2023 | NAMI

What Every Guy Should Know About Bipolar I Disorder

Posted on December 18, 2023


In fact, biologically men are less likely than women to be diagnosed with any mental illness, including bipolar disorder, says Ken Duckworth, M.D., NAMI CMO, and author of You Are Not Alone: The NAMI Guide to Navigating Mental Health. He believes that this has less to do with bipolar disorder and more to do with cultural expectations of gender. “Women have more social permission to seek mental health treatment than men,” says Dr. Duckworth. “And the fact that men are less likely to seek help, this really complicates making sense of their mental health history.” Men are much more likely to turn to substances as a method of coping, according to Dr. Duckworth. “Substance abuse adds to the complexity of bipolar disease in males,” Dr. Duckworth adds. “Imagine you have a depressive episode. Then, during a manic episode, you drink heavily. You go into detox, and the next time you see the psychiatrist in six months you’re back to being depressed. So, the psychiatrist gets it wrong and says you have an addiction and depression.”


Mental health funding is fast becoming “the bipartisan issue of our time”

Posted on December 13, 2023

Route Fifty

It’s widely acknowledged that there’s a desperate need for improved and expanded mental health services across the country—so much so that this is one of the few issues that appears to be gaining traction in both red and blue states. Significant investments have been made in recent months in bright red Montana and Texas and in deep blue California and New York. “We’re seeing record breaking investments across multiple states. Mental health is the bipartisan issue of our time,” says Stephanie Pasternak, director of state affairs at NAMI. “We review mental health legislation each year and the majority of them are bipartisan.” “I think we’re seeing the most innovation in crisis care,” says Pasternak. “It’s how communities across the country are rethinking how they respond to people in a mental health crisis. For so long, we’ve treated them as a public safety issue when it’s really a health care issue.”


On the Job With Bipolar I Disorder

Posted on December 12, 2023


Living and working with bipolar is an “art, not a science,” says Ken Duckworth, M.D., NAMI CMO. That means, it takes time and creativity to figure out the right combination of medical interventions, including medications and regular therapy sessions, that will help you to live and work successfully with this disorder. Regardless of your current professional status, the first order of business after a BD-I diagnosis is to find a bipolar treatment approach that works for you—because management plans differ from person to person, explains Dr. Duckworth. Today, as mental health becomes less stigmatized, workplaces that prioritize psychological well-being are more common than you’d think, says Dr. Duckworth. So, taking the time to find the right company can make all the difference.


Some experts say Santa’s ‘naughty or nice’ list can be harmful to children

Posted on December 6, 2023


Mental health experts checked the “naughty or nice” list in a 2019 NAMI YouTube video, “A Mental Health Message from Santa Claus." In the clip Santa says, "I think I did this all wrong. It started with good intentions, a way to motivate behavior, to codify gift-giving, to streamline deliveries, but 'naughty or nice' — as if some kids don't have enough to worry about, only to have me judge them without context, without perspective, without any sort of doctorate in psychology. Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI CMO, tells TODAY.com, "How we talk to our kids is important and holidays are no exception." He adds: "Some children will internalize a black-and-white interpretation of their behavior, taking it to heart." Duckworth says the "naughty or nice" list tells children their behavior is forever. "Life is a continuous learning exercise," he says. "Hopefully there is nuance in how we talk to kids about making mistakes."


An epic challenge: Running the 988 crisis line as the US suicide rate rises

Posted on November 20, 2023

USA Today

The 988 Lifeline has helped millions of people in crisis since the July 2022 launch. Several states have organized stable funding through telecommunication fees. While less than half have created or are in the process of creating legislation to fund 988. There is no pending legislation to financially support the line in at least half of the states, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Hannah Wesolowski, NAMI CAO, sees that as a major stumbling block. Wesolowski said the most reliable source of state funding is a telecommunications fee on mobile phone bills every month. Even though all 50 states have a 911 fee, which no one questions, most states haven’t embraced the 988 fee. Only eight states have implemented it and the automatic cost tacked onto phone bills ranges from about 12 to 60 cents per month, according to NAMI. Politicians don’t want to be associated with requesting a telecommunications fee for 988 services because it’s seen as a tax, Wesolowski said. Some states have other methods of funding the program, Wesolowski said, they’re more susceptible to political changes.


Republican candidates are talking about mental health. Is there room for bipartisanship?

Posted on November 17, 2023

USA Today

Hannah Wesolowski, NAMI CAO, sees the rising prominence of mental health issues as an inevitable result of the record number of Americans dealing with conditions like depression and anxiety. “We know now, more than ever, that people need care,” Wesolowski said. “The conversations for better or worse show that there's recognition that we have to do something. We cannot sit by and wait.” Presidential candidates are addressing the issue, Wesolowski said, “because they know if they don't address it, we're going to face a tsunami of mental health consequences in the future.” Still, while conversations around mental health are gaining prominence, Wesolowski expressed concern that increasing calls for institutionalization of people with mental illness by some candidates in the 2024 race could stymie progress and could further stigmatize those with mental health conditions. “We can't just focus on locking people up or talking about people as if they are some other population. They’re friends, they’re neighbors, they're our spouses, our children,” Wesolowski said, arguing that efforts to re-institutionalize people serves as a “misinterpretation of what is needed.”


One Brooklyn community fears safety amidst a lack of mental health resources

Posted on November 12, 2023


As mental health care shortages plague communities across the country, many Americans face a difficult question. In the rare cases when someone with untreated mental illness acts violently, what's the best way to keep both the person and the community safe? NAMI CAO Hannah Wesolowski stated the biggest challenge that we see is just the availability of care. Wesolowski added, “there's long waitlists for mental health providers. There is often inability to get care in an insurance network. If somebody needs inpatient care, which is not the first stop but is the right type of care for some people, it's often not available."


Cities know the way police respond to mental crisis calls needs to change. But how?

Posted on November 9, 2023

NPR Shots

In 2020, the Crisis Receiving for Behavioral Health center ("Crib") opened in Downtown Sacramento and receives people experiencing a mental health crisis. The center allows them to stay for 24 hours and get connected to other services. “Physical locations linked to services, like Crib, are a crucial part of a well-functioning 988 system,” said Jennifer Snow, National Director of Government Relations, Policy and Advocacy for NAMI. "Those crisis stabilization programs are key to helping people not languish in the ER or unnecessarily get caught up in the criminal justice system," Snow said. “It's too early to know how the nation is progressing overall on building up these kinds of centers,” Snow said.


‘Kids are struggling’: Suicide rate soaring for Black children, teens nationwide

Posted on November 8, 2023

Cox Media Syndicated: Boston 25 News

A recent Johns Hopkins University analysis of CDC data reveals that in 2022 the gun suicide rate for Black teens surpassed that of white teens for the first time and the suicide rate for Black kids and teens has tripled over the past two decades. “Whether it be racism, discrimination…kids are struggling across so many different domains and then in addition to that there’s bullying,” said Dr. Christine Crawford, NAMI associate medical director, in a taped on-camera interview. Dr. Crawford said many Black students are facing more stressors and they may not have all the necessary tools to cope with them. Crawford believes this process starts at home. “Prioritizing conversations around mental health is a matter of safety and quite frankly it’s a matter of your children’s life,” said Crawford.


How to Deal With a Narcissist Boss, Co–Parent, or Child

Posted on November 7, 2023

Yahoo Life

You can’t always just leave the narcissist in your life if it’s a parent or co-parent, boss, or child. “A disorder implies poor functioning, but there are plenty of successful people who are narcissistic and live happy lives,” says Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI CMO. “If you’re fine with not having meaningful relationships, if it works for you on some level, you might do nothing. But I think empathy can be learned through group work and psychotherapy. I don’t think you’re doomed if you want to work on the problem.” If people exiting your life have told you that you are self-centered, that you lack empathy, and that you weren’t willing to consider their experience, consider getting a therapist, urges Dr. Duckworth.


NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).