[xmca] RE: mental health-Papers on XMCA page

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at gmail.com>
Date: Sun Jul 13 2008 - 08:56:07 PDT

For those who have not read LSV on this topic see his paper on "defect and
compensation" as well
as K. Rodina on this topic at http://lchc.ucsd.edu/MCA/Paper/index.html.

Also relevant to the general topic as formulated by Peter and Achilles, see
Padden and Humphries,
*Inside Deaf Culture* (Harvard Press). The Deaf community faces enormous
challenges around the
medicalization of their configuration of physical abilities.
On Sun, Jul 13, 2008 at 6:43 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:

> My sense is that medications can allow space for higher mental functions,
> which might otherwise be choked off by panic attacks and other responses.
> Peter Smagorinsky
> The University of Georgia
> 125 Aderhold Hall
> Athens, GA 30602
> smago@uga.edu/phone:706-542-4507
> http://www.coe.uga.edu/lle/faculty/smagorinsky/index.html
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
> Behalf Of Achilles Delari Junior
> Sent: Saturday, July 12, 2008 8:05 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: RE: [xmca] RE: mental health
> Peter, thank you, very much.
> I strongly agree with your position, not only agree but
> I'm learning a lot with you. I wonder that medication can not
> directlly affect highter mental funtions, not in semantic/
> ideologic organization of conciousness. I agree with
> Volochinov/Bakhtin's postition (in his wor "Freudism")
> that human conflicts are ideological/not strictly biological
> in its constitution...
> Maybe I was remarking the need to socially overcome "sad
> passions", more than the really essential need to socially
> enpower "glad passions"... (in spnozian terms). There is
> no the first process without the second one. I know.
> I only don´t know how yet. Not exactly. I belive that
> many people alread have this know-how. I wish to learn...
> I can try. Now I have important references here, then
> I must organize myself. =)
> Thank you.
> Oh. Please. I couldn't access the file... When I try, apears
> this message:
> You don't have permission to access
> /hold5yr/cook_leslie_s_200408_phd/cook_leslie_s_200408_phd.pdf on this
> server
> What can I do?
> Best, Achilles
> Umuarama, July, 12 2008.
> > From: smago@uga.edu> To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu> Subject: RE: [xmca] RE:
> mental health> Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2008 09:12:53 -0400> > 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: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
> [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] 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: smago@uga.edu> To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu> 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.">
> (http://denver.rockymountainnews.com/shooting/0516ment2.shtml) > 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.> >>
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Received on Sun Jul 13 08:57 PDT 2008

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