Monthly Archives: March 2014

Stopping suicide, by Nora McAdams

Please click on the infographic below, entitled Stopping Suicide

Compiled by Nora McAdams

A notice to my readers:  From now on, I will no longer be blogging every day but will post three blogs per week on the following days; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.



Many suicides might be prevented


treesMore than three quarters of people who died by suicide visited a healthcare provider the year before their death, yet fewer than half received a mental health diagnosis, researchers reported February 25, in the online Journal of General Internal medicine.

‘Many suicides might be prevented if more primary care doctors and specialists receive and use training to identify and treat patients most at risk,’ said Brian K. Ahmedani, PhD, assistant scientist in the center for Health Policy and Health Services Research at the Henry Ford Health Systems, Detroit.

Dr. Ahmedani and his colleagus evaluated the medical records of 5,894 people who had health insurance and died by suicide in eight states btween 2000 and 2010. 83% visited a health care center in the year before they took their lives. However, only 45% were identified as having a mental health condition.

When researchers looked solely at suicide victims who sought healthcare in the four weeks before their death, they found that a mental health diagnosis was made in only 24% of these cases.

Journalists, movie directors and tv producers, please stop perpetuating that awful stigma

As various family members spoke at the support group about their experiences of living with a mental illness, I discovered that we had all been through similar experiences with professionals both in the hospital and out. At last, I had found a place where I could talk to someone who understood what I was feeling; people who really understood because they had been there. I think that the seed to start a self-help support group were sown then. I heard about people who had managed to come to terms with their loved ones’ illness and about others who blundered along, exhausted and afraid, waiting for miracles, always on the verge of tears or a depression. My late husband was one of the four or five men present.

‘Where are your husbands he asked? The marriage vows in sickness and in health mean that one must be there to support one’s wife, but also any children the couple might have, whether they are ill or not.’

Yes, husbands need to share the burden. Each of us mourned a young person whose life had changed drastically. Shock, loss, grief, fear, confusion ambivalence, guilt, helplessness, despair and sadness were common reactions.

‘I can’t handle the stigma and discrimination,’ I wailed. ‘You all know that mental illness attracts less empathy and far more discrimination than other illnesses.’ I had come to hate the words crazy, schizo, nuts, wacko and demented, the terms that only served to keep the stigma going.

I knew that the act of reducing stigma required widespread community education as well as the willingness to challenge others when discrimination occurred in my presence. I knew that journalists needed access to accurate up to date information to ensure that their reporting would not unintentionally reinforce negative stereotypes. But, journalists all over the world, use terms that serve to perpetuate the awful stigma associated with mental illness.

To follow this advice or NOT to follow it – THAT is another question

To follow the advice or NOT to follow it, now THAT is the question.

question mark

How could I avoid regretting all my hopes and dreams which had become so unrealistic?’ was the question I asked over and  over again at the support group for parents of mentally ill children that I was attending; and here is some of the advice given me. All I had to do was to decide whether to follow it or not.

‘Don’t wait for your child to fulfill your former expectations. Alter them. Learn to forge new dreams,’ someone told me.

I learned one of life’s hardest lessons. It was not what happened to me that counted, but what I did about it.

The social worker running the group told us to get rid of any guilt that we might have felt because nobody could cause a mental illness no matter what they did. Nobody could cause schizophrenia. I kept repeating;  

N O B O D Y  C O U L D  C A U S E  S C H I Z O P H R E N I A

No matter how hard anyone tried, nobody could cause schizophrenia.

Nobody could cause schizophrenia.

‘Take one day at a time,’ was one of the most helpful of all the tips given so freely.







At last I found a place where I could talk to people who understood what I was saying and feeling. It surprised me to hear that some parents had come to terms with the illnesses of their loved ones. Others blundered along exhausted and afraid, waiting for miracles, always on the verge of tears or a depression.

My husband was one of four men present. ‘Where are your husbands?’ he asked the assembled group. And this is what we heard.

‘My husband cannot cope with schizophrenia,’ a defeated-looking woman said. ‘He works nights.’

‘My husband goes to his parents’ house after work every day,’ said another.

‘My husband has a girlfriend,’ a said woman said, crying softly. ‘He can’t bear coming home to mental illness day after day.’

We heard about other husbands who had fled, blaming the termination of their marriages on the tension generated by mental illness in the family.

Each of us mourned a young person whose life had changed drastically. Shock, loss, grief, fear, confusion, ambivalence, guilt, helplessness, despair and sadness were common reactions. I learned from that group that my problems in coping with my feelings came from doing so without the added comfort of extended family and close friends. Maybe I had failed to let them in when they had tried to break through the barrier I had constructed around myself.


A curse

hope despairPeople who are visually impaired know what it is like to live in perpetual darkness. Only people who have suffered a mental disorder really understand the pain, the frustration, the feeling of utter loss, the stigma, the loneliness and sadness that mental illness brings to the patient as well as to his/her family.

The stigma evolves because people reject things that they do not understand.

As a mother of a son with a mental illness, I had to learn a lot about life; and I did. I learned to accept things that cannot be changed even though it took a long time. It taught me to respect people who respected me in return. It taught me to be more empathetic and most of all, living with schizophrenia taught me the value of drawing strength from within.

Let’s all give or help find employment for a person whose mental illness has been brought under control. Let’s try and understand any person suffering from any kind of mental illness. They are in pain and need all the support that they can muster.

despair 2

To the Doctors and Nurses from ‘Running Toward Happy’

flowers 3Reblogged from :

Running Toward Happy

   To all the Doctors and Nurses

My mother suffered from schizophrenia all of her adult life so consequently, I learned some things about doctors and nurses.  I do hope that they will take the advice I have for them.


1.  Do not play God with the mentally ill

2.  Do listen to the family members when they tell you their loved one is able to cope at a certain dosage of anti-psychotic medication.

3.  If our loved one is admitted into the hospital for a fall or surgery, make sure they stay on their anti-psychotic medications.

4.  If you go on vacation over a long weekend and decide not to be disturbed, please leave specific instructions for someone else on the staff regarding any mentally ill patients you  might have on the ward.

5.  Last but not least.  You are treating a person; someone’s  mother, father, son or daughter.  They need to be treated with respect.  Do not call the person with paranoid schizophrenia a “schiz”.  It is demeaning and heartbreaking to even contemplate that the medical community only sees the illness and not the patient.


1.  If the doctor leaves town for a vacation and the family tells you their loved one needs to be on their psych meds, call that doctor, raise hell, scream and shout like the family would do.

Because after a few days of MY mother being admitted to a hospital near Austin, Texas for a fall, things took a very bad turn.  When I realized my mother was not on her psych meds, I told the nursing staff who tried to call the doctor.  I don’t know what was going through their minds.  Maybe they had just seen a movie where a patient was overmedicated and a zombie and they assumed that’s what happens with a lot of patients.  My mother was somewhat calmer when I saw her in the hospital on the Friday before Memorial Day.  I looked the nurse in the eye and said, “You are going to have problems if she does not get her psych meds soon. Call the doctor.”

I returned two days later and could hear my mother screaming as I entered the hospital corridor.  I knew in an instant, the hospital staff had not given my mother her medication.  The nurses were running up and down the hall trying to calm my her.  When the nurse looked me in the eye and frantically asked, “What do you do when she’s like this??!!!”  My response to her was, “I don’t know what happens next because she has to go to the psych hospital when she gets this bad!” 

Oh, the unneeded stress.  Oh, the money spent because of a doctor  that either does not believe in the previous physician’s notes, or thinks he knows better. Oh the patients who suffer needlessly because they don’t have their proper medications…..and oh, how my heart goes out to the families who see this and realize they can do nothing about it.

Pray for a cure.  Pray for a grant and more research to be done in the area of mental illness.  Don’t give up.  Pray, wait and hope.

I can’t manage to get the link but this is the website :




I had to control my stress and not let it control me

a willow treeFar too many of us suffer from illnesses related directly to stress. When our reactions to stress get beyond certain types of responses, it can be debilitating. I discovered how imperative it was to control the stress in my life, which was far better than allowing stress to control me. So, I simply had to learn  stress-reduction techniques, like saying no sometimes, avoiding stressful situations that I knew would upset me, as well as keep my TO DO LIST within manageable proportions.

There is nothing like a hot shower to make me relax my muscles; or visiting a nearby park with rolling green lawns and exotic trees. Laughter helps too but when suffering from stress this is not so easy to do.