A mom told her OB she might have postpartum depression. Then they called the cops.

Jessica Porten recently visited her doctor four months after giving birth to her daughter, Kira. She wasn’t feeling quite like herself.

She had been dealing with overwhelming sadness and fits of anger, which she knew was likely stemming from a case of postpartum depression.

In a Facebook post, Porten recounts the story of that appointment.

“I tell them I have a very strong support system at home, so although I would never hurt myself or my baby,” she writes. “I’m having violent thoughts and I need medication and therapy to get through this.”

In other words, she went to her doctor to ask for help for an extremely normal and treatable issue that affects an estimated 1 million women in the U.S. each year in one form or another.

But instead of getting help, as Porten tells it, the office did something pretty unexpected: They called the police.

Because of her admission to “violent thoughts,” staff wanted the police to escort Porten to the ER for evaluation.

The cops, according to Porten, were skeptical of the need for their presence when they arrived and allowed her to drive herself to the hospital.

But the ordeal continued.

“We arrive at the ER and I’m checked in, triaged, blood drawn. I am assigned a security guard to babysit me,” she writes.

She says she waited for over an hour to get a room, all while wrangling her months-old baby. After some brief tests, a lot of waiting, and a super-short interview with a social worker, she was deemed mentally fit enough to be discharged.

Porten and her 4-month-old didn’t leave the hospital until after midnight.

The worst part? Porten never got the help she asked for.

In addition to the undue stress and wasted time, Porten left the hospital without having received any medical help whatsoever.

“Not once during all of this has a doctor laid eyes on me,” she writes. “Not once. Not even before they decided to call the cops on me.”

Porten says that, for all her time and effort, she received some papers and pamphlets and was sent on her way.

“I’m still processing all of the emotions that are coming with being treated this way. I’m not exactly sure what to do here. I will say I am deeply hurt and upset, and above all angry and disgusted and disappointed by how this whole thing went down.”

She also points out that if she had been a woman of color, her ordeal probably would have been even more drawn out and traumatic.

You can read her full story in the now-viral Facebook post below:

#Action4Jessica #4Bills4CAMoms
Please read the latest updates 🤗

I had a really hard time deciding whether I should post…

Posted by Jessica Porten on Friday, January 19, 2018

Postpartum depression is a serious issue — as is the stigma it carries.

Postpartum depression is common. The condition, and even the scary violent thoughts that sometimes accompany it, may even have an important evolutionary purpose. Some argue that new moms are on high alert for danger and that stress can sometimes visually manifest itself in their thoughts.

But, as with most mental health issues, postpartum depression can carry a lot of shame, embarrassment, and guilt for the women affected by it — leading them to ignore their symptoms instead of seeking help. One study even found that countries that don’t recognize postpartum depression by name actually see women more likely to come forward with their symptoms.

Stories like Porten’s show exactly why many women would rather suffer in silence than be poked, prodded, and treated inhumanely. And of course, not getting proper treatment will only make things wore.

It’s time for a different approach.

It may be a common policy to call the police in the interest of the child’s safety. But a policy that better addresses the mother’s concerns and gets her the help she needs, without being shamed, is definitely a better way to go.

To get there, we need to help more honest and brave women feel comfortable coming forward about the aspects of postpartum depression that are hard to talk about. And we all need to better educate ourselves on the complexities of mental health issues and, more importantly, the human beings behind them.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/a-mom-told-her-ob-she-might-have-postpartum-depression-then-they-called-the-cops

Kate Middleton continues the royal family’s mental health focus with a new program.

If anyone grasps the importance of mental health, it’s the royal family.

Princes Harry and William, as well as Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, have made it their mission to bring the critical issue to the public’s attention.

In 2016, they teamed up with mental health charity Heads Together and released a public service announcement about why it’s so important to discuss mental health. Since then, they’ve made a number of public appearances in support of the cause. Harry opened up about his own mental health struggles, and the brothers filmed themselves talking about what it was like losing their mother at such a young age. They even got together with Lady Gaga to help raise awareness.

Flanked by Princes William (left) and Harry, Middleton helped launch the Heads Together campaign on April 21, 2016. Photo by Nicky J. Sims/Getty Images for Royal Foundation.

Middleton decided to start 2018 with a fresh new program aimed at bringing the conversation to those who need it most: kids.

Speaking at Roe Green Junior School in North London, Middleton announced the launch of Mentally Healthy Schools, a new Heads Together program aimed at creating mental health resources for children and teachers alike.

“What we have seen firsthand is that the simple act of having a conversation about mental health — that initial breaking of the silence — can make a real difference,” she said. “My own commitment is to the youngest and most vulnerable in their early years — babies, toddlers, and school-children — and to support all those who care for them.”

Middleton meets with children at Roe Green Junior School. Photo by Jonathan BradyAFP/Getty Images.

The program’s goal is to bring these resources to every school in the U.K. without making unreasonable demands of teachers.

Teachers have a lot of work to do, and too often, they get more piled on without much thought as to how they’ll actually get it done. Middleton cautioned against this in her speech, noting that the program will be aimed at helping teachers know where they can turn to when one of their students needs help, not necessarily having to be the experts themselves.

“You need resources you can trust, and you need to have easy access to them at all times,” she told her audience. “The ultimate goal is that all teachers in the country should know where to turn for expert resources to support the emotional well-being and mental health of children in their care.”

Middleton discusses the new program. Photo by Jonathan Brady – WPA Pool/Getty Images.

You don’t have to be royalty to start a conversation in your community about mental health.

Mental health stigma is very real and often discourages people from seeking the help they need, making their problems worse in the long run. The most important thing any of us can do as individuals is to fight back against the notion that people who seek help for their mental health are somehow weak or defective. The National Association on Mental Illness put together a brilliant list of nine things we can all do to facilitate conversations about mental health and fight stigma.

You can watch Middleton’s announcement below.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/kate-middleton-continues-the-royal-family-s-mental-health-focus-with-a-new-program

A concerning new study details how perfectionism is on the rise and taking its toll.

For years, we’ve told our kids that they have to be perfect to succeed. Turns out, they might have been listening.

If you feel anxiety about slipping up — like, the tiniest mistake is irrefutable evidence that you’re secretly a failure — you might not be alone.

A new study suggests that, compared to young people 30 years ago, more college students are, or feel expected to be, perfectionists — and that might be a problem.

Two scientists from the United Kingdom recently analyzed personality tests from over 41,000 American, Canadian, and British college students, dating from 2016 back to the late 1980s, comparing three different kinds of perfectionism and how much they’ve gone up or down over time.

Overall, the data showed:

  • A 33% increase in young people feeling judged by society for not being perfect (for example, “My parents will be mad if I get less than an A”).
  • A 16% increase in young people judging others (“I have no patience for my partner’s mistakes”).
  • And a 10% increase in self-judgment (“I am upset that I didn’t get 100% on that test”). Americans seemed especially self-judgey.

This incessant drive to be perfect might be stressing us out to a sickening degree.

Being a perfectionist may seem OK at first. It seems like nearly every single job posting these days specifically asks for someone detail-oriented. (“I’m a perfectionist” is a go-to answer to the classic biggest-weakness interview question for a reason.)

Yet perfectionism has been linked to mental health problems like depression and anxiety, which young people seem to be especially vulnerable to these days.

One problem appears to be how society defines — and demands — success.

The authors weren’t able to test the exact cause for this, but they have some ideas. One contributing factor might be our increasingly success-obsessed society. Since the ’80s, we’ve taken the idea of meritocracy and mythologized it.

“Meritocracy places a strong need for young people to strive, perform and achieve in modern life,” said author Dr. Thomas Curran in a press release. “Young people are responding by reporting increasingly unrealistic educational and professional expectations for themselves.”

Other possible causes might be parents demanding more out of their children than they did in the 1980s and/or the panopticon of social media.

If perfectionism really is both problematic and on the rise, it’s not going to be an easy problem to solve. But there are potential solutions.

Curran and his co-author, Dr. Andrew Hill, did not address specific solutions in the current paper, but, when asked, Curran said:

“We (my group) typically advocate balanced working lives, regular breaks from the social evaluation of social media, a focus [on] one’s own accomplishments (not others’), and depressurized environments that do not hold excessive expectations or perfection as criteria for success.”

(By the way, if you need help with this, psychologist Tamar Chansky wrote a list eight personal strategies over at HuffPost. Alternatively, this might be something to unpack with a therapist.)

In addition, Curran suggested that it might be time for schools, universities, and other organizations to teach the importance of compassion over competition. He and his co-author have previously praised Google’s program of rewarding both successes and failures.

So while it might be admirable to aim for that gold star, it’s important to remember that mistakes happen. It’s OK not to be perfect.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/a-concerning-new-study-details-how-perfectionism-is-on-the-rise-and-taking-its-toll

Saying depression is a ‘choice’ only makes things worse. Allow Andy Richter to explain.

Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for SiriusXM.

Depression is not a choice, and anyone who says otherwise is just plain wrong.

After reading a tweet that simply said, “Depression is a choice,” actor, writer, and comedian Andy Richter was so angry that he “pulled over after school drop-off” to vent on Twitter about what it’s like to live with depression and be constantly bombarded with unhelpful “advice” that so often amounts to little more than blame for those living with it.

“[Depression] varies in strength from a casual unresolvable suspicion that I will never find the joy that others do in a sunset, to the feeling that being dead might be a respite and a kindness,” he tweeted, highlighting how difficult the hazy experience of living with depression can be to describe.

He also draws an important distinction between having good things in one’s life — such as a great family and successful career — and being dealt a bad hand when it came to the genetic lottery of depression, a feeling he describes as “an ever-present amorphous sadness.”

“My life is full. I am lucky,” he tweeted. “And I will still reach the end of my life having walked through most of it with an emotional limp. I do not wallow in self-pity. No one did this to me. It is just how it is. I am just unlucky.”

Saying things like “depression is a choice” is not only wrong, it also keeps people from seeking the help they need.

Depression is really common. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 16.1 million U.S. adults 18 or older experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2015, accounting for 6.7% of all adults in the country.

Left untreated, depression can lead to all matters of problems, ranging from an inability to focus on work, all the way up to suicide — making the stigma surrounding treatment that much more frustrating.

Sadly, studies have shown that there are still significant segments of the population that view depression and mental illness as a form of weakness. In turn, that attitude reflects on back the person dealing with depression, making them feel embarrassed to seek treatment.

“If you are unburdened by depression, real true depression, count yourself lucky,” Richter wrote.

“Keep your quick fixes to yourself. This is the kind of bullshit that kills people. Learn, then speak. Or just be lucky and quiet,” he wrapped his thoughts.

The way we fight stigma is by using our voices to let the world know we exist. Today, Andy Richter did just that.

If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or visit their website for more information.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/saying-depression-is-a-choice-only-makes-things-worse-allow-andy-richter-to-explain

Share this with anyone who doubts vaccines. The U.K. just eliminated measles.

37 years ago, vaccines drove smallpox into extinction. Polio is about to be on death’s doorstep. Now the U.K. can say it has added one more name to its personal kill list — measles.

According to a new report from the World Health Organization, Denmark, Spain, and the United Kingdom in 2016 successfully eliminated the measles virus.

The secret behind this achievement is something simple: vaccines and herd immunity.

It’s important to note that, as the WHO defines it, “elimination” doesn’t mean “completely wiped out.” There were still about 1,600 cases in the United Kingdom last year.

Instead, the WHO reports, the United Kingdom has “interrupted endemic transmission.” That is to say, enough people are vaccinated that even if someone does catch the virus, it’s effectively impossible for the disease to spread. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as herd immunity, and it didn’t happen overnight.

This is the culmination of a long, steady vaccination campaign.

Vaccination campaigns can sometimes face challenges — inadequate supply, unequal access to health services, and hesitancy or misinformation.

Still, the four countries of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) have managed to reach a 95% measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination rate in children younger than 5 years old.

While measles might sound relatively innocuous, it’s a serious, potentially deadly disease, especially for children. Measles can cause permanent hearing loss, encephalitis, and death. It can also cause babies to be born prematurely if a pregnant woman contracts the disease. Eliminating it is a big achievement.

The United Kingdom is not the first country to achieve this goal. According to the WHO, 42 out of 53 European countries have achieved elimination.

This news shows that with dedicated, sustained efforts, we can chase some of our greatest specters back into the shadows.

There’s still plenty to be done. The U.K. will need to keep up its high vaccination rates and keep the herd immunity strong, or else the disease may gain a foothold once again. But with the vast majority of European countries having now eliminated this disease, measles might soon be marching down the same path as smallpox.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/share-this-with-anyone-who-doubts-vaccines-the-uk-just-eliminated-measles

Julia Louis-Dreyfus shares her breast cancer diagnosis with a heartfelt call to action.

On Thursday, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus announced via Twitter that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Just 11 days after accepting her sixth straight Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, the “Veep” star shared her diagnosis with the world.

“1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I’m the one,” she wrote.

“The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union,” she added. “The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let’s fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality.”

Each year, an estimated 231,840 U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 40,000 will die. Early detection plays a huge role in reducing that number.

Breast cancer accounts for the second-most cancer-related deaths in U.S. women behind only lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Regular screenings — self-checks and with a doctor — can aid in catching the cancer at its most treatable point, early on.

In her call to action, Louis-Dreyfus sounds optimistic, urging her followers to keep fighting so that others have access to the same care she’ll be able to receive. While recent efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have fallen flat, we are far from having “universal health care.” 11% of women ages 19 to 64 in the U.S. don’t have any form of health insurance. While that number has fallen since the ACA’s implementation, it still means that millions of women are unable to access preventive care.

Thanks to a number of health centers around the country, such as Planned Parenthood, low-income and uninsured women aren’t left completely out in the cold. Unfortunately, these groups are frequently under attack from political opponents.

Louis-Dreyfus’s decision to share her diagnosis with her fans serves as a reminder that any of us can be hit by illness at any time — making the fight for universal care that much more important.

It’s never a bad time to call your members of Congress and let them know that you want to live in a world where everybody has access to the same care she has.

We wish Louis-Dreyfus the absolute best of luck going forward.

Louis-Dreyfus accepts the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series on Sept. 17, 2017. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/julia-louis-dreyfus-shares-her-breast-cancer-diagnosis-with-a-heartfelt-call-to-action

A terrible tweet about depression has the internet in an uproar.

On Sept. 7, 2017, kickboxer Andrew Tate tweeted that “depression isn’t real.”

“You feel sad, you move on,” he wrote to his 26,000 fans and followers. “You will always be depressed if your life is depressing.”

Andrew Tate is not a medical doctor, mental health professional, nor expert in any related field that would add weight to his (seemingly unsolicited) opinion on the subject. Yet, in a combative 13-part Twitter thread, the athlete argued his assertion is correct because he believes that people living with depression are simply “lazy” and will find any excuse to “absolve responsibilities” to feel better.

As is typically the case when you’re a well-known person spouting falsehoods on an important subject online, people reacted — and fast.

Musician Alex Gaskarth noted making such ill-informed declarations without understanding the issue does harm to real people.

Entrepreneur Vikas Shah pointed out Tate’s tweets reflect how stigma surrounding mental illness keeps people who are struggling from accessing care.

J.K. Rowling — who has butted heads with Tate on Twitter before — suggested the boxer’s tweets say more about his own mental well-being than about the science behind depression.

Comedian Patton Oswalt, who lives with depression, blasted Tate’s initial tweet as “false,” claiming it reads more like an “energy drink tagline” than anything else.

Other users, like Josh Peterson, used the opportunity to spread awareness on the issue and share resources to access help, should anyone reading need them.

(You can check out the full list of Peterson’s helpful links here.)

Tate shared his unfortunate tweet thread just a couple days before World Suicide Prevention Day, so what better time to follow Peterson’s lead here and revisit the facts on what depression is and isn’t?

Depression is unequivocally real.

Or, as the Cleveland Clinic puts it: “[Depression] is a medical problem, not a personal weakness.” We’d never tell someone with cancer to simply think themselves into healing — why would we do so when it comes to depression?

Research shows a combination of faulty mood regulation by the brain, stressful life events, and genetics (among other factors) can all play a role in causing depression, Harvard Medical School emphasized. Contrary to Tate’s assumptions, science has shown us that it’s not a fleeting emotion; it’s a real medical condition, and there’s no real “cure” for it.

The good news is, seeking treatment does help millions of people manage and live happy lives, even with depression.

Many people routinely see therapists, use medications, and prioritize stress-relieving habits (like exercising or getting adequate sleep) that help them stay on top of their mental health.

If you’re struggling, know that you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression is a relatively common disorder: about 1 in every 6 American adults will experience depression at some point in their lives. Millions of people can relate to what you’re going through, and many of them are ready to step in and help.

Treatments for mental illness like therapies or medicines (or a combination both) are lifesavers. If you want help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or visit the American Psychological Association to learn more.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/a-terrible-tweet-about-depression-has-the-internet-in-an-uproar