Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, was created in honor of Bebe Moore Campbell. Campbell became an advocate of mental health for minorities after being diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Campbell fought to bring attention to the lack of access to mental health care facilities  and other resources by minorities. Campbell also fought to end the stigma of mental health disorders in the African American community. Campbell lost her battle to cancer in 2006. 

In 2008, the US House of Representatives designated July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, which is now known as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This resolution promotes improved access to mental health treatment and services and to promote public awareness of mental illness. 

According to the Office of Minority Health within the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, roughly two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment. Minority racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. are even less likely to get help when struggling with a mental illness (souce: https://www.ncdhhs.gov)

Multicultural communities often face unique issues when receiving care for mental health. Barriers to treatment include discrimination, lack of access of health coverage, and cultural stigmas surrounding mental health. 

While there have been improvements in healthcare for minorities, we still have a long road ahead of us. How can we bridge the gap? It starts with educating ourselves on the needs of our communities. Informed discussions can help combat the stigma of mental health issues that minorities are faced with. 

HOPE IS HERE

If you’re struggling with mental health issues or would like to refer someone you know, we’d love to speak to you further. HOPE is here. Contact us today.

We live in a very high-pace and competitive world.  Most individuals wear various “hats” that carry with them any number of high-stress, task-oriented obligations. It is not surprising that so many of us deal with worry, stress and anxiety that result in burn out, fatigue and lower productivity.  Add the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that continues to cause uncertainty and fear in our world today.  It is understandable that more individuals than ever need to feel psychological and emotional relief.

According to Google, searches for “self-care” have increased since 2015. In fact, one author reported a 250% increase in self-care searches during the pandemic year of 2020 and into 2021.  Self-care is the intentional act of taking care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. It includes everything related to staying physically healthy, including hygiene, nutrition, and seeking medical and mental health care when needed. It is all the steps an individual can take to manage stressors in their life and take care of their own health and well-being. Self- care is a tangible goal that everyone can control, personalize and cultivate.  

Self-care is anything that helps you feel nourished. Self- care is yours to explore and develop based on what helps you thrive and grow!  Taking a trip, spending time alone or with family, exercising, engaging in mindfulness exercises, spending time in the outdoors, and so on, are all examples of self-care. Self-care requires you to check in with yourself and truly ask “how am I feeling”? It is important to recognize when you need to take a break from work or other responsibilities. Self-care does not have to cost a thing.  It can be something as simple as stepping outside, taking a breath or going for a walk. 

Engaging in self-care can be difficult. It is easy to put the needs of others before yourself. Many in the medical and mental health fields found themselves in high demand and giving of themselves to meet other’s needs at a greater capacity than ever before. Teachers were adapting to virtual classrooms and engaging their students in a way they had never done in the past.  Students were trying to learn from home, away from friends, teachers and coaches. Parents found themselves working from home with their children home or trying to find childcare so they could work and still provide the basic needs for their family.  Finding time for self-care became a challenge and many found themselves battling mental health and emotional needs they were not expecting. 

Through these challenges, one thing is clear, we must engage in self-care in order to maintain wellness and continue to be there for the people who need and depend on us. In order to do this effectively, we must take care of ourselves.  It is not optional.   Reduced stress levels, improved health, increased productivity and higher self-esteem are all benefits of self-care.  The practice of self-care also increases positive thinking, improves sleep, and reduces other emotional or physical needs. Remember you cannot pour from an empty cup. As you open yourself up to self-care, what it is, and the importance of it, strive to reconnect with yourself and what you really want out of your life.  Make self-care a priority and a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. 

(https://professionalbeauty.co.uk/site/newsdetails/searches-for-self-care-soar-during-covid-19).  

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Disorder is a disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.The condition may last months or years, with triggers that can bring back memories of the trauma accompanied by intense emotional and physical reactions.According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD has been known by many names in the past, such as “shell shock” during the years of World War I and “combat fatigue” after World War II, but PTSD does not just happen to combat veterans.

Who is affected by PTSD?

 According to the American Psychiatric Association,PTSD can occur in all people, of any ethnicity, nationality or culture, and at any age. PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults every year, and an estimated one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. Women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD. Three ethnic groups:U.S. Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians  are disproportionately affected and have higher rates of PTSD than non-Latino whites.

What are signs and symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms of PTSD fall into four categories: intrusion, avoidance, changes in mood and changes in reactivity. Someone with PTSD may experience intrusive thoughts about the incident or event. The person may feel as if they are reliving the event again. This person may also avoid talking about the event or avoid experiencing reminders such as people, places or activities. This person may also experience a host of emotions such as anger, sadness, confusion or feel anxious. Rapid changes in mood and reactivity include anger outbursts, irritability and engaging in reckless behavior.

Treatment of PTSD

If you believe that you or someone you know is experiencing PTSD, it is important to receive a formal diagnosis.Psychotherapy and medication if needed, are the two most common ways to treat PTSD. Trauma-focused Psychotherapies are the most highly recommended type of treatment for PTSD. “Trauma-focused” means that the treatment focuses on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning.It is important to work with your therapist or physician to develop a realistic plan to improve your symptoms, increase your self-esteem and to develop healthy coping skills. 

If you are experiencing a crisis or suicidal thoughts please contact the Crisis Hotline 200-273-8255. Remember that you do not have to go through this alone.

HOPE IS HERE

If you’re struggling with PTSD or would like to refer someone you know, we’d love to speak to you further. HOPE is here. Contact us today.

June is Men’s Mental Health awareness month. So what do we know about men’s mental health? There are 151,781,326 Million men in the U.S of these 6 million suffer from mental illness. Five major mental health illnesses seen in men are depression, anxiety, bipolar depression, psychosis and schizophrenia. 

Suicide is the highest in males over 85 and was the 7th leading cause (2.2%) of all male deaths in 2011. Gay males are at an increased risk of attempts especially before the age of 25. Four times as many men as women die by suicide. In 2010 there were 38,364 and over ¾ or 79% of males died by suicide. 

1 in 5 men suffer from alcohol dependance, homosexual men have higher rates of substance use than heterosexual men and male veterans experience twice as much substance use as women. 

One possible cause of depression, stress and moods wings in males is low testosterone. Studies show that testosterone levels begin to drop around the age of 30 in men. Getting your check ups can help determine if this could be the cause of some of your mental health symptoms.

Men are less likely to seek mental health treatment because of social norms, reluctance to talk and downplaying symptoms. It is important that men seek mental health treatment when needed you are not weak it is okay to ask for help that is a sign of strength. Men carry a lot of pressure on them caring for the family worrying about bills their careers etc. Having someone to talk to can go a long way to help your mental health as well as physical health. 

HOPE IS HERE

If you’re struggling with mental health or would like to refer someone you know, we’d love to speak to you further. HOPE is here. Contact us today.


Happy June — Happy Pride Month! This month, let’s celebrate the impact lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals have had on American history and culture. Mental healthcare providers are uniquely positioned to combat the stigma these and many other communities face. Pride month helps us remember to have hard conversations about the mental health needs of sexual and gender minorities. LGBTQ youth have higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicidality, and substance abuse rooted in trauma and an over lack of acceptance by loved ones and/or society.

Pride Month began with the Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, NY, which was the tipping point of the gay liberation movement in the United States. This year, Georgia HOPE is proud to turn attention to diversity in sexual and gender identities. We will learn affirming practices to use and create space to discuss or ask questions. Let’s start by getting updated on the communities that celebrate Pride Month. The graphic below is not complete; there are other sexual and gender identities/expressions to be added.

Here are some resources to encourage our collective learning during this Pride Month:

  • The Gay BCs of LGBT+: An Accompaniment to the ABCs of LGBT by Ashley Mardell

·         Link to resources on current legislation surrounding lgbt+ issues

·         State-by-state and nation-wide

·         An educational resource that provides extensive sex education that is not required or taught in the public schools

·         The primary target audience is children, but it can also be used by adults to learn about sex ed. In particular, the site provides information on how to teach/talk about these topics such as healthy relationships, puberty, sexual orientation, and gender identity, etc. with children. 

·         Provides “bias-free” language when referring to people of different racial (and some ethnic) backgrounds

Stay tuned for our monthly EDI Training on affirmative practices in working with LGBTQ populations! Feel free to reach out with questions.

HOPE IS HERE

For more info and educational resources on the LGBTQ community, we’d love to speak to you further. HOPE is here. Contact us today.

Did you know that May is maternal mental health awareness month?

This month-long campaign is an effort to bring to light the mental health changes that new mothers can experience before, during, and especially after giving birth!

Most people know that some moms can experience “the baby blues” right after welcoming their new bundles of joy. The symptoms can include mood swings, crying spells, and trouble sleeping which typically start around three days postpartum and last about two weeks. However, sometimes, the symptoms can be more severe and long-lasting ranging from depression, anxiety, and even psychosis.

New moms and those that care and work with them should be aware of symptoms that can include difficulty bonding with the baby, fatigue, anger, hopelessness, panic attacks, and thoughts of self-harm or harm to others. If you know someone experiencing these symptoms or similar ones, please encourage them to seek help. Please spread the word and help us end the stigma surrounding postpartum mental health and this incorrect idea that postpartum symptoms make for bad mothers. It is a common occurrence which can be treated with therapy and/or medication. 

HOPE IS HERE

If you’re struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety or “baby blues” or would like to refer someone you know, we’d love to speak to you further. HOPE is here. Contact us today.

One out of eight people deal will mental health symptoms in the United States. However, mental health is still stigmatized in popular culture. May is mental health awareness month and we are working hard to bring attention to and educate the public about mental health.

This month, please help us in our endeavors by doing the following:

  1. Educate yourself and loved ones about what mental health truly looks like. In the TV and media, people with mental health diagnoses are often portrayed as “evil, deranged, or helpless”. The reality is that people with mental health issues are far more often likely to be the victim of a violent crime than the aggressor and have steady incomes and fruitful personal lives.
  2. Use person-centered language when discussing mental health. Individuals are so much more complex and varied than their diagnoses. Individuals with schizophrenia are more than “schizos” or “crazies”. 
  3. Call your local politicians. Mental health still needs advocates to ask for support for and to create new resources in our communities to address mental health. 
  4. Share your story. Make mental health something that is talked about with friends and families. Help bring mental health into the forefront of our wellness initiatives by sharing your experiences to help others feel less alone. 

HOPE IS HERE

If you’re struggling with mental health or would like to refer someone you know, we’d love to speak to you further. HOPE is here. Contact us today.

What is stress?

A physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation

3 Types of Stress

Eustress: bursts of energy that helps get things done; loss of car keys

Distress: Occurs for short time, takes over life, causes disruption

Traumatic Stress: Result of catastrophic event; change in reality and beliefs

What stress looks like:

Emotionally

  • Anxiety/Fear
  • Overwhelmed with sadness
  • Angry
  • Too much or not enough energy
  • Disconnected; not caring about anything or anyone
  • Numb

Physically

  • Stomach aches/diarrhea
  • Headaches or other physical pains for no reason
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Sweating; having chills
  • Tremors or muscle twitches
  • Jumpy; easily startled

Behaviorally

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increase or decrease in activity levels
  • Frequent crying
  • Using alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs or prescription medication
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Lack of concentration
  • Feeling confused
  • Worrying a lot 
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Difficulty listening to others

Tools

  • Brief Relaxation Techniques throughout the workday
  • Stay aware of limitations and needs (set boundaries)
  • Take appropriate self-care measures (take moments for yourself)
  • Increase positive activities (take a walk outside, journal, etc.)
  • Connect with others
  • Practice religious faith, philosophy, or spirituality
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Learn to “put away” stress
  • Writing, drawing, painting
  • Limit caffeine, tobacco, and substance use
  • Stay informed, but limit media exposure; even social media

Know when to seek help

  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • When symptoms last longer than 4 weeks or become severe
  • Thoughts of harming self or others

Information provided by DBHDD

HOPE is Here

If you’re struggling with stress or would like to refer someone you know, we’d love to speak to you further. HOPE is here. Contact us today.

 Child Abuse Prevention  

According to the Children’s Bureau 2019 Maltreatment Report, approximately 2 million children received prevention services in 2019. Approximately 1.3 million children received post-response services (such as family preservation, family support, or foster care) because of needs discovered during an investigation or alternative response.

During Federal fiscal year 2019, fewer than one-quarter (22.9 percent) of confirmed maltreatment victims were removed from their homes because of an investigation or alternative response. Child maltreatment has significantly increased since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

At least 1 out 7 children is a victim of child abuse. The COVID-19 pandemic brought isolation for families across the state of Georgia. This makes it harder for people to recognize and report child neglect.The Georgia Division of Family and Child Services reports the number of child neglect and abuse reports dropped significantly when the pandemic began.  Unfortunately due to the pandemic child abuse may go unreported. Now, the numbers are starting to go back up.

What are the signs to look for?

According to the Child Welfare, signs of child abuse or neglect may include: withdrawal from friends or usual activities,changes in behavior such as aggression, anger, hostility or hyperactivity or changes in school performance. Children may show signs of depression, anxiety or unusual fears, or a sudden loss of self-confidence.An apparent lack of supervision.Frequent absences from school. It is also important to recognize that some children may not exhibit any of these signs, if they are being coached by their parents or guardian. 

How can you help? 

When reporting child abuse or neglect remember that it is not your job to investigate before reporting.If you suspect child abuse or neglect, you can make a report to your local Department of Family and Children Services office. You can make a report via phone, email, online or by fax. To make a report by phone you can call Centralized Intake at 1-855-422-4453. A report can be made 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. To make a report online you can email the completed Mandated Report attached to CPSIntake@DHS.GA.GOV. You will receive an auto-reply stating that the CPS report has been received. You can fax the completed Mandated Report to 229-317-9663. Faxed reports convert to a PDF (Adobe) format and are automatically forwarded to the CPSIntake@DHS.GA.GOV e-mail box.If you are a mandated reporter, you may also submit a child abuse referral online by visiting https://cps.dhs.ga.gov/Main/Default.aspx.

HOPE is Here

If you know someone who is struggling with child abuse and would like to refer someone you know, we’d love to speak to you further. HOPE is here. Contact us today.

What is alcohol use disorder?

  • A chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled drinking and preoccupation with alcohol. 
  • Symptoms include a strong need or urge to use alcohol. Those with alcohol use disorder may have problems controlling their drinking, continue to use alcohol even when it causes problems, or have withdrawal symptoms when they rapidly decrease or stop drinking.

What can be done to prevent alcohol misuse?

  • Parents and guardians play an important role in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives. Not only are conversations important, but it is equally important for guardians to know the risk and protective factors for adolescent alcohol use and misuse.  Check out the free resources on the SAMHSA website for parents. https://www.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking/parent-resources and https://www.samhsa.gov/prevention-week
  • It is also important for all adults to understand safe drinking behaviors. NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent – or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter – or higher. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male), or 4 or more drinks (female), in about 2 hours. SAMHSA defines heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month. Knowing U.S. standard drink (or alcoholic drink-equivalent) sizes and the number of drinks per container can help you make informed decisions about your drinking. You’ll be able to: count drinks more accurately, pace yourself better, and stay within low-risk drinking levels. Check out these two websites to better understand your drinking patterns and learn all about standard drinks. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/Tools/Calculators/drink-size-calculator.aspx
  • Alcohol consumption has increased significantly since the onset of the pandemic, most notably from stress, anxiety and isolation. Research has found that binge drinking, especially among women, has increased. Initially, Covid-19 restrictions prevented people from attending counseling and 12-step meetings; however, both are now extremely prevalent via telehealth and online platforms. Most U.S. States deemed liquor stores as “essential businesses” which sent the message to Americans that drinking alcohol is an essential coping mechanism. It is important for people to know how they can relieve stress without alcohol and develop healthy coping strategies such as: going for a walk, reading a book, doing a project around the house, establishing a social support, having a spiritual practice, and developing a healthy routine of adequate sleep, eating nutritious meals and getting exercise.  (source: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/more-americans-are-binge-drinking-during-pandemic-how-to-cope-without-alcohol)

If you or a loved one has alcohol use disorder, treatment is essential. 

  • Treatment involves counseling, such as behavioral therapy, and medications that reduce the desire to drink. Some people need medical detoxification to stop drinking safely. Mutual support groups help people stop drinking, manage relapses and cope with necessary lifestyle changes.
  • To learn about best practices in substance use treatment, visit https://www.shatterproof.org/find-help/types-of-addiction-treatment
  • Georgia HOPE can help and we provide HIPPA compliant online therapy. Visit our website at www.gahope.org to learn more and make a referral

HOPE is Here

If you’re struggling with alcohol use disorders or would like to refer someone you know, we’d love to speak to you further. HOPE is here. Contact us today.