. It really brightened my day! We used to haunt the nooks and crannies of the Berkeley campus to study in peace. We lost touch several years ago, but she took the time to search out my family to get in touch with me. You don’t make friends like that very often.

But I digress, yet again. I wanted to post about the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI. It is a wonderful organization that provides resources on mental health care, including those for the family/caregivers. NAMI is, in my opinion, the BEST place to find information about diagnoses, medications, treatments, research, mental health advocacy, mental health care policy, just about anything related to mental health.

What I want to point out especially in this post is that support groups are available for family, friends, caregivers, anyone who is touched by mental illness. NAMI keeps a state-by-state listing of local chapters. I encourage everyone and anyone with an interest in mental health check out their local chapter of NAMI. Please take advantage of the support groups available. And if there isn’t a group in your area, START ONE! It isn’t easy to share the special problems that mental illness can bring. Find others that will understand without judging. Erase the stigma of mental illness and talk about it! NAMI will help you get started.

And a quick shout out and big thank you to ariadneK, Ph.D. for the Mental Health Links section on her blog. I am ashamed to say that I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of the organization last night, let alone find the link. But I get by with a little help from my friends! 😉

Categories
Medications Mental Health Resources

The high cost of medications

I saw my therapist yesterday. I’m in a bind with medications, and he is trying to help me as best he can. It’s not his fault that I have no health insurance and can’t afford the medications that I need. Anyway, he filled out the paperwork to get meds from the drug company, but I have to wait for the paperwork to be processed. In the meantime, he managed to scrounge up two weeks worth of sample meds for me. I doubt that the paperwork will be processed that quickly, but what else can I do? My shrink is medical director of a state psychiatric hospital during the day. He sees patients two nights a week at a clinic. The clinic patients have insurance so they don’t need sample meds. When I was in residency training, the drug company representatives left us samples all the time. Resident doctors see a different population of patients. The poor ones. Of course, without insurance, no one can afford medication nowadays.

Need help with the high cost of medications? Drug companies have programs for some medications (not just psychiatric meds). Start looking here to find out more:
http://www.needymeds.com/