Saturday, February 4, 2023

Tag: poverty and trauma

All in the Brain? An Open Letter Re: Stephen Fry’s Assumptions...

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Stephen Fry’s exploration of manic depression (in the current BBC series on mental health, ‘In the Mind‘) has drawn both praise (because of his attempts to destigmatize mental illness) and criticism (because he appears to have a very narrow biomedical understanding of mental illness).  I have sent an open letter to the actor which challenges some of his assumptions about mental illness, and offers a very different understanding to that promoted in his recent television programme.

“The Life and Times of Strider Wolf”

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In the Boston Globe, Sarah Schweitzer tells the story of a young boy brutally abused by his parents then given to his grandparents who struggled with extreme poverty and homelessness. “Researchers now understood that trauma could alter the chemistry of developing brains and disrupt the systems that help a person handle stress, propelling a perpetual state of high alert. The consequences could be lifelong. As an adult, he’d be more likely to suffer anxiety and depression and heart disease and stroke. His ability to hold a job, manage money, and make good decisions could be compromised. And there was evidence, controversial but mounting, that he could pass on these traits to his children.”