Anxiety can take place in many forms for children whether it is social anxiety, separation anxiety, or general anxieties. When childhood anxiety is heightened, it’s natural for parents and caregivers to go into protection mode. The best thing for parents and caregivers to do is to help their children learn to manage anxiety.

Here’s 6 Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Manage Their Anxiety:

1. Set Clear Expectations.

It’s important to have similar expectations for anxious children that you have for non-anxious children but it can be helpful to go at a little slower pace and make some accommodations. While you’re one child may want to attend every birthday party, your anxious child may want to avoid big birthday parties.  Setting clear expectations and helping your child create appropriate benchmarks like going to smaller birthday parties or birthday parties without big triggers like a bounce house or swimming pool. This will help create expectations and teach your child that she/he can work through anxious feelings and manage their anxiety with baby steps without completely missing out. 

2. Let Your Child Worry.

Don’t just say to your child “Don’t Worry!” or “Relax!” This doesn’t help them stop to worry. Instead, provide a listening here and allow your child to vent to you and brainstorm solutions together. 

3. Don’t Avoid the Anxiety.

Just like telling your child not to worry won’t make those anxious thoughts disappear, avoiding triggers of anxiety won’t help your child learn to cope. If your child becomes anxious around water for example, keeping your child completely away from pools, lakes, the ocean, the bath, etc will only validate the anxious thought. It sends the message that water in fact is danger. It’s better to help desensitize the triggers by taking small steps. Try looking at pictures of the ocean and talking about what triggers the feeling of anxiety. Next, go to a park with a pond and take a way around it. Finally, visit a pool or sit in the bath together with some toys to know that it’s okay. By taking small steps, kids can learn to work through their anxiety and find ways to cope.  

4. Help Them Build a Way to Cope.

One thing that helps anxious kids is having a list of ways to cope to use in a moment of anxiety. Here’s some examples you can practice together: 

  • Deep breathing
  • Stress ball
  • Write it out
  • Talking it out 
  • Counting to 10 

5. Get Back to Basics.

Your anxious child doesn’t need to play every sport and attend every birthday party, but they do need the basic health and social needs like:

  • Good sleep
  • Healthy meals & plenty of water
  • Downtime to decompress
  • Outdoor free play
  • Daily exercise (taking a walk, riding bikes, playing at the park, etc.)

6. Empathize Often.

Anxiety is tough for anyone, especially young kids. When kids feel overwhelmed by anxious thoughts, they can struggle to do everyday things like go to school or band practice. Anxiety in children can even cause them to avoid fun things like playdates with friends. It’s important to empathize and provide emotional support to your child. This normalizes what they are experiencing and helps them understand that they aren’t alone, and you will be there with them through it.

Reminder: Take Care of Yourself Too.

Parenting an anxious child can be emotionally draining and all-consuming. Between interrupted sleep and constant worries, child anxiety can take a toll on the parents and caregivers. Make sure to prioritize your own health needs so that you have the energy you need to help your child through this difficult time.

HOPE is Here.

As a reminder, you never have to suffer alone. There are resources available for you.

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:

Other Resources Available: 

  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Georgia Crisis & Access Line: 1-800-715-4225
  • GMHCN Warm Line: 888-945-1414
  • CARES: 844-326-5400, Call or Text 8:30AM-11:00PM for Substance Use Crisis Text Line: 741-741

#HOPEisHere

 

depression support

If your spouse, significant other, or partner suffers with depression, you may feel helpless, but there are ways you can support them and you are not alone.

The mood in major depression is often described as sad, hopeless, discouraged, or feeling down, but it can also include persistent anger. Family members notice that depressed people seem not to care about finding joy anymore.

It can be difficult to know how to help a depressed partner, but your support is important. You can’t cure your partner’s depression, but you can help you partner along the road to recovery.

Learn about Depression

An important first step in helping your partner is to understand that mental health and depression is a real thing. Symptoms of depression can vary, and can change over time. The best way to understand how your partner experiences depression is to ask open-ended questions and use empathic listening.

Depression can include the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, or hopelessness
  • Changes in appetite (including weight gain or loss)
  • Sleep disturbance (sleeping too much or too little)
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Fatigue (even small tasks can require extra time)
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Anger outbursts
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt (including ruminating on past events)
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Frequent thoughts of death, including suicidal thoughts
  • Unexplained physical symptoms

Supporting Your Partner

You can facilitate improvement and recovery by providing support and encouragement. Here are some tips that might help:

  • Encourage treatment.
  • Show positive reinforcement of healthy behavior, rather than criticizing irrational fear, avoidance, or rituals.
  • Measure progress on the basis of individual improvement, not against some absolute standard.
  • Help set specific goals that are realistic and can be approached one step at a time.
  • Don’t assume you know what your partner needs. Ask how you can help. Listen carefully to the response.
  • Acknowledge that you don’t understand the experience of depression or anxiety.
  • Understand that knowing when to be patient and when to push can be challenging. Achieving a proper balance often requires trial and error.

Recovery requires hard work on the part of the person with depression and patience on the part of the partner and family. It may seem like a slow process, but the rewards are well worth it.

Here are more helpful ways to support your partner suffering from depression: 

Be there for them.

You don’t have all the answers, and that’s okay, but what you can do is sit and listen and simply show up for them. You can hold your partner’s hand, offer hugs, and be present. You can respond with encouraging statements:

  • “I am here for you.”
  • “We will get through this together.”

Encourage treatment.

All too often, people feel that they just have to just snap out of it or they will just get better on their own, but depression usually doesn’t improve without professional treatment. You can help your partner by encouraging treatment and being there during appointments.

Help your partner consider getting treatment by doing the following:

  • Express your concern.
  • Express your willingness to help, including making and preparing for appointments.
  • Discuss what you’ve learned about depression.
  • Talk about treatment options, including mental therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. 
  • Help your partner stick with treatment. Whenever possible, drive to appointments together and sit in the car or waiting room. 

Create a supportive home environment.

It’s important to remember that your partner’s depression isn’t your fault and you can’t fix it. But you can help them by providing as much helpful support as possible. Changes in lifestyle can help make a difference during the treatment and recovery process. Because depression can interfere with a person’s energy and affect both sleep and appetite, you can help by:

  • Focus on healthy eating. Get your partner involved in planning and cooking healthy meals together to encourage better food choices.
  • Exercise together. Daily exercise can boost your mood. Plan a daily walk or bike ride to inspire getting back to exercise.
  • Make plans together and try and enjoy fun things you both love to do together like renting a new movie, playing a board game, or  going on a hike.  
  • Give positive reinforcement. Be sure to point out strengths and areas of improvement to help your partner see progress. 
  • Help focus on small goals and acknowledge daily achievements. 

Know the warning signs of suicide

The risk of suicide is always elevated during major depressive disorder. It’s important to know the red flags and get immediate medical assistance:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Getting a means to attempt suicide, such as purchasing a gun or stockpiling pills
  • Extreme mood swings – very high one day and deeply discouraged the next
  • Social withdrawal
  • Preoccupied with thoughts of death
  • Noticeable changes in normal daily routines
  • Feeling overwhelmed with hopelessness
  • Engaging in risky or self-destructive behavior, including drug or alcohol abuse or reckless driving
  • Giving away belongings
  • Saying goodbye
  • Getting affairs in order
  • Developing personality changes

Remember to help yourself as well. 

Caring for a partner with depression can be emotionally draining.  It’s important to practice self-care and increase your own support during this time. It is extremely important (and not selfish) for partners of those with a depression to take care of themselves. These tips will help you cope:

  • Don’t give up your own life and interests. Engage in your outside interests and hobbies for a break from the stresses of your daily life. 
  • Maintain a support system. Having friends and family to confide in ways your partner cannot is important for your overall emotion well being. 
  • Seek professional help for yourself, if needed. The recovery process can be stressful for partners of those struggling with mental health illnesses. Your well-being is just as important as your partner’s. If you need someone to talk to, or if you think you may be suffering from symptoms of anxiety or depression, contact your doctor or consider visiting a mental health professional or joining a community group.  

HOPE is Here.

As a reminder, you never have to suffer alone. There are resources available for you.

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

Other Resources Available: 

  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Georgia Crisis & Access Line: 1-800-715-4225
  • GMHCN Warm Line: 888-945-1414
  • CARES: 844-326-5400, Call or Text 8:30AM-11:00PM for Substance Use Crisis Text Line: 741-741

#HOPEisHere

self care

For young adults, self-care isn’t always a priority. The pressures of school and/or starting a job can make basic self-care seem more like a luxury than a necessity. But making a commitment to incorporate self-care practices into your daily routine can create a positive difference not just now, but for the rest of your life.

It’s easy to think that self-care is just about getting your hair done, bubble baths or pedicures (while those are good!). It’s also about creating sustainable habits that can be incorporated daily into your schedule to boost your mental health and overall well being.

Here are 5 self-care practices to incorporate into your life daily:

1. Sleep, Nutrition & Exercise

In the midst of our busy routines, it’s easy to lose touch with what we need on the most basic level in physical self-care. Sleep, nutrition, and exercise are essential to your health and wellness. Are you getting enough sleep and nourishing your body? If not, look at ways to adjust your schedule and improve your eating habits.

Even more, moving your body, exercising, physical activity for just 20 minutes a day benefits not only your physical health but mental health as well. In fact, exercise increases the body’s production of endorphins, what tells your brain to “feel good.”

2. Mindfulness & Relaxation

Learning to slow down and appreciate each moment, and relax at times is a game changer to your mental health. It helps recharge you mental batteries.

Here are ways you can incorporate mindfulness and relaxation self-care practices into your daily routine:

  1. Breathing: Before you brush your teeth in the morning and at night, take three slow, deep breaths. You can also do this at other moments of your day too!
  2. Activating your senses: While you’re walking to class, waiting at the bus stop, or walking from your car to your job, observe and savor what’s around you. Additionally, pay attention to the way the air feels, what you see nearby and in the distance, and the sounds you hear. Tune in to what is beautiful and interesting in your environment.
  3. Journaling: Write down 5 things you’re grateful for every single day. Don’t like to journal? Say those 5 things you’re grateful for out loud to yourself everyday. Examples: your health, your friends, your family, your job, your school, your dog, your legs to walk, your eyes to see, etc!

3. Help

While independence is important for young adults, reaching out for help is just as essential. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Be willing to let go of what you think you “should” do on your own. Give yourself permission to ask for and receive the help you need—whether it’s a shoulder to cry on, help with studying or homework, or just someone to vent to.

4. Connection

Self-care includes spending time with people you trust who listen to you, care about you, and make you feel good about yourself. Therefore, create your own support network, including family, close friends, like-minded peers, and/or mentors. Practice active listening, speaking the truth in a respectful manner and authentic connection to those around you.

5. Self-compassion

It’s hard to not compare ourselves to others in the digital age of social media and technology. But being kind to yourself goes a long way when it comes to your overall positivity and mental health. Show yourself self-compassion and self-love daily. Write down a motivating note to yourself and hang it on your mirror. You got this!

For more self-care tips, click here.

HOPE is here.

Georgia HOPE is currently providing Mental Health and Substance Use services throughout the state of Georgia online and in-person. If you, or someone you know, are interested in services, you can enroll today or refer someone with a simple form. If you need more information or would like to speak to someone directly, please contact us here.

We are all in this together. Stay well! #HOPEisHere

selfcare

When you’re busy and overwhelmed, it’s easy to put yourself last. However, there’s no rule that says you must carry the weight of the world on your shoulders—in fact, in these moments, it’s important to take a step back, be kind to and take care of yourself.

Why Self-Care Matters

It’s so important to make sure you take good care of your body, mind, and soul every day, not just when you get sick. Learning how to eat right, reduce stress, exercise regularly, and take a time-out when you need it are touchstones of self-care and can help you stay healthy, happy, and mentally strong.

Why Do We Often Fail at Self-Care?

Practicing self-care isn’t always easy. Most of us are busy, place the need’s of our families first, have stressful jobs, or are too consumed with technology to make time for ourselves. Me-time is usually last on the agenda. Worse, we can sometimes feel guilty about taking the time required to take care of ourselves (parent guilt is a real thing). So getting started with self-care can be challenging. 

How Do You Engage in Self-Care?

There are many things you can do to engage in self-care and self-care looks different for everyone. The goal is to figure out which self-care strategies work best for you, learn how to use these strategies, and implement them in your regular routine so you can boost your well-being not only today but forever.

Here are 18 ways to get started with your self-care.

1. Get enough sleep.

Sleep can have a huge effect on how you feel both emotionally and physically. Not getting enough can even cause major health issues. It seems simple enough and, yet, 40 percent of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep a night, according to a 2013 Gallup poll. Healthy adults should average seven to nine hours of shut-eye per night.

2. Move your body daily as part of your self-care routine. 

Getting in at least 30 minutes of some kind of exercise—whether it’s a work out or just stroll outside—is just as good for your mental health as it is your physical. You don’t have to do it all at once either take three 10-minute strolls if you can’t do a full half hour. The most important thing is to create a routine that works for you.

3. Eat right for self-care. 

The food we eat has the potential to either keep us healthy or contribute to weight gain, but it can also keep our minds working and alert. Some of the best self-care foods include fatty fish, blueberries, nuts, green leafy veggies, and broccoli.

4. Say no to others, and say yes to your self-care. 

Learning to say no is really hard. Many of us feel obligated to say yes when someone asks for that dinner date. However, if you’re already stressed or overworked, saying yes to everyone can lead to burnout, anxiety, and irritability. It may take a little practice, but once you learn how to politely say no, you’ll start to feel more self-confident, and you’ll have more time for your self-care and prioritizing what matters.

5. Take a self-care break by getting outside. 

Spending time outside can help you reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, and be more mindful. Studies have even shown that getting outside can help reduce fatigue, making it a great way to overcome symptoms of depression or burnout. Getting outside can also help you sleep better at night, especially if you do some physical activity, like gardening, hiking, or walking while you are outside.

6. Let a pet help you with your self-care.  

From giving unconditional love to providing companionship, pets can be hugely beneficial for our self-care. Dogs especially can help reduce stress and feelings of anxiety and can even lower blood pressure. In fact, many people who suffer from disorders like PTSD have benefited from working daily with animals, which is why service dogs have become so helpful for these individuals.

7. Take care of yourself by getting organized. 

If you feel unorganized at home or in your work space, your life can often feel organized at times. Getting organized allows you to take better care of yourself. A small change, like keeping a planner or a calendar on the fridge, can help you write down all your responsibilities and appointments, while at the same time keeping your life a bit more organized.

8. Make a menu for the week / Cook at home to care for yourself.

Many people don’t take the time to make themselves meals due to the time it takes but making a healthy meal for yourself and family is not only beneficial for your health but also gives you some quality family time. Even if it’s only once a week, consider making a healthy meal for yourself or your whole family. You could even look into a meal delivery service or meal kit that can help you get started. Meal prepping / making a menu for the week is also helpful so you have a plan in place, can get the items needed ahead of time, and don’t feel stressed daily wondering what’s for dinner.

9. Read a book.

We tend to turn to our phones or TV for entertainment, scrolling through news feeds that can contribute to our stress and anxiety rather than helping it. Instead, consider reading a book. You might be amazed at the difference it can make when you slow down instead of always looking at your phone. Not only can it help improve your mood, but it can also help you to stay more present and mindful.

10. Schedule your self-care time.

It can be hard for us all to find extra time. But it’s extremely important to plan regular self-care time. Schedule a time in your day whether it’s in the morning before everyone gets up, at night, on your lunch break, or right when you get home from work for your self-care time.

11. Write down five things every day that you’re thankful for.

No matter how bad your day is, we all have something to be grateful for – a house, car, health, family, job, dog, etc. Focusing on what you’re grateful for can help put things into perspective—and not put so much emphasis on the stress you might be dealing with.

12. Have a mini dance party.

Our lives are so busy and scheduled these days that it’s important to remember to have some fun! Have a dance party with your kids in the living room. Plan a pizza, popcorn and movie night with your kids at home. Do something fun.

13. Take five minutes to decompress every day.

It’s important to take time to just breathe. Just closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing for 5 minutes is a great form of self-care and relaxation.

14. Confront your negativity—on paper.

Journaling is a great way of self-care. Writing down the self-doubt, negative talk and combatting that of what you know to be true and what you’re capable of helps acknowledge the negative while not letting it overtake the positives in your life.

15. Have a family dinner.

Having a set meal time for family dinner whether you sit with your family, spouse, partner or alone to just enjoy your meal (not in front of a TV or with your phone) is a great way to connect with your loved ones and yourself.

16. Detox from technology and work.

Especially since COVID-19 and more work being from the home, it’s hard to disconnect from work and technology. It’s important to set boundaries around work emails, phone calls and texts. Set up work hours even if you’re working from home. Limit your screen time – your phone can also help with this through setting up screen time daily limits.

17. Enjoy breakfast.

Most days breakfast is on the run or often skipped, right? So take a day like a weekend to make breakfast and enjoy it with your family or yourself. If you have a big day coming up or a big meeting or interview, wake up a little early and fuel your body with healthy nutrients to start your day – even a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana is better than nothing!

18. Pamper Yourself

Whether you enjoy a hot bubble bath, wearing a face mask, doing your nails, or taking a long shower. It’s always good to spend time to pamper yourself. That doesn’t mean you have to schedule a full day at the spa, it just means spending a 10-15 minutes relaxing and doing something that feels pampering to you. And men, don’t be scared of this as well! A nice hot, epsom salt bath after a long day can do any body wonders!

Did you know August is National Wellness Month?

National Wellness Month focuses on self-care, managing stress and promoting healthy routines. Create wholesome habits in your lifestyle all month long and see how much better you feel!

Research has shown self-care helps manage stress and promotes happiness. Whether you challenge yourself to a new yoga pose or try a different bedtime routine, make a small change and impact your health in positive ways. We hope the above tips help!

HOPE is Here

Georgia HOPE is currently providing Mental Health and Substance Use services throughout the state of Georgia online and in-person. If you, or someone you know, are interested in services, you can enroll today or refer someone with a simple form. If you need more information or would like to speak to someone directly, please contact us here.

We are all in this together. Stay well! #HOPEisHere

covid blog

COVID-19 as a Trauma/Stress Event

This event has been experienced on a spectrum of “it doesn’t seem like it will impact us” to feeling overwhelmed, frozen or irritated, and not knowing what may happen next.

  • Previous Trauma (i.e. abuse, neglect, violence) can be exacerbated
  • Typical Stressors (i.e. falling behind in school, financial stress/food, regular schoolwork/tests, home stress) can all get worse during the pandemic
  • New Stressors (i.e. wearing a mask, washing hands, worrying about getting sick) surface

How We Might be Feeling Now

We may find ourselves feeling more agitated, easily annoyed or frustrated. Being in lockdown and having a worldwide presence of Covid-19 has left us feeling threatened. We can’t flee the danger so we may be revving up to fight or flat and begin to shut down.

Now things are changing again as we go back to school. Possible feelings for children, teachers and parents about returning to school:

  • Anxious or nervous
  • Afraid of the unknown
  • Reluctant to return
  • Poor sleep
  • Physically not feeing well (tummy or headaches)
  • Poor concentration and distractibility
  • Regression
  • Mood swings

How Can Schools in 2020 Be Trauma Sensitive?

  • There are many things educator, staff, parents and counselors can do to support children who have experienced trauma and help them to cope better at school.
  • Social connectedness – the biggest buffer in times of stress and distress. We can stay physically distant but emotionally close
  • Self-care – helping children learn to do this through modeling and education
  • A safe, predictable, supportive and consistent environment – create this in your environment. You can be the most important contribution for the child’s ability to learn to trust the world again, and enhance their capacity for resiliency
  • Checking in with students when they arrive in your classroom
  • Not expecting “calm” as this would be unrealistic of the children and ourselves. Be realistic about what will be achieved as many of us are in survival mode.
  • Be the thermostat, not the thermometer, for your classroom. Set the tone for your class and not let the class set your tone.

We Need to Put Our Own Oxygen Masks On First

Think of what the flight attendants say on a plane. They remind adult to put their own oxygen masks on before helping children or others around them.

Self-care needs to be a priority. We are no use to those around us if we are “unconscious”

What might self-care look like?

  • Doing an activity you like
  • Taking care of your physical and mental health

Other Ideas

  • Try and find ways to incorporate the whole brain throughout the day (rational thinking, emotions, and decision making)
  • Help regulate yourself and your students by encouraging reading, playing boardgames or learning opportunities
  • Help regulate yourself and your students by creating something or connecting with someone special in your life
  • Help regulate yourself and your students by moving your body around and doing exercise, body breaks or stretching

Ways to Minimize Covid-19’s Imprint in Our Lives

  • Predictability – try to have a routine and things to look forward to
  • Get Moving – feeling trapped increases our fight response
  • Connection – isolation is unnatural for humans. Reach out to friends, family or counselors
  • Numbing Out – often we try to numb out to keep safe, but we need to feel safe for our bodies to heal. Try becoming aware of yourself with loving kindness and compassion
  • Sense of Future – it can feel like this is will last forever. Try breathing or mindfulness to help get a sense of time
  • Sense of Safety – find ways to feel safe again. Listen to music, have private time and reach out if you are unsafe at home

Use of Zones of Regulation

The Zones of Regulation is a framework designed to foster self-regulation and emotional control (Kuypers). It is an effective way of identifying how we are feeling and functioning. It can also be used as a way to check-in with children and ourselves. We need to be in our green zone to in order to learn effectively. It is helpful to identify what we can do to support ourselves depending which zones we find ourselves in.

What are the Zones of Regulation?

Blue Zone (rest area)

  • Sad, sick, tired, board, moving slowly
  • To support myself: talk to your friends and maybe they can cheer you up

Green Zone (go)

  • Happy, calm, feeling okay, focused, ready to learn
  • To support myself: keep having a positive mindset

Yellow Zone (slow)

  • Frustrated, worried, silly/wiggly, excited, loss of some control
  • To support myself: try not to worry and go talk to someone to get it off your chest

Red Zone (stop)

  • Mad/angry, mean, terrified, hitting/yelling, out of control
  • To support myself: walk around or get a drink

For more resources on recognizing and preventing child abuse, neglect and mental health symptoms in a virtual classroom, click here.

If you have questions or would like to enroll in our services or make a referral:

#HOPEisHere

Content Developed by:

  • Christine Clark, MAMFT, LPC, NCC
  • Anna Fortune, LPC, CPCS
elementary school

Suicide in Elementary Aged Children (5-11)

Did you know that suicide occurs with all ages, even elementary age children?

Suicide is Preventable: Ask, Listen & Tell. Together, there is HOPE.

Statistics

In 2014, The CDC ranked suicide as the 10th cause of death for US elementary school–aged children. Suicide occurs at a rate of 0.17 per 100,000 persons in youth between the ages of 5 and 11 years, in contrast to a rate of 5.18 per 100,000 among adolescents aged 12 to 17 years (Sheftall et al., 2016).

-In a study gathering data from Emergency Room Department visits found in the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) ED database from 2007 to 2015, it was found there were 59, 921 unweighted ED visits for children younger than 18 years in the NHAMCS, among which 1,613 met the inclusion criteria for visits due to suicide attempts or suicide ideation. Also of note, 43.1% of suicide attempt or suicidal ideation visits were for children aged 5 to younger than 11 years and only 2.1% were hospitalized (Burstein et al., 2019).

How? Where? Why?

2016 study by the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found:

  • Suicide by ages 5-11 often occurred by hanging, strangulation, or suffocation in their home
  • Commonly experienced relationship problems with friends and family
  • 1/3 of the sample experienced a type of mental health struggle, with the most common being ADHD (Sheftall et al., 2016).

Risk Factors

  • Emotional distress
  • Exposure to violence
  • Family conflict
  • Relationship problems
  • Lck of connectedness to school/sense of supportive school environment
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Physical disabilities/learning differences
  • Lack of access to resources/support

(Violence Prevention, 2018).

How to Help

help

How to Help Educators

  • Talk with the student and let them know you care
  • Incorporate lessons on social skills and problem solving in the classroom
  • Help the student partner or play with supportive peers
  • Collaborate with parents/guardians and the school counselor to provide extra support for the student
  • Create a supportive and welcoming classroom (Violence Prevention, 2018)

How to Help Parents/Guardians

  • Talk with your child and let them know you care
  • Be observant of behavior/mood changes
  • Talk with your pediatrician yearly for early screenings of suicide
  • Identify your child’s strengths
  • Take your child for a walk or to play with other neighborhood children
  • Play, read, watch a movie, listen to music, or do crafts with your child
  • Ensure that your child is eating nutritious meals, getting adequate exercise, and sleeping well
  • Monitor your child’s intake of news, social media, TV, newspapers, and other media or conversations that can increase stress by communicating about disasters or traumatic current events
  • Obtain extra support from local mental health professionals and the school counselor for your child (Violence Prevention, 2018)

family

Resources Available:

As a reminder, you never have to suffer alone. There are resources available for you.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Georgia Crisis & Access Line: 1-800-715-4225

GMHCN Warm Line: 888-945-1414

CARES: 844-326-5400, Call or Text 8:30AM-11:00PM for Substance Use Crisis Text Line: 741-741

Georgia HOPE

  • Call: 706-279-0405 Ext. 149
  • Text: 706-847-4871
  • Email: info@gahope.org
  • Visit: GaHOPE.org
  • Contact Us Online

American Foundation for Suicide Preventions: https://afsp.org/

Suicide Prevention Resource Center: https://www.sprc.org/populations

#HOPEisHere

 

References:

  • Preventing Suicide. (2019, September 5). Retrieved April 1, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/fastfact.html
  • State Fact Sheets. (2019, October 11). Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://afsp.org/about-suicide/state-fact-sheets/#Georgia
  • Suicide Prevention. (2019, July). Retrieved April 2, 2020, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml
  • Suicide Statistics. (2019, April 16). Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://afsp.org/about-suicide/ suicide-statistics/

 

high schoolers

Suicide is Preventable: Ask, Listen & Tell. Together, there is HOPE.

Statistics

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 12-22 (Suicide, n.d.; WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, n.d.)

“In 2017, there were 47 percent more suicides among people aged 15 to 19 than in the year 2000” (Frazee & Morales, 2019).

Suicide rates for males and females have been spiking since 2014 and 2009, respectively (Frazee & Morales, 2019)

Risk Factors

  • Mental illness/psychiatric diagnosis
  • Family history of suicide and/or exposure to suicide
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Physical/sexual abuse
  • Losses
  • Aggressive behavior/impulsivity
  • Lack of social support/social isolation
  • Poor coping skills
  • Access to ways of harming oneself, like guns, knives, etc.
  • Difficulties in dealing with sexual orientation
  • Physical illness
  • Family disruptions (divorce or problems with the law)
  • Traumatic event (Suicide in Teens and Children Symptoms & Causes: Boston Children’s Hospital, n.d.)

warning signs

Warning Signs

  • Preoccupation with death (e.g.,recurring themes of death or self-destruction in artwork or written assignments
  • Intense sadness and/or hopelessness
  • Not caring about activities that used to matter
  • Social withdrawal from family, friends, sports, social activities
  • Substance abuse
  • Sleep disturbance (either not sleeping or staying awake all night)
  • Giving away possessions
  • Risky behavior
  • Lack of energy
  • Inability to think clearly/concentration problems
  • Declining school performance/increase absences from school
  • Increased irritability
  • Changes in appetite (Suicide in Teens and Children Symptoms & Causes: Boston Children’s Hospital, n.d.)

how to cope

How to Cope

  • Talk with a friend, teacher, guardian, or counselor
  • Play a game
  • Take a nap
  • Take a walk
  • Eat a snack or a meal
  • Exercise
  • Help somebody
  • Read a book
  • Listen to music
  • Watch a movie or TV
  • Spend time with friends
  • Monitor social media, news, and TV (Violence Prevention, 2018)

help

How to Help

Common reasons for suicide are emotional pain, hopelessness, and wanting the pain to go away (Home, 2020). You can help by:

  • Asking: “I’m wondering if you have had thoughts of killing yourself, hurting yourself, dying, or falling asleep and not waking up?”
  • Talking with your child or friend and let them know you care
  • Being observant of behavior/mood changes
  • Spending time with your child or friend by playing a game, reading, listening to music, or creating art
  • Monitoring your child’s intake of news, social media, TV, newspapers, and other media or conversations that can increase stress by communicating about disasters or traumatic current events
  • Obtaining extra support from local mental health professionals and the school counselor for your child or friend (Violence Prevention, 2018)

Resources Available

As a reminder, you never have to suffer alone. There are resources available for you.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Georgia Crisis & Access Line: 1-800-715-4225

GMHCN Warm Line: 888-945-1414

CARES: 844-326-5400, Call or Text 8:30AM-11:00PM for Substance Use Crisis Text Line: 741-741

Georgia HOPE

  • Call: 706-279-0405 Ext. 149
  • Text: 706-847-4871
  • Email: info@gahope.org
  • Visit: GaHOPE.org
  • Contact Us Online

American Foundation for Suicide Preventions: https://afsp.org/

Suicide Prevention Resource Center: https://www.sprc.org/populations

#HOPEisHere

 

References:

  • Preventing Suicide. (2019, September 5). Retrieved April 1, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/fastfact.html

  • State Fact Sheets. (2019, October 11). Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://afsp.org/about-suicide/state-fact-sheets/#Georgia

  • Suicide Prevention. (2019, July). Retrieved April 2, 2020, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml

  • Suicide Statistics. (2019, April 16). Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://afsp.org/about-suicide/ suicide-statistics/

suicide resources

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, and suicide rates are on the rise. But together, there is HOPE.

Suicide is Preventable: Ask, Listen & Tell.

Statistics

In the state of Georgia 1 person dies by suicide every 6 hours (State Fact Sheets, 2019).

In 2017, in America:

  • 47,000 died by suicide
  • 1.4 million attempted suicide
  • 3.2 million made a plan
  • 10.6 million adults thought about suicide (Preventing Suicide, 2019)

Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native and non-Hispanic White populations are more likely to die by suicide (Preventing Suicide, 2019). Middle-aged White males are more likely to complete suicide (Suicide Statistics, 2019). More than half of all suicide deaths occur by firearm (Suicide Statistics, 2019). Veterans and military personnel, as well as construction workers and people in the arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media field experience disproportionate suicide rates (Preventing Suicide, 2019).

warning signs

Warning Signs

  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
  • Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching for lethal methods online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
  • Talking about great guilt or shame
  • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
  • Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
  • Talking or thinking about death often
  • Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Putting affairs in order, making a will (Suicide Prevention, 2019)

cope

How to Cope

  • Talk with a friend or family member
  • Put away firearms, sharp objects, medications, drugs and alcohol, car keys, or any other lethal means
  • Eat a meal
  • Go for a walk or exercise
  • Take a nap
  • Do a chore

help

How to Help

  • Foster a safe environment for open dialogue about suicide
  • Reduce access to lethal means
  • Ask how you can support them
  • Provide a referral to appropriate care (mental health professional, doctor, emergency care)

Resources Available

As a reminder, you never have to suffer alone. There are resources available for you.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Georgia Crisis & Access Line: 1-800-715-4225

GMHCN Warm Line: 888-945-1414

CARES: 844-326-5400, Call or Text 8:30AM-11:00PM for Substance Use Crisis Text Line: 741-741

Georgia HOPE

  • Call: 706-279-0405 Ext. 149
  • Text: 706-847-4871
  • Email: info@gahope.org
  • Visit: GaHOPE.org
  • Contact Us Online

American Foundation for Suicide Preventions: https://afsp.org/

Suicide Prevention Resource Center: https://www.sprc.org/populations

#HOPEisHere

 

References:

  • Preventing Suicide. (2019, September 5). Retrieved April 1, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/fastfact.html
  • State Fact Sheets. (2019, October 11). Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://afsp.org/about-suicide/state-fact-sheets/#Georgia
  • Suicide Prevention. (2019, July). Retrieved April 2, 2020, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml
  • Suicide Statistics. (2019, April 16). Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://afsp.org/about-suicide/ suicide-statistics/

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.

If you’re interested in learning more about our services, please contact us here.

#HOPEisHere

What is Compassion Fatigue?

Second-hand shock or secondary stress caused by helping others who have suffered trauma or have significant emotional distress. It is often caused by empathy and can imitate symptoms of Post Traumatic stress disorder.

What isn’t Compassion Fatigue?

Fake or made up; “ALL IN YOUR HEAD”

Compassion fatigue is caused by empathy. It is the natural consequence of stress resulting from caring for and helping traumatized or suffering people.

Some other terms you should know…

Vicarious Trauma: Negative transformation in the helper that results from empathic engagement with traumatized individuals, which leads to a reduced sense of spirituality, meaning and hope.

Secondary Traumatic Stress: Individuals become traumatized not by experiencing a traumatic event, but by hearing about it. Can cause symptoms of PTSD including intrusive images, hyper-arousal, distressing emotions, and functional impairment.

Who Experiences Compassion Fatigue?

  • Emergency Workers
  • Nurses
  • Physicians
  • Hospice Staff
  • First Responders
  • Journalists
  • Clergy
  • Social Service Workers
  • Family Members

Who is most at risk? Those who…

  • have a personal history of trauma
  • extend themselves beyond good boundaries of self-care or professional conduct
  • have high caseloads of domestic violence, trauma survivors, sexually/physically abused children
  • have little experience as a social worker
  • have had too much experience as a social worker
  • are experiencing too many negative outcomes

What are symptoms of compassion fatigue?

  • You are falling asleep in meetings, appointments, or sessions.
  • You are dreading an activity you normally enjoy.
  • People keep telling you that you seem “moody”.
  • You cancel appointments more than you keep them.
  • You have a headache….almost daily.
  • There is never enough sleep to be had.
  • Your body aches more than usual.
  • You find yourself becoming emotional with clients, coworkers, or family
    members (empathy turns to sympathy)
  • You hate your job!
  • You are considering that you may not be good at what you do!!

Other symptoms may include:

  • Grief
  • Panic attacks
  • Resentment
  • Memory problems
  • Nightmares
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Apathy
  • Isolation
  • Poor hygiene

Breaking the Cycle

  • Meditate…breathe!!! Deep breathing can promote physical and emotional wellness by decreasing stress and increasing immune system.
  • Creativity is key! Find ways to use your creativity and do something you like. Hobbies can be helpful such as hiking, planting, cooking, or even coloring!
  • Everyone needs to vent! Find a person to vent to that you trust and are comfortable being emotionally vulnerable with.

Addressing Compassion Fatigue

Awareness

  • What types of cases contribute to your stress level increasing your
    vulnerability to compassion fatigue?
  • Take a look at the symptoms of compassion fatigue. Are you aware
    of any of the listed issues or contributing factors in your workday? If
    so, you could be at risk of compassion fatigue.
  • Take a screening inventory: www.proqol.org (Professional quality of
    life information, including compassion fatigue/burnout Professional
    Quality of Life Scale self-test)

Practical Steps: Day to day routines that help break the cycle of
compassion fatigue

  • Sleep adequately…your brain needs a break too. According to studies on Healthguide.org, average adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Eat three balanced meals a day. Balanced nutrition increases energy and levels of concentration.
  • Establish a routine at home and at work and stick with that routine. Consistency helps to create stability.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Express your needs verbally and take positive steps towards changing your environment.
  • Educate yourself on compassion fatigue: http://www.proqol.org/ProQol_Test.html

Keep Balance in Your Life

  • List one mini-escape or diversion that worked well to restore and renew you
  • List one thing that brings you joy
  • Name 3 things you feel grateful for today
  • Think of something that has brought you a sense of joy (Make your top ten list)
  • Who do you love that you can reach out to today? (Call them!)
  • What made you laugh today? (Share it!)
  • Have quiet alone time in a calm, beautiful place- a safe retreat where you feel renewed
  • Have an awareness of what restores and replenishes you.
  • Find ways to acknowledge loss and grief
  • Stay clear with commitment to career goals or your personal mission
  • Know how to focus on what you can control
  • Look at situations as entertaining challenges and opportunities, not problems or stresses

Healthy Boundaries

  • Practicing the art of self-management. “No” is a complete sentence.
  • Developing a healthy support system: people who contribute to your self esteem, people who listen well, people who care
  • Organizing your life so you become proactive as opposed to reactive
  • Reserving your life energy for worthy causes. Choose your battles.
  • Living a balanced life: Sing, dance, sit with silence

Mindfulness and Meditation

  • Developing attention to the present moment and context
  • Attunement – Demonstrating awareness and acceptance of unpleasant or painful emotions, building the capacity to tolerate such emotions in oneself.
  • Egalitarianism – Reminding professionals and staff that they do not hold all of the answers to questions that clients face in the aftermath of a traumatic loss.

Build Connections

  • Talk out your stress- process your thoughts and reactions with someone else (coworker, therapist, clergy, friend, family, supervisor)
  • Build a positive support system that supports you, not fuels your stress
  • Pets accept whatever affection you are able to give them without asking for more. Blood pressure and heart rate decrease when interacting with animals

Don’t give up! You are in the helping profession because you are a helper. Don’t give up on your purpose but find a way to achieve balance. #HOPEisHere