Friday, August 6, 2021

Frazier and Klimes-Dougan on Mental Health

Struggles with mental health range widely. Shannon Brooks, a University of Minnesota alum, shared his struggle in a Minnesota Alumni article titled, “The Night of the Train.” After the loss of his mother and the impending end of his life-long football career, Brooks felt as though his life was ending. One night, consumed with thoughts of loss, Brooks ran toward the side of a speeding train which resulted in losing two teeth and a two-day hospital stay.

Interviewed for the article, Bonnie Klimes-Dougan, PhD, professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota, says its important to ask an individual who is concerning questions specifically about suicide in order to really understand what an individual is dealing with and what can help. It is important to remember, that the belief that discussing suicide will give an individual the idea to commit self-harm is truly a myth. Without asking questions surrounding this topic, it is extremely difficult to understand what they are going through and how we may be able to help.

UMN Psychology professor Pat Frazier, PhD, explains that professionals are now seeing mental health in terms of underlying dimensions (vs. discrete diagnoses). “There’s the example of social anxiety, which can range from mild discomfort to really debilitating anxiety that rules your life,” she says. Today Brooks is safe, happy to be alive, and he hopes that his story can motivate others to care about their own mental health.

Composed by Flora Pollack, communications assistant.