Between the movie and the panelist my awareness to more fully understand mental health became palpable!
The movie –
The media tends to portray mental illness as equal to violence however it was believed that people with mental illness tend to take their own life. (Every 40 seconds or one million per year) That is twice to population of Seattle.
Globally there is a lack of services for people with mental health illness. People with mental health illness tend to isolate as a result of the stigma.
The movie’s goal is to provide the language to give that will give people with mental illness a voice.
450 million people globally have some type of mental illness.
India a place with 17 million people – after 3 weeks of searching – no one was willing to allow themself to be interviewed. When a daughter finally did it was the back of her. When the mom was asked when it would be okay to film her daughter the mother responded when someone marries her. People with mental illness rarely go out of their home. 80% go untreated. 1% is spent on mental illness.
And in South Africa people go to Sagomes which are traditional healers.
China – they show a gentleman who does not appear to have mental illness but has been in an institution for many years. He is an educated engineer who bakes “Crazy Cake” and sells it in the plaza. Jack and his father had a fight many years ago and Jack was sent to the institution – Jack admits that he put his hand in very hot water which was used as evidence that he was mentally ill. Jack can only be released if his family – his father Okays it. It was implied that his father may not want to lose face thus Jack remains in the institution. There has been a reform act that became effective in May 2013 that gives the person an opportunity to have their case reviewed-no more involuntary- and no more using it to punish family members. However Jack presents with a level of acceptance that he is to remain there until his father gives him permission to leave. Jack was informed that in America the word “Crazy” is seen as derogatory and asked how he felt about the name “Crazy Cake.” Jack responded then it would likely be called “Emotional Cake!”
In France – Steven reports he voluntarily placed himself in the hospital for 6 months as a result of his whiskey and benzodiazepine use. Social medicine makes it possible for people to get as much help as they want or need. However Steven reports before getting help and during the help process there was a lot of help to be had. Afterward there was very little to no help available. Steven talks about how difficult it is to get a job because once it is known that you have mental illness you are not hirable. He even tried to gain admittance to a school and that did not work out. “We shouldn’t have to hide what we have. We’re not monsters.”
Famous actor Glenn Close advocated for mental illness as a result of her own sister’s struggle with mental illness.
My history is not part of my identification but it is a part of my experience.
The dignity of the human spirit – we should respect their decision to take or not take medication
Should I disclose? It is no one else’s business – because the minute you disclose immediately it is not the consequence you want. I have bipolar- Tell everybody you want “I have bipolar” – except work – be careful. You can say “I have or struggle with anxiety.” Everybody struggles with anxiety.
Suboxone Prescriber takes only cash. Some patients have expressed how they choose cash because they do not want their insurance or employment to know and they want complete privacy. It is believed the minute you check off the health benefits box everything is public.
Asian culture – tends to care for their family members. Don’t adopt the majority of societies view – that it’s somebody else’s problem.
Refugees are coming up homeless – it is best to have family help.
Peer Specialists and NAMI are excellent resources to bring forth change.
Many people with mental illness are also very smart – so to be smart and not be able to work must be very hard. The best thing I could hear from someone when I do share my mental illness is “That must be so hard.” It give me a feeling that that person may not know what it’s like to have bipolar but they understand that it is very difficult.
Gender Issues – If you have mental health illness and childhood trauma and add a different sexual orientation to the mix that only exacerbates the challenges.
We deal with trauma on an individual level but have a lot to learn about collective trauma – people affected by trauma from natural disasters.
Could we see a revolution? Mental health illness – people may get louder and louder out of fear that they won’t be heard.
One panelist with bipolar reports she messes with her meds.
What is helpful is to compare mental health medications to medical health medications – side by side – if you don’t take your insulin you can die just as blood pressure medication must be taken. If your voices are telling “you don’t need your meds.” Then you need to have a voice that says “I take my meds because I’d be dead without them.”
Lithium is a metal like calcium and can be found in leafy greens – this type of information can be especially helpful to family members who are skeptical about mental health medications.
If at all possible engage the family at every step. Treating the whole family gets patients properly educated on the need to take their medication on time today and not tomorrow.
Find out from patients what is helpful – Ask what makes your life better what makes it worse?
Secondary trauma – a boy is diagnosed with a mental health illness – the mother may respond “Why would God do this to my son? Why wouldn’t he do this to my daughter?” All the while the daughter is in the room.
Arranged marriages – Tremendous profiling is done is some countries up to 7 lineages. Having mental illness decreases the likelihood of being married – especially for women. For men – many times it is disclosed or found out after the marriage.
Sometimes we write patients off – instead we need to not give up on them.
Meet people where they are at. One panelist meets patients in their home.
Language is so important like using – “average” instead of normal.
Teach families – Use a medical model approach – “I’m your doctor” not your psychiatrist or shrink.
Another thought is to consider the strengths from the mental health condition- where hearing voices is a condition that impairs one’s ability and seen as a deficit in other parts of the world long ago it was seen as prophets or people who were so in tune with the world they could foresee what was about to unfold.
I shared some of my learning with my daughter Sherry and her feedback was very inclusive in that “rather than white wash everything and everyone – let’s be aware of the difference in color and culture but let’s celebrate those differences!”
Attending this training was a true blessings and has taught me to be more sensitive about people’s struggles where mental health is concerned!
Grace On You, everyone today and always.
Guadalupe Aragón, BA, CADC1
Certified Transformative Life Coach
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