Archive for February, 2010

Andrew Koenig's Father, Walter, Hopes Others Will Learn From His Son's Suicide

Friday, February 26th, 2010
Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games - Day 13

During one last sweep of Vancouver’s Stanley Park yesterday, a group of friends and family found the body of missing actor Andrew Koenig, best known for his role in the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains as Boner, Mike Seaver’s (Kirk Cameron) best friend.

After stating they have no reason to suspect foul play at this point, the Vancouver Police handed the case over to the British Columbia Coroner’s office. Various media sources are reporting suicide, and although I don’t think the coroner’s office has released any official statement (at least, none that I’ve found yet), suicide probably isn’t that big a leap, given Koenig’s history of depression and the ending statement of the somber speech Andrew’s father, Walter Koenig, gave yesterday: “My son took his own life.”


RCPsych Aims to Tackle Media Portrayal of Body Image

Thursday, February 25th, 2010
two teenage girls standing and reading magazine

America, Canada, and the United Kingdom are smack in the middle of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and, perhaps in recognition of that (as well as all the benefits they believe it will bring), the Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling for a new editorial code when it comes to media portrayal of healthy and unhealthy body images.

The College — which wants the new government to create a well-rounded forum of professionals in the advertising, government, and eating disorder fields — lists its current areas of concern as visual imagery, unbalanced articles, and inaccurate portrayal of eating disorders (the complete outlines of which you can read in the College’s official statement) and believes work in these areas could help stop the media from “promoting unhealthy body images and ‘glamorising’ eating disorders” and instead encourage them to “use images of people with more diverse body shapes, and help people feel more positive about their own bodies.”

Dr. Adrienne Key, consultant psychiatrist of the RCPsych Eating Disorders Section, briefly sums up the proposed forum:

The aims of the Forum should be to collaboratively develop an ethical editorial code that realistically addresses the damaging portrayal of eating disorders, raises awareness of unrealistic visual imagery created through airbrushing and digital enhancement, and also addresses the skewed and erroneous content of magazines.


Does the Dark History of Psychiatric Treatment Really Belong in the Past?

Monday, February 22nd, 2010
'Shutter Island' New York Premiere

Shutter Island, the latest cinematic collaboration of award winners director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, hit theaters last Friday. I haven’t seen it yet, but I have read a few reviews and – despite the film debuting to the tune of $40.2 million and all the exited “Go see Shutter Island!”-esque Twitter and Facebook updates I saw over the weekend — the overall reaction from critics seems to be, “…meh. It’s not all that hot.”

(For example, NYDailyNews.com’s Joe Neumaier says “‘Shutter Island’ is dead inside” and A.O. Scott of The New York Times warns, “Something TERRIBLE is afoot. Sadly, that something turns out to be the movie itself [...].”)

Given everything I’d read about Shutter Island up until its release, I was kind of surprised to find such reviews; I was more surprised, however, to find that the review that stuck out for me the most was written by someone who hasn’t seen the movie.


Tiger Woods To Publicly Apologize On Friday

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
2009 Australian Masters - Day 4

According to FOX, ABC, People Magazine, and various other news and entertainment sources, Tiger Woods has scheduled a conference for a select audience at 11 a.m. Friday, February 19 at the PGA Headquarters in Florida.

Topic?

His long-anticipated, verbal public apology for sleeping with I-don’t-even-know-how-many-women-who-weren’t-his-wife.

According to Mark Steinberg, Tiger’s agent, only a small gathering of a few reporters, “friends, colleagues and close associates” will have front row seats to listen to Tiger apologize for his past and talk about his plans for the future. (The rest of us can watch live via the CBS News Ustream channel.)

“While Tiger feels that what happened is fundamentally a matter between he and his wife, he also recognizes that he has hurt and let down a lot of other people who were close to him. He also let down his fans. He wants to begin the process of making amends and that’s what he’s going to discuss,” the statement said.


Is Media Coverage Of Suicide "Grossly Irresponsible"?

Monday, February 15th, 2010
Alexander McQueen London Flagship Store After The Designer Is Found Dead

Alexander McQueen, award-winning British fashion designer and favorite of celebrities like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Bjork, was found dead of a completed suicide in his London home last Thursday, just a few days before London Fashion Week.

I’ve read several articles about McQueen since Thursday, most of which dealt with announcing his death, speculating on the reason for his suicide, and discussing the devastation felt by models like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.

The most interesting article I’ve read, though, has so far been “It’s Despair, Not Grief, That Can Lead to Suicide” by The Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr.

From the title, you might think the article takes a look at the personal struggles that lead to a person committing suicide and, in a way, it does; however, Cadwalladr actually talks more about how publicizing, providing blanket coverage of, and “romanticizing” suicide can lead to more suicides than about grief, despair, or untreated mental illness as they’re related to suicide. She cites a 1970s study that states a front-page story about suicide led to 58 more deaths and quoting head of the Oxford Centre for Suicide Research, professor Keith Hawton, as calling the evidence “overwhelming.”


John Mayer on Insecurity, Anxiety, and (Lots of) Sex

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
Vh1 Storytellers: John Mayer

Confession: I used to not really like John Mayer.

I mean, I liked him – back during the Room for Squares and Heavier Things eras. And Continuum was pretty good. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get enough of “Clarity” – it’s just one of those songs that plucks at my neurons, you know? – and his cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” is just fantastic.

Okay, basically I liked John Mayer right up until the moment I thought he broke Jennifer Aniston’s heart. I love her, and just want her to be happy. I know I don’t actually know her, and I know I don’t actually know what happened between them, but, whatever. I’m only human.

And my heart just goes out to her for all this unlucky in love business.

Anyway, when Psychology Today‘s Mikhail Lyubansky suggested his readers check out Playboy‘s recent interview with Mayer, I almost didn’t. It looked long and really, at that point, I still didn’t like John Mayer.

But I read it. I figured I needed something to do while I scarfed down lunch, anyway, so I read it.

And, kind of surprisingly, I think I like John Mayer again.


Scorsese, DiCaprio Reunite For 'Shutter Island'

Monday, February 8th, 2010
The Pressroom at the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards!

Of all the Super Bowl commercials last night, the one that stuck with me the most, surprisingly, did not involve the E*TRADE baby.

It was the preview for the new Martin Scorsese movie Shutter Island, the film adaptation of author Dennis Lehane’s best-selling 2003 novel – a movie the Los Angeles Times suggests might be “too sophisticated and complex for younger audiences and too intense and genre-driven for many of the adults who support cinema by serious directors” and one Scorsese admits was not just another day in the director’s chair:

I tried to pull back a few times and not get so emotionally and psychologically involved… But this story, these characters — it was a very unsettling experience.

Why?

Shutter Island tells the story of Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule, two U.S. Marshalls who set up shop on a remote island off the coast of Massachusetts in order to investigate the disappearance of a murderess from the island’s “fortress-like hospital for the criminally insane,” and I imagine when one is a highly acclaimed filmmaker dealing with the subject of mental illness set against the backdrop of a pretty dark plot, one tends to get a bit stressed.


Greg Montgomery Becomes President, National Spokesperson for everyminute.org

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Exciting things are taking place down south right now, and I’m not just talking about the action-packed days leading up to Super Bowl XLIV.

NFL All-Pro and nine-year veteran punter Greg Montgomery, Jr. is cruising media row to announce his new status as President and National Spokesperson for the suicide prevention and mental illness research campaign everyminute.org.

The three-time yards-per-punt average leader teamed up with Michael Corbin, everyminute.org’s founder, in January and plans to blend his knowledge and experience to dramatically change the way mental wellness is approached in the world of sports.

This alliance is one Montgomery believes will “give hope to those suffering depression and mental illness and raise money for research and awareness” and one that everyminute.org’s founder, Michael Corbin, says will help them “reach a demographic that is very difficult to break into”:

The 13- to 30-year-old demographic is when a majority of mental illnesses are likely to manifest themselves; the folks are also the most likely to attempt suicide without seeking help. In 2006, 33,300 people died by suicide in the U.S; over 1,012,300 suicides have been attempted since this campaign’s launch on February 29th, 2008. That’s one every minute. Greg’s bravery and willingness to step out and make a difference as a sports icon should open some eyes and let people know its okay to look to others without shame.

Montgomery and Corbin are currently in the process of building what Montgomery calls the “everyminute.org Dream Team,” and in the near future he sees everyminute.org “aligning itself with the most respected and goundbreaking thought leaders in the field of mental wellness.”

“This is why I’ve teamed up with everyminute.org,” says Montgomery. “To help provide access to a population of athletes who are under remarkable pressure from friends, family, fans, coaches, and themselves. Our goal is to help teams and players get their hands on a comprehensive program that can strengthen the mental aspects of every player on the field.”

Exciting things indeed :)

You can learn more about Montgomery’s journey when you visit his blog, The Art of Surviving Bipolar Disorder. Also, don’t forget to head …


Kevin Federline Talks Depression, Weight Gain, and Britney Spears

Monday, February 1st, 2010

If you have any experience at all with depression – whether it’s you, a family member, or a friend – you’re probably all too aware of the havoc the mental condition can wreak on your weight. Both weight gain and weight loss are symptoms of depression, and on the “How Much Are We Talkin’ About Here?” scale, both usually tip closer to the significant, rather than the slight, side of the spectrum.

Kevin Federline is one of the most recent famous names to openly talk about his depression. In a recent interview with Access Hollywood’s Maria Menounos, Federline tags his break up with Britney Spears and overall unhappiness with himself as causes of his depression.

“A number of things between, I mean, everybody knows what happened with me and Brit. I’m not going to say that’s the total cause of it but, I mean, just not being happy with myself was probably the main part of my depression,” he said.

“Once you get depressed, you don’t really feel like doing anything. You’re kind of discouraged about yourself and then the weight gain too, or that makes me more depressed,” he said. “I mean, it’s a combination of all of those things.”

He doesn’t talk about how he managed the depression specifically, simply stating that things keep “getting better and better” and that his whole family has “gotten so much better from where [they] were,” but Federline tells Menounos that in order to tackle the weight he agreed to sign on as a contestant on VH-1′s “Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp” – an offer that apparently came at the perfect time:

“They called me and they asked me if I wanted to do it and I had maybe 24 hours to decide because the show started taping the next day after that weekend,” he said. “It just couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Kudos to you, Federline.

“Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp” airs next Monday (February 8, 2010), and if you want more information about depression check out Psych Central’s Depression Information and Treatment as well as this recent …


 

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