Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) was launched nationwide in October 1987 as a way to connect and unite individuals and organizations working on domestic violence issues while raising awareness for those issues. Over the past 30+ years, much progress has been made to support domestic violence victims and survivors, to hold abusers accountable, and to create and update legislation to further those goals. 

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner and 1 in 7 women and 1 in 25 men have been injured by an intimate partner.

Anyone can be an abuser. They come from all groups, all cultures, all religions, all economic levels, and all backgrounds. They can be your neighbor, your pastor, your friend, your child’s teacher, a relative, a coworker — anyone. One study found 90% of abusers do not have criminal records and abusers are generally law-abiding outside the home. 

What Traits Do Abusers Have in Common?

There is no one typical, detectable personality of an abuser. However, they do often display common characteristics. 

  • An abuser often denies the existence or minimizes the seriousness of the violence and its effect on the victim and other family members.
  • An abuser objectifies the victim and often sees them as their property or sexual objects.
  • An abuser has low self-esteem and feels powerless and ineffective in the world. He or she may appear successful, but internally, they feel inadequate.
  • An abuser externalizes the causes of their behavior. They blame their violence on circumstances such as stress, their partner’s behavior, a “bad day,” on alcohol, drugs, or other factors.
  • An abuser may be pleasant and charming between periods of violence and is often seen as a “nice person” to others outside the relationship. 

What Are the “Warning Signs” of an Abuser?

Red flags and warning signs of an abuser include but are not limited to:

  • Extreme jealousy
  • Possessiveness
  • Unpredictability
  • A bad temper
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Verbal abuse
  • Extremely controlling behavior
  • Antiquated beliefs about roles of women and men in relationships
  • Forced sex or disregard of their partner’s unwillingness to have sex
  • Sabotage of birth control methods or refusal to honor agreed upon methods
  • Blaming the victim for anything bad that happens
  • Sabotage or obstruction of the victim’s ability to work or attend school
  • Controls all the finances
  • Abuse of other family members, children or pets
  • Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair
  • Control of what the victim wears and how they act
  • Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly
  • Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others
  • Harassment of the victim at work

It’s important to know the signs and seek help! You are not in this alone.

For anonymous, confidential help available 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now.

HOPE IS HERE

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

References: https://ncadv.org/signs-of-abuse

https://ncadv.org/STATISTICS

https://ncadv.org/

Voices of Georgia’s Chilren report the number of children who visited the emergency room for reasons related to suicide doubled between 2008-2018. Voices of Georgia’s Children also report 77,878 students from sixth grade to twelfth grade considered committing suicide in 2019.61,978 students reported harming themselves. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death behind unintentional injury for children ages 10-17 in Georgia. 

What leads to suicide?

There is no single cause of suicide. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many to feel isolated and alone. Suicide may be caused by untreated mental health disorders, anxiety, traumatic events, and substance use.Suicide may also be caused by feelings of hopelessness and despair. Other risk factors include previous history of suicide attempts, environment, bullying, stressful life events, access to lethal means such as firearms or drugs, and sensationalized accounts of suicide.

Warning Signs

Suicide warning signs  include a change behavior, giving away items, sudden social engagement, sudden isolation, constant talk about committing suicide, and increased use substances such as drugs or alcohol. Other warning signs include a change in mood. This may appear as depression, irritability, agitation, loss of interest, anger, humiliation and shame. 

How can you help?

Talking with someone who is considering suicide is not easy. Asking about suicidal thoughts or feelings won’t push someone into doing something self-destructive. In fact, offering an opportunity to talk about feelings may reduce the risk of acting on suicidal feelings.You can ask direct questions such as: “are you thinking about ending your life”, or “do you have access to lethal weapons or substances.” It is important to use supportive language such as “how can I help you” instead of making the person feel ashamed for having those feelings. You can provide the Suicide Hotline number 1-800-273-8255 or dial 911 in an emergency situation. Please don’t try to handle the situation alone, reach out to a professional individual that can provide adequate help and ensure the safety of the individual.

Source: Georgia Voices of Children

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.

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.

 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.

Who is ready for a new year? Bring on 2021! 

Here are some important things to keep in mind in order to stay safe on New Year’s Eve 

  • Know what binge drinking is: a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male), or 4 or more drinks (female), in about 2 hours. 
  • Know why it is important: 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 your drinks more accurately, pace yourself better and stay within low-risk drinking levels 
  • For Parents: Remember, those who host the most, lose the most. Know the laws on providing alcohol to minors and the importance of having conversations with your teens about alcohol consumption.  

For more information on binge drinking and monitoring your drinking, visit the following links: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking 

For more information on what is considered a standard drink of whatever you might be drinking, visit this website for the standard drink calculator: https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/Tools/Calculators/drink-size-calculator.aspx 

recovery blog post

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. If you have a friend or family member in recovery, it’s great to find ways to show your support.

Everyone’s recovery journey is different, but having support from loved ones is helpful for anyone in recovery. Here’s some ways you can show support:

  1. Accept them without judgment – Many recovering addicts feel judged by their families and friends, so you should avoid criticism and negativity as much as possible. Instead, express love for your loved one and praise their decision to maintain sobriety. Be accepting of the person and don’t place judgment.
  2. Learn more about recovery – Seek out reputable recovery resources to learn more about the individual’s specific issues and ways to promote recovery.
  3. Create a substance-free environment – One of the biggest predictors of long-term recovery is whether or not users live in drug-free environments. Loved ones can protect a recovering addict’s surroundings by removing any drug paraphernalia and alcohol while encouraging them to stay away from places that might tempt them to relapse.
  4. Actively listen – Not all recovering addicts want to talk but if they do, take the time to listen and pay attention to what they’re saying.
  5. Encourage healthy habits – Cooking food, exercising and playing games are all positive, substance-free activities that recovering addicts can do with their loved ones.
  6. Suggest joining a support group – In support groups, recovering addicts can interact with other recovering addicts while receiving encouragement. Support them by helping them find courage to go to a support group. You can suggest it and even volunteer to go along with them.
  7. Say you want to help – Sometimes a person in recovery will ask you directly for help but most of the time they may be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. But just hearing you tell them “I’m here for you and here to help,” is the best support someone can get. Make a clear, simple statement to the recovering addict that you want to help and you support them in this process.
  8. Don’t take things personally – The recovering addict may be making their recovery a top priority instead of you. Counseling sessions may take up their time instead of nights out with you. This is a necessary part of their process as they focus on getting better. In time, this strengthens any friendships or partnerships.
  9. Don’t rehash the past – You may have been hurt by the recovery addicts’ substance abuse but it’s time to move forward from past like they are trying to do. Not letting go of what happened while they were under the influence of substances prevents the necessary growth for everyone to recover. It may be helpful for you to get your own therapy to find peace and understanding.
  10. Don’t give up – The journey of recovery can be long and challenging. Be patient and don’t give up. Keep moving forward.

Helpful Guides: 

As always, HOPE is here.

Georgia HOPE specializes in providing quality mental health and recovery services for in the state of Georgia. To learn more, enroll, or refer someone to us, contact us below:

speaking of HOPE
https://youtu.be/Bgq7_kJi9uE

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.

Recovery Month:

  • promotes the message that recovery from substance abuse in all its forms is possible
  • highlights the benefits of substance abuse treatment
  • encourages citizens to take action to help expand and improve the availability of effective substance abuse treatment for those in need
  • honors the contributions of treatment providers

Resources

Helpful Guides: 

HOPE is Here.

Georgia HOPE specializes in providing quality mental health services for children, adults, individuals and families in the state of Georgia. To learn more, enroll, or refer someone to us, contact us below: