“To be, or not to be, a Stoic”

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage” – Seneca

                The Roman stoic Seneca, like many before him that practiced stoicism, believed in the philosophy of rational objectivity and are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and circumstance. Many have interpreted this mentality as being cold to emotions, and insensitive to others feelings they deem as weak and unnecessary. This has created a societal mentality of a lack of sympathy and mental health awareness. The stoic would disagree with this paradigm.

Stoicism has a commonality with a type of therapy that many mental health clinics utilize today. This therapy is referred to as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Stoics define life as being indifferent to the life of the individual, but how you react to life’s moments is what defines you as a person. In CBT, therapists focus on changing or mitigating cognitive distortion and behaviors, and work on implementing a more positive life perspective. This is the root of stoicism. Understanding that human emotions are not detrimental but essential to overcoming your life’s adversity. Acknowledging your emotions and using them to better create a more positive outlook on life. Using logic and rationality, coupled with emotional understanding, has helped patients target their negative thoughts and allowed them to begin the healing process.

CBT teaches mental health patients to hone in on those mental distractions and organize their emotional well-being in a positive and healthy manner. Stoicism is a practice that is embraced by the mental health community, however, it has been misinterpreted by those who think mental health is simply a bad attitude. Understand that your life can change through emotional control and an acute understanding of oneself. Therapy allows patients to hone in that understanding, ad allow them to be courageous with the perceived demons they face.

“The Therapy Generation”

The age of treating the average worker as a simple disposable cog in an ever-churning system, it seems, is slowly coming to an end with the rise of Millennials and Gen Z’ers. More so than ever before, the stigmatization of mental health treatment is on a steady decline with “…62 percent of Millennials say they’re comfortable discussing their mental health issues, almost twice as many as the 32 percent of Baby Boomers who expressed such ease, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA).” As more young adults acknowledge the importance of their mental health, what does that mean, in regards, to companies having to accommodate to this new workforce?

            According to a study conducted by Mind Share Partners, SAP, and Qualtrics, “About half of Millennials and 75% of Gen Z’ers have left a job because of mental health reasons. Unlike their parents before them, young adults are far more cognizant of their mental stability and are less likely to stay with a company that doesn’t take into consideration the well-being of its employees. In fact, according to a study conducted by Aetna Behavioral Health, mental health expenses jumped by more than 10 percent annually over five years, compared with the annual increase of just 5 percent for all other medical costs. With a new understanding of mental health, companies are seeing the effects on productivity when mental health is ignored. Forbes states, “Mental health and substance abuse cost US businesses between $80 and $100 billion annually. Another study showed that serious mental illness costs America up to $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year. Depression is thought to count for up to 400 million lost work days annually. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S – that’s 18.5% of the population – experience mental illness each year.”

            “The Therapy Generation” is what they’re being called. A deeper analysis explains why young adults today are more demanding of their employers. With increased international competition, looming student loan debt, stagnant wages, and uncertain future, this generation is suffering the worst mental health crisis of any other generation to date. We’ve been conditioned to believe that the common worker in this country owes everything to their employer. Even sacrificing their convictions and mental health. This is a sacrifice, it seems, Millennials and Gen Z’ers are not willing to make.

  • Brian Hesson (Media Coordinator)

Who Defines Masculinity?

Who defines masculinity? How does one quantify manliness? Societal expectations have placed men in a misguided status quo that has disallowed their ability to confront their mental health. We’ve paralleled weakness with self-care. Men are now stranded on an island of emotional turmoil with their only comfort coming from their attempt to man up. “Manning up” has done nothing to prevent 47,173 deaths by suicide and 1,400,000 suicide attempts per year. (2017, afsp.org) Men are 4x more likely to commit suicide than women are.

            The social stigma of mental health amongst men has created a dangerously volatile environment that has led to many other negative societal implications that plagues many communities to this day. Alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, and infidelity all can be linked to the depressive state of men. Yet we continue to vilify the notion that men don’t need mental healthcare just as much as women. Nothing could be further from the truth. I say to my fellow men who’ve entered that dark mentality, you’re not alone. You are not weak. You are still a man. We were told that men are those who are strong and honest. Nothing shows more strength than being honest with yourself.

-Brian Hesson (Media Coordinator)

Rise of Medication Overdose

Since 1990, the amount of deaths by overdose by those on opioids and prescription medication has been steadily increasing. Currently the United States is experiencing an epidemic with a record-breaking number of death’s due to prescription and drug overdose. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically (SAMSHA, 2010).

Many of those who struggle with an opioid dependency began their addiction with a prescription written by a healthcare professional. The United States government states that “most medical, dental, pharmacy, and other health professional schools do not provide in-depth training on substance abuse; often, substance abuse education is limited to classroom or clinical electives.” Because of this, some healthcare providers do not understand the ramifications of writing a long term, opioid prescription.

A crucial first step in conquering the prescription overdose epidemic is education. Educating medical practitioners about the signs and symptoms of prescription substance abuse while also teaching patients about the dangers long term opioid use will help raise awareness of this national crisis.

Opioid Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication. For more information about the resources offered at Exult Healthcare, or to seek help for you or a loved one Call us at 469-714-0006 or email us at info@exulthealthcare.com.