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/

ADHD Overview

What is ADHD? Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) effects 11% of children and is characterized by struggles with inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These issues with attention and focus can perpetuate other concerns such as poor school or job performance, depression, substance abuse, stress, relationship problems, and delinquency.

Early identification is essential to proper treatment of ADHD which is why knowing the symptoms is imperative. Some of the symptoms include not listening, struggling with following instructions, easily distracted, fidgeting, interrupting others, and difficulty waiting. These symptoms can also vary in severity from mild, moderate, to severe depending on how much the symptoms impact a client’s daily functioning.

For children diagnosed with ADHD, more than 75% of them will experience issues as they develop into adulthood. Early intervention is accomplished by understanding ADHD and receiving treatment through mental health services (such as services offered by Georgia HOPE) which are preventative measures that allows individuals experiencing issues with ADHD to lead successful lives.

HOPE IS HERE

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

References: https://chadd.org/about-adhd/overview/

Grief (Pregnancy and Infant Loss)

Everyone grieves differently and in their own way. Grief is a difficult emotion and the healing process can take time, especially when it comes to grieving our loved ones such as losing an infant before or after birth.

Grief can be overwhelming and you can experience a multitude of other emotions such as anger, sadness, depression, or guilt. You can also experience somatic symptoms such as stomach aches, susceptibility to getting colds, and trouble concentrating on tasks. Healing from one’s death, especially a baby’s, can look like a different process for women, men, and children but supporting one another’s grieving process is essential as well as reaching out for help. There are several resources available that can help provide support to women, men, and children struggling with grief including grief after the loss of an infant.

A medical provider can help individuals find treatment, a social worker can help provide support with bills and expenses, and a grief counselor can help an individual work through their grief. While these services can provide support, it is also important for you to engage in self-care especially when recovering from pregnancy. Self-care can include eating regularly with plenty of vegetables and protein, exercising daily, and sleeping for eight hours at night. Grief can largely affect mental health which is why it is so important to reach out for help!

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.

References: https://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/dealing-with-grief-after-the-death-of-your-baby.aspx

Mental Health Awareness

As a society, we have become more accepting of mental health and placed higher importance of taking care of our mental health. To effectively and appropriately care for our mental health, we must have mental health awareness which includes understanding mental health, warning signs, and wellness.

Mental health is emotional, social and psychological well-being, but an individual’s wellbeing can be negatively affected by factors such as family history of mental health struggles, life experiences (such as trauma) and biological contributions. When experiencing these adverse factors that negatively impact mental health, you will experience warning signs that alert you of mental health problems.

Warning signs include isolating yourself from others, decreased motivation to complete tasks, over or under eating or sleeping, feeling hopeless or numb, increased conflict with friends and family, mood swings, and thoughts of suicide or self-harm. If you are experiencing these warning signs, there are steps you can take to promote a positive well-being. These steps include receiving professional help from a counselor, exercise, reaching out for support from friends and family, utilizing coping skills, and engaging in self-care such as getting eight hours of sleep.

Being aware of your mental health including warning signs of mental health problems allows you to engage in wellness and preventative activities to promote positive well-being. 

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.

References: https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health

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

August is Family Fun Month! Georgia HOPE offers an array of services to meet the individualized needs of our clients, families and communities.  Today we would like to highlight the services we provide for the family. Georgia HOPE offers family training and family counseling. The goal of family services includes: strengthening family relationships, providing psychoeducation and providing linkage to community resources. Our primary goal is to meet our clients, and their families, where they are in life and walk with them through the varying changes and challenges life can bring.  Family services offers, not just support for the client experiencing the mental health or substance use need, but offers support, education, and counseling to the family as well!  We wholeheartedly believe recovery is possible for everyone!  

Our Social Services team also offers parent training and behavior aide services. Developing healthy, functional and strong families is the main objectives of parent training. Behavioral aide services assist by providing transportation and additional support for families. Through our family training and counseling services, families can learn how to navigate life’s challenges. These challenges may include: barriers in communication, navigating social media, how parents can support their LGBQT+ teens, bullying, and establishing rules and boundaries. 

Georgia HOPE’s motto is “Hope lives here“!  We aim to provide hope to our families and individuals within the community. 

Additional Resources:

5 Ways Parents Can Support LGBTQ Teens | Newport Academy

Adolescent Mental Health During COVID-19 | Newport Academy

Why Is My Teen So Angry and How Can I Help? | Newport Academy

HOPE is Here

If you or anyone you know could benefit from family services, we’d love to speak to you further. HOPE is here. Contact us today.

Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment disorders are characterized by mild to moderate emotional and behavioral needs. These needs can often be felt as depression and/ or anxiety, feeling hopeless, crying, worrying, and irritability.  Individuals experiencing adjustment challenges in their lives can also see increased physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches. These symptoms are commonly seen within the first 3 months of a stressor. While there is no set cause for adjustment disorder, it can be due to one or several stressful events, such as losing a job, moving, marriage, divorce, having a baby, onset of serious or chronic illness, or even the changes, isolation and fears concerning the COVID19 virus. This disorder usually lasts no longer than 6 months once the stressor has ended. Adults can experience adjustment disorder, but it is more frequently diagnosed in children and adolescents (Adjustment Disorders, n.d.; Ramadhan et al., 2020). 

When to seek treatment? 

If you, or someone you love, is experiencing an adjustment or change in life causing difficulty in day-to-day activities and life functioning, please reach out to a professional. Receiving help and support early is essential in preventative care and could lessen the chance that symptoms will be prolonged or worsen.  When symptoms last longer than 6 months, and/or 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 strongly recommended that you reach out to mental health professional for support and guidance. Please seek immediate help if you are feeling suicidal.

What about children?

In children and adolescents, adjustment disorder symptoms can include feeling anxious or worried, depressed, hopeless, crying more, sleep difficulty, even increased stomach aches or headaches. They also can include acting out, disregard for rules and norms, being clingier, and having increased irritable moods (Adjustment Disorders, n.d.). 

Children and adolescents can be impacted by similar stressors as noted for adults above. Returning to school, post pandemic, is a stressor for students this coming school year (Ramadhan et al., 2020). Students have persevered during the past year and a half and adjusted from going to school every day, to quarantine, to virtual learning, school ending early, social distancing, teachers and friends wearing masks, hybrid learning, and now most returning to school for in-person learning with some restrictions. Not only have children persevered changes at school, but they have persevered changes at home as well, such as guardian’s work schedules and work place and who supervises the children when guardians are at work and the children home. Many students have adjusted well with the changes; however, some children may have difficulty adjusting and may be experiencing some increased reactive behaviors, such as acting out, and changes in mood.

When to seek treatment for children with symptoms of adjustment disorder?

Similar to adults, when symptoms occur within 3 months of the stressor, last longer than 6 months and/or the symptoms become more problematic and debilitating such as longer lasting depression and anxiety, loss of interest in playing by themselves or with others, loss of interest in extracurricular activities, increased behavioral outbursts and mood changes, or not wanting to go to school, it is time to seek support. If your child is experiencing these or similar symptoms, therapeutic services could be beneficial in assisting your child in feeling more secure and adjusting with recent stressors. Please seek immediate help if you’re student is feeling suicidal.

Reference

Adjustment Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/

conditions-and-diseases/adjustment-disorders 

Ramadhan, M., Putri, A. K., Melinda, D., Habibah, U., Fajriyah, U. N., Aini, S., Prananjaya, B. A., & Ikhsan, D. S. (2020). Children’s Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19: How Things Stand and the Aftermath. The Malaysian journal of medical sciences : MJMS, 27(5), 196–201. https://doi.org/10.21315/mjms2020.27.5.15

HOPE IS HERE

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

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.