Tag Archives: mental

Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets

Veteran who found his way circles back to help others

By Petula Dvorak

Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets. For 30 years, Gerard Thomas was one of them.

A paranoid schizophrenic, Thomas took a long time to get back indoors after serving in a stateside military hospital during the Vietnam War.

In and out of prison, mental institutions and straitjackets for decades, sleeping on park benches, in doorways or in the woods, Thomas was living proof of the holes in our social safety net.

He kept looking for help, he said, but like many veterans of that war, all he heard was “No.”

“Back then, people didn’t understand how damaged we were,” said Thomas, 62, who now devotes his life to helping homeless veterans.

Continue reading Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets

A bad movie plot

By: Irfan Husain

ANOTHER day, another crisis in Pakistan. What else is new? Given the roller-coaster ride we have been on these last few years, nothing has the power to surprise or shock anymore.

Even the fact that a warrant for the arrest of Makhdoom Shahabuddin has been issued just as he was filing his nomination papers for election to the prime ministership causes a big yawn.

If a screenwriter had crafted the script we have been following, a movie producer would have rejected it for being too unbelievable. The whole business about a tycoon bankrolling a series of multimillion dollar holidays for the chief justice’s son and his family is bizarre enough. But in a swift counterstroke, the prime minister is dismissed by the top judge, pushing his son’s scandal into the background.

Continue reading A bad movie plot

Why Muslim states fail

By Khaled Ahmed

States released from colonial rule in the 20th century have by and large not done well. Today, most of them are either failing or failed states. Only a few have reached the finishing line of liberal democracy with a survivable economic model beyond the 21st century. Most of the Muslim states are included in the failing postcolonial model. Dictators with mental bipolar disorder — historically mistaken for charisma — who aimed to achieve romantic goals have crumbled, leaving in their wake equally romantic mobs of youths demanding what they presume is liberal democracy.

After Saddam Hussein, Iraq is in disarray; after Hosni Mubarak, Egypt is teetering; Libya promises nothing better. And after Musharraf, Pakistan’s democracy is dysfunctional. Among Muslims, only the market state in the Gulf may survive. In the Far East, too, it is the market state that looks like marching on. Muslim Indonesia and Malaysia may survive if they don’t exterminate their entrepreneur Chinese minorities under the spur of Islam. In Europe, when the dictator quits, civilisation takes over and the state survives. No such thing happens in the Muslim world. The premodern seduction of the Muslim mind prevents return to democracy. The blasphemy law is more powerful than any democratic constitution. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Social Psychosis and Collective Sanity – By Winslow Myers

We know from the sad experience of Nazi Germany or Khmer Rouge Cambodia that it is possible for whole nations to become mentally ill, with horrendous consequences. At the time, however, the Nazis or the Khmers had no idea that they were deeply out of touch with the reality that all people are equally worthy of respect and care.

The population of the earth recently surpassed 7 billion. As we move further into the condition of global villagehood, it becomes more important than ever to assess our shared mental health. Collectively we can less and less afford the distortions that afflict the psyches of individual persons, such as denial, regression into infantile rage, fantasy ideation, or blind projection outward onto “enemies” of our unresolved inner tensions. Everyone is aware of the potential horror, for example, of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of someone not in the clearest of minds. …

Read more » COMMON DREAMS

World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day (October 10), is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy.[1] It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.[2]This day, each October thousands of supports come to celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to Mental Illness and its major effects on peoples’ life worldwide.[3]In some countries this day is part of the larger Mental Illness Awareness

Read more » WikipediA

For Pakistan to change, army must change

– by Ayaz Amir

Decades of misadventure have distorted and even corrupted the Pakistani mind. We do not live in the real world. Our foreign policy notions, our list of assets and threats, have but a remote relation to reality. We must look to first causes. How did we create these bonfires for ourselves? How did we become prisoners of our misconceptions? Liberating the Pakistani mind from the shackles of these self-imposed errors must be the first of our tasks if, with luck, we are to become a normal nation.

The army and its strategic adventures have brought Pakistan to its present pass. The footprints of the terrorism now haunting the country go back to the first Afghan ‘jihad’, the one army-inspired event which pushed Pakistan to the frontiers of insanity. The phoenix won’t rise from its ashes, and there will be no return to sanity, unless the army can bring itself to change its outlook and reinvent some of its mental apparatus.

Civilians have been poor administrators, in no position to escape their share of the blame for the mess the Fortress of Islam is in. But in the driving seat of Pakistan’s steady march to the brink have been our holy guardians. There is little room for quibbling on this point.

Even so, despite the mounting evidence of disorder, the army refuses to change, still obsessed with the threat from the east, still caught up with the quixotic notion of exercising influence in Afghanistan. God in heaven, why should it matter to us if a president of Afghanistan is a Tajik, an Uzbek or a Pathan? Can’t we keep our eyes focused on our own problems? The threat we face lies squarely within but our strategic grandmasters insist on being foreign policy specialists.

If a Stalin were around, although fat chance of that occurring, he would lay his hands first not on militants and assorted terrorists but on the foreign policy experts who infest our television studios.

Is Mossad pulling the strings of terrorism in Karachi? Was the CIA behind the attack on Shia pilgrims in Mastung? Was RAW behind the attempt on the life of the Karachi special investigator, Chaudhry Aslam?

By any reasonable computation we have enough of a nuclear arsenal. By any yardstick of common sense, a commodity often in short supply in the conference rooms of national security, we have as much of a deterrent as we need to counter the real or imagined threat from India. This being the case, we should be directing what energies we have to the threat from within: that posed by militancy marching under the banner of Islam.

As part of this undertaking, we need to advertise for a Hakim Luqman who could cure our general staff and the ISI of their preoccupation with the future of Afghanistan. We have been burnt by Afghanistan. We don’t need any further burning. For the sake of Pakistan’s future we need to distance ourselves from Afghanistan’s problems, dire as they are.

Continue reading For Pakistan to change, army must change

Imran Khan is the most popular leader? – Pity the mental state of Pakistanis!

Imran emerges most popular leader in poll

Excerpt:

…. the findings of Pew Research Center show, saying Pakistanis continue to be highly dissatisfied with conditions in their country, 0pposition leader Nawaz Sharif fares better: 63% express a positive opinion of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) leader, down from a year ago when 71% held this view, the study says.

The most popular leader tested is former cricket star Imran Khan, according to the study. Nearly seven-in-ten (68%) have a favourable view of the cricketer turned politician, up from 52% in 2010. ….

Read more: → The Nation

Gangs using children as sex workers, says NGO

By Saleem Shahid

Hundreds of thousands of children are victims of physical and mental torture in schools, religious seminaries and homes: SPARC

QUETTA: Organised criminal gangs are using thousands of children as sex workers across the country, a workshop on children’s rights organised by the Society for Protection of Rights of the Child (SPARC) was informed on Friday.

Muhammad Hanif Panezai, the chief of SPARC’s Balochistan chapter, said a survey had revealed that thousands of children were being used as sex workers at bus and truck stands and railway stations.

“Internet cafes and videogames’ shops are also being used for the purpose,” he said, adding that men belonging to several criminal networks remain present at these places to trap children and later use them as sex workers,” Mr Panezai said.

The Programme Manager of SPARC’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter, Mr Imran Khan Takkar, said a survey had revealed that 80 per cent of 1.5 million street children in Pakistan were victims of sexual abuse.

He said that organised criminal networks were using children to make pornographic material and later blackmailing them to commit heinous crimes, including suicide bombings. ….

Read more: DAWN

Pakistan on a shrink’s couch

by Irfan Husain

Excerpt:

DIAGNOSING the mental health of a nation is just as tricky as diagnosing an individual with a personality disorder.

…. So much for the diagnosis. What`s the cure? The hallmark of an educated mind is the ability to analyse problems coolly and rationally. An emotional response is usually the wrong one. But our minds are conditioned by years of slogans and clichés, as well as historical baggage that is no longer relevant. The disconnect between reality and our twisted perceptions grows by the day. …

… So let`s open our eyes to reality and face the world as it really is, and not how our tortured dreams have made it out to be.

Read more : DAWN

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality. Psychosis often involves delusions and seeing or hearing things that others can not see or hear (hallucinations.) People with psychosis often feel fearfulness or suspiciousness (paranoid). Psychosis may develop suddenly or gradually. Psychosis may occur as part of other mental health disorders. Some people with depression develop psychosis and some older people with dementia have psychosis. Drugs called anti psychotic can be effective in reducing the symptoms of psychosis.

They are sick and tired- and still working

– Kevin Connor, Sun Media

Employers need to do more to address the mental health of their employees because too many workers are too sick or stressed to do much more than put their heads down on their keyboards, a new study shows.

The Canadian Mental Health Association is urging employers across the country to accept greater responsibility for their staff.

“Employers must do more to promote a healthy work/ life balance, otherwise they, their workers, our economy and society will suffer serious consequences,” said Dr. Taylor Alexander, CEO of the CMHA.

The report says 83% of Canadians reported having shown up for work while sick or exhausted. On average past year.

An overwhelming 89% who took part in the study say they feel stress- related mental health problems have been increasing over the years.

“Stress, burnout and depression create huge fall out in the workplace that far exceeds taking a sick day here and there. They are part of a continuum that can lead to serious illness,” Alexander said.

“It is estimated that more than 2,000,000 employees in Canada suffer mental illness at any given time. The economic, social and personal impact of mentally unhealthy workplaces is staggering.”

The Conference Board of Canada says workers who reported a high degree of stress balancing work and family missed 7.2 days of work each year.

Workers suffering from clinical depression miss work an average of 40 days, which reduced productivity and generated higher disability and benefits costs.

“In addition businesses are facing projected shortages of skilled workers in the future and they will have to use their resources in the most effective way. Part of that is ensuring that their workforce is mentally healthy,” Alexander said.

Mentally unhealthy workplaces add to an already stressed health-care system. Depression is linked to heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune disorders.

Many reasons

“For all of these reasons, we’re calling on employers to do more- to make mental health their business,” he said.

“Employees must also take responsibility for their mental health by making sure they are taking care of their health and communicating with their employer and supervisors when they see potential problems.”

Courtesy: Toronto Sun, Friday, May 2, 2008