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Showing posts from January, 2020

Mental Health Care as our Institutions Fail

There are twelve psychiatrists in Zimbabwe for a population of 16 million people. When Dixon Chibanda, one of the twelve lost a patient to suicide because she could not afford the $15 bus fare to get to her appointment, he did not blame her for breaking the appointment. He came up with another system to deliver mental health care. He trained grandmothers.



We also have barriers to psychiatric care in the US. Some of these barriers are similar to Zimbabwe's, distance and lack of providers.

There are less than ten psychiatrists for 100,000 people in eastern Oregon, an area with one of the highest suicide rates in the country. An overworked psychiatrist in eastern Oregon came home one day to find seven cows in his driveway. They were not his cows. It was not the first time. Who knows what his day/week/year had been like. He snapped. He shot seven cows, killing six of them.

Unfortunately, he botched the job. The community might have been understanding if he had shot them in the head. …

Prozac Monologues - A Book is Coming

The life of an author - this author anyway:

Mornings I work on finding my peeps. Twitter has been a revelation to me. I resisted it for years until I discovered what was possible. It's not all politicians and celebrities! I thought I was supposed to do Twitter because that's what you do when you want to sell books. That made me feel icky.

But then somebody reframed it for me:

There are people out there who have a question, a need, a pain point. Can I address their pain point? If so, how do they find me?

Those questions, posed by a webinar on search engine optimization (oh, brother!) went straight to my heart. They torched my author's conceit. If you are an author, you know that conceit - "I hate marketing. I just want to write."

Because I know my pain point. Boy, do I know my pain point. And I remember the day I typed into a search engine, "suicide." I found the website that became my lifeline, that told me I was not crazy. Well, crazy, but not alone. …

Six Ways to Heal the Holes in Your Head

New Year's Resolution - Eat Chocolate! Or Maybe Not...

Long time readers may know of my over-a-decade-long effort to get the sugar monkey off my back. I can report that I am reasonably  successful. I don't know if it has made an ongoing difference to my mood. But a shared dessert at a restaurant will get my arthritic shoulder burning. So I keep it up.

Or maybe I have taken it too far. It's all about costs and benefits, you know. And recent research suggests maybe I should lighten up, or rather, darken up.

Chris Aiken of Bipolar Not So Much fame, also Wake Forest University School of Medicine and The Carlat Psychiatry Report, says to my sugar fast, Not so fast. At least as far as dark chocolate goes.

Dark chocolate lowers the risk of depression, according to a cross-sectional survey of over 13,000 US adults. The study compared self-reported chocolate consumption with self-reported depressive symptoms, as measured by the PHQ-9. People who ate dark chocolate in the past 24 hours were 70% less likely to report depression.

The effect w…