sexual assault https://mhanational.org/ en Using the Mind and Body in Recovering from Sexual Assault https://mhanational.org/blog/using-mind-and-body-recovering-sexual-assault <span>Using the Mind and Body in Recovering from Sexual Assault</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Tue, 04/02/2019 - 08:10</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Kelly Davis, MHA Director of Peer Advocacy, Supports, and Services</em></p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/saapm.jpg" style="width:100%"></p> <p>Each Sexual Assault Awareness Month I’m overwhelmed with so many people standing up and speaking out about their experiences with sexual violence. I feel the catharsis of hearing and reading people share stories like mine. I feel waves of hope about a future where these things are not only talked about but prevented. I feel connected to other people like me, who felt for so long that things had to be kept a secret, that they were at fault, that they were unsure about what to do or who to tell or how to make sense of things that happened and repeatedly happened.</p> <p>I’m also reminded of how privileged I am. I am lucky enough to have had access to professional supports. While it wasn’t initially the case, I ended up in communities that did validate my experiences. When they found out, my parents not only supported me emotionally but also supported me in how I decided to deal with the things that happened. Even the ways I coped, from heavy drinking to bulimia to general dysfunction, would eventually be acknowledged as me handling my feelings and experiences in the best ways that I could at the time.</p> <p>But even with professional supports, access to information about PTSD, and connection to others, my recovery felt incomplete. I always felt the need to escape and wanted to punish my body. I would suddenly be stuck in feeling like things weren’t real or that I wasn’t real. I was on constant alert that people around me might try to hurt me. And, honestly, these things still happen. But the biggest difference in how I deal with them, and how much I’ve improved, has been acknowledging my body as a key part of recovery.</p> <p>While talk therapy and support from others has been helpful, none of those things really helped me with the chaos that I felt in my physical body. They didn’t help me navigate the tension I felt or my inability to relax. What did help me was yoga, but for others it is often dance, Trauma Releasing Exercises, somatic experiencing, and many other modalities that acknowledge the ways in which trauma is physically stored.</p> <p>Learning to observe physical sensations, understanding trauma’s impact on my brain and body, and moving through them in my yoga practice has made a huge difference. While the struggles haven’t gone away completely, my relationship to my body has improved. I can now acknowledge what is happening, have compassion for my body, and have another choice that isn’t my previous life of trying to numb it away.</p> <p>We should provide survivors with all the supports they need, but it’s more than just talking about it. It’s learning how to feel safe in your body and how the body processes trauma. It’s important for us to share that information with survivors, too.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/sexual-assault" hreflang="en">sexual assault</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/trauma" hreflang="en">Trauma</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1938&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="AcO7UvidA_IUb1oe-Zaj-dBIXgaWTY96cEnDBET6DIY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 02 Apr 2019 12:10:35 +0000 JCheang 1938 at https://mhanational.org From a Survivor of Sexual Assault Living with PTSD https://mhanational.org/blog/survivor-sexual-assault-living-ptsd <span>From a Survivor of Sexual Assault Living with PTSD</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/02/2018 - 08:24</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Michelle DiMuria, Founder, Board Member &amp; CEO, BEE Daring Foundation</em></p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/m.jpg" style="width:100%"></p> <p>Hearing “You have PTSD!” changed my life forever!</p> <p>Never in a million years did I think I’d be diagnosed with PTSD, but I was sexually assaulted, and PTSD followed; it was in the moment I knew I wanted to share my story with others. Shortly after, I self-disclosed my diagnosis by telling close friends and family that I had PTSD.</p> <p>I quickly learned who my true friends were. Most were afraid to be around me; they didn’t see me as normal anymore and it broke my heart. I was frustrated, and I was angry. It nearly broke me as I sat in my room and cried. The flashbacks of that horrific day came flooding back. None of them knew at the time why I had PTSD.</p> <p>It was hard enough telling them what it was like having PTSD let alone explaining the reasoning behind it. But I knew I needed to do something.</p> <p>I began to share my story with others. When I mentioned I had PTSD, the first question I was asked by some was, “Are you a veteran?” When I replied that I wasn’t, it was difficult for them to understand how I could have PTSD. I went on to explain that I had suffered a traumatic experience back in 2015 - that I was a victim/survivor of rape.</p> <p>While I didn’t go into too much detail, I simply explained what happened, hoping it would make a difference. To some, it did. To others, they still had a hard time understanding.</p> <p>It was a rough couple of months, but I wasn’t going to give up. I was now more determined than ever to continue to break down the stigmas and stereotypes that surround mental health. I wanted others like me to know they were not alone.</p> <p>While I may feel broken inside, I would be there fighting right alongside them. We were in this together and I would continue to fight the good fight - no matter how long it took.</p> <p>Some of the ways I deal with my PTSD include:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Having an amazing support system.</strong> Something that is so important, when dealing with any type of mental illness.</li> <li><strong>Self-care!</strong> Once a week, I take a day for myself. Whether it is binge-watching one of my favorite TV shows or watching a movie. Unless it’s during football season. Every time the Arizona Cardinals play, my phone is in my room and I’m watching the game.</li> <li><strong>Sharing your feelings!</strong> Some might say this is silly but talking to my support system and family about what I’m going through has played a huge role in my recovery. And it helps them understand what I am going through.</li> <li><strong>Be kind to yourself!</strong> Having a mental illness can be difficult for anyone, but it’s important to love yourself and know you’re an AMAZING individual.</li> <li><strong>Journal! </strong>I started journaling last year. Every day, I journal what I’m feeling. It helps me learn more about myself and my PTSD. I am still learning something new about myself every single day. Whether it’s triggers or flashbacks or just living life to the fullest. But the most important thing for me is not to give up.</li> </ul> <p>Every day is a new beginning; a new day to put one foot in front of the other and be the best you can be. Please remember, <em>“Not all Wounds are Visible!”</em> – Unknown.</p> <hr> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/Michelle%20Di%20Muria.jpg" style="border-color:white; border-style:solid; border-width:10px; float:left; height:100px; width:100px"><em>Michelle is currently a graduate student at ASU, seeking a degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. She’s the Founder and CEO of the BEE Daring Foundation, a not-for-profit organization for college campuses and mental health. Its mission statement is to eradicate the stigmas surrounding mental health on college campuses. The Foundation’s vision is to educate college campuses on the effects of mental health and how to overcome it. Its target audience is college students (undergraduate, graduate, veterans, international, and transfer students), faculty and staff, friends &amp; family, and first responders. Since becoming a mental health advocate in 2016, Michelle has created various mental health events. She won a pitchfork award for in 2017 for best educational program, “Mental Health Awareness Week.” She has also created two amazing student organizations: Engaging Minds and the BEE Daring Advocates. Both work towards brining awareness of the different stigmas and stereotypes that surround mental health. Michelle is a member of MHA’s 2018-2019 Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/trauma" hreflang="en">Trauma</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/sexual-assault" hreflang="en">sexual assault</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1847&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="FWK19S2sx87hK8BZMWTYfsVfxjL8NX5HB0V58xevDZI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 02 Nov 2018 12:24:06 +0000 JCheang 1847 at https://mhanational.org 13 Reasons Why, Season 2: Another Opportunity to Talk About the Traumas Our Young People Face https://mhanational.org/blog/13-reasons-why-season-2-another-opportunity-talk-about-traumas-our-young-people-face <span>13 Reasons Why, Season 2: Another Opportunity to Talk About the Traumas Our Young People Face</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Tue, 05/22/2018 - 12:03</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Paul Gionfriddo, MHA President and CEO&nbsp;</em></p> <p style="text-align: right;"><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/13RW_203_04361R.jpg" width="100%"><em><span style="font-size:8px;">Photo Credit: Beth Dubber/Netflix</span></em></p> <p><em>Warning: Some major plot spoilers below, as well as sensitive content including suicide, sexual assault</em></p> <p>Season 2 of <em>13 Reasons Why</em> gives us another opportunity to talk about some of the most troubling and traumatic events that confront young adults in American society today. It also offers the beginnings of a road map to do something about them.</p> <p>I am not a TV critic, so I will leave it to others to say whether the show is "good television" or not. On a personal level, I find it compelling and absorbing, and I have watched every episode from both seasons.</p> <p>In Season 2, <em>13 Reasons Why</em> takes on the aftermath of last year's suicide, as Hannah's parents use the courtroom to seek to make her school accountable for its oversights. Hannah’s friends are witnesses in the courtroom and witnesses to their own narratives of the events leading up to her death. They try, with varying degrees of success to deal with their own emotions, feelings, and mental health challenges as they try to recover from the tragedy.</p> <p>The thirteen episodes cover a wide landscape of issues - suicidal ideation, substance abuse, household violence, parental neglect, gay identity, violent ideation and actions, bullying, and sexual assault trauma. Its treatment of sexual violence is firmly rooted in the #MeToo movement. This becomes explicit later in the series in a memorable montage that unites parents' experiences with their children's experiences relating to sexual violence. Some commentators have already criticized the relatively short scenes of both female and male sexual assault as "too graphic," saying that they "had to turn their heads away" from the TV.</p> <p>But isn't that the point? Sexual assault is violent and graphic. It affects both women and men. It is not gentle and easy to watch or think about. But if we turn our heads away, then we just make it worse. We refuse to acknowledge it. We fail to understand the effect it has on its victims. We make it harder for people like Jessica – who struggles the entire season to claim her own narrative of sexual assault because she sees how Hannah’s Season 2 story is inaccurately unfolding in the glare of the courtroom – to speak up. And we just make things worse.</p> <p>This is, sadly, how parents and authority figures are depicted far too frequently during the season (with the notable exception of Courtney’s dads and, in time, Kevin Porter, the guidance counselor). They are clueless. And they make things worse.</p> <p>There's for me a memorable moment in Episode 9, when the school principal is asked - have you even listened to the tapes (that form the basis of Season 1)? He says no; he didn't think he needed to. I suspect this is a sly stab at so many critics of the show who haven't watched it, but only read the commentaries of others.</p> <p>It’s also more than that. The principal also literally tossed aside the pile of folders of the kids who needed his attention “every day” when he was given those. It was plain, dumb luck that this neglect didn’t result in a greater tragedy at the end of Season 2.</p> <p>The point here isn't that the school is bad. This is fiction. The point is that the instruments of adults - schools, courtrooms, neighborhoods, detention centers, even households – often toss aside important information because it doesn’t square with their version of what reality should be. They continue to fall short in recognizing and confronting the needs of our young people.</p> <p>The show is arguing that we're making their lives worse, not better, in our efforts to protect them. They don't need our protection and possessions so much as they need our active engagement with them in their lives.</p> <p>Because - by failing to engage meaningfully - we're making the choices that force them into taking actions themselves - sometimes with tragic consequences.</p> <p>So, the roadways to recovery are beginning to clear, and there aren’t so many threats out there at the end as there were at the beginning of the season.</p> <p>That’s because <em>13 Reasons Why</em> is telling us that it's okay to talk about these things; it's okay to get support from family and friends. In reaching out to seek and give help, we can make things better – and as Clay and others learn throughout, there is no protection in silence, and no glamour in tragedy.</p> <hr> <h2>MHA Resources for Mental Health:</h2> <p><strong>If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center, or text MHA to 741-741 to reach a trained Crisis Counselor 24/7.</strong><br><br /> <br><br /> <a href="https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-screening-tools" target="_blank"><strong>Mental Health Screens</strong></a><br><br /> Taking a mental health screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. There are 10 professionally-validated screens, including a Youth Screen, that are anonymous and secure. Following screening, you will be provided with information, resources and tools to discuss the results with a provider.</p> <p><a href="https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/feelslike" target="_blank"><strong>#mentalillnessfeelslike</strong></a><br><br /> The 2016 Mental Health Month #mentalillnessfeelslike campaign focused on helping individuals engage in conversation as a way to let others know how life with a mental illness feels. This sharing helps build support from friends and family, reduces stigma and discrimination, and is crucial to recovery. Whether you are in Stage 1 and just learning about those early symptoms or are dealing with what it means to be in Stage 4, sharing how it feels can be part of recovery.</p> <p><a href="https://www.inspire.com/groups/mental-health-america/" target="_blank"><strong>MHA’s Inspire Community</strong></a><br><br /> The Inspire community is a secure mental health support group where individuals with lived experience can interact with others, share their stories, and find support/advice. The option to remain anonymous is available.</p> <p><a href="https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-first-aid" target="_blank"><strong>Mental Health First Aid Training</strong></a><br><br /> You may know CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. You can call 911. But can you administer first aid in a mental health crisis? It’s easy to tell when someone is having a heart attack, is choking, or can’t breathe. But what does depression look like? Or anxiety? What would you say to a person you know who says they are thinking about suicide? How can you help in a panic attack? Getting trained as a Mental Health First Aider is a first step in helping you to be prepared.</p> <p><a href="https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/blog/13-resources-%E2%80%9C13-reasons-why%E2%80%9D-conversations" target="_blank"><strong>13 Resources for “13 Reasons Why” by MHA President and CEO Paul Gionfriddo</strong></a><br><br /> Additional resources shared in the comments by viewers were catalogued in a previous blog post by MHA’s President and CEO, Paul Gionfriddo. Get the list of additional resources here.</p> <h2>Beyond Conversation: How Can I Take Action?</h2> <p><strong><a href="https://www.redflags.org/about/framework-toolkit/">Red Flags Framework and Tool Kit for Mental Health Education</a></strong><br><br /> <a href="https://www.redflags.org/">Red Flags National</a>, a partner of Mental Health America, supports mental health education as a universal prevention strategy with a three-pronged objective: the engagement of the entire school community, the nurture of sound mental health habits and appropriate and timely intervention in the event of mental illness. A basic understanding of mental health can also significantly reduce stigma, and eventually eliminate it.</p> <p><strong>News Article: <a href="https://themighty.com/2018/02/new-york-state-requiring-mental-health-education-schools/" target="_blank">New York First State to Require Mental Health Education in Schools</a></strong><br><br /> MHA’s <a href="https://mhanys.org/">New York State Affiliate</a> took action and advocated for mental health education to be integrated along with school curriculum. Educating students on how to cope with not only their mental health but to know the steps to support their peers are vital steps to take to prevent a crisis Before Stage 4.</p> <p><a href="https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/sites/default/files/EDSCLS Questionnaires.pdf"><strong>The Department of Education’s School Climate Survey</strong></a><br><br /> The survey asks questions regarding treatment of students, social inclusion of students, whether they want to be there and how they feel about being there. The survey could be administered once a year and help school boards to determine how resources can be allocated to improve the measurements presented. It would help create an environment where the students don’t get to that point because they are happy and enjoy where they are.</p> <p><strong>Call your school administrators and the Board and recommend them to implement this important measurement in positive social and emotional skills that make both the administrators and students more mindful of how their actions can affect others in both a positive and negative way.</strong></p> <p><em>If you’d like to learn more about improving community mental health for K-12 children, contact Senior Policy Director Nathaniel Counts at <a href="mailto:mailto:ncounts@mentalhealthamerica.net">ncounts@mentalhealthamerica.net</a>.</em></p> <h3>More resources:</h3> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/blog/13-reasons-why-live-event-summary-resources">'13 Reasons Why` Season 1: Live Event Summary &amp; Resources (2017)</a></li> <li><a href="http://13reasonswhy.info/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/13-Reasons-Why-Season-1-Discussion-Guide.compressed.pdf">13 Reasons Why Discussion Guide</a></li> <li><a href="https://media.netflix.com/en/company-blog/keeping-the-conversation-going-an-update-on-13-reasons-why">Keeping the Conversation Going: An Update on 13 Reasons Why</a></li> <li><a href="http://13reasonswhy.info/">Talk to Someone | 13 Reasons Why Crisis Information</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/suicide" hreflang="en">suicide</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/sexual-assault" hreflang="en">sexual assault</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1733&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="AUrVk3__VyxX2LiDoiz99UlxxhfXrT7O1kc0_pUfrAA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 22 May 2018 16:03:57 +0000 JCheang 1733 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/13-reasons-why-season-2-another-opportunity-talk-about-traumas-our-young-people-face#comments