Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The "Black Dog Institute"

I know mental illness isn't usually one of my topics, but to be honest, the worries I normally post about are enough to drive anyone to depression.

But I did once spend a fairly long stint in a past life working with troubled youth as a house counselor and adventure therapy instructor, so I do have some experience and training in this regard. And I have posted on the problems of despair and of mental health approaches to reducing consumerism.

I'm also very interested in Winston Churchill and have a large collection of books on the subject. I'm attracted to his very colorful personality, probably the most important human being in 20th century history. But his was also a very complex and multifaceted personality. His warnings about the increasing threat from Hitler in the 1930s, the era of appeasement, remind me of current events in climate denial. This took incredible vision and stoicism. And he was able to maintain outwardly high morale and indeed pure defiance in the face of the Nazi threat in 1940. All this, despite occasionally slipping into what he called his "black dog."

You can't help but be fascinated and even sympathetic. Some people manage to do great things in spite of mental health difficulties.

So I was immediately interested when a friend posted about the "Black Dog Institute," an Australian non-profit that helps people suffering from bipolar and mood disorders, and depression, using expeditions and other adventure therapy approaches, named of course after Churchill's "black dog".

I'd never heard of it.

Very cool. Almost makes me want to become depressed.

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