Suicide, Indian Farmers, Indigenous North Americans . . .

By explaining to mental health professionals and the general public that the root cause of suicide among their people is a sociopolitical one and not a brain disease, Roland Chrisjohn and Sudarshan Kottai do their part to foment rebellion against the sociopolitical status quo rather than—as most professionals do—enable it. There are other things professionals can do to help.

Kottai offers Rachel Morley as one model. Morley, a clinical psychologist and a psychosocial practitioner for the British Red Cross, is the author or the 2015 article “Witnessing Injustice: Therapeutic Responsibilities” (in the Journal of Critical Psychology, Counseling and Psychotherapy). For Morley, when working with victims of social and political violence, therapeutic responsibilities include “bearing witness” to stories of injustice.

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Veterans’ Health Care For Mental And Environmental Illnesses Under Attack

In recent years, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have backed privatization of services provided by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).  As part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the VHA serves about nine million patients and operates the largest public healthcare  system in the country. Since 2015, billions of dollars have been diverted from VHA care to private doctors and for-profit hospitals who treat veterans in costlier and less effective fashion.  This cannibalization of the VHA budget began under President Obama, escalated during the Trump era, and continues under Joe Biden.

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People In Prison Organize Collectively For Survival

On this show, we talk about how to build the relationships and analysis we need to create movements that can win. When we have talked about the rise of fascism, and how to fight it, I have often made the point that we have a lot to learn from prison organizers, who operate under the most fascistic conditions in the United States. But amid this pandemic rollercoaster of hope, disappointment and uncertainty, I feel like we also have a lot to learn from imprisoned and formerly incarcerated organizers about how to sustain ourselves and each other psychologically during hard times. So, today we are going to hear from Monica Cosby, a formerly incarcerated Chicago organizer whose insights about mutual aid as a form of social life support are invaluable right now. We are also going to hear from Alan Mills, the executive director of the Uptown People’s Law Center about the fight for mental health care in Illinois prisons, how COVID has affected the situation, and what we can do about it.

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Co-op Group Urges Help For The ‘Ghosted Generation’ Of Youth

Children as young as 10 are afraid the Covid-19 pandemic will set them back for the rest of their lives, a new study from the Co-op Group reveals.

The report, the Ghosted Generation, is one of the largest post-pandemic studies of its kind, asking more than 5,000 10-25-year olds about their attitudes, life chances and aspirations.

It finds that almost two thirds (60%) 13-25-year olds feel their generation will be permanently disadvantaged by the pandemic, starting with a devastating impact on their education.

The Group is urging more support for young people as the UK emerges from the pandemic, and says it is making its own efforts to develop opportunities, through apprenticeships, virtual work experience and its Young Members Board.

Among school-aged children, the research shows nearly 47% of 10-15-year olds feel they have fallen behind in the past year, with 59% also feeling the pressure to catch up quickly.

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Cities Sending Mental Health Experts, Not Cops, And It Works

As TFTP reported last week, Christian Joseph Hall, 19, was in the midst of a mental health crisis. He positioned himself on top of an overpass on I-80 leading to police closing off the road and engaging with him. Moments after police arrived, however, Hall would be dead. Video would prove he had his hands in the air and had surrendered when cops opened fire. Hall has now become one of over 1,400 people in a mental health crisis to lose their lives to police since 2015.

As TFTP has pointed out, even cops who voluntarily attend Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), have shown that they are quick to the trigger when dealing with the mentally ill.

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Philadelphia Victim’s Family Sought Ambulance, Not Police

Philadelphia – The family of a Black man killed by Philadelphia police officers in a shooting caught on video had called for an ambulance to get him help with a mental health crisis, not for police intervention, their lawyer said.

Police said Walter Wallace Jr., 27, was wielding a knife and ignored orders to drop the weapon before officers fired shots Monday afternoon. But his parents said Tuesday night that officers knew their son was in a mental health crisis because they had been to the family’s house three times on Monday.

Cathy Wallace, his mother, said one of the times, “they stood there and laughed at us.”

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Julian Assange Trial: Monday, September 21, 2020

Prof. Michael Kopelman has been sworn in, standing in the actual wooden stand of the court, as the defense’s first witness on Tuesday.  Kopelman is a professor of neuropsychology at King’s College, London. He testifies that Assange is suffering from severe depression with loss sleep, appetite and weight loss. He also found a high risk of suicide “if extradition appears imminent.”  Kopelman said Assange has had a history of clinical depression and said his risk of suicide would increase if extradition was imminent.

Consortium News is limiting the detail of testimony about Assange’s mental health conditions after an appeal from Kopelman and defense attorney Edward Fitzgerald to the media to do so. 

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911 Services That Dispatch Mental Health Counselors, Gain Traction

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Capt. Jason Castleberry grabbed his shoulder radio, responding to a dispatcher from his office at Austin EMS’s Station 5, “Chip 100, chip 1, are you calling me?” “Yes, we’ve got a confirmed psych call. Are you available?” “Yes, we’ll get moving.”

Castleberry helps oversee the city’s Community Health Paramedic team, abbreviated as CHP, or “chip,” and this was just the type of call I had come to the station that morning to witness. We hopped into the station’s marked SUV, and rolled. “Normally for these, I would go lights and sirens. The reason we’re not is I can tell medic 3 is already on scene,” he tells me, pointing to his monitor.

The monitor also showed that mental health counselors with Integral Care’s Expanded Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (EMCOT) had been dispatched; it didn’t show police among the responders at or heading to the scene.

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Make ‘Em Laugh Or They’ll Kill You + The Math Of A Broken System

Building and healing civilizations: as we stare down the 2020 presidential elections, here’s a little food for thought on how our system is built – and what advanced math of all things can tell us about the pit falls of having a president, or a “democracy” like ours in general. Next up, the power of art – the power of laughter, and the power of blending that with political commentary. Comedian Krish Mohan joins us to talk more.

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Mindfulness And Social Change

As mindfulness becomes more prevalent in western societies, it’s understandable that its popularity as a practice for reducing stress and improving mental health is attracting greater scrutiny. In a recent article on Transformation, Ron Purser argues that mainstream mindfulness needs to move beyond a focus on individual wellbeing towards more collective and systemic responses to the personal, social and ecological challenges we face.

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This Is What Activism Does To Your Body

August 9 marks five years since a white police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed an unarmed Black teenager named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. While accounts of exactly what happened vary, Wilson shot Brown at least six times ― twice in the head. Brown’s bloody body was left on a residential street for four hours in broad daylight. Weeks of demonstrations, vigils and protests followed. These protests eventually turned into riots with militarized police officers on one side and fed-up Black residents on another.

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Federal Judge To IDOC: Get Your Unconstitutional Shit Together

A federal court has ordered the State of Illinois to address its “failure to . . . meet the constitutional requirements with respect to the mental health needs of” its approximately 12,000 prisoners with mental illness. This case reached a settlement agreement in 2016, but the Illinois Department of Corrections failed to live up to the agreement, and constitutional violations continued, according to the plaintiffs’ lead counsel, Harold Hirshman, senior counsel for Dentons. In October, the court issued a 50-page decision finding that IDOC has been deliberately indifferent to prisoners’ mental health, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

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Judge Rules Veterans With PTSD Can Move Forward With Lawsuit Over Discharge Classification

A federal judge in Connecticut ruled Thursday in favor of thousands of veterans seeking to sue the federal government alleging they were discharged due to infractions related to untreated mental illnesses and denied Veterans Affairs benefits as a result. The Associated Press reports that Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Haight Jr. ruled Thursday that the veterans, who were given less-than-honorable discharges after service in Iraq and Afghanistan, could move forward with a lawsuit against Navy Secretary Richard Spencer. The less-than-honorable discharges, the veterans allege, made it harder for veterans who were discharged to receive care for their mental illnesses developed as a result of their service in America’s wars.

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American Anomie

The French sociologist Emile Durkheim in his classic book “On Suicide” examined the disintegration of social bonds that drive individuals and societies to personal and collective acts of self-destruction. He found that when social bonds are strong, individuals achieve a healthy balance between individual initiative and communal solidarity, which he called a “life-sustaining equilibrium.” These individuals and communities have the lowest rates of suicide. The individuals and societies most susceptible to self-destruction, he wrote, are those for whom these bonds, this equilibrium, have been shattered. Societies are held together by a web of social bonds that give individuals a sense of being part of a collective and engaged in a project larger than the self.

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