sassysage's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Mental Health

  • In: Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on Hot Off the Press: the forgotten prison population of women & girls

womeninprison

i’m sitting at a conference filled with doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers who are passionate about providing good health care to people in prison. most people think don’t of prisoners unless they know someone.  they get locked away and often left to fend for themselves while in prison and when they get out.  what i’m learning at the conference is the story for women/girls in prison is much much worse.

women/girls who become incarcerated are much more likely to be a victim of physical or sexual abuse as a child than men/boys who are incarcerated.  women/girls who become incarcerated are much more likely to have had multiple types of traumas like child abuse, rape and domestic violence.  these traumatic events happen to many of them over and over while they are growing up.  this leads to mental health problems, attempted suicide and using drugs. once they get on drugs things turn. they may get with a boyfriend involved in crime who abuses and presssures them to sell drugs or even worse sell their bodies.  this sad and tragic life circumstance is how they end up getting locked up.  

does it make sense to put a victim of abuse in prison?   does it seem okay to jail a person for being forced by men into those behaviors? 

over 1 million women/girls are involved in the criminal justice system and this is most of their stories. ignoring that is a crime within itself. 

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i have failed! my profession has failed; our community has failed. failed from another bright life lost to apparent suicide.

i was so stunned to learn of the death of Ms. Jessies co-founder Titi Branch. i didn’t know her well but whenever i saw her she was always so warm and inviting. from the outside looking in one would never imagine she could be suffering inside. but therein lies the paradox…

for many Black women/girls, suffering in hiding is a legacy that has been passed on for generations. we wear a mask but unlike the description paul laurence dubar gave for men; the Black women/girls’s mask is the lie of having it all. we look the part, we act the part, we give & give until our soul GIVES in.

this strong Black woman complex or sojournor syndrome as it is being called by researchers is killing us. it’s time for us to stop ignoring our own pain or the pain of our loved ones.

just because her hair is tight and her make up right, it doesn’t mean she is okay. it’s more than time to take signs of depression and suicide seriously. signs include loss of interest in activities, isolation, loss or gain in appetite, loss or gain in sleeping patterns, talking about taking ones life.

if you need help, find a trained therapist who understands the unique gender and cultural needs of Black women/girls. if you don’t like the first therapist you see, try another one. getting the right fit is crucial.

contact the national suicide prevention lifeline if you need to talk immediately to a professional.  it’s available 24hours a day, 7 days a week 1 (800) 273-8255   www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

my heart goes out to all families who have lost a loved one to suicide. may their souls and yours be in peace.

hot97 street soldiers 12-14

at sassysage says we often highlight girls/women who are doing amazing things. this blog we are saluting chiara de blasio, daughter of the mayor elect of new york city.  

this morning she surprised everyone with a video of her courageously sharing her experience with clinical depression and substance abuse.  like thousands of other teen girls, her mental health and substance abuse got worse when she went away to college. be inspired by her journey.

she is so right when she says that we are not open enough about substance abuse and mental illness.   without help it’s a life or death situation that should not be swept under the rug.  she got the help she needed through therapy and as she says, ‘hard work’.  if you or someone you know needs assistance with substance abuse a great place for help is: http://www.phoenixhouse.org/

For easy to understand information about depression visit:

http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/mental_health/depression.html

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  • Comments Off on Sage’s Rage: How’s your Mental ‘Fitness’

DChitwood_HappyGirlsgirls often fret about our looks.

do we have the right outfit on, is our hair looking good, are our thighs too big…the list goes on. 

physical fitness is all the rage. but have you ever thought about being mentally in shape?

i’m not talking about the absence of mental illness.  but being emotionally fit, happy and at peace; socially balanced and all around feeling strong in your mind.

seems like a lot of the talk about mental health focuses on the negative emotional problems people can have. and that is important but its not all mental health is about.

so today on world mental health day i’m challenging my girls to get in shape!

-start working out your heart by doing something you love at least once a week

-do repeated reps of saying nice things about yourself each day

-run wild with laughter as much as you can stand

-take time to care for yourself

that’s my mental health diet and the great part is chocolate is allowed!

mental-health-day-blog

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  • Comments Off on Hot Off The Press: Study Finds 90% increase in ADHD among Black girls

solonge adhd 2-13did you know that singer, model, actress Solange Knowles has ADHD?  

according to a recent study she is not alone.  it’s a common misconception that only boys have ADHD.  but the recent study found a 90% increase in ADHD diagnoses among African American girls.  

this was very shocking to me and led me to try to find out why.  check out my recent publication about this issue on Thegrio.com.  read the article at the link below:

  
Thegrio.com, a division of NBC News, is a daily online news site devoted to stories that affect African-American audiences. 

my blog is normally dedicated to issues for girls and young women.  but this week i want to use it in service to those impacted by the Sandy Hook tragedy.

today, i’m shifting gears to talk about solutions

the past week, there has been so much discussion about gun control.  i am not a fan of the NRA, i am not a fan of guns and i believe in gun control. however, i will say that a gun by itself can’t shoot anyone.  let’s not forget to focus on the people committing these violent acts.

which brings me to another point that has gotten tons of discussion; mental illness.  it is true that many of the mass shootings we have seen have been carried out by people with mental illness.  i was saddened when i read the commentary from a mom who struggles to get assistance to deal with his violent behavior and mental illness http://gawker.com/5968818/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother

mental illness is an issue but it’s not okay for us to stigmatize those with mental illness as the only perpetrators of horrific acts of violence.  in fact most people with mental illness are not violent at all.   the real issue is MENTAL HEALTH.

mental illness, mental health it’s all the same you say.  not so…

mental illness is a psychological disorder that is caused by physical brain imbalances.   it is limited to a small percentage of people.   Poor mental health covers a more broad spectrum of issues that may lead individuals to commit violence.  Poor mental health causes anger, depression and lack of empathy or feeling for other human beings. Poor mental health is the inability to control one’s emotions, the acting out, bullying and social isolation. the child who has experienced years of abuse, the kid who watches a parent drink and lash out on a daily basis is at risk for mental health issues.  

when we make the discussion about mental illness it moves things to the extreme, when in fact the issue is so much more common place than we have been willing to admit.   our lack of focus on mental health has left many children and adults in a state of rage.  they take it out on their classmates, they commit acts of domestic violence, they join gangs and reek havoc on communities.

the solution is for our society to become much more focused on the idea of good mental health as an important part of our overall health.  what that would mean is a move from looking at mental health as a problem that only requires medication and locking folks away. it’s acknowledging that good mental health is a human right which everyone of us should strive to obtain.    

good mental health is when you have balance in your emotional states; most of the time you are calm, happy and feeling great.  good mental health is when you are socially aware; you know how to engage with people in a positive way and enjoy having human contact.  good mental health is when psychologically you are strong; you feel good about yourself and think positively about life.   good mental health is something we should teach in schools, we should promote among parents and support as part of our health care system.

it’s time that mental health stopped being a bad word.  

it’s the mind, body, spirit equation we need to be fully healthy human beings.

mental health 12-20-12


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