Weekly INT Boost: How #DiagnoseTrump Contributes to Mental Health Stigma, and More

Say hi to Moses, a charming Basenji who's part of the extended Take This family care of Suzanne Jakiw's mother.

Say hi to Moses, a charming Basenji who’s part of the extended Take This family care of Suzanne Jakiw’s mother.

We’re wrapping up another week with the best mental health-related articles you may have missed, including a VICE series you might want to read if you spend a lot of time worrying.


Genetic Causes Of Depression: New Study Finds Major Clues

“To find these genes, the team examined data collected by the consumer genetic testing company 23andme. Of the 300,000 people studied, 75,607 self-reported a clinical diagnosis of depression or were receiving treatment for the condition.The DNA of people with the disease was then compared to that of healthy controls, using a computerized search. Any genetic differences appearing more often in sick people can hint at what genes are involved.”

Researchers found 17 genetic variations that are associated with depression in the course of the study. As Medical Daily points you, it’s not a solution, but it’s useful data — and a reminder that depression isn’t “all in our heads,” as the saying goes.


Being Transgender Is Not a Mental Disorder: Study

“A new study published Tuesday in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry adds nuance to the topic, finding that the social rejection and violence that many transgender people experience appears to be the primary source of their mental distress, as opposed to the distress being solely the result of being transgender. That distinction matters because it has implications for how transgender people are treated in a healthcare setting, as well as how they are viewed in society. In some places, the study’s authors note, viewing transgender people as having a mental illness might force them to get psychiatric care rather than the physical care they seek, or be used by governments to deny “decision-making authority to transgender people in matters ranging from changing legal documents to child custody and reproduction.””

The study comes with the recommendation that the WHO remove transgender identity from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), a move that many advocates consider long overdue. As Time goes on to note, the classification limits the sorts of healthcare transgender people can access in some places, and allows governments to restrict transgender people’s decision-making authority.


Don’t ‘Diagnose’ Donald Trump, It’s Not Helpful

“An important thing to remember is this; it’s entirely possible to be sexist/racist//paranoid/arrogant/offensive/generally awful without having some form of mental disorder. Similarly, it’s entirely possible to have a mental disorder and be none of these things, in fact be a perfectly lovely competent person. People with mental health conditions have enough trouble being trusted by people thanks to the media as it is, without being blamed for every violent crime or offensive outburst. If you think Trump is completely unsuited to being president because of all that he does, a diagnosis of a disorder shouldn’t be necessary. Otherwise it’s just needlessly stigmatising those with mental health concerns.”

#DiagnoseTrump is a movement and a petition created to suggest that Donald Trump isn’t fit to be president — by suggesting that he might have mental health issues. As The Guardian explains, whatever your political stance, that’s an inherently stigmatizing position to take. It also relies on crowd-sourcing mental health diagnoses, which is a dangerous trend.


How Scared Should I Be of Meteors?

“So are collisions with objects from space such a serious danger that building Ned Flanders-style backyard shelters might actually be a rational move? I took my anxieties to Paul Chodas, who manages NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Just like C-3PO, he told me the odds of a dangerous encounter with an asteroid, but unlike Han Solo, my spaceship (Earth) probably isn’t at any real risk at all.”

If you’re like me, you keep a running list of all the you read about that make you really anxious in the back of your mind — very helpfully, I’m sure. VICE writer Mike Pearl does, too, but to ease some of those fears, he applies science and fact to each of them and shares the results with the world in his excellent How Scared Should I Be column. Sometimes he eases our fears. This is one of those times.


That’s all for this week. Over the weekend, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the Serenity Forge Game Jam and its hashtag to see what all you wonderful people are creating. If you’re taking part, check out our tips for healthy, happy game jams. If you’re at Gen Con, say hi to our friends at Wyrmwood. And no matter where you are, have a great weekend, and take care of yourselves and each other.