Newsletter

Listening to:
Our new playlist, “PROJECT SCARED”
Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is admit that you’re scared.
Please give it a spin here if you’re a Spotify listener.

Quote of the week:
When we come across someone who is struggling, we have to develop a culture of open arms and acceptance so that they feel comfortable…This is something we need to do in this country around mental health as a whole—de-stigmatizing mental health.
— Sarah Jessica Parker

Thoughts from a Founder: 

“A gunman bursts into a classroom — or a movie theater, or a community center — and begins shooting. Victims are rushed to the hospital, some to the morgue. We know the scenario all too well. Media and politicians alike immediately condemn the gunman’s actions.”  – Brandon Marshall

Breaking News

The Story:

The Chains of Mental Illness in West Africa

KPOVÉ, Togo — The church grounds here sprawled through a strange, dreamlike forest. More than 150 men and women were chained by the ankle to a tree or concrete block, a short walk from the central place of worship. Most were experiencing the fearsome delusions of schizophrenia. On a recent visit, some glared, while others slept or muttered to themselves. A few pushed to their feet and gestured wildly, their cries piercing the stillness.

Until this year, Koffi Gbedjeha, 45, a carpenter and father of four, was one of them — a resident of the Jesus Is the Solution prayer camp here, shackled like the others, his family and camp staff members said. For more than two years, his youngest sister, Akossiwa, 27, tended to him. Rising early each morning, she walked along a cool red-earth path to the human forest; each day, amid the stirring bodies and clinking chains, she emptied her brother’s chamber pot, swept the ground and cooked his meals over a charcoal fire.

Our Expert Opinion:

People with mental health challenges are often ignored or neglected. Many of them become targets of physical and emotional abuse, stigma and discrimination. Indeed, the pervasive stigma of mental disorders is a major reason why the required policy attention, as well as, the needed resources for improving mental health service are often not provided by policy makers.

-Oye Guruje, Professor of Psychiatry and Director, World Health Organization (WHO) Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health, substance abuse and neuroscience

A PROJECT 375 Perspective:

On Wednesday of this week I had the pleasure of attending the CMI Standing on The Shoulders Of Giants Symposium, recognizing Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as the 2015 Child Mind Institute Distinguished Scientist. Dr. Insel compellingly articulated the challenge for the mental health community as a trifecta of inadequate capacity, quality, and regulation. These three issues hold back the potential of over 80 million Americans who can lead productive, healthy, safe lives if only given the chance. 

Then I read this article and my heart ached (I’m sure anyone who read this article feels the same way) for those so lost in such a remote location because of the complexity of their disease. Their chains are real – not the metaphor of a civilized and advanced nation. If we cannot lift ourselves up and out of our malaise regarding mental health, how then can we save Mr. Gbedjeha?

Are we truly incapable of stemming the tide? I think not. I believe we can rally ourselves around this mighty and formidable opponent – mental illness or diseases of the brain. We can turn our perspective away from fear and derision into empathy and compassion. We can eradicate the stigma and unleash the potential of the American collective to provide MORE than adequate capacity, quality and regulation and we can help Mr. Gbedjeha. Hang in there – we’re coming.

-Jennifer Pool, President of PROJECT 375

Real Chat: Let’s talk about it

We are excited to bring you another Real Chat! This week’s story is from Todd Billings.

Todd is a proud father and husband living in Chicago, Illinois. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys taking advantage of all the great activities Chicago has to offer.

PROJECT 375: What about Chicago do you love most?

Todd Billings: Chicago?? I love everything about this city. No matter what time of day or night you go out, you can always find something to do! The activities around the city are fantastic. The museums, the concerts, the ballgames…. Outdoor things like races, shopping, etc. are great, too!

Find the full Real Chat here.

For more details or to get involved, contact Emily Thieme at E.thieme@project375.org.

REAL CHAT WITH TODD BILLINGS

Want More?

The Myth of the “Autistic Shooter”

INEXPLICABLE violence is the hardest kind to accept. The human wish to insert logic where there is none often drives bystanders to psychic violence of their own. This happened again last week, after it was reported that the shooter at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Christopher Harper-Mercer, who killed nine people and injured several others, may have been autistic. Although there is no established connection between autism and murder, some eagerly leapt to causality and scapegoating.

One-Third of Children Treated for Mental Health by Pediatrician

BOSTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) — More than one-third of mental health care provided to children comes from primary care physicians, rather than child psychiatrists, according to a new study.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2011 about 6.4 million U.S. children ages 4 to 17 had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, which can cause them to have difficulty paying attention and controlling impulsive behavior. While the neurobiological disorder is often treated with medication, counseling often is recommended as part of treatment.

Turkey’s Mental Health Providers Offer Survivors Free Counseling After Ankara Terror Attack

ANKARA — The twin bombs that detonated Saturday in Ankara, Turkey, loaded with small metal balls to rip through flesh for maximum carnage, were made to terrorize people at a peace rally. And that’s exactly what they did.  “The blood of other people was sprayed on me,” Murat, a somber 46-year-old Turkish Labour Party member recounted of the blasts he survived unharmed, unlike some of his loved ones. “I just saw blood and pieces of people.”  At least 97 people died and hundreds more were wounded, many critically, in the worst terrorist attack to ever happen on Turkish soil. Now, survivors have to mend their shattered lives and attempt to move on.

  

Get involved

Make a donation for as little as $25 to PROJECT 375 in support of our efforts to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental illness & disorders and choose to receive a Crazy Stigma Green Bracelet as a thank you for your generosity. Crafted with love by artisans in India.

 The Facts

  • Daniel Radcliffe, Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Megan Fox, and Justin Timberlake are all celebrities living with OCD. (dosomething.org)
  • In the U.S., 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children face OCD. (dosomething.org)
  • According to the World Health Organization, anxiety disorders like OCD are more prevalent in developed countries than in developing countries. (dosomething.org)
  • OCD symptoms are divided between obsessions: recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or impulses and compulsions, repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession. (dosomething.org)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication are two ways of treating OCD. (dosomething.org)

     How to get involved

  • Share your story on mycounterpane.com/mentalhealth.
  • Be sure to check our website for updated events, information and ways you, too, can be involved!
  • If you have any ideas you would like to share with us or need ideas on how you can help be a part of the conversation,
    please let us know at info@project375.org.

I Am Aware. Are you? 
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