Re: [xmca] RE: mental health

From: mktostes <mktostes who-is-at>
Date: Sat Jul 12 2008 - 18:53:23 PDT


I have to check with Ana Smolka. I'm not doing research in this area so I
don't know much. I've followed very little on the recent discussions
involving affect or emotions. I'll get back to you.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Achilles Delari Junior" <>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
Sent: Saturday, July 12, 2008 9:19 PM
Subject: RE: [xmca] RE: mental health


Thank you, very much.
I didn't know CCA's work, it's very important.
I'm interested in "dramatization" and "social
roles psychology" (Vygotsky, 1929/2000
"Concret human pscyhology" [1929's manuscript]).
Your studies about "Art and feelings and the
relationship with development" are very important
to me as well. Do you suggest any GPPL's
publication in this field?

Umuarama, July 2008.
> From:> To:> Subject: Re: [xmca]
> RE: mental health> Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2008 11:36:55 -0300> > Very
> interesting topic!> I certailny agree with the question of changing our
> social 'milieu' to > improve people's mental health and we could list lots
> of situations. From > personal experience, as my daughter is a little
> different from most people > and, at the same time, not diagnosed with any
> disease (she is anti-social, a > little depressive, she says she's
> bipolar, etc.), we feel the pressure of > others, especially family, who
> think she has to act and do the same things > others do, the same way
> others do. Well...> Now, thinking of mental health, health problems and
> art. I just remembered > that there is a group in Brazil at Unicamp in the
> Linguistics department, > working in conjunction with the Neurology
> department (I don't know if > Achilles knows their work) who work with
> aphasic people. It's called Centro > de Convivencia de Afasicos (CCA).
> They rely on Luria's work and, taking an > enunciative-discursive
> approach, they have meetings with the group once a > week and they have a
> dramatization session. CCA is a place for interaction > among aphasic and
> non-aphasic people (family, researchers and therapeuts). > It's a reaction
> to the exclusion these people feel in society and they try > to promote
> effective language use and action and routine activities.> > You can check
> it out (in Portuguese, though) at> >
>> > Art
> and feelings and the relationship with development has also been the >
> concern of our research group (GPPL) in the Education faculty.> > Best,> >
> Karin Quast> > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: "Peter Smagorinsky"
> <>> To: "'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'"
> <>> Sent: Saturday, July 12, 2008 10:12 AM> Subject:
> RE: [xmca] RE: mental health> > > Achilles, again I speak largely from
> experience here. I think that there's a> balance between attending to the
> neuroatypical issues (autism, bipolar> disorder, etc.) and attending to
> what's more strictly on the outside (other> people's attitudes, the social
> arrangement of material surroundings that> channel thinking about
> difference--see, e.g., accommodations for physically> handicapped
> people).> > What we argue in the book excerpt, and what Leslie argues, is
> that it's> vitally important to create mediational contexts that both
> contribute to new> settings (when there are wheelchair ramps, being
> wheelchair-bound appears to> all to be less of a handicap) and new ways
> for people to think about> themselves; or as some research suggests (see
> Damasio in our review below),> new ways for the brain to encode
> perceptions.> > This is not to say that some conditions do not require
> additional attention.> I take a medication for anxiety, and many people I
> know take antipsychotics,> depression medications, and so on. Undoubtedly
> there's some overprescription> of such meds, but many of us are glad to
> have the option.> > One thing seems certain: We need more research in this
> area, so I strongly> encourage you to extend your investigation!
> Best,Peter> > > > -----Original Message-----> From:
> [] On>
> Behalf Of Achilles Delari Junior> Sent: Friday, July 11, 2008 7:36 PM> To:
> eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity> Subject: RE: [xmca] RE: mental health> >
> > Thank you, very much Peter...> > "Cook (2004) argues that relying simply
> on medication and counseling> is inadequate; that a broader environmental
> change that enables an> understanding and tolerance of difference, and
> gives young people> tools for managing their difference, is essential to
> helping young people> construct positive lives for themselves and in turn
> contribute to a more> humane society."> > It's a beautiful and deep
> contribution. I really agree with this> orientation.> But, let me ask you:
> don't you think that could exist a subtle distinction> between (a)
> "tolerance of difference related to inclusive education" and> (b)
> "(self)tolerance of mental pain"? I think about my own experience:> there
> are several moments in which I don't only accept my different>
> (dysfunctional) process, but desire overcome/master it... There are four>
> hyperbolic semiotic process that I recognize (and struggle with) in BAD>
> (bipolar affective disorder): {paranoia<->megalomania} (mania) X>
> (depression) {self-moralist<->suicide ideation}. And I know that if
> social> others learn to comprehend and accept these different semiotic
> ways of> means world and my own experience, changing "social situation"
> by> inter-mental mediation, my own personal sense for this process can be>
> transformed. But, even so, a paranoid delirium not always can be only>
> accepted. If we could understand cultural-historical genetical roots of>
> mental pain, can we do something to not only accept it, but even>
> overcome/replace its dysfunctional social/personal consequences?> Here,
> ariseesthe problem of "psykhotekhnika" again, an approach that> not only
> explains psychic process as function of social relations, but> socially>
> (and deliberately) constructs it too.> > Personally talking, seems to be
> not too easy to me to engage myself> in social relations that could
> actually produce important functional> (and structural-dynamical) changes
> in my life - even more, since I> haven't control about multiple social and
> biological determinations.> Things seems turns better or worse more in a
> casual than a determinist> way. But, by epistemological principles and
> with an emotional need to hope,> I know that social formation of mind is
> open to co-construction/> inter-constitution/co-existence (sobytie). Along
> the years, Vygotsky's> claims> (to create new psychology and new means to
> make people's life better)> make me take this problem of psychology
> applied to mental health as a kind> of personal and professional challenge
> to my own mental (cognitive/> affective)> resources. (but sorry about my
> "ecogentric language" here, righ now, i will> control me better in
> future)> > Oh, sure. One more operational question. Let me ask: is this
> "dissertation> of Leslie Cook" ("who looked at young women with depressive
> disorders> and the mediational means they use to make sense of their
> lives")> available in any digital midia?> > Thank you very much, for this
> opportunity of inter-constitution. I must> organize my reading tasks now,
> there are very important contributions of all> > you here.> > Achilles>
> Umuarama, July, 11 2008.> > From:> To:>
> Subject: RE: [xmca] RE:> mental health> Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008
> 15:24:52 -0400> > Achilles asks: > Can> we really creat semiotical means
> to produce better mental health to people?> Or this kind of a goal is a
> mistake like possible Vygotsky´s or perhaps some> Vygotsky's followers'
> mistakes about 'social engeneering'?> > I would say> YES to the first
> question. I'll take a shortcut and paste something in below> from a book
> I've coauthored about The Discourse of Character Education> (Erlbaum,
> 2005, with Joel Taxel). It draws on the dissertation of Leslie> Cook, who
> looked at young women with depressive disorders and the> mediational means
> they use to make sense of their lives. My apologies for> the length of the
> following excerpt.> > > Mental Health and Character> Education> We have
> briefly expressed our concern that the issue of mental> health is
> virtually absent from discussions about character education. Yet> many
> students who come to school with a mental health problems are treated> as
> discipline problems of the sort measured as indexes of low character in>
> the proposals we have studied. We believe that it is important for any>
> character education initiative to recognize and account for mental health
> in> its conception of good character, both for those with nonnormative
> makeups> and those with whom they interact.> Mental health is the elephant
> in the> character education closet. The World Health Organization (2001)
> reports> that about 7.5 million children in the U. S.-12% of all children
> under> 18-have mental disorders, nearly half of which lead to serious
> disability.> Jamison (1997) found that 20% of high school students had
> seriously> considered committing suicide during the year prior to his
> study, with most> having drawn up a suicide plan; suicide is the #3 cause
> of death of> teenagers between 15 and 19 years of age, often following
> from a depressive> disorder. Yet most parents and teachers feel that
> mental health issues are> poorly addressed in schools (Dowling & Pound,
> 1994; Rappaport & Carolla,> 1999), many teachers have little understanding
> of how to recognize or> respond to students with mental health problems
> (Madison, 1996), and only> recently has mental health been identified as a
> reason to develop an> Individual Education Plan (IEP) for students.> These
> widespread> misunderstandings have resulted in many such students being
> regarded as> troublesome or lacking character in schools. Yet, as reporter
> Anne Imse> (1999) wrote following the Columbine school shooting tragedy, >
> Even teens> as dangerously troubled as Eric Harris stand a good chance of
> slipping> through the cracks in Jefferson County and across Colorado,
> failing to get> badly needed mental health care. There are serious
> roadblocks to getting> treatment for sick kids [including]> . State
> prohibitions against law> enforcement agencies telling schools about a
> problem kid unless there's a> conviction; > . Schools worrying about being
> saddled with psychiatric bills> if they recommend treatment, or even being
> sued; > . Not enough money> earmarked for counselors and counseling for
> the state's youth. > So, even> though Jefferson County school officials
> have become more sensitive to kids'> mental states . . . they remain
> hamstrung about arranging treatment. "We> have no place to go with them,"
> said Clark Bencomo, a counselor at Green> Mountain High School. "All we
> can do is suspend or expel." "We are> oftentimes reduced to putting a kid
> in a place where they're safe, but it's> not the right program," added Kay
> Cessna, intervention services director for> Jefferson County schools.
> "There are not enough places." [One parent of a> child with disabilities
> complained], "They don't have the time, the> manpower, and they don't get
> it."> ( >
> Cook (2004)> finds this problem occurring in other states as well,
> reporting that> students with mental health problems are often put in
> special education> programs or disciplined when they act out, either as a
> consequence of their> makeup (e.g., a child with Tourette's syndrome's
> involuntary profanity) or> in response to the taunting they face from
> their peers.> Yet a mental health> professional would surely argue that
> the problem is not a lack of character> and the solution is not to punish
> students with mental health problems.> Rather, a broader understanding of
> mental health among students and> faculty-the sort of attention to climate
> we found in the states from the> Upper Midwest-would contribute to a more
> sympathetic and less punitive> environment for such students in school.
> Indeed, Damasio (1994) argues in> his somatic-marker theory against the
> classic Cartesian mind/body binary,> instead positing that brain and body
> are integrally related not just to one> another but to the environment. A
> change in the environment, he finds, may> contribute to changes in how a
> person processes new information (cf. Luria,> 1979; Pert, 1997); that is,
> in response to developments in the surroundings,> the brain will encode
> perceptions in new kinds of ways. > Conceivably, then,> changes in school
> climate can contribute to the emotional well-being of> students whose
> mental makeup falls outside the normal range. The therapy for> such
> students is still widely debated. While medication and counseling have>
> benefited many with nonnormative makeups in their relationships with
> others,> the medical model has been criticized because it assumes that a
> normative> mental state is best for all. This criticism frequently comes
> up in debates> about whether medications for Attention Deficit Disorder
> are prescribed too> often for any students who have difficulty focusing in
> school. Some argue> that prescribing such medications is designed more to
> increase the comfort> levels of those around such students than to help
> those students> themselves.> The jury is still out concerning the question
> of whether people> with such diagnoses are sick and in need of medicine.
> Cook (2004) argues> that relying simply on medication and counseling is
> inadequate; that a> broader environmental change that enables an
> understanding and tolerance of> difference, and gives young people tools
> for managing their difference, is> essential to helping young people
> construct positive lives for themselves> and in turn contribute to a more
> humane society. Taking a punitive approach> to difference, she argues, is
> regressive and only makes life more fragile> for those characterized as
> different and more emotionally and cognitively> unhealthy for those who
> surround them.> >> _______________________________________________> xmca
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