Tag: mental health

Keeping Mentally Fit During the Worst of Times

Week two of doing a video blog. As the pressure continues to mount on countries and people around the world, UIO podcast continues, along side many others, to explore ways to keep safe and healthy. This week I look at keeping mentally fit. Of course, this a huge task for any of us, particularly those who have suffered loss and those who are directly suffering ill health. Still it is so important for all of us to join together and do what we can.

On that note, I am sending prayers and heartfelt hugs, even if they are virtual, to everyone everywhere, particularly our healthcare workers throughout the world. So pleased to join our neighbours throughout the country last night in applauding our NHS. Anyhow, watch my vlog on YouTube.

Talking About Mental Health: The Brave Thing To Do

Though I initially wondered if the campaign team for Children’s Mental Health Week meant ‘Find your courage’  instead of ‘Find your brave’ for this year’s theme (my brain was stuck on nouns instead of thinking outside of the box), I am truly struck by the depth of the words.

The phrase really does create an opportunity to not only step up to the plate in a big situation,  but to do so in what might seem the smallest of matters, too, like, for example, acknowledging that something isn’t right mentally and emotionally and then talking to a trusted person about it.

For instance, as a teenager when I might have somehow been left out of a circle,  whether it was intentional or not, I felt quite upset about it but kept it all inside and in hindsight, I can now see how keeping quiet might have impacted my self-worth, my emotional health, putting a blight on my teen experiences. 

Still, to express my feelings about what seemed a small matter was a tall order. Quite frankly, it’s a tall order even for an adult sometimes, let alone for a child. Situations can be misunderstood and misconstrued, making matters worse. No wonder so many people keep quiet. No one wants to be chastised or isolated.

For me, this low keyed approached lasted well until a few years ago. Only after I was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), that I opened up about my own mental health. Sure, I was quick to see the problems of others, but I found it extremely difficult to see my own issues and talk about them, no matter how small or large.

For instance, while caring for my mother, who had a long-term illness, I often felt beyond depressed and so emotionally tired that I could feel it deep within my bones. I just made it a norm and kept it all in. Reflecting, I wonder if unmanaged grief, along with other stresses, led to GAD.

But with the diagnosis I began to see mental health for what it really is—equally as important and urgent as physical health.  In our latest podcast Series 3: Episode 6 – On Social Anxiety, Claire Eastham talks about the importance of understanding this and getting a diagnosis but as her own story shows,  getting help is not always straight forward.  It is often not only the individual suffering, who might be in denial, but also those around might dismiss the problem or misunderstand it, too.

For example, people with social anxiety are often confused as shy or eccentric, so no wonder they find it difficult to acknowledge or talk about the issue. Furthermore, being pigeonholed or ostracised can have a major impact on self-esteem, robbing the sufferer of the confidence to talk about the condition.

That was certainly my experience as a teenager and when caring for my mother. In the podcast, Claire has some brilliant tips on dealing with social anxiety specifically and one of them is to remember that it isn’t your fault. This tip lends itself to all mental health issues. Understanding this might lead to the willingness to rethink the issue and reach out for help.

Finding the nerves to say something that needs to be said is very much about finding your brave.  What a powerful theme for all of us–adults, teenagers and children alike.

For more resources on mental health, check out our other related podcasts as well: Series 1: Episode 6 – Your Mind Inside Out and Series 2: Episode 2 – On Undiagnosed Mental Illness. Listen to UIO wherever you listen to podcasts or subscribe to our rss feed.

Giving The Brain Its Props

It has been quite an insightful experience for me to do our podcast On Social Anxiety—such a common disorder but perhaps just as misunderstood or perhaps even more than health anxiety, which I could write a book about. But I won’t as this blog is not about being called a hypochondriac with a view that it is all delusional rather it is about being typecast as shy or eccentric and therefore being often begrudged any empathy or support for your condition.

Thankfully, I haven’t suffered with social anxiety but UIO guest Claire Eastham, best-selling author of We’re all Mad Here, has and  was able to shed some light on just how serious the matter is.

Too often we simply give the body a lot more respect than the brain, Claire explains, citing examples like not telling someone that they have to run in a race when they have a broken leg, as opposed to telling someone that they have to recite a presentation like everyone else; they are not different, no matter how much they are trembling at the notion. 

The instruction is often with good intent, which is why education about the disorder is so important. Unchecked, unmanaged social anxiety can lead to serious health problems, amongst them panic attacks, which I have had. Claire also gives insight into what a panic attack can feel like and believe you me, it can feel absolutely awful.  Amongst the whoppers that I have had was the one that sent me to the emergency room, totally convinced I was having cardiac arrest.  And though all checked out fine, the doctor sent me on to a cardiologist to be absolutely sure that I was well.

The point is, Claire stresses, your brain tricks the body to feeling that it is under threat and you either think you are going crazy or that you are going to die. But the good news is there are some great tips on our podcast on how to mitigate social anxiety and panic attacks.

In the meantime, as I reflect upon my teenage years, I can pinpoint a few situations where a fellow student most likely had social anxiety and was tagged as eccentric.  In one particular case, my friend was painfully quiet but not really shy when you got to know her, but she certainly struggled with socialising. During a major time in her life, she was visibly sweating and shaking to the point that everyone thought she would collapse. But even then, people said that she’s just weird and she should just get on with it.

To this day, though I don’t see much of her, she’s isolated from her peers because people see her as an outcast because she struggles in social situations. Seriously I am hoping that the word is getting out, particularly amongst teenagers, that social anxiety is real and left undiagnosed, can cause great harm to your mental and emotional health.

Though there aren’t any stats that I know of confirming that girls suffer social anxiety more than boys, girls do deal with related issues disproportionately such as questions with body image. To this end, they want to be perfect, look perfect, etc…. and can obsess about their body in any case and if suffering with social anxiety, the obsession can become worse, leading to even more harm.

For example, Claire talks about looking at her face several times before meeting a friend but knowing that once the moment is over, it is over, whereas on social media, the moment is never over because there is a selfie, a picture to remind you that you are not perfect, at least that is what your anxiety tells you.

Thus, the importance of getting the word out that social anxiety is real, it is not something that everyone has (something an acquaintance said to me) or a dislike of people as Claire points out.  It is a very serious irrational situation in which people struggle with socialising at high risk to their mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Key here is to give the brain its props. When it is unwell, it needs to heal equally as much as the body. Have a listen to On Social Anxiety on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Or sign up for our RSS feed to ensure you never miss a UIO podcast, a great resources for teenage girls, their parents and guardians and teachers, too.



Never Give Up: Rise Above The Odds

Rising above odds is a varied subject. Odds, in some way, can be like challenges stacked against us in any given situation. In UIO’s upcoming podcast with barrister and entrepreneur Hannilee Fish, we talk about dealing with sexism, peer pressure and mental illness as well as overcoming her own dyslexia and finding opportunities in poverty. 

Seeing an opportunity in a difficult situation can often be the difference in feeling stuck or coming out on the other side. This year, I celebrate 21 years of living in the UK and while I can’t say that I have ever found myself in a seriously difficult situation, barring the odd exception at the border when I truly thought I might be sent back to France, to be deported to the US, I have had to learn the ropes in a situation where the odds were stacked against me, if only marginally. 

Early on as a writer and a student, I learned some of the embarrassing differences between American English and British English. One that sticks out is referring to trousers as pants in a room full of men. Sounds minor, right. Most times it was but the lesson is that the two languages are not one in the same and the opportunity for me was that I inherited a very British family. I rose quickly. 

On a similar note, I had to relearn the metric system. How many grams would you like Madam? Gulp! I would graze around the shop and find a bag of coffee that had 200 grams and until this day, I still think in pounds weight wise but I do understand kilos and stones, believe it or not. 

Again the opportunity was living with someone who spoke the language, ate the food, lived the life and thus I approached life as a learning experience. 

So often I had been told you will not survive, you can’t. One acquaintance referred to my African American roots compared to my husband’s British roots as oil and water, fiery and well, passive. Still I rose, and when another said, you’ll be back, I seized the opportunity to prove her wrong. 

Of course there were far more serious challenges along the way–there were illusive racial issues, sexists ones, too but the toughest one was making new friends, establishing a firm foundation. So often when we move from one country to another, or one city to another, this is a major issue but it also happens when we change schools, go from one grade to the other. 

In the end, the key thing is to find the opportunity in the challenging space, stay grounded and never give up–all important to rising above whatever odds you might be facing. Take a listen to UIO: Rising Above the Odds with Hannilee Fish for more tips on finding opportunities in difficult and awkward spaces. Meantime, take care!

Putting The Spotlight on Reclaiming Sacred Space

When unhealthy change comes fast and furious, we see it for what it is but when it comes slow and subtle, particularly if it is seductive, we tend to turn a blind eye to it, until it causes an explosion of sorts. 

That is what appears to be happening in the world of teenage girls—the pressures that are staring them in the face daily are causing widespread concerns. 

To no direct fault of their own, girls are a part of a values shift in society and when values shift, so do norms, mores.  Normalising non-medical cosmetic surgery, for example, even if unintentionally, is a little bit more than a trend. It has fundamental implications for mental and emotional health, as does lowering the bar for when teenagers are given a green light so to speak to engage in sexual activity freely, for example, without reference to emotional and mental health.

Our Wait Awhile research as featured in The Telegraph’s ‘Thousands of girls as young as 13 turn to cosmetic surgery as social media pressures mount,’ alongside The Sunday Times’ recently published ‘Teenagers line up for Botoxjabs to mimic celebrities,’ turns the spotlight on the concern for girls signing up for non-medical cosmetic surgery.

Both pieces, as does our research, begs loads of questions.  What does it all mean? Who is to blame? Is this a trend? Over the past few weeks, not only have I been asked these question time and again but also, I have pondered them. And while the answers will hopefully come in insight and debate over the next little while, followed by lasting solutions, rather than in finger pointing and casting blame, we have something to celebrate.

The cat is out of the bag. This is a hidden story that has haunted me for some time now.  As a longstanding advocate for providing safe platforms for girls, I have been long concerned about the shifting norms we all face nowadays, and particularly the impact this shift has on teenage girls.

For too long, society has turned a blind eye to the mounting pressures that teenage girls are facing because of our obsession with instant gratification, glamour and glee.  It is quite easy to chalk it all up to generational trends and believe that girls, themselves, are setting the trends and leading the way.

But let’s face it, teenage girls, like the rest of us, don’t live in a vacuum.  They are not exempt from this chaotic state in which we live.  

Actually, there is nothing wrong with any of the above concepts unto themselves—a little instant gratification from time to time can do wonders for  self-esteem but when we feel entitled, that is another story.  And on beauty, it has to be the most misused and misunderstood word of all times. Okay maybe liberal takes the cake.  But the point is this: beauty is a wonderful thing. When thinking of and speaking of creation, itself, beauty sums it up.  It is when we set and subscribe to aesthetic standards that isolate and marginalise some and that we simply cannot measure up to that we end up compromising something emotional and mental, which leads to the rise in frustration, unhappiness and all the rest.

It is not bad thing that we are now seeing these stories out in the open, which have often been unknowingly validated, feeding into the continuing shift in our values, which dictate our norms.

So what can we do? See the new direction for what it is and advocate on behalf of and support the most vulnerable groups and communities in society. And aid them in setting the record straight and reclaiming their own sacred space.  That is what UIO, the podcast for teen girls, inclusive of our Wait Awhile initiative, is all about. Join us and have your say via Disqus, our comments platform or contact me directly here .


New Series Launches Second Episode In Timely Manner

Have we got a podcast for you this week! The second of the new series, UIO: On Undiagnosed Mental Illness comes on the heels of the heart-breaking news about the rise in mental health challenges amongst teen girls throughout the country.  Released in late August, a study by the University of York and The Children’s Society, suggested that nearly a fourth of 14-year-old girls in Britain had self-harmed in the past 12 months.

Though the podcast doesn’t exclusively focus on self-harm, it does look at what might be happening to cause a sharp increase in the mental health issues among girls. Our guest Eleanor Segall, campaigner and author, agreed that the problem feels a bit epidemic.

Even so, she believes there is hope. Sharing her personal story of suffering with bi-polar disorder, since age 15, Eleanor offers expert advice and first-hand tips on how to cope. One suggestion was to talk to someone at signs of anxiety and stress; don’t keep it bottled up. And for an exacerbated problem, see your GP, she stresses.

Our discussion underscored the importance of parental support as well as that of educators and other adults in society.  Also, we discussed stigmas associated with mental illness. And though much progress has been made, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

To listen, download a feed reader and sign up for my rss feed here. Also, listen on iTunes, Spotify, Tunein, Stitcher and Soundcloud and check out our Twitter, Instagram or Facebook page, all @uiopodcast.

 UIO: On Undiagnosed Mental joins a significant conversation about mental well-being and is a great tool for teen girls, boys too, and interested adults. Tune in two weeks for a continuation of Series 2 with Hannilee Fish, barrister and entrepreneur, to discuss Rising Above Odds.  In today’s manic world, we could all do with a few pointers on that one. Do listen up.




Don’t Forget To Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask

As I listened to some touching stories on the morning news of young people who are caring for adult loved ones (thousands are doing so) across England and Wales, I was reminded of how serious the business of caring really is and the impact it can have on well-being both physically and mentally.

Thankfully I didn’t face being a carer until I was nearly fifty after my father-in-law died and my mother-in-law came to live with us. Make no mistake about it, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

And though my husband insisted that we hire a carer to provide support, I took care of her primarily, night and day, and since then have been coined the most qualified unqualified nurse for miles around, looking after my mother until she died, with the help of siblings and a care team, and now I’m definitely one of the key carers in my father’s corner.

Like young carers, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to care for loved ones.  At times I have found myself doing little else but offering care, whether that is researching an illness as well as healthcare, spearheading communications with family members and care providers, managing special diets from making menus to cooking, cleaning, liaising with medical providers to schedule appointments and sadly starting a fire or two along the way, if you will, to get something done, and snuffing out others that have been unhelpful to the cause.

It’s an exhilarating yet exhausting responsibility to be a carer. On the one hand, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to help create a better quality of life for my father, to give back to him, to keep him as healthy as possible for as long as possible. On the other, I don’t like talking about the exhaustion; it seems to defeat the purpose.  It feels a bit like moaning.

But here is the thing, it is crucial to mental well-being to take care of one’s self, even while caring for others. Make no mistake about it: I am not offering a green light for complaining and having a gripe session about all you do and so on. But what I am saying is don’t forget to put on your own oxygen mask  first! Without it, you cannot care for another.

In all of my care responsibilities over the years, this has been key to avoiding emotional tiredness, sadness, depression and even anger and frustration. But what does it mean to take care of one’s self while taking care of another?

Surely, we are given strength to rise above feeling tired or having needs, if only for a short while. We are not! Many carers find this out the hard way, making full-time care their norm and only fitting in living as and when they can to their own detriment and  risk becoming disgruntled or worse yet, ill. But take a few tips from me; there is a happy medium!


  • Shed the guilt. It is dead weight not only for you but also for the person you are assisting. Everyone needs self-care. You don’t need to feel guilty about understanding the importance of self-care.
  • Eat right, otherwise, both mental and physical health are compromised. So, while making a meal for your loved one, make one for you too. Avoid the crisps and soft drinks on the go. And the chocolate, too!
  • Get some sleep and that means more than a wink or two here or there. Sleep is so important to feeling refreshed and to thinking as Nicola Morgan points out in UIO: Your Online Wellbeing Inside Out.
  • Accept help! Sometimes it seems like no one wants to help, but most family members, neighbours and friends can and are willing to do something. They can’t always commit on the level you can, but many people are willing to pick up groceries, come around for a visit, take your loved one to a doctor’s appointment and so on. Also, don’t forget about the charities that offer support to carers.
  • Take a break! This is often called respite care. For me this came with having a carer come in, freeing me up to do other things. For others it has meant giving their loved one an opportunity to do something social perhaps during a day programme or something similar.
  • Live life! Don’t allow the wonderful concept of caring to rid you of living. Being altruistic is a good thing and makes us feel good about life, but if that is all we do, without reference to living, it doesn’t feel altruistic anymore. So remember the space you are in and that caring doesn’t have to be all-consuming. It can be a wondrous experience, creating precious memories and a lasting bond between you and a loved one.

In the meantime, remember taking care of yourself is like putting on your own oxygen mask first in the event of an emergency. It can be the difference in a healthy experience for both you and your loved one.

The Spirit of Identity

Identity is one of those things that is always there from birth–we get many tags if you will–a gender, a race and nationality, a weight, a health check and eventually a name and all sorts of abilities and so on. Still, as if it has never been there before identity, as a huge concept, pops up on the teenage radar screen with blinking red lights: Warning! Warning! This is your gender, your sexuality, your race, your ability and here is what it means.

The pressure is on to identify with different parts of you and if there is an internal clash or negative connotations about something you identify with, this can cause problems.

More on this coming in our UIO: On Undiagnosed Mental Illness podcast with Eleanor Segall.  In the meantime, however, it is important to make the point that identity and mental health are linked, if only because clashes and negativity can cause anxiety, worries and so on.

In some instances, anxiety and stress can escalate into depression, even self-harm. And even in the majority of instances when it doesn’t escalate, the stress over identity is to be taken seriously. At the very least, bad moods and low self-esteem can set in.

And though it is easy to say don’t worry about it, that is easier said than done. It has taken me many years to really understand this and even now I have my moments. Rachita Saraogi and Rebecca Thomson, in our upcoming UIO: Your Identity Inside Out podcast, advise not owning the negativity, leaving it with the people who perpetuate it. You might not be able to change them, but you can change your views on how you view yourself, who you are.

That’s the spirit!

Reflecting on my teenage years, I remember obsessing a lot about hair— its length, its texture and so on. While I can’t say that I have ever consciously disliked my hair for its texture or length, I was not immune to beliefs about Afro hair, if you will, the talk about good hair and bad hair.

Admittedly, there were times in my life when I wanted a certain hairstyle because it was popular and considered the highest mark of beauty. For example, long straight hair was the in thing but as I wasn’t in charge of my hair, my mother was, I didn’t get it.

I doubt if it had anything to do with the political belief that relaxed hair is somehow symbolic of a European standard of beauty. Her reasoning more or less had to do with growing up too fast and economics.

Nowadays, many teen girls have returned to natural hair, as part of a resurgence of the natural hair movement in black communities around the globe, which proposes that hair is healthier for the individual physically and mentally in its natural state.  Furthermore, some believe that natural hair suggests a stronger sense of identity with one’s heritage and straight hair suggests the opposite.

Though I don’t agree with the line of thinking, I think it is wonderful to see teen girls and women with Afro hair in its natural state—the ponytails, the braids, the Afros, but just the same I love seeing hair in all of its versatility as long as it is healthy and well maintained.  That is what is key for me and mainly why I continue to relax my hair—it is either for me to maintain, though I have worn braids over the years, returning my hair to its natural state and in high school, I sported an Afro.

Regardless of style, I identify strongly with my hair and what I have learned about this over the years is that it is mine, part of my beauty, part of my health, and rightly or wrongly it is a big, big, big part of my self-esteem. Thus, regardless of trends, movements, beliefs, politics, I need to be happy with my hair—not the world.

And nowadays, I don’t make any excuses or apologies for that. End of story. Underneath the hair is where my real identity lies and it is up to me to embody that. That’s the spirit!


Stay tuned for UIO: Your Identity Inside Out podcast coming soon.

Lifting the Cloud of Stigmas Over Mental Illness

As a teen I remember knowing of a woman in the community who had some type of mental illness, specifically what I don’t recall ever being told. However, her illness was evident in the way she walked around in a muddle, sometimes ambling along and talking to herself. Hardly ever did I see her engage with anyone or anyone try to engage with her. The spoken or unspoken word was that she was crazy and that was the sum total of it.

At the risk of judging, I don’t remember anyone openly talking about what that actually meant and trying to help, but I do remember that she was stigmatised. Admittedly, she was sometimes treated with compassion but to my mind it was an alienated concern, if you will.

And although so many people are coming out of the closet nowadays to discuss mental and emotional health, hurray, I think there is still quite a bit of work to do to lift the cloud of varied stigmas hovering over mental and emotional health problems in some particular groups and communities.

In my own experiences two of the communities that I belong to—the Christian and black American community—are making strides when it comes to managing mental and emotional health problems but there is still room for improvement.  People such as Derrick Hollie, President of Reaching America, are sharing their own experience in hopes of eliminating the stigmas and saving more lives. His father committed suicide at age 49.

Sadly, his story is not an isolated one. Over the last couple of years, the stories of young black men taking their own lives have seemingly escalated. In the area where I grew up, I have heard of three unrelated cases. And other cases of teen girls who have self-harmed or attempted suicide as well.

And while I know that emotional and mental health issues are human problems, not exclusive to the groups and communities mentioned here, there might be common denominators as to why certain people are slow to get help, though like all the other humans, they are inherently prone to mental and emotional health issues.

As mentioned above, stigmas are one barrier. People don’t want to be alienated or isolated or stereotyped, so they maintain that they are well and their emotional and mental problems become a part of their norms, not only impacting them but their family and friends, too.  And the downward spiral continues. In suggesting help a time or two for people who are really dealing with heavy problems, living in unreasonable situations, the response is often “I am not crazy” and as in the article mentioned above, their religious beliefs, which are meant to be helpful, can sadly hinder healing.

First, owning a mental or emotional health problem is not about internalising stigmas and as for prayer, I pray about nearly everything as I end UIO podcasts with a simple prayer. I firmly believe in its power to shift thinking, to open doors that feel firmly closed, including state of mind. But I don’t think prayer or religious beliefs should be used as a crutch or an excuse to lead a mentally unhealthy life.

Another impediment to seeking help might be denial. I function in my job and family, so I can’t be mentally or emotional unwell. Surprise, surprise, emotional and mental health issues come in varied forms—everyone doesn’t have manic depression or schizophrenia, diagnosed or undiagnosed, that puts them out of work.  Admittedly, however, one’s ability to function optimally is likely to be impacted, no matter what the problem. Though I have had health anxiety for years and at least once had to leave work without my supervisor’s permission., it was not taken seriously. Though my boss was compassionate, others coined me a prima donna.

Back then my health anxiety, as it was when I was a teenager, was called hypochondria, a term full of stigmas. In short, it suggests  ‘you’ve made the whole thing up.’  It wasn’t until I started to have full blown panic attacks a year or so ago, perhaps after my mother’s death, that I was diagnosed with health anxiety. Unbelievable how real the physical symptoms are and how the mind takes over. But knowing the real deal helps me to cope and manage the situation. And I don’t care if I ever hear the word hypochondriac again. It is misleading.

Finally, yet another hindrance might have to do with resources. Particularly in small towns or villages, you might find it hard enough wading through the stigmas and accepting that there might be a problem in the first place, but if there is no help on the horizon, you might say why bother. The short answer is: it is the difference between being healthy and unhealthy.

Nowadays there are trusted resources online to begin with, which might offer referrals. Note that I am not promoting self-diagnosis and self-treatment but here is what I am saying: when something is not right mentally and emotionally, get help as you would for a physical problem. A tall order perhaps for a teen girl but not impossible. Resources include parents and guardians, teachers and coaches and peers. And remember that treatment is individual, as it is  with a physical illness.  Anti-depressants, for example, are not necessarily right for everyone. I declined. But for others, they provide a reasonable solution under a physician’s care.

It is all about lifting the stigmas and finding the way to healthier thinking, healthier living. It’s all about you inside out. Stay Tuned for UIO: Coping with Undiagnosed Mental Illness with journalist and mental health campaigner Eleanor Segall, coming this autumn.



Thin Line Between Sanity and Insanity

There is thin line between sanity and insanity. Big statement, eh? But one worth investigating nowadays, as life personally and publicly gets more dramatic and stressful. More debates than ever are cropping up over the difference between moral and immoral, right thinking and wrong thinking and right and wrong.

Sometimes I don’t understand the negotiation – not really. In my world, though having a different opinion about evolution is one’s prerogative, but having a different opinion about whether to operate outside of any parameters, morals, laws is not debatable, is it? It is all unnecessarily stressful, if you ask me.

In a conversation with a friend recently, we wondered if there is a decline in healthy, transparent, living, if you will, or if in our ageing we are simply paying more attention to what has always been.

Regardless, it all leads back to the state of one’s mental and emotional well-being. Are we personally and publicly paying enough attention to mind matters, making way for healthier living. Do we understand that a healthy mind is the key to healthy living? And that leading a highly stressful life can lead to dire consequences?

In this month’s Huffington Post blog, I suggest that it is time to get educated on the matter and put our learning into action, starting at home, if you will. But not so fast; hardwired myths and stigmas are blocking the way. What can we do to clear the roadblocks?

See what I have to say about it on the Huff Post. In the meantime, here is a quote for thought.

‘The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they’re okay, then it’s you.’ 

Rita Mae Brown, author and social activist