Monday, June 26, 2017

June is Men's Health Month

The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to increase the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. 

This awareness month encourages health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. 

Take a look at statistics on physical aspects of health for men and link here for mental health facts.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

June is Post Traumatic Stress Awareness Month

In order to bring greater awareness to the issue of posttraumatic stress disorder, June has been designated as PTSD Awareness Month by the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD). And the United States Senate has designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day

PTSD is a mental health problem that can occur after an adult or child has been exposed to a traumatic event(s) such as sexual or physical assault, natural or man-made disaster, and war-related combat stress. 

Symptoms of PTSD include persistent intrusive thoughts and distressing dreams about the traumatic event, triggered emotional responses to reminders of the trauma, efforts to avoid thinking or talking about the trauma, and persistent hypervigilance for cues that indicate additional danger or trauma may occur.

PTSD is a treatable disorder. If you are struggling with symptoms, link here to find out how to access professional mental health.

Friday, June 02, 2017

13 Reasons Why and Suicide Prevention

On this radio show of Psych Up Live, listen to me, Dr. Shane Owens and host Dr. Suzanne Phillips talk about the controversial show "13 Reasons Why"  - and ways to help prevent suicide, understand the kinds of trauma teenagers experience, and other crucial aspects of this groundbreaking series.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Terrorism and Disaster Reactions

When news of a terrorist attack occurs, it can cause suffering not only to those at ground zero, but others who witness the aftermath.

Watching a traumatic event unfold on television, radio, the internet or social media sets into motion a variety of psychological reactions, called Disaster Reactions.  

The list above shows you some of the many kinds of experiences children, teens and adults can have after a crisis. 

Tips for Coping with Terrorism

1. Stay active Falling into passivity can worsen psychological and physical disaster reactions. Children and adults need to engage in meaningful activities. 
2. Stay on track Resume a normal routine as soon as possible. Tending to your daily schedule helps ground you in normalcy. For children, this is especially important.
3. Understand trauma Remind yourself that it's expected to have these kinds of reactions in the face of the disastrous event. It's especially important to teach children that reactions like these are normal.
4. Don't numb your pain Be aware that reducing or avoiding pain with drugs or alcohol will only lengthen your traumatic response. Talk to you children about stress reactions and model healthy behavior for them.
5. Express yourself Whether it's talking about your experience or expressing it in other forms, releasing your thoughts and feelings about the disaster will help you heal. Talk openly about the event and encourage discussions. For younger children, drawing and playing can help them express disaster reactions.
6. Reach out to others While it's expected that you may want to be alone to deal with the trauma you've witnessed, studies shows that connecting to others helps us recover more quickly from disaster. If your child or teen wishes to "be alone" or disconnects from others, talk about the importance of connection and the healing benefits of staying bonded to others. 
7. Unplug from media When disaster strikes, the media tends to over-report and over-saturate the public with images, misinformation and high anxiety information. Limit nternet, television and radio experiences to help shield you - and your children - from over-exposure.
8. Be patient with others Realize that those around you are also under stress and may not act or react in a manner you would normally expect. 
9. Watch your caffeine Avoid caffeine as its effects can amplify anxiety and disaster stress response. So limit your intake of coffee, soda and tea. And for kids, too much chocolate, and caffeine drinks can heighten anxiety and irritability.
10. Celebrate goodness Remind yourself and your children that there is exponentially more good in the world than bad. Celebrate kindness and beauty, and revive your connection to humanity so your mind, body and soul can heal. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day: For Those Who Celebrate and Those Who Mourn

Mother's Day is a holiday that is marked world-wide. Countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, China and Japan, just to name a few, give moms a special day shout-out on the yearly calendar.

Historically, Mother's Day has been a day where children and other family members honor mothers or individuals who are nurturing and caretaking in maternal ways. For some, it's a day of celebration, of expressing one's love and appreciation for a mothering figure. The day is met with happiness and a full heart.

However, for others, Mother's Day is not so easy. It can bring forth sadness, loss and yearning if one's mother has died.

Or if a mother has lost a child, it can become an excruciating day filled with grief.

Or if you were never able to have children of your own.

Perhaps, Mother's Day becomes a day of anger and resentment if a person hasn't had a good relationship with a mother.

There are many more examples....too many to list in this post. 

In my work, landmark days, anniversary dates or holidays of any kind can be especially difficult for anyone who has experienced loss, death or the recognition of toxicity in a relationship.

Of all the days in the calendar year, Mother's Day and Father's Day can evoke the most profound emotional responses.

To those of you who struggle with this day, know that you're not alone.

Give yourself permission to feel and think whatever may come from within.

It's important for your to mother yourself.

Monday, May 01, 2017

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Though about 1 in 5 adults and children experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, mental illness continues to be stigmatized and misunderstood.

Learn more about mental illness, stigma and ways to educate others in my TEDx talk.