Recommended Reading for October 11

Gentle reader, be cautioned: comments sections on mainstream media sites tend to not be safe and we here at FWD/Forward don’t necessarily endorse all the opinions in these pieces. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Dorianisms – A Different Kind of Coming Out

Today is (Inter)national Coming Out Day. It happens on October 11th every year, and I think it’s a really cool initiative. Visibility is important, for one thing. And sometimes, people find it easier to come out knowing that other folks, all over the country or the world, will be doing the same thing at the same time. Acting with a group is a powerful thing, and I think this day attempts to harness that power in what is really a very positive way. So, with the above in mind, I’m coming out. Not as queer—I really think that’s something most, if not all, of you have been aware of for a long time. I’ve been out about my sexuality to basically everyone since…geez, since I was in eleventh grade. That is, for those of you keeping track, somewhere in the neighbourhood of five years ago now. That’s a long time. This coming out is a bit of a different one, though probably still not a surprise if you’ve been paying ANY kind of attention to the things I write and the things I link. I am a person with disabilities.

The World Health Organization Targets Poor Countries for Treatment of Mental Illness

The World Health Organization says more than 75 percent of people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders living in developing countries do not receive any treatment or care. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan says people in poor countries miss out on care because it is generally believed that sophisticated and expensive technologies are essential in improving mental health. “In other words, we face a misperception that mental health care is a luxury item, a luxury item on the health agenda …  It costs two dollars per person per year,” Chan explained. “It is one of the best buys you can get. High profile disease always get the attention and mental disorders are disorders that people often do not talk about, brush aside, sweep under the carpet.”

AFL-CIO Blog: Actors with Disabilities All But Invisible on TV

About one in eight Americans is disabled, but you wouldn’t know it from watching TV. In the new fall TV season, only six characters out of 587, about 1 percent, will have a disability. Even more amazing is that only one of those actors has a disability in real life. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and a new report shows persons with disabilities are all but invisible on the nation’s five broadcast networks— ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox and NBC. That also means there are few opportunities for actors with disabilities to be cast.

cripchick – Happy Disability History Month

I want to talk about why disability looks white. I want us to understand how ableism has been leveraged against communities of color with black folks historically being thought of as less capable (therefore fit for slavery) and special education commonly serving as a means of segregating students of color both with and without disabilities. I want us to create a disability pride that acknowledges the complexities of our experience and does not pit living resiliently and proudly against the knowledge that disability is often created by injustice our communities face. All of this must be done without flattening our differences, without saying being disabled is just like being of color, just like being poor, just like being queer. Let us bring our best selves to community and learn to be with each other in ways that transform and grow who we are, even when (and though) the work is hard.

Huffington Post – Psychiatry and the Media: A Strange and Strained Relationship

As a practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist for almost 30 years, I cannot believe the major role sensationalism plays in determining what gets published in the popular media about mental illness and its treatment, especially concerning children. Recent examples include the September 2, 2010 New York Times front page article, “Child’s Ordeal Reveals Risks of Psychiatric Drugs in Young,” the September 8, 2010 piece in the Huffington Post, “Psychotropic Drugs, Our Children and Our Pill-Crazed Society” and the September 23, 2010 Huffington Post’s, “Making a Market in Antipsychotic Drugs: An Ironic Tragedy.” Where is the balanced approach to journalism that the public is entitled to expect from a free press? Most people get a substantial amount of their knowledge from what the media chooses to print, and sadly what is disseminated these days is often quite biased. Frequently, it is the off center, brash, highly emotional and clearly outrageous stories and/or the unorthodox physicians or therapists who write them or serve as their sources which make headlines much more than those with more reasonable views and approaches.

Denver Post – Movie Review: ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story

“It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” based on the first-person novel by Ned Vizzini, follows bright, depressed Craig Gilner (Keir Gilchrist) as he checks into the psych ward of a Manhattan hospital. He’s having suicidal thoughts. But as he hands his shoe laces over to an orderly, he’s having second thoughts. Yes, he’s blue. He’s has a crush on his best friend’s girl (Zoë Kravitz). He’s blocked about writing an essay for a prestigious summer school gig. Yes, he’s part of the Zoloft nation. But does he really belong on Three North among a population of wounded, idiosyncratic characters? How to explore mental illness — particularly depression — without cheating on the pain people face and keeping the wry energy of the book? It’s a balancing act that filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck don’t quite pull off.