Dear Reader, 

Mental health, like physical health, is neutral. You can have poor mental health or good mental health and it’s just as important to invest in and take care of your mental health as it is your physical health.

As you may have noticed, the name of the blog changed from On The Cutting Room Floor to Mental Health Musings. We want as many people to have access to this information as possible and the new name makes it easier for people searching for mental health to find the blog. 

Every Wednesday, I’ll be putting together a quick list of all things mental health impacting Buffalo and WNY. They’re often the things that didn’t make it on-air and were left on the cutting room floor. 

I’ll also give you a peek into the things on my mind, in my reporter’s notebook, Report for America, and some things I do to keep my own mental health in tip-top shape.

In this week’s blog, we talk about complicated grief disorder,how video games impact brain function, the second #IAm1in5 Facebook Live Chat and how the current political climate impacts the mental health of those in the LGBTQ+ community. 

Take a read below, 

—Camalot K. Todd 

In My Ears:

“Holding On” - The War on Drugs; “Gold Teeth” - Little Wings; “Paul” - Big Thief and “Certain People I Know” - Morrissey. 

The line between mourning and mental illness is blurred, deciding when grief and poor mental health turn into a diagnosable mental illness is challenging.

The DSM5, the diagnostic tool for mental health professionals, addressed this when they added Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder, PCBD, as a new condition. It’s often called complicated grief and the deep sorrow from a loss is so long-lasting and invasive that it prevents recovery and resuming your life. 

On My Mind:

There have been slews of news articles and grandmas saying video games rot your brain. But, Daphne Bavelier dives into how video games can help improve mental health performances in attention, multi-tasking and more in her TedTalk “Your Brain on Video Games.” 

Bavelier studies how the human brain learns at her lab at Universite De Geneve.

In this TedTalk, Bavelier draws on research that shows improvement in three areas of the brain—the frontal lobe which controls how people sustain attention, anterior cingulate, which controls how people allocate and regulate attention and resolve conflict, and the parietal cortex which controls the orientation of attention. 

There are some beautiful video games out there — Gris is a narrative game of a young woman who navigates the world after trauma. 

As you play, the girl heals and her world transforms from greys to most vivid watercolor landscapes. 

In My Reporter’s Notebook: 

One in five American adults struggles with mental illness in any given year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mental health conditions impact everyone, regardless of class, gender or race. But the barriers to necessary services and stigma around mental health make it hard for men to reach out for help.

We dived into how the stigma around mental health impacts youth, those involved in foster care and more with our guests Anthony Donalson and Kenneth Houseknecht, both work at Mental Health Advocates of Western New York. 

Anthony shared his struggle with depression and addiction and his role at Just Tell One. 

You can watch the whole chat here

On the Ground with Report for America:

I am planning my second office hours from 3-4 p.m. on Saturday, October 26 at Undergrounds Coffee. 

Report For America, the national service program that placed me in Buffalo to report on mental health at Spectrum News, has a newsletter where you can read all about the program’s mission and even read some Q&As with the corps members like me. 

In My Belly and Out and About in WNY: 

This weekend was a quiet one—I hung out in my neighborhood, Allentown and spent a huge chunk binge-watching one of my favorite shows “The Boulet Brothers' Dragula.” I’m obsessed with everything about it—the intersection between horror, glamour and queer culture. It’s in its third season and you can watch it on Amazon Prime.

I also framed and hung two prints from Harriet Lee Merrion, an artist that I loved for years.

This past Friday, October 11, marked National Coming Out Day. Members of the LGBTQ+ community struggle more than the general population with mental health. It can be especially hard for youth in the community. 

In the 2019 Trevor National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, less than half of the respondents were out to an adult at school, and 76 percent of LGBTQ+ youth reported that the current political climate impacted their mental health.

Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding whether members of the LGBTQ+ community would have protections against being fired for their identities under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

There are no protections in 17 states and 33 states and DC offer only some protections for workers who identify as a part of the queer community. New York does offer protections.

This weekend, I also doubled-down on recommitting to working out regularly. One of the studios I’m looking into going to is heart fire yoga, a queer-owned and inclusive yoga studio in Buffalo’s west side, about eight minutes from where I live. 

If you have any suggestions of places that I should explore, want to share how you take care of your mental health or have any questions about mental health, email me at​