Weekly INT Boost: Welcome to 2017

Photo by Matthew Henry

Thanks for joining us in the new year! In this week’s roundup of the best mental-health related stories you may have missed, we have tips for putting negative thoughts in their place and novel treatments for mental health issues and addiction.

Streamer Faces The Challenges Of Coming Out As Transgender On Twitch

“DistractedElf and her old best friend don’t talk anymore. It’s a sad situation, but she’s accepted it. Overall, she’s in a much better place than she was before, and she’s trying to give back. Her community had her back even when things were at their darkest, and she wants to create an environment like that for other people who are where she was when started out: confused and lonely, faced with hundreds of forking paths.”

Kotaku tells the story of a streamer who turned her own struggles into an opportunity to help others, and who documented the whole experience on video as she went.

‘Friendship Benches’ Alleviate Mental Illness Symptoms For Thousands

“The practitioners are ordinary citizens—lay health workers known as community “Grandmothers”— trained to listen and offer support to patients living with anxiety, depression and other common mental disorders. Their impact, though, measured in a ground-breaking study, is far from ordinary–and tens of thousands of people have already benefitted. The innovative approach holds the potential to significantly improve the lives of millions of people with moderate and severe mental health problems in countries where access to treatment is limited or nonexistent.”

Mental health practitioners are far too few to serve the needs of many global communities, but innovative approaches like this are making a genuine difference.

The Year of Conquering Negative Thinking

“By acknowledging your negative cycle and accepting it, you are on your way to taming your negative thoughts. Acceptance is the basic premise of mindfulness meditation, a practice that helps reduce stress and reactivity. You don’t necessarily have to close your eyes and meditate every day to reap the benefits of mindfulness. You can remind yourself to notice your thoughts in a nonjudgmental manner, without trying to change or alter them right away.”

“Just focus on the positive” is a terrible piece of advice for someone coping with mental health issues, but finding ways to deal with negative thoughts can make a huge difference, as this New York Times article explains.

Smartphone Game App Can Help Smokers Quit

“Overall, the Cigbreak Free app works like a regular smartphone game, with players having to complete tasks to progress through levels and gain rewards. In the game, players have to swipe a certain number of cigarettes to break them within a time limit. As well as progressing through levels, the app includes a quit journal where users can calculate how much money they are saving.”

Researchers are exploring the potential of a game that incorporates 37 behavioral change techniques to help users quit smoking with a three-month pilot study.

And with that, we’re off for the weekend. We’re getting ready for PAX South, and we’re still looking for volunteers if you’re interested in joining us.

Till Monday, take care of yourselves — and each other.

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