I’ve read a handful of great articles about OCD and other mental illness lately, and I thought I’d share a few instead of one of my usual OCD-themed blog posts.

Some are about OCD, and some are about other aspects of mental health, because OCD often comes along with depression or other “friends.”

Pure OCD: When logic is overthrown by nightmare-like thoughts

This is a really excellent explanation of what “Pure OCD” — obsessive thoughts about sex, violence or religious topics with only mental rituals — is and how to treat it. One thing I was pleasantly surprised to see is that it went over why traditional talk therapy can be detrimental in treating OCD, and which kinds of therapy are most effective.

In the article, Aaron Harvey, who has this form of OCD, talks about how it has affected him and why it’s important to spread the word about less common forms of OCD.

Today, Harvey is breaking his silence and has launched IntrusiveThoughts.org, a website dedicated to educating and empowering OCD sufferers. Harvey’s mission to raise awareness of the disorder is personal. He said he doesn’t want kids to suffer alone like he did.

“I could have lived a much different life over the last 20 years— a much healthier and happier life,” Harvey said, “and the only way to do that is to empower sufferers with the condition to actually start talking about them.”

Read more at Fox News.

From One Asian American to Others: These Are 5 Things You Need to Know About Mental Illness

This is an absolutely fantastic article that is both a first-person narrative of one woman’s experiences with depression, and an exploration how culture plays a role in the successful treatment of mental illness.

While writing a couple of stories about mental illness for my “day job” back before I went freelance, I had the opportunity to discuss outreach with a pair of NAMI volunteers. One of their biggest challenges was cultural, they said — not just the stigma that American culture in general places on mental illness, but the additional stigma and beliefs that many cultures place on mental health treatment.

Elizabeth Ribar writes a very nuanced piece about how she was damaged by her family’s cultural beliefs that her depression was merely attention-seeking behavior, and her mother’s insistence that she not see a therapist until she was in college. She also suggests solutions for talking more about mental illness.

Irina, a 26-year-old Korean American, told me she felt the same way. She had sought treatment for her severe anxiety and her mother forbade her to go to therapy when she was in high school. Like me, in college, she began seeing a therapist without her parents’ knowledge.

I absolutely hate how Irina and I have had to hide what is one of the biggest issues we face on a daily basis. We should be able to discuss this openly, and without fear. We need to know we are not alone.

Read more at XOJane.

U.S. Suicide Rates Go Up & Up: What Does It Mean?

The last article in this batch is from PsychCentral’s own World of Psychology blog, and it’s a doozy. Scientists have found that, instead of being reduced, suicide rates in the U.S. are actually going up.

And specific groups seem to be at much higher risk with a jump in their suicide rates during the study period. The New York Times notes, “American Indians had the sharpest rise of all racial and ethnic groups, with rates rising by 89 percent for women and 38 percent for men. White middle-aged women had an increase of 80 percent.”

This is not great news. Worse, researchers don’t really know why rates have gone up, although they have some ideas, ranging from increased access to firearms and prescription painkillers to the rise of social media. Dr. John Grohol makes a great case for Facebook and Instagram being a contributor, at least. He also points to a decline in access to mental health services, particularly long-term treatment.

I’d add that the economy is likely part of it. While some of the research took place after the Great Recession ended, the fact is that there are still a lot of us who are financially no better off than we were during the recession, and many are worse off. With student loan debt we can’t hope to get out of and chances for upward mobility looking slim, I know it’s played a part in my own depression at times.

When my OCD and mood disorder were at their worst, I spent hours every day for weeks and months at a time contemplating suicide, planning it, but (thankfully) never working up the courage to actually follow through. Some of it was hopelessness about my mental illness; some of it was hopelessness about my general situation.

I’m so glad I never actually completed an attempt, and I’m so sad that others do and never get the chance to regain their happiness.

Read more at PsychCentral.

And if you’re feeling hopeless, please head to Hopeline, the Veterans Crisis Line or the Trevor Project and talk to someone.

Photo by b o w n o s e