Some sobering statistics:Depression has a much greater impact on marital life than rheumatoid arthritis or cardiac disease. Ninety percent of marriages where one person isbipolar ends in divorce. Persons diagnosed with bipolar disorder have three times the rate of divorce as the general public, which is about 50 percent.
If you are like me, you sometimes get antsy in sessions. I think our clients like to move around a bit too, especially kids, teens, and families. I have developed several programs where we use activities to meet therapeutic goals. But somethings, it is not always possible to get clients out sailing or hiking.
I did a series of videos for our local community college. These show how to build teams within the classroom, but these are some of the same activities that I use in my counseling private practice with my clients, families, and students.
Receiving emotional support and acceptance from parents benefits the long-term mental and overall health of lesbian, gay and bisexual adults, a new study finds. Researchers surveyed lesbian, gay and bisexual adults aged 18 to 64 in Massachusetts. Three-quarters of the group said they had revealed their sexual orientation to their parents, typically when they were about 25 years old. About two-thirds said their parents were supportive. Rates of mental health and substance use problems were significantly lower among those who received support from their parents than among those who felt rejected, the study found. (HealthDay News, 4/13/12)
Xiomara A. Sosa, XAS Founder
‘Coming out’ as gay, lesbian or bisexual may be good for your health, particularly when parental support is involved.
A comprehensive new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher Emily Rothman shows that two-thirds of lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in a representative Massachusetts sample reported receiving positive support from their parents after coming out to them.
Getting Your Depressed Spouse To The Doctor
Xiomara A. Sosa, Mental Health Life Coach
(Family Mental Health) – Depression isn’t just a mental health issue, it’s a physical one too. Did you know, for example that untreated depression could lead to chronic illness? Maybe it’s time to get your loved ones or yourself to a doctor.
If you’ve been looking for a way to get your depressed spouse some help, here’s another reason why – and possibly another way to get them into a doctor’s office for treatment.
I’ve pulled up an interesting article from Psych Central published earlier this year about untreated depression and chronic illness. According to a research article released this past spring, prolonged untreated depression can contribute to a risk for chronic illness. Immune cells may be damaged with chronic depression in some people, making them more likely to develop certain types of chronic illness.
Telomers are like protective caps on the ends of chromosomes in immune cells. When these begin to shorten, the likelihood increases for early on-set of disease. These illnesses include heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Like many findings in science, this isn’t an A-causes-B conclusion. It is the discovery of an association that could better explain how depression affects a person’s overall health. And the end of the article does promote some hope. Exercise and other positive lifestyle changes are associated with longer telomeres. It’s not clear whether these activities can actually lengthen telomeres (reversing the shortening process) or if it can merely halt the shortening process in its tracks.
If you’re looking for a better way to get your depressed spouse help, this may be at the foundation of your reasoning. If you know your spouse has had untreated depression for many years, take another look at their overall health. Do they already have symptoms of a major chronic illness? Are they currently being treated for this? Do they look like their lifestyle choices are putting them at risk, even if you don’t see any particularly risky symptoms?
If they have regular appointments (or a need for them) to monitor a chronic condition, get to that appointment and share your concerns about depression with their doctor. Or if they haven’t been to the doctor in a while, talk to them more about any physical complaints you hear frequently. Help them get to the doctor for that and share anything else you can about depression symptoms that concern you.
This may seem like deception or some kind of trickery where you tattle on your spouse. No – untreated depression is just as critical as untreated high blood pressure, untreated diabetes, or another chronic problem. And you wouldn’t consider it an issue to tell the doctor about symptoms you thought could lead to a heart attack, stroke, or dangerous diabetic reaction, would you? Depression can kill or contribute to an early death in a variety of ways.
More and more research connects the depression with physical health problems, and it’s good for you (and your spouse) to understand this updated perspective.
Public Policy Fails Children With LGBT Parents
All Children Matter Report Documents How Children Have Become Collateral Damage of Anti-Gay Laws
October 25, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC—A groundbreaking new report released today shows how two million children have become collateral damage of decades of ideology, laws and policies designed to hurt lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families offers the most complete portrait to date of LGBT families in the U.S.—and paints a vivid picture of how antiquated and discriminatory laws fail and hurt children with LGBT parents. Driven by the need to respond to these pressing public policy failures, the report brings together a coalition of LGBT leaders, policy experts and child advocates that includes the Family Equality Council, the Movement Advancement Project, the Center for American Progress, the National Association of Social Workers, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, and COLAGE, —with a foreword by the Child Welfare League of America.
Full and condensed versions of the report are available online at www.children-matter.org.
LGBT FAMILIES CONFOUND EXPECTATIONS
“All children matter, and we need our laws to affirm this,” said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council. “Fewer than a quarter of all US households are made up of married heterosexual couples raising their biological children, yet public policy is consistently failing those children whose families do not fit into this certain mold.”
Currently, about two million children are being raised by LGBT parents:
•Children of same-sex couples live in 96% of U.S. counties.
•Same-sex couples living in the South are most likely to be raising children (Mississippi has the largest percentage of same-sex couples raising children).
•LGBT families are twice as likely to be living in poverty as married, opposite-sex parents with children.
•LGBT families are more racially and ethnically diverse than the population as a whole.
•Decades of social science research show that children of gay and lesbian parents grow up to be as healthy, happy and well-adjusted as their peers. All major child health and welfare organizations support parenting and adoption by gay and lesbian parents.
HOW INEQUITABLE LAWS AND STIGMA HURT CHILDREN
All Children Matter takes a detailed look at how children with LGBT parents are failed by society, government, and the law.
“Many Americans don’t realize how anti-gay laws and policies hurt children,” said Jeff Krehely, director of the LGBT Communications and Research Program at the Center for American Progress. “For example, the Supreme Court of North Carolina just invalidated all second-parent adoptions, undermining family security and leaving children as legal strangers to the LGBT parents who have raised them since birth. Similarly, when states like Minnesota and North Carolina advance ballot initiatives to deny marriage to same-sex couples, it can have serious consequences, such as denying children access to a parent’s health insurance.”
For example, current laws can:
•Deny children legal ties to both of their parents—which affects everything from custody to a parent being able to make emergency medical decisions for his or her child.
•Wrongly separate children from their parents in cases of divorce or death of a parent.
•Tie children’s access to critical federal and state safety net programs to family structure, rather than need.
•Deny children access to quality child care and early childhood education.
•Deny children Social Security survivor benefits or inheritance when a parent dies.
•Put a child’s legal ties to his or her parents in jeopardy if the family crosses state lines.
•Deny forever homes to 115,000 children awaiting adoption.
COMMON-SENSE SOLUTIONS THAT AFFIRM ALL CHILDREN MATTER
“Our nation’s laws and policies simply have not kept pace with the changing reality of America’s families,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of the Movement Advancement Project. “All Children Matter outlines common-sense recommendations that should be looked at very seriously by anyone claiming to fight for children’s well-being. Many of these solutions would serve the needs not only of children with LGBT parents, but also those in other families as well, such as children of unmarried heterosexual parents.”
Taken together, the policy solutions outlined in All Children Matter could virtually eliminate the legal inequities that hurt children with LGBT parents. Some of those solutions include:
•Legally recognize LGBT families via parental recognition laws at the state level, marriage for gay and lesbian couples, and pathways to immigration and citizenship for binational LGBT families.
•Provide equal access to government-based economic protections such as safety net programs.
•Provide LGBT families and their children with equal access to health care and health insurance, as well as medical decision-making ability.
•Protect LGBT families with non-discrimination laws and anti-bullying policies.
•Expand research and data collection on LGBT families.
About Center for American Progress: The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
About Family Equality Council: Family Equality Council is America’s foremost advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family equality. We represent the one million LGBT families raising two million children in the United States and are working to ensure full social and legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families.
About Movement Advancement Project: Founded in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
About COLAGE: COLAGE is a national movement of children, youth, and adults with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ) parent/s. We build community and work toward social justice through youth empowerment, leadership development, education, and advocacy.
About the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute: The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute is the pre-eminent research, policy and education organization in its field. Its mission is to provide leadership – through sound research – that improves the lives of everyone touched by adoption. Read the just-released report on Research-Based Best Practices in Adoption by Gays and Lesbians.
About The National Association of Social Workers: The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with nearly 145,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.