Friday, May 5, 2023

US Senator uncommon mental health champion

After a whirlwind year, John Fetterman is back in the Senate

Manuela López Restrepo
April 20, 2023
Then in February, after a hospital visit related to lightheadedness, Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed medical center to receive treatment for clinical depression.
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) speaks to reporters on the way to the weekly Senate Policy Luncheons at the U.S. Capitol Building on April 18, 2023 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
What's the big deal? Fetterman's public acknowledgment of his own mental health struggles is rare for politicians, even as depression has become an increasingly common challenge for Americans.

After six weeks of treatment at Walter Reed National Medical Center's neuro-psychology unit, Fetterman says his doctor told him his depression was in remission. Depression in stroke survivors is fairly common. NPR's Rhitu Chaterjee also reported that around 30% of stroke patients will go on to have depression in the first five years after the stroke. That risk increases if they've already dealt with depression in the past, like Fetterman. With his transparency, Fetterman has created a platform for discussing mental health issues, and encouraged other politicians to share their own stories.

On creating a platform to discuss mental health:

I'm honored to have the ability to try to pay it forward, because I was blessed in my opportunities. I want to say the kinds of things that I would have heard years ago that got me into action. And I would tell anybody listening to this interview, if you suffer from depression, or you have a loved one, please let them know that you don't need to just suffer with that depression. Get treatment, and get help. If I'd had done that years ago, I would not have had to put my family and myself and my colleagues [through] that if I had gotten help.

So if you suffer from it, you have an opportunity to get rid of it. And I didn't believe it. But right now I'm the guy that didn't believe that I could get rid of my depression. And now I did.
learn more here

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Mental Health Awareness because life can get better!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

American Hospital Association
As Mental Health Awareness Month, May is a time to raise awareness of and reduce the stigma surrounding behavioral health issues, as well as highlighting the ways how mental illness and addiction can affect all of us – patients, providers, families, and our society at large.

Hospitals and health systems play an important role in the conversations we have around mental health care, including creating partnerships that address behavioral health issues in non-traditional ways. Many of our members are creating new innovations around how behavioral health disorders are identified and treated—through the integration of physical and behavioral health services, changes in their emergency departments and inpatient and outpatient settings. These strategies improve the overall value of health care and can lead to improvements in patient outcomes, quality of care and total costs.

As part of its long-standing commitment to supporting all organizations that work in the realm of behavioral health care, AHA supports the integration of behavioral and physical health, and will continue to help hospitals as they play key roles in establishing partnerships and programs to ensure access to the full continuum of behavioral health care for all who need it.
Learn more here

While most online sites reference Mental Health Awareness Month, they do it implying it only applies to veterans. The truth is, it applies to everyone needing help with the illnesses that strike the mind. Well, we all have one. Don't we?

You could be the one with the need, or it could be a family member or someone else you care about. If you have the wrong idea about the basis of mental health, then you as the one living with it, or caring about someone can jump to the wrong assumptions. It can make your lives suck big time instead of getting better.

How many times do you have to see a commercial for medications and how life can become better than what it is? Do you get the point you are not the only one needing help?

Then add this. There are so many others dealing with the same things you are, that companies are advertising it and spending huge sums of money. Would they do that if you were the only one? Nope!

If you are a veteran then go to Make The Connection and watch some of the videos they have up. This one is about living in the present because if you're still living in the past, you need to remember you don't live there anymore! This veteran was dealing with physical and mental health needs.

This one is for everyone else, but remember, you can still learn a priceless lesson from others. What is it? THAT LIFE CAN GET BETTER!

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Mental Health Month:Spiritual Mind Care

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 2, 2023

You can't help other people for long on an empty tank. You need to refill it! With what? Being able to ask for help as you are willing to give it.

I was just reading on Forbes, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s Landmark Initiative On Loneliness And Social Isolation, and how loneliness is claiming far too many lives. We all know there is a mental health crisis in America. We don't have enough mental health providers to help all those seeking it. What makes it even more troubling is, most people needing help, won't ask. We need people to be willing to help others and change the conversation they have going on in their own minds. If they think they don't deserve help, or feel as if no one would care they need it, they won't ask.

We see that all the time in the veterans' community. They tell themselves they should be stronger and able to deal with everything. They tell themselves they'll get over it if they wait and sooner or later, it will go away. Most of the time, these same people will be the first ones to show up and help another veteran heal. If they won't accept help for themselves, and give away whatever they have without filling themselves up with what they need, they can't do it for long. How many times do we have to read about one more veteran, knowing what others felt with #PTSD because they had it too, but ended up taking their own lives because they lost hope they'd heal too?

The way some people think, I shouldn't have had to ask for help for myself since I was helping everyone else. Strange how that goes. Considered an expert on what survivors go through, a Chaplain, trained to help others after trauma, I couldn't have done it for over 40 years now without getting help for myself. Sometimes it came from friends also in this work. Other times it came from Mental Health Professionals. Sometimes it came from reading, however, that was not as beneficial as a human voice, a hand reaching out to be held, or hugs.

If you want to be a healing helper, wonderful but if you do not get spiritual mind care, you won't have much to give others in need. When they do, they need people to answer the call for help and you need it too.
Notably, the callers and visitors often spoke about their health to the clinical team, alerting them to situations like mental or physical decline, that led to life-saving visits from our doctors. This video with one of our earliest members, Virta—tells the story better than I ever could. (Forbes Sachin H. Jain)
Consider the scripture "Freely you received, freely give." It was instructions to those Jesus was sending out to heal others. That means you have to have it before you can give it. How can you give something away you do not have? You can't. I know there were many times when I could not help anyone because I needed help to heal. I had nothing to give away.

I'm not talking about going to church unless you already do. I'm talking about a spiritual connection to God with no one else getting in the way of receiving what you need for spiritual mind care. It gives you a renewed perspective when you realize you are never really totally alone. After all, no matter what religion you may claim as a choice you made for yourself, most religions say God alone created our souls and sent them here for a purpose. If you are tugged to help someone else, that was not from your mind, but from your spirit. When you do, you are filled up so you are able to give. When you gave more away than you replenished, you need a refill, just like I did.

One of the last times I faced this emptiness was last year when one of my closest friends passed away from Covid. He was my rock, encourager, and a nagging voice in my head every time I wanted to give up on the work I do. I knew I needed help because the grief of losing him was too much for me to heal on my own. 

I was rewriting a book series. As I was editing it, I realized I was more connected to the darkest parts of the books instead of the hopeful parts. The therapist helped me work through it and the result was a three-part series, Ministers Of The Mystery. The Scribe Of Salem, The Visionary Of Salem, and the 13th Minister of Salem is about suffering and healing with the help of others offering spiritual support to someone suffering. They had no clue that when he was once again filled with his connection to God, what he would deliver to the world.

My husband and I moved to New Hampshire four months before the pandemic hit. It was very lonely not being able to get out and meet people. I was grateful we had friends here because otherwise, we wouldn't have gone anywhere. They have been in our lives for decades. Without them, and some nice neighbors, along with our daughter, we'd have no one to talk to or remind us we are not alone.

I would not have been able to deliver these books without someone helping me heal, as much as my friend did for over 15 years. That is how this works and we keep working for the sake of others. First, we need to be filled, then we can give, but if we do not refill what we give, we can't give.

One more thing to consider is, if we tell people to ask for help, yet are not willing to ask for our sake, what kind of message do they receive? If they know when we needed help, we not only asked for it but received it, and then see us willing to help others, that gives them hope they can do it too!

Sunday, April 30, 2023

We need a survivor event where veterans can meet survivors of all other events

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 30, 2023

Email alerts on #PTSD fill up a good chunk of my day. Most of the time, I'll read the articles and get depressed. Not for the reason you may think. It isn't because there are so many, but more because there are far too many proving we have not come far enough on the healing side.

These are just a few of the headlines that came in this morning.
Art for Healing” Exhibition on display through May to benefit PTSD Foundation of America
It is not for everyone with PTSD. It is for veterans and families. Nothing wrong with that since we all know they not only need help, they earned whatever this country can do for them. As a reminder, that would include my husband, and me as his spouse. It would not include me as a survivor in my own life.
Omaha gym hosting yoga classes to ease PTSD for veterans, first responders
Also not for everyone with PTSD. Just veterans and first responders, and yet again, they not only need help, they earned it. The thing is, as the number of civilians joining the club no one wants to belong to grows every year, no one notices that while we paid the price of joining too, we are not welcomed in on any of these efforts.

The rest of them were along the same lines. The rest of us were not included and that was what depressed me most of all while reading about Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike Day. He was a hero, for sure. This is what Ken McDonald wrote about him.

Day spent the next six months recovering at Walter Reed, and when we all returned to the Naval Amphibious Base, in Little Creek, Va. in the fall, he received the Silver Star for “conspicuous gallantry in combat” at an award ceremony attended by just about every one of his Naval Special Warfare brothers and sisters in-port at the time. The ceremony was surreal. Many teammates were killed in action on that deployment and the memories were horribly fresh. But standing in front of them was a guy who had no business coming home. A walking miracle. A hero amongst heroes; reminding them that they survived.

He didn't stop trying to make a difference in this world.
He went on to retire from the Navy in 2008 and was unsurprisingly diagnosed with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. He wrote a book about the experience; Perfectly Wounded: A Memoir About What Happens After a Miracle and worked as an advocate for wounded service members and those suffering with PTSD. Mike Day hanged himself on March 27.
At the end of the article, he wrote this.
I don’t know what needs to be done to make real change, but I’m going to do whatever I can to help. You should, too. Start by doing a buddy check. Make sure they’re okay. Be intrusive. Be a haunt. Be the non-judgmental support network they need. We’ll figure out the rest along the way. The most important and difficult part of recovery is getting on the path. Get them on it. I’ll see you there.
The answer to what needs to be done is not what you expect. The answer is in what unites all survivors. Why? You may be thinking they deserve special treatment. I totally agree with you. You may think they deserved whatever we can do. I agree with that too. What I don't agree with is not telling the people facing multiple traumatic events as part of the jobs they are willing to do, there are millions of us with PTSD after just one event. This is from The National Center For PTSD
Here are the best estimates for how common PTSD is in the U.S. adult population:
Most people who go through a traumatic event will not develop PTSD.
About 6 out of every 100 people (or 6% of the U.S. population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives. Many people who have PTSD will recover and no longer meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD after treatment. So, this number counts people who have PTSD at any point in their life, even if their symptoms go away.
About 5 out of every 100 adults (or 5%) in the U.S. has PTSD in any given year. In 2020, about 13 million Americans had PTSD.
Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men. About 8 of every 100 women (or 8%) and 4 of every 100 men (or 4%) will have PTSD at some point in their life. This is in part due to the types of traumatic events that women are more likely to experience—such as sexual assault—compared to men.
Veterans are more likely to have PTSD than civilians. Veterans who deployed to a war zone are also more likely to have PTSD than those who did not deploy.

When we leave that information out of the conversation, the result is a deadly one. Leaving us out of the conversation, and efforts leave us feeling as if we don't deserve help to heal. Even if we did, finding it is difficult. There are not enough mental health professionals as it is. Charities that could help won't because they have no idea we're out here or how many of us there are. The ones established to take care of veterans and first responders don't have room for us. 

While all this has been bad for us when the veterans and first responders have no clue we exist, they are robbed of the best form of healing they could ever have. These men and women were willing to die for the sake of others. They'd be willing to help us more than they are willing to help themselves. In the process, it would give them a better understanding as to why they suffer from multiple traumas when we are changed by all too often, just one of them.

Right now, they still don't think they deserve help. They still think they should be stronger and see it as a weakness. No matter how many suicide awareness events happen around the country, the event that needs to happen is a survivor event where veterans can meet survivors of all other events. Let them hear our stories of the trauma and what worked to help us heal. If we share the journey from victim to survivor with them, they will see themselves through different eyes!

Kathie Costos Author of Ministers Of The Mystery Series

Friday, April 28, 2023

Don't let a politician turn your faith into their business!

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 28, 2023

What you believe on a religious basis, is what you were free to choose. Would you want someone else passing laws based on what they believe if it went against your own?

Which church do you belong to among the Christian houses on this list? If you chose to be Catholic, which of the 24 different ones did you choose? If you chose to be Protestant, which one of these did you choose? If you chose to be Orthodox, which one did you become? Do you think that everyone else has chosen the wrong one because you are so sure your choice was the only right one? Would you want someone else to be able to take away what you chose was right for you? Then why would you, or anyone else be allowed to do it to others? Should you have the right to take away the choices of non-denominationalism? Should you have the right to force spiritual but not religious believers to pick something you find acceptable? What about the other faiths in the country, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and others among the people of this country? What about atheist people? Shouldn't they also have the same right to know they are protected as well as everyone else?

That is what people get wrong all the time. Sure, when a politician agrees with what you believe it can make you feel as if you won something. It also means someone else lost their ability to believe something else. You may not have noticed that your approval of this step gave politicians the authority to go against what you believe, because they believe otherwise. That's how all this works. If you call yourself pro-life, you may feel empowered to seek to control all other matters of faith, but the thought you should invalidate the free will choices of others has just invalidated your own. It puts you on the wrong side of the tomb and the womb, along with the Constitution.

Why? I was listening to a man this morning, claiming he was evangelical and pro-life. He also talked about Catholics. Nowhere in his words did he express the fact that everyone else in this country, and frankly, the entire world, are free to believe as they choose. It doesn't matter how their government operates or what laws they pass to control others. No one can ever take away what people believe. That is why matters of faith have always, and will always be used as a weapon to control the people.

If you live in America, your faith, no matter what it is, is protected under the law. At least it used to be. If you are Christian, then your choice of where to worship is supposed to be equally protected as all other houses of worship, including non-Christian ones. Trying to take control over them is claiming your faith is the only right one and everyone else must abide by what you believe.

I find many claims from other Christians appalling but I believe they have the right to believe what they want even though many of them think they have the right to take mine away from me. Scriptures in the New Testament support the God-given right to free will, just as the Old Testament does.
Decide if You Can Follow Me
25 Many people were traveling with Jesus. He said to them, 26 “If you come to me but will not leave your family, you cannot be my follower. You must love me more than your father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters—even more than your own life! 27 Whoever will not carry the cross that is given to them when they follow me cannot be my follower.

Jesus reminded them they are free to make the choice to do or not do and what the outcome would be based on the choices they made of their own free will. Yet somehow we arrived yet again with a group of people trying to take away the free will choice of others, much like during the Salem Witchcraft Trials when faith was used to control others, seek revenge and intimidate others into conforming or find themselves accused of witchcraft facing torture, loss of all they had and death.

The 1st Amendment to the Constitution protects matters of faith/religion because of what happened in Salem. Why can't people see what is going on is putting them on the wrong side of what this country was built on? We are all free to make our own choices or none of us are.

If you claim to follow Jesus as a Christian, trying to force someone else, goes against what He taught as well as what He sacrificed His life for. It goes against God after He gave Adam and Eve the free will to listen to His warning or not in the Garden of Eden. It puts you on the wrong side of His Son's tomb.

If you call yourself pro-life because of your religious beliefs, you are on the wrong side of the womb as well. Scriptures tell us that God is God on the living and Jesus taught everyone claiming to follow Him how they should treat others living in the world. If you only care about the unborn, and what others do then, while you have the right to decide for your own house, you are trying to usurp the rights of others. Passing judgment on others grants the authority of others to pass judgment on you. Should you be forced to do what Jesus said and feed the poor, give them clothes, and housing, visit the prisoners, or do anything else He said you should do because you claim to value and follow Him? Or should it be left up to what you choose to do and can afford to do?

Your rights begin and end with what you choose for yourself and if you seek to control others, remove their right because you think your faith and what you believe is the only right way, you have opened the door for your own rights to be taken from you. Don't let a politician turn your faith into their business!

It is stories like the following that should cause all of us to question these self-appointed-anointed demigods the idea they should control everyone else. To this "lawmaker" if you did not give birth to chichildren, you are not a mother!
Marjorie Taylor Greene faces criticism after saying a stepmother is 'not a mother' USA Today
Greene asked her during the hearing whether she is a mother, and Weingarten replied that she’s a “mother by marriage.”

The Georgia lawmaker called her “not a biological mother” and later told the union leader, “The problem is, people like you need to admit that you’re just a political activist, not a teacher, not a mother and not a medical doctor.”
And then there is this one.
A Montana lawmaker suggested she’d rather risk her child’s suicide than let her transition NBC News
State Rep. Kerri Seekins-Crowe said in a floor debate in March that her daughter "was suicidal for three years" and when asked if she'd do anything to save her, her answer was "no."

A recent comment by a Montana state lawmaker who sponsored legislation to ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors has gone viral and drawn backlash online.

State Rep. Kerri Seekins-Crowe, a Republican, suggested during a floor debate that she would rather risk her daughter dying by suicide than allow her to transition. Seekins-Crowe did not say that her daughter identified as transgender, but said she was “one of those parents who lived with a daughter who was suicidal for three years.”
She is in the same state where this is what lawmakers have focused on. Bills Dictating Religion, Prayer and Sex Ed in Schools Advance Ahead of Key Deadline