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).  


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.

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.

So, what are adjustment disorders?


Adjustment disorders are characterized by mild to moderate impairment and can often be felt as depression and/ or anxiety, feeling hopeless, crying, worrying also more physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches. In children and adolescents these symptoms can also include acting out, being more clingy and more irritable moods. This commonly occurs within 3 months of a stressor like losing a job, moving, getting married, divorce, having a baby etc. This disorder usually lasts no longer than about 6 months once the stressor has ceased.


When should I seek treatment?


When symptoms last longer than 6 months and/or your symptoms become more problematic and debilitating such as longer lasting depression and anxiety not enjoying things that you used to like doing and isolating more it is time to seek services such as therapy and possible medication. Please seek immediate help if you are feeling suicidal.

HOPE is Here

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

Despite being a high-risk group for depression, a lot of older adults find it hard to ask for help from their loved ones. This is especially troubling, as the older adult age group is seeing rising suicide rates. The reason why so many older adults succumb to depression is that many still believe the stigma surrounding depression and are afraid of burdening their families with their condition. For this reason alone, caregivers looking after older adults need to do all they can to help their loved ones understand that depression is anormal part of life and aging.

In this post, we’ll discuss how you can help older adults who are suffering from depression.


Be Quick to Recognize the Symptoms


It can be difficult to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in older adults because they may be different from what we usually see in younger folks. For instance, some older adults who suffer from depression don’t have sadness as their main symptom. Instead, they may exhibit less obvious symptoms such as loss of focus or a sudden disinterest in hobbies. Another reason why it can be hard to determine if an older loved one has depression is that it can sometimes look like other prevalent conditions in the age group such as Alzheimer’s disease. In order to help an older adult gain a better grasp over their depression, you should be aware of the common signs and symptoms such
as:

  • Feelings of despair or sadness
  • Weight changes
  • Memory problems
  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Irregular sleeping patterns
  • Chronic fatigue and demotivation
  • Forgoing basic self-care

Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help


The core concept of depression prevents a person from wanting or being able to seek help, as this condition impacts their self-esteem and drains their energy. As such, one of your main goals when helping an loved one deal with their condition should be to encourage them to seek treatment and open up to mental health professionals. But as we’ve mentioned, a great deal of stigma is associated with mental health issues, making it difficult to convince a loved one to seek help. Thankfully, there are a myriad of mental health professionals who can help your loved one manage their depression. For one, you can employ the services of a local counselor. Counselors are tasked with helping individuals explore their feelings, acknowledge them, and eventually accept them. In addition, counselors can also help older adults find healthy coping mechanisms and self-care techniques.

You can also approach nurses who specialize in mental health to help them come to terms with their depression. As an increasingly popular career in the nursing field, nursing specialists who focus on mental health can assess, diagnose mental health disorders, and recommend necessary treatments. There are also some gerontology-focused nurses who, on top of assisting them with mental health care, can also help them cope with Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and more. You can find them in hospitals, hospice centers, and extended-care facilities.

Support Them as Much as You Can


You should do whatever you can to show an older loved one that you’re willing to go through this process with them. There are many ways to show your support. For example, simply showing that you’re willing to listen can help raise their spirits. Always remember to avoid judgmental responses and thank them for being open with you. In addition, ensuring that they stick to their treatment plan is also another way to show support. Older adults may have difficulty remembering to take their medications and keeping their appointments, so take it upon yourself to remind them whenever you can.


Helping older adults manage their depression can help them make the most of their later years in life. For more posts about mental health, be sure to visit our blog or contact us today.

written for gahope.org
by Rhia Jade

Consistently performing healthy behaviors to start your day can create an overall calmer morning and improve mental health. Establishing routines filled with healthy habits can help you move more efficiently while using less mental energy, which decreases stress and anxiety. If you don’t already have a clear morning routine set into place, try following this list to start 2021 off right. 

  1. Be Prepared 

In order to start the day with a healthy morning routine, you should prepare the night before. Your nighttime routine will play a role in how well you sleep based on factors like sleep hygiene and environment, but it will also help you to be prepared for the next day as it can decrease stress, over-thinking, and worry, which keep you awake at night. 

Before going to bed, prepare the items you plan to use in the morning. For example, lay out your clothes, make sure bags are packed, and set-up coffee and meals. This will allow you to sleep soundly and be prepared for the day ahead. 

If it makes you feel even more secure, keep a check-list on your bedside table to remind you of the things you should accomplish before bed and when you wake up. 

  1. Wake Up To Light  

Rising with the sun increases wakefulness as exposure to bright light decreases morning grogginess. If possible, leave your blinds open while you sleep so you can get maximum exposure to sunlight in the morning. 

If that’s not an option, consider using a smart light, which gently wakes you with a custom Sunrise Alarm that supports healthy cortisol levels and allows you to create a positive mood at any time with a selection of soothing sounds and lights. This can be especially helpful in the winter months when it’s dark more often and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is more common. 

  1. Avoid Technology 

Technology should be avoided first thing in the morning. Although electronics are extremely useful in many ways, they can be harmful to your well-being if used too often. 

Electronic devices emanate blue light, which is a high-energy visible (HEV) light that can cause eye and mental health complications. Therefore, if you use electronic devices early in the morning they can cause headaches, lack of concentration, or distract you from completing your morning routine. Social media has been proven to add to anxiety and depression, which is all the more reason to reduce time on electronic devices in your morning routine

If you prefer to use devices early in the morning, there are ways you can protect yourself from the blue light they emit. 

  1. Use the Night Shift mode on your devices to alter the screen brightness and temperature, which can decrease the amount and harshness of the blue light that comes from screens. Night Shift uses the clock and geolocation of your device to determine when the sun is rising in your location, so it can automatically adjust your screen temperature. 
  1. Protect your eyes more directly with a pair of blue light glasses, which filter out harmful blue light while still letting in the more natural light from your screens. Wearing these glasses throughout the entire day will further protect your eyes and prevent devices from disrupting your sleep patterns and causing disorientation if you use them frequently. 

By combining the Night Shift mode with the blue light glasses, very little blue light will penetrate your retinas and you will be mentally healthier and happier. 

A morning routine can help individuals set themselves up for better mental health throughout the day. Create your morning routine based on your specific needs and activities. Not everyone will have the same routine—it’s about what works best for you and your mental health. 

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: