Full Frame explores mental health awareness

Full Frame

People living with mental illness surpass both cancer patients and cardiovascular disease sufferers in numbers, yet 50 percent of individuals grappling with mental illness never receive treatment. This week’s episode of Full Frame takes a look at the stigmas that surround mental health, and how to move past them.

Full Frame explores mental health awareness

Full Frame explores mental health awareness

People living with mental illness surpass both cancer patients and cardiovascular disease sufferers in numbers, yet 50 percent of individuals grappling with mental illness never receive treatment. This week’s episode of Full Frame takes a look at the stigmas that surround mental health, and how to move past them.

Tune into Full Frame on CCTV America at 6:00 PM EST on Saturday, February 7, 2015. Or watch the live stream of the program here.

Olympic Swimmer Amanda Beard speaks out about struggles with body image

Amanda Beard is a seven-time Olympic medalist, world record holder, and swimming superstar since the age of 14 when she first appeared on the international stage to compete – and win gold – at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

She’s also had a successful career as a model, gracing the pages and covers of magazines such as “Sports Illustrated”.

But while the world saw a beautiful and athletic woman, Beard struggled with her body image and mental health.

In her autobiography, “In the Water They Can’t See You Cry”, Beard recounts her struggles with self-mutilation, an eating disorder, and depression.

Afraid to be seen as weak, she hid her problems, presenting one version of herself to the public while feeling like a completely different person at home.

Eventually, and with the help of her now husband, Sacha Brown, Beard sought therapy and overcame her struggles. She is now the proud mother of two children, whose health and happiness are much more important than her appearance, she says.

By sharing her story, Beard hopes that she can encourage people, especially young athletes, to know they’re not alone.

This week on Full Frame, Mike Walter sits down with Beard to discuss her triumphs both in and out of the pool.

Follow Amanda Beard on Twitter: @AmandaRayBeard

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Overcoming stigmas about mental health

More than 60 million Americans experience some kind of mental illness every year, according to The National Alliance on Mental Illness, and yet, a stigma persists that makes talking about it difficult for many.

Gabriela Gonzales, 29, suffered from untreated depression for more than a decade. Without therapy or medication, she turned to drugs to deal with the pain and suicidal thoughts. Her addiction to methamphetamine left her homeless and separated from her children.

Organizations such as Kickstart in San Diego, California are targeting young people like Gonzalez, focusing on early detection for mental disorders. By looking for and treating early symptoms, they can educate at-risk youth on strategies for dealing with and preventing serious breakdowns and suicides, which are the third leading cause of death for youths ages 15-24.

Luckily, after a year at a treatment center, Gonzales has turned her life around. She has an apartment and a job, and is looking forward to being reunited with her child.

Full Frame contributor Sandra Hughes reports this week on efforts to overcome the stigma of mental health.

Kita Curry hopes to raise awareness on mental illnesses

According to a recent Kaiser study, when asked whether or not they would feel comfortable living next door to a person with a mental illness, only 48 percent of adults said yes.

But psychologist Kita Curry wants the public to know that mental illness does not only plague the homeless or perpetrators of mass violence. It takes affects our neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family members.

Curry has been working to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness for years. As a child, she struggled at home with her alcoholic father. When she attempted suicide as a teenager, her mother simply said she was looking for attention.

It was when Curry was in her 20s and studying psychology, that she first sought the help of a therapist. It was difficult, however, especially since she was young and uninsured. Today, she serves as the President and CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, and helps others who face similar struggles. Since she took the helm in 1999, the organization’s services have nearly doubled, serving over 78,000 adults and children in Southern California each year.

Kita Curry joins Mike Walter in the studio to discuss the societal stigmas that surrounds mental illness, and how she and her colleagues are working to offer help at the community level.

Follow Kita Curry and Didi Hirsch MHS on Twitter: @Kita_Curry, @DidiHirsch

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Panel discusses suicide prevention

Two of our guests come together this week to offer varying perspectives on the internal and external effects of mental illness. After struggling with bipolar disorder and depression, at 19 years-old, Kevin Hines attempted to end his own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Miraculously, he survived. At 12 years-old, Eric Marcus lost his father to suicide, and three decades later his sister-in-law took her own life.

Both Hines and Marcus have written about their life-changing experiences. Hines’ memoir, “Cracked But Not Broken” describes his lifelong journey with Type one bipolar disorder with psychotic tendencies. He describes the day he decided to jump from the bridge and the path that eventually led him to live a life devoted to helping others, rather than harming himself.

Marcus’ book, “Why Suicide?” focuses on answering questions that people might have about suicide or mental disorders, but are perhaps too afraid to ask. It’s a guide that Marcus himself wishes he had access to when he was coping with the loss of his father at age 12, and attempting to help family members years later.

Nearly 40,000 people die from suicide every year, yet professionals believe that mental illness is not seen by the public as a health threat like other diseases. Both of our panelists are on a mission to change that perception.

Hines has spoken in front of tens of thousands of people about his experience and has seen the impact of his story on their lives, while Marcus now serves as a senior director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Marcus and Hines sit down with Mike Walter to recount their experiences and ways to raise awareness about mental health issues.

Follow Kevin Hines on Twitter: @KevinHinesStory

Follow Eric Marcus and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on Twitter: @whysuicide, @afspnational

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The Strangers Project: Collecting the stories of strangers

Have you ever found yourself wondering a complete stranger’s life? Most people probably keep those questions to themselves, never knowing the answers. But what if you asked that stranger to share his or her story?

Brandon Doman did in 2009, when he was living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sitting at a coffee shop, Doman found himself people-watching, curious about the lives that passed him by.

So he set up a sign that asked people to stop and share their stories. An hour later, he had a dozen journal entries from complete strangers – and a new project, which he calls, “The Strangers Project.”

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Doman has now collected over 10,000 anonymous stories that he shares online, in books, and in exhibits across the country. The stories depict a range of human experiences from the sad and the funny.

His only requirement is that all the stories must be true and hand-written in person.

Writing and reading these stories can be a way to feel less alone and more connected — and remind people that maybe they’re not really strangers in the end.

On this week’s Close-Up, we follow Doman as he collects stories in New York, and learns how the human connections made through his collection of anonymous journal entries can be helpful for others.

Follow “The Strangers Project” on Twitter: @StrangersProj

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