Coping With the Effects of Racism — 1 Year After George Floyd's Murder
Posted on May 25 2021

How do we cope with racial trauma and the mental health effects of racism, a full year after the murder of George Floyd? In the past year, there has been so much media attention on police brutality against black people and hate crimes toward people of color. It's stressful and overwhelming, and understandably takes its toll on our collective mental health. On this week's episode of How 2 Deal (video embedded in article), model and actress Corinne Foxx is joined by Dr. Christine Crawford, associate medical director of NAMI, to help you figure out the best way to navigate these hard times.

Peloton Instructor Kendall Toole Is Laying It All Out There When It Comes to Her Mental Health Struggles
Posted on May 20 2021
*NAMI mentioned

Before Peloton instructor and NAMI Ambassador Kendall Toole beamed into millions of homes, packing her classes with pop-punk playlists and words of encouragement, she revealed she grappled with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. The 28-year-old fitness expert, who released her second Mental Health Awareness month-themed ride on the streaming fitness platform last week, is now fully opening up about her mental health journey. "We all have a story hidden beneath what we choose to share with the world," she said. "It's powerful when we let others in to see the truth — and frankly, it helps end a stigma. We need to talk about mental health because if we continue to brush it aside, it continues to be misunderstood and more shrouded in secrecy. It's time for this conversation to come to light." After experiencing suicidal thoughts, Toole moved home and sought therapy, where she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. She was already facing OCD, something she'd been battling since the age of 11. For those looking for resources on mental health, Toole — who says, "acknowledging 'I am not at my best right now and I need some support,' is just plain courageous" — recommends visiting the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Amazon unveils new mental health benefit for U.S. employees and their families
Posted on May 20 2021
Healthcare Finance

Amazon announced it is providing mental health benefits to all of its full-time employees, as well as to their family and household members. Amazon has launched Resources for Living, a single starting point to access confidential in-person or virtual mental health counseling, with three sessions per person, per topic, available. Amazon said it would fund up to 24 million counseling sessions a year for its U.S. employees. Access also includes a self-paced app that offers computerized cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness resources. "It is critically important that employers like Amazon evaluate and expand their programs and put a more significant focus on the mental health and mental well-being of their employees, especially as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and begin to re-enter the workplace," said Daniel H. Gillison Jr., CEO of NAMI. "Employers bear a responsibility to ensure access to and provide adequate mental health services to their employees. It is good for their workers, and it is good for business."

Episode 168: Jennifer Rothman, National Alliance on Mental Illness
Posted on May 20 2021
Success is a Choice Podcast

Jennifer Rothman is the Senior Manager for Youth and Young Adult Information, Support, and Education for NAMI. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. In the episode, Jennifer discusses what are some of the misconceptions of mental illness, signs and symptoms of mental illness, how we can best help our students and resources available for those experiencing mental illness.

New survey on LGBTQ youth finds 'concerning' disparities in suicide risk
Posted on May 19 2021
ABC News

LGBTQ youth of color and transgender and nonbinary youth have a greater risk of suicide than their peers, especially if they have experienced discrimination, according to a new Trevor Project survey. For the first time, the cross-sectional survey, which had nearly 35,000 respondents between the ages of 13 and 24 across the United States, included data on suicide risk as it relates to race and ethnicity. That data shows "concerning" disparities in suicide risk for LGBTQ youth of color and transgender and nonbinary youth, Amy Green, VP of research at the Trevor Project. The survey found that 42% of respondents seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. For transgender and nonbinary youth, it was more than half. Among the respondents, 12% of white youth attempted suicide compared to 31% of Native/Indigenous youth, 21% of Black youth, 21% of multiracial youth, 18% of Latinx youth and 12% of Asian/Pacific Islander youth. For Dr. Ken Duckworth, CMO of NAMI, that data point showed "big opportunities for people to make a change in their own lives for the people they love." "Clearly, there's a lot of mental health sequelae of not being in an affirming home," he said. "Thinking about how you approach things within your own family — it's a powerful message because 2 out of 3 families apparently aren't meeting the needs of people who are responding to this survey. That's a lot of families." LGBTQ youth with at least one accepting adult in their lives were less likely to attempt suicide, according to Green.

Depression Is a Pandemic. Let's Use the Lessons of COVID-19 to Find Treatments
Posted on May 17 2021
*NAMI mentioned

Until recently, major depression has felt like a ghost disease — invisible but devastating. It’s a disorder that affects millions every year — 1 in 4 of us will suffer a depressive episode in their lifetime. In April, a team at the Indiana University School of Medicine published news about a promising new blood test that can reveal how severe a patient’s depression may be, the risk of developing severe depression, and even the risk of future bipolar disorder. This breakthrough using RNA biomarkers will get us closer to more precise and effective treatments and is just one example of a whole slew of biomarkers for depression that researchers have been uncovering. Crisis is not too strong a word: the CDC reported that U.S. adults with recent symptoms of anxiety or a depressive disorder rose to 41.5% in February. This effort could include an ‘operation warp speed‘ type-accelerator for this biomarker research, plus an infusion of resources to provide universal access to therapists and existing treatments right now. Given that all of us know someone or are someone who’s battled this disease, it’s everyone’s issue. The mental health moonshot we need would provide hope and that in and of itself might save lives.

The article includes the following links in the resource section: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI); NAMI Connection is a support group for people with mental health conditions. Groups meet weekly, every other week or monthly, depending on location. Find the NAMI Connection support group nearest you; NAMI Family Support Group is a support group for family members, significant others and friends of people with mental health conditions. Groups meet weekly, every other week or monthly, depending on location. Find the NAMI Family Support Group nearest you; The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m., ET at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or [email protected].

Policing mental health: Recent deaths highlight concerns over officer response
Posted on May 16 2021
NBC News

Walter Wallace Jr., Ricardo Muñoz and Angelo Quinto were all experiencing mental health episodes when they were killed by the police officers their families called for help. More than 1 in 5 people fatally shot by police have mental illnesses, according to a Washington Post database of fatal U.S. shootings by on-duty police officers. Since 2015, when The Post launched its database, police have fatally shot more than 1,400 people with mental illnesses. Angela Kimball, national director of advocacy and public policy for NAMI, said she believes the numbers are so high because people in mental health crises do not always respond in ways officers want them to. "Police are trained to respond to a situation with a goal of protecting public safety and their own safety," she said. "They are used to using interventions that are designed to contain somebody that is perceived as a danger." Kimball said that during mental health crises, the presence of police officers, coupled with the uniforms and shouting, is quite often "counterintuitive" and that it can lead to tragedy. Many law enforcement agencies use the "Memphis Model" for crisis intervention training, or CIT. Kimball said the program requires about 40 hours of training in mental health diagnoses, drug use issues and de-escalation tactics. "It's really more of a concept of community engagement. Part of it is about law enforcement developing those connections with homeless shelters and with community mental health systems like hospitals so that everybody is working together," Kimball said. Last year, the FCC designated 988 as a nationwide number for mental health crisis and suicide prevention services and is set to go live in July 2022. Kimball said the number will be a good alternative to 911 because "there's a mobile crisis team of behavioral health professionals who can help defuse the situation, connect people to treatment and get them on a path to recovery."

Peloton instructor Kendall Toole considers her mental health diagnosis part of her power
Posted on May 13 2021
Yahoo! life
*NAMI mentioned

Peloton instructor Kendall Toole (NAMI Ambassador) started her mental health journey at an early age. At 11 years old, doctors explained she had OCD, which she learned to manage. Then, in college, she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. "It's something I consider to be part of my power, I can help try to take that stigma away, as it affects so many individuals," Toole explains. Toole learned to work on her mental and physical health at the same time. As an avid boxer and cycling instructor, exercise became a one-two-punch prescription that has really helped her over the years. She's also become a mental health advocate with National Alliance on Mental Illness. And living through this global pandemic has given her the opportunity to look at all aspects of her life and dig deep, do the internal work and continue to look at her mental health.

How I'm Living a Rich, Full Life After Being Diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder
Posted on May 11 2021
*NAMI and NAMI Georgia mentioned

Ashley Smith is a mom, a peer counselor, a taxpayer, athlete, neighbor, mother, and friend. She considers herself a friendly person, a self-identity that she’s had for a long time. She is also a person with a mental health disorder called schizoaffective disorder. “I have been in recovery since 2007,” she says, summing up her life post-diagnosis. She views her recovery journey as both an achievement and a path that she continues to follow. Ashley eventually learned that she actually has a condition called schizoaffective disorder that includes symptoms of schizophrenia as well as symptoms of a mood disorder. It’s actually rarer than schizophrenia itself. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates a lifetime prevalence of only about 0.3% for schizoaffective disorder. There are two types of schizoaffective disorder: The bipolar type and the depressive type. Ashley has the bipolar type, so she experiences episodes of both mania and depression along with symptoms of schizophrenia. The good news about schizoaffective disorder is that it can be managed effectively with therapy and medication, according to NAMI. Since 2012, Ashley has been a peer counselor who works with people with mental health disorders like schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. She helps people set goals and determine how to reach them. In fact, she has coordinated with NAMI Georgia to offer workshops on topics like talking about personal experiences with mental health disorders. If you (or someone you love) receives a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, don’t get discouraged. Ashley says, “Schizophrenia is a medical condition that is very manageable.”

Local officials focused on wellness during Mental Health Awareness Month
Posted on May 11 2021
The Toledo Blade: OH

Research shows two in five Americans have reported struggles with mental health since the coronavirus pandemic began. That has prompted local wellness officials to let northwest Ohioans know that help is available, and that they should not be reluctant to seek it. Concerns include unprecedented uncertainty, grief, and trauma. Officials are amplifying that message during May, recognized nationally as Mental Health Awareness Month. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, a national organization with an Ohio chapter, is also putting forth the 'You are not alone' campaign, which focuses on connecting people to resources available nearby. Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., NAMI CEO, said there is still work to be done despite growing signs of normalcy and the "light at the end of the tunnel" that has been setting in. "NAMI endeavors to turn the tragic and life-changing impact of COVID-19 into a spotlight on the growing need for systematic change in the mental health care system to meet the increased need as the world opens back up again," Mr. Gillison said in a statement. "The time is now to come together to improve mental health for all."