Here is your digest for this weeks mental health news. One or two of these stories you may have missed and I hope you share the post to help end stigma around mental health. One story in particular shows the tragedy of how people who protect us often don’t seek help for mental health because they might be seen as weak.
Contact me if you have a story you would like to share.
Struggling, Stressed, and Suicidal: American Farmers Are Pleading for Mental Health Services
Trump’s trade war promises even more uncertainty.
Farmers’ support groups have called on Congress to enable a program which administers mental health services to affected American farmers and their families.
A letter to House and Senate agricultural committees signed by 36 organizations relating to rural and farming communities says that the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) “has never received funding, leaving many producers without access to important behavioural health services.”
Farmers and those working in the fishing and forestry industries have among the highest rates of suicide of any profession, according to the CDC.
The letter also indicates an analysis of data from 17 states from 2012 by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This report revealed that when taken as a whole, farmers, forestry workers, and fishermen had the highest rate of suicide of any occupational group: 84.5 per 100,000 workers. For comparison, the next statistically highest group of workers are construction workers at 53.3 per 100,000.
The Farm Bill of 2008 founded FRSAN to allow grants for services such as home assistance, helplines and support groups for farmers. Sadly, however, left without funding the services never appeared.
Many farmers who voted for Trump have seen farm income drop by more than 50 percent since 2013, and according to the groups that wrote the letter to Congress, improvements could be years away.
Here is the letter that was delivered to Congress.FRSAN-Letter-Final
Two 16 year old girls deaths linked to anti-anxiety drug
16 year old Lucy Currans death was linked to an anxiety prescription for beta-blockers. Politicians and campaigners have called for action.
A second teenage girl has died from taking a controversial anti-anxiety “beta blocker” medication.
According to the death certificate 16-year-old Lucy Curran died of “suspected propranolol intoxication” suddenly at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. Although, at first her death was unexplained.
Because of concerns propanolol beta blockers might be prescribed too eagerly, one leading mental health charity in Scotland has demanded urgent action is required to protect the public.
The tragic death emerges two years after 16-year-old Britney Mazzoncini died weeks after being prescribed the drug.
Firefighters and Police Officers are More Likely to Die from Suicide than in Line of Duty
Research has revealed that police officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.
In 2017 alone, there were 140 police officer suicides and more than 103 firefighter suicides. Whereas 129 police officers and 93 firefighters died in the line of duty in the same year.
The Ruderman White Paper on Mental Health and Suicide of First Responders investigates many elements contributing to mental health illness among first responders and the factors which lead to their elevated rate of suicide.
The research included in the white paper found that police officers witness, on average, 188 ‘critical incidents’ during their careers.
The rates of mental illnesses such as PTSD and depression among police officers and firefighters can be five times higher than the rates within the civilian population. This causes first responders to die from suicide at a much higher rate – firefighters: 18/100,000; police officers: 17/100,000; general population 13/100,000.
The actual figures could be much higher though as the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA) estimate that only around 40% of firefighter suicides are reported.
The reason for those suicides is mainly thought be because of the shame and stigma of mental health within professions that promote bravery and toughness. The public remains, mostly, unaware of these issues, because the mainstream media do not cover the majority of deaths by suicide of first responders.
First responders should be encouraged to access mental health services by their departments regularly.
The Ruderman White Paper:First Responder White Paper_Final
What’s it like to be on long term anti-depressants?
The assumption that medication is meant to be used on a short-term basis is potentially harmful.
This is a highly relatable article to people on medication for a mental illness. The medications are usually taken regularly and if one strays from the regime then symptoms return.
Its often the case that once the medication has been taken for awhile then we feel much better. This is obviously the intended purpose, but because we feel better we seem to think we can stop the medication with no advice from our doctor or psychiatrist.
Underneath it all, we feel a bit weak having to rely on medication long term so think we are strong and in control if we stop taking our meds. This is always foolish thinking and often does more harm than good, especially with depression and bipolar for example.
Once we stop taking our prescribed meds all the good they have done starts to unravel and the symptoms return. Therefore, we should always take the prescribed medication for as long as advised by the medical experts. And if we decide we don’t need them then at least discuss it with your doctor first. After all, they are the experts, not us.
Brother of young dad found dead raises hundreds for mental health charity
Ben, left, with brother Mark, who died last year (Image: Ben Scobie/Facebook)
In May 2017 26 year old Mark Scobie was found dead at the flat he shared with his 23 year old girlfriend Eilidh and their toddler Heather.
Dozens of heartbroken pals paid tribute to “irreplaceable” Mark Scobie, 26, who was found dead at his flat in Rutherglen last May. The popular shop manager lived with his girlfriend Eilidh, 23, and their toddler daughter, Heather.
mental health is the “most important” issue in today’s society
Marks brother Ben, 25, a police officer says that mental health is the “most important” issue in today’s society. Because of this he is holding a charity football match on May the 8th at Stepford Sports Complex near Easterhouse at 8pm with friends and family members. This is to raise money for the Scottish Association for Mental Health. The £400 target was raised in less than six hours, well before the match.