Focus on Mental Health Laws to Curb Violence Is Unfair, Some Say

This New York Times article penned by Erica Goode and Jack Healy  illustrates the fact that often in a rush to "fix" something measures may be taken that will result in little good and possibly great harm. Those with mental illness are not the out of control monsters that some depict. The vast majority are if fact law abiding and  are dealing responsibly with their illnesses or have those who assist them in doing so. Let us be careful we do not stigmatize all who deal with these devastating illnesses because of a very few. Contrary to what we seem to hear, mentally ill people do not all "look alike".

Please read the entire article.

New York Times

By  and 

Published: January 31, 2013

"In their fervor to take action against gun violence after the shooting in Newtown, Conn., a growing number of state and national politicians are promoting a focus on mental illness as a way to help prevent further killings."

"But critics say that this focus unfairly singles out people with serious mental illness, who studies indicate are involved in only about 4 percent of violent crimes and are 11 or more 
times as likely than the general population to be the victims of violent crime."

"“Good intentions without thought make for bad laws, and I think we have a risk of that,” said J. Reid Meloy, a forensic psychologist and clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego, who has studied rampage killers."

Not depressed, just sad, lonely or unhappy

This author muses over the fact that some of what is called depression may be the results of common human afflictions. Loss, bereavement, failure, unrequited love and other common experiences. This may be so but some folks experience a degree of suffering that is out of the norm that may in fact need the assistance of a psychiatrist or therapist to work toward recovery. Her point however is worth noting. We do seem to rush to the use of a medication to cure what ills us when it may not in fact in the end be "all" that we need.

BBC News Magazine  by Mary Kenny is an author, journalist and public speaker

"Is sad so bad?

Cases of depression have grown around the world. But while awareness of the illness has helped lift the stigma it once attracted, have we lost touch with the importance of just feeling sad, asks Mary Kenny.

Looking back on my own reasonably serene childhood in Ireland during the 1950s, I recall quiet murmurs about people who suffered from "nerves". I remember hearing that a neighbour - a well-to-do woman whose larger house and smart appearance was rather envied in the community - had had a "nervous breakdown". Although when I repeated this to my aunt and uncle, with whom I was living, I was hushed up with a peremptory word of censure. There was, clearly, something slightly shameful about a "nervous breakdown" and one didn't speak about it.
I can see now, though I did not see then, that these were hidden incidents of depression among family and neighbours. But the stigma over depression, or even mental illness of any kind, must have added to their anguish. How times have changed. It is an accepted truth, in our time, that depression is an illness with a global reach."

Start QuoteMary KennyMary Kenny
We are losing old rituals which human beings have practised for eons”

Carrie Fisher Is Bipolar And She's Fine With It

For those of us who grew up when "Star Wars" first hit the screen, it may come as a surprise to some that Carrie Fisher, a.k.a Princess Leia, has bipolar disorder. Patty Duke and Catherine Zeta Jones have also participated in making the public aware that this disease does not mean a meaningful and productive life cannot be lived.  Proper medication and behavioral changes can significantly impact the effects of having this disorder. A loving family and friends also play a large role in the outcome. This article from Forbes online written by Jane Lee notes the effort that Carrie Fisher has made to reduce the stigma associated with disorder.


Jane Lee, Forbes Staff
I write and video about fashion, fine arts and philanthropy

"In case you missed the 
Diane Sawyer special, the HBO documentary, the infamous tabloid headlines—Carrie Fisher is mentally ill. She has bipolar disorder. Has had, will have.
“People say ‘mental illness’ like it’s not a part of the body,” said Fisher over the phone a few days before the gala. And she’s right. The widespread misconception that mental illnesses and the various symptoms associated with them—depression, hallucination, erratic behavior, to name a few—are the result of personal weakness or moral failing is categorically false.The pop culture icon, perhaps the most famous to ever have worn symmetrical buns on the sides of her head, vows she won’t let the disease define her but jokes that she wins plenty of awards for it. The latest she received at last week’s Silver Hill Hospital Gala where the Star Wars actress was honored for her decades-long advocacy work on behalf of mental illness.
The truth? Mental illnesses are serious medical conditions with physiological roots, namely chemical imbalances in the brain. In other words, schizophrenia, severe depression and bipolar disorder are all diseases of the brain, just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas. Therefore, linking a person’s mental illness to intelligence or personality, for example, would be as misguided as blaming Lance Armstrong for his testicular cancer."

Anxiety Coaching

A very good article summarizing anxiety and the associated disorders. The importance of coaching in managing or overcoming anxiety is also part of the article.

By Tammy Fletcher, eHow Contributor

"The National Institute for Mental Health reports that approximately 40 million people in the United States experience anxiety disorders each year. People cope with anxiety in many different ways. Some see a doctor and take medication. Others use holistic methods of stress reduction, like meditation. Some may seek the help of a therapist or coach to learn coping strategies.

  1. What is Anxiety?

    • Anxiety may include a sense of pervasive worry, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Mild anxiety may be related to common concerns, such as paying the bills or work deadlines. More severe feelings of anxiety which lead to significant distress can be signs of an Anxiety Disorder. People at either end of the anxiety spectrum may choose coaching as a way to feel better.

    What is Coaching?

    • Coaches help people make changes in their lives, learn new ways  of coping, and function at their maximum potential. Certified Life Coach David Wood describes coaching as a structure for effecting healthy changes and goals. There is no single licensing body for Coaches. Coaches generally have training in counseling and specialized training in coaching. Cognitive Behavioral Coaches address maladaptive thought patterns, replacing them with more helpful thoughts."

Treatment of ADHD in Children

Having a child with ADHD can be frustrating and exhausting. Treatment options do exist and can greatly improve the life of both parents and children with this disorder. Coaching is one option to be considered. This article provides some much needed guidance.

Psych Central


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can take quite a toll on both the adults and the child who has the disorder. It’s tough for the individual who must cope with daily frustrations. It’s rough on family members whose lives are regularly disrupted by the disorganization, outbursts, temper tantrums or other misbehavior of the child.   It’s normal for parents to feel helpless and confused about the best ways to handle their child in these situations. Because kids with ADHD do not purposely decide to act up or not pay attention, traditional discipline — like spanking, yelling at, or calmly trying to reason with your son or daughter — usually doesn’t work. Fortunately there are treatment options that can help alleviate the symptoms of ADHD and arm families with the tools needed to better handle problem behaviors when they arise.
These interventions include:
  • Medication
  • Psychotherapy
  • Or a combination of these two approaches


Used properly, medicines such as methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin) and other stimulants help suppress and regulate impulsive behavior. They squelch hyperactivity, improve social interactions and help people with ADHD concentrate, enabling them to perform better in school and at work....

APA Reference
Haggerty, J. (2012). Treatment of ADHD in Children. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 23, 2013, from

Signs You Are Verbally Abused: Part I

This is an engaging article concerning "verbal abuse", providing an example that helps to clarify when it is in fact occurring. The second part of this article is also available online at Psych Central.

Psych Central


"Note: Issues of verbal control can exist in any relationship, heterosexual, gay or lesbian, male towards a female partner or the other way around. Since more is known about verbal abuse in relationships where a guy is controlling his female partner, this article will address those relationships. However, a simple change of gender in any of the names is all it takes to apply the principles to other pairs.

Verbal abuse takes many forms: from loud rants to quiet comments; from obvious put-downs to not-so-obvious remarks that undermine the partner. What all the methods have in common is the need to control, to be superior, to avoid taking personal responsibility, and to mask or deny failures. The myth in Hank’s and Mary’s relationship is that he is much, much smarter than she is. She does admire him, but not as much as he admires himself. He trumps anything she says with a stronger, maybe louder opinion. He calls her ideas na├»ve or ill-informed or even idiotic. Mary thinks he may be right....."


APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, M. (2013). Signs You Are Verbally Abused: Part I. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 22, 2013, from

Getting 'unstuck': Does your life need a coach?

Life Coaching is a great way to deal with life changes, job changes and other personal issues that have one "stuck in a rut". It can help motivate and assist in defining and focusing one's attention on the goals you have. This article provides a good introduction to the purpose life coaching.

CNN  August 01, 2007|By A. Pawlowski CNN 

"Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?"

It's one of those questions many job-seekers dread during an interview, but it can be daunting to answer on a personal level as well. Amid all your responsibilities, activities and projects, it's sometimes hard to see the big picture and easy to become overwhelmed or feel like you're lacking direction.
That's where a life coach can come in.
"If you are frustrated with an aspect of your life, not sure how to stop making the same choices you keep making or just want to have more happiness, peace of mind and passion -- life coaching can do that for you," says Rhonda Britten, founder of the Fearless Living Institute....

Valentines Day is Over-rated!

Valentines day! Ugh. Valentines day has gone the way of Christmas. It has become another marketing venture that is often about what to buy and not how do I express my genuine love and affection for that special someone in your life. This article notes how this 
all began. Of course, we know what has become of the day.  By Pauline Wallin, Ph.D. 

The perfect card, the perfect gift, the perfect date . . . Isn't there enough pressure in relationships without having to live up to some romantic ideal on Valentine's Day?
This is not how the celebration of February 14 started out. Its origins stem from fertility festivals of ancient Rome, when young women were not given candy or flowers. They were whipped with strips of animal hide because they believed that this would make them more fertile. A couple of centuries later, Christians celebrated a priest named Valentine, who secretly performed marriage ceremonies for soldiers when the emperor had forbidden it. By the 1400's Valentine's Day was firmly established in England, but the emphasis was on little rituals, such as drawing names out of a bowl, to discover the identity of one's true love.

In recent decades Valentine's Day has become increasingly commercialized. TV and magazine ads depict models with perfect bodies and perfect teeth giving each other chocolates, jewelry and back rubs. The message is: "Your love is measured by what you buy."