Links and Resources

 

MentalHealth060312

*This is not an exhaustive list but rather a compilation of the feminist and mental health resources I have found most helpful, educational and recovery-oriented.

 

YouTube Channels

Autumn Asphodel – Autumn makes informative videos about mental health, LGBT/transgender issues and philosophical topics. Some of my favourites are Coping Mechanisms/Positive Ways to Cope, Types of Borderline Personality Disorder and All 10 Personality Disorders/Overview & Symptoms.

beyondblue official – The video channel for beyondblue, an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to increase awareness and understanding of depression and anxiety in Australia and to reduce the associated stigma. Presenting personal stories and awareness campaigns for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Feminist Frequency – An ongoing series of video commentaries exploring gender representations, myths and messages in popular culture media, created and hosted by Anita Sarkeesian. Highlights include The Oscars and The Bechdel Test and The Straw Feminist (Tropes vs. Women).

headspace Australia – Young Australians’ personal stories of mental illness and doing it tough, and how they’ve sought positive support. The channel also provides powerful ads/awareness campaigns, like this one.

Life After E.D. – A series of videos created by Kat, a recovering anorectic, about eating disorders, their contributing factors, common misconceptions, and more. Particularly confronting and moving are her videos Worthless or Worthy? and Anorexia: The Physical Devastation.

 

YouTube Videos

‘An Evening with Marya Hornbacher’ – Hosted by eating disorder advocacy group Project HEAL, acclaimed author Marya Hornbacher discusses the realities of recovery, the importance of community support, and the continuing impact of her book Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia.

‘Emma Watson UN speech’ – United Nations representative, actress and feminist advocate Emma Watson gives a moving speech promoting the HeForShe campaign for gender equality that’s based on the premise of solidarity between women and men.

‘Kristin Bauer PSA’ – Kristin Bauer, who starred as vampire Pam on the HBO TV series True Blood, shares a personal experience of near-suicidality to impart the message that “You never know what good thing is around the corner. Stick around because it does get better”. 

‘Meet Felicia Day’ – BBC interview with modern feminist/’geek’ icon Felicia Day, who has overtaken the webisphere with her super-smart, witty, entrepreneurial presence. Check out her very entertaining self-styled YouTube channel Geek & Sundry.

‘No surrender to anorexia nervosa’ – Elle Irvine, winner of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 2013 Heywire competition, describes her experiences of mental illness and the immensely difficult but worthwhile struggle for recovery.

‘Stigma and Mental Illness’ – A fantastic video wherein people with mental health issues, as well as doctors, nurses and parents, discuss the extremely detrimental impact of stigma and challenge common misconceptions about mental illness. A rallying cry for greater awareness, receptiveness and empathy.

 

Websites

800 Recovery Hub – An extremely comprehensive blog “written by people in recovery for people in recovery”. Categories include addictions, eating disorders and alcoholism.

A Mighty Girl – “The site was founded on the belief that all children should have the opportunity to read books, play with toys, listen to music, and watch movies that offer positive messages about girls and honour their diverse capabilities.” The companion Facebook page shares daily accounts of inspiring girls and women from around the world.

Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls – Founded by feminist advocate and SNL funny lady Amy Poehler, this site’s rallying call to young women is to “change the world by being yourself”. A source of information, comedy and community geared to teens, parents, teachers and fans of all ages.

beyondblue – “Working to reduce the impact of anxiety, depression and suicide in the community by raising awareness and understanding, empowering people to seek help, and supporting recovery, management and resilience.”

Birdee Magazine – “At Birdee we believe that every girl’s opinion matters, and if given the opportunity, girls today will change the world.” A fun, clever outlet for young feminists to express their ideas, whether about Australia’s political climate or Fifty Shades of Grey.

Bitch Media – A non-profit organisation best known for publishing the magazine Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture. The Oregon-based organisation’s mission is to provide and encourage an engaged, thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture.

bluestockings magazine – A student-run feminist publication/blog based at Brown University, USA. Bluestockings aims to affirm marginalised voices and share content that prompts self-reflexive conversations within larger historical and socio-political frameworks. Lots of young, refreshingly radical voices!

‘Depression Isn’t Always What You Think: The Subtle Signs’ – An online article from Forbes that outlines some of the lesser known, less obvious, but nonetheless very important symptoms of depression.

Everyday Feminism – Launched in 2012 and now one of the world’s most popular feminist digital media sites, Everyday Feminism aims to shift our culture to end the everyday violence, discrimination, and marginalisation that people face due to their gender, sexual orientation, race, class, size, ability, and other social differences.

Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media – Founded by actress/advocate Geena Davis, this research-based organisation works within the media and entertainment industry to dramatically improve gender balance, reduce stereotyping and create diverse female characters in entertainment targeting children 11 and under. You can find fascinating research papers and scary facts here.

headspace – As Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation, headspace helps people aged 12-25 with general health, mental health and counselling, education and employment, and alcohol and drug issues. You can find real stories of struggle and triumph from young Australians here.

Immeasurable – Photojournalist Elle Irvine’s ongoing project serves as a window into the headspace of those currently or previously diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia. Portraits are created in collaboration with individuals in order to create an honest representation of each person’s perception of their mindset, their illness and their future.

Live Through This – A collection of portraits and stories of suicide attempt survivors, as told by those survivors. “The intention of Live Through This is to show that everyone is susceptible to depression and suicidal thoughts… These feelings could affect your mom, your partner, or your brother, and the fear of talking about it can be a killer.”

mindhealthconnect – Supported by the Australian Government, mindhealthconnect is a resource hub providing information, online programs, helplines and news. You can find comprehensive descriptions of a wide range of mental health conditions here.

Mindfulness Practice – Created by a registered psychologist, this site includes a variety of audio files that can assist with mindfulness, relaxation and guided imagery based on principles of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).

MindSpot – A free online and phone service for Australian adults with stress, worry, anxiety, low mood or depression. MindSpot provides mental health screening assessments, treatment courses and helps people find local services that can help.

Ms. Magazine – Founded in America in the early 1970s (and spear-headed by famous feminist Gloria Steinem), Ms. boasts extensive coverage of international women’s issues and utilises in-depth reporting and hard-hitting political analysis to promote equal rights.

Psychology in Seattle – Weekly podcasts about psychology, psychotherapy and pop culture that provide an entertaining blend of seriousness and silliness.

Psychology Tomorrow Magazine – A publication that focuses on the intersection of art and psychology: “Against the current trend in psychology towards pathologising human behaviour through medical and scientific explanations, the magazine emphasises the creativity of the therapeutic process for both patients and therapists.”

To Write Love on Her Arms – “A non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.”

 

Film, Television and Documentaries

For the Love of Nancy – In this 1994 TV movie, the parents of a young anorexic woman (played by Tracey Gold) go to extreme lengths to save their daughter’s life. It definitely has its B-grade moments, but for the most part the film is a pretty accurate depiction of anorexia. You can watch the full movie here.

In Treatment – This HBO television series centres on a psychotherapist and his patients, each episode approximating the format of a weekly therapy session. Across the show’s three seasons, some of the complex issues addressed include suicidality, infidelity, sexuality, abandonment fears, chronic emptiness and eating disorders. Nuanced and addictive!

Miss Representation – A 2011 documentary that aims to expose and challenge the gender injustices that limit girls and women in our culture. The film explores the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America, and challenges the media’s limited portrayal of what it means to be a powerful woman.

Perfect Illusions: Eating Disorders and the Family –  A 2002 documentary that focuses on the role of the family in the evolution and treatment of, and recovery from, eating disorders. The film focuses on four young women, including Marya Hornbacher, the acclaimed author of Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia. You can watch the full documentary here.

Sharing the Secret – This TV movie tells the story of Beth, a 14-year-old girl who secretly binges and purges as a way to cope with the overwhelming stress of appearing happy despite complex family dynamics. Released in 2000 and starring Mare Winningham and Alison Lohman, it’s one of the best specimens of a generally melodramatic genre. You can watch the full movie here.

Thin – This 2006 HBO documentary, directed by photojournalist Lauren Greenfield, focuses on four young women receiving treatment for anorexia at a residential facility in Florida. “Unflinching and incisive, Thin offers an experiential and emotional journey through the world of eating disorders and, ultimately, provides a greater understanding of their complexity: that they are not simply about food or body image or self-esteem, but a tangle of personal, familial, cultural and mental health issues.” You can watch the full film here.

 

Books

8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder (Carolyn Costin & Gwen Schubert Grabb) – A handbook/workbook for overcoming eating disorders geared towards sufferers, their family and friends, and mental health professionals. You can read the book’s Introduction here.

Gürze Books – A California-based publishing company that has specialised in eating disorders and recovery since 1980. “Dedicated to serving the entire eating disorders community: individuals who are suffering, their loved ones, the professionals who treat them, and the educators who are working toward prevention. Our goal has been to offer our readers quality materials that are practical, reliable, and accessible.”

Sane: Mental Illness, Addiction, and the 12 Steps (Marya Hornbacher) – A recovery handbook that applies the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to those with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders. The text draws on the author’s own struggles with eating disorders, bipolar disorder and alcoholism.

Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body (Susan Bordo) – A seminal academic text that’s also very accessible to the engaged layperson, Unbearable Weight is a collection of essays that approach issues related to the body from a feminist, media-savvy stance. Bordo’s essay ‘Anorexia Nervosa: Psychopathology as the Crystallization of Culture’ is especially famous and ground-breaking.

Waiting: A Nonbeliever’s Higher Power (Marya Hornbacher) – An exploration of the concept of faith and the human spirit for those who don’t believe in God. “Waiting through doubt teaches us enormous spiritual strength. It gives us the strength to go on – through struggle, through joy, through recovery, through our daily lives – even though we do not know how to name or describe a power or powers greater than ourselves.”

Womansize: The Tyranny of Slenderness (Kim Chernin) – One of the classic feminist texts, it was first published in 1981 and remains relevant and radicalising today. “When we starve ourselves, [Chernin] reflects, or stuff ourselves with food, we reverse problem and solution: we need to understand not only that dieting may be dangerous to our health, but that it may also represent giving up on the attempt to change the patriarchy which denies us the right to grow.”

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