by Jainaba Jawara and Maryam Shabar
We know that health disparities are a looming threat to minority groups’ quality of life and well-being. Yet, most popular attention on minority health disparities, both in the medical literature and in the public, focuses on racial and ethnic disparities. While these inequities are real and rightfully deserve attention, other demographic gaps, such as those among Muslim Americans, are also important.
Continue reading OPINION: Muslim Americans and Mental Health
by Anita Khandelwal and Mark Stroh
The Seattle City Attorney’s Office has embarked on a strategy that will harm our community’s most vulnerable members and lead to the incarceration of individuals too mentally ill to stand trial. The city attorney should abandon this counterproductive effort and allow service providers to work with these individuals without criminal legal system interference.
Continue reading OPINION: End Harmful and Ineffectual Prosecutions in Seattle Municipal Court
by Kevin Schofield
This weekend we have a pair of studies looking at the impact of social media on both our personal health and the health of our democracy.
Continue reading Weekend Reads: What Social Media Is Doing to Us
by Ayomi Rajapakse
There is an increasingly popular argument suggesting that investment in Mental Health First Responders over new police hires may help reduce fatal interactions between police officers and individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, but these proposed reforms often miss the bigger picture.
Continue reading OPINION: Police-Led Mental Health Welfare Checks — Getting to the Root of the Issue
And Is COVID Situated to Make That Scenario Even Worse?
by Liz Covey, LMHC
Nearly every day, therapists in private practice steel themselves for the inevitable: an email inbox that overflows with new patient requests from people who have been desperately looking for long weeks or months for an opening to begin to work on psychological issues or problems that are either long-standing or pandemic-related, or more commonly, both. Clients seeking to use their health insurance for therapy are likely to find themselves in a deadlock these days thanks to staffing shortages. If a potential client uses the state Medicaid program, Apple Health/Molina, the chance of finding an opening is even slimmer, since the amount of red tape plus lower pay mean even fewer therapists are available to these patients.
And if no one is available in-network, prospective clients will likely find themselves on the open market for therapy and can be startled by the price tag. Private pay therapy in Seattle in 2022 can cost between $100–$250 per session. Many therapists offer sliding fee scales, meaning that they reserve spots for lower-fee work, but these are limited so they can be even harder to find.
This has many today asking: Why does therapy cost so much? Let’s consider some of the factors that contribute to this high fee:
Continue reading Ask a Therapist: Why Is Therapy So Expensive?
by Patheresa Wells
Every morning — well, almost every morning — I get up, and the first thing I do is complete three longhand pages of writing. This exercise is a creative brain dump based on the “morning pages” exercise found in The Artist’s Way. Usually, what I write in my pages stays there. But occasionally, an idea sticks with me and asks for more room. This holiday season, as I reflected over the past few months, the past year, and how long it has been since we have been in this pandemic, a thought stuck with me beyond the written page. It’s something I’ve had to tell myself many times in the past, something that I have never really felt: that it’s okay to take a break — if you can.
Continue reading OPINION: What I Am Taking Into 2022: It’s Okay to Take a Break — if You Can
by Kevin Schofield
This weekend’s “long read” is a study by Massachusetts General Hospital and 10 academic partners trying to determine if there is a link between social media use and depression. Spoiler: The researchers found some specific correlations, but they raise many more questions than they answer.
The researchers recruited 8,000 people on the internet to participate in the study. They surveyed the study participants on which of eight social media sites and apps they used and also asked participants to complete a commonly used assessment of whether someone is showing signs of depression, called the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (or PHQ-9). The assessment asks nine questions about specific symptoms and assigns 0–3 points per question, depending on how often the patient exhibits each symptom. The higher the PHQ-9 score, the more severe the signs of depression.
Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: The Link Between Social Media and Depression
by Liz Covey, LMHC
Years ago, during a time in my career when I was working with children and families who had encountered abuse and who were involved with the foster care system, I made a new acquaintance who later became a good friend. When my occupation came up, she looked me squarely in the eyes, and asked, “Why on earth would anyone want to do that??”
My friend, no stranger to hardship herself, was asking me in a straightforward manner why I would elect to put myself in the face of abject misery. It’s a reasonable enough query, if the job was in fact full of misery, which it is not. But my friend’s question raises a fallacy about mental health work that I am here to dispel: That the work of mental health is drudgery and despair. That it is raking through the muck of degradation, tragedy, and sorrow.
Continue reading Ask a Therapist: Putting ‘Care’ and ‘Health’ at the Center of Mental Health Care
by Jasmine M. Pulido
Rest is an invaluable tool for marginalized people.
The idea of rest as an act of radical self-care is gaining attention in books like adrienne maree brown’s Pleasure Activism or Instagram accounts like Nap Ministry. But do we even understand the reason why we don’t let ourselves rest enough to begin with?
Burnout recently became an official psychological diagnosis. Add to that omnipresent pressure to “get back to normal” during a pandemic, and it seems that collective exhaustion is a root issue in our culture. My own personal “impossible goal” for myself in 2021 was to avoid burnout at all costs. But how do we even do that?
Continue reading Is the ‘Laziness Lie’ Responsible for Our Collective Burnout?