Avoiding the crushing consequences of studying too hard

As September and the fall semester begins, I remember the rush I had as a university student caught up in the swirl of energy of my fellow students and myself, more than twenty years ago now. A smile lights up my face as I recall, and then I think of a dark joke that my brother taught me his freshman year of MIT.  A professor stands in front of a window after leading a tour around the campus, and he asks the students, “Do you know why MIT’s colors are gray and red?” All the freshmen students shake their heads. Just then, outside of the window, everybody sees a body falling to the cement below. “That’s why.” says the professor.

MIT has a higher suicide rate than the national average, but the joke reflects an underlying truth about campus life all over the United States. According to Collegedegreesearch.net, there are about 1,100 suicides on campuses around the USA each year, and, shockingly, six percent of all undergraduates have seriously considered suicide.  Why is contemplating suicide so common among university students these days? A lot of stress, abuse of drugs and alcohol, as well as underlying clinical depression and anxiety are risk factors. Even if you are a learning machine, my advice is to take time to smell those roses because too much stress will take down even an ubermensch gifted student.

The Statistics

One in four Americans suffer from a serious mental illness during their lifetimes, most often depression or anxiety. Serious mental issues can be triggered by the stress of university or years of workaholism. It is no coincidence that depression is soon to become the number one cause of long term death and disability worldwide by 2020, according to the World Health Organization.

Reading and Mental Illness

University students read a lot. Problem? Maybe. Even high-achieving readers are predisposed to bouts of melancholia, according to medical history. Before the 19th century doctors thought that the mere act of reading books could cause mental instability. See: A Text-book on mental diseases By Theodore H. Kellogg. Also, see Wikipedia’s article on the History of Depression: “Since Aristotle, melancholia had been associated with men of learning and intellectual brilliance, a hazard of contemplation and creativity.”

According to the Census of 1890 about one percent of one percent of the population or one in ten thousand people in all of the United States had a hospitalization for depression. Today approximately one in seven people in the US suffers from clinical depression and the rate keeps going up. In 1890 few people had the opportunity to educate themselves beyond a basic level of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Today, one in four people in the US is a college graduate.  As rates of college graduation go up year to year, so does the figure of people becoming clinically depressed.  The question becomes, what can be done to stay healthy?

Protection: Omega-3 Fish Oil and the Prevention of Clinical Depression

Disclaimer: I worked as a medical library chief  at the leading psychiatric hospital in the United States, New York State Psychiatric Institute/ Columbia Psychiatry, so I have a bad habit of quoting MEDLINE to prove points. From the journal Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, Epub 2014 Mar 18.: there is a journal article titled “Omega-3 fatty acids and depression: scientific evidence and biological mechanisms” wherein the abstract states that “..several epidemiological studies reported a significant inverse correlation between intake of oily fish and depression or bipolar disorders.”   Free full text of the article is available to anyone who wishes to explore the article in more depth at pubmed.gov .

Back when I was an undergraduate, we did not know as much as we do today about the science behind a healthy brain and body, so we can do much more today than before to keep our minds and bodies healthy. Paradoxically, college students are less fit and more prone to suicide than ever before. According to Collegedegreesearch.net suicide rates for our youth are three times what they were back in the 1950’s, and diabetes rates are going through the roof among the Internet Generation.

If you feel suicidal please Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Editor’s Note: William Jiang, MLS is the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health , 3rd ed and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at www. mentalhealthbooks.net . He also is editor-in-chief of Mental Health Books Review

 

Collected quotes from William Jiang, MLS

Money makes the world go round; yet, the love of money is the root of all evil.

‘Tis better to be feared than loved; yet, love conquers all.

The Romans loved their games. When the Senate wanted to mollify the masses, the floor of the Colosseum was soaked by more gladiator blood than usual, to distract the mob from their troubles. By the way, how about those Yankees?

Life explained in a nutshell: Kim Kardashian. An important person. Republicans. Good, down to earth folk anybody would be lucky enough to drink a beer with. Democrats. Fucking liberal faggot loving scum. Fox News. It’s the news.

Murder. Rape. Murder. Rape. Cat up a tree. Murder. Rape. Murder. The weather. Sports. Think about it. This is your local media news all day everyday in the good old USA. The local news is important. Now. Did I miss something?

Remember, blowhard, use your indoor voice indoors.

Shut up. Notice your thoughts as they cross the screen of your mind’s eye. Do not judge. Be impartial. Let them come and go, from nothingness to nothingness. Notice the miracle of your own breath. Know that with breath there is hope. Let go of the future. Let go of the past. Be at peace. Live now, because this moment is all we really have. Carpe diem. Seize the day.

Love. A life without love is empty. It is better to be a poor happy man who is loved and cherishes his life than to be the lone miser who counts his piles of pennies. Cash is cold comfort. You cannot take it with you when you go.

Think for yourself. If you can think for yourself my words are probably merely a reminder of your way of being. If you cannot, you probably don’t realize it anyway.

You are not alone. If  you feel lonely, realize that no one is truly alone, we are all connected to each other by an invisible web of energy and we give each other’s lives meaning  as we interact. Ubuntu, baby.

 

The essence of Brahma is creation, of Shiva, destruction. They are inseparable. One cannot exist without the other.

Good cannot be good without the existence of evil. There must be a choice we have to make, or we would be as sentient as plants, growing towards the sun, without rhyme nor reason.

Each of our lives can be likened to a kind of music. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end to each of our pieces. Some people live a rock song. Others Jazz. Yet others, symphonies. Some play badly. Others are virtuosos. Because our lives run the length of years, oftentimes we hit a sour note and hope we can cover it up quickly and hope nobody notices. Some people diligently study, practice, and conform to their sheet music. Others loosely improvise their melodic structures. There are many popular songs on the radio, yet in one hundred years from now, they will mostly be listening to the songs of the age. Much of our music, although timeless, will have been buried by time, waiting for the curious to listen and enjoy the zeitgeist of our age, once again.

There is a reason that when you take an “O” away from good, you have God. There is a reason son and sun are tied in our theology. Amen.

Most of what is important in life is simple. Only a little bit is simply complicated. Don’t waste your time sweating the small stuff. Be wise, prioritize.

Use the brute’s mind against him by telling him you hate what he hates. He will confuse you for his friend.

I hate the word politics because it is derived from the Latin poly meaning many and tics meaning bloodsuckers. The word was coined in the Roman Senate and yet it holds as much truth now as it did then.

William Jiang, MLS is the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health , 3rd ed and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at http://www.mentalhealthbooks.net or check out his Facebook at Mental Health Books.NET

5 Star #Book Review: Guide to #Natural #MentalHealth by Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer Loyd Eskildson

HALL OF FAME
on April 24, 2017

The author was formerly the Chief Librarian of the New York State Psychiatric Institute Patient and Family Library, affiliated with Columbia University. Mental illness is a widespread and serious problem. The National Institute for Mental Health estimates about 26.2% of Americans 18 and older meet the criteria for at least one serious mental disorder. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2020, depression will be the second most common worldwide cause of disability and premature death.

Both exercise and sunshine have been shown efficacious for treating depression. The Omega-3 in fish is not only good for the heart but also the nervous system and brain. Jiang reports it has also been shown good for stopping schizophrenia and helping fight development of diabetes. A sleep deficit built up over many years can also cause lasting physical problems. Eating fruits and vegetables is also good for a person.

Excessive playing of video games or the Internet should be avoided by anyone with anxiety and/or depression problems. Experts say that up to 6% of smartphone users can be addicted. (Checking our phones and finding messages provides a reward in feeling needed.)

William Jiang, MLS is the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health , 3rd ed and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at http://www.mentalhealthbooks.net

 

2 #books about #mentalhealth in the #Top20 abt #anxiety, #bipolar, #depression, & #schizophrenia

Thanks to the Award-Winning Podcast The Half Hour Intern for the interview that launched two of my Kindle books into the top 20 in their mental health category on Amazon.com on the Kindle this weekend! Check em out!

A teaser, we did talk a bit about the epigenome and its relationship to schizophrenia, nature versus nurture and all of that; however, I must say I regret not bringing up the new science of the epitranscriptome and our evolving relationship to schizophrenia, methylation of RNA, etc. Mea culpa! I do hope you will check out the podcast!! I loved the flow of my interviewer! I think it is only available to a few thousand as of yet, because it doesn’t show up on the site’s show database quite yet.

http://www.halfhourintern.com

Below is a screenshot of my two most popular books about mental health in English.

Walking- Mental and Physical Health Benefits- The Tsimane

Forget about Walking Like an Egyptian- Walk like a Tsimane of Bolivia

Best Books About Schizophrenia
I had walked 1,000 miles in 3 months for this book photo.

I give the Tsimane of Bolivia much respect. Who are the Tsimane of Bolivia, and why should I care? The Tsimane are a tribe out of touch with modernity in the Amazon of Bolivia, but they have the “healthiest hearts in the world” because of their high fiber, high plant-content diet with about 15% of their calories from lean meats and fats, the rest, about 70% from carbohydrates. This diet does not sound so healthy because they have so many carbs! Do not worry, the average Tsimane walks over 6.5 miles per day when they are over 60; and the women who are under 60, they average 8 miles per day. The women burn about 1,200 calories per day walking. They’re all endurance athletes!

I used to walk up to 10 miles per day but was sidelined by the painful foot condition called plantar fasciitis due to inappropriate footwear and lack of stretching. I aspire to start walking long distances again some day after Amniofix injections to repair my feet. Wish me luck people. And YOU. Walk a little more! We as a society sit too much these days. And for what? Getting out for a brisk walk feels really good, if you can do it.  You do not need to run a marathon every day. Just walk more, like a Tsimane.walking heart health mental health

The Mentalhealthbooks.net synthesis of it all by author William Jiang, MLS (check out his books about health and wellness here): A diet high in quality carbohydrates helps with anger and depression as long as you get exercise. Your head will feel better if you mimic the Tsimane of Bolivia. Also, walking a lot not only is good for the heart, but also you will lose weight. Beyond those benefits, I remember that my hunger was much more under control when I walked more, compounding the benefit. As if that were not enough, walking more is good for the health of the brain and nervous system. Taking a good brisk walk every day fights depression and anxiety. Sitting in front of Facebook is not fighting your depression and anxiety. Maybe check out my new book about heart health and be a heart superstar: The Medical Librarian’s Guide to a Naturally Healthy Heart and Circulatory System.

Read more abou the Tsimane here  

William Jiang, MLS is the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health , 3rd ed and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at http://www.mentalhealthbooks.net

 

Race and Mental Health in the United States: The Statistics (2017)

Race and Mental Health in the United States: The Statistics, The Facts (2017)

I read in the US News and World Report article that “Dying Preventable Deaths Suicide, alcohol and drug abuse are raising death rates for white, middle-aged Americans”.By Lloyd Sederer, Opinion Contributor published on Nov. 4, 2015 that.White, middle-aged males aged 45-55 are dying faster than any other group. So that hurts, as a male aged 44. So, that made me think about the question of race and mental health. It turns out that MANY of us need help. Here are the statistics about race and mental health among non-whites in the United States of today:

Latino Mental Health Statistics

From Mentalhealthamerica.net

(http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/latinohispanic-communities-and-mental-health)

Lifetime prevalence rates among Latino Americans born in the U.S. are lower than those for non-Latino whites, vary among ethnic groups, and are higher among U.S.-born Latinos than they are among foreign-born Latinos. According to the 2008 article, “Prevalence of Mental Illness in Immigrant and Non-Immigrant U.S. Latino Groups” [3]:

  • Lifetime prevalence rates are more than 50 percent for non-Latino whites born in the U.S., versus between 30 and 40 percent for Latino populations born in the U.S.
  • Among U.S. born Latinos, Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans have comparable lifetime prevalence rates, around 40 percent, while Cuban Americans and other Latinos have lifetime prevalence rates closer to 30 percent.
  • Among immigrants, Cuban Americans, Mexican Americans, and other Latinos all have lifetime prevalence rates below 30 percent.

Despite these generally lower rates, according to CDC data reported in 2012 [4]:

  • Latino high school males are just as likely to report suicidal thinking as non-Latino whites (10.7 percent versus 10.5 percent), and more likely to attempt suicide (6.9 percent versus 4.6 percent).
  • Latino high school females are more likely to report suicidal thinking than non-Latino white females (20.2 percent to 16.1 percent) , and more like to attempt suicide as well (13.5 percent to 7.9 percent).
  • As the CDC data suggest, young Latino females are nearly twice as likely as males both to think about suicide and to attempt suicide.

Black Mental Health Statistics

From Mentalhealthamerica.net )http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/african-american-mental-health)

According to the US HHS Office of Minority Health [3]:

  • Adult Black/African Americans are 20 percent more likely to report serious psychological distress than adult whites.
  • Adult Black/African Americans living below poverty are three times more likely to report serious psychological distress than those living above poverty.  
  • Adult Black/African Americans are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness than are adult whites.
  • And while Black/African Americans are less likely than white people to die from suicide as teenagers, Black/African Americans teenagers are more likely to attempt suicide than are white teenagers (8.3 percent v. 6.2 percent).

Black/African Americans of all ages are more likely to be victims of serious violent crime than are non-Hispanic whites, making them more likely to meet the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Black/African Americans are also twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. [4]

Treatment Issues

  • Black/African Americans today are over-represented in our jails and prisons.  People of color account for 60 percent of the prison population. Black/African Americans also account for 37 percent of drug arrests, but only14 percent of regular drug users (illicit drug use is frequently associated with self-medication among people with mental illnesses). [6]
  • Because less than 2 percent of American Psychological Association members are Black/African American, some may worry that mental health care practitioners are not culturally competent enough to treat their specific issues. [7] This is compounded by the fact that some Black/African American patients have reported experiencing racism and microaggression from therapists. [8]
  • Stigma and judgment prevents Black/African Americans from seeking treatment for their mental illnesses. Research indicates that Black/African Americans believe that mild depression or anxiety would be considered “crazy” in their social circles. Furthermore, many believe that discussions about mental illness would not be appropriate even among family. [9]

Asian Mental Health

From mentalhealthamerica.net

(http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/asian-americanpacific-islander-communities-and-mental-health)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [2], in general Asian Americans report fewer mental health concerns than do whites.  However:

  • 18.9 percent of Asian American high school students report considering suicide, versus 15.5 percent of whites.
  • 10.8 percent of Asian American high school students report having attempted suicide, versus 6.2 percent of whites.
  • Asian American high school females are twice as likely (15 percent) to have attempted suicide than males (7 percent).
  • Suicide death rates are 30 percent higher for 15-24 year old Asian American females than they are for white females (5.3 versus 4.0).
  • Suicide death rates for 65+ year old Asian American females are higher than they are for white females (4.8 to 4.5).

William Jiang, MLS is the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health , 3rd ed and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at http://www.mentalhealthbooks.net