Those struggling with mental illness needs to be taken seriously

IRON MOUNTAIN — In recent months, Hollywood has experienced several tragedies, from sudden and young deaths to overdoses to suicides. Every time the deaths were described as “too soon” and the overdoses were described as “gut-wrenching.” These occurrences were and are incredibly sad, and instances like this happen every day in real life to ordinary people, but the difference is when it happens in Hollywood, suddenly a whole new awareness is brought to an ongoing issue. If someone in Hollywood is sexually harassed, an entire movement is generated from it. If an actress is paid less than an actor, the dress code at a Gala event is themed to support equal pay in the workforce. Yes, while all deaths and tragedies are horrible, when it happens to a famous person, somehow the world seems to listen, and yet, when it comes to mental health, seemingly even the world of the famous doesn’t speak out enough.

In the last month, both Kate Spade, renowned fashion designer, and Anthony Bourdain, internationally known chef and author, took their own lives. These two people appeared to have it all — friends and family that supported them, careers that were dreams come true, an art and craft that was successful and apparently fulfilling — and yet, both creative geniuses couldn’t overcome the demons that no one knew they had. On the day the news broke that Kate Spade had taken her life, my social media newsfeed was flooded with posts and articles, but one stood out in particular, because in that moment, what Facebook user Claudia Herrara had to say was exactly what I was thinking. She wrote:

“My laptop bag is Kate Spade. My wallet is Kate Spade. The adorable cactus charm on my bag is Kate Spade. The purse my daughter carries is Kate Spade; I just got her a new one a couple of weeks ago, in fact. The phone I’m holding in my hand as I type this has a Kate Spade case, yet I had no idea this amazingly talented and creative woman suffered from depression. I knew she went to ASU; I knew that’s where she met her husband, who she left behind today along with her daughter. I knew her brand story, yet again, I didn’t know she suffered from depression. Why is it any of my business or yours to know? It doesn’t have to be, of course, but I knew when Patrick Swayze was battling pancreatic cancer. I know that Cynthia Nixon is a breast cancer survivor. I know that Selena Gomez has lupus and recently had a kidney transplant. I know that Dave Letterman suffers from heart disease. I know that Lance Armstrong is a testicular cancer survivor. But I didn’t know that Kate Spade suffered from depression. Or that Robin Williams did, because somehow society has made it more acceptable to talk about breasts and testicles than about the mind and the chemicals and hormones it releases and controls and the messages it relays.

“Until depression is seen as an illness and not a condition that can be ‘cured’ by being brushed off with a ‘try to be happy’ or ‘just look at the bright side of life; you have so much to be happy about’ — until anxiety is seen as an illness and not a condition that can be ‘cured’ by being brushed off with a ‘just don’t be afraid of …’ or ‘get over it, freak’ — depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, etc. will always feed your mind the wrong messages. They tell you to be afraid of things you know you shouldn’t be afraid of. They tell you that you aren’t good enough and don’t deserve to be alive and that things won’t get better. They tell you that everyone is out to get you, that everyone is looking at you, that everyone is judging you. And sadly, the last sentence comes with truth. People do judge those with mental illness, yet would you judge someone with cancer? Heart disease? Immune disorders? A tumor? Would you tell them to just ‘get over it?’ As though people suffering from mental illness could somehow just wish it away? Don’t you think they would if they could?

“Until the stigma is removed from mental illness … until society truly, authentically accepts it as an illness … those suffering from these illnesses will continue to hide their condition. In some cases, they will self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. In some cases, like an old friend when we were in our early 20s, they’ll jump off a cliff in L.A. In some cases, they’ll hang themselves from a red scarf from their bedroom door in their gorgeous New York City apartment, like Kate Spade.

“Depression is a monster, and if we don’t start realizing that mental illness is an illness and not joke fodder … if we don’t respond with love and compassion when someone does open up to us about it … if we know someone with these illnesses and make them feel they are weak because of them … we might want to ask ourselves if maybe we are (the weak ones).”

It’s never easy, talking about mental health. Claudia was right; this is an illness, but it’s an illness we often shove under the rug or try to mask with something else. We’re embarrassed. I’ve spoken openly about struggling with anxiety, but it’s never an easy thing. When people find out I have social anxiety, typically they’re shocked, but if I couldn’t make it to an event or a party because suddenly I was wracked with panic, people would inevitably judge my not being present if they knew it was because of anxiety, which is why I would typically make up an excuse like “not feeling well” or “have too much work,” because those are acceptable reasons.

Years ago, postpartum depression was considered a psychotic break, and mothers were sent to live away from their children; seeing a psychiatrist/psychologist meant that you had a “problem,” or were crazy, and you needed to be “fixed.”

Now, in the gilded age of 2018, are we much further along in our thinking? Or, on some unconscious level, do we still consider mental health to be elected as lunacy? We have to do better. As humanitarians, we must to do better. It doesn’t matter what others are doing; it matters what you are doing. Choose to see what you don’t understand with both eyes open, so that you can be informed, and not just opinionated.



Scenes and sounds, 11:45 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

Sunday: Uno, 1 p.m.; dunking donuts, 2 p.m.; church, 2:15 p.m.

Monday: Pretty nails, 10 a.m.; resident council, 11 a.m.; brouhaha, 1:15 p.m.; resident birthday, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Crafts, 10 a.m.; gardening, 11 a.m.; reminisce, 1:15 p.m.; Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; rosary, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Reading buddy, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 11 a.m.; Freeman’s family picnic, noon

Friday: Mass, 11 a.m.; bunco, 1:15 p.m.; sing-along, 2:30 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Meet and greet, 10:30 a.m.; spinning records, 11 a.m.; Daily News, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Iron County Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

Room visits, 1 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Exercise, 11 a.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Sunday: One-to-one church visitors, 8:30 a.m.; room visits, 9 to 11 a.m.; matinee with popcorn, 1:30 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Cooking, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; DT luncheon, noon; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.; bonfire, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Room visits, 9 a.m.; Book Club, 10 a.m.; prayer, 10 a.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; romance movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Puzzle time, 10 a.m.; Dalsanto’s, 1:30 p.m.; spelling ball, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; St. Mark’s, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; ice cream truck, 1 to 3 p.m.; Garden Club, 2 p.m.; romance movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; storytelling, 10 a.m.; geri gym, 11 a.m.; intergenerational social hour, 2 p.m.



Wet your whistle, 9:30 a.m. daily.

Movie, 10:45 a.m. daily, and 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Gathering place, 11:40 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 11:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Popcorn Day Fridays.

Protestant Church service, 3 p.m. Sunday.

Exercises, 10 a.m. daily.

Sunday: Wet your whistle, 9:30 a.m.; just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; inside out jokes, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant church, 3 p.m.

Monday: Did you know?, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; pokeno on the patio, 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Who Am I?, 10:15 a.m.; Paula D entertains, 2 p.m.; movie and a manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 a.m.; crafts, 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; Good Neighbor bingo, 2 p.m.; charades, 5:45 p.m.

Friday: All about August, 10:15 a.m.; Mass, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie, 3:15 p.m.

Maryhill Manor

Niagara, Wis.

Rosary, 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Parachute, 1:30 p.m. daily.

Monthly support group for grief and loss, 2 p.m. second Monday of the month.

Weekend pet visits.

Sunday: Rosary, 8:30 a.m.; Mass, 9 a.m.; help your neighbor, 10:15 a.m.; music bingo, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.; Christian fellowship, 5:30 p.m.

Monday: Family Feud, 10:15 a.m.; bag toss, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Bingo, 10:15 a.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Pictionary, 10:15 a.m.; you be the judge, 2 p.m.; Bible stories, 3 p.m.; fireside, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; ice cream sandwich social, 2 p.m.; whammo, 6:15 p.m.; music in the park: with Tom Sielaff, 6:30 p.m.

Friday: Mass and adoration, 10 a.m.; ball toss, 10:15 a.m.; Pictionary, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Baking, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish coffee social, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 5:45 p.m.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

Exercise, 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Coffee clutch, 9:30 a.m. daily

Shopping days: 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, must sign up.

Sunday: Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Craft class, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Golden Throats entertain, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Thursday: “Wheel of Fortune,” 2 p.m.; rosary, 3 p.m.

Friday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Please contact the home for a Wednesday through Saturday schedule.

Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; King’s Corners game, 2 p.m.

Monday: Chair exercises, 10 a.m.; bingo with Bette, 2 p.m.; cheesecake party, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Horse races, 10 a.m.; yard games, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


Life connections, 9:45 a.m. every Monday.

Busy bee, 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Rosary 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Sunday: Grace church, 10 a.m.; trivia, 10 a.m.; cards, 2 p.m.; hangman, 2 p.m.

Monday: Sensory, 10 a.m.; song service, 1:30 p.m.; rosary, 2:30 p.m.; sensory, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: One-on-one visits, 10 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; Bunco, 3:30 p.m.; Scrabble, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Shopping outing, 9:45 a.m.; song service, 1:30 p.m.; rosary, 2:30 p.m.

Thursday: Pancake breakfast, 8 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; reminiscing, 6 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 10 a.m.; Bunco, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10 a.m.; beach ball toss, 10 a.m.; Bunco, 2 p.m.; trivia, 2 p.m.


Note: All centers ask for 24-hour advanced reservations for lunch. If you have meals delivered and will not be home, notify the center.

Alpha-Mastodon Center


Meal noon every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Amasa Center


Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Lunch at noon.

Bingo on Tuesdays.

Free meal drawing on Thursdays.

Breen Center


Meals Monday through Friday.

Pasty sale every third Saturday of the month.

Cards and games available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m.

Hostess on duty Monday through Friday.

Treats and coffee, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Center retail store is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday; volunteers and donations are welcome.

Birthdays acknowledged every day.

Evening meals are on the first and third Thursday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with dinner at 5 p.m. Donations are $4 for those 60 and older and $5 for 60 and younger.

Crystal Falls Center

Head Cook, Lucy Korhonen


Meals will be served on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m., with the salad bar opening at 4:30 p.m. The dinner donation is $5 for those age 60 and older and $6 for those younger than 60. There is a $1 charge for take-out containers. All are invited.

Cribbage will be played at 1 p.m. Wednesdays and be concluded in time for dinner.

The center is closed Thursday through Sunday.

Monday: Soup, salad, rigatoni meatballs, garlic bread, veggies and homemade dessert.

Tuesday: Soup, salad, tacos, chips and salsa, and homemade dessert.

Wednesday: Soup, salad, barbecue chicken, rice, green beans and bacon, and homemade dessert.

Thursday: Soup, salad, open-face sizzler sandwich and homemade dessert.

A site council meeting takes place at 3 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.

A blood pressure reading can be taken by request at any time while the center is open.

Crystal Lake Center


The center is closed on weekends.

Monday: Woodcarvers, 10 a.m.; mahjong in dining hall, noon; Les Artistes Art Club, noon; Bridge Club, 12:15 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday: Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Billiards, 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday: Spinning Spools Quilters Guild, 1 p.m., crafters, scrapbookers and others also welcome; knitting and crocheting class, 1 to 3 p.m.

Friday: Smear, 12:30 p.m.

Last Saturday of the month: Music jam starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

Dances take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of the month. Admission is $6; coffee is free.

The Photo Club meets 1 to 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.

Evening meals are usually on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with the meal served at 4:30 p.m. A donation of $4 is accepted for seniors age 60 and older but not required.

Home-delivered meals are for seniors 60 and older can be provided seven days a week. Suggested donation is $4 per meal. For information, call Chris Tramotin at 906-774-2256, ext. 235.

Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call the center to book a ride.

Felch Center


Meals served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Wednesday.

Bingo after lunch on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

A congregate jigsaw puzzle is done daily.

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County


Director: Tiffany White

Suggested donation for seniors older than 60 is $4 per meal. Residents younger than 60 must pay $7. Reservations and cancellations are needed 48 hours in advance.

The ADRC can assist area seniors and those with disabilities with transportation Monday through Friday. Transportation reservation should be made with meal reservation.

The four senior dining locations are:

Fence Center/Town Hall


Meal at noon Wednesdays only. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall


Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Jigsaw puzzles, cards, cribbage and board games are available. The coffee is always on as well.

Tipler Town Hall


Serving lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora


Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Jigsaw puzzles, cribbage, cards and board games are available. The coffee is always on as well.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Pam Haluska


Meal is at noon Monday through Friday. Suggested donation is $3 for age 60 and older and $7 for those younger than 60.

Morning coffee is available daily.

Fifteen games of “fun bingo” are played each Tuesday and Friday, along with a 50-50 drawing.

Tuesday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Cards played in the afternoon. Call ahead to see if a game will be going on.

Friday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Monday through Friday: Walking in the gym, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A treadmill also is available.

Friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center


Meals served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; a $4 donation is encouraged from those 60 and older, and a $5 payment is required from those younger than 60.

Thursday meal, 4 p.m. salad bar, with dinner at 4:30 p.m.

DICSA operates all meals and transportation out of the Iron River Center. Rides are a $2.50 donation for age 60 and older, and $3 required for younger than 60. Call 906-265-6134 to schedule a ride

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

Corrie Maule, meal site manager, 715-251-1603

Jill Anderson, senior center director, 715-251-4154

Noon meals served Monday through Thursday.

Transportation offered to the meal site from the Niagara, Wis., area.

Any senior groups is welcome to use the meal site as a meeting place — come in for lunch and then stay for a meeting or social time.

Wii games, cards, puzzles and board games are available to play.

Other activities are in the works. Suggestions are always welcome.

Those who have not been at the meal site/senior center are invited to give it a try. Those who haven’t been here in a while are encouraged to come back.

Norway Center

Director: Susie Slining


Monday through Thursday: Meals served at noon, with salad bar. Soup also is available at 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Milk, juice, bread, fruit, tea and coffee served daily. Meal donation is $5. Reservation for the meal should be made in advance.

Two evening meals offered at 5 p.m. on the first Monday and third Wednesday of the month, with bingo, prizes and a 50-50 drawing.

If Norway-Vulcan are schools are closed due to snow days, so is the senior center. If the schools are on a two-hour delay, the center remains open.

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

A senior coloring class meets daily. All are welcome. Some materials will be provided.

Note: A CSFP food card (green card) is available to income-eligible seniors. Make an appointment to get signed up. File of Life packets available at the center.

Note: Ask about the Medicare Savings Program. This program helps people pay their Medicare part B premium. The local MMAP counselor can be reached at 1-800-803-7174, or dial 211.

Wednesday: Blood pressure clinic, 11 a.m. to noon.

Sagola Center


Meals: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:45 a.m.

Cards: Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday.

Commodities every other month and quarterly commodities are every three months.

A puzzle table is available to enjoy.

Volunteers are always welcome.