Helpful resources categorized by topic:
**Trigger warnings apply to all podcasts listed.
Podcasts and radio shows, primarily dealing with adolescent mental health, from the Brattleboro Retreat in southern Vermont.
→ Conversations About Mental Illness
Monthly conversations about mental illness from NAMI Athens, Ohio. Our conversations feature local and national voices of those who are coping with mental illnesses themselves, or those who care for loved ones with mental illnesses.
Flipswitch: The Bipolar and Depression Connection is a weekly show run by teens and young adults that talks about issues relating to growing up and thriving while dealing with bipolar disorder and/or depression.
→ Holistic Mental Health and Healing
Holistic Mental Health and Healing is a weekly radio program hosted by Tyler Woods, Ph.D. board certified holistic health practitioner through the American Alternative Medical Association. Holistic mental health is an ongoing journey of discovery and ultimately is about living better, being healthier, and striving for wholeness.
→ The Julie Fast Radio Show
The Julie Fast Radio Show offers interesting and lively conversations based on Julie’s experience with a mental illness. Guests range from those with a specific diagnosis, their family, friends and health care professionals, as well as writers, mental health organizations and just darn interesting people!
→ The Many Voices of Mental Illness
6 episodes: Accessing Mental Health Care, Mental Health Therapies, Suicide and Involuntary Commitment, Concurrent Disorders-Mental Illness and Addiction, Mental Health Care in the Community, Living Well With Mental Illness.
→ The Mental Illness Happy Hour
Weekly online podcast interviews with comedians, artists, friends, and the occasional doctor. All exploring mental illness, addiction, and depression, especially among creatives. Hosted by comedian Paul Gilmartin.
Mental health podcasts with medical professionals from the Medical University of South Carolina.
→ Not Alone
War changes a person. Soldiers who suffer from the aftermath of terrible stress fight a war after the war - a war to come to terms with the lifelong symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In these stories, soldiers talk about how they have have learned to cope with PTSD. They offer wisdom and hope for soldiers and families struggling with the aftermath of coming home from war.
Stream or download audio versions of National Public Radio’s articles on mental health-related topics.
→ One Hour AT a Time
Recovery, whether it is from substance abuse or a mental illness, requires a treatment plan, which in many cases is as effective as treatments for other chronic illnesses. “One Hour AT A Time” will increase awareness about recovery and decrease the discrimination against individuals in the recovery process.
→ Reframing Mental Illness
Reframing Mental Illness challenges our views about mental illnesses and questions why mental illnesses are still treated differently than other health care conditions. With first person stories and expert insight, this program sheds light on the latest medical research and resources, explores obstacles to treatment, gives guidance about accessing services, and provides hope and support to individuals and families coping with mental illnesses.
→ Royal College
The Royal College of Psychiatrists broadcasts the very latest breakthroughs and discoveries in neurosciences, psychiatry and psychology.
→ SANE Australia
SANE Podcasts complement the SANE Factsheets, providing comprehensive interviews on a growing range of mental health problems and related issues.
Lectures (in audio or video) from the University of California on a variety of topics in mental health and psychiatry.
1. Go to bed early. Some days are just bad days – and there’s nothing you can do to change circumstances and turn the day around. Remind yourself that there are better days as well, and tomorrow is a new day and a chance to start again.
2. Do something you enjoy. You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can takes steps to improve the way you feel. When you’re having a bad day you need to make that extra effort to treat yourself well, and try and bolster yourself up.
3. Make a list of things you need to do. Planning what you’ll do to try and make things a bit better can give you a strong sense of being in control again. It may not sound like fun, but it can change the way you feel - so you’re less at the mercy of events, or other people.
4. Talk to someone who cares about your feelings. It often makes a difference to unburden on a friend. At least you’ll feel supported, and less stressed and overwhelmed.
5. Distract yourself. Try doing something that will take your mind off things. Often doing something practical can bring a sense of calm.
6. Try extra hard to be nice to other people. It will help to take your mind off your problems, and yourself. Plus, we tend to get back what we give out to other people (such as kindness, understanding, concern and empathy).
Be kind to yourself. Stop telling yourself that whatever you are struggling with “should” be easy. If something is hard for you, it is hard for you. There are probably Reasons, though those may just be how you are wired. Acknowledge these things. When you finish something hard, be proud! Celebrate a little.
And really, just stop saying “should” to yourself about your thoughts and feelings in any context. You feel how you feel. The things in your head are the things in your head. You can’t change either directly through sheer force of will. You can only change what you do. Stop beating yourself up for who and what you are right now–it isn’t productive. Focus on moving forward.
[Image: A bright pink e-card which says ‘Hope you’re OK’ on it in bold type]
Time to Change, the campaign to end mental health discrimination, have a great range of e-cards which you can use to reach out to someone you know who may be going through a tough time with their mental health, to let them know you’re thinking of them. Little gestures like this can mean the world when you feel lonely or isolated. Look after each other, xo
a note about self care
- it’s the hardest when you need it the most
- when you are feeling really low, unmedicated or without support or in a depressive episode - that’s when it’s actually super necessary for self care. it’s necessary to remind yourself that you are worthwhile. it’s necessary to remind yourself that you deserve love.
- but it’s contradictory - the lower you’re feeling, the harder it is to self care. it TOTALLY sucks and it’s scary and painful.
- but self care, sometimes, means taking small steps. it means trying to internalize one nice thing, rather than a boatload of positive affirmations. it means reminding yourself that there’s no shame in struggling. it means having compassion towards yourself, above all - reminding yourself that you are only human and that you are doing your absolute best. it means reminding yourself that your absolute best sometimes looks like you lying in bed crying, and that there is not a damn thing wrong with that. if you need that to feel okay, or if you literally cannot do anything else, then it is an act of self care.
- we can’t feel happy or compassionate all the time. it’s a fact of life.
- self care is a tool for dealing with pain, not something beat yourself up over. if you can’t do it (and we all have our moments), forgive yourself. there is nothing wrong with trying and failing.
Ghazia Sadid, 26, a patient suffering from depression, pauses during an interview with Reuters at a mental hospital in Kabul, on November 14, 2012. The war in Afghanistan is creating a generation of people mentally damaged by their exposure to incessant conflict, a buildup of problems which could undermine the country’s reconstruction and development efforts. (Reuters/Adnan Abidi)
All individuals with LSE [Low Self-Esteem] experience fear and anxiety stemming from their belief that they are inadequate and incompetent in one or more areas of their lives. Furthermore, they worry that at any moment they may unknowingly reveal their defects to the world and, in the process, bring criticism, disapproval, and rejection on themselves. From past experience, they know that they respond to others’ disapproval with extreme emotions, ranging from embarrassment to humiliation, devastation, and despair. When these feelings descend upon them, people with LSE feel overwhelmed and out of control. Whether or not the person is truly inadequate or incompetent in some way is irrelevant. Whether or not others really see her as such is also immaterial. What counts is that she believes it about herself and that she also believes that it is only a matter of time before she is “found out” by others. She believes that when this happens, she will suffer uncontrollably. Her negative expectations then lead her to protect herself in ways which bring the feared results.
For the person with LSE, the potential threat of revealing her inadequacy lurks at every corner, in each new experience and at any time that she is not on guard. This perspective makes daily life a potential battleground and the world a dangerous enemy.
Mental health problems are often life changing experiences which it can really help to be able to talk about with friends, family and colleagues. If you feel ready to talk about your mental health problem, here are a few points to help you out:
- Be prepared: Think about the different reactions, positive and negative, that the person might have so you’re prepared. The person will be thinking about their perception of mental illness, you as a person and how the two fit together.
- Choose a good time: Choose a time and place when you feel comfortable and ready to talk.
- Be ready for lots of questions…or none: The person you are talking might have lots of questions or need further formation to help them understand. Or they might feel uncomfortable and try to move the conversation on – if this happens it’s still helpful that the first step has been taken.
- An initial reaction might not last: The person might initially react in a way that’s not helpful – maybe changing the subject, using clichés rather than listening. But give them time.
- Have some information ready: Sometimes people find it easier to find out more in their own time – why not have one of our leaflets or print out some information from a website?
- Keep it light: We know that sometimes people are afraid to talk about mental health because they feel they don’t know what to say or how to help. So keeping the conversation light will help make you both feel relaxed.
- Take up opportunities to talk: If someone asks you about your mental health, don’t shy away, be yourself and answer honestly.
- Courage is contagious: Often once mental health is out in the open people want to talk. Don’t be surprised if your honesty encourages other people to talk about their own experiences.
“QueerMentalHealth.org is an online peer support website for LGBTQ people with mental health issues and their concerned partners. This website is meant to be a safe, anonymous space for all people who fall under the queer umbrella. That includes people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, two-spirited, intersexed, queer, questioning, and allies as well.
Our mission is to foster peer support and a sense of community for queer people and their partners who deal with mental health issues. We can accomplish this by providing a space for individual voices to be heard and recognized for the struggles we all face together.”
1. Believe us when we talk about our craziness.
We know we’re crazy. It isn’t news to us. We know a thing or two about our own issues, and if you’re willing to live with us, it’d be great if you were also willing to talk to us about it and take us seriously. Not every bad mood is because we’re crazy. (Just like not every bad mood is because of PMS.)
There will be times we don’t see our own patterns –- but if you cannot believe us when we talk about our issues, then you make us doubt ourselves. You create an environment where we cannot trust ourselves, and we certainly cannot trust you.
We have to be able to trust you, because we won’t always see our own patterns, won’t always recognize that we’re slipping into mania or depression or paranoia or whatever our thing is. If we trust you, we can believe you if and when you point these moments out.
2. Give us some space.
Yes, we’re being irrational and freaking out –- but since we might not be able to control that reaction, let us have some time to just BE irrational. This might mean giving us literal alone time. Yes, it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for us, too!
Basically, the whole point is that we aren’t in a rational frame of mind. While logic is my jam, I recognize that when I’m super emotional, logic doesn’t really stand a chance. That’s why Spock was so scared of emotion, y’all -– it’s powerful and it makes you do things that don’t make sense.
In the Rock, Paper, Scissors game of our responses, Emotion trumps Logic.
3. Don’t try to fix us.
We aren’t a weekend DIY project. Yeah, we’ve got our problems, but you aren’t going to solve them by telling us to just cheer up or to just stop worrying about it or *fill in the blank with useless advice here*.
This is especially true if we’re in the middle of an episode. I have a hard and fast policy against making major life decisions when I’m in the middle of a depressive phase because I make really bad choices when I’m depressed. If we’re freaking out and you’re pressing us to make decisions that are supposed to “fix” us… It’s not going to go well. And, yeah, I know it makes you feel helpless but it makes a lot of us feel helpless, too.
4. Understand that it isn’t about you.
You aren’t making us depressed or manic or paranoid. We probably like you very much if you are living with us. This just happens sometimes. It’s not going to end well for any of us, no matter how natural the urge to ask, if there’s a constant, “What did I DOOOOOOOOO?” interrogation going on.
Giving us some space is probably going to be good for you, too. Because it sucks to hang out with someone who is in an unbeatable funk. Take the time you need for yourself, too.
5. Understand that it REALLY isn’t about you (at least not in the moment).
Yes, it sounds selfish, but we’re kind of busy being depressed or manic or paranoid. Or whatever. And we’re probably not enjoying it. So while it’s totally and completely understandable that we’re being hard to live with, please understand if we don’t have a lot of sympathy to spare in the middle of a bad day.
That isn’t to say you should completely ignore it if we are jerks. Mentally ill people can DEFINITELY be jerks. But dealing with us is often a matter of timing — if we’re completely irrational, we aren’t going to have the mental resources to deal with how our behavior is making you feel. Give us that space — and then let’s talk it out later. Your feelings are valid and important.
6. Don’t guilt trip us.
The caveat to number 5 there is that when we’re talking about your feelings and what positive steps we can take to not be jerks, you can’t turn that into a post-mania (or whatever) punishment. A lot of mentally ill people feel some pretty overwhelming guilt, just for being the way we are. No one is saying you can’t be angry — but it’s all too easy to get caught in a vicious cycle in this situation.
Communication is the drum I constantly beat with Ed — even when we’re both angry, focusing on communicating instead of just venting (that’s what we have therapists for) helps us keep things productive. I tell him if he pisses me off and he does the same in return — and then we figure out how to fix it.
7. Please offer some reassurance.
A lot of crazy people have gone through life being rejected, at least in part, because of their craziness. A little reminder that you don’t think we’re awful people goes a long way. And if you DO think we’re awful people, well, it might be time to move out.
That’s not the end of the world. I think some folks, no matter how loving and amazing, aren’t good when they live together. You both need to be really honest about whether this is something you can handle.
8. Listen to us without judging us.
Obviously it’s going to be different for everyone, but externalizing thoughts can often serve as a very effective coping mechanism (hence, therapy for half my life). You don’t have to make anything better. You just need to hear us. This goes back to not trying to fix things for us.
I have a terrible habit: I turn every hypothetical into an absolute worst-case scenario. The number of times I have envisioned coming home and finding Ed dead, you don’t even know. It’s morbid and it’s awful, but it’s a coping mechanism, because I feel like I have some kind of plan in place to handle emotional devastation. I do it with other things, too, and sometimes Ed will try to talk me into more reasonable scenarios. That never actually works.
9. Understand that we are probably not going to get “better.”
At least not in any way that means we won’t be crazy anymore. We might learn better coping mechanisms, we might find a more stable routine. But we’re probably never, even with medication, going to be “normal.”
This is a big deal. I’m not trying to scare you or say that crazy people aren’t good long-term partners. But this is definitely not something that is going to ease with age. In fact, a lot of mental illness intensifies with age. If one of our crazy habits is a dealbreaker for you, understand that it is probably never going to go away.
10. Don’t go on about how awful crazy people are.
This should be pretty self-explanatory but just in case it isn’t: don’t tell us we aren’t crazy or try to draw lines between “good” crazy and “bad” crazy. Just don’t.
I know this gets touchy for some people. We’re inundated with talk about “the crazies” and gun control right now. While you and I know that “the mentally ill” are not a monolithic group, that kind of differentiation never gets showcased in the media. And, yeah, every time there’s talk about another “crazy” gunman, I feel unsafe. Because I’m crazy.
Too often, casual observers mistakenly attribute laziness to people who have mental illnesses like depression or anxiety disorders that impair their ability to work and be active. A person with compulsive hoarding, for example, is not “lazy” about cleaning or organizing their home. For a person with compulsive hoarding, throwing away a paper cup may be dreadfully difficult and stressful. For such a person, throwing away five cups may require immense courage and hard work - it would certainly not be a task for the truly lazy.
We attribute laziness to people when they have failed to do specific tasks that we value. We typically do not label people lazy when we have stopped to consider the fuller range of their activity and motivations. If we value the person, we would more likely attribute the absence of productive behavior to the competing needs and motivations that they must have to do other things, e.g., to relax or to do something other than the task that we wanted them to do.
Often, the people that we label as lazy are folks who are on the margins of the working world, like homeless people or low-wage workers. Labeling people “lazy” is a way of deeming them as morally unacceptable (sloth is a deadly sin) and deserving of their low status. If we call someone lazy, we do it to dismiss them, not to understand them.
Public service announcement:
ALL MENTAL ILLNESS IS VALID
If you’re white: VALID
If you’re rich: VALID
If you’re a teenager or child: VALID
If you’re heterosexual: VALID
If you’re cisgender: VALID
If you’re able-bodied: VALID
Viewing health in the context of the intersectionality of oppression (i.e. as it interacts with racism, homophobia, transphobia, poverty etc) is hugely important, but that does not mean we get to write-off the struggles of anyone who is living with mental illness.
Seriously, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts like the below around lately and it’s really upsetting:
“i’m so depressed,” posted the caucasion heterosexual cisgender teenage girl on her blog
Ok good. Glad we cleared that one up.