A Brief Overview of Psychiatric Medications and What They Do

By Lucy Gleysteen

From PHN Issue 40, Summer/Fall 2019

Below is a brief overview of psychiatric medications, what they are typically used to treat, their purpose, and common side effects.

Antipsychotics

The primary purpose of antipsychotics is to treat psychosis. Psychosis can involve the presence of delusions or hallucinations. They can also be used in combination with other drugs to treat other conditions. Continue reading “A Brief Overview of Psychiatric Medications and What They Do”

The Impact of Stress on the Body

By Lucy Gleysteen and Seth Lamming

From PHN Issue 39, Winter/Spring 2019

Everyone experiences stress. Sometimes stress can act to help push us through difficult situations. Not all stress is bad but when stress spirals out of control, it puts the body more at risk for developing serious illness. Stress is not something that is “just in your head,” because it can impact your body, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Being able to recognize stress is one step in reducing its impact. This article will explain the impact of stress, and things you can do to reduce your stress levels. Continue reading “The Impact of Stress on the Body”

Growing Through Depression: A Toolbox for Mental Wellness

By Faith, Latyra, Kima, Rusty, and Stephanie; Women in Re-Entry at the People’s Paper Co-op Arts & Advocacy Fellowship

From PHN Issue 39, Winter/Spring 2019

The following is our truth. Our voice. It’s written by powerful women, all formerly incarcerated. We want you to remember your worth, to know that we hear you, that you’re thought of, and that we’re sending our love!

WE KNOW THE PROBLEM:

I know what it’s like to be depressed and behind bars. Waking up, day after day, living in a box… not knowing when you’re going home… Locked down. Feeling like a number, not a person. I’d sit and wait. Continue reading “Growing Through Depression: A Toolbox for Mental Wellness”

How to Quit Smoking and How to Not Start Again

By Arielle Horowitz

From PHN Issue 38, Fall 2018

Most smokers know that smoking is bad for their health, but they also know that quitting smoking is not easy. According to the American Lung Association, quitting smoking can be easier if you know your reasons for quitting, talk to a doctor, understand what to expect, and get help. Federal prisons and almost half of state prison systems prohibit smoking cigarettes indoors and outdoors, but more than half of states still allow smoking in prison yards. For those who quit smoking while in prison and are soon to be released, it is important to think about how to not start smoking again outside prison. Continue reading “How to Quit Smoking and How to Not Start Again”

The PREA Problem

by Fatima Malika Shabazz

From PHN Issue 37, Summer 2018

Content warning: this article discusses traumatic experiences, including sexual assault.

I can safely say that at least six out of every 10 times I pick up an LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and intersex community) newsletter or magazine, there is a person in prison somewhere in the country who is being victimized by prison or jail staff from weaponized PREA standards. If you are unaware of what the acronym stands for, it means Prison Rape Elimination Act. PREA was written to provide a resource (anonymous or otherwise) for people confined in America’s gulags (prisons) and mini gulags (jails) to report rapes and sexual abuses committed by both inmates and staff. However, this policy is often used as a hammer against the very people it was written to protect, while at the same time serving to shield the violators of its policies. Continue reading “The PREA Problem”

Anger Management While in Prison

By James A. Rucks, Jr.

From PHN Issue 35, Winter 2018

First, what is anger? Anger is an emotion, a strong feeling that Webster’s Dictionary defines as “a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism.”

Second, why worry about anger? Because if it is not dealt with, anger can turn into rage, like a teapot or a volcano effect. It can also lead to severe health problems such as (but not limited to) heart problems, high blood pressure, and stroke. Continue reading “Anger Management While in Prison”

Beat the Winter Blues

By Leo Cardez

From PHN Issue 34, Fall 2017

As the winter approaches, I find myself getting tired and moody. It starts as early as September and gets really bad in January. Although I’ve never been officially diagnosed, I’m sure I suffer from some degree of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). As I look around my cell block, I don’t think I’m the only one. The good news is I’ve found that some small tweaks to my daily routine (tips and tricks) can help keep my spirits high. Continue reading “Beat the Winter Blues”

Yoga for Beginners

by Alexandra S. Wimberly

From PHN Issue 33, Summer 2017

Have you ever tried yoga? Ever been curious about what yoga is or if it might be something that you would like to try? The following is a short introduction to yoga, along with a few yoga practices to try. One of the great things about yoga is that it can be practiced anywhere and needs no special equipment—just your mind, your body, and your attention. Continue reading “Yoga for Beginners”

SSRIs/Antidepressants: What You Need to Know

By Mark Morales

From PHN Issue 32, Spring 2017

Editors’ Note: People in prison have a right to informed consent, according to the Handbook of Correctional Mental Health. For psychiatric medications, this means the healthcare provider who prescribes a drug must explain why they’re giving you the drug, and what the risks and benefits might be. They need to tell you about any other drugs that you could possibly take to treat the condition, because you may have more than one option to choose from. They also need to tell you the risks and benefits of not taking the drug, so that you can make an informed choice. This discussion and your consent to be given the drug should be documented in the medical record. You have a right to refuse treatment. Continue reading “SSRIs/Antidepressants: What You Need to Know”