World Suicide Prevention Day

Reader a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) sent in a reminder that today is World Suicide Prevention Day, as part of Suicide Prevention Month. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has chapters all over the country (locator here) if you want to get involved. The document she sent includes this fact:

While making up less than 1 percent of the population, military veterans represent over 20 percent of suicides each year-nothing short of a national disgrace.

Maybe Richard can weigh in on this, but my understanding is that one of the many good things that will come from Obamacare is a standardized, decent, mental health coverage.

Update: The way I worded that, it sounds like vets would go on Obamacare – of course, they have subsidized VA treatment.






62 replies
  1. 1
    gene108 says:

    Stigma can prevent or discourage people affected by mental illnesses and/or suicidal ideation or behavior from seeking professional help, as well as from returning to their normal social roles after receiving treatment for an episode of illness or crisis.

    Good luck with this.

    I have no idea how to destigmatize having mental illness.

  2. 2
    Soonergrunt says:

    Military veterans already have subsidized mental health treatment. Even a Vet without a service connected disability will get mental health treatment at a VA, especially if he or she is in distress.
    The baffling thing about suicides in the service is that they don’t appear to be tied to combat experience. A couple of fifteenth studies have shown that the suicide rate among non-combat vets is higher than it is among combat vets. No one is sure why this is.

    On another note, we’re doing more tests today. If they don’t find anything immediately ominous, we hope to take her home today, our at least get her back on solid foods again.

  3. 3
    raven says:

    @Soonergrunt: How about guilt and that funny feeling when people throw that “hero” shit around and many vets know they were just doing a job?

  4. 4
    mistermix says:

    @Soonergrunt: Yes, the way I worded it sounds like vets would go on Obamacare.

    Hoping for the best for your daughter.

  5. 5
    raven says:

    @Soonergrunt: Yes, do you have any news on your daughter?

  6. 6
    sparrow says:

    @gene108: I think this is one of those things where society is coming around, and it helps to be vocal about it. This isn’t any grand idea, but when someone around me (family member, etc) starts disparaging people who are depressed or alcoholic or what have you, I gently remind them that *research* shows that this is not a lack of moral fiber, or laziness, but an actual *illness*, sometimes biochemical/genetic, sometimes with roots in early childhood which are both obviously beyond anyone’s control. And though I’m not an expert, I’ve read books on it and I’m happy to go on at some length esp. regarding what is good treatment and how to treat such people. I’ve often had people say “hmmm… yeah, maybe”… a series of small shifts in perspective can do a lot.

  7. 7
    Yatsuno says:

    @Soonergrunt: I was hoping you’d make an appearance, but I did mention (at the bottom of a dead thread) that we had talked a bit. I didn’t get into much detail because that’s the business of your family. But fair warning: I’m probably about to Jewish mother you here. :)

  8. 8
    Soonergrunt says:

    @raven: that hero thing always kind of creeped me out a bit.
    @mistermix: thanks.
    @raven: in my original post, brother.

  9. 9
    sparrow says:

    @Soonergrunt: Might it be self-selection? I’ve known people that came from religious, conservative households who joined the military in (my interpretation) a sort of self-immolation to have straightness, or just conservative “normalness”, beaten into them. I understand it because I considered it myself at around 17-18 instead of college, and I was just an eccentric kid who never fit in. I was also really ADD, and got criticized a lot for being forgetful, not finishing things, lack of discipline, basically. And I though, well, one option is the military — then I’ll come out disciplined, right? It will change me, I’ll become a better person. I’ll be *valued*. Fortunately I decided I liked enjoying my life and didn’t enjoy the idea of war or combat. But if I had been more self-hating, I could have made a different decision. And I don’t think it would have improved the situation.

    (this is not to say that anyone that joins the military is self-hating, obv. just speculation on the suicide issue.)

  10. 10
  11. 11
    Soonergrunt says:

    @sparrow: there doesn’t seem to be a correlation to anything, other than the fact that young people have a night attempt rate, and military personnel have a higher completion rate than general society because they tend to use more violent (and therefore more effective) means of suicide.
    And earlier when I said “fifteenth studies” I meant “recent studies.”
    Gotta love autocorrect.

  12. 12
    cmorenc says:

    One of my very best lifelong friends, a guy the rest of us firmly believed would outlive us all and deliver the eulogy at OUR funerals…

    stunned everyone when he committed suicide last fall by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His life had gone into a tailspin over the last 5 years to a depth none of us sufficiently appreciated until his wife called us with the news one terrible evening.

    One upside: an absolutely HUGE crowd of his lifelong friends from our hometown and beyond showed up for his memorial service and an afterward potluck at his 90-something mother’s house. The occasion was more like a New Orleans-style funeral, a celebration of a guy we all universally thought (and testified at his memorial service and after-party) to be one of the most genuine friends any of us ever had.

  13. 13

    FACT CHECK: “While making up less than 1 percent of the population, military veterans represent over 20 percent of suicides each year…” WRONG. FALSE. BULLSHIT.

    According to the VA website, there are about 22 million military veterans in the United States. There are currently about 316 million Americans (this is the thing that tipped me off: how could there only be ~3 million veterans in the country? No freakin’ way!), so veterans are about 7% of the population as a whole.

    To take it a step further, let’s assume that the suicide rate among the under-12 population (~50 million) is negligible. That means veterans are ~8.3% of the 12-and-over population, which is the age group that contains pretty much all the actual and potential suicides.

    So what that means is that veterans have a suicide rate that’s more like 2.4 times the national average. I’ll agree that that’s pretty bad, but that’s a big fucking difference from claiming veterans commit suicide at 20 times the national average.

    Maybe this person feels it’s OK to lie because this is a good cause. NO. It’s never OK to lie in a good cause, because what’s likely to happen is that you discredit your cause.

    And if it really is a good cause, you should be able to make the argument for it without lying.

  14. 14
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @low-tech cyclist: I haven’t checked either your math or your underlying numbers, but why do you jump to the conclusion that a lie rather than an error was involved?

  15. 15
    gene108 says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    I think the point was made that veterans have a much higher suicide rate than the normal population. You only quantified how much higher the rate was and it is still significantly higher. No grand conspiracy has been debunked.

    Take a chill pill.

  16. 16
    cmorenc says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    And if it really is a good cause, you should be able to make the argument for it without lying.

    Some people who attempt to use math and statistical arguments to support an idea make stunningly math-illiterate assumptions, more out of intellectual recklessness and loss of objectivity about their subject than conscious dishonesty. Both phenomena (recklessness, dishonesty) can, if people catch onto them, severely undermine the credibility of the argument the proponent is trying to make, however otherwise worthy (or not). But neither are reckless arguments and consciously dishonest arguments quite the same thing either.

  17. 17
    gene108 says:

    What I find interesting is there’s a lot of stuff out there for people to cope with the suicide of someone close to them.

    There’s not as much material out there for people, who’ve tried to kill themselves but somehow failed and aren’t dead.

    I feel like the failed suicide attempts really do not get the same level of support.

    Even NAMI seems tilted to providing support for family and friends, rather than consumers.

    Link to their website has two consumer support groups versus five for family and professionals.

  18. 18
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    This seems like a good place to mention this study of math and confirmation bias.

  19. 19
    MikeJ says:

    This VA study says about 8,000 vets die of suicide per year. The annual rate in the US is about ~32,000. That would be about 25% of all suicides, not 20%.

  20. 20
    Roger Moore says:

    @gene108:

    I have no idea how to destigmatize having mental illness.

    A good place to start would be changing our legal response to it. The better coverage for mental health under Obamacare should help to make it clear that mental health is just another part of overall health. I’d like to see the military start treating PTSD as a combat injury worthy of Purple Heart, though that will require action by Congress.

  21. 21
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Soonergrunt: Good thoughts continue for you and Soonerdaughter and Mrs. Soonergrunt.

  22. 22
    David Stephenson says:

    @low-tech cyclist: without checking the absolute numbers, maybe the issue here is the difference between absolute and relative rate difference? The relative rate difference often appears to give a larger percent difference because it’s a ratio.

  23. 23
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MikeJ: 25% is more than 20%. Just sayin’.

  24. 24
    MikeJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yes. I thought I’d try using facts instead of wild ass guesses and calling people LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE.

    BTW, there actually is a chart in that doc from the VA that shows a year by year breakdown of vet suicides as a percentage of all suicides. It’s been declining down to 20% from 25%.

  25. 25
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The number was NAMI’s number, which I included as it was provided by an organization with a “Military and Veterans Policy and Support Manager.” No intent to mislead.

    @gene108: NAMI has historically had the family support bias, as it was founded by the “NAMI Mommies,” two women who needed support as they raised children with schizophrenia. It’s improving, albeit not quickly enough.

    The NAMI chapter I’m involved with is working on improving the ratio. We offer 2 Connection support groups monthly and have a daytime informational meeting to make it easier for those with an illness who need public transportation to attend.

    Thanks to all who’ve supported Team Bella Q so generously.

  26. 26
    John says:

    Mental health care is one of the Essential Health Benefits identified in the ACA.

    According to healthcare.gov health plans offered through the new health exchanges will cover mental health services:

    All private health insurance plans offered in the Marketplace will offer the same set of essential health benefits. These are services all plans must cover. The essential health benefits include at least the following items and services:

    Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment (this includes counseling and psychotherapy)

    My understanding is that this is mostly of the result of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008

    This law requires health insurance to cover both mental and physical health equally. Under this law, insurance companies can no longer arbitrarily limit the number of hospital days or outpatient treatment sessions, or assign higher co-payments or deductibles for those in need of psychological services.

    John

  27. 27
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @raven:

    Good point. Some service people get thrown into places where there’s combat, others never do. In both cases those men and women are doing their jobs. No one makes a big deal out of it either way. During the time that I was in an active combat zone I never met anyone, including me, who was particularly heroic or particularly otherwise; we just wanted to get through the next one intact and eventually make it home.

  28. 28
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): It appears that the 3 million number was off but the 20% number was more or less right. I never thought you had any intent to mislead.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    MikeJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: My guess (and it’s only a guess) is that somebody conflated military and veterans. There are about 1.5 million active duty, another million reserves, NG, etc. About 20 million vets.

  31. 31

    @Omnes Omnibus: I appreciate that. I really assumed the NAM national number was correct – though it seemed low to me.

    O/T I’ve bookmarked the 6th Circuit opinion as I was surprised to read your mention of where Judge Boggs came down. I need to get through the fundraising before tackling legal leisure reading.

  32. 32
    Soonergrunt says:

    The one percent number probably came from the statistic that less than one percent off the country is in the military.
    There are approximately 2 million people in the active and reserve branches of all five services out of a country of over 320 million.

  33. 33

    One of the most eye-opening books I’ve ever read was Carol Tavris’s The Mismeasure of Woman, which is about the various “scientific” myths about gender.

    One of the chapters is about women and depression: women are diagnosed with depression at a higher rate than men, but men commit suicide at a much higher rate than women. So how does it make sense to claim that women suffer from depression more than women do?

    Tavris points out that the checklist that most doctors use to diagnose depression is biased in favor of women’s symptoms (ie crying uncontrollably, etc.), so many men go in diagnosed until it’s too late.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this bias is even worse for members of the armed forces, which are supposed to be filled with Manly Men (even the women) who couldn’t possibly have a “female problem.”

  34. 34

    Everyone figured out that I really meant, “So how does it make sense to claim that women suffer from depression more than men do,” right?

    Stupid tiny iPhone keyboard.

  35. 35
    MikeJ says:

    BTW, Project Implicit is using implicit association tests to identify people who might be at high risk for suicide (among other things). Often, suicidal people will deny it, and the idea is to be able to identify people who need help. One of their people was on SciFri recently.

  36. 36

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): Another factor in the completion rate has to do with methods. Men are more likely to use a firearm, which is more lethal then pharmaceuticals, which is the predominant female method.

    FWIW, the depression screen may or may not continue to have a gender bias, but medical research (by MDs) consistently demonstrates that depression, both unipolar and bipolar is more common in women. There are also different gender distributions for specific personality disorders, so it’s more than an artifact of screening bias.

    Still, the biggest factor is the firearm. Harvard School of Public Health in 2008 reported that in the United States, suicides outnumber homicides almost two to one:

    Research shows that whether attempters live or die depends in large part on the ready availability of highly lethal means, especially firearms.

    The Boston Globe had a story in June titled”The gun toll we’re ignoring: suicide:You wouldn’t know it from the national debate, but most American firearm deaths aren’t murder”

    In 2010, the last year for which complete numbers are available, the number of gun deaths by suicide in the United States outnumbered homicides 19,392 to 11,078. If you add up all American gun deaths that year, including accidents, 3 out of 5 people who died from gunshot wounds took their own lives. Those figures are not an anomaly: With just a few exceptions, the majority of gun deaths in the United States have been self-inflicted every year since at least 1920.

    NB – I have not independently verified any figures or statistics in the above but have simply copied them with links to the source.

  37. 37
    LanceThruster says:

    My friend’s son was with Marines 1/5 for the fall of Baghdad. When I asked him what his experience over there was, the first words out of his mouth were, “We killed people for no reason.” He went on to relate how their checkpoints would regularly open up on approaching vehicles that often were full of nothing but women and children because maybe they didn’t slow down enough or heed hand signals properly. He also had to render aid to these same occupants with wounded children screaming in anguish and terror next to their dead or dying mothers and aunts. He told of a six year old girl with the back of her skull blown off by a rifle round stumbling about unaware of anything but her dead mother on the ground. He said he learned first hand just how much we were all lied to about Iraq. His attitude was, “Support the troops, but not the mission” (this sentiment gets regularly mocked on right wing sites). Several of his friends I met at his homecoming never came back from their next tour of duty. I listened to my friend’s son talk openly and honestly about his combat experiences. He told me things that were traumatic just to hear them, let alone be there. I am glad he is a well-adjusted young man and seems to view his role there with a calm stoicism; but I’m sure he bears a psychic burden as well. You cannot be a thinking, feeling person and not be affected by those images. [UPDATE from when I first posted this – Adam has been diagnosed with PTSD, but his father says he gets ZERO help from the VA because he falls under the 60% designation]

    “I like shooting, and I love hunting. But I never did enjoy killing anybody. It’s my job. If I don’t get those bastards, then they’re gonna kill a lot of these kids we got dressed up like Marines. That’s just the way I see it.” – Marine Sniper Carlos Hathcock (May 20, 1942 – February 23, 1999)

  38. 38

    I’m not sure which is worse – deliberately lying about such a number, or putting a ‘fact’ like that front and center without bothering to check it.

    That’s the thing – this wasn’t somewhere down in paragraph 23; everyone can make a mistake. But it’s what NAMI led off with, and talked about how it was “nothing short of a national disgrace” – yet nobody bothered to check whether the very thing they were making a big fucking deal out of was an actual fact.

    If you’re gonna say, “THAT’S OUTRAGEOUS!!!”, it’s important that ‘that’ be actually, you know, true.

    At any rate, I’ll start apologizing for getting pissed about bogus facts when people stop creating them and telling people that they should get all worked up about them. I don’t like it any more when my fellow libruls do it than when the wingnuts do it.

  39. 39
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @low-tech cyclist: I take it that every statistic and fact you have ever cited was double and triple checked and you have never been wrong about anything, right? If not, you could perhaps fuck off a bit.

  40. 40

    @cmorenc:

    I have lifelong friends who do not know that I suffer from unipolar depression and have since I was 6 years old. A genetic pre-disposition combined with childhood trauma triggered it and it has never left me. I didn’t recognize that I had a problem until I was a teenager (self-diagnosis really). I didn’t seek help until I was in my early twenties and had health insurance for the first time. I spent the next 13+ years trying everything I could to avoid taking medications for it. Even though I intellectually understood that it was a brain chemistry thing, I thought that I was special and that I could use my willpower to overcome it. After all I’d used my willpower to escape a violent and poor childhood leaving my mother’s house when I was only 12, so I felt like nothing could ever stop me. And I was ashamed, deeply, deeply ashamed.

    To the outside world, I looked great–straight A student, scholarship winner, nominated to the Naval Academy, first in my family to finish college much less a graduate degree (which I did early), moving from one job to another always moving up in salary and responsibility, became a self-taught computer programmer, college professor…. But on the inside it was a daily exhausting slog. I told very few people about it and then only certain family members. I had ups and downs. At one point in my late twenties I gave my gun away to someone I trusted absolutely and told them not to give it back to me until I told him I was stable. And he did. Meanwhile I went to work, lived my life, and the outside world remained ignorant of just how close to the precipice I was. My family, to this day, has no idea how close I came.

    By the time I was in my mid-thirties, I’d been on medication for several years and was in therapy, and it wasn’t enough or it wasn’t the right combination. I finally bottomed out. I don’t know how else to put it but my tank was empty. I had nothing left to give anyone, not even myself. All those years of trying to overcome it, trying to meet the outside world’s and my own expectations of success, of hiding my inner turmoil–it simply crushed me. I can’t even begin to describe the relief I felt to call my family and tell them that I was in the hospital and why. I almost didn’t make it to the hospital though. I was just really lucky.

    I slowly began to let certain people in my life know that I was struggling besides my immediate family. My supervisor at work, my lifelong friends, my child and eventually the world through my blog. Even though I know that I will probably suffer negative consequences in my employment and in relationships (because let’s face it, no one in their right mind–pardon the pun–wants to hire or date someone who suffers from clinical depression), if my words help save even one person then it is worth it.

    To the outside world, my resume still looks pretty great. My parents are proud of me. What’s even better is that I’m proud of myself. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your friend and that it came as a shock to you. I’m sure you wish, just like I do, that your friend felt they could tell someone. I understand how he felt because there but for the Grace of the FSM go I. Bless you and yours.

    Soonergrunt: Good thoughts being sent your way, hope your daughter’s health improves soon

  41. 41
    LanceThruster says:

    In my darkest moments, the desire not to cause loved ones pain is often enough to get past the despair. For me, the worst was not when one’s emotional state was he lowest, but when feeling more or less OK and having the lurking anxiety that the cycle of sadness and despair would come again. Meds help and the cycle’s frequency is greatly slowed, but there’s rarely a time when I am not well aware that an “out” of last resort has been contemplated. Strangely enough, there’s even a certain amount of strength and comfort derived from that. For me it means remaining focused on what will help keep me from spiraling into that emotional state in the first place. Finally, one needs to be reminded of one’s ability to help others.That sort of caring helps reconfirm the notion that others need you, just as you need others. Know that if you truly reach out, you are never really alone.

  42. 42
    Cassidy says:

    @low-tech cyclist: Your concern has been noted.

  43. 43

    @cmorenc: I’m sorry for your loss – it’s never easy when it’s not an event anyone saw coming. Or, it’s never easy to lose a friend young.

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ: Thank you for your powerful story. You are an inspiration. It isn’t always easy to put a face on an illness may people don’t believe is “real.” Like you, I hid for a lot of years. I was very, very lucky to get a (finally) correct diagnosis before I needed hospitalization. I’m now determined to advocate for as many folks with the physical illnesses we call mental illness as I can.

    @LanceThruster: Thank you as well. This is hard stuff. Especially when the response of so many is “Buck up Buttercup.”

    And Omnes and Cassidy, thanks.

  44. 44
    Mnemosyne says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    FWIW, the depression screen may or may not continue to have a gender bias, but medical research (by MDs) consistently demonstrates that depression, both unipolar and bipolar is more common in women. There are also different gender distributions for specific personality disorders, so it’s more than an artifact of screening bias.

    The problem (at least as described by Tavris) is that the criteria for depression are themselves flawed, so it’s not just screening bias by doctors. For example, men who are depressed are more likely to report feeling angry than feeling sad, but uncontrolled anger is not one of the checklist criteria for depression. (I’m pulling the criteria I’m citing from this list.) Depressed men are also more likely to report drinking too much or doing drugs, but, again, that’s not one of the criteria, though overeating is.

    I feel a little strongly about this because one of the reasons I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until my mid-40s was that girls/women “don’t have ADHD” because we mostly don’t fit the (male) criteria, so my problems had to be attributable to something else, like depression and anxiety. (You know, something more … feminine.) But since the underlying cause of my depression and anxiety (the ADHD) wasn’t being treated, the depression and anxiety just kept coming back over and over again. So, obviously, I strongly empathize with the men who are suffering from depression but don’t get treatment because they don’t show the “right” symptoms.

  45. 45
    WereBear says:

    @LanceThruster: Finally, one needs to be reminded of one’s ability to help others.That sort of caring helps reconfirm the notion that others need you, just as you need others. Know that if you truly reach out, you are never really alone.

    Beautifully true.

    Men tend to display depression in ways few regard AS depression, such as drinking binges, aggression, and/or irrational rages. (Heck, where I grew up, this was viewed as a “good time.”)

    Men: A Different Depression

  46. 46

    @Mnemosyne: The good news I was trying to express is that the psychiatric community is (now) well aware of the gender differences is presentation, and that men have different symptoms, and also that ADHD isn’t limited to youth. No help for you, of course, but things are getting better.

    There are more sophisticated depression screening tools now used in practice – I just don’t have a list handy right now. The unfortunate part is that the improvement of understanding is at the psychiatric level, and may not have filtered down to first line patient care docs.

  47. 47

    @LanceThruster:

    I experience that anxiety as well and I think that for my loved ones it also exists. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t share my problem with anyone for so long, I didn’t want them to worry, to live with the anxiety of ‘when will she be depressed again’ and ‘will I lose her’. While I still have ups and downs I haven’t had a crisis in over 4+ years and it is because others need me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  48. 48

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
    Thank you. When my kids get a little bit older and more independent I hope to be able to join and work with organizations like NAMI. Keep up the great work.

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    The unfortunate part is that the improvement of understanding is at the psychiatric level, and may not have filtered down to first line patient care docs.

    And, unfortunately, if the first line patient care docs don’t know the right things to look for, the patient never gets referred up to the psychiatric level where they can be properly diagnosed. And round and round and round we go.

    If I can get all sociological for a minute, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a bit of a gender difference in depression rates, but I doubt it’s a genetic difference. My guess is that it’s probably more due to the different societal pressures put on men and women, which is also why African-Americans and Latinos tend to have high rates of undiagnosed depression.

    (Don’t get me started on differential rates of diagnosis and wrong diagnosis between racial groups. African-Americans are much more likely to be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia when what they’re actually suffering is clinical depression that was untreated for so long that they developed psychotic symptoms. On a family level, my nephew (husband’s side) has been diagnosed with severe ADHD and bipolar disorder. His father has never been diagnosed with anything, but has spent his entire adult life in and out of jail with symptoms pretty close to what my nephew has. But, of course, my nephew’s father will probably never receive a proper diagnosis and, even if he does, some people will think he’s just “making excuses” for his past (untreated) behavior.)

  50. 50
  51. 51
    Gene108 says:

    @LanceThruster:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ:

    Your stories are very brave.

  52. 52
    Steeplejack says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    Tell me again how we can give money. It was not clear to me on that page you linked to a couple of days ago. There was an option to “register,” not much else that I could see. I need a big “Donate” button, preferably at least 2" by 1".

  53. 53
    Steeplejack says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone):

    Tavris points out that the checklist that most doctors use to diagnose depression is biased in favor of women’s symptoms (i.e., crying uncontrollably, etc.), so many men go [un]diagnosed until it’s too late.

    Very true. I read a great book about 15 years ago (name and author escaping me right now) that went into “men’s psychology” and problems in a non-dickish way and pointed out that depression in men often comes out as anger: road rage, domestic violence, bar fights, etc.—suicide by cop in extreme cases. Also self-medicating with alcohol, although I’m not sure this is more of a male thing these days.

  54. 54
    LanceThruster says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    “Buck up Buttercup.”

    I had never heard that particular phrase (it’s cute) but am well aware that some mistakenly feel you can will yourself out of the mental state. For myself, I generally find that accepting the sadness, letting it wash over you (the equivalent of a good cry), and planning out the steps to alleviate as many of the issues causing you distress is a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other approach that keeps me going.

    Thanks to all for your expressions of compassion and solidarity.

    Courage.

  55. 55
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Steeplejack: Thanks for asking! From the ” REGISTER” button it will take you to a page where you can donate, which requires “registration.” You can use a credit card with or without a paypal account! I should probably explain it better on the landing page. It’s not the most intuitive, method, but it’s affordable. Thank you!!

  56. 56

    @Gene108:

    Internally it doesn’t feel so much like bravery as much as necessity. Maybe similar to how military folks feel when they’re called heroes. They do what needs to be done to get through the next “incident” and stay alive. Bravery isn’t even on their radar. Same for me. But thank you, nonetheless.

  57. 57
    LanceThruster says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    That’s an interesting facet that I had not considered. I remember in our First Aid training learning how a woman’s heart attack symptoms might appear more as if they were just experiencing heartburn.

    It seems critical to be aware of gender differences that would allow for earlier identification.

  58. 58
    Gene108 says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ:

    I have my issues with depression and I’m not ready to let it hang out like you do.

  59. 59

    @Gene108:

    I understand. There’s so many things to go into it. Your type of profession, your type of family, how much support you have, your ability to survive blowback, etc….Telling the world about mental illness is not for everyone and I would never expect others to make the same decision I did. It just happened to be something that I needed and thought could help others. We each have our own way of contributing to the world.

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    @Gene108: I always encourage people to share what they are comfortable sharing. It’s not always socially or professionally “safe” to disclose such a condition. Which is 17 kinds of wrong, since these are neurobiological illnesses.

    That’s not to say that there isn’t situational distress, which with appropriate support needn’t be long term. But there’s no reason to treat people like lepers – it’s not catching.

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    pseudonymous in nc says:

    The VA is expanding its mental health hiring right now. It’s a worthwhile place to work especially in the context of state budgets that squeeze public mental health funding, and I’m not sure if the ACA’s reforms are going to make a huge difference, because what’s needed is a functional mental health infrastructure, not just equal co-pays for therapy. It’ll be special cases (correctional, VA, high-level rehab, crisis care) that continue to have the infrastructure, and even then, you see private companies gobbling up that provision because it saves states money and takes employees off the pension rolls.

    On the VA side, Iraq and Afghanistan have helped create a burden that’s going to last for perhaps half a century.

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    LanceThruster says:

    A good read from the son of Kurt Vonnegut —

    “Knowing that you’re crazy doesn’t make the crazy things stop happening.”

    ― Mark Vonnegut, The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity

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