NAVIGATION- Dr. Charles R. Davenport; Licensed Psychologist

Tag : mental-health

Mental health to blame for shootings?

In a recent address, president Trump said, “We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment but when necessary involuntary confinement.”

President Trump may not be an expert on mental health but one accurate point is the need for increased access to mental health treatment.

Another comment he made, “Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.” Well, experts may not agree with the president here. There seems to be a theme of fear and separation between groups of people in recent years. When we are scared and separated from others we loose many of the more developed of human skills. Infact, when humans are scared the fight or flight response can be triggered and it becomes mach harder if not impossible to use higher order thinking such as future planning, empathy, and advanced problem solving.

The fight or flight response is a powerful force to keep us alive however, it has one purpose to keep us alive number one. Anything else can get tagged by this system as auxiliary and a possible risk to survival. Taking the time to think about a possible threat can get us killed so quick decision to destroy the threat or separate ourselves from it are frequently the only options when the fight or flight system is actiavted.

The fight or flight system is not bad or good but it is a very powerful system. It frequently is at work as a reflex meaning we typically are not aware of its impact on us. As individuals and as a society increased awareness of this process in our lives can be powerful and freeing!

Experts from the American Psychological Association, have called it “unfounded”to blame mass shootings on mental illness in place of considering other possible factors, such as hate, bigotry and access to assault weapons. Not that access to assault weapons has to be good or bad. However, access can increase risk statistically.

Calling every mass shooting a mental health problem is “inaccurate and it’s stigmatizing,” said Arthur Evans, chief executive officer of the American Psychological Association.

Mental illness affects millions of adults across the country. About 1 in 5 adults in the United States, or 46.6 million, experience mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

It might be suggested that, when fear activates the fight or flight systems, people are more willing to destroy things and each other and others are more willing to control and isolate individuals who are identified as a threat rather then working to better understand what is occurring. Labeling scary things like shootings as the direct result of mental health is not likely helpful or accurate in the long run.

Dr. Davenport is. a Licensed Psychologist in Sarasota and Venice, FL who treats anxiety, depression and relationship problems with children, adolescents, and adults. Please call 941-321-1971 to schedule an appointment.

Take a sick day for mental health?

Madalyn Parker, a 26 year-old web developer for Olark, in Ann Arbor, MI took a sick day for mental health and news of her day off went viral.

Madalyn wrote “I’am taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health.” She reported some anxiety and depression that has not consistently responded to medication.  The CEO of Olark responded with support which touched Parker.

career stress

Tens of thousands of people responded to Parkers post bring attention to the importance of seeing mental health problems as equally important as physical health problems. It is widely accepted that mental health issues, if left unchecked, leave us at greater risk for a number of physical health issues. If we treat both equally we will be in the best position to be as effective as possible in our lives.

Clare Miller, director of the partnership for workplace mental health at the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, said “We know from literature that there is a huge amount of calling in sick because of mental health issues” many of which are due to depression. Many times employees take sick days with complaints like “I don’t feel well.”

depression at work

Many employers do not respond as Olark did. A 2016 Work and Well-being survey of 1,501 workers by the American Psychological Association suggested that less than one-half felt their employer supported employee well-being. One third felt chronically stressed on the job.

Charles R. Davenport, Psy.D., LLC. provides counseling services and therapy for individuals in Sarasota, FL and Venice, FL. If you struggle with depression, career stress, or anxiety call 941-321-1971 to talk to Licensed Psychologist Dr. Charles R. Davenport.

Mental Health Treatment: Dan Rather comments

The importance of paying attention to mental health in his treatment was recently discussed in a Sarasota Herald Tribune article. The article has a 17 min. plus commentary by Dan Rather. Rather was a speaker at the seventh annual Isermann Family Foundation free community lecture. This lecture focused on defeating the stigma of mental illness and has previously brought advocates such as Patrick Kennedy, Richard Dreyfus, and Carrie Fisher.

Dan Rather has a history of presenting topics related to mental health and in his discussion was able to trace some of the current difficulties back to failure of follow through and 60s. There was progressive thought at the time the closing psychiatric hospitals would be favorable allowing patients to move into outpatient facilities. This potentially positive ideal never seemed to come to fruition as it was imagined. Mental health seems to have a heavy stigma in our culture and frequently  is gravely misunderstood. Just as our culture has had strongly held false beliefs in the past, many of the beliefs about mental healthmay one be looked at in a similar fashion. Those who struggle with significant mental illness are likely also to have financial difficulty. This is not about weakness but frequently secondary to an illness. If someone had cardiac problems and was not able to work, popular culture would not likely judge them as negatively as someone who struggles with depression or hallucinations and is unemployed. We are all susceptible to being influenced by depression or anxiety at some point in our lives if we are being most honest. If we are able to use these experiences to better understand others, to move closer to them rather than seeing how we’re different we may be in a better position to make change.

Rather suggested to bring change we need to “teach the children… Stigma is so deeply embedded and so difficult to overcome. Teach the children to have compassion, to see them as our brothers and sisters….”



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