Going Crazy in My Cell
The Beat Within, Commentaries, Various Authors Posted: Mar 29, 2008
Editorís Note: Removing the stigma from mental health services is a top priority among practitioners and policy makers in the field. We asked young people detained in juvenile halls in California and New Mexico: ďWhen you hear the term Ďmental healthí what comes to mind?Ē Their answers reveal some clues as to why the term carries a negative association and how easily accessible, culturally-competent, high quality care may be the best antidote. The Beat Within is a weekly magazine of writing and art from inside juvenile halls and prisons.
When I hear the term ďmental health,Ē depression instantly comes to my mind. I donít think that my mind is healthy being in juvenile hall at all. My counselors have seen my depression and are doing their best to help me out. Depression is not an easy thing to cope with. I have had it since I was about 10 years old. Now I know some ways to ease my mind and relax, but that never makes it go away. I deal with pain that sometimes makes me want to commit suicide, but I know that killing myself is not worth it. Being locked up feels like itís physically damaging my brain, but itís really not. It has made me very, very depressed. But I am not going write about that because it hurts too much. When I get out I am going to totally change my life around and leave depression behind.
- Fighting Depression
I think Iím pretty mentally healthy. I donít really think I need help from counselors or psychiatrists, but the court thinks Iím emotionally disturbed or something and psychiatrists just try to prescribe unhealthy meds. Luckily my parents said NO! Really, what helps me most is trying to stay good and follow Godís word, pray and have faith. Also, I practice staying calm, meditating and focusing on positive things. Iím pretty good at being my own counselor. Although I wasnít always leading a healthy life in the past, all the unhealthiness has brought me to many realizations on what to do and what not to do. When Iím not in here I only eat natural food, and exercise a lot. I had a run in with some drugs, but have learned to stay away from them. Now Iím at the point where Iím just trying to be as good and smart and healthy as possible!
Mental health: people think itís funny. Nope. Itís okay if you need counseling, because actually all people need to talk about their feelings and problems. Sometimes Iím really glad I got in the system because I can get the counseling and help I need and because I get to take a step back and look at my problems. Why? Think negative and you just mentally abuse yourself. Yup, I heard that from my counselor.
Mental health means nothing to me. I think thatís just a place where they put crazy people. Like when they are really messed up in the head. I also think the juvenile hall staff are the ones that need counseling because sometimes they donít even know what they are talking about. They donít even help the juveniles out. They just talk to them like nothingís happening.
- Mentally Confident
Mental Health is when somebody like me is incarcerated for so long. Once you are in this place you canít do what you want. No more eating, sleeping, watching TV when you want, itís like once youíre in your cell all you see is white walls. When youíre in your cell you canít come out when you want, it drives you crazy. It feels like you can never come out and when youíre out of your cell all you can do is watch movies. You start to get depressed; you start feeling like killing your self. You canít use the phone when you want or see your family. When you are in here you have to keep yourself from yelling and cussing at staff or even fighting, because if you do all that will do is put more time on your hands. So, while youíre in here you have to learn from your mistakes.
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