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Bradley Cooper and the Center for American Progress on Mental Health

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Celebrity and Hollywood actor, Bradley Cooper, could have used his talk show appearances to only promote his new movie Silver Linings Playbook, but instead he also saw it as an opportunity to spread awareness on mental health issues.

Bradley Cooper in conjunction with the Center for American Progress, former Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy, and other leading mental health professionals convened a press conference to discuss the stigmas associated with mental illness which was first reported on by the Huffington Post.

I knew after reading the article, the conference video was a valuable piece of information that needed to be shared. Additionally, I had seen Bradley making the rounds on MSNBC , but I must admit that I had not seen the movie. To be thorough, I decided to see the movie before sharing the informational video attached to below this article.

I kept hearing this movie was the best movie of the year. Well, the same was said for Les Miserable, Zero Dark Thirty, and Lincoln all of which I have seen. Normally, I don’t go see movies dealing with this type of subject matter because I’ve already seen more than my share from work.

To my chagrin, this is undoubtedly one of the best movies I have ever seen. As a social worker, the main characters, Pat and Tiffany, have been my client at one time or another with their explosive behaviors, extreme highs, and extreme lows as well as bouts with law. This movie not only captures reality, but it gave these characters humanity, dignity and respect. Often, our clients may be one case out of the 15 others cases on our service, and it can create many challenges in developing one on one connections with each client.

This movie reminded me about the complexities of living with mental illness for the individual and their family. People struggling with mental health disorders don’t spin out of control from a lack of desire to get better.  Access to resources, health care, support, and basic care are vital for them to achieve their best-self.  In the movie, both Pat and Tiffany live with their parents which provided a safe space for them to work full-time on their mental illness.

The movie utilized a holistic approach between the court system, hospital, therapist, and family in providing treatment options for Pat which allowed him to find his silver lining.  Imagine if Pat was homeless and without healthcare while dealing with pending charges he had in the movie? It would have been another episode of Cops instead of an uplifting movie about overcoming challenges due to mental illness.

If you haven’t seen this movie, I would advise every practitioner, student, and aspiring student to go see it. I left the movie theater feeling proud to be apart of the social work profession despite the many challenges we face ahead in providing quality care to vulnerable populations.

Here is an excerpt from the Huffington Post article:

Silver Linings Playbook is such a personal movie for David and when we all came together, it became a personal movie for all of us. Tiffany, she serves as a catalyst and she’s the first person who actually sees who Pat is. That’s the thing that this film has done, people around this country who have seen this film say “this film actually sees who I am” because it’s heavily stigmatized, its not a very treatable disease and it’s a condition that is diagnosed way too late. So hopefully, a movie like this will help it become in the onset. That the best thing about this movie, that its able to reach out and make people feel included. ~ Bradley Cooper

I have included the video of the panel discussion on mental health at the Center for American Progress for your review:

Deona Hooper, MSW is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Social Work Helper, and she has experience in nonprofit communications, tech development and social media consulting. Deona has a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Management and Community Practice as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

7 Comments
Cece Black Cece Black says:

AND MAKING this MOVIE!!!!!

Cece Black Cece Black says:

As a former Adjunct Instructor in the Graduate and Undergraduate School of Social Work in the lover 48… and in the Undergraduate Dept. of Psychology at Univ. of Alaska SE… and a Mental Health Professional for over 3 decades…. I highly recommend this movie to be part of the class curricula requirement for term papers/projects…and when I resume teaching it will certainly be integrated into my class requirements! Thank You Bradley….and ALL involved…for your media coverage of such a Vital and Life-saving Move!!!!

I agree Joanne….maybe the movie will bring some awareness on the challenges a person with mental health issues face.

There need to be more awareness about Mental Health.

Entertainment

Actor Terry Crews Comes Forward About Being Sexually Assaulted by Hollywood Exec

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Actor Terry Crews takes to Twitter to discuss being sexually assaulted by a Hollywood Executive in the wake of the firing of Harvey Weinstein for sexual assault after years of accusations.

Actor Terry Crews

Did you hear the Expendables star say last year?

How is it the criminal justice system doesn’t seem to be able to touch these folks?

Power and privilege keep a lot of people silent.

He just validated a whole lot of women who deal with this on the regular. It’s not easy to come forward.

There is strength in numbers and knowing you are not alone.

Both men and women are affected by sexual assault and rape culture, and it will take more men becoming advocates as well as coming forward to tell their stories because they have stories too.

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The Y Wants Everyone to Take a #SelfieWithSomeoneNew

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Today, the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) is launching a new social media campaign, #SelfieWithSomeoneNew. Inspired by the Y’s new “Us” national campaign creative, #SelfieWithSomeoneNew is an opportunity to highlight how the Y uniquely brings people together. To help raise awareness for the campaign, the Y will partner with long-time member and supporter, actor Ethan Hawke.

Photo Credit: (YMCA of the USA)

The Y is encouraging people to meet someone new, strike up a conversation and discover what they have in common, then, take a selfie and post it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #SelfieWithSomeoneNew and tag @YMCA.

Whether it’s a new neighbor down the street, a parent at your child’s school or a person you see every day on your commute home, the Y hopes people will take a few extra moments to get to know one another in order to build a stronger, more connected community.

To encourage participation, the Y is partnering with Oscar-nominated actor, Ethan Hawke, a long-time Y member and former Y camper. To help drive momentum, Hawke will be taking a selfie with someone new at his local Y while encouraging others to do the same.

“I am excited to support the Y and help shine a light on the work they do,” said Hawke. “They are so much more than a gym. They create community. I started going to the Y as kid when my parents didn’t know what to do with me all summer. Since then, the Y has been a staple in my life; my refuge when I am an out of work actor, or the place that has taught my children to swim. I hope we can raise awareness about everything the Y does in communities all over the country.”

Because of the Y, people who may not have met otherwise, come together, whether they are kids in an afterschool enrichment program, adults in a cancer survivorship group or families volunteering. These are natural and easy ways for people to find commonality and even unity among perceived differences.

“For more than 160 years, the Y has brought people together – no matter their differences – and helped build stronger, more connected communities,” said Kevin Washington, President and CEO, Y-USA. “#SelfieWithSomeoneNew is a great way to illustrate how we can all take small, but meaningful steps towards unity with something as simple as a photo.”

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymca.net

For more information on how to participate in the Y’s #SelfieWithSomeoneNew campaign and to learn more about the Y’s “For a better us.” campaign, visit ymca.net/forabetterus.

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Have You Heard the “Suicide Prevention Anthem 1-800-273-8255”

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MTV – VMAs

National Suicide Prevention Month begins on September 1st, and MTV officially kicked off the awareness month with a performance of “1-800-273-8255” by Logic along with Khalid and Alessia Cara at the VMAs. The song’s title just happens to be the number to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, and the performance also included a group of suicide attempt survivors who came on stage wearing shirts with the number to the suicide helpline.

The song begins from the perspective of someone who wants to die and feels there is no one there to care about what happens to them. The opening hook for the song states, “I don’t want to be alive, I just want to die today, I just want to die.” Some may take an issue with the beginning of the song, but it can not be understated the importance of identifying those feelings in order to seek help.

A recent study which included 32 children’s hospital across the United States revealed an alarming increase in self-harm and suicidality in children and teens ranges from ages 5 to 17 over the past decade. Also, the School of Social Work and Social Care at the University of Birmingham released a recent study stating, “Children and young people under-25 who become victims of cyberbullying are more than twice as likely to enact self-harm and attempt suicide than non-victims.”

The second hook starts with “I want you to be alive, You don’t gotta die today, You don’t gotta die.” The song moves from a place of darkness to a place of support. When someone expresses suicidal thoughts, it is critical to not dismiss their feelings or minimize the weight of the issues preventing them from wanting to live. The Center for Disease control list death by suicide as the number 1 cause of death in the 15-19 age group. According to the National Data on Campus Suicides, “1 in 12 college students have written down a suicide plan as a result of stresses related to school, work, relationships, social life, and still developing as a young adult.”

John Draper, Director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, in an interview talked about the impact the song is already having. Draper said: “The impact has been pretty extraordinary. On the day the song was released, we had the second-highest call volume in the history of our service. Overall, calls to the hotline are up roughly 33% from this time last year.” via CNN

“I finally want to be alive, I don’t want to die today, I don’t want to die” are the lyrics and the tone in which the songs end. Then, it leads into an incredibly woke statement by Logic, and here is a sample:

“I am here to fight for your equality because I believe that we are all born equal, but we are not treated equally at that is why we must fight!” – Logic VMAs

The trend for suicide deaths is on an upward climb. A 2015 study by the Center for Disease Control state there were twice as many suicides than homicides in the United States. It’s time we end the stigma and myths surrounding suicide attempt survivors “doing it for the attention.” Suicidal thoughts may be an ongoing struggle instead of a one-off event to prevent. In this case, we need to arm loved ones and at risk individuals with information as well as tools and resource to manage their mental health status.

Suicide Warning Signs

Another useful resource is the Crisis Text Line in which users can send a text to a trained counselor and typically receive a response within 5 minutes. Texters can begin by texting “START to 741741” to get connected.

Mental Health providers and practitioners are always looking for ways to connect and reach those most at risk for suicidal and self-harming behaviors, and pop culture often has a direct connection to those who are the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, a recent study identified a link between 13 Reasons Why and suicidal thoughts in which it found “queries about suicide and how to commit suicide spiked in the show’s wake.”

However, unlike Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why“, this song is already showing that it will have the opposite effect by increasing queries and online searches about the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. If you have not seen this powerful VMA performance, I urge you to check it out.

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