Archive for mental health

"We hear about murders, not suicides (until someone like Williams dies)."

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comedy tragedy masks suicides depression

We and the news media have the attention spans of gnats. Something monumental shocks us into a Rubbernecking Moment... until the next monumental thing comes along. Murder headlines get a whole lot of play and keep us looking, darting from one to the next. Lamenting. Opining. Outraging. Suicides? Not so much. At least not for long. In a previous post-- The aftermath #RIPRobinWilliams-- I wrote the following:

The news media swarm and hyper-focus on huge, painful stories like these, and we all listen and discuss and cry and scream and care immensely.

And then we stop.

We don't stop caring, but we stop being pro-active, because the next Big Story comes along and that wave of emotion or controversy or fear or sadness or tragedy or outrage or terror or death or civil unrest or trauma or injustice comes along and diverts our attention... again.

This country is dysfunctional and needs extended rehab. This country needs to pay attention. We need sustained treatment as a nation, not spot checks. We need to continue to listen, care, and respond, to seek help, to be vigilant, to reach out, to get well. We need to lengthen our attention spans and accept the therapy that will help heal us.

We must listen to and heed the advice we're getting from experts. Hanging ourselves is not an option.

Today in the Los Angeles Times, there was similar reaction to my old improv buddy Robin's tragic death, along with some excellent commentary on treating people with mental illnesses. Please read these very astute letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Depression: It's so deep inside. No one can touch it.

Some days are unexplainable, when you have harmony with the Earth, racking your mind as to why — and knowing your crash awaits. It's lonely as hell.

I don't dismiss hope for a personal cure; I just want to share the unreal depth that embraces these sad souls who have survived countless years of secrets.

Thank you, Robin Williams, for possibly creating an awareness that yes, this can happen to someone as magnificent as you.

For now, much-needed attention is being paid to this issue. But if past tragedies are a guide, the discussion will probably fade over time until it is barely audible, only to be amplified by the next shock.

Cynthia Ingersoll, Sultan, Wash.

..

In 2009, there were about 36,500 suicides in the U.S. and "only" 16,500 homicides. Yet we hear about the murders but not so much about the suicides (until someone like Williams dies).

Likewise, we seldom see any headlines about depression, but depression affects nearly 15 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the population age 18 and older, in a given year. People who think depression is a choice are wrong (and often judgmental). Depression is no more a choice than baldness. However, I can get a hair transplant, but I can't get a brain transplant.

And then there's addiction. Let's just start by saying that the abuse of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs costs more than $600 billion annually due to crime, lost work productivity and healthcare. But again, we seldom hear about addiction unless someone is glamorized.

When will we be proactive and create some preventive measures? This is all treatable and preventable.

Ken Donaldson (Addictions and mental health counselor ), Seminole, Fla.

..

There is a precedent, of course, for Williams' suicide: Comedian and actor Freddie Prinze, who starred in the hit TV series "Chico and the Man," killed himself in 1977 at the age of 22.

Comedy, depression and substance abuse have an attraction to one another. My father was a comedy writer who used vodka and a barbiturate to get through his days. Thankfully, he didn't commit suicide.

Williams' death is surely a tragedy, but it did not come as a shock to me. I hope it shames our culture into taking depression seriously.

Wendy Werris, Los Angeles, CA

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Hit Me With Your Best Shot - on ice, please, and lots of ice

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BabyIceORIG
Vertical dunking on the rocks? Genius.

The trend moving to all corners of the country (and overseas), of getting dunked and with a very large bucket of ice water (hope they at least add a lime wedge) is full-blown viral.

Even Grandma Ethel Kennedy  took it like a sailor. AND she also challenged President Obama.

Still giving back, Dame Ethel.

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The viral trend has drawn celebrities, athletes, and politicians, including the Kennedys, to participate in the #IceBucketChallenge. And they spared no one — after thirty or so members of the Kennedy family poured freezing water over their heads, they nominated "Grandma Ethel," one of the eldest in the family, to follow suit. She did — but not before she named President Obama to be next.

Next, QEII? Bet she'd still have her ubiquitous purse. Doncha' sometimes wildly wonderwhat the Queen has in her trademark hand bag? 

Morning Schmoe got frisky for a few moments on messnbc.

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GO Maddow!

Then the Roundtable of The Morning Ick:

Gaah!

 

For the record, ALS is Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It’s a disease of the nerve cells in both the brain and the spinal chord that control voluntary muscle movement. Over time, it weakens your muscles and your ability to voluntarily control your muscles, killing you. ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Here is the website to donate to the ALS Association: ALSA.org. And here is another website, made by the family of Peter Frates who was recently diagnosed with ALS; they are heavy proponents of “striking out ALS” and the ice bucket challenge: www.petefrates.com.

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Here's the history, ably summarized by The Verge.

WHAT'S GOING ON?
Everyone you've seen is participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge involves daring a person to dump a bucket of ice water over their head within the next 24 hours, or else donate money — usually $100 — toward fighting ALS. Even if a person completes the challenge, they're more than welcome to donate money too.

Once a person completes the challenge, they're also supposed to dare several other people — usually three — to participate, which is why the challenge has been growing and growing.

 

Photo courtesy of

 

This Hawaiian footage of flash-mob dumps/observers, below, is priceless.

Jimmy Fallon outdid himself - video below.

Now that's funny right there, no matter how you judge the cause.

 

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colbertonfox

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BREAKING President Obama Speaks Live(!) of Ferguson and Iraq

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courge
President Obama has had a horrid week, and cut his vacation short to deal with the a wild Wild West Show in Missouiri, and a new 'objective' in Iraq.

over6

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AN UPDATE ON THE PRESIDENT'S PRESS CONFERENCE FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:

Obama expresses concern over Missouri violence, says U.S. broke Iraqi militants' mountain siege

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From All In with Chris Hayes, he put together some fine perspective of the possible War o' 2014. Apparently the Uncompassionate Conservatives aren't done hammering immigrants in proper battle form.

http:FamilyGuyORIG_2_

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Missouri Is Burning and Ferguson Police Are Hatin' on Protesters

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Ferguson, to the long-distant, appears more like a revolt led in Missouri by xenophobic, gun fondling and Open Carry nonsense.

Last night, two fine reporters were arrested (after being brutalized) along with as many paddy wagons as they could find to fill.

From Josè Diaz-Balart at messnbc:

And from today.

beck
From The Huffington Post.

One print passage I read was too meaningful to hoard. From Ryan Grim. Via Lucian.

One of our reporters, Ryan Reilly, was arrested this evening in Ferguson, Mo., along with a Washington Post reporter, because that's the kind of thing that happens now, apparently. He is there covering the protests in response to the killing of Michael Brown. Below is a statement we put out condemning the arrest, and here's our report on it. Meanwhile, both of our reporters there are now stranded at the police station, a long way from their rental car. If anybody on this list lives in the St. Louis area and feels like giving them a lift, shoot me a note.

Image by Clay Bennett

Image by Clay Bennett

We are relieved Ryan Reilly and Wesley Lowery are safe, but we are disturbed by their arrest and assault.

Ryan was working on his laptop in a McDonald's near the protests in Ferguson, MO, when police barged in, armed with high-powered weapons, and began clearing the restaurant. Ryan photographed the intrusion, and police demanded his ID in response. Ryan, as is his right, declined to provide it. He proceeded to pack up his belongings, but was subsequently arrested for not packing up fast enough. Both Ryan and Wesley were assaulted.

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Coverage excerpts by MadameNoire.com:

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