Mental illness is often stigmatized. Depressed people should try harder to be happy. Anxious people should relax. People with PTSD need to get over their trauma and move on. But anyone with a mental health condition knows that’s not how it works. You can’t smile depression away. Anxiety isn’t cured with a bubble bath. However, even if you recognize that a smile won’t cure depression, you may hesitate to try an antidepressant or other medication. Like mental illness itself, medication is also stigmatized. The truth is that prescription medication can help many people with mental health issues. Here’s why you may want to consider taking medication to treat your mental illness.
Think about the last time you laughed really hard, so hard that your sides ached and you had trouble catching your breath. Maybe your child did something silly, you saw a funny meme online or your best friend told you a hilarious story. Now think about how you felt afterward. You probably felt lighter and happier. While we’ve all heard laughter is the best medicine, you might not realize that laughter really is beneficial to your body and in turn, your mental health.
Creating a to-do list helps you stay organized and on track. Then, as you cross items off, you feel immense satisfaction. But are you adding mental health to your to-do list? And if you’re not, you may notice you’re feeling more irritable, tired and are quicker to get sick. To be the happiest and healthiest version of yourself, you must prioritize your mental health. Here are a few ideas to help you add mental health to your to-do list.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which helps raise awareness and fight the stigma associated with mental illness. As we focus on mental health issues, these conversations must support the mental health of marginalized people and make room for the voices of individuals within these communities. As a disabled person and disability advocate, I’ve witnessed that a disabled person’s mental health is often treated as an afterthought. While the disability community often engages in discussions of mental health, the healthcare industry remains primarily focused on our physical health. While our physical health is important, we must remember that physical and mental health go hand in hand. So, better mental health care for disabled people means better overall health for our community.
In everyday life, your child is constantly learning about language. A child listens to their sister sing along to their favorite song on the radio. They listen when you FaceTime with your best friend. They hear dialogue while their brother watches “Encanto” for the 100th time. Learning to communicate is an important part of a child’s development, but learning to talk doesn’t necessarily look one way or take a linear path.
Imagine a crowd of people swaying and moving their bodies — as if in time to music — but the only sounds you hear are feet scuffing the floor and the occasional outburst of song. A closer view reveals everyone is wearing headphones, which have lights illuminated in red and green and blue. Welcome to a silent disco. A silent disco is basically a giant dance party, where all the participants wear headphones.
The world is full of sensory information. When thinking about the senses in your body, you’re probably familiar with the five senses — taste, smell, hear, touch and see, but you actually have at least eight senses, including proprioception (body awareness), vestibular (balance/movement) and interoception (internal body processes). When your sensory system works as expected, your brain processes information from the eight senses and decides which to pay attention to and which to filter out or ignore. But people with sensory processing differences have a harder time filtering out sensory information.
You see a lot of articles and stories about the growing number of autism diagnoses. According to the CDC, in 2020, 1 in 34 8-year-old children in MN have autism spectrum disorder compared to 1 in 44 8-year-old MN children having ASD in 2018. And if you go back a little further, the increasing numbers are even more alarming. But what has led to these rising numbers isn’t an easy or simple answer. Several factors have likely contributed to the increasing population of people with autism. Beyond the hyperbole, here is what you should know about the rising autism numbers.
Cerebral palsy is a complex disability, and information about it often gets muddled and misunderstood. Much of the conversation about cerebral palsy comes from a nondisabled person’s perspective and narrative. But we rarely hear how people with cerebral palsy must live in constant survival mode, just trying to make it through the day or hour. And while operating in survival mode is a formidable challenge, the even bigger obstacles are the “overcoming disability” narrative, fatigue, pain and systematic and interpersonal ableism that surround cerebral palsy. As someone with cerebral palsy, I wanted to share three truths in honor of National Cerebral Palsy Month.
More people are now aware of autism. That means more parents recognize signs of autism, and more teachers and healthcare providers know how to support people with autism. It also means more businesses and organizations are working to become sensory-friendly to support people on the autism spectrum. As autism awareness has increased, so have actor depictions of people with autism in TV and film. While many of these are well done and thoughtful, others portray stereotypes of autism with harmful “treatment” practices and one-dimensional characters. Here are 4 movies and TV shows that get much about the autism experience wrong.