By: Stephanie Albertz, MSW, LISW-S, TRCC
Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) is recognized each year to bring attention to and reduce the stigma of mental health. Removing the stigma associated with mental health opens the door to support, treatment, and healing for the thousands of Americans who go without each year.
The term mental health is often used negatively as descriptor of an affliction or suffering. But the truth is, we all deal with mental health every day and some of us require support to manage it. Mental health looks like stress, anxiety, depression - things most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. It can also look like trauma, PTSD, and suicidal ideations.
The reality is, no matter how small or big your mental health concern is, left untended it can fester and lead to more serious outcomes.
The good news is, by working together we can be the change. We can celebrate those who ask for help. We can normalize mental health care. And we can eradicate the shame linked to mental health.
So how do we destigmatize mental health?
Reducing the stigma of mental health can be done in a variety of ways. Below are a few suggestions to #SilenceStigma but perhaps the best way is to keep talking about mental health.
Silence Stigma Tip #1: Educate yourself and others.
Like most health conditions, mental health concerns can present different in everyone. We often hear the media associate egregious acts with people who “are suffering from a mental health break.” While that account could be true, it also doesn’t mean that all people who have mental health concerns are violent. In fact, that is the minority. Deepening your knowledge of mental health creates space for empathy, understanding, and support.
In your quest to educate yourself it is important to use credible sources like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health America, SAMHSA, and MentalHealth.gov.
Lastly, acknowledge mental health myths exist. Not everything you hear about mental health is true. Know the facts and the myths.
Silence Stigma Tip #2: Stop the shame.
There is no shame in accessing mental health support. We must liken mental health diagnoses to any other medical condition. Can you imagine if people who have diabetes were shamed and judged for taking insulin? Accessing mental health support is no different. We should applaud the bravery of those who have the courage to ask for help and support them in their journey.
Silence Stigma Tip #3: A person is not their diagnosis.
As humans, we made of many parts. Our heritage, biology, culture, education, employment, health conditions, relationships, an endless list of communities and identities to which we belong. We are a sum of our parts, and no single piece of our makeup should be allowed to define who we are as a person.
If you find yourself saying “that schizophrenic person” or “that suicidal person” check yourself. Question yourself. Is that descriptor necessary for the conversation you’re having? If it is, reframe your statement to use person first language. Such as, “a person in my parenting group has depression…”
Silence Stigma Tip #4: Be a support.
When a person comes to you and asks for help, there are three important things you should do:
Once you listen, validate, and believe, ask them what type of support they need. If they are in crisis, ask how you can help them feel safe. Offer to go to an intake appointment with them or drive them to an emergency room. Simply being there for the person is enough.
Silence Stigma Tip #5: Recovery is not a straight line.
There is a reason people say, “it’s a journey” when talking about mental health. A person does not heal or learn to cope overnight. Continue offering support to a person by asking them how they are doing and what they are working on.
If this is the first time a person has sought mental health support, it will take time for them to discover their own path.
Oftentimes people are thrown from their journey when they are triggered by a trauma or experience that led them to begin their journey in the first place. Do not shame the person. Give grace and acknowledge their hard work.
Reducing the stigma of mental health will take the collective efforts of us all. Your participation in fundraising efforts and community trainings for mental health are important and appreciated.
Join the mental health awareness movement – your support is lifesaving.
Reaching out for help can be one of the hardest things anyone can ever do, but it also takes a lot of
By now, we have all seen our ability as human beings, to come together and impact change. Cancel culture has become a modern movement for change, but is it really as helpful as it is advertised to be? Cancel culture is a modern form of withdrawing support for public figures or companies after they have done something considered offensive.
Public figure Ellen Degeneres, whose motto is “be kind” and who would showcase philanthropy and kindness on her show, was cancelled due to accusations that the work environment on her show was the exact opposite of her motto. Several employees came forward to open up about a toxic work culture that fostered anything but kindness. Degeneres offered an apology and several executives of the show walked away entirely.
A popular planner company founder, Erin Condren, was cancelled along with her brand after she was accused of using Black Lives Matter to stage her daughter’s graduation party/walk. Customers quickly began to take a stance and Condren took a leave of absence from the company.
I believe in holding people and companies accountable for their actions and I also believe in redemption. We all have the capacity for change and we are all doing the best we can with respect to where we are in our lives. Many people do not see the intimate details of our life that help define our choices, values, beliefs and behavior. So how can we create a space for cancel culture to become a growth culture?
We have all made mistakes throughout the journey of our lives and we will continue to do so - we are human. Our behaviors impact others stories in ways we may never even imagine. We have all been the hero, the sidekick, the villain and the background character in someone else's story. I like to believe that from these experiences, we grow. We learn, we change our behavior and we shift as we go on this journey of life.
As a society we of course need to hold others accountable when they do wrong, but could we also not give people grace and a chance to learn and grow into becoming better? We have all made mistakes, we have all judged one another - so why can we not offer each other grace? Forgiveness is a powerful thing and without it, we become resentful, hurt, angry. I believe in creating a culture that is deeper than just cancelling someone or something. A culture that goes beyond that and moves toward growth.
The company mentioned earlier, Erin Condren, has a new CEO and although she did not have knowledge of what their founder was doing in June of 2020, she took full responsibility for the ramifications that it has had on the company and developed an ongoing plan to change their company culture and hold not only the company, but all their employees, to a higher standard. Since the incident in June, the company has gotten feedback from customers and updated monthly on concrete actions and steps they are taking to change and grow.
This leaves us with a decision - we can keep cancel culture as is or we can take accountability a step further and move forward together. Some who have been cancelled may not make steps toward change, but for those who do - I believe we should offer grace and give a chance to grow and learn. If we are never given a chance to learn from our mistakes and missteps in life - we will never be able to move forward.
My question to you - what are your thoughts on cancel culture?
This year, we all have had to adjust quickly. With warm weather coming, that means summer is just around the corner but this time is also going to look different.
Keeping a schedule during the summer will help not only you still be sane during this time but also give your child(ren) the stability they need during this time. A routine will help your child(ren) have some predictability during this time of uncertain. The schedule does not have to look like boot camp, but a loose schedule.
Create a visual schedule and for younger children – including pictures!
● Sit down with your family at the start of summer and create a “Summer Bucket List.” This can help build excitement and allows your kids to provide input as to how they would like to spend their time.
● Utilize themes to help spark your creativity, but also establish a sense of consistency throughout each week:
○ Messy Monday – do an art project with finger paints or practice writing in shaving cream, or make a mud pie!
○ Wet Wednesday – visit different pools or splash pads or have a water balloon fight in your backyard!
○ Fun Friday – explore a new playground each week or do something different like visit the virtual zoo or the virtual aquarium! You get the idea!
As our summer activities are going to look different with limited summer camps, vacations, and fun gatherings; but that does not mean you cannot have fun at home!
Parks and Trails
Metro Parks of Butler County have an updated list of the parks that are open and closed with guidelines https://www.yourmetroparks.net/covid-19
Great Parks of Hamilton County have an updated list of the parks that are open and closed on https://www.greatparks.org/covid-19
Warren County Park DIstricts have all their parks open with restrictions https://www.co.warren.oh.us/parks/
Five Rivers Metropark of Montogomery County have all their parks open with restrictions https://www.metroparks.org/alerts/
Virtual Summer Camps
Varsity Tutors are offering FREE week-long virtual summer camps Ages: 5-18 Price: FREE Dates: June - August https://www.varsitytutors.com/virtual-summer-camp-catalog
Operation Exploration: Backyard Biosphere Virtual Day Camp Ages: 8–12 Price: $25/camper Dates: May 26–29, 2020, 9:30 a.m. https://www.greatparks.org/discovery/children/day-camps
Joffrey Ballet Ages: 9-16 Price: $145 per week Dates: June 15-19, June 29-July 3, July 13-17 http://joffrey.org/academy/programs-and-divisions/summer-camps
Music Institute of Chicago Ages: 8-Adulthood Price: Varies Dates: June-August https://www.musicinst.org/2020-summer-programs
Cub Scout Adventure Box Age: 1-6 grade Price: $55.00 per box Dates: June-August https://scoutingevent.com/160-adventurebox
Virtual Field Trips
On this virtual field trip from Dairy Council of California, students will learn all about dairy farming, including how milk and dairy foods are produced and the nutritional benefits of dairy products. https://www.healthyeating.org/Schools/Mobile-Dairy-Classroom/Farm-to-You-Virtual-Field-Trip
The Cincinnati Museum Center has developed a lot of videos for your child(ren) to continue learning during this time. https://www.cincymuseum.org/wonderzone/
There are so many amazing online options when it comes to zoos that we couldn’t narrow it down to just one. Most zoos and aquariums have live webcams in some of their most popular exhibits. San Diego Zoo: https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/live-cams Smithsonian’s National Zoo: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/webcams Denver Zoo: https://denverzoo.org/zootoyou/ Memphis Zoo: https://www.memphiszoo.org/animal-cams Australia Zoo: https://www.zoo.org.au/animals-at-home/ National Aquarium in Washington D.C.: http://samuraivirtualtours.com/example/nadc/index.html Georgia Aquarium: https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/webcam/ocean-voyager/ Monterey Bay Aquarium: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams Tropical Reef: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F109TZt3nRc
Learn about a variety of different farms including pigs, grain, and minks just to name a few. https://www.farmfood360.ca/
Take a tour of the Boston Children’s Museum. https://www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/museum-virtual-tour
Smithsonian’s National Museums of National History with current and past exhibits: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has 26 galleries available to view right from your home. https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/the-metropolitan-museum-of-art
Explore the sky above us with Stellarium on their star map. https://stellarium-web.org/
Google Earth has made virtual tours of National Parks across the country. https://email@example.com,-94.20828246,312.21005962a,12000000d,35y,0h,0 t,0r/data=Ci0SKxIgMzVhNjc1YmQ0NjVjMTFlOTg0Yjg1NTMyNWRjMDk2MzQiB3ZveV90b2M
Go to the Channel Islands in California to watch our National bird sit on her nest. https://www.nps.gov/chis/learn/photosmultimedia/bald-eagle-webcam.htm
Travel the world and explore the nature that the earth has to offer. https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/who-we-are/how-we-work/youth-engagement/nature-lab/ virtual-field-trips/
Walk famous trails of Yellowstone park. https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtours.htm
On live webcams; witness Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin in the Yellowstone Park. https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm
Learn about what it takes to be a service dog with these live streams of puppies being trained! https://explore.org/livecams/warrior-canine-connection/service-puppy-cam
The Great Lakes are a huge staple in our country, learn more about them through a field trip. https://www.greatlakesnow.org/virtual-field-trip/
Interested in Goats, the Beekman 1802 has a goat live stream: https://beekman1802.com/pages/the-goats
Explore art around the world with https://artsandculture.google.com/
Visit Ellis Island to learn about the Statue of Liberty and tour the museum. http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/immigration/webcast.htm
Explore cities all over the world, jump out of a plane at 10,000 feet, and jump in the ocean to swim with the sharks. https://www.360cities.net/
Home Activities and Crafts
DIY is a safe environment with step-by-step videos that contain no ads. The site is free for 14-days then it is a monthly subscription. The videos range in age-appropriate of 3-16. Have your kids be creative and use their imagination this summer. https://diy.org/#courses
The Cincinnati Zoo has videos of learning to go along with crafts of over 20 of their animals. http://cincinnatizoo.org/home-safari-resources/
Nature Hunt: Summer is the perfect time for children to observe and enjoy nature for the whole family. Come up with a list of flowers, birds, plants, insects, and much more for your child(ren) to find in your backyard or in the park. Taking pictures of all your finds to share with others.
Water Games: Everyone get ready to get wet, play tag using a hose, transfer water from one bucket to another with only a sponge, jump around in the sprinkler, play soggy dodgeball, and water balloons.
Family Book Club: Everyone gets a book and shares what they have learned or the storyline with the family on a designated day.
Family Movie Night: Go around the family members each time to choose the movie; so no one gets left out. Enjoy healthy snacks with blankets and pillows.
Backyard Camping: Pull out the tent, sleeping bags, flashlights and enjoy your backyard. Or your living room if you are not fond of the bugs outside.
Jigsaw Puzzle: Complete a puzzle that the whole family likes then once it is complete glue it to put up within your home.
Northwestern has courses over the summer to allow your child to continue learning and even earn High School Credit. Ages: 3-18 Price: Varies Date: June-August https://www.ctd.northwestern.edu/courses?program_type=550&season=560&sort=alpha
San Diego Zoo Global Academy Ages 13+ Price: Free Date: All Summer https://sdzglobalacademy.org/coursewereheretogetherfreespecies.html
Super Soccer Stars is creating opportunity for your child to keep up with their soccer skills and develop more skills to show off when they get to the field. Ages: 8-18 Price: Varies Date: Present till August http://newyork.supersoccerstars.com/digital/
Baketivity sends a box of ingredients for your child to make a dessert for 4 weeks. Ages: 8-16 Price: Varies: one-time box and then 4-week camp Date: Ongoing https://baketivity.com/camp/
Chess New York City has moved its learning to online! Ages: 4-18 Price: Starting at $18 Date: Ongoing https://chessnyc.com/
Best Buy Geek Squad Academy Ages: 10-18 Price: Free Date: Ongoing 4 activities https://corporate.bestbuy.com/geek-squad-academy-at-home/
Camp WIT is a camp that empowers teens to become leaders and entrepreneurs. Ages: 13-18 Price: Free but needs an application and Zoom interview Date: June 1- June 26 https://corporate.bestbuy.com/geek-squad-academy-at-home/
The Nature Lab has developed curriculums on how to help our planet be the healthiest it can be. Grades: K-12 Price: Free Date: Ongoing https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/who-we-are/how-we-work/youth-engagement/nature-lab/
This list was compiled by child counselor Mariah Goodwin, MA,LPC.
Mental Health an Emerging Crisis of COVID Pandemic
Americans are reporting high levels of emotional distress from the coronavirus pandemic -- levels that some experts warn may lead to a national mental health crisis.
“Our society is definitely in a collective state of trauma,” said Jonathan Porteus, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist who oversees the crisis and suicide hotline in Sacramento, CA. Unlike posttraumatic stress disorder, which surfaces after a trauma has ended, the country is only starting to grapple with the pandemic’s psychological fallout, he said.
“We do see an emerging potential crisis,” said Karestan Koenen, PhD, a professor of psychiatric epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, during an online forum this week.
Another recent report, released Friday from the Well Being Trust, said the pandemic could lead to 75,000 additional “deaths of despair” from drug and alcohol misuse and suicide due to unemployment, social isolation, and fears about the virus.
A recent poll of more than 3,100 WebMD readers found that 26% said they felt a sense of trauma from COVID-19.
Koenen, who has studied other major disasters, sees problematic differences this time, including how long-lasting the pandemic may become and how it has affected the whole world.
“We know that social support is so important to buffer the effects of disasters, to help pull people out of disasters, and here, we see that because of physical distancing … we’re sort of robbed of some of that social support, so that’s extra-challenging.
“In terms of this specific situation, we’re really treading new ground.”
Mental Health’s First Responders
At the nation’s crisis and suicide hotlines, counselors are seeing the first waves of emotional distress. Callers have flooded the phone lines to talk about health fears, job losses, relationship strains, and lonely days spent in isolation.
Calls to the Sacramento crisis line increased 40% from February to March, according to Porteus, the CEO of WellSpace Health, which operates the hotline. In a year-to-year comparison, April’s call volume was 58% greater than in April 2019, he said.
Lauren Ochs, MA, a counselor who takes crisis calls in St. Louis, MO, has also talked to many more people since the pandemic started, averaging 25-35 calls during her 8-hour shifts, she said. “About 80% to 85% at least mention COVID. That might not be their primary problem, but some way, somehow, they’re affected by it.”
Calls also have risen significantly at the San Diego Access and Crisis Line in California, said Program Manager Heather Aston.
“We’ve seen an increase in more anxiety-driven calls,” Aston said. Some people are worried about COVID-like symptoms. “They want to know where can they go to get safely tested.” Others are concerned about family members. One woman called for advice on how to help a sister who had stopped eating and drinking and was having paranoid thoughts about COVID-19, Aston said.
In a recent opinion piece published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, warned of an upcoming wave of mental disorders because of coronavirus.
He noted that “large-scale disasters, whether traumatic (the World Trade Center attacks or mass shootings), natural (hurricanes), or environmental (Deepwater Horizon oil spill), are almost always accompanied by increases in depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorder, a broad range of other mental and behavioral disorders, domestic violence, and child abuse."
The COVID-19 pandemic would likely produce a similar “overflow of mental illness,” he said.
He cited examples:
The mental health effects can happen immediately and last over time, he wrote.
The pandemic also comes at a time when people already struggled to get mental health care, often due to cost, lack of access, and a shortage of providers. As people who had been getting help before stay-at-home orders found their care interrupted, some providers have begun to offer telehealth services.
Charles Jones, the CEO of MDLive, a large telehealth provider, told MedCity News that his company has seen increased demand for behavioral health services from patients who are stressed out about health or work issues. Cigna, one of the largest providers of mental health services, launched a toll-free, 24-hour help line for the public to speak to behavioral health specialists.
From isolation to anxiety to excess drinking, coronavirus has touched almost every area of life, said Lan Nguyen, a suicide and crisis services program manager for the hotline in Santa Clara County in Northern California.
For many callers, community shutdowns have bred a deep sense of isolation, he said. “People complain that they are stuck in the house all day. They don’t know what to do.”
On the home front, relationships can be strained, Porteus said. “Families are kind of a tinderbox, especially in confined areas.” Children may now face a greater risk of abuse, especially since they can no longer find respite at school. “There are a lot of family dynamics that are not healthy, and now kids have to be in them full-time,” he said.
The same goes for victims of domestic violence, according to Porteus. “People can’t get out of their homes, so they’re more enmeshed with the perpetrators than ever before.”
The St. Louis hotline has heard from many struggling health care workers and others, Ochs said. “I recently talked with an eighth-grade teacher who was in a lot of emotional distress about the school year ending early,” Ochs said. “I don’t think any teacher was really prepared for the school year to just stop.” Not only was he grieving the abrupt loss of his students, but he had little chance to say good-bye. “He was a teacher in a high-poverty area, so it’s hard to reach out to [his students]. It’s hard to Zoom with them, it’s hard to make contact with them.”
Those who have lost jobs or been furloughed have called about financial worries, according to Nguyen.
Besides the financial impact, losing a job can be emotionally devastating, Porteus said. “Our identity is really hit and sometimes, it feels catastrophic. Many of the people who are calling don’t know who they’ve become. They’ve lost what they feel is everything, and they’ve also lost their social context.”
Recently, the San Diego hotline helped one older man who had called in about losing his job as a chef, Aston said. “He had roughly $20 in his checking account and he was suicidal.”
Intense stressors like job loss and fears for one’s life and health can contribute to substance abuse. The Sacramento hotline also has gotten more calls from people struggling with alcohol or substance problems, Porteus said. Overall, alcohol sales have gone up nationwide, and now, some restaurants will deliver alcohol with takeout food orders.
“One thing [counselors] are noticing, especially with older adults, is ‘Yeah, I’m drinking. Why not? I’m not going anywhere. I don’t have to drive. I don’t have all the normal constraints while I’m around people,’” Porteus said.
At a time when coronavirus efforts have battered many state budgets, it could be difficult to fund future mental health services. But some experts are looking ahead.
In his JAMA article, Galea wrote: “Scaling up treatment in the midst of crisis will take creative thinking.” He suggested training lay people to provide psychological first aid, as well as “helping teach the lay public to check in with one another and provide support. Even small signs that someone cares could make a difference in the early stages of social isolation.”
He also advocated for more telemedicine mental health visits.
In its report, the Well Being Trust urged policy makers to consider three areas to combat mental health issues:
“If the country continues to ignore the collateral damage -- specifically our nation’s mental health -- we will not come out of this stronger,” said Benjamin F. Miller, PsyD, chief strategy officer at Well Being Trust.
Even if an epidemic of mental illness is looming, counselors say that people are resilient and can strive to protect their emotional well-being.
Experts offered these tips:
When people are in crisis, he said, it’s helpful to go online to learn about “distress tolerance” skills, which involve accepting that some problems are beyond one’s control. Instead of becoming mired in feelings of unfairness and anger, people can learn healthier ways of thinking and coping when they can’t escape painful situations.
For those who have lost jobs, he suggests looking up interest inventories -- questionnaires that ask you to rate your enjoyment and interest in a wide variety of activities -- to explore career options. “You can figure out the kinds of things that you’re good at and start getting a sense of what your next steps might be."
Taking constructive steps can help to counteract a downward spiral, he said.
“People look at the pandemic and they tend to be drawn to the negative. If we can help shift people to look at the positive, it really helps because we know that neurons that fire together wire together,” Aston said. “We’re going to be able to see the positive more quickly.”
Shared from WebMD
Katherine Kam wrote this story while participating in the USC Center for Health Journalism‘s 2020 California Fellowship.
WebMD Health News Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on May 08, 2020
Coping with Covid is a new group at Compass Point for Individuals trying to figure out life during the ongoing Pandemic. Please join us as we find meaning, purpose and life satisfaction in this 'new normal.'
This group may be a fit for you if -
- You live in Ohio
- You have a smart phone, tablet or computer with internet connection
- The pandemic has affected your day-to-day life
-Changes have caused you stress, anxiety, etc.
This group will cover different mental health topics including yips, tricks and resources we can use to build awareness, motivation and coping skills.
To schedule, click here to register online or call our front office at 888-830-0347
Millions of people in the U.S. are affected by mental illness each year. It’s important to measure how common mental illness is, so we can understand its physical, social and financial impact — and so we can show that no one is alone. These numbers are also powerful tools for raising public awareness, stigma-busting and advocating for better health care.
The information on these infographics and this page comes from studies conducted by organizations like Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Justice. The terminology used reflects what is used in original studies. Terms like “serious mental illness,” “mental illness” or “mental health disorders” may all seem like they’re referring to the same thing, but in fact refer to specific diagnostic groups for that particular study.
You Are Not Alone
Mental Health Care Matters
Provided by NAMI
With all of the new stressors impacting each of us during this time, we now more than ever need to take proactive steps to be mindful and find joy in our days. Although we cannot simply wish the pandemic away, we can add a few simple activities to help us cope with our ever-evolving reality.
Below we are sharing a list of what some of our providers here at Compass Point are doing while working from home proving tele-therapy, a list of what our clinicians have recommended to their clients as well as a general list inspired by Marsha Linehan, professor of psychology at the University of Washington, and the creator of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), of activities that can be accomplished in limited time, within ones own home. Many of the items are also friendly for families with young children.
A lot of our clients familiar with DBT will know that our groups use lists like this to help participants identify activities they can use to boost their mood and cope with challenges. While many of us need this in the best of times, most of us need to find what works and how to find balance again in the wake of COVID-19.
What we're doing at Compass Point
Our team at Compass Point have been working remotely from home offering tele-therapy and practicing social distancing for over a month now. I asked them to share the activities and behaviors that have been helping them.
Compass Point Clinicians share their tips
Since sessions have still been taking place via tele-therapy, clinicians have given quite a few activities they have been recommending to clients to de-stress. I asked them to share a few with us.
Looking for more ideas?
The below list is inspired by Marsha Linehans list of distracting, pleasurable activities
Our Feelings During This Weird Time in our History
Talking to clients, family and friends about the quarantine, I am hearing many of the same things. “I’m feeling tired. This is getting old. I don’t know what to do with my time. I’m really irritable. When is this going to end? This is making me more anxious than I had been. I feel sad. I feel depressed. What’s going to happen with my kid’s school? What’s going to happen to my job? What does the new normal look like?” It is so normal to have any and all of these feelings and questions. Basically, all of us have had our lives turned upside down by this virus and quarantine.
I know the moms and dads who are trying to work from home and monitor their kid’s school work are very stressed. The people who work in restaurants are wondering when and if they will have a job. Students are missing proms, graduations and most of all just being with friends. Kids who need structure are not adapting well to distance learning, not to mention the teachers who were given no time to adapt lesson plans. College students who are graduating wonder when and if they will be able to get a job. And, over and above all the anxiety producing situations each of us are in, we all have the over- arching worry about the virus itself, “Will I get it, will someone I love get it?” It is scary!
So, again, all normal to be stressed, anxious, sad, afraid, but we can all have hope this quarantine will not last forever. In the meantime, we can do things to help ourselves through this time. We can use coping strategies.
I watched a brief training from trauma expert, Bessel von der Kolk and he discussed how this quarantine has Preconditions for Trauma. He talked about why this is true, but more importantly, he gave ideas on how to navigate through this time to come out the other end feeling OK. Here are the problems he outlined and the ways we can combat the effects:
The important thing is to know you are not alone in this. All of us have struggles of some sort. This is a time to be gentle on yourself, to treat yourself like you would treat your best friend and remind yourself you will be OK. This, too, shall pass.
Monday Morning April 13th, doing our best to be at arms length and beyond to stay healthy and give you the best information we can find. I am working on getting Dr.Amy Acton, Local area Hospitals and other medical professionals to here how it is here.
Dr. Charles Roberts joins us right now. Dr.Roberts is a mental health expert. Dr, what we know is that anytime things change for people, like that book "who moved my cheese" and all that. Thats hard for some people. Isn't it? its like "my daily routine is upset, so I am not very happy."
That is so true. Good morning, Joel . Good to be with you.
When you talk about those kinds of things, what are best practices? What can I do to impact my mental state, my physical state, and make things easier for me moving forward?
Well, you started off talking about routine and I think you are right on it with that. Our brains use routines to streamline information. We are constantly filtering out what is important or not important and routines really help us do that. Like were going to listen to one radio station at a time, so when we have all kinds of upset in routines like what we have right now. Its like listening to multiple radio stations all at one time, not super effective and overloading. That is excatly what is going on.
Thats the thing though. People are so hungry for information about the Cornonavirus, its spread, its impact, if I do get this will there be people available to take care of me? Those kinds of things, how do you step away from that kind of information when that is all that people seem to care about right now?
Dr. Roberts - Well, you kind of have to force yourself to do it. Part of it really is setting a routine. Setting a time to check in with the outside world. A time to check the news, a time to do all that. People joke about "wine with Dewine" here in Ohio, but I think that gives people a time to sit down do that and then say okay, now the rest of the day I am going to do things that I need to do, focus on things close to home, that I can control.
Right. Is it just the nature of being productive? Like, hey, I cant go to work, I am not doing what I normally do, so I am going to identify things around the house and get those done so I have a sense of accomplishment?
Accomplishments part of it, but part of it is just staying busy and keeping your mind occupied. Practice being mindful. At any one thing at any point on time.
There is the whole "alone together" thing too. I get the concept of it, but I am missing being around people. Usually by 8/8:30 this place is vibrant. I mean, 70/80/90 employees. Communication people we tend to be kind of loud. Were mixing it up and were having fun. This morning there's like 8 people here. I am going home after work. I love my wife, I love my son, but I don't have any contact with buddies or going out to dinner, being in crowds. How can you handle that loneliness?
Well, Joel. you're even one of the lucky ones. Cause you're getting out and seeing 8 people each day. That's pretty good. Our brains are required to have new experiences. Were not meant to be isolated, even isolated alone with the same people, its isolated. No new experiences, no new information, no new jokes. You know, its like sitting with the same people all the time, intellectual inbreeding. So reaching out and face timing and using some of this technology that we have. Its really, really interesting it can help a lot.
Its funny, yesterday, my wife was cooking for Easter and my folks live about 20 miles from us so I texted them that we were going to bring a little care package. We did that and we sat outside and talked, even though it wasnt particularly warm, but they're both in their 80s so were very concerned about spreading anything. We may not be showing symptoms, we could have it and we dont want them to get it. So is that even relatively in the realm of okay? We sat the chairs 10 feet apart just so we can kid of see each other, or do you recommend the face time and the electronic things like that? Is that a better way to handle it.
I am always a fan of getting as much personal contact as possible. As long as that can be done safetly, following the CDCs social distancing guidelines right now, I think thats great. Human contact is important.
No doubt. I wonder too, people who are depressed or have anxiety, theyre looking back theyre looking ahead. A lot of people right now, they're looking ahead and wondering, Is it going to get to May first and is it going to be May 15th or wait till June. Once I get back, what am I going back to? So what can I do to answer those questions so I am not as anxious about whats to come?
I think you mentioned that people with anxiety look forward a lot about what is to come and there is a lot that we do not know. There is a lot that we do know though. Our families will still be our families (as long as we dont run them out of the house while social distancing) you know, were still going to have some semblance of American life. Some things will transition, but that's looking forward. If you keep yourself grounded in the present, this moment now, I mean look how different our lives are now. It wont be this different. It will be more like what it used to be. So the big thing has already happened.
Thats a good point. This is as low as it gets and we should be on the upward swing. So, you know, that should buoy your spirits a little bit. I am curious too. I dont know there will be necessarily a social war or civil war over it, but there are going to be people who are released to work first. Whatever essential worker means, there will some companies will say you're good to go or there will be testing that is released and some people will be able to get a hold of it quicker and theyll be cleared to work. How do I fight that feeling. How do I fight the jealous or upset feelings that someone else gets to get back to their life quicker than I do?
I think its more of a mindset framing for ourselves. Were all part of a team here. If you look at our economy its so connected. All the different business, the people who are repairing things they have to go to the part store, the transportation has to be there. All that is still going to happen, that needs to happen. So its all going to get turned on, just we don't know in what order.
Fascinating. Thats the thing, a lot of times when you're just a cog in the wheel and your doing what you do everyday you dont really have to consider that. Dr. That was a lot great information and things for people to think about and hopefully work through so when we do get the green light we can get back to it and everyone will be happy and healthy moving forward.
Compass Point Counseling Services helps you find direction in meeting your goals and living your dreams. For our clients, we are a community of therapists treating a community of clients. We strive to bring HOPE and HEALING to all that we are privileged to serve. For our colleagues, we are a place for collaboration, consultation and continuing education so that we may support our community of clients with our fullest potential. For more information, visit us at compasspointcounseling.net and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest and read our blog at compasspointcounseling.net/blog.
“Teletherapy is the online delivery of speech, occupational, and mental health therapy services via high-resolution, live video conferencing.”
Teletherapy, also known as online therapy, e-therapy, or video therapy, is therapy delivered through a virtual platform via a computer. If you’ve ever used FaceTime or Skype, it’s essentially the same thing – except secure and with a qualified therapist or counselor at the other end. Tele- Therapy is considered a highly effective method for therapy delivery.
Why should you consider Tele-Therapy?
Access to care, for you or your loved ones, wherever you are.
Convenient hours—day, evening and weekend sessions to work with your schedule
3. Safe + Secure
Safe, secure and easy-to-use platforms that are HIPAA compliant
4. Reduced Wait
At Compass Point we are able to get new appointments scheduled within days, not weeks.
Insurance companies do cover tele-therapy. Compass Point accepts most commercial insurance plans, Medicare and credit card payments
6. Specialized care
See a provider who specializes in the concern bringing you in. This is great for small towns who lack local resources or where specialized care like DBT are unavailable.
At compass Point you will meet with the some clinician at every appointment. This means you can connect and grow with someone who knows you.
FACE COVID offers a set of practical steps for responding effectively to the Corona crisis, using the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
F = Focus on what’s in your control
A = Acknowledge your thoughts & feelings
C = Come back into your body
E = Engage in what you’re doing
C = Committed action
O = Opening up
V = Values
I = Identify resources
D = Disinfect & distance
Russ Harris is an internationally acclaimed acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) trainer and author of the best-selling ACT-based self-help book The Happiness Trap, which has sold more than 600,000 copies and has been published in thirty languages. He is widely renowned for his ability to teach ACT in a way that is simple, clear, and fun—yet extremely practical.
As boredom sets in during this COVID-19 crisis, I have noticed the increased need for structure and a schedule. So, the age-old question becomes even more pertinent: where do I begin?
I really can’t begin to label or quantify the value of good self-care. Humans are equipped with amazing capabilities to self-regulate…if only we had the energy and desire to use them! In DBT, there is a skill (acronym) called the PLEASE skill, and I believe it is the answer to the question posed above.
I am going to focus on three components of PLEASE: Sleeping, Eating, and Exercising.
Sleep. Just do it, stop fighting it…put your Smartphone away and close your eyes. Did you know that your brain cannot convert anything into memory until you are asleep? The Disney Pixar movie Inside Out had a lot of great content that helps drive this point home (it was quite factually accurate!). In the movie, the main character Riley didn’t have her memory balls moved from short-term memory into her long-term memory until she slept! Our bodies are not machines; on a cellular level your body needs sleep to repair itself. Sleep allows time for the immune system to do its job and ward off viruses and bacterial infections. During this time of illness-anxiety, sleep is a kind gesture you can do for yourself to maximize the immunity in your own body! Sleep will also help you reduce your overall stress level. So next time you want to watch the next episode on Netflix, play the next level on a game, or return one more e-mail, ask yourself what you need more: your health and sanity or screen time…
Eat. A balanced diet helps alleviate mood swings. We (generalizing for Americans) live on a cycle of sugar highs and sugar lows. We have a habit of eating low quality breakfast (…if we eat any breakfast at all…) which floods the brain with chemicals and overwhelms our neuro-functioning; this results in you feeling hyper, a spike of motivation, and a burst of energy (yay!). As a result of this flooding however; our bodies secrete insulin to suck up all the sugar like a vacuum leaving us feeling lethargic and moody (not so yay…). This cycle repeats itself after lunch and dinner as well. Think about it…when do you reach for the candy bar? 10am, 2pm, 9pm…a few hours after each meal! Eating a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats ensures that our food (including a healthy amount of sugar) gets broken down over time and reduces that roller coaster of moodiness. While in quarantine, I want you to focus on mindful eating and try to keep it balanced and healthy!
Exercise. I feel like this is a mute point in some ways. My goal is not to be preachy; it is to motivate you into action. The science behind working out is limitless and boils down to this: if you move your body your mind will feel better. Physical exercise can helps your brain secret endorphins, adrenaline, and dopamine…all of which alleviate depressive symptoms. Consider for a moment the cost of getting those chemicals elsewhere: prescription drugs, theme parks, extramarital affairs… Are those effective or realistic on a regular basis? Exercise also builds mastery. If you become fluent and experienced in a form of movement (yoga, running, lifting weights) it will build your confidence and overall satisfaction in life. What can you do from home? I have seen a wide variety of online videos being posted on Facebook from different organizations, there are a seemingly limitless supply on YouTube, or you could go for a walk around your neighborhood.
For the full PLEASE skill, please refer to this graphic:
update - offices begin reopening on May 04,2020
Dear friend of Compass Point,
Out of concern for the health of our clients and staff members, and in light of steps taken by the State of Ohio in the last few days to reduce the risk of transmission of the Coronavirus, we have made the decision to close our offices and to discontinue all in-person therapy sessions until we receive confirmation from regional health authorities that the threat of transmission has passed. This policy becomes effective Monday, March 16, 2020 at 8:00 a.m.
During this period, we will replace in-person therapy with telehealth sessions. Our telehealth platform is HIPAA-compliant, tailored to behavioral health sessions and user-friendly. Sessions delivered via telehealth are reimbursable by commercial insurance and Medicare at the same rate as in-person visits. And we are able to accept payments for sessions, deductibles and co-pays/co-insurances via credit card. All clients require for a telehealth session is a personal computer or a mobile phone with webcam and an Internet connection.
If you currently have a session scheduled at one of our locations, a member of our team will be contacting you to reschedule using our telehealth platform. Please be aware they are calling from personal phones, so the number may show up to as a blocked or restricted caller.
Now that Compass Point has settled into Tele-therapy, we are hoping to serve our community with additional resources.
Things like; mental health tips, mindful minutes, activities to do with kids, etc.
If this is something you would benefit from, please comment below with a topic you would love to hear more about as well as what platform you would prefer to see it on (ie, our blog vsfacebook live.)
Thank you for your flexibility during this time. We’re grateful to continue to serve the healthcare needs of our community.
Your friends at Compass Point Counseling Services
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Compass Point is now offering Mental Health Services in Mason, Ohio
Compass Point Counseling Services, a mental health private practice, is partnering with Lee Side Wellness, a psychiatric practice, to bring comprehensive mental health and psychiatric services to a brand new location in Mason.
The new Mason location will open Monday, August 5th in a 1,600-square-foot located conveniently right off of interstate 71 at 3615 Socialville-Foster Rd, Mason, Ohio 45040.
This partnership will allow a “one stop” comprehensive experience to our mutual clients who are looking for quality mental health care In addition to medication management as well as TMS treatment for chronic depression. Both mental health facilities are grounded in the core values that all people matter, are of sacred worth, and warrant the finest in mental health and psychiatric healthcare.
The office will open with 7 clinicians: Chrisha Anderson, Stephanie Baker, Debra Bruemmer, James Canfield, Geralyn Cleary, Mariah Goodwin and Dana Mcdonald. The new location will have 5 individual therapy rooms along with a large group therapy space.
“Good mental health is essential to our overall health and gives us the sense of well-being we need to live fulfilling and satisfying lives," said Founder Charles Roberts.
Compass Point offers comprehensive behavioral health services for all ages, including addictions recovery, adolescents, dialectical behavior therapy, disordered eating, family therapy and a mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy program for those with chronic health conditions.
Lee Side Wellness nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and psychiatrists assess, diagnose, and manage a variety of conditions through psychotropic medication management.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports one in five American adults will experience mental illness within a year — with about 60 percent of people not seeking out mental health services.
“This can have devastating consequences, as recent government reports show. For the third year in a row, life expectancy in the United States has fallen, primarily due to drug overdoses and suicides, conditions that are preventable with help from behavioral health specialists,” Roberts said.
Compass Point has locations in West Chester, Fairfield, Anderson Township, Kenwood, Dayton and Western Hills in addition to this new Mason office. The group is currently hiring for independently licensed clinical counselors and social workers.
If watching the news is hard today, you are not alone.
On Thursday, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 35 years ago.
While this hearing is important, it can be hard to watch, especially if you’re a sexual assault survivor. If you’re feeling emotional, raw or triggered right now, we want you to know that support is out there. If listening to Ford or Kavanaugh’s testimony is triggering, turn it off, log out of social media and contact someone you trust.
We’re sending hugs to anyone struggling today, and want you to remember these seven things if this news has been difficult for you.
We’re here for you. We believe you, and we’re happy you’re part of our community.
If you need support right now, here are some resources you can turn to:
Take care of yourselves today,
While we cannot offer you a real or ghost hug, we can offer you an ear. We are hear to listen if you want to talk. Please call us at 513-939-0300 for an appointment today. You don't have to carry it all on your own.
As of April 2017, the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why broke a new record: it saw more social media volume than any other Netflix original series. During it’s first week alone there were over 3.5 MILLION tweets including its title (not to mention Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Tumblr etc)! The show was produced by Selena Gomez, who is no stranger to mental health topics. In an interview from June 2017, Gomez responds to questions about the dark comment by saying “Whether or not you wanted to see it, that’s what’s happening. The content is complicated. It’s dark and it has moments that are honestly very hard to swallow, and I understood that we were doing something that is difficult. But these kids today are so exposed to things that I would never even comprehend when I was 8.”
As a therapist, I can completely agree with what she is saying. I hear a lot of parents holding tight to their “not my child” or “not at my kid’s school” mentality…and I talk to enough middle and high schoolers to tell you YES, your kid is exposed to these topics and YES, it happens at your kid’s school (as well as on-line, via texting, on television and at sleepovers).
The thing I liked the most about 13 Reasons Why was that it exposed the sexualized cultures and chronic sexual harassment that young girls have come to expect in middle and high schools around the country. It seems to be starting younger and younger too…I have 5th and 6th graders regularly discuss the frequency of sexualized talk, jokes, and requests.
The thing I liked least about the show however, was the ease with which the main character killed herself and the graphic nature in which it was shown. No human being needs exposed to those types of graphic images in any context. It is unnecessary violence that further perpetuates our culture’s desensitization. I further dislike that the image is one more thing for people who are depressed and considering suicide to struggle with thinking obsessively about. They are already fighting so hard to block their own intrusive thoughts and images, I do not believe this horrific scene was necessary in order to get the show’s message across.
In response to 13 Reasons Why, our practice chose to ask our clients why they choose life. We asked them to write anonymously on post-it notes and put their answers on display in our lobbies on our (More than) 13 Reason’s Why Not posters. What we found was interesting. It seems that the majority of our answers fell into five categories:
The beauty of this is that we can draw a conclusion that if you continue to work on these categories in your life, then you will decrease your risk of suicidal thoughts and gestures. If you are struggling with finding reasons to live, I strongly suggest that you reach out to a therapist for guidance. Therapy is a collaborative experience in which the therapist will work with you to explore your values and help you set goals to achieve your life worth living. Please feel free to contact Compass Point Counseling Services if you live in the Greater Cincinnati area (www.cpcs.me), we’d love to help.
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