Wednesday, May 01, 2019

May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month

2 in 10 women will struggle with a maternal mental health disorder in the United States and only fifteen percent of women will receive treatment for a maternal mental health disorder.
Unrealistic expectations and myths about what it means to be a good mom often prevent mothers from getting treatment postpartum mental health disorders. 

Here are some of the most common ones:

  • To be a good mom you have to love being a mom all the time.
  • Moms never need help.
  • If I don't breastfeed, I'm not a good mother.  
  • I am not a good mom because my baby’s birth didn’t go well – or my body failed.
  • I had to go back to work too early and that makes me a bad mom.
  • I had to take an antidepressant after I had my baby and that makes me a bad mother.
  • Other mothers are better moms because they look like they have it all together.   

None of these are true. 

Increasing awareness about postpartum mental health disorders reduces stigma and improves the quality of care for women. Encouraging new moms to talk about their experiences and truly listen to how she is feeling. 

Link here to get your own downloadable New Mom Mental Health Checklist

Link to Postpartum Support International for more resources.

Friday, April 19, 2019

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is observed in April in the United States, and is dedicated to making a concerted effort to raise awareness about and prevent sexual violence. In the time it takes to read this paragraph, 3 individuals somewhere in the United States will have become a victim of sexual violence. 

The first observation of Sexual Assault Awareness Month occurred in 2001, where the National Sexual Violence Resource Center provided resources to advocates nationwide to help get the word out about sexual assault. 

This awareness day has gained momentum over the years, especially at high school and college campuses. Research states that prevention programs and awareness days help educate the public about sexual assault and sexual violence. 

For those who want more information, link here

Monday, April 01, 2019

April Is Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month. 
Every day, the millions people living with autism and their families face unique and daunting challenges that many of us will never fully appreciate. During National Autism Awareness Month, we renew our commitment to better understand autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and improve the lives of individuals living with it.
A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68 children in the United States has been identified with ASD. This latest estimate makes it clear that autism affects the lives of millions of Americans – our friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members.
ASD is a developmental disability characterized, in varying degrees, by persistent difficulties in social communication and restrictive and repetitive behaviors, interests, or activities. We know that early screening and intervention at younger ages helps children get the most effective treatments earlier in life.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Spring Ahead - Daylight Savings Time and Your Health

Sunday, March 12th we time travel forward one hour for Daylight Saving Time. This means the sun will rise later in our day and daylight will stream a bit longer into our evenings. 
DST was first proposed in 1895 by New Zealand entomologist George Hudson, based on his theory that doing so would maximize the use of the sun’s light. Canada was the first to use DST in 1908, followed by Germany and Austria in 1916 and then in 1918 in the United States.
Research on Daylight Saving Time
Daylight Saving Time (DST) was used as a tool to conserve energy. However, research on the effects of DST on energy savings has shown no significant results. As such, some countries have continued to remain on Standard Time, forgoing DST altogether. In fact, several states and US territories choose not to practice DST—with more considering a halt to the time shifting.
Daylight Saving Time has been shown to affect our health, both mental and physical. Studies report that falling back to gain one hour of daylight in the autumn months causes reductions in sleep and increases rates of cardiac issuesstroke, cortisol production, and vehicular accidents. The good news is that these issues are worst within the first three weeks of Daylight Saving Time. As our body’s circadian rhythm adjusts to the time change, the risk of these adverse experiences greatly reduces.
However, one of the most salient findings regarding DST is the negative effect it has on mood and well-being, particularly in the northern latitudes of the earth. As we spring ahead, keep the following in mind.

Self-Care Tips for Daylight Saving Time
  1. Learn about your circadian rhythm. This is the internal biochemical cycle we all have that regulates our body with respect to sleeping, feeding, and well-being. Circadian rhythms are greatly affected by shifting of daytime sunlight. 
  2. To help reset your body clock, consider a dawn-to-dusk alarm to help you adjust to DST. 
  3. Speaking of your body clock, ditch the technology a few hours before bedtime. Blue Light Syndrome interferes with melatonin production, the sleep hormone that makes for good, restful sleep. 
  4. Keep a set sleep schedule. No sleeping in late or going to bed too early. And watch those naps. Too many in a day or taking too-long a nap is a no-nos. 
  5. Always start the day with a healthy breakfast. Food fuels your body for the day.

Monday, February 11, 2019

"Psych Up Live" Segment on Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression is suffered by 20% of women; but it is misunderstood and overlooked by many new mothers who suffer, as well as those who love them.

In this episode, Dr. Deborah Serani, psychologist, author and renowned expert in Depressive Disorders, clarifies Postpartum Depression in both a professional and personal way.

She discusses the causes of Postpartum Depression, the difference in symptoms between “ Baby Blues” and the other types of Postpartum Mental Health Disorders - and the reasons they are so often overlooked. She addresses the physical and psychological impact on the new mother and draws upon her own experience with Postpartum Depression to underscore the reality of the suffering and the reality that it can be treated.

Dr. Serani considers the value of medication, a wide range of evidenced-based treatments and the importance of many holistic approaches. She even considers Postpartum impact on the new dad, adoptive parents and same sex partners,  and the family and ways they can support the new mom.

Listen by clicking the arrow above.

Monday, January 21, 2019

January is National Mentoring Month

January is National Mentoring Month.

"Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges and makes them feel like they matter. Research confirms that mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic and professionally situations. Mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development, as well as social and economic opportunities." ~ National Mentoring Parternship                                                  
There are few relationships in life that are more influential than those between a mentor and a young person. I know this from both sides of the coin. I've had many mentors in my life growing up. A person who took a unique interest in me, fostered my growth and guided me onward.

I've also been a mentor to many. The experience has been so rewarding and meaningful to me. In fact, research shows that mentoring is an extraordinary experience for all involved.

Be mentor.

Change a life.

And transform your own.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

November 17th is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

In 1999, Senator Harry Reid, a survivor of his father’s 1972 suicide, introduced a new resolution into the US Senate. With its passage, the US Congress designated the Saturday before Thanksgiving as National Survivors of Suicide Day - an awareness day that reaches out to thousands of people who have lost a loved one to suicide.

National Survivors of Suicide Day has evolved into a global awareness day called International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day thanks to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. 

Sometimes called "Survivor Day," this November 17th will find children and adults affected by suicide loss gathering around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and heal. Last year, there were over 400 Survivor Day events in 20 countries.

To find a local Survivor Day event near you, link here
Every 40 seconds, someone dies by suicide. 
Every 41 seconds someone tries to understand that loss. 

If you need help, are suicidal or feeling hopeless, please call 1-800-273-TALK.