Every parent wants their child to be happy and healthy. They want to see their child playing with buddies and laughing about something silly that happened at school. They want their kid to be carefree. Unfortunately, for children and adolescents who suffer from depression, that isn’t always possible.
Today, May 9, is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and a perfect opportunity for parents to speak to their children about emotional and behavioral health.
“From birth, we are developing skills to regulate our emotions and behaviors,” said Kari Welch, a licensed clinical professional counselor with the Children’s MOSAIC Project, a program of The Children’s Center. “As a parent, it is critical to respond to an upset child without judgment or criticism for what they are feeling, and help them recognize healthy ways to express uncomfortable emotions.” Read the rest of this entry »
Are you or someone you know struggling with unemployment? You aren’t alone. During the past year, the unemployment rate throughout central Illinois, including Springfield, Decatur and Peoria, has increased.
Losing a job can lead to challenging times for many people. The loss of an income is significant, but unemployment can also cause stress, which can bring about emotional and physical problems.
“Unemployment can cause a sudden shift in roles within a family, and that can have a negative impact on someone psychologically,” said Trish Fehr, a licensed clinical professional counselor with Memorial Counseling Associates. “When someone who saw themselves as an employee and wage earner suddenly finds themselves standing in the unemployment line, it’s common for a grief process to begin because of the loss of employment status and their loss of status within their family and society.” Read the rest of this entry »
Have you been hibernating the past few months? Oversleeping? Withdrawing from family, friends and social activities?
If your answers are yes, it’s possible that you are suffering from seasonal affective disorder, a common type of depression during the fall and winter months. Often referred to as SAD, seasonal affective disorder negatively affects a person’s energy levels, which can lead to depression, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness.
Though spring will be here in another month, there’s still time to make a few lifestyle changes that can help alleviate symptoms of SAD.
Here are a few recommendations from Lois McConomy, a licensed clinical social worker at Memorial Counseling Associates: Read the rest of this entry »
For many people, a new year means a fresh start.
It also gives us the opportunity to reflect on the past year and think about how we plan to improve ourselves during the upcoming year. To hold ourselves accountable, we often set goals — or to use a familiar term for this time of year, make resolutions.
Alicia Gatti, a therapist at Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois in Jacksonville, suggests goal-setters keep the following in mind for optimal success: Read the rest of this entry »
Traumatic events, such as the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., can be a challenging topic for parents to discuss with their children. Not only is it an emotional topic, but there are questions that cannot be answered. For many adults, the natural instinct is to protect their child from tragic events so they avoid talking about what happened.
Melissa Stalets, a licensed clinical professional counselor and director of the Children’s MOSAIC Project, a program of The Children’s Center at Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois, advises that parents talk to their children, answer questions and provide reassurance when tragedy strikes — especially when it involves children and schools, a place many consider a safe haven.
Tips for Talking to Children about Tragic Events
The approach a parent takes for the conversation should depend on their child’s age and developmental level. Very young children, such as those 6 and younger, should not be introduced to this tragedy. But shielding them entirely may prove impossible. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Mental Health | Posted on 11-12-2012
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This time of year is often referred to as the season of giving. We buy presents for friends and family. We bake cookies for our postal carrier and garbage collector. We sign up to be a bell ringer for The Salvation Army. We volunteer to help children shop at Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery’s Children’s Holiday Store.
We give and then give some more.
That’s good because it turns out that giving is good for a person’s mental health.
“Giving allows people to experience an increased connection with their community,” said Linda Nowack, a therapist with Memorial Counseling Associates in Springfield. “By giving their time to others, people combat boredom, loneliness and isolation because they are building relationships with individuals and organizations in their community.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Mental Health | Posted on 24-10-2012
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70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. That’s 223.4 million people. In public behavioral health, over 90% of clients have experienced trauma. Trauma is a risk factor in nearly all behavioral health and substance use disorders.
Trauma occurs when a person is completely overwhelmed by certain events or extreme circumstances. People suffering from trauma often respond with intense fear, horror, or feelings of helplessness.In some cases, the extreme stress brought on by trauma overwhelms a person’s capacity to cope. But people can, and do, recover from traumatic experiences every day.
Here is an infographic from the National Council explaining some of the warning signs of trauma, and some helpful tips on how to seek treatment and talk to your doctor. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Mental Health | Posted on 11-09-2012
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Sept. 9-15, 2012 is National Suicide Prevention Week. The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare created this infographic to help spread the word on suicide prevention. Please share this infographic with as many people as possible and help eliminate suicide in the U.S.
Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois is a member of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s network. We have trained professionals who are available to help you deal with the major emotional crises of life 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you or someone you know is in crisis or at risk of suicide, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Read the rest of this entry »
Sadly, suicide continues to be a serious public health problem, especially among youth and young adults.
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the number of attempted suicides among teenagers has increased from 6.3 percent in 2009 to 7.8 percent in 2011. Suicide remains the third leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year olds.
Most young people don’t really want to die, they just want the pain they are experiencing to end, said Kendra Patton, a licensed clinical social worker at The Children’s Center, a program of Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois (MHCCI).
“Suicide is preventable,” Patton said. “If an adult becomes aware of a young person who is experiencing thoughts of suicide, do not ignore them. Oftentimes they feel alone, and if an adult ignores them, it reinforces their thoughts that no one can help. Every expression of suicide must be taken seriously. This lets the young person know you are listening and you care enough to get them help.”
Thoughts of suicide are also on the rise. Of the teens the CDC surveyed, 15.8 percent said they had seriously considered attempting suicide, up from 13.8 percent in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Mental Health | Posted on 20-06-2012
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Traumatic events happen every day – car accidents, physical abuse, divorce, natural disasters and even death. No one is immune to traumatic events.
These experiences can affect a person on many levels — emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually. And unfortunately some traumatic events can be dehumanizing and terrifying and happen multiple times during a person’s life.
“Trauma creates feelings of helplessness, and as a result a person can feel very overwhelmed. Individuals often face challenges in coping with day-to-day life,” said Linda Nowack, a licensed clinical professional counselor at Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois. “Traumatic events can significantly alter an individual’s perception about the world around them and subsequently their own personal identity.”
Many people who experience trauma and are unable to function in their daily life find support by talking to a mental health professional.
“As a counselor, I can guide people so they are empowered to change their life and feel in control again,” Nowack said. “Coping strategies are necessary if a person struggles to deal with the emotional impact of a traumatic event. When a person is able to identify their triggers and warning signs that lead to strong emotional reactions or crisis situations, they are typically more successful at implementing coping strategies to alleviate symptoms.”
- Coping strategies Nowack recommends include:
- Going for a walk or exercising
- Listening to music
- Calling a friend or family member who has a positive outlook
- Spending time alone
“Everyone deals with traumatic events in their own way. If one coping method doesn’t work, I encourage people to try something else,” Nowack said. “Often professional help is needed to deal with trauma and regain emotional well-being and a sense of control. It’s important to know that you are not alone and help is available.”