Source: Geralt/Pixabay In last month’s blog I wrote that fear about confidentiality is high on the list of reasons cops don’t reach out for help. But there are other reasons like stigma , shame , or the distorted belief that only weak people have problems. Here's what I know after 40 years of counseling LEOs: to need help is to be human, not weak. And problems are more easily borne when shared with someone you trust. Police work is hard, always has been. And it’s getting harder all the time. Being a cop will change you. How could it not given that most cops will see more cruelty and tragedy in the first few years of their career than the rest of us will see in a lifetime. But—I want to shout this at the top of my lungs— it doesn’t have to damage you. Not if you learn to protect yourself and your family, and live with resilience . What does resilience mean? It means the ability to struggle well and bounce back in the face of adversity. This is different from … [Read more...] about Cops and Shrinks: When to Go to Therapy and Why
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This is the fourth post in a continuing series of blog posts about another US plague: not covid, not opioids , but guns and the uniquely American carnage they produce. Here is the first , the second , and the third . (Personal note: These three earlier blog posts have generated a slew of angry responses, including such well-thought-out remonstrances as “We’ll never give up our guns and become communists, like you!” I agree that many — perhaps most — gun owners won’t give up their guns, at least not willingly. But perhaps some others will better understand the absurdity of the American situation, will be suitably outraged by it, and inclined to join the overwhelming majority who favor much more stringent, live-saving regulations than we now have.) The gun drama is one of the clearest examples of a dangerous positive feedback or vicious circle, when a seemingly appropriate response to a threat turns around and bites the responders, increasing the threat it is expected to … [Read more...] about Our Gun Culture Creates the Problems It Purports to Solve
This post was co-authored by Sarah Lagan, B.S., member of the Division of Digital Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. With millions around the world self-quarantining in their homes, businesses shuttered, and the routine of daily life fragmented, technology is today playing an increasingly vital role in maintaining mental health. Already in the United States, restrictions on telehealth have been relaxed to allow continuation of mental health care remotely. Interest in mental health apps is also on the rise, with some popular health apps even waiving fees for use. The estimated 10,000 available mental health apps boast a diverse range of features, from mindfulness to mood tracking to online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and peer support. These apps can offer help, activities, and support networks especially useful in the current situation created by COVID-19 . But these apps also carry with them significant risks. Many … [Read more...] about There’s an App for That—But Is It the Right One?
This post was co-written with by college mental health lead Jennifer Melcher of the BIDMC Division of Digital Psychiatry at BIDMC . The mental health of students remains a growing concern on college campuses. Students are experiencing elevated rates of depression , anxiety , and suicidal ideation, with recent CDC data revealing these trends are only worsening during the COVID-19 pandemic. 62.9% of survey respondents aged 18-24 (college-aged) met the criteria for an anxiety or depressive disorder and 25.5% of respondents reported that they had seriously considered suicide within the past 30 days. Colleges that previously struggled to meet the demand for face-to-face counseling on campus are now faced with the challenge of supporting students’ mental health remotely. There is a clear need for scalable digital technologies to support students’ mental health, yet even today, the resources that colleges are offering may not be lining up with students’ needs. Our … [Read more...] about College Mental Health and COVID-19