Tag Archive: Mental disorder


Anyone out there who loves taking meds? What? The silence is deafening!

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with our pharmaceuticals. Here is a wonderful satirical piece from the Onion illustrating a innovative way to increase patient compliance. I’ll let you guys read this while I search for my medication, Damnitall:

Wonder Drug Inspires Deep, Unwavering Love Of Pharmaceutical Companies

NewsScience & TechnologyproductshealthISSUE 42•10Mar 6, 2006
 

NEW YORK—The Food and Drug Administration today approved the sale of the drug PharmAmorin, a prescription tablet developed by Pfizer to treat chronic distrust of large prescription-drug manufacturers.

Pfizer executives characterized the FDA’s approval as a “godsend” for sufferers of independent-thinking-related mental-health disorders.

PharmAmorin, now relieving distrust of large pharmaceutical conglomerates in pharmacies nationwide.“Many individuals today lack the deep, abiding affection for drug makers that is found in healthy people, such as myself,” Pfizer CEO Hank McKinnell said. “These tragic disorders are reaching epidemic levels, and as a company dedicated to promoting the health, well-being, and long life of our company’s public image, it was imperative that we did something to combat them.”

Although many psychotropic drugs impart a generalized feeling of well-being, PharmAmorin is the first to induce and focus intense feelings of affection externally, toward for-profit drug makers. Pfizer representatives say that, if taken regularly, PharmAmorin can increase affection for and trust in its developers by as much as 96.5 percent.

“Out of a test group of 180, 172 study participants reported a dramatic rise in their passion for pharmaceutical companies,” said Pfizer director of clinical research Suzanne Frost. “And 167 asked their doctors about a variety of prescription medications they had seen on TV.”

Frost said a small percentage of test subjects showed an interest in becoming lobbyists for one of the top five pharmaceutical companies, and several browsed eBay for drug-company apparel.

PharmAmorin, available in 100-, 200-, and 400-mg tablets, is classified as a critical-thinking inhibitor, a family of drugs that holds great promise for the estimated 20 million Americans who suffer from Free-Thinking Disorder.

Pfizer will also promote PharmAmorin in an aggressive, $34.6 million print and televised ad campaign.

One TV ad, set to debut during next Sunday’s 60 Minutes telecast, shows a woman relaxing in her living room and reading a newspaper headlined “Newest Drug Company Scandal Undermines Public Trust.” The camera zooms into the tangled neural matter of her brain, revealing a sticky black substance and a purplish gas.

The narrator says, “She may show no symptoms, but in her brain, irrational fear and dislike of global pharmaceutical manufacturers is overwhelming her very peace of mind.”

After a brief summary of PharmAmorin’s benefits, the commercial concludes with the woman flying a kite across a sunny green meadow, the Pfizer headquarters gleaming in the background.

PharmAmorin is the first drug of its kind, but Pfizer will soon face competition from rival pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb. The company is developing its own pro-pharmaceutical-company medication, Brismysquibicin, which will induce warm feelings not just for drug corporations in general, but solely for Bristol-Myers Squibb.

“A PharmAmorin user could find himself gravitating toward the products of a GlaxoSmithKline or Eli Lilly,” BMS spokesman Andrew Fike said. “This could seriously impede the patient’s prescription-drug-market acceptance, or worse, Pfizer’s profits in the long run.”

“Brismysquibicin will be cheaper to produce and therefore far more affordable to those on fixed incomes,” Fike added.

The news of an affordable skepticism-inhibitor was welcomed by New York physician Christine Blake-Mann, who runs a free clinic in Spanish Harlem.

“A lot of my patients are very leery of the medical establishment,” Blake-Mann said. “This will help them feel better about it, and save money at the same time.”

PharmAmorin’s side effects include nausea, upset stomach, and ignoring the side effects of prescription drug medication.

Go to the original article.

Laughter is great medicine so get your fix at The Onion.

Heh, heh…I remember when the allergy drug Allegra came out, the ads never got around to telling you what it was for. They just showed a very happy woman surfing across a wheat field. I kept thinking I want what she is having…

Alas, I still can’t find that damn prescription Damnitall, damn it all!   😦

 

Pain, Pain, Go Away…

Day 37 - Pain

Day 37 – Pain (Photo credit: DJorgensen)

I haven’t been writing lately, maybe because I feel like I should be doing better than I am, which is really nothing more than pride. I do not look down on others when they are having a rough time, but me? I am supposed to be the inspiration for others! I am supposed to be enlightened!

Forget that. I am in horrible pain with  fibromyalgia and I am mad at myself and fate.  I don’t want this. Last night I tried to make my body go numb to help stop the physical pain. It is a spontaneous thing I have done at times when mental pain has gotten too bad, a form of checking out. It actually helped this time, but only for a little while. My nerves are sensitized to pain and I figure that maybe through my mind I can “unsensitize” them.  I try to envision waves of light healing me, but it doesn’t help.

I am trying aromatherapy baths with Lavender oil and sometimes it helps and other times it doesn’t. Or it only helps for a little while. I have bought other essential oils to try, but they can be expensive. I have just made a call to set up an appointment with a massage therapist, another expense I don’t want to pay, but I am desperate right now.

The combination of having a mental disorder and a chronic pain and fatigue condition is overwhelming. A favorite author of mine, Kathleen Crowley knows about this first hand. I became familiar with her writing when I worked at a mental health social center. We used her book, The Power of Procovery in Healing Mental Illness, in one of our classes. Her first book, The Day Room: A Memoir of Madness and Mending, chronicles her journey through dealing with the effects of nerve damage due to medical malpractice. Nothing helped the pain and she ended up with a mental breakdown. Somehow this woman managed to recover her sanity and deal with the pain, which she has to this day. Although I found her book an inspiring read, I still feel something is missing because she really did not get into specifics about how she learned to deal with her physical pain. I actually met her a long time ago, at a mental health training I went to, and I wish I had ask her about that, but then I was not in bad pain at that time.

Still both books I recommend, especially The Power of Procovery. “Procovery” is a word she coined to express the idea that we need to let go of our old life in order to move forward and it’s mantra is “Just Start Anywhere!” This is good to remember now when I need to remember that I just need to take small steps to help myself instead of being completely helpless.

I have to confess that while I am very good at teaching others, I am often a bad student. I need to get back to the basics. It is hard though, because I want that magic formula that will give me my life back.

I hate having to push myself to do anything at all. Going to the mental health center where I get support is a challenge when I am hurting physically and mentally. But what other choice do I have? I am not going down the road of self-destruction again. if not for myself, at least for my family.

The truth is that I really don’t want to die, I just don’t want to live like this anymore. But there is a part of me that knows that my time here is not finished and that I am meant to accomplish more tasks. Last week I was sobbing to my therapist, saying “I want to matter!” Of course the truth is that I do matter, in some small way to others and my work isn’t done. But there is fear, a lot of fear, not only about my physical condition but because I am afraid of life, of reaching out. I hide my pain because I do not want to burden others and also because I am afraid of rejection. Even rejection by my readers, whom I think will condemn me for not being “spiritual enough.”

Okay I tell myself “You are human. Get over yourself!”

Any thoughts and advice would be welcome. 😉

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The best-selling author Deepak Chopra periodically offers nice freebies on his website The Chopra Center

Here is what is available now:

English: Deepak Chopra in November 2006, speak...

English: Deepak Chopra in November 2006, speaking at Yahoo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Perfect Health DVD

A brand-new Perfect Health DVD program guiding you in the timeless practices of mind-body balance, meditation, and yoga.  It consists of nearly three hours of beautiful, instructional content, including:
•Three meditations led by Deepak Chopra
•Guided visualizations
•Yoga to calm, soothe, and invigorate you each day
•Ayurvedic cooking instruction
•and even more!

 

English: Head shot of Judith Orloff, MD

English: Head shot of Judith Orloff, MD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Judith Orloff MD, psychiatrist and bestselling author, has tons of free videos talking about spirituality and mental health recovery. Here is the description from her website:

Welcome to “In Dr. Orloff’s Livingroom” series. Filmed in Dr. Judith Orloff’s home in Los Angeles she talks intimately about dreams, intuition, emotional freedom, and how to trust the power within. To complement this series, also watch inspiring videos from Dr. Orloff’s workshops in the archives below and on Dr. Orloff’s Intuition and Emotional Freedom Channel on Youtube

 

Gnostic Teachings is an eclectic spiritual site that offers free courses in practical spirituality and

La méditation (Danse Odissi, musée Guimet)

La méditation (Danse Odissi, musée Guimet) (Photo credit: dalbera)

psychology. Here is the description from their website:

All philosophies, sciences, arts, religions, and mystical traditions emerged from the same primordial root, thus these courses radiate the heart wisdom of the Greek Mysteries, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and more. Topics include Meditation, Kabbalah, Karma, Hebrew letters, the Runes, Tarot, Dream Yoga, Gnosis, Astrology, and much more.

I have not looked deeply into this site yet but it looks interesting!

Have a blessed day! 😉

Mary

 

Divine Feminine Power

Divine Feminine Power (Photo credit: Kathy Crabbe)

I am reposting this from a year ago. I hope you like it: 

One ship drives east and the other drives west by the self-same winds that blow. It’s the set of the sails and not the gales that determine the way they go.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Sometimes we feel like the winds of fate continuously buffet us around, thwarting our every dream. We may fall into a deep depression and give up. Psychologists call this “learned helplessness”. It is important to note that what can be learned can be unlearned. We can choose at any moment to take our power back. It may not be easy, it may take time, but we can learn to control our lives again instead of drowning in our depressions. The point of power is in you and the key is Intention. We are made in the image and likeness of God; therefore we have all of God’s attributes, including power. We are powerful! All you have to do is claim that power and know that God is more powerful than any circumstance, internal or external that you may encounter.

Write down every situation that feels impossible for you to overcome. Then repeat after each one, “I AM more powerful than this.”

I wish it wasn’t necessary to even bring this up. In a perfect world we would know how to treat people with kindness and love, including those with mental disorders.*

Example of dark circles

Example of dark circles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back a hundred years ago or even as recently as 50 years ago they stuck the mentally ill in asylums and used barbaric treatments on them. Many were stuck there for life, abandoned by their families and when they died, they were put in paupers graves.

I thought that those days were long over, until I read this petition from Change.org Please read this and sign their petition. They unfortunately have been blocked from the company that the petition addresses, but they provide e-mail addresses of the people who need to hear this and more importantly do something about this.

Read this and weep (literally):

“Painful electric shock at the push of a button. Hours of restraint and seclusion. Food and sleep deprivation. But this is not Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib. This is a “school” for disabled children and youth.

These are only some of the practices of the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts. The JRC, which has been open since 1971, is most well known by disability advocates and human rights activists for their controversial philosophy of “treatment” for people with developmental, intellectual, and psychiatric disabilities that dictates that pain and punishment should be used to change unwanted (and sometimes simply inconvenient) behavior. Their philosophy of treatment is that if a student does something they don’t want them to be doing, staff should press a button and zap the student with an electric shock designed to be more powerful and painful than a police taser. The JRC is the only facility that uses this type of punishment.

This is not treatment. This is torture.

In 2012, a case against the JRC brought by the mother of a former student went to trial in Massachusetts. During testimony, the plaintiffs showed surveillance video of Andre McCollins receiving thirty-one shocks over a period of seven hours while restrained face-down, all for the offense of not wanting to take off his jacket. Most of the subsequent shocks were for tensing up or screaming. Earlier, the JRC’s founder and executive director Matthew Israel was forced to resign in a plea agreement for destroying evidence against court orders after an incident in 2007 when a prank call led to staff shocking two students 77 and 29 times respectively over a period of three hours. Read more…

Note: Technically autism is not a mental illness, but it is often treated as such due to behavioral complications.

1212mentalhealth-RW

1212mentalhealth-RW (Photo credit: Robbie Wroblewski)

 

I have noticed that I am getting a lot of searches on my blog about setting boundaries with bipolar family or friends. So I am going to devote a short post to this topic. Unfortunately I am in a lot of pain right now with my fibromyalgia so I am saving some of the longer posts that I had planned to write until later.

So this is my opinion based on my thirty-some years of dealing with this illness and my work with others who suffer with mental disorders.

Note: Do not take what I am about to say as an excuse for bipolar behavior. I am only noting the complexities of dealing with this illness as simply a behavioral disorder. Please read the entire article before making a judgment. I do in fact talk about what the responsibilities of the person who has bipolar disorder are. Ultimately it is up to the person who has to live with the person who is diagnosed as to how much they feel they can tolerate. However I encourage an attitude of compassion, rather than judgment. Also you are welcome to respond to this article as long as you do so in a respectful manner.  If you cannot do that then your comment will not be approved.

Boundaries, for the most part, should be similar to those that anyone without an illness should adhere to. However, there are some caveats:

1. Recognize that bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizo-affective disorder, and schizophrenia are not character disorders. The person you are dealing with is the same person that she was before she got sick, so if she was a good person before then she is also a good person even in the midst of her illness. Often people get bipolar disorder confused with borderline personality disorder (which often even has the same initials as bipolar disorder, BPD). While the symptoms may be similar to each other borderline personality disorder is a part of a person’s character and is formed early on in childhood. Medications tend to not help much.  Therapy is recommended as the most effective treatment. However in people who have a true mental illness based on biology, medications are very effective in restoring function and therapy is considered an adjunct treatment.

2. Because of #1 it is very important that you not shame the person who is dealing with bipolar disorder or any other mental illness. Chances are they are already dealing with a lot of shame, even if they don’t show it. Suicidal behavior is often motivated by feelings of guilt. Guilt is actually a hallmark symptom of the depressive phase of the illness. You are not responsible for any suicide attempts but just keep in mind that the goal is to help the person feel better and guilt trips don’t help.

3. Don’t take their behavior personally. Most of the time it has nothing to do with you.

4. Keep in mind also that some people experience a break with reality in which they are not totally in control of their behavior. See my article Are People With Bipolar Disorder Inherently Evil?

 5. After saying all this I think that the primary way of setting boundaries should be to insist that the person get appropriate help. It may be that it is impossible to live with that person’s behavior otherwise. I have dealt with that problem myself when I took in a homeless schizophrenic who refused to take his medications. He became homeless when he quit his job and went on a wild spending spree. Unfortunately by trying to help him I only enabled him to continue his destructive behavior. Please note that I am not suggesting that a mentally ill person should be left out on the street. There are mental health organizations that can help with finding them medical help and housing. See the bottom of this article for resources.

6.  Keep in mind that most medications do not work overnight and it may take a while to find the right combination. Also most people do not get total relief from their symptoms so they might still have mood swings, just not as bad as before.

7.  Because of #6 most people need to also develop coping skills to deal with their illness. This is where therapy and support groups are helpful. One of the things that I have learned and continue to learn is how to separate my bipolar feelings from my healthy feelings, This is where self-responsibility comes in to play. I can’t take my feelings out on others and this is where appropriate boundaries are needed.

A good resource for family and friends of people who suffer from mental disorders is NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill). They also offer classes in coping skills for those who suffer from mental illness.

For information on support groups and other programs to help the mentally ill go to the Mental Health America website.

For a good list of therapists and other mental health professionals who can help both the person suffering from mental illness and also family members who need help to deal with their loved one’s illness go to the Psychology Today website and click on “Find a Therapist” on the top of the page.

Related articles

Drive-By Snarking

Sam saves Emily from drowning herself (2006).

Sam saves Emily from drowning herself (2006). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, it finally happened. I had my first “snark attack” on my blog. Frankly I am surprised that it has taken so long for this to happen since I do post on some controversial topics. Even though it was an unpleasant experience it did spark some thinking on my part. In essence, how do you explain your illness to someone without making it sound like you are making excuses for bad behavior?

In the article in question I made it very clear that having bipolar disorder does not give you a free pass. However what I was focusing on was that there are people who have bipolar disorder who experience a break with reality, including me. Any court in the land would not consider that person to be responsible for her behavior. Now the area gets a little fuzzy when it comes to medication compliance, someone who is not getting treatment may bear some responsibility for getting into the situation in the first place. Unfortunately, I lost a good friendship with a man who has schizophrenia because he stopped taking his medication. I ended up in a very co-dependent relationship with him, which ended badly.

Getting back to this comment she basically was angry with her bipolar husband and so all people who have bipolar disorder are evil and don’t take responsibility for their actions. Furthermore mental illness is not a serious disease, like cancer, so I should just suck it up.

I won’t get into my reply here, but you can read it for yourself.

What she missed was that this article was intended to help those who are perplexed by their loved one’s behavior. To let people know that the strange behavior has nothing to do with them. In other words, I was trying to comfort people who have been deeply hurt to help them understand that they are not at fault and also that most likely the person does not intend to hurt them or anyone else.

One of my deepest regrets is that I have hurt others through my suicide attempts. However I was not doing that to manipulate and punish them, it was to punish me. I felt everyone would be happier without me and that I didn’t deserve to live. At one point I was delusional and I thought God wanted me to kill myself.

When I have told some people this it has been because I want then to feel better, to let them know that I don’t blame them and to ease their minds. While my dad gets that, I have gotten a very negative response from some other people. They just see my well-intended words as excuses and that I had some evil intent to hurt them. I have even been accused of lying about my symptoms in order to get medications, even though they do not make me high and they are non-addictive.

When I get accused of not taking responsibility for my actions, that is not true. I have made changes in my life and I no longer act destructively towards myself or others. I have not made a suicide attempt in 14 years. I think this is the best apology that I can give, which is doing things differently. I didn’t have the skills to manage my illness in the past, now I do.

But I will not admit to having evil motives when I did not. I’ll take responsibility for my actions, but I am not going to roll over and be beaten up for the mistakes I made in my past. The fact is that I want very deeply to reassure them that I do not blame them for my illness, but they won’t accept it.  That means that I am not responsible for their misery, because they are the ones who are choosing to hold onto it.

So what do you guys think? Do people react badly when you try to explain your illness to them? At what point do you think that maybe you were not responsible for your actions? At what point do you think you were? Please share.

My wife reading in bed. And it wasn't because ...

My wife reading in bed. And it wasn’t because she was trying to get to sleep. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found this excellent interview with Amy Simpson, who is a Christian mental health advocate and speaker. She has written a book called  Troubled Minds, a book to guide the Church in better understanding how to help those struggling with mental illness. Here is an excerpt from this interview done by   from her blog Christ and Pop Culture. The context is about Rick Warren‘s son who committed suicide recently due to a depressive illness. Rick Warren is the author of the best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life:

Pastor Warren’s statement indicated that “only those closest” to the family knew of his son’s story and struggle. Why do people’s struggles with mental illness continue to be hidden and is this even more the case in the Church context?

Mental illness is stigmatized in our culture. We carry old, superstitious ideas about it. People fear mental illness and marginalize those with mental illnesses in a way they don’t treat people affected by other forms of disease. We tend to treat mental illness as either a source of entertainment, subject matter for jokes, a source for romantic notions, or something to be terrified of. We don’t tend to think of mental illness as what it is—that is, illness with biological and environmental causes just like a lot of other diseases. We tend to think that if someone has a mental illness or receives treatment for mental health, that person is somehow compromised or perhaps unable to live a productive life.

Within the Church, we add our own layers of stigma. Many churches assume all mental illness is spiritual in nature and reflects a spiritual weakness or lack of faith. Some churches assume all mental illness is caused by spiritual forces like demon possession and ignore the overwhelming evidence for the biological factors involved. Some churches assume mental illness is meted out as punishment for sin and anyone who exhibits an ongoing problem with mental illness must have an ongoing problem with sin that’s the real cause. So they point fingers at suffering people and blame them for their illnesses. Some church people are simply so horrified and offended by the idea that mental illness could happen to them and their own families, they keep their distance. They marginalize people with mental illness to make themselves feel better, convincing themselves they’re different and it couldn’t happen to them.

In this kind of environment, who wants to speak up and admit to mental illness if it means being kicked out of the church, being treated like a second-class or third-class citizen, or being subject to insistence that the church can pray the problem away or that the solution is found in simply having more faith or praying more? Rather than subject themselves to this kind of treatment, most people would prefer to stay silent. Many people are also afraid of risk to their jobs, their relationships, and their reputations—so they keep quiet.

This is a great tragedy made even more tragic by the reality that in any given year, more than 25 percent of adults in the United States suffer from a diagnosable mental illness of some kind.

You can read the rest of this at:

www.patheos.com/blogs/christandpopculture/2013/04/overcoming-mental-illness-stigma-in-the-church-an-interview-with-amy-simpson

Explaining medication usage to the patient

Explaining medication usage to the patient (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Getting the Best Care You Can

Choosing a good psychiatrist can be a tricky job, especially when you are in the midst of a crisis. But it is important to find a doctor that you are comfortable with and that you can work with, otherwise you may not get the care you deserve.

Do you suffer from depression, bipolar disorder or other mental disorders? If so you are not alone. Many people suffer along with you. But how do you know if you need professional help? Feeling overwhelmed and unable to function in your daily life is a good sign that you may need help. Reducing stress and getting counseling may help, but if your symptoms are severe then you may want to see a psychiatrist.

Note: If you are in crisis, such as feeling suicidal get help from a psychiatrist right away. You may need to check yourself into a hospital to get the proper care.

How to Know if You Have a Good Doctor

Unfortunately not all doctors are created equal. Here are the characteristics of a true professional:

A good doctor will listen to you. If he rushes you or spends more time filling out your prescription slips than talking with you, you need to find someone else.

He should be willing to discuss options and address your concerns about medications. If you are worried about side-effects or the potential for addiction, then you should feel comfortable about bringing these issues up.

The doctor-patient relationship should be one of partnership. He may be an expert in his field, but you are the expert on yourself. If your symptoms don’t match his treatment plan then you may have to find someone else (it helps if you do some research on your own to find out what the proper treatment is for your condition).

If a particular medication is not helping you, you should be able to talk to your doctor about making changes. (Bear in mind though that some medications, such as antidepressants, can take up to several weeks to be effective).

Note: There are a lot of GP ‘s who are willing to dispense psychiatric drugs. My personal feeling is that this is unwise. Only a professional psychiatrist is qualified to diagnose and to treat mental disorders. Also not everyone who is mildly depressed needs medication.

Getting the Most out of Your Visit

Bring a list of all your current medications and dosages, including non-psychiatric drugs. Include past medications, and if you have had any allergic reactions or side-effects with them.Also bring a list of past medical history, including hospitalizations.

Tell your doctor about all of your symptoms even if you think that they are not important or you think you can handle them on your own. Many people are misdiagnosed because the doctor is not given the proper information.

Ask questions such as “What is my diagnosis? What are the side-effects of my medications? Are they addictive?”

Note: There are some medications that can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as certain antidepressants. However the clinical definition of addiction means having to take more and more to get the same effect, in other words abusing your medications. There is no abuse potential with antidepressants, even though you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you go off of it. However tranquilizers and sleeping pills can be abused so it is a good idea to be cautious with them.

If you are uncomfortable with taking a particular medication, ask for alternatives. For instance if you are concerned about addiction to sleeping pills or tranquilizers, there are non-addictive medications available that have the side effect of sedation.

Note: If you are in a crisis you may not be able to apply all these steps. If this is so, it would be a good idea to bring in a trusted friend or family member to advocate for you.

After Your Visit

Educate yourself about your medications and side-effects. The doctor may not have time to discuss every side-effect that could happen. Read the information sheets that comes with your prescriptions. You may also want to talk with your pharmacist, who may be more familiar with side-effects than your doctor.

Learn more about your illness. Again your doctor may not have time to explain it in detail. Remember that educating yourself about your illness makes it easier to to get the proper care. You can make a note of your symptoms and take that information to your doctor.

Remember that the quality of health care that you receive is up to you. Following these suggestions can help you get the best care possible.

If you are interested in some of my personal experiences with Psychiatrists then click on these three links: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

 

United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - A Life in the Community for Everyone: Behavioral Health is Essential to Health, Prevention Works, Treatment is Effective, People Recover
Presidential Proclamation—May 2013 is National Mental Health Awareness Month

President Obama calls upon citizens, government agencies, organizations, health care providers, and research institutions to raise mental health awareness and continue helping Americans live longer, healthier lives. For many of the tens of millions of Americans who are living with a mental health issue, getting help starts with a conversation; talking about it with someone they trust and consulting with a health care provider.

Prejudice and discrimination often create a barrier to people seeking help. The President highlights that we as a nation need to make sure people know that “asking for help is not a sign of weakness—it is a sign of strength.” Additionally, with the Affordable Care Act, insurers may not deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions and will expand behavioral health issue benefits for 62 million Americans. The Administration has made unprecedented commitments to improve mental health care in America, and resources are available to those who need them.

You can find nearby treatment through SAMHSA‘s Treatment Referral line at 1-800-662-4357 (HELP). This toll-free service provides round-the-clock information confidentially on where to go for help on prevention, treatment, and recovery issues related to mental illness or substance use disorders (assistance available in English and Spanish). Similarly, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) provides free, confidential, immediate round-the-clock assistance to people in crisis. Both lines are open to all Americans—including service members, veterans, and their families—365 days a year.

Heed the President’s call and use the month of May to raise mental health awareness.

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SAMHSA is a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

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