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Halloween Thrills Can Be Good for Your Mental Health

October 31,2022

Contrary to what some may think, according to Dr. Michele Nealon, Psy. D., President of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, the thrill of a Halloween fright might alleviate some stress.

“There’s a psychological release from knowing that we can overcome our fear and enjoy the feeling of being exposed to crisis or threat in a safe environment,” she said. “This could be exactly the kind of release we need from our daily stresses—even if it’s just for a few moments.”

If you love horror movies or haunted houses, this may be great news for you! The adrenaline rush, followed by the endorphins and dopamine can translate into a feeling of euphoria and relief when you realize the fear has subsided. And with the very real fear and anxiety in our daily lives, the Halloween frights can actually help us release some pent-up tension.

But if Halloween thrills aren’t for you, you may need to find that stress relief elsewhere. Is it too early for holiday music?!

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Mental health workers, Kaiser Permanente reach tentative agreement to end 2-month strike

October 31,2022

Kaiser Permanente and the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) announced that the two parties reached a tentative agreement, which would end a 10-week strike by therapists and other mental health care workers, mainly in northern California, who were demanding the health care provider boost staffing. Other demands for Kaiser included a raise and improved access to care for patients, as well as allowing therapists to have more time to see returning patients.

This strike is unique because unlike professional associations, which any member of a profession can join, union representation is limited to those who are legally able to unionize and work for an employer. Because about half of all licensed therapists work in private practices, they aren’t employees and therefore cannot unionize.

Back in August, when the strike began, the union said that it agreed to a wage offer from Kaiser yet other staffing and working conditions issues kept the two sides from striking a deal.

“The new four-year agreement will benefit Kaiser Permanente patients and drive collaborative efforts aimed at improving access to mental health care, while at the same time recognizing and better supporting mental health therapists in their important work,” they wrote in the statement.

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Kids and Anxiety: What are we doing to help?

October 21,2022

A national panel of health experts is recommending for the first time that children ages 8 and up be screened for anxiety — an issue that the pandemic has put a spotlight on. The CDC estimates that in 2020, nearly 6 million children were diagnosed with anxiety. And with the severity of the problem so apparent, the need for access to mental health care is even clearer.

However, access to the care children need can be difficult to find. Many parents are struggling to find the resources, tools, time and money to get their children the help they need. And since nearly 80% of chronic mental health conditions emerge in childhood, mental health services for children are absolutely a necessity.

How can we help children dealing with anxiety?

  • Know what to look for. Anxiety can show up in a variety of ways, including frequent stomach aches, a notable change in behavior or withdrawal from family activities. Knowing your child and their typical behavior, keep an eye out for differences and changes, both large and small.
  • Consider their background. Some children may have a family history of anxiety or

    other risk factors.

  • Encourage an open line of communication. Developing healthy habits at home can make a difference. Keeping an open dialogue at home, getting good sleep, eating nutritious meals, getting regular exercise and finding opportunities to do what they love are great ways to support your child’s mental health.
  • If you’re worried, remember that you’re not alone. Finding the support your child needs can mean turning to their school for help. The earlier it’s identified that your child needs help, the better. Having access to mental health care available where children live, learn and play is essential, and there are resources to make sure we can get kids into the care that they need.

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What You Can Do to Manage Your Mental Health During an Economic Slowdown

October 21,2022

Interest rates are climbing, inflation continues, food and fuel costs continue to surge — some of which is driven by geopolitical issues that are out of our control, and some of which is the doing of the Federal Reserve, in an effort to slow down the job market and decrease demand for products and services.

So how can you manage your own mental health during these trying times?

  • Cut expenses. We can all find places in our monthly expenses that are no longer serving us. There are also ways to shop for better rates for some of the services you pay for.
  • Pay off high-rate credit cards. It’s possible you can’t pay off those cards now — but you could potentially transfer the balance to another bank with zero interest rates for 12 months. This can give you a cushion to begin paying those off.
  • Have a solid savings plan. Have a written budget that you really stick to and reassess monthly. You may not notice how much you stray from your budget, but this is the time to reflect and take action.
  • Take time to determine needs versus wants, and make purchases accordingly. You may not need those 4 monthly subscriptions, or the $100/month on Starbucks. And whether you love cooking or can only whip up the simplest of meals, the reality is, eating out can cost you both financially and physically. Decide which luxuries are most important to you, and cut those that aren’t.

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Vacation Time: Time Off Can Positively Impact Your Mental Health

October 21,2022

With as much time as we spend in the workplace, and the realization that depression and stress are real problems for many Americans, let’s talk about how we can get back to a healthier place, mentally. Did you know that the U.S. is the only developed country that doesn’t require employers to give workers annual paid time off? That leaves 23% of Americans without paid holidays.

One thing we can each do to help our mental health is to make self-care a priority — and taking time off work can absolutely count as a form of self-care. It also helps us achieve that work-life balance most of us are constantly striving for.

Here are a few reasons why you should take that vacation:

  • Vacations give you time to decompress and regain a sense of control.
  • Vacations strengthen important relationships in your life, allowing for special time to reconnect with friends and family, or even yourself.
  • Vacations give you the time to experience an increase in creative thinking
  • Vacations boost productivity. Sound counterintuitive? Taking a vacation lets employees break free from the same scenarios they face every day at work, including deadlines and meetings. Vacations from work give you the chance to come up with fresh ideas.
  • Vacations may lead to promotions — because having some time to relax and decompress, and come back to work fresh and ready to give your best can really have positive impacts on your performance. And great performance may lead to that promotion you’ve been working toward.

When employees take time off work, both the employers and employees benefit because time off helps employees feel engaged, healthy, and fulfilled. Although eight days of unplugging is recommended to feel happy, even a day or two away from the daily grind could provide a quick way to recharge. So take that vacation — and enjoy it.

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Bullying Prevention Month - How to Prevent Workplace Bullying

October 21,2022

It’s not always easy to identify bullying behavior, because bullying happens in many different environments and among groups of all ages. Unfortunately, bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide. And bullying doesn’t just happen among youth — workplace bullying involves adults.

Workplace bullying typically involves deliberate insults, threats, demeaning comments, constant criticism, overbearing supervision, blatant exclusion, being overworked, project sabotage, blocked promotions or simply not communicating with colleagues. Workplace bullying negatively impacts everyone involved — the victim, the working environment and anyone who is part of the situation. Creating a respectful, healthy workplace environment is key to prioritizing the mental health and well-being of your team.

  • Be open and honest with company policies and procedures. Create a workplace environment based on respect for one another, and where bullying is not tolerated.
  • Create a clear channel of communication. Direction and guidance must come from the top. Is there a clear channel for reporting workplace incivility or bullying without recourse? Employee surveys provide good insights as well.
  • Implement training. Managers and team leaders should know what to do if they witness or hear about workplace bullying. Encourage equal treatment for all employees, and give employees the tools and steps to follow to report bullying.

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Betty Ford Helped Pave the Road to Recovery

October 12,2022

Did you know that Betty Ford, first lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977 as the wife of President Gerald Ford, helped pave the road to recovery for many?

After revealing a longtime addiction to painkillers and alcohol 15 months after leaving the White House, Betty Ford co-founded the famous Betty Ford Center 40 years ago this week. She was known for regularly welcoming new groups of patients to her rehab clinic with a speech that started, “Hello, my name’s Betty Ford, and I’m an alcoholic and drug addict.” As we are aware, alcohol and substance addictions can come with stigmas that make it even more difficult for those who need treatment to ask for the help they need. Betty Ford helped tackle the taboo of addiction.

The good news is that addiction is treatable, and there are now many careers that can help those struggling with addiction. Addictions professionals not only provide hope to individuals and families, but they also save lives. If you want to help those on the road to recovery, Addictions Training Institute can help give you the tools you need to change the world. Alcohol and drug counselors are in high demand, and can truly help improve the lives of those suffering from this disease. Learn more about our program here.

Betty Ford’s name has become synonymous with recovery. Her legacy has lived on through the many rehab centers across the country, including one that helps children whose parents struggle with addiction. We all have to work together to help prevent substance use disorder, support those who are still struggling, and help people in recovery find the resources they need to live full and healthy lives.

Catch Betty Ford, as portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, in Showtime’s award-winning series “The First Lady.”

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Google’s Futuristic Plan to End the Opioid Crisis

October 12,2022




As the drug epidemic in the U.S. continues to devastate families and communities, Google has stepped in with a “tech-enabled” approach to the crisis. With software updated frequently based on patient accounts – which will then presumably lead to individualized treatment strategies – the company aims to revolutionize the way drug addiction is treated. Healthcare professionals that are involved in addiction treatment have varying opinions on whether putting tech at the center of treatment approaches will benefit the individuals being treated.

As the program is brought to a rehab clinic in Ohio, it’s become clear that while this clinic is meant to highlight the company’s futuristic approach to medicine, it has instead shown the value of old-school care. Many are calling Google and Verily Life Sciences LLC, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, out for jumping into industries that need the hands-on approach. With all the complexities involved in the opioid crisis, is it a good move to allow big tech to be trusted with such personal and sensitive information?

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Making Mental Health Awareness a Priority in Business

October 12,2022




The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it a slew of problems for people around the world, including a global crisis for mental health. Even before the pandemic hit in 2019, an estimated one in eight people globally were living with a mental disorder, according to the World Health Organization. With the ongoing pandemic itself combined with other Covid-related problems, including inflation, rising costs, the Great Resignation, healthcare expenses and more, people are finding themselves struggling in a number of ways.

Making Mental Health Awareness a Priority in Your Business Has Clear Benefits

With all of these complex challenges facing people around the world, there seem to be no untouched areas of life — including in the workplace. Employees have started re-thinking what is most important, what matters and what they need to not only survive, but thrive. Business owners and leaders are finding themselves forced to take a step back and really examine their overall business health. Many companies are learning that what the overall health of their business comes down to is the overall health of its people. And it’s clear, now more than ever before, that our general health is directly related to our mental health.

Businesses Can Support Employees in a Big Way

So what can businesses do to support mental health awareness — and should companies even get involved in their employees’ mental health? With this crisis in mind, combined with the fact that adults spend such a large portion of our time at work, it seems obvious that business owners and leaders should absolutely make mental health a priority for employees. The question is not if – but how – leaders can provide mental health support and resources in the workplace.

Promoting mental health in the workplace is possible; and company leaders will likely see the benefits of implementing these programs fairly quickly. A few ideas businesses can and should implement at work include:

1. Create a healthy workplace: By outlining guidelines for health and safety, including prohibiting harassment and bullying, and providing support and rehabilitation for distress, burnout, substance abuse and other mental health concerns, a healthy workplace can be created for employees.

2.Reduce the stigma associated with mental health: Help your employees handle issues or concerns by encouraging open lines of communication and creating work environments where employees feel empowered and safe to share their own experiences.

3. Consider offering weekly “recharge sessions”: These are beneficial breaks where employees can take time to relax, meditate, stretch and practice deep breathing techniques.

4. Give your employees opportunities to connect: Socializing together or participating in company-wide volunteer opportunities can create deeper bonds and a renewed sense of happiness.

5. Support your employees’ mental health: Partnering with local mental health providers to offer free counseling on-site and incorporating support groups that allow employees to gather and discuss workplace mental health are just a few ways you can help support your employees’ mental health.

Remember that research shows that creating a positive work environment and promoting and supporting a mentally healthy workforce results in:

  • Increased productivity rates
  • Completion of higher-quality work
  • Lower rates of absenteeism
  • Improved employee loyalty
  • Improved employee engagement and more!

The health and wellness of your employees directly impacts the success of your business. How will you make mental health a priority for your employees?

Additional resources:

Download the WHO “Tips for Employers” study

Data from WHO – 2022 World Mental Health Report

Prevalence & burden

  • 970 million people globally were living with a mental disorder in 2019
  • 1 in 8 people globally were living with a mental disorder in 2019
  • > 80% of people with mental disorders live in LMICs
  • 26% increase in anxiety disorders in first year of pandemic
  • 28% increase in major depressive disorder in first year of pandemic
  • 14% of the world’s adolescents (aged 10–19 years) lived with a mental disorder in 2019
  • 1 in 100 deaths globally are from suicide
  • 58% of suicides happen before the age of 50 years.
  • 1 in 10 Disability-Adjusted Life Years are caused by mental, neurological and substance use disorders
  • 10% of Disability-Adjusted Life Years caused by depressive disorder are attributable to childhood sexual abuse and bullying victimization
  • 1 in 6 years lived with disability are caused by mental disorders

Economic costs

  • US$ 6 trillion is the projected total cost in 2030 of a defined set of mental health conditions
  • 12 billion productive workdays are lost every year to depression and anxiety alone, at a cost of nearly US$ 1 trillion
  • 5 to 1 benefit-cost ratio for scaling up treatment for depression and anxiety

Risks

  • 84 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced during 2021
  • 7 times greater risk of depression for people with three or more physical health conditions
  • 100 times greater risk of death by suicide for people with HIV than others
  • 1/5 of all suicides are from pesticide self-poisonings
  • 5.4 million children globally live in institutional care Gaps & wins
  • 7% of funding for global health research goes to mental health
  • Less than 5% of research funding goes to LMICs Resources
  • 2% of government health budgets is allocated to mental health
  • 1% of government health budgets is allocated to mental health in LMICs
  • 2 out of 3 dollars (66%) government spending on mental health goes to stand-alone inpatient psychiatric hospitals
  • 0.3% of global development assistance for health went to mental health (2006–2016)

Services: coverage & quality

  • 71% of people with psychosis worldwide do not receive mental health services.
  • 12% of people with psychosis in low-income countries receive mental health care.
  • 1 in 10 staff in institutions of high-income countries admit to elder physical abuse in the preceding year

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Why Eating Well Can Boost Your Overall Health

September 17,2022

It’s no secret that healthy eating can improve your general well-being. Good nutrition can help set you on the path to a healthy weight and reduce your risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. For these reasons and more, incorporating healthy foods into your lifestyle can be beneficial for your body AND your mind.

Your body has specific needs to achieve and maintain a healthy state. There are a wide range of foods that can fill those needs, giving your body the vitamins and nutrients it craves. When you take an active role in planning for and preparing nutritious meals every day, your body reaps the benefits. Healthy foods also give you the energy you need to stay active throughout the day. Rich, leafy greens and other seasonal fruits and veggies as well as legumes, fish and more can help your body stay strong and healthy.

There’s also a financial benefit to eating well. If you can maintain a healthy body and mind and avoid diseases, you can also avoid the financial cost of illness. Serious illnesses can change everything, including draining your bank account. Eating well can be a step in the right direction to reduce the risk of diseases affecting your life.

Healthy eating also boosts mental health and self confidence. Food and mood are clearly related — when you eat well, your mental health benefits. A 2019 study on people being treated for depression showed that nearly one-third of those who practiced a healthy diet over three months no longer showed signs of depression.

If you’re not sure how to get started on eating healthier or simply don’t have time to shop for and prepare intricate meals, there are services such as HelloFresh, Daily Harvest and Blue Apron that deliver everything you need to make meals with a range of dietary needs in mind.

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