August 31, 2022
By Courtney Wise
Good morning, MindSite News readers. In today’s edition, learn about a fund to reduce postpartum depression among moms (and partners) in Utah, Black mothers finding emotional freedom in mushrooms, and the cognitive benefits of playing a musical instrument. Plus: the problem with “hostile” architecture.
New scholarship fund aids moms with postpartum depression in Utah
Michelle Stoll told KSL.com that after giving birth to her son, she became accustomed to the “whirlpool of anger” that often overcame her. Then she saw a doctor, got help and was prescribed medication. A week later, her 8-month-old began crying on a drive home – and she was astounded by her unexpected calm. Instead of yelling at her infant to go sleep or worrying that he’d stopped breathing, Stoll finally found herself feeling like her new life as a mom was manageable.
Stoll’s turnaround was made possible because the Utah chapter of Postpartum Support International started a scholarship fund to help new moms. The goal is to bridge the financial gap keeping pregnant and postpartum parents from accessing therapy and medications if they need it. The program serves the uninsured and those whose insurance doesn’t cover these needs. Men and non-birthing parents are intended to benefit from the scholarship too, because according to data from PSI Utah, 10% of fathers will develop postpartum depression.
Camille Hawkins, PSI Utah’s scholarship coordinator, said the effort benefits the whole community. “These parents have more mental and emotional space to give back to society and engage with children. In general, this leads to happier and healthier societies, Hawkins said. For Michelle Stoll, getting access to mental health resources consistently and affordably “has literally changed the trajectory of my life.”
MindSite News, WETA and Ken Burns present a FREE live back-to-school event: A Conversation About Youth Mental Health and the Making of Hiding in Plain Sight
THURSDAY, September 8th at 4:00pm PST | 7:00pm EST
Mary is the mother of Maclayn, a boy featured in Hiding in Plain Sight. In the film, Mary gives voice to her experience as a parent with a 7-year-old child who had thoughts of ending his life and the family’s difficulties getting the mental health care their son needed.
Watch Mary’s clip HERE
For more information about the speakers and moderators at this event, click HERE
A community of Black mothers finds healing through mushrooms
It has no formal name, but it’s still a community. The group began online through an Instagram account — The Ancestor Project — and met in-person at the California Psychedelic Conference earlier this year. It has since expanded from 15 to 45 members, who gather regularly to take psilocybin mushrooms, set intentions, and pray. “I think Black people need psychedelics,” Destiny Rok, a 27-year-old stay-at-home mom, told The Guardian. “This community is really important because these are women who are not afraid to push the boundaries that have been set in place by non-Black people.”
Rok has been using psychedelic mushrooms for about 10 years and said they’ve been her saving grace as a parent. Raised by a mother who was short-tempered and impatient, Rok found herself beginning to behave the same way after her first child was born. She began microdosing after the birth of her second child, she said, and things changed for the better.
Sunumi Jackson, a mother and psychoactive substances educator, says mushrooms can decrease symptoms of depression and address intergenerational trauma. “We’re experiencing this differently than a white woman would because we have a different set of traumas,” Jackson said. “The war on drugs caused the Black community to have a fear towards substances. Because of that fear, we have avoided potential things that could help us, like mushrooms… [But] when we make one change in the direction to heal ourselves, we can shift the direction that our legacy is going in.”
As the Guardian article notes, using psychedelic mushrooms is not without risks, including a persisting perception disorder, in which an individual has prolonged visual hallucinations after using psychedelics. Psilocybin use can also cause panic attacks, increased anxiety and nausea – and is not fully legal in any state.
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In other news…
Learning a musical instrument in childhood is linked to sharper cognition in late adulthood, according to researchers at the University of Edinburgh. “Music has so much to offer as a fun, social activity – it is exciting to find that learning to play a musical instrument may also contribute to healthy cognitive aging,” said Katie Overy, a senior lecturer at the school. Read more about it in The Guardian.
You may have noticed an upsurge in spikes, uneven concrete and benches with armrests in the middle – all designed to keep homeless people from resting or sleeping in public. But so-called “hostile architecture” is cruel to unhoused people and creates problems for the whole population, including wheelchair users, argues the editorial board of The Alestile, the student paper at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or experiencing suicidal thoughts, call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and connect in English or Spanish. If you’re a veteran press 1. If you’re deaf or hard of hearing dial 711, then 988. Services are free and available 24/7.
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