In our meeting with @albornoz_gabe and @MCDHHSDirector, we discussed the importance of advocacy and #stoppingthestigma with mental health. I figure it’s worthwhile to discuss ways to reduce the stigma around mental health. Short 🧵
1- Talk about it.

This is the easiest way to talk about mental health. Talk about it. Normalize discussing anxiety, depression, distress, etc., especially now. There’s a lot of uncertainty and that can yield anxiety. It’s ok to feel anxious and to talk about it.
2- Listen and don’t problem solve.

Often when someone starts discussing mental health, the tendency is to change the topic or give them ways to “fix it.” All this does is discourages the discussion and increase the negative stigma of mental health. Next time someone brings up
that they feel anxious or sad, don’t say “me too,” “have you tried X, Y, or Z,” or change the subject. Instead, listen to them. Provide comfort without judgement. The more we have the conversations, the more normal they become.
3- For the medical professionals out there, ask about mental health!

Medical professionals are held in higher regards than mental health professionals. If the medical profession starts asking more about anxiety and depression as part of every appointment this would be huge!
Consider it a vital sign. Just like nurses and MAs take blood pressure, height, weight, etc., have them ask about sleep, appetite, mood, anxiety, etc. By having medical professionals ask about it, it gives it more legitimacy in many people’s eyes, which will help to reduce stigma
4- Make sure Mental Health Days are a thing!

I 💚that many school districts are helping to reduce the stigma by including mental health as an excused absence! This is HUGE especially for our Gen Zs and Gen Alpha, who are growing up in a pandemic.
But mental health days shouldn’t just be for schools. Employers can provide these as well. Sometimes you need a day away and mental health days can provide that
5- Encourage Balance

This one is a little harder because our society is so focused on productivity. But productivity can come at a huge cost. The added stress and reduced time for recreation can result in not only mental health effects but physical health as well.
For instance, sleep deprivation can impact attention, memory, mood, lower your sex drive, puts you at higher risk for obesity and hypertension, and can even impact your body’s ability to fight off infections!
One way employers could help would be to check in with employees to make sure they have that balance. Don’t encourage working through lunch, make sure everyone has some dedicated rest time (away from work) during the day.
And unless it is part of the job (eg being on call) don’t expect employees to work beyond typical working hours. They need the time to relax and recharge.
6- Educate yourself on mental health and what it is.

Did you know that clinical levels of depression and anxiety are extremely common? How about that about 1% of people have schizophrenia (or 1,000 in every 100,000 people).
Or that 1 in 10 (or more) women experience postpartum depression? Mental health conditions are extremely common, yet we don’t talk about them often.
I hope this sparks some conversations. I would love to hear more ideas and get them out there! #MentalHealthIsHealth #stopthestigma

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More from @DrHasson2

May 24
Candidate interview thread!

I have been interviewing candidates who are running in @MontgomeryCoMD on my podcast, Practically Mental.

Here is a list of people I've interviewed and the links. There's more coming!

Practically Mental is here:
Read 9 tweets
May 14
We need to take a broader view of mental health treatment and look beyond the medical model.

We’ve been stuck in an individualized treatment model. For a crisis this large and pervasive, we need to look beyond traditional psychological and psychiatric training. 🧵/rant
Traditionally, mental health treatment is highly individualized. You meet with a prescriber. They prescribe medicine to adjust your individual mood and symptoms. There’s no change to the environment. The change is helping you adjust to an environment that does not meet your needs
If you are lucky, you may even get an individual therapist but let’s be honest, licensed therapists (especially those who took insurance) were in short supply before the pandemic. Even if you can get an appointment it may not be at a convenient time.
Read 15 tweets
Apr 14
It's time for the @BethesdaBeat virtual CE democratic candidate forum! I'll be live tweeting and doing my best to keep up. @CmHucker @hansriemer Peter James, @MontCoExec @DavidTBlair

We are about to start & @hansriemer just showed up (7:33am).
I'm enjoying looking at what the candidates chose for backgrounds. @hansriemer has a guitar and an Obama poster, Peter James is drinking coffee (respect), @DavidTBlair has a campaign sign in the background, @CmHucker has a plant, and @MontCoExec has a blurred background
@DavidTBlair is first. Said we need leadership, points out he built a fortune 500 company in Rockville (which is impressive, honestly).
Read 64 tweets
Mar 24
Never assume someone is coping well because they have not asked for help.

🧵/rant follows
In much of the US, asking for help is seen as a sign of weakness. There’s a reason we, as mental health professionals, tend not to see people when the depression is just starting or people are a little anxious. We are the last resort.
Add onto this the stigma of being seen as “weak.” Asking for help is erroneously viewed as a sign of weakness, when in reality it is a sign of significant strength.

No one needs to handle everything on their own. But the message we are consistently given is we should be able to
Read 15 tweets
Mar 24
“Anyone who knows anything about trauma knows it manifests itself in a variety of ways at any time. So, if anybody needs anything at all, all they need to do is reach out to a trusted adult.” From @MCPS
I want to unpack this a bit. @MCPS is asking students to ask for help. Adults struggle to ask for help, and yet we are asking teenagers to self advocate for help after a series of significant stressors?
Instead of putting this on the kids, why don’t the adults step up? I know the teachers are checking in on students, but they can’t do it all. Get more adults in buildings who are available throughout the school day.
Read 4 tweets
Mar 23
Can we talk about the mental health needs of the student body @MCPS?

The students will be asking for help today at the @mocoboe meeting. They’ve been asking for awhile. Why aren’t we listening?

Here’s a few points:
1. Services need to be accessible. Image
Mental health needs to be a priority and students need a safe space to process emotions Image
Read 7 tweets

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