After the wildfire: treating the mental health crisis triggered by climate change

In 2017, thousands of homes in Santa Rosa, California, were wiped off the map. Now the community is helping residents cope with the trauma The nightmares kept coming and David Leal knew he was in trouble. A navy veteran with a can-do attitude and a solidly middle-class IT job at a hospital in Santa Rosa, California, he didnt think of himself as mentally vulnerable. But when the Tubbs fire snatched his house off the face of the earth in the early morning hours of 9 October 2017, it hit him hard. Long story short, I went through a lot of PTSD, Leal says, as we tour his nearly rebuilt home in Santa Rosas Coffey Park neighborhood. Wildfires are not uncommon …

After a breakdown, birdwatching brought me friendship, escape and a new love of nature

A childhood hobby gave me time to reflect, refocus and find myself again, following years of drug and alcohol abuse A decade ago, aged 22 and off my face on class A drugs and alcohol almost every day, I would never have seen myself where I am today and definitely wouldnt have dreamed that Bird Therapy that birds are consistent in a way that people rarely are and I stand by this. Too often, we are let down by those we believe care about us, but I know that if I look out of my kitchen window, my garden bird community will still be there. I also know that during spring, our returning breeding birds will travel across desert and …

Why are thirtysomethings lonely? Because society doesnt value friendship | Arwa Mahdawi

Social media has been made the scapegoat for millennials reporting loneliness, but the cultural primacy in adulthood of career and family has much to answer for, writes Arwa Mahdawi Millennials arent just the poorest generation; they are also the loneliest. According to data from YouGov, while digital habits undoubtedly affect mental health, research hasnt provided conclusive answers regarding the relationship between the two. When it comes to loneliness, I have a feeling that the culprit isnt so much technology as the fact that many millennials are in their 30s, which is a natural time for friendship dynamics to change: people start focusing on advancing their careers and building families rather than socialising with pals. It feels as if we are …

The culture cure: how prescription art is lifting people out of depression| Helen Russell

From singing in a group to being read to in a library, participation in the arts is having amazing results among a pilot group, says journalist Helen Russell In a whitewashed studio in northern Denmark, 11 unemployed strangers are embarking on a hearty rendition of Yellow Submarine. Jonas Thryse is not one of them. At least, not yet. The 36-year-old has agoraphobia, rarely leaves the house and cant think of anything worse than a group singalong. And yet by the second chorus he is putty in the choirmasters hands. I swore Id just stand at the back and listen, he says. But the mood was infectious. Out of work and in his second year of sick leave because of anxiety …

A New Approach to Treat Mental Illness: Electrical Engineering

Brain disorders impact more than 25 percent of Americans, and such disorders are projected to cost more than one trillion dollars annually by 2050. In response, the federal government launched the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Nanotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative in 2013 to uncover how the human brain works as an electrical machine. This group of researchers has been tasked with answering the following question: What if mental illness could be treated with electrical engineering? While the human brain contains nearly 100 billion cells that create and process electricity, human brain augmentation has largely been limited to drugs that target brain chemicals. By discovering how the brain computes, we hope scientists will be able to develop new treatments and bend the projected …

Small Sounds, Big Money: The Commercialization of ASMR

It was time to prepare my body for a peaceful, relaxing sleep. So said the voice, in a lilting British accent that barely registered above a whisper. “Notice how soft your pillow feels against your head,” the voice cooed, from my iPhone, in a way that reminded me of having my hair stroked. “You are ready to relax. Nothing is urgent. Everything can wait.” The voice came from Mindwell, a new meditation app. For $10 a month, it offers these and other hypnotic monologues, designed to promote peace in both sleep and wakefulness. The app joins a suite of others that reimagine meditation in the digital age: Calm offers relaxation techniques and mindfulness on demand; Headspace, with its guided breathing …

My 30 Animal Comics To Inspire People To Love And Care For Themselves

And before that day comes, self-care is still a luxury for many. Like the mother who believes her family’s needs come first, the breadwinner struggling to make ends meet, the kid trying to meet the parents’ expectation and the teenager trying to fit in. Unfortunately, any of us can be on the list. I hope they do the same magic to you as they do for me. #1 Listening Is Precious (In Collaboration With Association For Suicide Prevention) 8 reply #3 Try Some Love 10 reply #5 Just One More 4 reply #7 Sit With Someone 7 reply 4 reply View More Replies… #10 You Are Your Own Kind Of Beautiful 6 reply #12 You Can Be Sweet Too! 8 …

Teachers Check-In Chart For Students To Share Their Feelings Goes Viral

After several students attempted suicide in the past five years of her teaching, the San Francisco Bay Area educator found an innovative way to check on her pupils – with a check-in chart. High-School special education teacher Erin Castillo just went viral for her mental health check-in chart makingastatementinsped Castillo wanted to create a non-verbal way for her students to communicate how they were feeling through a semi-anonymous system. On the chart, students are asked to indicate their mood that day with post-it notes on a scale from, “I’m great” and “I’m okay” to “I’m having a hard time and wouldn’t mind a check-in” or “I’m in a really dark place.”  Studies have shown a correlation between people with learning disabilities …

Ive Been Suffering From DPDR For Over 3 Years Now, And I Want People To Know What Its Like (10 Comics)

Hi fella… My name is Lulu, I am from Switzerland and I am turning 26 this year. I’ve been suffering from DPDR (depersonalization/derealisation disorder) since a little over 3 years. I was diagnosed around 2 years ago. DPDR is not very well known because it’s a weird and hard to describe mental disorder and people often suffer in silence. DPDR can be a diagnosis on its own but in often cases it‘s also a symptom of another mental disorder such as anxiety, dissociative disorders, etc… It‘s often caused by smoking weed, trauma and other things. For me, DPDR is a 24/7 thing. For the first year, I suffered in silence and was unable to do anything. I could not describe …

Our goal is to halve the male suicide rate: why no-frills therapy works for men

Every week, around the country, groups of men meet for some straight-talking therapy. Could this be the answer to the male mental health crisis? A stranger has just thrown a ball at me and asked me how my week has been. Its Monday night, and Im sitting in a circle of a dozen men in a chilly community centre. This ball obliges me to tell the gang about my current emotional state. I have spent my entire adult life carefully avoiding situations like this. I came to Andys Man Club with my eyes open, thinking I was ready to share. But thats because I expected a different sort of group therapy session; a place where normal blokes could open up …

Tech platforms called to support public interest research into mental health impacts

The tech industry has been called on to share data with public sector researchers so the mental health and psychosocial impacts of their service on vulnerable users can be better understood, and also to contribute to funding the necessary independent research over the next ten years. The UK’s chief medical officers have made the call in a document setting out advice and guidance for the government about children’s and young people’s screen use. They have also called for the industry to agree a code of conduct around the issue. Concerns have been growing in the UK about the mental health impacts of digital technologies on minors and vulnerable young people. Last year the government committed to legislate on social media …