Mental Health – Open Mind http://open-mind.org/ Fri, 14 Jan 2022 13:00:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://open-mind.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-6-150x150.png Mental Health – Open Mind http://open-mind.org/ 32 32 What California can do to improve children’s mental health https://open-mind.org/what-california-can-do-to-improve-childrens-mental-health/ Fri, 14 Jan 2022 13:00:17 +0000 https://open-mind.org/what-california-can-do-to-improve-childrens-mental-health/ California’s kids are struggling. An unprecedented level of toxic stress and trauma from the pandemic has exacerbated a pre-existing child mental health crisis. Even before the onset of the pandemic, suicide and self-harm rates among adolescents were increasing. Now, almost two years into the pandemic, social isolation, emotional disconnection, economic stress and the physical effects […]]]>

California’s kids are struggling. An unprecedented level of toxic stress and trauma from the pandemic has exacerbated a pre-existing child mental health crisis.

Even before the onset of the pandemic, suicide and self-harm rates among adolescents were increasing. Now, almost two years into the pandemic, social isolation, emotional disconnection, economic stress and the physical effects of COVID have taken a toll on our youth and exacerbated an already critical problem.

The Little Hoover Commission, California’s independent government oversight, is urging the state to strengthen its system to support children’s mental and emotional well-being. The state must appoint an accountable leader, set clear goals, encourage coordination, and use schools as central places to help children. This ensures that the state uses funds dedicated to the mental and emotional well-being of children efficiently and in a way that produces the greatest impact in both the short and long term.

COVID has had a uniquely pervasive impact. It has been a major source of stress and anxiety while pandemic-related safety measures – including social distancing and distance learning – cut many children off from their usual sources of support.

Chronic stress affects many children’s ability to regulate emotions and behaviors, pay attention, and start and complete tasks. Educators see this firsthand.

As many children returned to in-person learning this fall, school districts reported rising absenteeism and student misconduct. Worse, in early 2021 emergency room visits for suspected suicide attempts were nearly 51% higher for teenage girls and 4% higher for adolescent boys than the same period in 2019.

Major national organizations declared a child mental health emergency this fall. The US surgeon general released an advisory last month with recommendations to support children amid the mental health crisis.

But California has long struggled to adequately support children’s mental and emotional well-being.

Its child mental health support system struggles with a number of systemic obstacles — including decentralization and labor shortages — that prevent children from accessing much-needed mental health services. In 2018, California ranked 48th nationally for the provision of child mental health services.

Additionally, access to health care is often the biggest challenge facing youth from minority and low-income communities, who have also borne the brunt of the impact of the pandemic.

The good news is that Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature have taken significant steps to improve California’s child mental health support system. Last year, they founded the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative — a $4.4 billion investment to develop a comprehensive mental health care system for Californians from birth through age 25.

In our report “COVID-19 and Children’s Mental Health”, the Commission calls for additional reforms to ensure the behavioral health initiative fulfills its potential:

First, establish a central authority for overall child mental health leadership. This national leader should be tasked with creating clear plans for the coordination and implementation of the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative.

Second: Set yourself clear results goals. The state should set children’s mental health goals based on key metrics related to overall mental well-being, access to care and the quality of care.

Third, promoting coordination around child mental health care and services. The state should increase the support and technical assistance it provides to counties, health plans and other mental health providers. By cultivating a culture of collaboration and support, state and local governments can better work together to advance statewide goals.

Finally, center schools as places to support children’s mental well-being. The state should encourage schools to develop comprehensive plans to coordinate student mental health services, use and share data, and integrate new and existing funding to create sustainable mental health programs.

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Better mental health in transgender people who started using hormones as teenagers | Message center https://open-mind.org/better-mental-health-in-transgender-people-who-started-using-hormones-as-teenagers-message-center/ Wed, 12 Jan 2022 19:04:03 +0000 https://open-mind.org/better-mental-health-in-transgender-people-who-started-using-hormones-as-teenagers-message-center/ The analysis controlled for several factors that could affect participants’ mental health independent of hormone treatment: age at the time of the survey; gender identity; gender assigned at birth; sexual orientation; race or ethnicity; degree of family support of gender identity; Relationship status; level of education; employment relationship; household income; use of puberty suppression treatment; […]]]>

The analysis controlled for several factors that could affect participants’ mental health independent of hormone treatment: age at the time of the survey; gender identity; gender assigned at birth; sexual orientation; race or ethnicity; degree of family support of gender identity; Relationship status; level of education; employment relationship; household income; use of puberty suppression treatment; any attempts to force them to be cisgender; and experience of verbal, physical, or sexual harassment because of their gender identity in grades K-12.

Compared to the control group members, participants who had undergone hormone treatment had a lower likelihood of experiencing severe mental distress in the previous month and a lower likelihood of having suicidal thoughts in the previous year. The likelihood of severe psychological distress was reduced by 222%, 153%, and 81% in those who started using hormones in early adolescence, late adolescence, and adulthood, respectively. The odds of having suicidal thoughts in the prior year were 135% lower in people who started using hormones in early adolescence, 62% lower in those who started in late adolescence, and 21% lower in those who started as adults compared to the control group.

Additionally, participants who started using hormones in early or late adolescence had a lower risk of binge drinking and lifelong illicit drug use than those who started using hormones in adulthood.

However, the researchers found that those who started hormone treatment in adulthood were more likely to binge drink and use illicit substances than those who had never resorted to treatment. “Some individuals may become more self-confident and socially engaged when they start taking hormones,” Turban said, adding that in some cases, this increased self-confidence and social engagement may be related to substance use. “This finding highlights the importance of creating culturally appropriate drug use counseling programs for transgender people.”

To get a sense of whether the participants’ mental health prior to treatment affected their ability to access treatment, the researchers also looked at whether participants in each group had ever had suicidal tendencies but had not had suicidal feelings in the previous year.

“This was a measure of improvement in mental health over time,” Turban said. “People were more likely to meet these criteria if they had access to hormones and were taking them than if they didn’t.” The finding implies that access to hormones improves mental health and not the other way around, he said.

Evidence building for gender-affirming medical care

Turban and his colleagues hope lawmakers across the country will use the new evidence to inform their policy decisions. Although several bills banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth have been introduced in state legislatures in recent years, almost all have not passed, he said, adding that all major medical organizations support the provision of gender-affirming medical care , including hormone therapy for patients who so desire and who meet Endocrine Society and World Professional Association for Transgender Health criteria.

“There is no one right way to be transgender,” Turban said. Some transgender people don’t want to take hormones and want to be comfortable with their bodies the way they are. Young people who seek treatment in gender clinics routinely receive counseling as part of their treatment to identify what types of care best suit their circumstances.

For those who want sex-affirming hormones, being denied access to treatment can cause significant distress, Turban said.

“For some transgender youth, their negative responses to life in bodies that develop during puberty in ways that are inconsistent with what they know themselves to be can be very damaging,” he said. For example, individuals who are uncomfortable developing breasts may respond by binding their breasts so tightly that they develop skin infections or broken ribs.

“These results will not surprise providers, but unfortunately many lawmakers have never met a transgender youth,” Turban said. “It’s important for lawmakers to see the numbers that support the experiences of transgender youth, their families and the people who work in this field.”

Researchers from the Fenway Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health contributed to the study.

The research was funded by the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (supported by industry sponsors Arbor and Pfizer), the Harvey L. and Maud C. Sorensen Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health (Grant MH094612), and Health Resources and Services Administration (grant U30CS22742).

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Santa Clara County leaders declare mental health and substance abuse a public health crisis https://open-mind.org/santa-clara-county-leaders-declare-mental-health-and-substance-abuse-a-public-health-crisis/ Mon, 10 Jan 2022 22:38:12 +0000 https://open-mind.org/santa-clara-county-leaders-declare-mental-health-and-substance-abuse-a-public-health-crisis/ SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Ahead of the Santa Clara county’s board meeting on Tuesday, two rangers declare mental health and substance abuse as a public health crisis in the county. Supervisors Susan Ellenberg and Otto Lee created a recommendation for county employees to consider at Tuesday’s meeting, declaring mental health and substance abuse […]]]>

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Ahead of the Santa Clara county’s board meeting on Tuesday, two rangers declare mental health and substance abuse as a public health crisis in the county.

Supervisors Susan Ellenberg and Otto Lee created a recommendation for county employees to consider at Tuesday’s meeting, declaring mental health and substance abuse a county public health crisis to get much-needed attention To bring resources and support for the growing epidemic.

“In this state and in our country, the largest mental health facilities aren’t even care facilities, they are our prisons and prisons for nearly 30 percent of all incarcerated people who receive some level of treatment,” said Susan Ellenberg, Santa Clara district manager a press conference Monday.

“We have seen the effects of untreated mental illness and substance abuse in our communities for years, and these challenges have become even more acute since the beginning of the pandemic.”

At Monday’s press conference, Supervisor Ellenberg emphasized that despite continued investment and the launch of new programs, the county’s mental health and substance abuse services are overwhelmed by increasing demand and need for visual acuity.

The transfer aims to take three measures:

  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Declaration on a Public Health Crisis in Santa Clara County,
  • Identify actions across the county to respond to the crisis, with an emphasis on system-wide planning and working with partners across the community who will play a role in solving these long-term challenges
  • Coordinate scheme participants to develop short- and long-term strategies to address staff shortages in the treatment of mental health and substance use.

“As the third year of the pandemic begins, many of our neighbors are either in crisis or on the verge,” said supervisor Otto Lee.

“The urgency of this moment is immeasurable. With this referral, we’re putting a focus on two crises: mental health and substance abuse in Santa Clara County, and a labor shortage that is affecting the availability of care. ”

Santa Clara County, like other counties throughout California, has a joint responsibility with the state for providing behavioral health services to residents of the county who are Medi-Cal beneficiaries, uninsured, or diagnosed with severe mental illness.

According to the district, the Behavioral Health Services Department (BHSD) and its network of contract providers currently serve around 32,773 customers annually through adult, child and youth care systems.

BHSD has reported that it serves a significantly larger proportion of its Medi-Cal benefit recipients (6.2%) compared to other large counties that serve 4.4% average and the statewide benchmark of 4.9%.

Despite the higher level of service in the district, some beneficiaries remain unserved or underserved and receive benefits mainly through the district’s emergency and acute systems or while they are incarcerated.

Click here to tune in to Tuesday’s county board meeting.

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Non-profit organization provides mental health resources to hospitality workers | Latino voices | Chicago News https://open-mind.org/non-profit-organization-provides-mental-health-resources-to-hospitality-workers-latino-voices-chicago-news/ Sat, 08 Jan 2022 23:30:03 +0000 https://open-mind.org/non-profit-organization-provides-mental-health-resources-to-hospitality-workers-latino-voices-chicago-news/ In Chicago and other cities across the country, Latino workers are the backbone of the restaurant industry, and the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on the physical, emotional, and financial health of restaurant workers. Three years ago, a group of hospitality workers founded a non-profit organization that aims to connect hospitality workers in need […]]]>

In Chicago and other cities across the country, Latino workers are the backbone of the restaurant industry, and the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on the physical, emotional, and financial health of restaurant workers.

Three years ago, a group of hospitality workers founded a non-profit organization that aims to connect hospitality workers in need with psychiatric care. The founders of Support Staff, both of whom have experience in the hospitality industry, say they are meeting a need that has not been addressed for too long.

“I think this is an industry where people take better care of their guests than they do themselves,” says co-founder Kristina Magro. “The majority of people can be great to you, but it’s those 10% of negative experiences that really hit you over a year, five, ten years.”

“So many times we are told that it doesn’t matter what you’re going through in your life, leave it by the door when you walk in, all you have to do is put your face on,” added co-founder Mony Bunni. “That puts a strain on your emotions.”

They started the Support Staff in 2018 with a focus on mental health. Workers seeking psychiatric care can seek advice from their therapeutic service manager, who will then help connect the worker to affordable therapy resources.

The organization also hosts two podcasts, including a series called “Bite Size”.

“This is a mini psycho-educational series that breaks down what mental health is, what emotional work, stress, coping mechanisms and the like is,” said Bunni.

When the pandemic devastated the restaurant industry, they set up the Comp Tab Relief Fund to provide direct cash support to workers in need.

“A lot of people out there risked their lives without health insurance and then not on top of that” [getting] the right care or the long hours or [being] dehumanized by the public, ”said Magro.

They also opened a storefront in Humboldt Park called People / Profit, which offers free clothing, groceries, and other resources for anyone who needs them.

“People Over Profit addresses some of these things that affect your mental health, and that’s your livelihood, this is your clothes, this is your food. We’re just trying to bring together the resources we have to alleviate some of these pressures. “

“What 2020 really revealed is that we need to have each other’s backs,” said Bunni. “We have to take care of each other”



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Mental health interventions in schools https://open-mind.org/mental-health-interventions-in-schools/ Fri, 07 Jan 2022 08:55:01 +0000 https://open-mind.org/mental-health-interventions-in-schools/ Schools are finally open. But there was zeal and concern among educators alike about how this pandemic may have affected the social and emotional health of students and parents. Transitions are never easy – physically, mentally, and emotionally, not for adults and most definitely not for young children. It is precisely for this reason that […]]]>

Schools are finally open. But there was zeal and concern among educators alike about how this pandemic may have affected the social and emotional health of students and parents.

Transitions are never easy – physically, mentally, and emotionally, not for adults and most definitely not for young children. It is precisely for this reason that schools must now focus on the mental health of their students. We have never had the opportunity to work with children who are going through such a massive health crisis. It is imperative to be aware of the needs of our learners in order to support them. We need to help them wear masks while maintaining social distance from their friends, with drastically reduced screen time, new schedules and routines to follow, friendship and conflict management, among other potential stressors.

Here are some proven ways schools can better cater to students’ mental, emotional, and social needs:

Take it slow: As much as we want our students to settle in quickly, we know that giving them time to adjust, recalibrate, and orientate themselves is essential to their emotional wellbeing. As soon as the learners feel safe and comfortable in their new learning space, teaching and learning become more effective and successful.

Check in: One routine that we have to follow is our daily check-ins. These check-ins take place during our morning circle time and at the end of the day. This is the case when learners share their academic or personal feelings and concerns with their teachers and peers. This helps students know that they care about them, that they are not alone, and that they will always have a safe space to talk about their feelings and have them validated.

Create and follow routines: Children are creatures of habit too. When they have routines, be it at home or at school, they feel more secure and have more control over their mind and body. At this point, it would be advisable for schools to ensure uniform processes – especially meal and play times, designated pick-up or drop-off points and play areas.

Social and emotional learning (SEL): Help students identify stressors or triggers to regulate their emotions and provide strategies for resolving conflicts with their peers. Now, more than ever, it is time to embed SEL in everyday learning environments. Providing a “quiet corner” in the classroom, taking brain breaks and exercising mindfulness regularly are other ways to prioritize SEL.

Communicate with families: Just like school, families are essential to a child’s well-being. It is therefore important to keep the lines of communication between the two of them open. Each time a different relevant topic can be discussed, such as building self-employment, time management, dealing with school refusal, promoting children’s interests, to name just a few.

Getting back to campus can be overwhelming and with all of the planning and protocols schools have, there will still be plenty of trial and error. However, adopting a growth mindset during this transition is critical to helping us effectively support the mental and emotional health of our students.

(The author is a student advisor at a school)
in Bengaluru)


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Groups provide psychological support for tornado survivors | Messages https://open-mind.org/groups-provide-psychological-support-for-tornado-survivors-messages/ Wed, 05 Jan 2022 06:15:00 +0000 https://open-mind.org/groups-provide-psychological-support-for-tornado-survivors-messages/ A traumatic event like the natural disaster that many Kentuckians experienced a few weeks ago can have profound effects on a person’s mental health. Staff from local and national groups focused on mental health treatment said people who witnessed the tornadoes that struck western Kentucky on December 10 reported symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress. […]]]>

A traumatic event like the natural disaster that many Kentuckians experienced a few weeks ago can have profound effects on a person’s mental health. Staff from local and national groups focused on mental health treatment said people who witnessed the tornadoes that struck western Kentucky on December 10 reported symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress.

Four Rivers Behavioral Health, a private mental health not for profit serving McCracken County and surrounding counties such as Graves County, employs Mayfield staff and clinicians who visit local state parks and hotels that temporarily house tornado survivors.

Thelma Hunter, the addiction manager at Four Rivers, said employees experienced a lot of anxiety, stressful reactions and shock after an EF-4 tornado.

“It’s normal to have symptoms of acute stress at this time,” Hunter said of tornado survivors.

Hunter added that some might have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but noted that PTSD cannot be diagnosed unless someone has had symptoms for at least 30 days. She said if people are still having feelings like the tornado that just happened, or have flashbacks on that incident after 30 days, they should seek psychological help.

Vito Castelgrande, assistant director of emergency response at Americares, a health-focused aid organization, said Americares had a small assessment team in Mayfield who was providing psychosocial first aid by the end of December. Castelgrande described this as a series of tools designed to reduce stress related to trauma. The trauma of this event to survivors and first responders could last for a long time.

“What we do know is that disasters don’t just wreak havoc physically. They also cause emotional trauma and a need for mental health care after what Mayfield and the surrounding area have been through, ”Castelgrande said.

Americares has established contacts with local health organizations to provide long-term support for these groups.

Hunter said Four Rivers staff and clinicians provided psychological first aid in Mayfield. The workers screened the survivors to see if their immediate needs were being met and also offered psychological services when the survivors were ready. They have also gone door to door in Mayfield to make people aware of the resources that are available to them.

Hunter said staff had seen different responses to trauma in children and adults. Some children need to learn to deal with the anxiety caused by the tornadoes and the need to move to temporary shelter.

“Children are currently very concerned about safety. That is their main concern. They want to know that something like this won’t happen again, what to do if it happens again [and] how they can feel safe again, ”said Hunter.

Some elderly and disabled people were unaware of some of the resources available to them or did not have transportation to pick up donated materials from places like the Mayfield-Graves County Fairgrounds, Hunter said. To fill this void, Four Rivers employees are driving to pick up items and bring them back to those who lack transportation.

Hunter said Mayfield also has a large Hispanic population, and Four Rivers has provided resource guides in English and Spanish to help reach a wider population.

The natural disaster was also affecting people with existing mental illnesses and those who had never reported mental illness before, Hunter said.

“We will deal with the consequences of this for a very long time. We’re seeing the tip of the iceberg, ”said Hunter.

Hunter said the Four Rivers Fuller Center in Mayfield was fully operational, as was his crisis unit on the same campus. Other Four Rivers locations in Paducah and Murray are also open. Four Rivers offers telemedicine services as well as in-person appointments and walk-in sessions for emergencies. For more information, see 4rbh.org. Four Rivers is available around the clock on the crisis number 800-592-3980.


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Caring for Children: advocating the mental health and wellbeing of children in Michigan https://open-mind.org/caring-for-children-advocating-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-of-children-in-michigan/ Mon, 03 Jan 2022 05:00:01 +0000 https://open-mind.org/caring-for-children-advocating-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-of-children-in-michigan/ John McInerney: In the beginning it was a very modest effort. I would bring LEGO and a couple of robots and set them up in the activity rooms at Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. If someone wanted to build a robot, I would show them how to do it. I had been doing this […]]]>

John McInerney: In the beginning it was a very modest effort. I would bring LEGO and a couple of robots and set them up in the activity rooms at Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. If someone wanted to build a robot, I would show them how to do it. I had been doing this for about a year and one day I had everything set up and no one showed up in the activity room. I thought, “It would be better if I could just go to them.” The idea for the original Buildup Mobile program was born. I put everything in a cart and went to bed to work with the kids. At that point, I became a contractor for the patient technology team.

Burns: How did it develop to where you are today?

McInerney: The reactions from patients and families have helped me. There were moments that really inspired me to keep working on this project. There was this little guy, maybe 5 to 7 years old; It was his last day in the hospital, but he didn’t want to leave until he built a robot. We built a racing car with an engine and ended up driving completely around the unit. He called it his winning lap.

Burns: You’re not taking the LEGO with you?

McInerney: No, everything stays in the hospital.

Burns: You have successfully received a scholarship from the Children’s Foundation.

McInerney: Our goal is to expand the program and work with as many children as possible. This scholarship was our first opportunity to train someone to run the program independently from me. We trained a teacher interested in a career in children’s life. She was in the Michigan Children’s Hospital for seven months. I just wrote her a letter of recommendation for her internship, the next stage in children’s life.

Burns: Do you want to be in more hospitals?

McInerney: That’s the dream – to be able to expand this program further to new hospitals and new rooms. Patient technology is gaining acceptance in more and more hospitals. The first patient technology conference took place last year. It was exciting to be a part of and to see other hospitals with patient technology programs that my program, like Mott, could be a part of.

Burns: If someone wants to help you expand, how do you get in touch?

McInerney: Our website is www.buildupsteam.org. You can contact me directly and get more information. You can also donate through the website. If we collect enough donations, we can work with a hospital and fund the program for at least a year.

Larry Burns: Tell us about the autism education services.


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With several Washington colleges moving away again, an expert shares tips on how to support the mental health of students https://open-mind.org/with-several-washington-colleges-moving-away-again-an-expert-shares-tips-on-how-to-support-the-mental-health-of-students/ Sat, 01 Jan 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://open-mind.org/with-several-washington-colleges-moving-away-again-an-expert-shares-tips-on-how-to-support-the-mental-health-of-students/ As the Omicron variant rises and colleges across Washington adjust their plans – the University of Washington, Bellevue College, and Seattle University have all announced they will start winter courses remotely or postpone the start of face-to-face classes – Meghann Gerber thinks a lot about the “here we go again” feeling that is suddenly rising […]]]>

As the Omicron variant rises and colleges across Washington adjust their plans – the University of Washington, Bellevue College, and Seattle University have all announced they will start winter courses remotely or postpone the start of face-to-face classes – Meghann Gerber thinks a lot about the “here we go again” feeling that is suddenly rising in college communities.

That “feeling is almost like a reminder of how hard it was to start with,” said Gerber, a Seattle clinical psychologist and former head of a mental health clinic at UW. “As educators, as parents, as friends and students ourselves, we can only say: ‘Yes, that’s right, that’s totally difficult.'”

Gerber who left UW 2020 to start the not-yet-operating mental health nonprofit formed spoke to the Seattle Times this week about how academic institutions, parents and loved ones can support college students during this next phase of the pandemic.

This conversation has been edited slightly for length and clarity.

Some students feel a sense of déjà vu when starting another quarter or semester remotely. Many remember the sense of social disconnection that came with the lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic. What would you say to students who are afraid or worried about going back to distance learning?

Fear in response to this development is perfectly normal. And that doesn’t necessarily make it easier or make it go away.

We also learned a lot from this experience about what works and what doesn’t. Many of those early days of the pandemic were only trial and error.

For example if you [are learning remotely and] You can see the lecture at any time, what time of day is the best time to get information? It is possible that this course is not planned. For students with learning disabilities or ADHD, this can be a crucial factor in having access to their classroom materials that support their learning at one time and place.

What have we learned about how professors and other academic staff can remotely support students who are having emotional problems?

I think of some of the practices I learned in the workplace. Because it’s so much harder to get a feel for where people are mentally and emotionally, [some workplaces have] started devoting the first 10 to 15 minutes of a team meeting to just checking in with people. How are we, where are we? I always think of it like professors or teaching assistants or even board members [could] do more to create awareness that students are living emotional lives. Be it to create more space for discussions in small groups or [conversations in] Breakout rooms.

Many years ago there was a really profound thing a [professor did]. You put a cover sheet on an exam and the cover sheet just said, “Before you begin this exam, I want you to pause, take a deep breath, and remind you that you are not your grade.” It was such a minimal one Intervention. But it had a profound impact on these students. I think about such things. Even only if faculty recognizes what students may be going through or creates rooms to easily check-in with each other [can make a difference].

Students and academic staff experienced a moment of normalcy when classes were held in person in the fall semester. Maybe you just got whiplash.

One concern I’ve had is that as the restrictions wear off and we have more things to personally use, I might believe that [you can] snap your fingers and continue as normal. What we know about how mental health works, and how people survive really difficult circumstances, is that while things are unpredictable, you just keep them together. You go into survival mode.

After the rise in COVID cases, there could be an increase in mental health problems. I think this is really important for people who work with students and support students. And it is important that the students think of this for themselves.

With the rise in Omicron cases in Washington, some students are panicking again about contracting the coronavirus. What coping strategies would you suggest?

There is this balancing act that we set ourselves: how can we be conscious and aware that this is real, and at the same time not get caught up in the risk that we will not be able to access other parts of our lives that actually do it help us to be resilient. It’s super important in times that are scary [that are] high stress, which challenges us in many areas to take time for pleasant experiences. And be very aware when you take the time to relax and unwind.

What signs or risk factors should parents or friends look out for when they are concerned about the well-being or safety of a loved one?

I have certainly asked this question often in the times before the pandemic. If you notice a significant change in someone’s behavior, this is probably the best indicator that something is going on with them. When someone withdraws, when their performance is refueling, something happens. Lean in. Find out how you can help [them]. The most useful tool we have is a communication line.

It’s hard to find a therapist right now, no matter who you are. What resources would you recommend to college students struggling to find professional help?

Peer support resources may be easier to obtain than professional resources. There are many different peer support programs at different institutions. They are usually carried out through the health center or the health promotion office.

Sometimes when you have a friend or someone close to you who you would like to speak to, they are a good person who can help you take some of the measures that are really hard to do when you are struggling. If you are very depressed and someone gives you a list of 20 therapists that you can call to see if someone has an opening, that is completely unrealistic (to achieve). But this is a really concrete job that you can get help with someone who cares for you, who wants you to connect.

More Mental Health Resources for Washington College Students:

Having trouble finding a therapist near Seattle? Here are some tips

Running into roadblocks while looking for a therapist? Here are some additional options

Mapping Washington Mental Health Care: A Look at How the System Works and Its Gaps

Seattle area teenagers created this guide to help connect teenagers to multicultural mental health care



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Chikasha Anokfili provides mental health support to Chickasaw families https://open-mind.org/chikasha-anokfili-provides-mental-health-support-to-chickasaw-families/ Thu, 30 Dec 2021 22:10:58 +0000 https://open-mind.org/chikasha-anokfili-provides-mental-health-support-to-chickasaw-families/ Chikasha Anokfilli (Thinking Chickasaw) is a publicly available mental health initiative that explores what it means to think Chickasaw. Chikasha Anokfili provides resources to support and promote mental health and wellbeing. The holidays can be a difficult time for many. It is a time to raise awareness of mental health, provide assistance, educate the public […]]]>

Chikasha Anokfilli (Thinking Chickasaw) is a publicly available mental health initiative that explores what it means to think Chickasaw. Chikasha Anokfili provides resources to support and promote mental health and wellbeing.

The holidays can be a difficult time for many. It is a time to raise awareness of mental health, provide assistance, educate the public and advocate for policies that benefit people with mental illness and their families.

Chikasha Anokfilli provides a practical and educational way to join the mental health movement.

Mental wellbeing is a priority for the Chickasaw Nation. Being mentally strong and healthy, according to Governor Bill Anoatubby, allows us to do our best. It allows us to “think chickasaw”.

As part of the initiative – through a series of panel discussions, presentations and activities – industry experts demonstrate how to lead a healthier life while focusing on balance and strength.

Panel discussions, presentations and activities by psychologists are important parts of Chikasha Anokfili. They cover a wide range of topics including trauma and grief, suicide awareness and prevention, and financial and cultural health.

Mental health affects our personal and professional lives, our relationships, and our ability to function as successful individuals and members of the community. Chikasha Anokfili provides resources and support for our communities to prioritize spiritual wellbeing.

Chikasha Anokfilli material is available for free on the Connecting our Community website at Chickasaw.net/CoC. This site serves as a portal through which the Chickasaw Nation offers new ways to connect and keep up to date.

A number of Chikasha Anokfilli lessons are offered under the Fitness & Wellness tab of Connecting our Community on Chickasaw.net/CoC. Videos are also available at Facebook.com/TheChickasawNation and Facebook.com/ChickasawNationWorkshops.

Chikasha Anokfilli is an ongoing initiative of the Chickasaw Nation. The program will continue to produce educational materials and videos to support healthy mental wellbeing with staff and the community.


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Plants, Parks, and Mental Health https://open-mind.org/plants-parks-and-mental-health/ Wed, 29 Dec 2021 06:14:36 +0000 https://open-mind.org/plants-parks-and-mental-health/ Posted by Rebecca Koblin | December 29, 2021 Whether you’re strolling the park, hike a local hiking trail, or tending house plants, the outdoors will promote the sanitary health of almost everyone. Open space is important “because it gives people the opportunity to be outside,” said Lauren Wasilauski, Montgomery Township Open Space Coordinator, “and I […]]]>

Posted by Rebecca Koblin | December 29, 2021

Whether you’re strolling the park, hike a local hiking trail, or tending house plants, the outdoors will promote the sanitary health of almost everyone.

Open space is important “because it gives people the opportunity to be outside,” said Lauren Wasilauski, Montgomery Township Open Space Coordinator, “and I think the pandemic has the value of that space for people who don’t go to many places could really bring places to life because it wasn’t safe. “

“During the pandemic, we saw park use explode,” she said. Visitors come to walk the trails, do sports, connect with friends and family, and just be in nature.

A rite of passage in Montgomery: ice skating on Mill Pond on Dead Tree Road. What could be more exciting? Photo by Barbara A. Preston.

According to the National Recreation and Park Association, “in the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 190 million US residents visited a local park, hiking trail, public open space or recreational facility.”

Many people attribute improved mental health to time in nature or with plants, but they don’t know that research has actually backed this claim.

Joel Flagler, Professor of Horticultural Therapy and Agricultural Enhancement at Rutgers University, says, “We have known for centuries that there is a close link between working with plants and improved mental health.”

Horticultural therapy combines gardening and working with plants with traditional therapeutic practices to create a safe space for the patient to heal.

This therapy is “directed by a registered horticultural therapist or other professionals trained in the use of horticulture as a therapeutic modality in support of the program objectives,” according to the American Society for Horticultural Therapy.

Professor Flagler has been involved in horticultural therapy for more than 40 years and contributes to many of the psychological benefits of working with plants.

“We have always been nature beings. Only in the last 200 years have we seen ourselves as above nature. Even today we still depend on plants for all of our needs, ”said Professor Flagler. “Natural rhythms are so crucial. It can be so simple: because we have plants on our windowsill, we perceive the course of the sun better during the day. “

A Christmas cactus blooms on this Rocky Hill windowsill every December. Plants have a physiological effect by lowering blood pressure, improving breathing and, in turn, improving your mental health, according to Gary Altman, director of Rutgers’ Horticultural Therapy Program.

Professor Flagler says that natural rhythms create awareness and a sense of predictability. “We know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. We know that after winter comes spring and cold is followed by warm weather. We even know that a flower grows when we plant a seed, water it and take care of it, ”he said. [See related article on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).]

Using these natural rhythms has predictable results, said Professor Flagler, and this is especially important at a time “when, more than ever, people feel that everything is so unpredictable”.

According to the director of Rutgers Horticultural Therapy Program, Gary Altman, highlighted the pandemic of the value that plants and gardening add to mental health.

“It’s really important to have the physical plants in your home,” said Altman, “because the green in your space has a physiological effect in that it lowers blood pressure, improves breathing, and in turn affects your mental health . “

Science daily and research from the University of East Anglia supports this claim and states that “exposure to green space reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, premature birth, stress and high blood pressure”.

“For someone who is anxious, goes into a garden and spends time there, it is familiar, it is peaceful, it is calming,” said Altman, “some research suggests that even artificial plants could have a similar effect.”

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One of the best ways to experience plants and nature is to visit the local park. Not only can this help reduce stress, but it is also an opportunity to socialize and connect with the community.

The Montgomery Township Parks and Recreation Department oversees 12 different parks in Belle Mead, Blawenburg, Griggstown, Harlingen, Rocky Hill, and Skillman. According to administrative assistant Suzanne Brodbeck, reservations for parking spaces have increased exponentially over the past two years.

“The reservations, especially in spring and summer, piled up back to back,” said Brodbeck. “People begged and pleaded for a reservation because they wanted an event outside.”

The park division had approximately 10,000 park visitors in 2021, almost doubling the estimated 5,400 people attending reserved gatherings in 2019. These numbers only count the people based on reservations. Residents who visited the park to walk, relax, or play sports were not counted.

“We got a lot of feedback from residents,” said Recreation Director Karen Zimmerman. “I just got a letter from a family thanking me in 2020. They explored each of our parks, they either rode bicycles or walked the trails. Our paths became extremely popular in 2020 and continued in 2021. “

The Montgomery Parks and Recreation Department has worked throughout the pandemic to not only clean and sanitize parking spaces between visits, but also to meet demand for park gatherings, which has nearly doubled in the past two years.

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the Montgomery Open Space DepartmentT also knows the value of local green spaces and has been committed to preserving them for years. The Open Space Committee was founded in 1989 at the height of a development boom that began in the 1980s. Their goal was to preserve the local land after finding that farmland was quickly being bought up and developed.

Today around 39 percent of the township has been preserved.

“That is an all-encompassing number,” says Open Space coordinator Wasilauski, “including our active parks. They have baseball fields or softball fields or cricket fields. This also includes our properties, which in my opinion are more “open space”, where we have no active recreation, i.e. where we may only have a path or a picnic area. And that includes preserved arable land, most of which is still privately owned. “

The long-term goal of the Open Space Department is that residents can walk from one end of the city to the other, starting on Sauerland mountain reserve and extends to Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park. ■


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