fbpx
Leave a comment

#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – The Devastating #Drought Across The West Could Mean An Increase In #Farmer #Suicides

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

By: Lucas Brady Woods

A Colorado analysis found #farmer #suicide rates rise in tandem with increased drought. Experts say a big challenge is that there are few counsellors and many guns in #ruralareas.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Drought conditions across the West are the worst they’ve been in nearly two decades. #Farmers and ranchers, who need water for their crops and livestock, are getting hit hard. The dry weather isn’t just threatening their bottom line, but their #mentalhealth, too. The effect of drought and climate change on people who work in agriculture has #mentalhealthcareproviders increasingly concerned. From member station KSJD in Cortez, Colo., Lucas Brady Woods reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF ENGINE RUNNING, CRICKETS CHIRPING)

LUCAS BRADY WOODS, BYLINE: Mindy Perkovich has been a #farmer for about 12 years.

MINDY PERKOVICH: Every time I seed or plant a crop, there’s, like, a certain amount of hope that goes with it.

BRADY WOODS: Perkovich typically grows things like turnips, squash and tomatoes for the local market on seven acres. This season, though, she’s had to cut her crops down to less than a single acre.

PERKOVICH: We don’t know if we’re going to have water to keep that alive. So financially, I can’t really even express how dramatic it’s changed in the last couple years waterwise because without water, we can’t grow crops; Without crops, we have nothing to sell to our consumers.

BRADY WOODS: It doesn’t typically rain much here, and last week her irrigation water was officially cut off for the season. Sacrifices like that can be really hard on farmers’ #mentalhealth.

PERKOVICH: When I walk outside of my house and I look to the west and most of our property is crispy and brown and dry, it makes me want to cry. I feel like you can feel it deep inside of you. I don’t really have the words to explain it further. I don’t know. It’s really sad.

BRADY WOODS: Farmers and ag workers have the second highest rate of #suicide in the county where Perkovich farms, according to a state #suicideprevention group called Celebrating Healthy Communities. And when that group looked at drought and #suicide data together, they found the two spike in tandem. That tracks with research from Australia and India linking climate change to significantly higher #suicide risk for #farmers. J.C. Carrica, a #rural #behavioralhealth specialist in Colorado, isn’t surprised by the findings here.

J C CARRICA: There’s seasonality. I think there’s peaks of #anxiety, peaks of #depression. It’s ever-flowing because it’s, again, weather-related or market volatility.

BRADY WOODS: The #CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention says #ruralcommunities already have nearly double the #suicide rate as urban areas. And drought, Carrica says, is especially devastating for farmers.

CARRICA: When you see the wind come through and shear off whatever little bit of grass you had from the quarter inch of rain a couple days prior, it’s kind of the carrot and the stick, and sometimes there’s just not enough carrot to keep people’s hopes high.

BRADY WOODS: #Ruralareas have fewer #mentalhealth and #suicideprevention resources. Carrica says more effort needs to be made to get #mentalhealthcare to #farmers on their level. Dr. Richard McKeon, who oversees the #NationalSuicidePreventionResourceCenter, says it’s not just a lack of services that’s behind America’s high #rural #suicide rate.

RICHARD MCKEON: People in #ruralcommunities and in farming communities may be much more familiar with firearms than perhaps in some other, you know, communities. And that’s really a crisis – could lead to a tragic event. While there are – you know, there are other methods of #suicideattempts that are not nearly as lethal.

BRADY WOODS: But McKeon also says it’s important to understand that deaths by #suicide are more complex than just one triggering event. Support from family and friends, for example, is just as important as professional #mentalhealthcare.

(SOUNDBITE OF ENGINE RUNNING, CRICKETS CHIRPING)

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

BRADY WOODS: Back on Mindy Perkovich’s farm, for the first time ever, she’s had to lay off all of her employees because there’s no water. And also for the first time, she sought out therapy.

PERKOVICH: I was always really resistant to it. I was always really resistant to reaching out to a therapist. I was like, no, I can handle this; I don’t need to have somebody else help me figure out my stuff. But I will say, it was incredibly helpful.

BRADY WOODS: She says she’s still holding on to hope for some rain. And until it comes, all she can do is keep planting and caring for whatever crops she can.

For NPR News, I’m Lucas Brady Woods.

SHAPIRO: And if you or someone you know may be considering #suicide, contact the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Leave a comment

#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #MentalHealth Toll From #Isolation Affecting Kids On Reentry

From suicidal crises to #mental fatigue, many U.S. kids are facing challenges navigating reentry after more than a year of living in a #pandemic

By LINDSEY TANNER

In this April 18, 2021 photo provided by Jennifer Sampson, her son Zach Sampson, 16, poses in his Florida yard. Sampson was hospitalized twice during the pandemic after feeling suicidal. Relentless months of social distancing, online schooling and ot
Zach Sampson, 16, poses in hi…Read More

After two suicidal crises during #pandemic #isolation, 16-year-old Zach Sampson feels stronger but worries his social skills have gone stale.

Amara Bhatia has overcome her #pandemic frustrations but the teen feels worn down, in a state of “neutralness.” Virginia Shipp is adjusting but says returning to normal “is kind of unnormal for me.’’

After relentless months of #socialdistancing, online schooling and other restrictions, many kids are feeling the #pandemic’s toll or facing new challenges navigating reentry.

A surge in #teen #suicide attempts and other #mentalhealthcrises prompted Children’s Hospital Colorado to declare a state of emergency in late May, when emergency department and hospital inpatient beds were overrun with suicidal kids and those struggling with other #psychiatric problems. Typical emergency-department waiting times for #psychiatric treatment doubled in May to about 20 hours, said Jason Williams, a pediatric #psychologist at the hospital in Aurora.

Other children’s hospitals are facing similar challenges.

In typical times, the activities that come as the school year ends — finals, prom, graduations, summer job-seeking — can be stressful even for the most resilient kids. But after more than a year of dealing with #pandemic restrictions, many are worn down and simply don’t “have enough in the tank of resilience’’ to handle stresses that previously would have been manageable, Williams said.

“When the #pandemic first hit, we saw a rise in severe cases in crisis evaluation,’’ as kids struggled with “their whole world shutting down,’’ said Christine Certain, a #mentalhealthcounselor who works with Orlando Health’s Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. ‘’Now, as we see the world opening back up, … it’s asking these kids to make a huge shift again.’’

At some children’s hospitals, psychiatric cases have remained high throughout the #pandemic; others have seen a more recent surge.

At Wolfson Children’ Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, #behavioral unit admissions for kids in crisis aged 13 and younger have been soaring since 2020 and are on pace to reach 230 this year, more than four times higher than in 2019, said hospital #psychologist Terrie Andrews. For older #teens, admissions were up to five times higher than usual last year and remained elevated as of last month.

At Dayton Children’s Hospital in Ohio, admissions to the #mentalhealth unit increased by 30% from July 2020 through May, totaling almost 1,300. The hospital doubled the number of available beds to 24 and dropped the minimum age for treatment to 9 years from 12 years, said Dr. John Duby, a hospital vice president.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

“The overwhelming demand for pediatric #mentalhealthservices is putting an unprecedented strain on pediatric facilities, primary care, #schools and community-based organizations that support kids’ well-being,” said Amy Knight, president of the Children’s Hospital Association.

Dr. Alison Tothy, medical director of the pediatric emergency department at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital, said her ER has seen kids in crisis daily since last year, struggling with suicidal thoughts, cutting and other self-harm behaviors, #depression and aggressive outbursts. Kids are stabilized and referred elsewhere for treatment.

“Families are coming to us because we are, in some cases, the last resort. Outpatient resources are scarce,’’ and #parents say they can’t get an appointment for two months, she said.

In Florida, waits for outpatient treatment are even longer and many therapists don’t accept kids insured through Medicaid, Andrews said.

At Children’s Hospital Colorado, emergency department visits for #behavioralhealth problems were up 90% in April 2021 over April 2019 and remained high in May. Though the pace slowed in June, hospital authorities are concerned about another spike when school resumes.

Williams said issues the hospital is treating are “across the board,’’ from #children with previous #mentalhealthissues that have worsened to those who never struggled before the #pandemic.

Like many states, Colorado doesn’t have enough #child and #teen #mentalhealththerapists to meet demand, an issue even before the #pandemic, Williams said.

Children who need outpatient treatment are finding it takes six to nine months for an appointment. And many therapists don’t accept health insurance, leaving struggling families with few options. Delays in treatment can lead to crises that land kids in the ER.

Those who improve after inpatient #psychiatric care but aren’t well enough to go home are being sent out of state because there aren’t enough facilities in Colorado, Williams said.

Sampson says “just a lot of stuff’’ triggered his first crisis last August. The Jacksonville, Florida, teen struggled with online education and spent hours in his room alone playing video games and scrolling the internet, drawn to dark sites that “made my brain hurt.’’

He revealed his suicidal thoughts to a friend, who called the #police. He spent a week in the hospital under #psychiatric care.

Both his #parents have worked in #mentalhealth jobs but had no idea how he was struggling.

“We had realized he had been spending more time isolating, not really tending to showering and that type of stuff, but we were in the middle of a #pandemic. No one was really doing those things,’’ said his mother, Jennifer Sampson.

The teen started virtual psychotherapy but in March his self-destructive thoughts resurfaced. Hospital psychiatric beds were full so he waited a week in a holding area to receive treatment, his mother recalled.

Now on mood stabilizers, he’s continuing therapist visits, has finished sophomore year and is looking forward to returning to in-person school this fall. Still, he says it’s hard motivating himself to leave the house to go to the gym or hang out with friends.

“I definitely find my social skills are rusty,’’ Sampson said.

“I feel that this is going to be something that we’re dealing with for quite a while,’’ his mother said.

That’s likely true, too, for those who haven’t reached a crisis point.

Bhatia, a 17-year-old self-described “stereotypical introvert’’ with clinical #anxiety, also worries about how safe it will be returning to the classroom for senior year.

The Oakland, California, #teen says the #pandemic began as almost a welcome change. Being social takes effort, and #isolation allowed her to recharge. Still, she had bouts of feeling down, got frustrated with virtual school and missed her friends.

She used to be a hugger but has become “a bit more of a germaphobe” and says the few times she’s been hugged since #socialdistancing restrictions lifted, she froze.

The #pandemic has left her worn down, “like running a marathon, and I’m finally reaching the end and I’m just getting so tired at this point.’’

“I think I don’t have the energy for happiness’’ about the #pandemic being almost over, she said.

For 18-year-old Shipp, also of Oakland, the #pandemic hit in her senior year as she was planning a trip to Europe and anticipating college in the fall. Neither happened and she described 2020 as a year of negative thinking, stuck in her room alone with her thoughts.

“I felt depressed and anxious and very scared for the future,’’ she said.

As a #Black #woman, she wanted to join marchers protesting #GeorgeFloyd’s murder but decided close contact with strangers was too risky.

She doesn’t know anyone who got very sick or died, but says she worried about #COVID-19 “every single day.’’ Shipp used meditation to help relieve #stress.

She recently got vaccinated and learned college at Cal Poly in Pomona will be in person in the fall. But she’s not sure she’s completely ready.

“It’s still a little weird because now, all of a sudden … you don’t need to wear the mask? It’s like jumping into the water too fast,’’ Shipp said. “The normalcy is kind of unnormal for me.’’

———

This story was first published on June 29, 2021. It was updated on July 2, 2021 to make clear that Amara Bhatia did not have diagnosed #depression related to the #pandemic, worries specifically about the safety of returning to class, and lacks the energy for happiness specifically related to the #pandemic being almost over.

Photo by Guduru Ajay bhargav on Pexels.com
Leave a comment

#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – New Effort focuses On #MentalHealth Aid To Underserved Communities

BY HEATHER KELLY AND BECKY BRUCE

Tammer Attallah, executive clinical director of Intermountain Healthcare’s #BehavioralHealth Clinical Program, speaks at the Intermountain Healthcare Transformation Center in Murray on Friday, July 2, 2021.

SALT LAKE CITY — Most of us know the #COVID-19 #pandemic posed an enormous challenge for #mentalhealth, but that proved especially true for underserved communities. 

Partnerships mean #mentalhealth aid for underserved groups

Now, Intermountain Health Care plans to team up with community organizations serving #LGBTQIA+ and #Latinx populations to make accessing #mentalhealthcare easier. A $67.3 million infusion of cash went to multiple groups serving those communities. Some of that money will help connect people who need access to #mentalhealthcare, but who face road blocks keeping them from getting it. 

“Understanding not only what the clinical concerns are but help them navigate through the insurances they might have, whether they’re uninsured, whatever those potential variable may be, to help connect them to the right service at the right place and time,” said Tammer Attallah, the executive clinic director of Intermountain Health Care’s #BehavioralHealth Program. 

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

#LGBTQ+ #suicide rates a concern

Utah continues to lead the nation in #suicide rates, especially among those in the #LGBTQIA+ population, according to Ray Bailey, youth #suicideprevention director at the Utah Department of Human Services. 

“Nationwide and in Utah, #LGBTQ+ people have higher rates of #suicide than the general population,” they said. 

Bailey attributed those higher rates among underserved populations to problems, among others, like family rejection and lack of access to #mentalhealthcare. 

Michelle Anklan, a licensed clinical social worker and #mentalhealth therapist at the Utah Pride Center, said even though #suicide rates are higher among the #LGBTQ+ population, #mentalillness itself is not. 

“We exist in a structure and culture and a system of oppression, which contributes to higher rates of experiences of #PTSD, of #depression, and of #anxiety,” Anklan said. 

#Latinx population also faces #mentalhealthchallenges

Demand for #mentalhealthservices among the #Latinx population increased 63% in the last year, but only about 15% among non-#Hispanic people, according to #Latino #BehavioralHealthService. LBHS, like the Utah Pride Center, received a donation or grant from Intermountain.

One concern for #Latinx communities is access to care. People who may be uninsured, undocumented, or experiencing #homelessness, may be less likely to seek help at all. 

Since the start of the #pandemic, a hotline for emotional support set up by Intermountain has received more than 6,500 calls. Now, it’s expanding to include virtual help and more resources. Anyone who needs help can call 833-442-2211. They can speak with caregivers to answer their questions, talk through concerns, and navigate challenges. 

photo of daughter hugs her mother
Photo by Askar Abayev on Pexels.com
Leave a comment

#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Unemployed Youngster On Contemplating #Suicide As The Nation’s #MentalHealth Continues To Worsen During Third Wave

Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.com

By Sameer Naik Time of article published

Johannesburg – It isn’t easy for Khumbulani Mazibuko to open up about the dark and hopeless place he finds himself in.

A few months ago, the 28-year-old financial advisor was ready to take his own life having lost his job during the lockdown.

Mazibuko was unable to pay any of his bills, and had also exhausted all of his savings.

The only way he saw out, was to take his own life.

“I was stressed out with people calling me for their money on accounts that I had owed,” says Mazibuko. “I could not make ends meet as I exhausted all my savings and basically had zero rands to my name.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

MORE ON THIS

“I started to have panic attacks and I couldn’t sleep. I drank and smoked weed in the evenings. I would wake up in the middle of the night and just sit and think of what to do. I couldn’t talk to anyone about this.”

Aside from the financial impact that he faced, Mazibuko’s #mentalhealth had also steadily deteriorated during the lockdown .

“I was stressed with everyone dying around me and people losing their jobs. Being indoors all the time and not knowing how to start searching for jobs and all that didn’t inspire any hope either and so my #mentalhealth deteriorated.

“I started talking to myself and found myself in a very dark place. I’d watch TV but I couldn’t tell what was going on. Each time I couldn’t sleep I’d wake up and just sit in the dark and cry. In the mornings I would wake up, act strong, put on a brave face for everyone and pretend everything is okay.

“#Mentalhealth is very delicate because one minute you are happy and laughing and as soon as everyone goes, you are all sad.”

Mazibuko was then forced to move back in with his mother.

“I got paid from March till June 2020 and from there I started missing payments. I could not afford rent, food, petrol and bills, you name it. I started borrowing and asking for help from my family, and I eventually had to get rid of my car.

“Moving back home was not easy. My mom, she gladly received me back and she basically supported me, but what hurts is that when you become a child again you start asking for money, or for her car and often that becomes challenging, it was a difficult thing to do.”

When things become too overwhelming for him, Mazibuko began planning his #suicide.

“The plan was to either drive under a truck or take a whole lot of pills in the house and go to sleep. I never imagined being in this place mentally where I was ready to end it all, but the lockdown had taken away everything that I worked so hard for and I just felt like there was no other option.”

He says he was eventually talked out of it by a friend on #Facebook as well his brother when he decided to open up to them on what had been going on in his life.

“I was talking to someone on Facebook and they talked me out of it and told me to be patient, and that I’ll find another job. I also had the courage to open up to my brother and tell him everything. He checked on me every day and gave me some money to search for jobs and I eventually started to feel better.”

Thousands of South Africans have contemplated #suicide due to the devastating impacts of the #Covid-19 #pandemic. File image.

While Mazibuko is still unemployed, he says is doing his best to remain optimistic, despite it becoming increasingly challenging to do so during such a difficult time.

Thousands of South Africans have found themselves in a similar position to Mazibuko over the last year.

While thousands have contemplated #suicide due to the devastating impacts of the #Covid-19 #pandemic, some have gone through with it, with South Africa’s #suicide rate at an all time high since the country went into lockdown.

And now with the country experiencing a devastating third wave, the #mentalhealth of South Africans continues to worsen.

Sadag says is has been inundated with thousands of calls each day from depressed and anxious South Africans seeking help.

“Sadag has been tracking our call volumes very closely, especially before the #Covid-19 lockdown and during,” said Kayla Phillips, press liaison for Sadag.

“Our calls were averaging about 600 calls per day before lockdown in March 2020, and since the first lockdown our call volumes have literally doubled and growing.”

Thousands of South Africans have contemplated #suicide due to the devastating impacts of the #Covid-19 #pandemic. File image.

She said Sadag now receives over 1 400 calls per day, excluding the SMSes, emails, WhatsApp chats or #socialmedia requests.

“We are training more volunteers to help man the increasing calls on our helplines. Since the start of 2021, we are receiving more calls based on trauma, loss, grief, depression and #suicide. Sadag received over 500 000 calls since the start of the lockdown.

“Many of the calls were from people suffering from #anxiety about their #finances, job losses and the wellbeing of their #children.”

Phillips said they have also received over 100 000 calls on the #suicidehotline since March last year.

The #pandemic has also taken away the ability for South Africans to mourn their loved ones.

“Covid-19 has definitely changed the way we mourn – we are used to being able to pay our respects in person – visiting families, attending funerals, organising memorial services, etc.

“People can’t even see their loved ones in hospitals, they aren’t able to say goodbye, people can’t attend funerals or visit families – so people find it harder to process the grief and harder for those who have experienced the loss to get comfort from others.

“Many people may feel like it isn’t real, they don’t know how to grieve in this new limbo and it feels like it is all on hold.”

With a drastic increase in calls recently, the non-profit organisation has also been under severe pressure.

Thousands of South Africans have contemplated #suicide due to the devastating impacts of the #Covid-19 #pandemic.

They recently shared a request calling out for a donation to upgrade the existing equipment to maintain power during loadshedding.

The University of Johannesburg’s Electrical Engineering Department agreed to assist the non profit organisation and donated equipment that would allow Sadag to manage the high volume of calls.

“It is critical that our National Helplines are fully operational 24 hours a day specifically during loadshedding and power cuts,” said Zane Wilson, founder of Sadag.

“Through our own volunteers, we got an introduction to the UJ Electrical Engineering Department, and very quickly their intention to assist us, escalated into the entire project being donated by the faculty to make sure we would pick up all our calls and help people countrywide.”

Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.com
Leave a comment

#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Steps To Take If You’re Worried About Someone’s #MentalHealth

Author: Anne Robin, Jill Bolster-White and Derek Johnson

There are ways each of us can respond to concerns about a #mentalhealthcrisis and get help to those in need.


As our community still reacts to the tragic shooting that took place on May 10, 2021 – which resulted in two deaths, one injured #policeofficer, and trauma to an entire neighborhood – let’s try to understand ways each of us can respond to concerns about a #mentalhealthcrisis and get help to those in need.

#Mentalillness and #mentalhealthtreatment are complicated by #stigma, conflicting laws, and lack of understanding about #mentalillness in general. It can be difficult to understand why decisions are made and why interventions are not always available when we need them. There are gaps in #mentalhealthtreatment and services in our community, as there are throughout the state and the nation. Years of historic maltreatment, stigmatization, and community fear have kept many individuals from seeking #mentalhealthtreatment when they most need it. However, any #adult who has a #mentalhealthdiagnosis can retain their rights while obtaining #mentalhealthtreatment, medication, and other services from authorities.

It is important to remember that law enforcement agencies are limited in what they can do to help someone with #mentalillness who declines services. The right to refuse treatment is a balancing act of personal civil liberties and protecting both the individual and community.  #BehavioralHealthtreatment is voluntary except when there is an immediate threat to oneself or others.

It is difficult at times to determine when an individual meets the legal threshold for an immediate threat or danger versus being a concern to family or community. Specifically, this critical decision hinges on an observation that person is a danger to themselves or others at the time of contact. Taking away an individual’s rights without due process is something that we should all be concerned about. It is equally important to remember that #mentalillness is not a crime, and nobody can or should be “locked up” for being #mentallyill.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Locally, there are organizations working to fill gaps in services and connect with families and community members in need. The Community Counseling CenterSierra #MentalWellness GroupTransitions #MentalHealthAssociationCenCalCommunity Health Centers for the Central Coast, and the SLO County #BehavioralHealth Department have a variety of programs and treatment levels to address #behavioralhealth needs.

What steps can you take if you notice a family member or friend’s #mentalhealth is declining? Whether you’re worried about a neighbor, you want someone to check on a loved one’s welfare, or you’re hoping to find a listening ear, here are three steps you can take.

Step 1:

Be present and stay connected. Oftentimes the person who needs help first needs a support system made up of family, friends, and neighbors. Don’t blame or shame. Don’t criticize. Offer hope and encouragement. Try to avoid rushing the conversation and pushing your own agenda. Instead have patience and listen carefully to learn what the individual is thinking, feeling, and needing.

If you think someone is in danger of harming themselves or others, be direct and ask tough questions. Surprisingly, persons in crisis can be incredibly honest and candid in their responses. Helping someone talk about their emotional pain can help reduce rather than increase #paranoid or suicidal thoughts.

Try to get the person to voluntarily seek care, including inpatient care, which is always the best option. Being supportive of someone in crisis is never easy, but you will rarely regret showing up for someone who needs you.

Step 2:

Seek guidance from a #therapist, #psychiatrist, or other #mentalhealth or #behavioralhealthprofessional and call one of the #mentalhealthcrisis or support phone lines listed below. When you are worried about someone’s – or your own – #mentalhealth, there are places to turn for guidance. These phone lines can help you if you know someone experiencing a #mentalhealthcrisis; they will also provide valuable information and referrals in non-crisis situations.

Try these options:

Step 3:

If someone is an immediate danger to oneself or others, call 9-1-1 and request an officer that is trained in Crisis Intervention Training (CIT). Give as much information to the dispatcher as possible, including their behavior, symptoms, diagnosis if you know it, the nature of the emergency and if you suspect any weapons may be present. If you’re fearful that your loved one may intentionally cause an officer to fire their weapon, repeat this information to the dispatcher multiple times to ensure that those who will arrive on site are aware.

Even if 911 has been called, contact any of the local crisis resources listed in Step Two. You, your family, and the individual you are concerned about may still need assistance.

Remember, a law enforcement officer’s job is to safeguard and protect the public by enforcing the law. And it is not illegal to be #mentallyill. Tragedies can and do happen, but there are steps each of us can take to keep our loved ones and community safe.    

—————–

Anne Robin is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has served as the County #BehavioralHealth Director for nearly eight years. In her tenure at the County, she has overseen the development of several programs to address #mentalillness, including the opening of the County’s first ever crisis stabilization unit. She has served public #behavioralhealth programs and departments for over 35 years.

Jill Bolster-White has served as the Executive Director for Transitions-#MentalHealthAssociation for nearly 30 years. She is responsible for all of the organization’s operations and staff training, including new program design, client advocacy, and community education.

Derek Johnson has served as the City Manager for San Luis Obispo for about four years. He previously served as the City’s Community Development Director, Interim Finance and IT Director and Assistant City Manager for the City of San Luis Obispo.

Leave a comment

#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – ‘Something You Cannot Ignore’: #Cannabis Use Linked To Increased Thoughts Of #Suicide In Young #Adults, Study Shows

shallow focus photography of cannabis plant
Photo by Michael Fischer on Pexels.com

Taylor Avery

Young #adults who use #cannabis are more likely to think about and make plans to kill themselves, a new national study shows.

About a third of severely depressed young people considered #suicide between 2009 and 2019, compared with more than half of those with #depression who also used #cannabis daily.

For those without #depression, 9% of daily #cannabis users and 7% of regular users reported #suicidalideation, or thoughts of #suicide, survey data from 281,000 people ages 18-31 showed.

“Consumption of #marijuana increases your risk of suicidal behaviors,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which led the study.

According to 2019 data from NIDA, 45 million #Americans used #cannabis and 9.8 million were daily or near daily users. In the same year, 4.7% of adults over the age of 18 reported feelings of #depression. There were more than 47,500 #suicide deaths in 2019, according to the #CDC.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Am I okay? Here are steps on how to do a #mentalhealth check. 

#Suicides fell during the #pandemic. Deaths by #suicide fell 9% at the height of the #pandemic shutdown, surprising researchers. 

Women appeared to be more affected by #cannabis use than #men.

Volkow said it’s not known why #women were more likely to experience suicidal thoughts than #men, but said it may do with the way the brain processes stress.

Women might also have compounding psychiatric disorders, said Dr. Ziva Cooper, who directs the UCLA #Cannabis Research Initiative and was not involved in the study. 

The association between #suicide and #cannabis use isn’t definitive, Cooper said. Other factors could be at play, such as #mentalillnesses besides #depression.

While more research is needed to confirm the connection, Volkow says the study results are significant.

“That is something you cannot ignore,” she said. “When you have data like this, it documents potential danger.” 

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time of day or night or chat online.

Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.

shallow focus photography of cannabis plant
Photo by Michael Fischer on Pexels.com
Leave a comment

#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Too Many #Men Ignore Their #Depression, Phobias, Other #MentalHealthIssues

photo of man touching his head
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

By Joseph Harper

It was another Monday morning and my first patient of the day walked in. He was a man in his mid-30s who came to see me for #stress and #anxiety. He appeared nervous and had trouble getting his words out. And the thing I remember most — which I see again and again with many of the #men I treat — was his inability to maintain eye contact with me. It’s a telltale sign of fear and shame.

Many #men recently have become better at taking control of their physical health, being more heart healthy and getting preventive screenings such as colonoscopies as they get older, but when it comes to their #mentalhealth, too many #men still struggle, lagging way behind #women.

According to the #NationalInstituteofMentalHealth (#NIMH), the prevalence of #mentalillnesses in #men is often lower than #women. The #NIMH also says that #men with #mentalillnesses are less likely to have received #mentalhealthtreatment than #women. This poses interesting questions: Are #men truly experiencing fewer #mentalhealthproblems, or are they more likely to ignore them and hope they go away?

My career in #mentalhealth spans 25 years as a social worker, therapist, hospital administrator, adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern California, and presently the executive director of a facility that specializes in comprehensive #mentalhealth and substance abuse treatment programs. I have worked with thousands of #men in both one-on-one and group settings. I am convinced the statistics are skewed and the number of #men who struggle and fail to get help is much greater than we have been led to believe.

I have watched mothers and wives literally drag the #men they love into my office. I often struggle with some #male #patients to pull information about their emotional issues out of them because they are so reluctant to speak. Others simply downplay their problems saying things like, “It’s not really a big deal,” or “My wife is blowing this out of proportion.” Then there are the #men who are simply embarrassed and ask, “Nobody will ever know I was here, right?”

Too many men think they are supposed to be strong or macho all the time — even when in pain. For many, it would be unimaginable, intolerable for anyone to know they were battling anxiety, depression, or were bogged down by their emotions. Many of my #male #patients also seem to believe that because they are not physically ill they are not truly sick.

These incorrect beliefs keep many #men from getting the help they need for their #mentalhealth. In 2021, for anyone, #men or #women, to believe that #mentalhealth is something to be ignored or that it is not real is both unfathomable and dangerous. It adds to the #stigma, can push a #patient who is already struggling with a diagnosis deeper into denial and prevent him from getting treatment.

In addition, it can condemn the sufferer to unnecessary emotional pain that can harm their quality of life, their health and their ability to work.

When it comes to #mentalhealth, there are some important facts that all #men need to know:

Never be embarrassed

I had a #male #patient who was terrified to drive on the highway. His recovery with therapy was going well, and he got to the point that he could drive small distances on the highway. But one day, 10 miles between highway exits, he had a major panic attack and pulled over to the side of the road. Almost an hour later, a state trooper pulled behind him to see if he needed assistance. My #patient, feeling embarrassed and shaken up, explained his phobia to the trooper, who thankfully was able to empathize. The trooper’s wife also suffered with a driving phobia. The trooper safely escorted my #patient to the next exit.

The point of the story: We all have our struggles in life. Never be embarrassed to ask for help. Conditions such as #anxiety and #depression are much more common than you realize, and they don’t discriminate. They are often deeply rooted in brain chemistry and chemical imbalances. The #pandemic hasn’t helped. These conditions can take a toll on anyone regardless of sex, race, religion, geographical location or anything else.

You can’t see it, but it is very real

If you were experiencing chest pains, you would call an ambulance or go to the emergency room. If you broke your arm or leg, you would have a cast and walk around in crutches. But #mentalillness is usually not visible. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not real. It is real, and it can be dangerous if not properly treated. #Anxiety, #depression and other #mentalhealthproblems can lead to high blood pressure, weaker immune systems, stomach issueschronic fatiguechanges in weightsubstance abuse and even #suicide. If you think your #mentalhealthproblems are just going to vanish on their own or go away like the common cold, you are very mistaken.

You can recover

These days, there are some amazing treatment options when it comes to #mentalhealth, including different forms of psychotherapy, different classes of medications and alternative methods such as yoga, acupuncture, meditation and mindfulness. No matter how bad your condition is and even if you feel extremely lost and hopeless right now, I promise you that you can get better. I have seen #men severely consumed by #mentalillness and even housebound who — with help — have been able to take control of their lives and recover.

Signs something is wrong

Many #men will make excuses when things aren’t going well, but there are some signs that should not be ignored. These include changes in mood, including anger outbursts or long periods of sadness that don’t pass, changes in appetite, gaining or losing weight, feeling hopeless and losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable, feeling overly stressed and anxious, being unable to leave the house or avoiding situations in which being able to leave might be difficult, no longer wanting to socialize, having thoughts of harming yourself or taking your life, experiencing a decline in concentration and job performance, turning to substance abuse, and having unexplained physical symptoms such as stomach aches and headaches. It should be pointed out that these signs that help is needed apply to #women as well as #men.

Ways to get help

Whatever you do, just do something. Talk to someone, be it a close friend, family member, professional in the #mentalhealth field or family #doctor. Online resources, such as those offered by the #NIMH and the #Anxiety and #Depression Association of America can provide detailed information about #mentalhealth for #patients and their families. Many #men feel more comfortable doing online therapy sessions. Look into websites such as TalkSpace.com and BetterHealth.

In-person and online support groups are also helpful. You can check with the national organization for your particular #mentalhealthcondition to find one. I also recommend Support Groups Central, which can point you in the direction of an online support group for your particular condition. Focus on self-help such as meditation, #stress relief, muscle relaxation and physical activity — all of which have been shown to help reduce #anxiety and #depression. In an emergency, don’t forget the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 800-273-8255.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

The takeaway

Educating #men about the importance of #mentalhealth is not just a priority. According to the #AmericanFoundationforSuicidePrevention, men died by suicide 3.63 times more often than #women, with middle-aged White #men having been particularly vulnerable. The good news is when #mentalhealth intervention begins early — in other words when you just begin to notice symptoms and before they severely limit your ability to function or engage in your day-to-day activities — and the right combination of treatments are put in place, #men will feel better and #suicideideation is dramatically decreased. The key is encouraging men who may not naturally reach out to get the help they need when they need it.

Joseph Harper is the executive director of Comprehensive #BehavioralHealth Center in East St. Louis, Ill. He is an adjunct faculty member in social work at the University of Southern California and an advocate for men’s #mentalhealth.

photo of man touching his head
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Leave a comment

#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – The #Pandemic Did Not Affect #MentalHealth the Way You Think

The world’s psychological immune system turned out to be more robust than expected.

By Lara AkninJamil Zaki, and Elizabeth Dunn

Artwork depicting two heads facing each other, with red faces and green heads with black zigzags spreading from their faces.
The Atlantic

6:30 AM ETSHARE

About the authors: Lara Aknin is a psychology professor at Simon Fraser University and the chair of the #MentalHealth and Wellbeing Task Force for The Lancet’s #COVID-19 Commission. Jamil Zaki is a professor of psychology at Stanford University and the director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Laboratory.  He is the author of the forthcoming book, The War For Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured WorldElizabeth Dunn is a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and a co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending.

You’ve probably heard that the #coronavirus #pandemic triggered a worldwide #mentalhealthcrisis. This narrative took hold almost as quickly as the #virus itself. In the spring of 2020, article after article—even an op-ed by one of us—warned of a looming psychological epidemic. As clinical scientists and research #psychologists have pointed out, the #coronavirus #pandemic has created many conditions that might lead to psychological distress: sudden, widespread disruptions to people’s livelihoods and social connections; millions bereaved; and the most vulnerable subjected to long-lasting hardship. A global collapse in well-being has seemed inevitable.

We joined a #mentalhealth task force, commissioned by The Lancet, in order to quantify the #pandemic’s psychological effects. When we reviewed the best available data, we saw that some groups—including people facing #financial #stress—have experienced substantial, life-changing suffering. However, looking at the global population on the whole, we were surprised not to find the prolonged misery we had expected.

We combed through close to 1,000 studies that examined hundreds of thousands of people from nearly 100 countries. This research measured many variables related to #mentalhealth—including #anxiety, #depression, and deaths by suicide—as well as life satisfaction. We focused on two complementary types of evidence: surveys that examined comparable groups of people before and during the #pandemic and studies tracking the same individuals over time. Neither type of study is perfect, but when the same conclusions emerged from both sets of evidence, we gained confidence that we were seeing something real.

Early in the #pandemic, our team observed in these studies what the media was reporting: Average levels of #anxiety and #depression—as well as broader psychological distress—climbed dramatically, as did the number of people experiencing clinically significant forms of these conditions. For example, in both the U.S. and Norway, reports of #depression rose three-fold during March and April of 2020 compared with averages collected in previous years. And in a study of more than 50,000 people across the United Kingdom, 27 percent showed clinically significant levels of distress early in the #pandemic, compared with 19 percent before the #pandemic.

But as spring turned to summer, something remarkable happened: Average levels of #depression, #anxiety, and distress began to fall. Some data sets even suggested that overall psychological distress returned to near-pre-#pandemic levels by early summer 2020. We share what we learned in a paper that is forthcoming in Perspective on Psychological Science.

We kept digging into the data to account for any anomalies. For example, some of the data sets came disproportionately from wealthy countries, so we expanded our geographic lens. We also considered that even if the #pandemic didn’t produce intense, long-term distress, it might have undercut people’s overall life satisfaction. So, members from our team examined the largest data set available on that topic, from the Gallup World Poll. This survey asks people to evaluate their life on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the best possible life and zero being the worst. Representative samples of people from most of the world’s countries answer this question every year, allowing us to compare results from 2020 with preceding years. Looking at the world as a whole, we saw no trace of a decline in life satisfaction: People in 2020 rated their lives at 5.75 on average, identical to the average in previous years.

We also wondered if the surveys weren’t reaching the people who were struggling the most. If you’re barely holding things together, you might not answer calls from a researcher. However, real-time data from official government sources in 21 countries showed no detectable increase in instances of #suicide from April to July 2020, relative to previous years; in fact, #suicide rates actually declined slightly within some countries, including the U.S. For example, California expected to see 1,429 deaths by #suicide during this period, based on data from prior years; instead, 1,280 occurred.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

We were surprised by how well many people weathered the #pandemic’s psychological challenges. In order to make sense of these patterns, we looked back to a classic psychology finding: People are more resilient than they themselves realize. We imagine that negative life events—losing a job or a romantic partner—will be devastating for months or years. When people actually experience these losses, however, their misery tends to fade far faster than they imagined it would.

The capacity to withstand difficult events also applies to traumas such as living through war or sustaining serious injury. These incidents can produce considerable anguish, and we don’t want to minimize the pain that so many suffer. But study after study demonstrates that a majority of survivors either bounce back quickly or never show a substantial decline in #mentalhealth.

Human beings possess what some researchers call a psychological immune system, a host of cognitive abilities that enable us to make the best of even the worst situation. For example, after breaking up with a romantic partner, people may focus on the ex’s annoying habits or relish their newfound free time.

The #pandemic has been a test of the global psychological immune system, which appears more robust than we would have guessed. When familiar sources of enjoyment evaporated in the spring of 2020, people got creative. They participated in drive-by birthday parties, mutual-assistance groups, virtual cocktail evenings with old friends, and nightly cheers for health-care workers. Some people got really good at baking. Many found a way to reweave their social tapestry. Indeed, across multiple large data sets, levels of #loneliness showed only a modest increase, with 13.8 percent of #adults in the U.S. reporting always or often feeling lonely in April 2020, compared with 11 percent in spring 2018.

But these broad trends and averages shouldn’t erase the real struggles—immense pain, overwhelming loss, financial hardships—that so many people have faced over the past 17 months. For example, that 2.8 percent increase in the number of #Americans reporting #loneliness last spring represents 7 million people. Like so many aspects of the #pandemic, the #coronavirus’s #mentalhealth toll was not distributed evenly. Early on, some segments of the population—including women and parents of young #children—exhibited an especially pronounced increase in overall psychological distress. As the #pandemic progressed, lasting #mentalhealthchallenges disproportionately affected people who were facing #financial issues, individuals who got sick with #COVID-19, and those who had been struggling with physical and #mentalhealthdisorders prior to the #pandemic. The resilience of the population as a whole does not relieve leaders of their responsibility to provide tangible support and access to #mentalhealthservices to those people who have endured the most intense distress and who are at the greatest ongoing risk.

But the astonishing resilience that most people have exhibited in the face of the sudden changes brought on by the #pandemic holds its own lessons. We learned that people can handle temporary changes to their lifestyle—such as working from home, giving up travel, or even going into #isolation—better than some policy makers seemed to assume.

As we look ahead to the world’s next great challenges—including a future #pandemic—we need to remember this hard-won lesson: Human beings are not passive victims of change but active stewards of our own well-being. This knowledge should empower us to make the disruptive changes our societies may require, even as we support the individuals and communities that have been hit hardest.

Leave a comment

#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – The Elephant in the #Doctors’ Lounge

It’s time to get healthcare workers talking about their own #mentalhealth

by Gary Price, MD, MBA

A tired male healthcare worker in dark blue scrubs with closed eyes rests his head on his hand in the doctor’s lounge.

With roughly 156 million #Americans fully vaccinated for #COVID-19, #physicians are seeing signs of relief on the horizon. That relief can’t come soon enough. The initial energy and adrenaline that drove #physicians to treat their acutely ill #patients in the early months of the #pandemic have been replaced by fatigue, burnout, and #posttraumaticstressdisorder (#PTSD). It’s time to talk — and to act — so these feelings of struggle don’t drive more of our colleagues into a #mentalhealthemergency.

#Physician #suicide has been a public health crisis long before the #COVID-19 #pandemic. Nearly one in four #physicians know a #physician who has died by #suicide. Now they’ve been in a non-stop crisis for more than a year, with #COVID-19 inflicting serious psychological wounds upon them. Some #physicians have dealt with more trauma and #patient deaths in that time than they had previously seen over the course of their entire career.

Difficult working conditions — such as a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), caring for #patients who may be seriously ill for weeks — along with burdensome administrative tasks, long hours, and grief over losing #patients have become the norm. Burnout can feel like death by a thousand cuts. In our 2020 survey of #physicians, nearly 60% of #physicians reported experiencing feelings of burnout, but only 13% reported seeking medical attention for a #mentalhealthproblem caused by #COVID-19’s effects on their practice or employment.

Left untreated, burnout could cause more cases of #depression, #anxiety, #PTSD, substance use, and suicidal thoughts in our profession. It’s these people, our colleagues — maybe even ourselves — who are more likely to leave medicine, or worse, die by a preventable #suicide death. Poor #mentalhealth among #physicians can have devastating effects on the access, quality, and cost of our country’s healthcare. It’s estimated that approximately 1 million #Americans lose their #physician to #suicide each year.

We must address the elephant in the room — in our practices, clinics, and hospitals. We need to come together and break down the culture of silence around physician #mentalhealth.

It’s important to give ourselves permission to talk about our own #mentalhealth. We need to shift the paradigm from a system where #physicians think that burnout, #depression, or suicidal thoughts are something we can, or must, overcome by ourselves, to one where we have a plan in place to access our own #mentalhealthcare. Having a plan to get #mentalhealthcare should not only be accepted, but also normalized. Accessing #mentalhealthcare should become a fundamental and ongoing element of being a practicing #physician.

A personal crisis management plan can help identify the coping strategies and resources that may work best for each of us individually to successfully navigate #stress, feelings of burnout, or other challenges. In fact, at one health system, nearly a third of participating residents used a personal crisis plan within the first 3 months of being introduced to this resource.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

That’s a staggering number, particularly when you consider that it’s among some of the newest #physicians joining our profession. And while it may only be one data-point among many on #physician burnout and #stress, it demonstrates how many of us may be suffering right now — or worse, suffering in silence or alone — all because of the #stigma associated with #physicians seeking care for their #mentalhealth.

Encouraging the use of #mentalhealthresources and evidenced-based burnout improvement programs can provide that much needed open door for #physicians to seek care and alleviate those feelings of #stigma and shame.

For example, a practice in Washington state crafted several workflow redesign interventions to tackle #physician burnout. One example they explored was a pre-visit laboratory order checklist to reduce administrative burdens for the #physician and provide an opportunity to discuss results with #patients at their visit. The intervention group ultimately saw a 3-hour decrease in the total number of self-reported hours per week spent on indirect #patient care and administrative tasks, and reported an increase in both overall job satisfaction and value alignment with clinical leaders.

This is just one type of actionable solution to address #physician burnout and help #physicians manage the stressors that place their emotional and physical health at risk.

You may never know when the feather that breaks the proverbial camel’s back will come. But in our profession, it’s more likely than not that the day will come. It’s simply the nature of the work we are privileged to do. #Physicians, just like anyone else, should feel comfortable seeking help when it’s needed most.

Gary Price, MD, MBA, is a board member and the current president of The #Physicians Foundation. He is also an attending surgeon and clinical assistant professor of surgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.

If you or someone you know is considering #suicide, call the #NationalSuicidePreventionHotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Leave a comment

#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Prioritizing Children’s #MentalHealth

Here’s how #healthprofessionals are using research and innovative practices to address #suicideprevention, trauma and substance use disorder in #children and #adolescents.

Laura Cassar

“The numbers are staggering,” said Larry Burns, president and CEO of The Children’s Foundation. “As a foundation, we are committed to taking the lead on supporting children’s health and wellness by guiding future policy, awarding grants to community partners, and producing signature events like this summit.”

Dennis” has hit a wall. He has been struggling with his #mentalhealth since age 14, when his father died of #suicide. Now, at 17, he equates feeling alive with feeling pain. He just wants it all to stop.

What Dennis and other kids like him need most is help from a #mentalhealthprofessional who is not afraid to go deep — maybe even “under water,” if necessary — to help them come out of the place where they feel as if they are drowning. “Talking about #suicide is a skill and an art,” explained Nancy Buyle, a therapist who specializes in #suicideprevention and counseling. “We need more people that are willing to ‘get in the water’ with #patients.”

ABOUT THIS REPORT

The two-day virtual 2021 #Child & #Adolescent #BehavioralHealth Summit, held April 13-14, invited professionals and insiders to address critical topics related to #mentalhealth, wellness, substance use disorder and #suicideprevention. The event was designed for clinicians, social service providers, educators, #parents, and anyone who works with youth. Participants had an opportunity to receive continuing education credits. During the event, 158 registered attendees experienced 10 main stage sessions featuring the following speakers:

  • KeynoteChristina Meredith, Miss California 2013; Trauma and Foster Care Survivor; Commissioned Officer, U.S. Army; Author, “Cinder Girl: My Journey Out of the Ashes to a Life of Hope”
  • KeynoteMark and Kym Hilinski, Co-founders, Hilinski’s Hope
  • KeynoteLibby Rapin, Co-founder, BluWave Wellbeing
  • Daniel Ament, Founder, Fight for Wellness 
  • Matt Bell, Co-founder, Midwest Recovery Center
  • Larry Burns, President and CEO, The Children’s Foundation
  • Nancy Buyle, Therapist, Alliance Professional Counseling, Board Member, KnowResolve
  • Shenandoah Chefalo, Author & Advocate, Garbage Bag Suitcase, Faculty, Center for Trauma Resilient Communities
  • Dr. Sarah Domoff, PhD, Associate Professor and Licensed Psychologist, Central Michigan University
  • Thomas Dorney, Director, The Root Cause Coalition
  • Luanne Thomas Ewald, Chief Operating Officer, University of Michigan Health System’s CS Mott Children’s Hospital
  • Dr. Arash Javanbakht, MD, Director of the Stress, Trauma and Anxiety Research Clinic (STARC), Wayne State University
  • Dr. Elizabeth Koschmann, TRAILS Program Director, University of Michigan Medical School , Department of Psychiatry
  • Dennis Liegghio, Founder, KnowResolve
  • Anthony Muller, MA, LPC, CAADC, CCS, SPADA, Vice President, Substance Use Disorder Services & Clinical Services Development, Samaritas
  • Dr. Katherine Rosenblum, PhD, Professor, University of Michigan
  • Kirk Smith, MHSA, President and CEO, Greater Flint Health Coalition

This report is a summary of the summit content; to watch the sessions, visit https://yourchildrensfoundation.org/2021-cabhs-videos/.

Buyle talked about her approach to #suicideprevention and counseling as part of the recent 2021 #Child & #Adolescent #BehavioralHealth Summit produced by The Children’s Foundation, the state’s largest funder dedicated solely to advancing the health and wellness of Michigan #children. The two-day virtual conference brought together community leaders, families and health providers to share #behavioralhealth best practices for #children and young #adults. 

As part of a roleplay exercise during the summit, Buyle played the part she knows well: that of a therapist counseling an #adolescent with suicidal feelings. The part of 17-year-old “Dennis” was played by Dennis Liegghio, founder of KnowResolve, an organization dedicated to connecting with #children who are suffering from #depression and thoughts of #suicide. The roleplay was intended to provide #mentalhealthprofessionals with tools for establishing a relationship with someone who is suicidal. Dennis told his therapist during the roleplay that he tried therapy years ago but quit because he felt judged. 

Teens like “Dennis” are not alone. According to a nationwide survey shared as part of the summit, 60 percent of surveyed #adolescents have experienced at least one traumatic event and 50 percent have experienced #mentalillness, with 22 percent claiming severe impairment from their #mentalillness.

“The numbers are staggering,” said Larry Burns, president and CEO of The Children’s Foundation. “As a foundation, we are committed to taking the lead on supporting children’s health and wellness by guiding future policy, awarding grants to community partners, and producing signature events like this summit.”Trauma: For many, where it all begins

“What is the worst stress you’ve experienced in your life?” This question can help #mentalhealthprofessionals get to the core of a #patient’s distress. But, according to Dr. Arash Javanbakht, director of the #Stress, Trauma and #Anxiety Research Clinic (STARC) at Wayne State University, it often goes unasked. 

Javanbakht led a session on the role of trauma and #PostTraumaticStressDisorder (#PTSD) during the summit. He explained that about 8 percent of #Americans suffer from #PTSD, described as an overgeneralization of fear, when memories are not where they belong in a person’s timeline. With #PTSD, the brain reacts as if things are happening now, not as a memory. The brain is trained to be in a constant survival mode, making normal life nearly impossible to enjoy. 

Javanbakht said that diagnosing #PTSD is not always a part of a children’s #mentalhealthprofessional’s training. “The two things you have to ask about are usually not volunteered: sex life and trauma,” he advises #mentalhealthprofessionals. “Trust is hard, especially when it comes to painful memories.”

Intrusive #PTSD symptoms don’t go away just because a person is removed from a traumatic environment. In addition, 50 percent to 70 percent of those suffering from #PTSD will also suffer from other #mentalhealthconditions like #anxiety and substance abuse. 

Javanbakht discussed different treatments for #PTSD, including a variety of therapy options as well as medications. He said it’s important to see #PTSD as a disease that can be treated. “We can fix it and we will fix it,” he said. 

A panel of experts, moderated by Larry Burns, President & CEO, The Children’s Foundation, discussed #mentalhealth and #studentathletes. #Teens recovering from substance use 

“Sarah” hated feelings. She had so many bad ones — social #anxiety was the worst. Drinking helped; Xanax was even better. Sarah started taking the drug in seventh grade, and by age 15 she was hooked, going to school every morning drunk and high. 

Sarah told her story of addiction and recovery as part of a panel discussion with teens during the summit.  Anthony Muller, vice president of substance use disorder (SUD) programming at Samaritas, moderated the discussion. Founded in 1934, Samaritas is a statewide human services organization serving more than 20,000 individuals each year. Samaritas works with at-risk families, helping the homeless, offering refugee services, foster care and adoption, affordable living, home health services and senior care. After seeing a rising need for substance use treatment and counseling services for youth in its foster care program, Samaritas invested in a statewide SUD treatment program, including 10 clinics across the state. Its SUD treatment model includes individual and group counseling, medication-assisted treatment case management and recovery coaching. 

For Sarah, help came January 11, 2017. After months of trying to cut back on her drug use to focus on her first semester at college, she binged on a week’s worth of cocaine in one night. The result scared her into recovery and detox — a painful process she said she “never wants to experience again.”

When asked by Muller what #adults are missing in helping #adolescents who are struggling with substance abuse, Sarah answered honestly: “They just need to be there to listen non-judgmentally.”

A panel of experts, moderated by Luanne Thomas Ewald, COO, University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, discussed the social determinants of health equity and their impact on children’s health. Addressing the social determinants of health

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

#COVID-19 exposed multiple cracks in the #mentalhealth system.  

In a recent national poll about children’s health concerns, eight of the top 10 concerns were associated with changes in lifestyle — #socialmedia/screen time, internet safety, unhealthy eating, #depression/#suicide and a lack of physical activity — related to the #pandemic. And when the findings were examined by #racial/#ethnic groups, #Black #parents rated racism as their top health issue. #Racism impacts children’s health in many ways, including higher rates of #depression, #anxiety and #behavioralproblems. #Black #parents were also the only group to include gun injuries and unequal access to health care as top concerns.

The poll was commissioned by Michigan Medicine’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and the hospital’s COO, Luanne Thomas Ewald, said the findings have forced a more focused conversation on social determinants of health. She led a discussion on health disparities and social determinants of health during the summit. 

Tom Dorney, executive director of The Root Cause Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy organization with a mission to reverse and end the systemic root causes of health inequities, agreed with Ewald that the #pandemic brought these health disparities to light. 

“For 10 years I have tried to have conversations, but no one was addressing social determinants and inequities of health,” Dorney said. “It’s a new trend that people actually care about this stuff.”

Kirk Smith, CEO of the Greater Flint Health Coalition, noted that 80 percent of factors affecting health happen outside of the healthcare system.

His organization has spent the past five years focusing on health inequities. Its work has impacted more than 50,000 citizens, reducing ER visits and hospitalizations for #children, showing an improvement in missed school days and participation in better health choices. 

The Greater Flint Health Coalition’s efforts also include addressing systemic inequities like transportation.

“It’s not enough to just address the sickness or disease,” Smith explained.

Toxic #stress, whether caused by poverty, unaddressed #mentalhealthissues or community violence, and its effect on health are a focus of Dr. Katherine Rosenblum, co-director of the Zero to Thrive Program at the University of Michigan.

“Accumulation of #stress overwhelms the body’s ability to cope and adapt,” Rosenblum said during the discussion. “Early relationships can help create resilience to mitigate the impact of #stress. Supporting parents is key; we support the #parent, so they can support their #children.”

With the evidence-backed belief that the earliest years of life are critically important and strong relationships are the foundation for a family’s success, Zero to Thrive promotes the health and resilience of families from pregnancy through early childhood with research, education, partnership and service.

“To grow a more reliant tree, you need to have healthy soil,” Rosenblum said. 

SCREEN TIME STRUGGLES

Tweens spend on average 4.5 hours a day on a screen; for teens, 6.5 hours is common.  And like many health issues, demographics make a difference, with lower income #adolescents spending three additional hours a day on a screen. However, according to Dr. Sarah Domoff, an associate professor, licensed #psychologist at Central Michigan University and an expert on screen time and children’s media use, it’s not only the number of hours that count.

“Content matters,” said Domoff, who established the Problematic Media Assessment and Treatment Clinic at the Center for Children, Families and Communities at CMU. “What they see, who they engage with, the context of use — these things matter more than just pure hours.”

Domoff shared the symptoms or behaviors that parents and #healthprofessionals can use to assess problematic media use:  

  • Screen time is hard for a child to stop.
  • It’s the only thing that motivates them.
  • They are preoccupied and hyper-focused.
  • It interferes with family activities.
  • They are withdrawn.
  • They are deceptive.
  • It’s the only thing that makes them feel better after a bad day — their only coping tool.

Should a parent determine that screen time is problematic, Domoff advises against a complete digital detox. 

“Instead, increase other pleasant activities,” Domoff suggested. “Involve them to make their own plan on managing their relationship with their phones and #socialmedia. Let them determine what they want to change. Help them develop healthy media habits, to recognize positive and negative content and promote balance. ”#Behavioralhealth therapy and educational outcomes

Here’s an alarming statistic: while nearly 50 percent of #adolescents suffer from a #mentalillness, only 20 percent receive effective treatment. 

That lack of treatment has a detrimental impact on educational outcomes. Young people who are experiencing symptoms of #depression, anxiety or #PTSD may be much more likely to avoid #school, showing low attendance, low engagement and, of course, poor academic achievement and attainment overall.

The University of Michigan created a program in 2013 with a goal of making #mentalhealthservices accessible in schools. The TRAILS Program (Transforming Research into Action to Improve the Lives of Students) trains #teachers and school workers in evidence-based practices like cognitive #behaviortherapy (CBT) and mindfulness to reduce #students’ symptoms of #depression and #anxiety. The three-tier approach allows TRAILS to meet the needs of all #students, whether it is prevention and #stigma reduction, evidence-based mental care or #suicideprevention and intervention. Resource materials for #students and #teachers are provided at no cost. #Teacher and staff support continues after training with additional resources, training and coaching/consultation.

“Nearly 10,000 people have attended a TRAILS training and an estimated 90,000 #students have benefitted from TRAILS programming,” said TRAILS founder, Dr. Elizabeth Koschmann. “With continued support and partnerships, TRAILS seeks to reach all students in Michigan.”

Please watch yourchildrensfoundation.org for information about the 2022 #Child & #Adolescent #BehavioralHealth Summit.

child in a black jacket whispering to a woman in white shirt
Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels.com

 

Visit Us
Follow Me
Tweet
Whatsapp
Tumblr
Share