This Week in Mental Health

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Esther Fernandez
·5 min read
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This Week in Mental Health
This Week in Mental Health

01 2020 Global Drug Survey shows an increase in people self-medicating with psychedelics.

02 Research looks at how the pandemic has affected mental health among health care workers, how prisoners with mental illness are more likely to be placed in solitary confinement, and more.

03 Meghan Markle, Surfer Laura Crane, Gabrielle Union, Michelle Obama, NHL players, and Veteran Stephanie Gattas open up about mental health and pandemic life.

Trigger warning: mentions of rape and suicidal ideation.

Conversations about mental health have grown exponentially over the last decade, with more and more people committing to personal and collective wellness. While we have a ways to go before mental health awareness, education and treatment are accessible to all, each day brings new and positive strides within the field.

Our This Week In Mental Health series covers the latest happenings in research, treatment, human interest stories, and more. Stay updated on new developments so you’re better equipped to navigate the world, and most importantly, your own recovery.

Here’s what’s happening the week of March 8th.

Medication

Study Reveals More People are Using Psychedelics to Self-Treat Mental Health

The 2020 Global Drug Survey, the world’s largest drug study, shows an increase in people self medicating with drugs like LSD and psilocybin. Many people report they use drugs to treat their depression, anxiety and PTSD. About 52 percent of people taking LSD said they did it to increase wellbeing. Researchers urge that drugs should start to be integrated into clinical settings as interest continues to increase.

Learn more here.

Research

Health Care Workers Experience Mental Health Struggles During the Pandemic

A new meta-analysis found that one in five health care workers have experienced anxiety, depression or PTSD during the pandemic. The meta-analysis looked at 97,000 people globally from 65 studies, with the Middle East having the highest rates of anxiety and depression. Researchers estimate that around 21 percent of health care workers have experienced PTSD.

Learn more here.

60 Minutes+ Examines Mental Health Toll of COVID-19 Crisis on Healthcare Workers

Investigating Youth Suicides Among Children Involved With The Welfare System

The Nationwide Children's Hospital found that children involved with the welfare system who died by suicide were more likely to experience out-of-home placements, a mental health condition, or visitation to a mental health care setting. Around 90 percent of children who died by suicide used health care services within their last six months. Researchers urge for more mental health screening and family preservation programs.

Learn more here.

Young 'Night Owls' Experience Increased Psychotic Symptoms

A new study shows that there is a link between chronotype (whether someone is a morning or night person) and psychotic symptoms. Australia's Centre Of Excellence In Youth Mental Health looked at 81 people aged 12 to 25 years who are at ultra-high risk of psychosis. Those who preferred night time had higher negative symptoms. Researchers hope that in future studies, modifying the chronotype will help lessen negative psychotic symptoms.

Learn more here.

Prisoners With Mental Illness More Likely To Be Placed In Solitary Confinement

The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences found that prisoners are more likely to be placed in extended solitary confinement if they have a mental illness. The study looked at 155,018 men in state prisons, and found that depending on the condition, those with mental illness were 170 percent more likely to be placed in extended solitary confinement. Researchers suggest that prisoners with mental illness receive more punitive responses for not adjusting well to prison.

Learn more here.

Advocacy

Meghan Markle Opens Up About Suicidal Thoughts

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry opened up to Oprah Winfrey about leaving the royal family during an interview that aired on CBS. Meghan explained that the negative press she received and lack of support from the royal family led her to have suicidal ideation. When she requested treatment, she was denied help. The couple left the royal family in January 2020.

Learn more here.

Meghan Tells Oprah Of Her Suicidal Thoughts

Ex-Pro Surfer Laura Crane On How Exercise Saved Her Mental Health

Surfer Laura Crane talked to Olympic Channel about her journey as a pro-surfer with an eating disorder. At the age of 14, Crane became a British champion and started doing qualifying series. When Instagram began to play a role in marketing elite athletes, the need to always look good led Crane to develop bulimia. After retiring when she was 21 and taking time to recover, she now uses her platform for advocacy while continuing to surf in her free time.

Learn more here.

Gabrielle Union Opens Up About Mental Health Struggles

Gabrielle Union spoke at the Goop Health virtual summit this past weekend about her struggles with mental health. At 19, she was raped at gunpoint and developed PTSD. She explains how she’s had several challenging events happen since then, like divorce and career setbacks. More recently, in December of last year, she had suicidal ideations that she was able to work through with talk therapy.

Learn more here.

Michelle Obama Talks About Her Mental Health During The Pandemic

Former first lady Michelle Obama spoke to People magazine about her mental health during the pandemic. Although some aspects of quarantine were positive, such as teaching herself how to knit and spending more time with family, other aspects of 2020 were more challenging. In particular, witnessing police brutality and the death of George Floyd led her to experience low-grade depression. She urges people to be vulnerable about these emotions, and to know that things will get better.

Learn more here.

How NHL Players Are Confronting Anxiety And Isolation This Season

ESPN highlighted how the pandemic has affected the mental health of NHL players. In order to participate in games, players follow a strict set of rules, such as social distancing in locker rooms and limiting social interactions away from home. However, for many players, hockey serves as a positive outlet during the pandemic. Many players are reserved about disclosing their struggles, but resources like the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program have helped them to get the support they need.

Learn more here.

Stephanie Gattas Supports Female Veterans With Nonprofit “Pink Berets”

Stephanie Gattas served in the Navy for eight years, but when she came back home and struggled with PTSD, she had trouble finding resources that catered toward women veterans. In 2015, she created Pink Berets to help fellow servicewomen work through issues like PTSD and military sexual trauma. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the program has moved its services online to help serve women all across the country.

Learn more here.