Stigma surrounding mental illness is still prevalent

first_imgVANCOUVER – The stigma associated with mental illness has been decreasing but there’s still a long way to go, according to a mental health and addictions expert.“We have noticed stigma, overall, has gone down in the past five-to-10 years, and certainly more so in the past two-to-five years, with increased communication, conversations and normalizing the talk around mental illness,” said Dr. Katy Kamkar, a clinical psychologist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Vancouver.“That is encouraging people to come forward and seek support and help but, nevertheless, we also know that people continue to suffer in silence and that stigma remains very prevalent.”Dr. Kamkar suggests stigma can come in different forms; from others and from within.“Personal stigma refers to one’s perception of mental illness in general or of others suffering from mental illness. There is also self-stigma, which can be very, very disabling,” she said. “That’s when we start appraising ourselves — our thoughts, our emotions — in relation to mental illness and start internalizing other people’s attitudes toward ourselves.”That can result, Kamkar says, in negative self-talk and self-labelling.Workplace stigma can also be an issue, including whether or not an organization provides the support and resources needed for employees who are struggling.As we mark Mental Health Week, Dr. Kamkar says it is important for everyone to be educated about mental health issues.“It’s about building our own awareness so that, of course, when we recognize the signs and symptoms within ourselves that we seek help and support. But we also want to build understanding in general so that if we know someone is suffering, we are better able to listen, to accept, and to help in any way we can.”As people have become more open about mental illness, Kamkar says young people especially are more apt to have conversations about it.“We have seen that youth mental health is a top priority and we know that youth — especially between the ages of 15 and 24 — report the highest level of mental health problems in addition to addiction.”She points out suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth and adolescents, so it is vital to let people know where to go when they need help.“You need access to care, resources, and expertise. We know that psychological treatment — especially evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy — has been found to be very effective for anxiety and depression.”But, she adds, help often starts with an empathetic ear.“Of course the context matters, but it is important to know the power of listening. Sometimes we might know what to say or what to do, but just listening and being there for the person is very, very powerful,” Kamkar said.“Leave the door open so the person is able to make a choice, but let them know there is a supportive person there for them.”-With files from Amanda Wawryklast_img read more

Bill Clinton to Attend 109th NAACP National Convention

first_imgMore about the NAACP’s 109th Annual ConventionOther highlights include the 40th anniversary of NAACP ACT-SO (Academic, Cultural, Technical and Scientific Olympics) final competition and awards, a health pavilion, retail expo, Veterans’ luncheon and a diversity career fair. More information about the 2018 NAACP National Convention, including a detailed schedule of events, may be found by visiting naacpconvention.org. President Bill Clinton will attend and deliver remarks at the 109th Annual NAACP Convention in San Antonio, Texas, on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.President Clinton will be introducing this year’s Spingarn medalist, Willie Brown, Jr.The Spingarn Medal is awarded annually for the highest achievement of an American of African descent. The Spingarn was instituted in 1914 by the late J. E. Spingarn (then Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), who gave annually until his death in 1939, a gold medal to be awarded “for the highest or noblest achievement by a living American Negro during the preceding year or years.”Willie L. Brown, Jr., two-term mayor of San Francisco, renowned speaker of the California Assembly, and widely regarded as the most influential African-American politician of the late twentieth century, has been at the center of California politics, government and civic life for four decades. Today, he heads the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Institute on Politics and Public Service, where he shares his knowledge and skills with a new generation of California leaders.President Clinton will address NAACP members and delegates from across the country.WHAT: President Bill Clinton to Introduce 103rd Spingarn Medalist Spingarn/Thalheimer/Freedom Fund Awards DinnerNAACP 109th Annual ConventionWHEN: Wednesday, July 18, 2018; Program Start Time 7:30 p.m. (Central)WHERE:Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center (HBGCC), Hall 1900 E. Market Street, San Antonio, TX 78205last_img read more