Stephen Fry, Ian McKellen and Melvyn Bragg share stories of how literature can help with mental health problems.

Stephen Fry on depression and  bipolar disorder

Fry chose two poems that have helped him in dark times: John Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale” and Philip Larkin’s “Aubade”.

Keats’s poem was written the year after his brother Tom died of tuberculosis, and Keats was anxious about his own health. Larkin’s poem was written towards the end of his life, when he struggled with writer’s block.

“Oddly enough, they do [cheer me up]. I suppose it’s because there’s an authenticity about them. They have really been to places that I’ve been, but they’ve made something of it, something permanent and remarkable. Two incredible poems.”

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singaporean bipolar & depression quiz show

I’m not going to review this one any further than to say zomg I LOVE it. Feel free to come back and agree or lynch me. Please check it out, regardless of whether or not you’re bipolar. I started the day feeling rather crappy, but more stable. I am now grinning my ass off. If any of you see my ass, I’d quite like it back.*exits stage left followed by a bear*

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a quote about stigma

The stigma causes some patients not to seek treatment. Many families resist sending loved ones who are ill to get care. Patients suffer. Patients with schizophrenia die at a younger age than healthy people. In too many instances, patients kill themselves. Suicide is the number one cause of premature death in schizophrenia. Lives are ruined.

I’m frustrated by this. If someone suffers a stroke or a concussion, we say, “We need to get them help right away.” If a person suffers from cognitive decline later in life, we say the same thing. If a child has a reading disability, we say, “We need to do something about that.”

But if a 20-year-old kid has a psychotic episode, society wants to ignore him. Many mentally ill people end up becoming homeless or the victims of crimes and have nowhere to turn. The largest psychiatric treatment center in the United States isn’t a hospital. It’s the Los Angeles County jail. The three largest psychiatric centers in the U.S. are jails.


diaries of a broken mind

A BBC3 documentary (1hr28mins) in which mentally ill British youngsters film and tell their own stories. They discuss all the usual topics and interview their loved ones. I’m not doing a very in depth review of this one. I think what is relevant to it, is the age of the participants and the home movie format. The other thing that is glaring, is that the participants were overwhelmingly female and Caucasian. I find warts ‘n all, first person stuff fascinating; it isn’t the best doccie I’ve seen, but it’s certainly not the worst.

Watch it on YouTube.

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blog for mental health 2015 project

Scroll to the end for project details, plus a handy link so you can get involved too.

Changes I’d love to see: (consider them demands, not requests)

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