The Mental Health America media awards were announced last night. The pieces that won are worth looking at.
PBS won for Depression: Out of the Shadows, which was produced for WGBH in Boston and Twin Cities Public Television in Minnesota. Particularly compelling is the Faces of Depression section of the Web site.
National Public Radio won for a two-part series -- Two Families Grapple with Sons' Gender Preferences -- which shows how two psychologists can have two entirely different views of the same symptoms.
And Newsweek magazine won for Growing Up Bipolar: Max's World.
Max Blake was 7 the first time he tried to kill himself. He wrote a four-page will bequeathing his toys to his friends and jumped out his ground-floor bedroom window, falling six feet into his backyard, bruised but in one piece. Children don't really know what death is, as the last page of Max's will made clear: "If I'm still alive when I have grandchildren," it began. But they know what unhappiness is and what it means to suffer.
I thought the NPR series was very well produced, accurate, and sensitive. Shows like this truly help those with gender identity issues by educating people who then treat the transgendered with respect. It's also provides real world alternativs to transgender people who are considering suicide, as so many do.
Thinking back to my childhood, I have often wondered how my life would be different if my parents and counselor had taken an approach other than shaming. But early '80s were in different era and lot less was known about gender identity. After listening to the program, I still wasn't sure about the best approach to help children with gender identity issues. I have the personal experience of what clearly didn't work in my own youth. But I also have the experience of being a parent and trying to make the best decisions that will affect my children for the rest of their lives. The choices these parents had to make were not crystal clear and you can't risk screwing up something like this!
Thanks for the amazing story!