Change Direction

The System is Broken by CNN

The mother who founded the Facebook community “An Addict’s Mom” to give a forum of support rather than shame to parents with children battling the disease of addiction, has lost her son prematurely. Barbara Theodosiou’s son began receiving mental health care at age twelve. By age thirteen, he was using drugs.
“It shocks me. It crushes me. It steals my soul,” she said. “There are no breaks, no holidays, there is no solace here. And I spend every second wishing I had one more moment, one more day with my son before drugs.”
But despite her grief — and perhaps because of it, she is more determined than ever to make sure that Daniel’s life was not lived in vain.
She is now committed Read More »

Getting REAL About Mental Health

Most of us know mental illness is a REAL issue. But, unlike other illnesses, mental illness is not discussed openly. It is talked about in hushed tones that convey shame, pity or guilt.
In observance of Mental Health month, the Lufkin Daily News has partnered with Burke to initiate a discussion about mental illness. Mental illness will affect one in four adults this year alone. As noted in the article:
“America has a mental health problem. And despite the fact that many of us know someone who is struggling with mental illness — or we are struggling ourselves — we still have difficulty talking about it.”
To that end, Burke has launched a public awareness campaign. To learn more about the REAL campaign, visit our website Read More »

How Mental Illness Affects the Friendly Skies

In light of the recent Lufthansa/Germanwings crash, much attention has been given to the rigors afforded to monitoring pilots’ health. This new concern based, at least partially, on this isolated incident, replaces the old concern about the pilot’s sobriety. The problem is these are both generalizations and stereotypes.
In this article featured on the Healthy Place website, you can read about the screening process pilots undergo to be cleared to provide travel. Per Christina Hali, a pilot and mental health advocate,
“Stigma may deter airline pilots from pursuing treatment for depression and the special medical certificate required. Pilots have a reputation for being high achievers, competent, dutiful, disciplined, assertive, confident and calm in dangerous situations. Stigma tells pilots that mental illness is a weakness, which Read More »

Evidence Shows Violence Is Extremely Rare Among the Mentally Ill

We would all like to have an answer when tragedy occurs. We look for signs that could have alerted us to the threat, sometimes they are there; other times they are not. In the case of the Germanwings pilot who recently crashed a plane with 150 people aboard, mental illness seems to have played a role. But as Jeffrey Swanson, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University who studies violence and mental illness, points out:
“It’s important not to use this direct causal language,” he says. “When there is a terrible incident and it turns out the perpetrator has a mental illness, what you find is that the general public and media seize upon this as the master explanation—‘That’s what it Read More »

First Lady Michelle Obama Supports Mental Health First Aid

The time is now to create a new story in America about mental health, mental illness and wellness. The “Change Direction” initiative was inspired by the White House National Conference on Mental Health in 2013, which came on the heels of the Newton tragedy.
The purpose of the campaign is to:

B_XpIAUUgAAsEnffree us to see our mental health as having equal value to our physical health
encourage us to recognize the signs of emotional suffering in ourselves and others
spur us to care for our mental well-being and the mental well-being of others

To learn more about this national campaign, the purpose, pledges, history, and current Read More »