• How The Bible Can Be Damaging to People with Depression via Patheos Blog

How The Bible Can Be Damaging to People with Depression via Patheos Blog

This is a very good article, but I do have one minor disagreement with it (very minor). I’d like to discuss my area of disagreement, but I’ll do so below the link and excerpts.

How The Bible Can Be Damaging to People with Depression via Patheos Blog by Guest Contributor

Snippets:

As a teen, I read the entire Bible. Twice. Deuteronomy, with rules about weird sores on the body, 1 Chonicles and the list of who “begat” whom, and all. Not one verse helped.

I clung to verses of encouragement as I lay sobbing and screaming into pillows, wracked with internal pain. Hopeless. Pleading for God to help me, to deliver me. I could find only one verse that I identified with: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:45-46).

…“Just have a little more faith,” coach these verses and those who deliver them. “Just think more positively; just hope.” That’s the thing about depression, though: there is no hope.

Depression is characterized by a lack of hope. …

That’s where the verses can get dangerous, in the following three ways.

1) Bible verses keep us from seeking treatment.

When we believe that depression can be overcome by thought changes, we ignore the fact that clinical depression is a medical issue, an imbalance in brain chemistry.

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• Facebook Rolls Out AI to Detect Suicidal Posts Before They’re Reported

Facebook Rolls Out AI to Detect Suicidal Posts Before They’re Reported

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook’s AI could spot suicidal tendencies in users quicker than friends

Facebook Is Using “A.I.” to Tell If You’re Suicidal. Here’s What That Really Means.  

Facebook is rolling out AI-based suicide prevention effort

The company said on Monday it is now using artificial intelligence to identify posts, videos, and Facebook Live streams containing suicidal thoughts. It will also use the technology to prioritize the order its team reviews posts.

 In March, Facebook (FB) began a limited test of AI-based suicide prevention efforts on text-only posts in the U.S.

Its latest effort will bring the automated flagging tools on text and video posts globally, except in the EU where data privacy restrictions are different than other parts of the world.

In a blog post, the company detailed how AI looks for patterns on posts that may contain references to suicide or self-harm. In addition to searching for words and phrases in posts, it will scan the comments. According to Facebook, comments like “Are you ok?” and “Can I help?” can potentially be an indicator of suicidal thoughts.

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• Synthetic ‘Love Hormone’ Could Be Key To Treating Mental Illness

Synthetic ‘Love Hormone’ Could Be Key To Treating Mental Illness

This article mentions that animal testing was used in this process. I do not support animal testing, even if it benefits humans in some medical kind of way.  I’m happy to see contributions to helping people who have anxiety and depression, but I don’t like to see it at the expense of animals.

Synthetic ‘Love Hormone’ Could Be Key To Treating Mental Illness

Snippets:

A new synthetic version of the “love hormone” could soon be used to treat mental illness like anxiety and schizophrenia, experts says.

A team of researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia has developed a version of oxytocin which they say will have no side-effects.

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• One of the Best Things Churches Can Do for People With Mental Illness by A. Simpson

One of the Best Things Churches Can Do for People With Mental Illness

“Please don’t tell anyone,” she pleaded. “They won’t let me serve anymore.”

by Amy Simpson

…After all, I have heard countless stories of exactly that. From Bible study leaders to Sunday school teachers to ministry coordinators to senior pastors, people have been asked to step away from ministry because they face mental health challenges.

…It is tragic to think how many people have been stripped of ministry opportunities because they have depression, anxiety sometimes overwhelms them, or occasionally they aren’t sure what’s real.

Essentially, churches find people among them who need the structure and purpose of serving in ministry and immediately take it away. Then we ask people to get better without one of the most helpful things they could have in their lives.

Perhaps among the cruelest ways we regularly respond to mental illness is by implying that people with mental illness have no purpose in the church or God’s kingdom.

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• WoeBot, The Chatbot Therapist, Will See You Now – The Rise of Chatbot Therapy

On Wired:

The Chatbot Therapist Will See You Now

On Washington Post:

‘The Woebot will see you now’ — the rise of chatbot therapy

by Amy Ellis Nutt

Dec 3, 2017

…It wasn’t a surprise, of course. I’d downloaded “Woebot,” a chatbot recently created by researchers, and it was trying to establish our therapeutic relationship.

“Part of the value of Woebot is you can get things off your chest without worrying what the other person thinks, without that fear of judgment,” said Alison Darcy, founder and chief executive of Woebot Labs. “We wanted it to make an emotional connection.”

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• A Rescue Plan For The Anxious Child by Andrea Petersen

This article from The Wall Street Journal, which I include further below in this post, reminds me of my childhood.

I had social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I still struggle with some of these things, but I don’t think it’s as severe in some ways now for me.

When I was a kid, and even into my 20s, I was usually too afraid to make eye contact with waiters in restaurants, or talk to waiters to give them my order – I sometimes forced myself to do those things, however.

None of the mental health professionals I saw for over two decades diagnosed me with anxiety, though I had a severe case of anxiety since childhood. I had to do research on my own to figure out that is what it was called – anxiety.

When I got older and brought this up with a psychiatrist I was seeing, and described it to her, she agreed I had anxiety disorders, as did the next doctor I saw, and they both prescribed anti-anxiety medications for me (the medications did not work. Yes, we tried using the meds at different dosages. Yes, I tried different meds. None of that worked.)

One odd thing about this 2017 article I link you to below is that there is one quite similar to it from 2008 by the same author, also on the same news site.

I have some comments below this:

The Right Way for Parents to Help Anxious Children

Snippets:

Anxiety disorders are common in childhood, and many parents naturally want to shield their youngsters from distress. But that is often the exact opposite of what they should do

December 8, 2017

By Andrea Petersen

…Anxiety becomes a disorder… when it impairs a child’s basic functioning – preventing her from going to school or making friends, for example – or causes serious distress. Anxious kids tend to have physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomachaches, which don’t have a medical cause.

Anxiety disorders are remarkably common among children in the U.S.: nearly one-third of them will have an anxiety disorder by age 18, according to a 2010 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry – and girls are more at risk.
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• For Some of Us Running Is the Key To Managing Depression And Anxiety by Scott Douglas

For Some of Us Running Is the Key To Managing Depression And Anxiety by Scott Douglas

Running puts everyone in a better mood. But for some of us, our miles are key to managing depression and anxiety.

[Author discusses his depression and his friend Meredith’s anxiety]

…We do have one key thing in common: Meredith and I run primarily to bolster our mental health. Like all runners, we relish the short-term experience of finishing our run feeling like we’ve hit reset and can better handle the rest of the day.

What’s not universal is our recognition that, without regular running, the underlying fabric of our lives—our friendships, our marriages, our careers, our odds of being something other than miserable most of the time—will fray. For those of us with depression or anxiety, we need running like a diabetic needs insulin.

Meredith and I discovered this decades ago, and now researchers and practitioners are starting to catch up. Studies show that aerobic exercise can be as effective as anti-depressants in treating mild to moderate depression (and with side effects like improved health and weight management rather than bloating and sexual dysfunction).

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