Category Archives: Suicide

Creed’s Scott Stapp Talks Candidly About Bipolar Disorder: ‘It Shattered Me’

03 May 2016

In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, hard rock band Creed was at the top of its game, selling over 40 million albums worldwide and winning a Grammy in 2001 for best rock song, “With Arms Wide Open.” But by 2014, lead singer Scott Stapp was far from the top of his game when a very public drug and bipolar-induced breakdown sent him on a downward spiral.

In December 2014, Stapp released a video claiming he was homeless and “under some kind of vicious attack.” His delusions went so far that he told his wife he was a secret CIA agent on a mission to kill President Obama.

In May 2015 Stapp and his wife, Jaclyn, came clean about what was behind his psychotic meltdown: bipolar disorder. Stapp’s mental illness had gone undiagnosed for over a decade. His doctors originally diagnosed him with depression in 1998.

“I was treated with depression without knowing that at the time I had bipolar starting to manifest,” Stapp, 42, told “Looking back, had I been properly diagnosed in ’98, I venture to say my whole life would be vastly different.”

According to a National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association (DMDA)survey conducted in 2000, 69 percent of respondents with bipolar disorder were misdiagnosed. The National Institute of Mental Health describes bipolar as a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy and activity levels.

There is no single cause for bipolar disorder, but some research suggests factors like brain structure, genetics and family history may play a role.

“Mental health issues run on both sides of my family,” Stapp said. “We’re pretty certain I was innately predisposed to it and that it was going to take a hold through my DNA whenever that time was coming.”

Mental health problems are commonly associated with substance abuse. Approximately 60 percent of patients with bipolar I disorder have a lifetime diagnosis of a substance abuse disorder. In the midst of living the rock and roll lifestyle, Stapp started to depend on alcohol and marijuana to compensate his extreme moods.

“Alcohol and marijuana gave me temporary relief,” Stapp said. “The marijuana took me out of depression at times and alcohol took me out of my mania. After a long period of time of using those things to get balanced, that’s when addiction manifested. It took a number of years before it went from a self-medicating tool to full-blown alcoholism.”

Virginia Firefighter Victim of Cyberbullying Months Before Apparent Suicide

24 Apr 2016

Members of an anonymous forum dedicated to Fairfax, Va., gossip may have cyberbullied a female firefighter who died in an apparent suicide in Shenandoah National Park. Multiple posts from December 2015 targeted Nicole Mittendorff with derogatory name-calling of a sexual nature. On April 13, the 31-year-old’s body was found more than a week after she failed to report to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue. Police found a suicide note in her Mini Cooper, which was parked a mile from the site where her body was discovered. Fire Chief Richard Bowers acknowledged a scattering of disparaging forum posts that referred to several female paramedic-firefighters, including Mittendorff, as “slut.” He pledged to investigate the harassment.

Training the Police to Hold Their Fire

23 Apr 2016

The 911 caller had reported a man with a samurai sword, lunging at people on the waterfront. It was evening, and when the police arrived, they saw the man pacing the beach and called to him. He responded by throwing a rock at the embankment where they stood. They shouted to him from a sheriff’s boat; he threw another rock. They told him to drop the sword; he said he would kill them. He started to leave the beach, and after warning him, they shot him in the leg with a beanbag gun. He turned back, still carrying the four-foot blade. In another city — or in Portland itself not that long ago — the next step would almost certainly have been a direct confrontation and, had the man not put down the weapon, the use of lethal force. But the Portland Police Bureau, prodded in part by the 2012 findings of a Justice Department investigation, has spent years putting in place an intensive training program and protocols for how officers deal with people with mental illness. At a time when police behavior is under intense scrutiny — a series of fatal shootings by police officers have focused national attention on issues of race and mental illness — Portland’s approach has served as a model for other law enforcement agencies around the country. And on that Sunday last summer, the police here chose a different course. At 2:30 a.m., after spending hours trying to engage the man, the officers decided to “disengage,” and they withdrew, leaving the man on the beach. A search at daylight found no signs of him. People with mental illnesses are overrepresented among civilians involved in police shootings: Twenty-five percent or more of people fatally shot by the police have had a mental disorder, according to various analyses.

U.S. Suicide Rates Up, Especially Among Women

22 Apr 2016

The number of suicides in the United States has been on the rise since 1999 in everyone between the ages of 10 and 74, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics looked at data on cause of death for Americans 10 and older from 1999 to 2014. They also included information on age and race from death certificates. “The increase is broad-based,” said Sally C. Curtin, a statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the new report, which was released Thursday. Such an increase in suicides could also make prevention efforts more difficult. “If it were just one particular group, you could say ‘that is where we need to focus,’ ” Curtin said. The report is the first since 1999 to look at suicide rates among all age groups, she said. The number of suicides increased among all racial groups except for black males, who saw an 8% decline in suicide rate from 10.5 to 9.7 per 100,000 between 1999 and 2014, respectively. The largest increases were among American Indians and Alaska Natives; in this group, the suicide rate climbed by 89% among women and 38% among men. Suicide rates among white women and white men increased by 60% and 28%, respectively.


Almost Half of Children Returned From Nauru Have Mental Illness

21 Apr 2016

Almost half of the asylum seeker children returned to Australia from Nauru’s detention centre – the public focus of the Let Them Stay campaign – have been diagnosed with a mental illness, the government has told parliament.

Fifty-four children returned to Australia from Nauru were part of the 267 asylum seekers and refugees who were the focus of a nationwide Let Them Stay campaign.

In answer to a February question on notice specifically about that 267 cohort, a Department of Immigration and Border Protection official has told the Senate: “as at 8 February 2016, there were 25 minors from Nauru who were in Australia with a clinically diagnosed mental health condition including depression and anxiety”.

“Additionally, there were five minors in Australia for other long-term medical issues.”

Pet Therapy in Recovery

19 Apr 2016

Pet therapy may include several kinds of therapies involving animals, from animal-assisted therapy to animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy tends to use dogs or other animals to help people recover from health problems or to cope with mental stresses. Animal-assisted activities allow individuals to interact with animals. These animals may provide comfort during the activity or be used to provide interaction. Animal-assisted therapies work in several ways. For instance, if you attend your drug addiction programand are asked if you want to be part of the program, you can say yes and learn more. If everything is agreeable to you, you’ll seen have an assistance animal, whether it’s a horse, dog, cat, or other animal, come to you. In some cases, the animal stays for longer, but most visits are between 10 to 15 minutes. You can interact with the animal and talk to the handler. Typically, this improves a person’s mood, which is helpful to the healing process.

Steve Young Brings Music to Sutter Children’s Hospital

18 Apr 2016
Hall of Fame 49ers quarterback Steve Young was in Sacramento Tuesday with his wife Barbara to open an incredibly special music room at Sutter Children’s Hospital. Young and his wife through their Forever Young Foundation, have been doing hospital projects for 30 years now. Tuesday, they cut the ribbon to open Sophie’s Place, a music room that will do so much more than just feed the soul.

How It Feels When The Person You Love Has Depression

16 Apr 2016

I used to joke that only men with depression were attracted to me. It was the only experience I’d had, every long-term boyfriend and even the short-term flings. I’d never dated anyone who hadn’t been on antidepressants, or spent time in a psychiatrist’s office. That dark, brooding, introspective type: It draws me in.

I guess having struggled with my own anxiety, and bouts of depression, I’ve always been able to empathize. Then there’s the carer aspect of my personality; I like to look after people, I like to try and fix situations, connect people to services that will help them. I’m studying to become a social worker.

I don’t want to compare my experience as a partner of someone with depression to the struggles of someone who is actually depressed. But years of loving people who could probably not love me back in the same way, it’s taught me coping techniques that I think could be helpful. I am just one of the many, many partners who’ve sat in silence with their loved one, watching them eat for the first time in two days because their brain has been a fog and their muscles hurt and their bed is the only safe space for them to hide in.

Beverly Callard Opens Up On Depression Battle

13 Apr 2016

Beverley Callard looked at the sexy black PVC outfit in the corner of her dressing room and broke down in despair. She was feeling so low that the very idea she would have to dress up as Coronation Street barmaid Liz McDonald – let alone muster the energy to play her extrovert personality – filled her with horror. She had sunk into such a deep depression that she’d lost all her confidence. “At first no one knew I was struggling,” says Beverley, 59. “I wanted to keep it a secret. “But I was getting worse and worse each day. I was getting ready in my dressing room and I couldn’t take it any more. Liz had to be dressed up for a certain scene – she had to wear a PVC outfit. “Fear took over and I started to cry. I thought, ‘I’m not confident enough to put this on. I can’t do it’.”

Boredom Can Be Dangerous For Mental Illness

11 Apr 2016

While I always recommend making time for relaxation, there’s one facet to having time on your hands that I must caution about. All too often people with mental illness are left with idle time, myself included, which can lead to trouble. Spare time means more opportunity to worry and overanalyze things that happen. This is common among anxiety sufferers, but it can be even more of a problem for people in my situation, namely people who are living with schizophrenia. Sometimes, when we have too much time on our hands, our minds go to places that are intense and scary. Troubling ideas can manifest themselves in any number of ways. Whether it’s paranoia or delusions, depression or hallucinations, our minds are all too susceptible to spiraling out of control. That’s why I think it’s important that we have something to do. I’ve talked about creative flow before. You find your flow when you engage in a creative activity that’s so engrossing you lose track of time. Creative hobbies are important because they keep us occupied and focused on something other than our worries. It can be drawing, painting, woodcarving, writing, working at an easy job or really anything that allows you to flow. For me, writing is where I find my flow. If not there, then in photography and walking or hiking. These seemingly nominal tasks are incredibly important for maintaining my stability and, while I don’t do them as often as I should, I’m well aware of what can happen when I have too much free time.