Tag Archives: Stigma

AFSP walk

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for helping us fundraise for the AFSP walk! We raised over $1000!

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Don’t forget – next week is Suicide Prevention Week. What can you do?

You can: sign a pledge to show others you are a safe person to talk to about suicide and mental health

You can share this link through social media:

You can: add a twibbon to your social media

Use the hashtag  #NSPW16 to post about the importance of suicide prevention

Post a personal video to share with huffington post outspeak

Learn more about suicide prevention from NAMI

Take the stigma free pledge

Learn more about the risk factors for suicide

If you know of others, let us know below!

We have news!

Anyone can look through and read all the blog articles on sova and wisesova!

Photo Credit: SubtlePanda via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: SubtlePanda via Compfight cc

This week, we opened our sites so that the blog post articles are no longer log-in only.  This means if you go to our site for adolescents (sova.pitt.edu) or our site for parents (wisesova.pitt.edu), anyone can look through and read all the blog articles. Also if anyone would like to subscribe to receive the daily blog articles, they can enter their name in the subscribe box on the homepages of each site.

So when do you have to log-in? How do people enter the study?

If someone would like to comment, then they will have to log in. If it is their first time to log in, they will have to register. They will have to wait until our study team approves them as a user after registering before they can log on to the site.  Depending on the phase of our study, they may  or may not qualify as a user since all non-team users are currently part of our study.

What phase of the study are you in?

Right now we are still testing both sites for feasiblity. That means we are trying to answer: will people use them? will they like them? how can we make them better? After we complete our recruitment goals for that study, we will move to the next phase of growing the online community.  We will let you know when that happens!

Why does this matter to me?

Now anyone can feel free to explore the sites!

Why did you make this change?

Making the SOVA websites is an iterative process. This means we learn what users want – make the changes – then we again ask the users what they like what they don’t like or we see which parts of the site they use and don’t use – and make more changes…over and over again. The current user feedback has led us to changing the site to be more engaging by opening up the blog articles while still making sure parts of the site are anonymous – by asking users to log-in to view others’ comments.

How can I help get the word out about sovaproject?

Feel free to share articles on your social media which speak to you!

Feel free to recommend articles you read and like to your family, friends, colleagues, patients, clients!

Like us on Facebook!

Also, feel free to give us feedback on articles by emailing us at socialmediastudy@chp.edu!

Thanks for reading!

Crisis Text Line

A year ago we posted about the development of the Crisis Text Line and how it’s a transformative tool for people to be able to text someone when they are in crisis. Since the Crisis Text Line’s inception, they have had 16,185,952 messages exchanged since August 1, 2013.

Which, as Nancy Lublin notes in her TED talk:

“That’s the volume, velocity and variety to provide a really juicy corpus. We can do things like predictive work. We can do all kinds of conclusions and learnings from that data set.So we can be better, and the world can be better.” 

Furthermore, CrisisTrends.org has been launched to share ALL THIS DATA with us! Crisis Trends aims to empower journalists, researchers, and citizens to understand the crises Americans face so we can work together to prevent future crises from happening. From the TED talk:

“This data is also making the world better because I’m sitting on the world’s first map of real-time crises.Think about it: those 6.5 million messages, auto-tagging through natural language processes, all of these data points — I can tell you that the worst day of the week for eating disorders: Monday. The worst time of day for substance abuse: 5am. And that Montana is a beautiful place to visit but you do not want to live there, because it is the number one state for suicidal ideation.”

From: CrisisTrends.org
From: CrisisTrends.org

With this information, we can know when people are most affected by certain mental health issues, and we can create better interventions.

What Parents think about Mental Health?

Recently the JED Foundation published research on parent knowledge and attitudes in regards to their children’s mental health. We were interested in this article because it directly relates to our work with the SOVA studies.

14000933079_28165ff03bThey asked parents about their knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions about stigma of accessing mental health care; they also asked their opinion about the role of colleges in mental health care. This is an important research topic we know little about and which can inform parents how to help their children, especially those with mental health problems, transition to college. It can be difficult for parents to understand what is normative in college transition versus not.  One example is many college students experience lack of sleep – how do you know if its just a fact of life in college? or a symptom of a mental illness? It’s important to know how to pick up on early signs of emotional distress that can sometimes come out during this transition.

Emotional disorders are very common in college: The health status of emerging young adults (age 18 to 26) is a major concern facing our nation. These “new adolescents”:

  • face greater behavioral and non-behavioral health risks than either adolescents aged 12-17 or young adults aged 26-34. Overall, emerging young adults have the highest rates of motor vehicle injury and death, homicide, mental health problems, sexually transmitted infections and substance abuse
  • compared to those two age groups, emerging young adults often have the lowest perception of risk and
  • this age group has the least access to care and has the highest uninsured rate in the United States (from: usc.edu)

Orange Desk 2.12.15Although most parents feel that they are able to identify signs of depression in their college-age children, they actually have deficits in knowledge when asked to identify symptoms of depression without prompting. “Only 3.4% of parents identified suicidal thoughts as a sign of depression and only 15% of parents were able to name more than one or two signs” (JED foundation, 2008).  Parents were least comfortable discussing mental health, especially suicidal thoughts and other health topics.

SOVA and wiseSOVA aim to increase knowledge, improve parent-adolescent communication around mental health, and connect families with available resources, including the JED foundation to promote healthy transitions!

 

Halloween and Mental Illness Stigma

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Photo Credit: ms.Tea via Compfight cc

First of all we here at SOVA want to say “Happy Halloween!”, and we hope everyone has a safe and fun weekend.

Unfortunately with each year comes stigmatizing and hurtful costumes. Mental illness is not a Halloween costume, in fact with 18% of the population suffering from anxiety, and 17% from depression it is a common experience and hardly something that should be portrayed as “scary”, especially since evidence has shown those with mental illness are no more violent than those without mental illness. 

At SOVA we want to reduce the stigma that adolescents facing mental illness encounter in order to receive treatment they need. Can you imagine what it must be like for an adolescent to see their friends dressed up as “Gone Mental”, for example?  Adolescents need to see positive examples of experiences and treatment with mental illness and the earlier they seek treatment the better their outcomes are likely to be.  Attitudes and stigma saying that these kind of costumes are acceptable are what may prevent some teens from getting needed treatment.

I found this guardian article to provide some truthful insight into this frustrating issue.  How do they suggest you create a accurate mental illness costume for Halloween?:

For Depression:

To dress like someone with serious depression, just wear your normal clothes. But you should take several hours to put them on due to a chronic low mood and almost complete lack of motivation. It may be hard to replicate this sensation if you don’t actually have depression, so try wearing a rucksack filled with anvils and bowling balls to get a sense of the effort required to do the most basic task.

For Anxiety:

To dress like someone with serious anxiety, just wear your normal clothes. But you should be fearful of how people will react to your clothes, for no discernible reason.You should be constantly afraid and on edge, for no discernible reason. Occasionally, you should be so overwhelmed by inexplicable fear that it becomes incapacitating. You may try to offset this unreasonable fear by feeling compelled to perform constant repetitive actions which feel as though they help despite there being no real logical justification for this. You shouldn’t stop thinking about them though.

Most importantly the article concludes:

You may think that the “costumes” described here don’t sound at all enjoyable, making it seem like serious mental illness is no fun at all.

Yes. Funny how that works.

If possible, please speak up this Halloween season if you see anyone wearing an offensive costume.

If you are interested in reaching out to companies selling these costumes, Mental Health America has some great information on who to contact.