(This is a guest post by David Susman, PhD, a psychologist in Kentucky.)
If you’re a parent and you or another family member has experienced mental health concerns, you probably have felt unsure about how to talk with your children about this issue. Should you discuss it at all? If you do, what should you say?
Your first reaction may be to avoid talking with your children about mental illness, because you might be afraid it will scare or upset them. However, when you talk openly about these issues, it can reassure your kids and help them learn to cope better because they will have a greater understanding of what the person with the mental illness is going through. Also, increased awareness can lead to greater compassion and can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.
When you do decide to open the door to a conversation with your …[Read More]
As a geriatric specialist, I am often confronted with the issue of communication in dementia, both in my own interactions with the people I see and in the form of questions (and often pleas) from their loved ones and other caregivers.
Communication with someone who has dementia can require a great deal of energy, patience, and creativity. I have learned the hard way that there a few “rules” that ultimately guide and inform most of the suggestions that may be offered. If you can learn and remember these two things, many of the others will follow naturally.
Rule No. 1: Don’t argue.
As painfully tempting as it may be, arguing only agitates you and the other person, potentially causing a whole cascade of additional problems. Further, neither of you can possibly “win.”Even if you succeed at somehow convincing Mom that she is wrong, she may not recall this even a few minutes later, depending on severity of the illness. And you’re back where you started.
Rule No. 2: …[Read More]
Even if we aren’t members of Ashley Madison, there remains a lot we can learn from the whole debacle. A good place to start is by using this story as a springboard for having some not-so-fun, but important discussions with the folks closest to us. Here’s a list to help start those conversations.
The following guest contribution is written by Kat Kinsman in recognition of Mental Health Month Blog Day.
If you really want to know how I’m doing right now, look at my thumb. It always betrays me. My face will, from four decades of muscle memory, arrange itself in a way that will not cause you worry. My voice is calculated to extract any upset so it will not leach in and erode your wellbeing. But my thumb can’t lie.
More specifically, the skin to the right of my right thumbnail, and if things are especially dire, the left of the left one, too. If it’s smooth and un-pocked, I’ve been OK for at least a few days. Roughened, but not raw means there was a tough patch in the recent past but I’m on the upswing. Actively bleeding, I’m doing my damndest to keep it together in front of you, and bandaged—I’m trying to protect me from myself. And you …[Read More]