SHARON — During the fourth-annual Stamp Out Stigma presentation, Tony Paglia, the Penn State Shenango campus counselor spoke about the recent MeToo movement, which people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted have been standing up and saying they have been a victim. Holly Patterson/R-A SHARON — Crazy. Bonkers. Insane.
Words all used to describe someone with a mental illness, but for so many people who suffer, they suffer in silence because of words like those.
Wednesday afternoon, Penn State Shenango and the Community Counseling Center of Mercer County presented the fourth annual Stamp Out Stigma to get the word out that people who suffer from mental illnesses — including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, post-partum issues and more — can find help through treatment.
Drawing on her own experience with postpartum depression, Kara Mild, a clinical social worker employed by a women’s care physician and a part-time educator at Penn State Shenango, spoke about her struggles, as well as the types of help that is available.
Mild described different types of postpartum issues, including postpartum depression, postpartum OCD and postpartum psychosis, and that one in every seven women experience depression and/or anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum period.
“Women are 70 percent more likely to experience depression in their lives, and 15 percent of women have reported feeling significant depression following the birth of a child,” she said. “As long as there is air in my lungs, I am here to tell women they do not have to suffer in silence. If we don’t verbalize, we don’t heal. When women have postpartum issues, they are not crazy, but they are ill.”
Just like a broken leg, she said, mental illness is treatable.
“Life as they know it is no longer the same,” Mild said, speaking of women who have given birth.
She explained that after birth, it takes about three months for a woman’s hormones to return to prepregnancy hormonal balance.
“In that time, women need as much support or more as any time in their lives,” she said.
Fern Torok, community outreach and development director at the Community Counseling, said for those who suffer from mental illness, it’s not the illness that defines them — they are not schizophrenic, but suffer from schizophrenia.
“They are not their disease,” Torok said.
Part of the Stamp Out Stigma goal is to recognize mental illness when someone needs help, reeducate others to learn that there is hope and help, and to reduce the stigma of mental illness while increasing the important of seeking treatment.
Torok said while 50 percent of all the population suffers from type of mental illness, only one-third seek treatment. Ninety percent of those who seek help make substantial improvements to their daily lives.
Another speaker, Tony Paglia, the Penn State Shenango campus counselor, addressed the more recent news of sexual harassment with the MeToo movement that has hit social media in the past several days.
“Post after post after post, so many people are standing up and saying, ‘Me Too,’” he said. “But for every one person who stands, there is one who do not say anything. Many victims suffer in silence, but I am here to tell you there are people who will listen, who will believe you and who will respect you when you tell them.”
Paglia also said that through talking about it, more people become aware that they are not alone.
“Let’s talk about it and keep the conversation going,” he said.
The Light Beneath Their Feet
This film may not necessarily be known by many, but it is perhaps one of the most realistic movies produced in almost documentary genre while it is also quite moving in its flow.
The mental health related flicks may be viewed through four items within the line of their realistic silver screen presentations:
1) Mental health concept and illness
2) Patients with mental health
3) Behavioral Health workers and
4) Behavioral Health settings
This film is successful in achieving realistic presentation of all these four items.
The story is simple enough that it may remind the patients and therapists of their own lives related to taking care of a person who has a mentally illness.
The leading characters consist of a mother and her daughter.
The mother is a patient with bipolar disorder. Provided she takes her medication regularly and visits her psychiatrist frequently, she appears to be maintaining the non-psychotic status, even productive when employed by the settings that would not be expecting her to engage in complex tasks.
Unfortunately, like some if not many patients with bipolar disorder, she does not want to continue taking her medication regularly. She chooses to stop taking it and then becomes psychotic which leads to her hospitalization.
Her daughter is a high school senior and a very good student who had been making plans to apply for her dream university. It would be a higher educational setting far away as long as her desired outcomes would be workable. She would need to be accepted by the university and find someone to take care of her mother in her absence. They do not have other family members and friends are reluctant to get involved in her mother’s prospective care as they do not know how to handle an individual with behavioral disturbances.
Therefore the movie displays two people struggling with their own situations while dearly loving each other. The mom struggled with endless manic and depressive episodes and the daughter struggled with the decision to go for her education or not to go and stay at home and take care of her mother.
I will take liberty to state a few things regarding the ending, since these will not be spoilers as the movie ends with no outcome! The screenplay leaves the outcome to the audience's discretion as the daughter joins her mom in their room in the last scene. The End. We do not know whether she says goodbye or lets her mom know that she is staying to take care of her.
This is an excellent film for sharing with a respective community with regard to anti-stigma efforts and educating the public about mental health.
This is also an excellent movie for educating behavioral health students, interns and residents along with rehabilitative program and patient groups while stopping the film from time to time and asking what is going on. What would the participants do if they were in the shoes of the mother and daughter? This would generate and maintain a good discussion and debate.
It is a behavioral health gem and a bittersweet mother and daughter relationship presentation. It is relevant for many real patients, their families and therapists who have similar clients.
M. F. Ulus, MD
SHARON — According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 15 percent of women who have recently given birth suffer from postpartum depression.
This year’s Stamp Out Stigma (SOS) at Penn State Shenango will feature a presentation on the subject at its fourth annual SOS event to be held from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the Great Hall of Sharon Hall located on Vine Avenue in downtown Sharon.
The event is free and open to the public.
The hour-long program will also include a discussion on why health and fitness are vital to a person’s mental well-being led by Penn State Shenango Counselor Tony Paglia, as well as a special message on love and unity in the face of the horrible tragedies that have recently occurred in our country by Jack Luchette, a Penn State alumnus and the lead organizer of the annual event.
“At Penn State Shenango, we approach student health from a holistic perspective, and we seek to serve students with programming and resources that will promote their health in the areas of mind, body, and spirit,” Paglia said. “This semester, we are excited to offer our students on-campus yoga classes with instructor Debbie Harrington. We believe that by reducing stigma and encouraging our students to take better care of their physical and mental health, they will be more successful in meeting their academic and personal goals.”
The presenters at this year’s SOS event, in addition to Paglia and Luchette, include Community Counseling Center of Mercer County Community Outreach and Development Director Fern Torok, and special guest Penn State Shenango Human Development and Family Studies Lecturer and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Kara Mild, who will be speaking about postpartum depression and the stigma associated with the mood disorder.
“The Community Counseling Center has conducted 97 distinct Stamp Out Stigma presentations with over 117,000 people during the past several years,” Torok said. “We are excited to be part of the Shenango campus’ event again this year.”
For more information, call Paglia at 724-983- 2841.
Gossip has been around since the beginning of man and women. However, a lot of people take gossip way too far in life, which can cause terrible events to unroll onto that person. Looking back, I myself was involved in several horrible rumors and lies. Now for me that did nothing to me, I shrugged them off, laughed, and cheered registering their petty lies useless. This is a mechanism that I have created over time. The same cannot be said about other individuals, the lies can emotionally harm someone especially if the rumor isn’t true. The Gossip Effect explains how and what the effect of gossiping can have on someone. For example, in high school a women or a man could be verbally abused by others daily. They might say something like “You are ugly, how could anyone date you!” this inappropriate comment will spread throughout the school like wild fire aka (Gossip). As it goes through one person it will get told slightly different every single time it is told to a new person it is altered. Eventually the comment previous-ly said could be something like this, “Oh, I heard she is pregnant” or “I heard they do drugs almost every day”. From my point of view, I take all these comments and think, “Hmm, how could someone their age be so childish. Ha-ha.” Laughing is the best medicine, my advice to all of you is laugh at those comments, don’t let them get to you. Now I understand you can take it personally or even get angry and lash out at the accused. STOP, think it over and think of the consequences and then calm down and smile and don’t care about those petty comments. Odds are you want to hurt them or make them experience the same pain as yourself. However, if you really want to hurt them, don’t let those insults get to you. Shrug them off and smile, laugh a few times and walk away from the situation. Thank them for their time and continue your beautiful day, don’t let anything get to you. If you are looking to learn how to just shrug it off then practice in your mind and head, play a scenario over and over again practicing. Let me tell you, you are beautiful and you are awesome regardless of what anyone says. Look into the mirror every morning and smile at yourself and say one good thing about your-self, could be your smile, or your personality. Love yourself, once you accept these facts, those petty gossips will mean nothing. Gossip isn’t just insulting someone, gossip is when someone tells everyone else without your knowledge of it. Keep those private conversations to your-self, it should always be confidential. You are awesome and as long as you keep seeing good traits and staying true to one self.
Lonzo is well known at CCC for his upbeat spirit, laugh and determination even though he faces physical obstacles daily. Due to unfortunate circumstances as an infant, Lonzo lost his arm but this has never stopped him from independence. In fact, with a positive outlook on the situation there’s not much Lonzo doesn’t feel he can’t do. Recently, he decided he wanted to start working on a wellness goal and make positive changes towards a healthier lifestyle. When possible, he lifts weights at our local gym and exercises at home. He has even set a goal of 50 push-ups daily at home! This is quite an accomplishment as well as motivating, and CCC is proud of Lonzo for the willpower and strength he is implementing daily.