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Tag Archives: mental illness

Pop Star Encourages More Open Discussion of Mental Illness

The Stigma of Mental Illness Keeps Many From Seeking Treatment

mental illnessPop star Demi Lovato is perhaps best known as the voice of Disney’s Frozen theme song “Let It Go”. She is also lending her voice these days to the cause of mental illness. The singer, who herself has lived with bipolar disorder and addiction, wants to encourage more Americans to be open about their mental health issues. Lovato acknowledges, along with mental health professionals, that stigma keeps many people from admitting their problems and seeking the help they need.

Removing stigma helps the healing of mental illness as it opens the door to talk about personal struggles and frees individuals to reach out for help and support. Many people suffer in secret because they fear that acknowledging their problems will result in guilt or public shame.

Nearly one quarter of the world population experiences mental illness at one time or another during their lives. Depression alone will affect around 10 percent of all Americans at some point. Mental illness is real and it is not rare. It is a health condition that needs and deserves public understanding and public discourse.

However, it’s not enough just to talk about mental illness. Treatment is needed. It is important for individuals with mental illness to feel comfortable reaching out to a mental health professional that addresses personal issues in a meaningful way. Our staff of mental health professionals at Family Guidance Center can provide treatment that is as unique as each individual who comes looking for help. Mental illness is an illness like so many other illnesses such as cancer or diabetes. And like other illnesses it is important to seek professional treatment. Don’t let fear prevent you from getting the help you need. Call us today.

New Studies Link Mental Illness to Food Insecurity

Lack of Access to Nutritious Meals Associated With Greater Risks of Mental Illness

mental illnessA lack of access to nutritious food, or food insecurity, is not a small issue. Not only does the lack of steady, nutritious meals negatively affect physical health and development, but new research is starting to link food insecurity with mental illness as well. Negative mental health risks among the food insecure have been shown to be notably higher than among the food secure.

Single mothers are among those who experience food insecurity. As a result, these moms face a tripled risk for depression according to one study. Other studies have found that mental illness for single moms increases as food scarcity continues. Mothers unable to provide regular, healthy meals were shown to experience a greater prevalence of major depression or anxiety compared to moms without that pressure. Kids in these homes also showed negative outcomes. They exhibited more behavior problems, mood disorder or substance abuse the longer food scarcity persisted.

Single mothers and their children are not the only ones who must deal with food insecurity and therefore are not the only ones affected. A study involving 3,500 low income men and women found a definite association between food insecurity and higher risks for depression and even suicidal ideation. Anyone living with food uncertainty may experience a heightened risk for mental illness.

More research is needed, but in the meantime, as a community there are ways we can help. First, we can come together and focus on addressing issues of food insecurity. Second, mental health services need to be made available to low income community members. At Family Guidance Center our doors are open to all the members of our community. If economic pressures are getting you down, we’re here to help. Please stop by and make an appointment. We can help give you the tools to cope in healthy ways.

Mental Illness in the Workplace

What Employers Can do to Encourage Getting Treatment for Mental Illness

mental illnessA recent article in The Wall Street Journal reported that employers can expect to have 20 percent of their office staff dealing with some form of mental illness at any given point in time. While employers or co-workers may be comfortable encouraging someone to seek treatment for other kinds of illness, when the problem is mental illness, people can be hesitant to speak up. This reticence could be because of mistaken beliefs about mental illness.

The media has been peppered in recent years with stories of violence occurring in a situation where an individual has a mental illness condition. This, unfortunately feeds the stigma that many mental health patients are prone to violence. The fact is that the cases which wind up on the news are a miniscule representation of patients and often are for persons who never got treatment for their illness.

Even if the misperception does not have to do with myths about mental illness, there may be persistent worries that persons with mental illness will perform sporadically at work or become undependable in other ways. It is true that major depression can lead to missed workdays, but this is the case most often when someone is not being treated.

Employees may be hesitant to speak up about their mental illness or to look for help because they worry about losing a job or being stigmatized by co-workers. Offices can defuse these concerns by going over what insurance plans will cover and encouraging employees to make use of coverage. Talking openly about mental illness as a regular health issue can put to rest concerns about getting help.

As an employer, if you feel that an employee may be struggling with a mental health issue, you can quietly pull the person aside and encourage them to get a mental health screening. Reassurance about confidence in the person and the hope of treatment are needed. If you need a place to refer employees, call us at Family Guidance Center. We can help your employee with the treatment they need.

New Schizophrenia Study Will Investigate Possible Contributors to Rapid Aging

Research to Help Understand and Treat Rapid Aging Effects of Schizophrenia

schizophreniaSchizophrenia is a chronic mental illness that affects approximately one percent of the adult U.S. population. The illness deeply affects the individual’s personality. Common symptoms include experiencing delusions and difficulty discerning between real and imagined events. This disconnect with reality typically leads to social isolation.

The illness is also often accompanied by hurried physical aging, including the serious physical health problems usually encountered later in life. The physiological companions to schizophrenia are the main reason why the lifespan of a person with the illness is often cut short by as much as 25 years. A National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) funded study will look deeper into this association.

Previous research has shown that the body of a person with schizophrenia actually ages faster than normal. In the past, healthcare professionals attributed the rapid aging to limited availability of treatment. However, despite significant improvements in treatment access and therapies, physiological ill-effects can remain. The planned study will therefore look deeper for new answers to improve treatment. The study is scheduled to last five years and will closely examine 250 plus middle-aged patients with schizophrenia.

Once each year for five years, study participants will undergo medical and psychiatric scrutiny. Investigators plan to track things like oxidative stress, telomere length, insulin dysregulation, cell aging and how taking one or more medications over a period of years may impact the aging process. By looking at the biological mechanisms of aging as well as the impact of current drug therapies, researchers aim to find out what leads to the speeding up of aging. Then new treatments could be devised to slow down the process more.

If someone in your life is affected by schizophrenia, directly or indirectly, you need to learn all you can about this mental health condition. People living with the illness and those caring for them need a place to go where someone understands the challenges they are facing. At Family Guidance Center we can be that place. Call us or stop by today.

May 7 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

Children’s Mental Health Care Aims to be Better Integrated With Primary Health Care

mental healthAccording to the nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), somewhere between 13-20 percent of our children experience a mental health disorder each year. That is roughly one out of every five children in America. Mental health is not a concern for the rare few, but a health issue affecting a significant number of our young people.

On Thursday May 7, 2015 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will sponsor the 10th annual National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. One emphasis of this year’s observance will be on how to better integrate children’s mental health care with regular primary care.

Mental health issues which most often affect children and young people in our country include: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, mood disorders and behavioral disorders. These conditions can lead to trouble with learning, difficulty in playing with others, problems with emotional regulation and communication hurdles. Fortunately, when mental health issues are identified early, they are highly treatable and children can avoid many unnecessary setbacks or delays.

In an effort to identify mental health issues, much effort will be aimed at doing more to integrate mental (behavioral) health diagnoses and treatment through the child’s primary health care provider. Improvements in child and youth education are also underway. It’s never too soon to start talking about such an important health concern. That’s one reason why SAMHSA hosts a site called Building Blocks for a Health Future which offers tools aimed at helping children ages three through six to think in terms of healthy life choices while they grow.

At Family Guidance Center we care about kids and their whole health. Help us raise awareness and find better ways to deliver whole health services as we recognize National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.