Georgia HOPE is currently providing Mental Health and Substance Use services throughout the state of Georgia via TeleMental Health for children, adults, individuals and families. If you, your child, or someone you know, are interested in services, you can submit a referral online to us or call 706-279-0405.
https://gahope.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/impact-of-covid-19-on-kids.png12602240Aria Morganhttps://gahope.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Georgia-HOPE-Logo-02-300x86.pngAria Morgan2020-06-17 11:35:192020-06-17 11:46:10Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health of Children, A Helpful Infographic
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, anxiety and depression are rising. There are many concerns being raised about what is being called the “shadow pandemic,” a mental health crisis caused from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. A federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress registered a more than 1,000 percent increase in April compared with the same time last year. Last month, roughly 20,000 people texted that hotline, run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In the United States, 1 in 5 adults endure the consequences of mental illness each year.
The uncertainty, the isolation, the anxiety, the change to our “normal,” is causing a mental strain on everyone. Increased depression, anxiety, substance use, trauma, suicide, domestic violence, the list goes on. But it doesn’t have to turn into this “shadow pandemic’ because help is here. Just like going to a doctor for a medical health issue, speaking to a licensed professional for a mental health issue is just as important.
Anyone who has had experience with mental illness, personally or professionally, can tell you that despite advances in psychiatry and psychology, a great deal of stigma remains. The stigma associated with mental illness can be divided into two types: social stigma, which involves the prejudiced attitudes others have around mental illness; and self-perceived stigma, which involves an internalized stigma the person with the mental illness suffers from. And both are very real. We have to break the stigma. If you are struggling with mental health issues, you are not alone. If you aren’t struggling with any mental health issues personally, educate people around you about the reality that mental illness is more common than people realize and speak out against stigma. Mental health matters.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, mental illness, drug and alcohol addictions, or an eating disorder, you don’t have to go through this alone. Georgia HOPE has virtual, online, programs, so that you can get the support you need.
We are currently providing Mental Health and Substance Use services throughout the state of Georgia via TeleMental Health. We offer self-pay options as well as insurance coverage.
https://gahope.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/shadow-pandemic.png315560Aria Morganhttps://gahope.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Georgia-HOPE-Logo-02-300x86.pngAria Morgan2020-05-19 18:42:042020-05-21 14:13:17Mental Health during the Coronavirus Pandemic: the "Shadow Pandemic"
https://gahope.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/insurance.png315560Aria Morganhttps://gahope.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Georgia-HOPE-Logo-02-300x86.pngAria Morgan2020-05-14 23:35:152020-05-18 17:32:26Insurance Changes due to COVID-19?
Just hearing about Teleservices or TeleMental health? Wondering what it means exactly or how it could impact you and your medical or mental health services?
Here are some things you may want to know!
TeleMental Health has been around for decades but has grown exponentially over the past few years. Now, due to COVID-19, almost every mental health and medical provider has utilized teleservices in some fashion! Since the virus outbreak, most government regulations have been relaxed, thereby allowing more providers to be trained to offer teleservices for those needing medical and mental health services. When crisis occurs, mental health and substance use needs do not vanish. In fact, many see increased feelings of anxiety, stress, isolation and depression. TeleMental Health services is the answer in continuing to reach those in need of these services and connecting with anyone needing continued, or extra support, during these difficult times. Individuals need to know they are not alone or forgotten.
A study conducted by the University of Michigan in 2018 found that the most frequent users of teleservices were psychiatrists at 78%, mental health counselors at 33%, social workers at 24%, psychologists at 16% and substance use counselors at 12%. Teleservices is not a new method of service delivery and research outcomes show that services delivered electronically is just as effective as face to face, traditional delivery. (See studies by the NCBI and Science daily – links below).
You may ask why are we just now relaxing some of these regulations if teleservices are just as effective as traditional forms of therapy? Great question and so glad you asked! We hope to see increased relaxation on these guidelines post pandemic for the following reasons and more.
In an article written by Dr. Michael Greiwe the following are important things to consider about teleservices.
TeleMental Health offers:
Increased options for service delivery
Increased Access to services. Miles no longer matter! Travel, gas money, finding a provider close to the client are all barriers to many individuals when seeking services.
Improves client engagement- especially for those in rural areas
Reduces overhead and increases revenue for the business
Reduces no shows and cancellations
Improves client satisfaction. Recently, Georgia HOPE conducted a survey of almost 500 clients. The survey showed that 95% of clients indicated they were completely satisfied with the teleservices provided by the agency.
Additionally, teleservices offer support and recovery-focused services virtually from the comfort of the client and provider’s home. Providers are able to connect with more clients due to decrease in drive time, traffic, office interruptions and the list goes on and on.
Our mission at Georgia HOPE is to break down barriers, open more doors to accessing services and reach more individuals in need. TeleMental Health is the answer to many of these initiatives. We were offering teleservices long before COVID-19 and we plan to continue long after. We will be advocating for the expansion of teleservices to all who will hear us.
If you’re interested in learning more about our TeleMental Health services, contact us today!
Did you know May is Mental Health Awareness Month? Due to COVID-19, it’s easy to feel a little down. Weddings are postponed, graduation parties are cancelled, smiles are covered by masks, and a hug is frowned upon. Our mental health is at as high of risk as our physical health during this pandemic, so we’re sharing some tips to focus on your mental well-being.
Here are some excellent ways to take care of your mental health this week!
Prioritize your sleep. Proper sleep helps regulate chemicals in your brain and allows your brain to rest and your immune system to recharge. You may find it helpful to shut down all electronics an hour before bed, and spend some time reading or listening to music or background noise to wind down.
Eat well. Mineral deficiencies can contribute to low moods. Several studies show a connection between the Mediterranean approach (which is high in omega-3, vitamin B, vitamin D, healthy fats, and antioxidants) and mental health. It includes mood boosting foods such as fatty fish rich in Omega 3 (salmon or tuna), nuts (cashews, walnuts, and almonds), legumes, and leafy greens (brussels sprouts, spinach, or kale).
Avoid drugs and excessive use of alcohol. Drugs and alcohol are depressants. Avoid using these substances for your overall mental and physical health and well being.
Get in the sun. Sunlight synthesizes vitamin D, which releases endorphins and serotonin. Remember the sunscreen and spend 30 minutes outside every day.
Do something you enjoy for no other reason than it makes you feel good. Sing along to the radio, play with your pet, watch a favorite tv show, start on a backyard project.
Connect with others. Face to face is not always possible, but social distancing is more about physical distance. Maintaining connection with friends and family is still important to avoid feeling the loneliness and isolation. Fortunately, we are in a time where we can reach out with FaceTime, Snapchat, a text, or a call. You could also try sending a card or a letter to let someone know you’re thinking about them.
Do something for others. Helping others increases your sense of value and sense of community. While there are some organizations needing volunteers right now, this could also be something as simple as holding the door for someone or giving a compliment.
Focus on the positive. How you think often affects how you feel. At this current time many of us feel stressed, anxious and scared. One way to manage these thoughts is to focus on what you can control – washing your hands, practicing social distancing, avoiding unnecessary trips out. Try writing something you are grateful for each day. It could be something overall like family or health, or it could be something specific to that day like your son set the table for dinner or you enjoyed the scented candle you lit. You could also add one thing you accomplished that day. These little gratitudes and accomplishments add up over time.
Activity and exercise. This does not have to look like working out in the gym or on a Peloton. Even walking through your neighborhood or in the woods or following along with a yoga video on YouTube can help lower your stress levels and increase endorphins.
Manage your stress. Make a list of the situations that increase your stress response and identify ways that will help you cope when stress and anxiety symptoms escalate.
Remember to take a break. If you need to step away from the mess in the kitchen, the work emails, or the online schooling assignment, do it. Try an easy breathing exercise (take 10 breaths, in for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, and exhale for the count of 4). Listen to a favorite song. Stretch. If prayer is important to you, make time for it now. Listen to a short, guided meditation on the phone apps Calm or Headspace. Just a few minutes away can give you a new perspective for the task at hand.
Laugh and smile. We’ve heard laughter is good for the soul, but according to several studies, science has shown that smiling can lift your mood, lower stress, lower your blood pressure, and boost your immune system. So, watch a comedy, check out cute animal videos online, or listen to funny podcasts.
Ask for help. If things get to be too much for you, ask for help. No one has this whole thing figured out. Ask your partner to wash and fold that load of laundry. Ask your kids to help with the dinner. Call a friend and tell them you need to talk. Ask your boss to prioritize your workload.
If you’re struggling with a mental health condition, you might feel alone. No one in your inner social circle has dealt with this problem, at least to your knowledge. Is something wrong with me? you might think. Why can’t I just be normal? Should thoughts like these ever pop into your mind, remember: Conditions like these are fairly common, and luckily, it’s easy to treat many of them. Below are a handful of illustrative statistics regarding mental health in America:
1 in 5: This is the number of Americans who experience a mental health problem each year. 9.8 million: This is the number of American adults who have a serious mental health disorder. This translates to roughly one in 25 adults. 6.9%: This is the number of adults with major depression in the U.S. 18.1%: This is the number of adults with anxiety disorders in the U.S. No. 1: Across the world, depression is the leading cause of disability. 2 to 1: Women are twice as likely to experience major depression as men.
74%: The number of adults who said they had a physical or emotional symptom due to stress in the previous month. 91%: The number of Gen Zers (ages 15 to 21) who said they had a physical or emotional symptom due to stress in the previous month. 1 in 5: The number of adults who don’t feel as though they do enough to manage their stress. 64%: The number of adults who feel stressed by work. 63%: The number of adults who feel stress because of health concerns. 64%: The number of adults who feel stress due to money. 48%: The number of adults who feel stress due to the state of the economy.
So remember, if you feel like you’re struggling with some mental health issues – you are not alone. And you shouldn’t have to suffer alone!
If you are currently receiving mental health or substance use services stay the course. Due to COVID-19, the federal government has expanded access to Teletherapy through video chat, Telehealth, and Telephonic appointments.
Georgia HOPE is currently providing Mental Health and Substance Use services throughout the state of Georgia via TeleMental Health. If you, or someone you know, are interested in services, you can submit a referral online to us or call 706-279-0405.
https://gahope.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/mental-health.png315560Aria Morganhttps://gahope.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Georgia-HOPE-Logo-02-300x86.pngAria Morgan2020-05-06 17:38:342020-05-06 19:10:1813 Easy Ways to Prioritize Your Mental Health (that You Can Start Doing this Week)
If the news about the COVID-19 situation has you feeling stressed out, you are not alone. But there are steps you can take to lower your stress, reduce anxiety and help you stay healthy in these uncertain times.
Tips for Coping during COVID-19 and Creating a Sense of Calmness during Times of Anxiety:
Calm Your Body and Mind – When you notice that you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, try deep breathing or counting your breath down from 10. Practice mindfulness. Turn your thoughts into a bigger perspective view. When a vaccine is found and this has died down, how do you want to have used this time? Focus on the things you can control, like washing your hands and social distancing. Buy food and supplies as normal. Don’t overbuy remembering that others need things too – just get enough for you and your family to get through a few weeks at a time.
Prioritize Self-Care – There are a lot of things you can do to help keep you physically and mentally healthy:
Listening to music
Getting enough sleep
Consume a Healthy Dose of Media – Try to minimize your time with the media – just get the facts you need to stay informed and safe. Being connected 24/7 is hard on our mental health. We suggest to just check the news or reputable news outlet websites just once daily.
Reach Out to Others – Share kindness, care, compassion and love with one another whether it is a family member, friend, neighbor or stranger while still practicing social distance. In difficult times like these, using your support network – can be very helpful. Just make sure to reach out to people who are supportive and not those who will increase your stress. And be sure to talk about things other than COVID-19! Jump on a Zoom call with friends and do trivia, FaceTime a family member, mail a card to a distant relative, use this time to stay connected even though a part.
Seek Professional Counseling / Licensed Therapy Services – If you find that anxiety is interfering with your daily functioning or causing increased distress, it’s important to know that you can reach out to a mental health professional. We must learn to overcome the stigma placed on seeking help for mental health issues. Never suffer in silence. There are always options for you, even during social isolation – there’s Teletherapy services available and Teledoc appointments you can make with doctors.
https://gahope.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/covid19.png315560Aria Morganhttps://gahope.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Georgia-HOPE-Logo-02-300x86.pngAria Morgan2020-04-20 18:45:022020-04-20 18:45:03Coping with COVID-19 - Creating a Sense of Calmness
Georgia HOPE wants to do our part to increase outreach and education regarding the dangers of alcohol use disorders and issues related to alcohol. Our families and communities need to know the resources, information, and options available to address this issue. You can learn more Alcohol Awareness Month here.
Connection is the Opposite of Addiction
Anyone with any association in the substance use world, knows that fact. To learn more about social isolation implications during Covid-19, alcohol.org conducted a survey of 3,000 people working from home across the U.S. to see how this is impacting drinking during the workday. They found that 33% of Georgians surveyed say they’ve had alcohol during the work hours while at home. The national average was 32%. Around one-fifth of people surveyed said they stockpiled alcohol for self-isolation. Here are some other statistics on alcohol use in the U.S.
6 people die every day in the U.S. from alcohol poisoning
More than 4,300 people die every year as a result of teenage alcohol use
As many as 1.3 million underaged youth engaged in binge drinking within the past month
Youth who start drinking before age 15 years are 6 TIMES more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse
More than 16 million Americans over the age of 18 were living with an alcohol use disorder and about 623,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 were struggling as well National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
These are scary statistics. Individuals with problematic drinking behaviors are among the most vulnerable populations right now. Not only does drinking weaken the immune system, studies show that there is a clear relationship between anxiety and alcohol use.
So What Can You Do?
Address the issue before it becomes the problem – talk to your teens
Show you disapprove of underage drinking
Show you care about your child’s health, wellness and success
Show you’re a good source of information about alcohol and other drugs. Here’s a good place to start
At Georgia HOPE we offer substance use treatment for adolescents and adults in early intervention, relapse prevention and outpatient services including: individual and family therapy, group therapy, skill building, resource linkage, peer support, and co-occurring disorder medication management and treatment. https://gahope.org/.
https://gahope.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/alcohol-awareness-.png315560Aria Morganhttps://gahope.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Georgia-HOPE-Logo-02-300x86.pngAria Morgan2020-04-19 16:19:352020-04-19 16:21:25Did you know April is Alcohol Awareness Month?
The last few weeks for many families have been spent making sure basic needs are acquired, accepting the need to change most plans for an uncertain amount of time, and overall just wrapping minds around our current status. There is a range of feelings regarding school being canceled, parents losing jobs, and the possible illness of family members and friends which make for stressful topics to address with any child who inevitably feels the change in tone from all. These are not topics to avoid though but to address with age appropriate explanation and support. Below are some tips on supporting your child through their uncertainties while coping with your own:
1. Do not fear talking with your child in an age appropriate manner about Covid-19 and some of the fear around the virus.
By now there are many resources available to aid in doing this. Children are often more perceptive to the feelings and tone of their surroundings than we realize. Ignoring the issue does not eliminate the feelings it creates. Here are some resources to help in doing this:
2. Make sure as a parent you are participating in self-care and taking steps to manage your own stress.
Practice the saying “Be a thermostat, not a thermometer” from the Child Parent Relationship Therapy Manual written bySue Bratton, Gary Landreth, Theresa Kellam, & Sandra Blackard. We want to understand and be with our child during hard times but not let their fear and anxiety during a situation raise ours and vice versa.
3. Practice using Validation when speaking with your child about their fears.
Validation is not confirmation, yet a way to communicate understanding to your child and further connection. Examples of this may look like, “I could see how you would feel that way.” “I understand how that is hard to think about.” According to Miller, Glinski, Woodberry, Mitchell, and Indik (2002), there are six levels of validation: (https://www.goodtherapy.org/Validation )
Listen – ex:“I hear you”
Reflection – ex: “ I hear you saying you are really worried about our safety right now”
Empathize – ex: “I understand how you may feel that way with all the changes happening right now.”
Acknowledge Reasons for Behavior – ex: “I understand why it has been hard for you to sleep without answers to your questions.”
Acknowledge Courage- ex: “It takes allot of courage for you to continue trusting that we will all get through this hard time.”
4. Use this time to create a new schedule that fits your family’s needs.
Children tend to function best, especially in times of uncertainty, with a schedule of things they know they can count on. Mealtimes outlined, learning time, reading time, quiet time and outside time (weather allowing) scheduled for their new routine. Let them know they can count on you to make sure certain these scheduled events happen daily.
5. Take advantage of the many resources out there to keep the environment fun and light hearted.
These are all resources one may not have been able to take advantage of previously. Below are a few gathered from Georgia HOPE’s Wellness Coordinator, Jana Clift:
Internet of Elephants developed a new FREE Augmented Reality game called Wildeverse. The game was initially intended for outdoor play, but developers have made it suitable for indoor play, as well. Wildeverse was just released in the US and UK and our Zoo Atlanta is the US partner. Available for download in the App Store or on Google Play. Start walking through a life-sized jungle from your own home!
If you’re looking for someone ELSE to read a book to the kiddos for a bit, go to https://www.storylineonline.net/ to find 47 children’s books read by celebrities. Or you can drop #OperationStorytime into the YouTube app and you’ll find books being read by authors, Storytime with Will channel, Storytime with Rachel, KidLit TV, etc.
In conclusion, know that we at Georgia HOPE are still here to offer the extra support for parents, children and families that may be needed during this atypical time!! Please do not hesitate to reach out and let us know how we can walk beside you as you navigate your New Temporary Normal. #HOPEisHere
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With schools being cancelled for the rest of the year, it can feel overwhelming for both parents and kids. That’s why we’ve put together some of our top educational resources from toddlers to K-12. Check out our resource list below and reach out to HOPE with any questions, we’re always here.
It is safe to say that many are living in a time characterized by uncertainty, doubt, and for some, fear of their future and wellbeing. These hard feelings create a noticeable tone in our society that is hard to ignore for any age. With bare store shelves, emphasis put on social distancing, shelter in place for some, closing of schools, lack of routine, and economic hardships the feelings of “normalcy” have been shaken for many around the world. This puts us all feeling in a vulnerable place. With vulnerability though, comes the opportunity for growth!! Hope is not lost.
Here are some practical tips on how to grow through times of uncertainty and vulnerability.
Do not run from feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. These feelings come from a place of protection. Notice them, be mindful of them, do not judge them. There is no right or wrong way to feel during a time of crisis. Focus on safety in the current moment. Take things day by day, moment to moment if needed.
Get plenty of sleep. Research shows sleep helps to revitalize and recharge the body, mind and spirit. This can be anywhere from 6-8 hours for adults and 9-12 for children/adolescents.
Participate in physical activity daily. Research shows there is a strong connection between exercise and mental health wellbeing. This can include:
Taking a walk while phoning a friend.
Playing outside with a child or pet.
Taking advantage of a free Yoga or exercise fitness
video on Youtube.
Spending time in the yard
The possibilities are endless. The important part is to get moving.
Read a book or watch a show you have been wanting to watch. Discover something new! Stimulating your mind is a great way to create feelings of positivity and growth. There are many free online resources currently for diving into something new.
Practice social distancing but still work to maintain positive social relationships. Connect via phone or other means of technology with at least one positive social connection a day. It is easy for the introvert in all of us to literally social distance and retreat within. Although tempting, according to Mindwise.org, “Friendships offer a number of mental health benefits, such as increased feelings of belonging, purpose, increased levels of happiness, reduced levels of stress, improved self-worth and confidence.”
Help out a friend or neighbor in need. Focusing on the needs of others facilitates feelings of happiness and a sense of purpose outside of ourselves. This can be offering to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor, checking to see if mail needs to be picked up/animals walked, offering words of encouragement to a friend who may be affected by illness. We are at a time like no other to come together as communities and look outward to where help may be needed. In the neighborhood where I live, many neighbors agreed to paint colorful rainbows to put in our windows for others to see as they got out for walks and fresh air. Such a small act that created smiles for so many.
Do not be ashamed or fearful of reaching out for professional counseling support. Seeking extra support during times of adversity is a sign of proactive strength, not weakness. We at Georgia HOPE are here to help you navigate through the hard parts. #HOPEisHere
“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny” – C.S Lewis.