7 posts categorized "Mental Illness" Feed

Mental Health Urgent Care Clinic coming to West Michigan

In the near future, our office will be opening an Urgent Care Mental Health Clinic. We believe it will be the first of this type of service for our area.  I want to take a moment today and share with you why we are doing this and what we hope to accomplish with such a clinic.

I once heard a clinician brag about charging client's extra in order to see them on the weekend.

That is something we have never done or embraced here at JMCN.  Over the years, I've seen clients in crisis whenever possible, including weekends.  I know that is also true of other therapists in our network.

Just last weekend, one of our therapist came in on a Saturday morning to see a client who was in crisis.

But, we can't all be on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

And yet, there are always going to be times when someone needs help, now. JMCN Urgent Care

We want to attempt to meet that need. This clinic is our attempt to do that. The Urgent Care Center at JMCN will provide urgent care mental health therapy for people who feel they are in a mental health crisis  but cannot see their normal clinician for a period of time. We also want to serve those who do not have a normal clinician and cannot get in to see their preferred clinician in a timely manner.

Take for instance, my friend Bob.*  He and I were talking about this a few days ago. His wife Sarah has a regular therapist that she sees three to four times a month. She is dealing with some significant losses recently in her personal life and the grief that accompanies those losses.

Two weeks ago, a beloved pet passed away unexpectedly. Sarah was frantic to see her therapist. The only problem was that her therapist does not see client's on Mondays. On Tuesday, her therapist left for a two week vacation.

Bob felt that having some place where Sarah could have gone to talk about her grief would have been important and helpful.

Or consider for a moment, if you will Wendy and Dave.*

They've been having trouble communicating lately and late last week they had a fight that they both felt might have put their relationship over the edge into a downward death spiral from which it might never recover.  As they desperately call around the area looking for a marriage or relationship therapist to help them, they discover that they have a minimum of a one week wait.

We see this Urgent Care clinic as a potential resource for all the Dave and Wendy's of the area.

And for anyone who is feeling depressed and lost...or hurt and abandoned. We want to help.

You can find more information about our Mental Health Urgent Care Clinic by clicking here.

 

 

 

*Not real name.


Your Health Insurance Company is Working Against You

They probably send you a happy birthday every year and they probably kill half of a Forrest sending you information about how they are for you but let me tell you an honest truth:


Your insurance company is working against you. Especially, when it comes to your mental health.  

Let me give you an example.
Recently, I was informed by my personnel director that a local health insurance company had “closed” their application process. They simply are not taking new providers until they catch up with the process. Incidentally, this insurance company is owned by a hospital conglomerate that also shares a name with cable company. If you work in the mental health agencies in that are a part of that Spectrum, this insurance which would like you to think that your health is their priority will panel those providers.


I said to her, “I’m going to blog about that.”
She replied, “Insurance companies do it all the time.”
But should they?
That is my response and my question.


Think about this. If you know a licensed counselor in the great state of Michigan who for whatever reason hasn’t been able to go through the ridiculous and long credentialing process, you can’t see them for therapy because your insurance company is currently closed. Of course, you could see her and just pay cash but you’re probably already dropping hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a month to your insurance company so why go that route?


Why should insurance companies be able to go beyond the state requirements and say, “These are the people, we will pay for and these people we will not pay for services when both are licensed through the same state?”


Why not just have a process that says, if the person you want to see has a legal license in the state, you can see her?  


Because your insurance company is about making money, not about helping you.
Our whole medical insuring process is not reasonable.
The ACA in its current form isn’t helping the process. It’s giving more power to the insurance companies by guaranteeing them customers.


If we are really going to help people, we need a simplified insurance system on the provider side. If a person has a license, you should be able to see them.
As a provider, insurance companies are one of my biggest headaches.
Claims get paid, then they don’t and the reason isn’t clear.

Frustrated_man_at_a_desk_(cropped)

Clients call and ask about coverage, what they’re told is often light years way from what happens.
We need real, honest reform to the policies.


Right now, we are turning away clients that have a certain insurance company because we simply cannot take them. It’s not that we don’t want to take them, it’s that we can’t because some insurance company decided that they are closing the people they reimburse for services.
Because at the end of the day, it’s about them, and not you.


This needs to change.


Only you, as a consumer can make that change happen.


It's time to move past comparative pain and passions

I admit the world is an interesting place to me. I’m not typically someone who laments life.
I don’t always agree with stuff I hear and I’m often willing to engage it with the person. I joke with my friends about poking the bear.  Interacting with others about how they feel and think is sometimes, like poking a bear. Sometimes, we need to poke another bear or we need our bears poked.


It’s how we grow. Face_male_kodiak_bear


But yesterday I saw something I admit I don’t understand. I was sitting in my office and one of our Sr. Associates who was sitting next to me said, “Oh boy!” Of course, I asked what was up.
“Well, this guy’s newsfeed reads, “An actors death has dominated the newsfeed but how about all of the kids dying in _______.”  


This intrigued me  so I went looking at various places in the beautiful place called the world wide web. Sure enough, there were people lamenting all sorts of causes that weren’t getting as much attention as Robin Williams death.  


On one level I get it.


But on most levels, I think those people just come across as jerks. They’re acting like they have the corner on what should be important to everyone.
This happens a lot in Facebook land.
I get it.


But I don’t. Yes, people are dying in the Middle East, 1 in 5 children in America face hunger, there is rioting and looting in the Mid-West over a possibly race motivated killing. All of this is true.
But here’s the thing: Lamenting Robin Williams death doesn’t negate those truths. It doesn’t diminish them.


It doesn’t impact them at all.  It just makes you look grumpy and mean or worse.


An ancient writer wrote that there is a time and season for everything. I agree with that thought. I don’t think the time to get your personal passion out there is by juxtaposing it against someone else’s tragedy.


You sound like you’re trying to minimize their pain. Sometimes, it sounds like you're trying to invalidate their pain. Arguing with someone about their pain rarely works. When we essentially say, "well, you're in pain but this thing over here is worse and you should care about that..." we set ourselves up as some sort of judge. It's always a sketchy when we're trying to balance out why our cause should be more important than someone else's, especially when they are experiencing a new wound. Scales-295109_640


Be passionate about those other causes. Our world needs that passion. But, to be effective we need it to be done at the appropriate time. We need you to have real, genuine empath for the pain other people are feeling.


To paraphrase another ancient writer, “If you have your great cause, but you don’t have love you have nothing.”


Come down and sit in the pain of the people around you. Allow them to feel their pain. When the time is right, share your passion with them.


Thanks for reading. As always, if you like this post, please feel free to share it via your preferred social media experience.


Robin Williams, and our Societal Obsession with Happy

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last twenty-four hours, you probably know that Robin Williams has died in what appears to be a suicide.


Like many, I was shocked by the news. At first, I thought it was  hoax. The idea that we live in a world where for many the first thought when they hear about someone dying is a hoax is probably fodder for another post in the future.


But what about Williams? Robin_Williams_2011a_(2)


Williams isn’t the first celebrity to take his own life or accidentally end life while trying to numb something through drugs or alcohol usage.  And yet, every time we see shocked by it. I think there are a couple things to learn from Williams death.


I think we need to learn from it or else we waste it. His death is tragic. It is terrible. It is senseless. It leaves behind a grieving widow and fatherless children. It also highlights our false belief that money, success and things satisfy.


1. We have to accept that money, success and happiness will not bring us happiness. I wrote about this when Whitney Houston died. We create a false narrative in our head that we’ll be happy when _____________ (fill in the blank) happens. Of course, that is patently false and broken. We have a plethora of data to prove this to us and yet we functionally live in a way that denies and ignores this fact.  Those things aren’t wrong, but they simply don’t satisfy.  
We have to stop chasing things that don’t matter.
2. We have to realize that there probably a lot of people we know, who are in our close circle of friends who are struggling with depression and anxiety.
Someone you know is probably struggling with the thoughts of ending her life today.
We have to realize that there are far more people than we are comfortable admitting who struggle daily with the idea of ending their lives.


We tend to create caricatures in our head of what a depressed person looks like and how he acts.  Sometimes, those caricatures are correct. Most of the time they are dead wrong.
People truly bent on killing themselves rarely tell anyone overtly. They communicate it ways that are often almost impossible to see looking forward. Usually, they are brought into clarity when they are seen looking backward but by then it is too late.


So if you think you might know someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression, ask them. Ask them how you might be able to help. Ask them if they are thinking about hurting themselves.


Depressed people often feel stuck because they need to move in order get unstuck but the depression causes them to feel like moving is hopeless so they stay stuck.
They may get mad at you. Your own narrative may tell you that it’s none of your business, but push through that. Reach out.


The thing is, with people contemplating suicide, they are working on a plan. They are not seeing clearly.
They are hurting and stuck. What they are not, is typically logical. Their world is bent by their disease. Applying the logic of those of us who do not suffer from this disorder is not only unfair, it’s silly.


Robin Williams death is a tragedy for his family and loved ones. I am afraid it will be more of a tragedy because as a society we will once again fail to learn how to handle those around us who are depressed.
In our society, we seem to have no place for people who aren’t happy  all the time. Many depressed people learn to just fake it because as a society we want people to be happy all the time and we typically see what we want to see.


May we find the courage to see what it is,not simply what we want to be.

If you are feeling suicidal please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


Do Anti-Depressant Meds work?

One of the most common questions I get is "How do you feel about drugs?" My answer is almost always that I have complicated feelings about them. What I often tell clients is that they should do their own research. What I have below is an excerpt from a book that I think everyone who is remotely interested in this topic should read. It is controversial and will probably upset some of those who read it for one reason or another. But we have to engage this conversation deeply. We need to talk about the risks associated with this medicine and the benefits. Mostly, we need to look at our assumptions on a societal level about how we deal with problems.

What the published studies really indicate is that most of the improvement shown by depressed people when they take antidepressants is due to the placebo effect. Our finding that most of the effects of antidepressants could be explained as a placebo effect was only the first of a number of surprises that changed my views about antidepressants. Following up on this research, I learned that the published clinical trials we had analysed were not the only studies assessing the effectiveness of antidepressants. I discovered that approximately 40 per cent of the clinical trials conducted had been withheld from publication by the drug companies that had sponsored them. By and large, these were studies that had failed to show a significant benefit from taking the actual drug. When we analysed all of the data - those that had been published and those that had been suppressed - my colleagues and I were led to the inescapable conclusion that antidepressants are little more than active placebos, drugs with very little specific therapeutic benefit, but with serious side effects.

Kirsch, Irving (2010-01-26). The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth (pp. 3-4). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.


The Biggest Loser and the Roman Coliseum

The internet world has been abuzz lately with the finale of the show The Biggest loser for this season. Apparently the girl who won, lost a significant amount of weight in a rather short amount of time.

Can I make a confession? I’ve never watched an episode of that show. I’ve never watched an episode of hoarders. I’ve only seen one episode of intervention.

Which, begs the question of why, why haven’t I watched any of these shows that have “inspired” millions and coincidently made millions, if not billions of dollars?

Quite simply, because I am afraid that we have made entertainment out of people’s maladies. We’ve turned people’s problems into entertainment for the masses.

I’ve heard most of the responses:

“I watch because I’m inspired!”

“ I watch because I like the stories of overcoming.”

“I think it’s amazing to watch the transformations…”

Honestly, in my opinion, who cares? That is the wrong criteria to be deciding what we should be supporting.

We need to consider if the means that we are receiving our inspiration is right or wrong. Is it wise to sit back and be entertained by someone with a mental illness (hoarders, intervention, etc).

I’m afraid these shows highlight out societies obsession with the wrong things. We use the TV to anesthetize our own existential issues. We can safely sit on our couch and watch Mary Jane Watson from Tacoma West Virginia and thank God that our house isn’t as messy as hers.  We can watch Gwen Jones from Bloomsburg, Minnesota struggle to go from “morbidly obese” to anorexic like skinniness all in the name of health...and let's be honest, some fame.

I’m not sure we’re all that different from the Romans and their coliseum.

The story being sold is that our society is becoming obsessed with weight loss because we want people to be healthy. But let’s be honest, we kind of like the fact that we can fat shame.

Shows like this, allow us to sit back and just thank whatever higher power we pray to that we aren’t like those people. They allow us to perpetuate the myth that fat people must be lazy or that hoarders can just choose to get rid of things.

We make profit (or help others make profit) off of their misery. We can indulge in our own worship of the body and whatever “sexy” currently and feel like we have the moral high ground because we’re taking part in a system that “helps a person improve their life.”

The ends justify the means, right?

Except that they don’t.

We have to demand more.

More of society. More of ourselves. More of those we choose to make millionaires and billionaires by giving them our money.

I realize that you may disagree with me. In fact, I fully suspect that many people will disagree with me. That’s one of the reasons, I’ve been putting off writing this post even though it’s been bouncing around in my head for a long time.

I just want more. I want to leave my kids a world that doesn’t teach them that it’s OK to judge someone or be entertained by someone just because the other person is heavier than they are or has a mental illness.  

I want a world that really sees other people as neighbors, not as sources of entertainment.

 


How common is mental illness?

The following is part of a post written for our blog at Creative Solutions Counseling.

Who are we and why do we care?

 

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in every 4 people, or 25% per cent of individuals, develops one or more mental disorders at some stage in life.  Today, 450 million people globally suffer from mental disorders in both developed and developing countries.   Of these, 154 million suffer from depression, 25 million from schizophrenia, 91 million from alcohol use disorder and 15 million-drug use disorders.

·  Mental illnesses are more common than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.”

 

How many people do you know each year that is diagnosed with cancer, diabetes or heart disease that let it go untreated or refuse to take medication?

Click here to read the rest of the post