Tag: mental-health

What Would Philippe Pinel Do? Old and New Understandings of Mental Illness

I was intrigued when, on February 1, 2018, I heard the journalist and author Johann Hari on Democracy Now! talking about his most recent book, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression—and the Unexpected Solutions. In this book, Hari argued that the primary cause of “rising depression and anxiety is not in our heads.”… Read more →

The Freshman Fifteen: A Stigmatized Phenomenon

Seventeen magazine popularized the phrase “freshman fifteen” in 1989 and the phrase remains ubiquitous in U.S. culture today.1 Seventeen’s cover story “Fighting the Freshman 15” depicted the inevitable weight gain as an uphill, hopeless battle. The so-called “freshman fifteen” fostered a legendary nervous epidemic amongst students, especially women, entering their first year of college. How… Read more →

Take a Hay Ride: Remembering Louise Hay

On August 30, 2017, Louise Hay died. Hay was a metaphysical healer who began her journey in healing at the First Church of Religious Science in the late 1960s. Her first publication was a 1976 pamphlet that came to be called, “Heal Your Body.” She became a best-selling author and publisher in the 1980s in… Read more →

I Think I Love You: Life, Death, and the Enduring Legacy of David Cassidy Fever

On May 30, 1974, 14-year-old Bernadette Whelan died after lingering in a coma for four days. The cause of her death? Officially, “traumatic asphyxiation.” Unofficially, according to the coroner, “a victim of contrived hysteria,” otherwise known as David Cassidy Fever. Twenty-six years later, at 14 years of age, my own life was saved. The cause… Read more →

Listening to Women: Accessing Women’s Pain from First World War Pension Records

In March 1917, Nurse G., a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse, was on duty at 29 General Hospital in Salonika, Greece, when the hospital sustained its second air raid in a week.1 According to the matron of the hospital, “in the next tent to where she was on duty a bomb was dropped, completely wrecking… Read more →

Was the Founding Generation Right to Worry?

On February 13, 2017, thirty-five physicians signed a letter to the New York Times that stated: “We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.” Even a quick glance at social media or political buttons and bumper stickers shows us that these… Read more →

Can Mental Illness Be Funny?

This essay discusses the plot and characters of the most recent seasons of the TV shows You’re the Worst, Lady Dynamite, and BoJack Horseman. Spoilers ahead! In the era of “Peak TV,” there are many shows that are breaking the mold of what viewers may expect to see on the small screen.1 While in the… Read more →

Diagnosing Donald Trump

In his analysis of Donald Trump’s fitness for office, Brookings Institution fellow Robert Kagan recently wrote that “we can leave it to the professionals” to label with precision the relationship between Donald Trump’s behavior and what may be a clinically defined mental illness or personality disorder. Other commentators are less reluctant to diagnosis Mr. Trump…. Read more →

Mental Health and Criminal Justice in Civil War Kentucky

The Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition (CWG-K) is a cutting-edge digital humanities project dedicated to imaging, transcribing, annotating, and publishing documents related to Kentucky’s five Civil War governors and making them accessible/searchable online (free of charge) to researchers and the general public alike. Each week, CWG-K editors highlight interesting finds from the… Read more →

Hip Hop Breaks Silence on Mental Health: Pharoahe Monch’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

By Austin McCoy

While some hip hop artists and groups have addressed the issue of healthy eating, few have tackled mental health. Hip hop’s distant relationship with mental health should not be surprising, as many African Americans have considered issues such as depression, suicide, and other mental and psychiatric ailments taboo. Last month, the suicide of For Brown Girls’ creator and blogger, Karyn Washington, served as a reminder of the enduring silence of African American depression sufferers. Washington’s death provoked conversations among black members of the media about mental health. Coincidentally, rapper Pharoahe Monch released his fourth album—Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)—a week after Washington’s passing. In the album, Monch highlights the intersections of the stresses of inner city life, drug use, suicide, and the structural and cultural barriers to pursuing mental health care. PTSD just might serve as the perfect opening to a conversation on African American mental health.