High School and College Students – Take Charge of Your Mental Health

Campus Calm had the opportunity to speak with Ross Szabo, our Mental Health Survival expert, about ways to reduce the stigma surrounding student mental health. Szabo is the Director of Youth Outreach for the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign (NMHAC).

Campus Calm: What is mental health stigma and how does it prevent young people from seeking the help that they need?

Ross Szabo: Stigma surrounding mental health stems from the stigma surrounding mental disorders. People think that if they talk about emotions it’s a sign of weakness. They’re embarrassed and ashamed and don’t really know how to talk about how they feel on a lot of levels. Beyond that, a lot of people are afraid of being labeled loony, or crazy, or psycho, or wacko. If they have an emotional problem, they’re afraid that people are going to judge them, talk about them differently and make them more of an outcast.

There’s also a stigma around therapy. Some people feel as if they don’t have the time to work out their problems or they don’t want to burden someone or make their lives worse. Sometimes they don’t even have the words to describe how they feel. Ultimately, it’s a fear of weakness or that it won’t be something treatable that they can deal with.

Campus Calm: Do you believe that it’s our generation’s responsibility and maybe even our calling to stop mental health shame?

Ross Szabo: I think it’s about time that we start looking at mental health issues in a different way. We’ve highlighted these issues for a long time without nailing them. We told people to stop drinking, then we told them to stop doing drugs. There were movements to tell people to stop having sex. At the core of all those issues are mental health issues. If you’re having unsafe sex, it’s probably not because you like yourself. If you’re drinking a lot or doing a lot of drugs, it’s probably not because you care about yourself.

It’s time that we focus on why people are doing destructive things. Young people are in a time period where this is possible. Earlier, we didn’t know enough about the brain or about these issues to do it. So I do think it’s time to do it.

Campus Calm: What are some things that we can do on an individual level to help stop the shame?

Ross Szabo: Individually, if you’re going through a rough time, know that talking about these issues and seeking help is a sign of strength- it’s not a sign of weakness. It’s not something you should keep hidden or silent just because of fear. Individually, we need to start being more upfront and having discussions around these things. The more confidence we have, the more we’re going to be able to stand up to people who still view these issues as stigma. Say, “No, you’re wrong. This isn’t a stigma. The brain is a part of the body and I’m going to try to get my brain healthy.”

We can also help our friends and family members by reassuring them and helping them have the confidence to seek help when they’re going through a rough time.

Campus Calm: Who needs to worry about mental health?

Ross Szabo: There’s a whole spectrum involved in mental health and we all should be concerned with the spectrum. On the low end of the spectrum, people may deal with stress, pressure, or lack of sleep. All those things are going to affect someone’s ability to do a lot of things.

Further down the spectrum, people may be dealing with death or divorce, physical or sexual abuse or very clearly defined problems. In those situations, people are going to have to find what works best for them and deal with it. Further down, people my be dealing with mental disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and anxiety disorders. In those situations, again, they’re going to have to find what works best for them.

Mental health is something that affects everyone. It’s something that everyone needs to be aware of and everyone should definitely work on. No one is except from mental health. We need to do a better job of helping people understand what mental health is.

Campus Calm: Why is it so dangerous to think that we can and should control our problems all by ourselves instead of seeking help?

Ross Szabo: Anytime someone tries to deal with something solely o

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Orthomolecular Medicine – A Leading Light For Mental Health and Nutrition, Mental Diseases

Are we in The Dark Ages? When it comes to mental health diagnoses in the 21st century, it often seems that way. Yes, drugs can help extreme symptoms, but with a 10% ‘success’ rate, modern drugs seldom help anyone truly recover. Parents and other family members of those with serious mental diseases are often at their wits’ end.

Too many people are suffering-not getting well on present day “medication only” policies of mental wards of our leading hospitals. Seldom do patients’ physical health get investigated for deficiencies of healthy nutrients such as B12, other B vitamins, Vitamin D or Omega 3 fatty acids, bowel problems, food allergies or mineral deficiencies, such as zinc.

Thousands of accounts of deficiencies affecting mental health can be found in respected journals and daily newspapers: Vitamin D preventing depression, Omega 3 fatty acids helping to prevent suicides and post-partum depression, food allergies affecting mental health and children – triggering ADHD, hypoglycemia causing anxiety, bipolar or other symptoms of mental disorders.

What Early Research Supports Healthy Nutrients for Mental Health?

In the early ’50’s Abram Hoffer, MD, with a PhD in biochemistry conducted double-blind studies for the treatment of schizophrenia. Hoffer headed up a research team of 30 in four mental hospitals and three psychiatric wards in Saskatchewan, Canada. Eight double blind studies came out of this extensive research that showed that certain B vitamins, especially niacin, B3 could help schizophrenia. Forty years of research can be found on orthomed.org about orthomolecular medicine to treat mental disorders and physical illnesses.

Schizophrenia symptoms including paranoia and other serious symptoms were reversed in 80% of cases within two years if the patient was started on the treatment of B3 (niacin). Along the way, other protocols natural to the body were researched by medical scientists and added for even more benefit. These treatments are inexpensive and effective and can be added to medication with better outcomes.

Dosages of dietary supplements depend upon each individual’s tolerance and needs and can often change over time. (Niacin can cause a flush in the body, but is not dangerous. There are non-flush formulas.) Symptoms of bipolar, depression and anxiety can also be lessened.

Is Orthomolecular Medicine Used for Mental Health Disorders?

Orthomolecular medicine, a term coined by Linus Pauling, double Nobel Laureate involves treatment by optimizing health and treating disease by providing correct amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, essential fatty acids and other substances which are natural and essential to the human body.

Your body is powered by your dietary intake – nutrients. There is no steel plate cutting off your brain from your body. The brain is 60% fat and it needs quality fats, vitamins and minerals to thrive. Those eating deep fried foods such as French fries need information on eating healthy. Rancid fats get lodged in our bodies in places where healthy fats should be to power the body – especially the brain.

Why Don’t You Know About Mental Health and Nutrition?

Vitamins, minerals or other natural substances can’t be patented. No vitamin sales people knock on physicians’ doors with free samples. Also, nutrition is low on the list of subjects in medical schools. However, orthomolecular psychiatrists or other health professionals check for many nutrient deficiencies as possible causes for mental disturbances. Abundant Information is available about nutrition health benefits.

What Physical Problems can Affect Mental Illnesses?

High or low blood sugar levels cause mental symptoms to peak.
B12 deficiency causes confusion, fatigue, weakness and severe mental symptoms.
Anemia (low iron levels) is sometimes confused with dementia.
Low thyroid has been shown to be common for those with schizophrenia.
Low levels of Vitamin D stores directly relate to depression.
Those with mental illness often have food allergies or digestive problems.
Some fear that vitamins in high dosages are “not safe”. View testimony before the Government of Canada, House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, regarding nutritional supplement product safety (Ottawa, May 12, 2005). Ignorance abounds on the subject of vitamins.

Our society needs to restore the lost minds of people who suffer episodes of mental health problems. The lucky ones who recover using orthomolecular treatments can become productive members of society. They can enjoy life and contribute.

Let’s end the dark age of treatment of those with mental diseases. Contact The International Schizophrenia Foundation and the Journal of OrthomolecularMedicine and help those desperate for recovery to step into the light.

Rosalie Moscoe, holistic nutritionist helps people attain nutritional balance for mental

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