Tag Archives: Health and Wellness

Accepting Help is Hard: Here’s Why There’s No Shame in Getting a Personal Care Assistant

Senior African American patient with female nurse

By Patricia Parmelee, PhD (Alabama Research Institute on Aging, The University of Alabama) & Alette Coble-Temple, PsyD (John F. Kennedy University)

 

Our society places the highest value on independence; doing things by ourselves for ourselves.  Because of this, we rarely think about what it would be like to need someone else’s assistance with even the most basic activities: getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating, driving, or filling out paperwork.  Thus, when individuals are faced with changes in their physical abilities, the adjustment to using personal care assistance can be challenging.

 

Adjusting to a disability or physical limitation is a complex process. Practitioners traditionally focus treatment on regaining physical functioning, rather than on how to successfully navigate receiving assistance and learning how to hire, train, supervise, and retain personal assistants. Additionally, most of the literature on professional caregiving focuses on the care providers. We want to spend some time addressing the other side. What is it like to be the recipient of personal care? And what can we do to make the process easier, less frustrating, and more efficient?

 

One of the most complicated aspects of being a personal care recipient is identifying what type of help you need and how you want that help to be delivered. People don’t think much about how personal care tasks are completed.  For example, everybody does not brush his or her teeth in the same way. Some people like heavy brushing, some people like light brushing; some like to start on the upper teeth, while others prefer the bottom.

 

Now you may be asking, “What is the big deal?” The big deal comes when a person who needs assistance simply states, “I need help brushing my teeth.” This can cause problems, because the person helping complete the task will naturally do it “their” way rather than asking how the care recipient would like the task to be completed. For the person receiving help, this may lead to frustration, resentment, and anger.

 

People receiving personal care assistance often feel they don’t have the right to request that a task be completed in a certain way. These individuals are often conditioned to be grateful for receiving help, period, rather than taught how to be a savvy consumer of assistance.  When individuals express their desire for care to be delivered in specific ways, they may be labeled by service providers as “difficult,”  “challenging,” or “resistant.”  Clinicians assisting people in navigating personal assistant services should emphasize identifying not just one’s needs, but also the way in which one wants the task to be completed. Utilizing personal care assessment screening tools is a useful strategy (See PCA screening assessment).

 

Once an individual has identified their specific needs and preferences, the next step is to develop a hiring process. Here, it is critical to determine what qualities and personality characteristics the care recipient values, to help in screening for the best fit. This is essential due to the personal nature of the position. Being a personal assistant requires intimate interactions within the care recipient’s personal space. Personality strongly affects the working relationship between recipient and care provider; being able to assess this dynamic early on can predict success in retention of personal assistance. Some individuals want a personal assistant who will dote on them, while other individuals find this style offensive and demeaning. Healthcare professionals can play an instrumental role in determining which characteristics are most valued for the recipients of personal care services.

 

For many reasons, personal care assistance has traditionally not been viewed as a professional role. First and foremost is the low pay. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly rate for personal care aides is $10.92: less than $23,000 annually. In many areas, this is not a living wage. Thus, it can be very difficult to attract competent, motivated employees. In-home support services are complicated systems to navigate for both recipient and employee. As a result, there is a real dearth in qualified applicants.

 

Even when one is successful at identifying and hiring personal assistants, the next challenge is retention of these qualified individuals. This is where healthcare professionals can play a beneficial role, by helping care recipients to develop structured evaluation methods, as well as processes to facilitate growth and development for the personal assistants. Structured evaluation rubrics can be useful tools in creating and maintaining a professional relationship based on transparent communication and clear expectations.

 

In sum, persons with disabilities face numerous challenges in finding, training, and retaining personal care assistants who can help them with daily needs. It’s important to understand that how care is provided is just as important as the care itself, and that the care provider–recipient relationship is a crucial one. Empowering persons with disabilities to treat the personal care relationship as a “real job” can help ensure satisfaction for both parties.

 

Biographies:

 

Patricia A. Parmelee, PhD, is Director of the Alabama Research Institute on Aging and Professor of Psychology at the University of Alabama. A social psychologist by training, she has been active in research and services for the elderly for more than 30 years, and is nationally known for her work on quality of life and quality of care for chronically ill older persons. Prior to joining the UA faculty in 2008, Dr. Parmelee held positions at the Emory University School of Medicine, the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Birmingham/Atlanta Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center. She previously served as Vice President for Outcomes Management at Genesis Health Ventures, a Pennsylvania-based provider of long-term care; as Associate Director of Research and Senior Research Psychologist at the Philadelphia Geriatric Center, and as Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She is an elected Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Gerontological Society of America.

Alette Coble-Temple, PsyD, is a professor of clinical psychology at John F. Kennedy University. She is a noteworthy member of the disabled community as a fierce advocate for equal rights for individuals with disabilities. In addition, she is also a leader among women in the field of psychology. She currently sits as both a member of the American Psychological Association Committee on Women in Psychology, and as a member of the APA’s Leadership institute for Women in Psychology. She lives with cerebral palsy and much of her work has focused on disability rights. In 2015, she won the Ms. Wheelchair California pageant.

 

Image source: iStockPhoto.com


Filed under: Aging, Disability Issues, Health and Wellness Tagged: aging, caregiving, disability, healthy aging, personal aide, personal care, personal care assistance, support services

Kickstart a Lifelong Healthy Habit this Summer! 4 Reasons Gardening Benefits Your Health as You Age

Group of people planting vegetable in greenhouse

By Layla Dang, Brianna Wenande, Bethany Westphal, and Jessica R. Petok (Department of Psychology, Saint Olaf College, Northfield, MN)

 

Gardening is a popular summer activity for a reason! Research shows that it can have positive effects on our physical, mental, and social well-being as we age. Gardening can range from caring for a single plant to mowing the lawn or planting an entire vegetable garden. Don’t be intimidated. Given the versatility of gardening options, anyone can do it. It’s not too late to dig into gardening this summer! Here are four reasons to kickstart this healthy habit:

 

1. Gardening is great for your physical health:

Gardening is an enjoyable way to keep active and physically healthy1,2. Gardeners report increased levels of physical activity through planting seeds, positioning plants, watering, or simply walking through the garden2. Such physical activity has the following benefits3:

 

  • Increased hand and body strength
  • Improved flexibility
  • Reduced bodily pain

 

Regular gardening can also reduce your risk of4:

  • Some cancers
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis

 

Beyond exercise-driven benefits, gardening can also improve nutrition, as well as sleeping and eating patterns. Planting a kitchen garden has nutritional benefits because it can encourage you to eat fruits and vegetables1. Spending time in an outdoor garden can help regulate your sleeping and eating patterns because sunlight controls your circadian rhythms4.

 

2. Gardening also benefits your mental and emotional wellbeing:

Gardening can keep you mentally active and alert, providing opportunities to cultivate new knowledge4. In addition to learning about new plants and gardening techniques, many gardeners enjoy the creativity of planning their gardens, which can include choosing what to plant or designing their garden’s layout4. Additionally, research shows that gardening and spending time in nature can even improve one’s attention span through exposure to a variety of sensory stimuli 5.

 

Among its emotional benefits, gardening can reduce depression and stress, and gardeners report feelings of anticipation, hope, and achievement4,5. If you are older, gardening can provide you with an opportunity to nurture and care for plants, giving you a sense of purpose and improving your self-esteem through a meaningful activity4. Many gardeners report simply gardening “for the love of it,” being attached to their gardens and finding them aesthetically pleasing4.

 

 

3. Gardening is an excellent way to improve your social life:

Gardening is a good strategy for expanding your social circle6. For instance, Participants in an organized horticultural program enjoyed sharing their gardening experiences and personal knowledge with others; it helped them form supportive relationships and become more socially active6. Additionally, gardeners have the opportunity to connect with others who share their passion through community gardens, gardening clubs, or social media groups4.

 

In addition to promoting social interaction and meaningful conversation with others, gardening can also increase your sense of companionship and combat loneliness. Many gardeners even form special bonds with their plants. For example, one participant in a gardening study reflected, “I say hello and talk to my plants everyday . . . It seems that the little plants can understand what I say to them . . . They respond to my encouragement and make me feel that I am not alone”6.

 

4. You can adapt your gardening habits as you age:

It is important to create optimistic goals as you age, and in order to promote optimum physical and emotional health, you should choose a gardening activity appropriate for your physical capabilities. You can continue your passion for gardening as you age, because luckily, gardening is easily adapted to meet changing needs. You can vary the duration and intensity of your gardening activities; ergonomic tools and low-maintenance plants such as succulents help make gardening more comfortable and achievable. Even just being in nature is cognitively and emotionally beneficial for you7,8.

 

Overall, gardening is a fulfilling, holistic way to improve your well-being as you get older. Even if you’ve never tended to plants before, gardening is within reach at any age. So, pot a plant today, and maybe it will blossom into a lifelong passion for gardening you never thought you had!

 

If you’re a gardener:

  • What is your favorite thing about gardening?
  • What do you like to grow in your garden?
  • Do you have any tips and tricks for new gardeners?

 

Let us know in the comments below! If you would like to learn more about the benefits of gardening, this information may be of interest to you:

 

1Wang, D., & MacMillan, T. (2013). The benefits of gardening for older adults: A systematic review of the literature. Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 37, 153-181. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01924788.2013.784942

2Tse, M. M. Y. (2010). Therapeutic effects of an indoor gardening programme for older people living in nursing homes. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 19, 949-958. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2702.2009.02803.x

3Park, S., & Shoemaker, C. A. (2009). Observing body position of older adults while gardening for health benefits and risks. Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 33, 31-38. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01924780902718582

4Scott, T. L., Masser, B. M., & Pachana, N. A. (2015). Exploring the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening for older adults. Ageing and Society, 35, 2176-2200. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X14000865

5Detweiler, M. B., Sharma, T., Detweiler, J. G., Murphy, P. F., Lane, S., Carman, J., . . . Kim, K. Y. (2012). What is the evidence to support the use of therapeutic gardens for the elderly? Psychiatry Investigation, 9, 100-110. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4306/pi.2012.9.2.100

6Chen, Y. & Ji, J. (2014). Effects of horticultural therapy on psychosocial health in older nursing home residents: A preliminary study. The Journal of Nursing Research : JNR., 23, 167-171. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/jnr.0000000000000063

7Ulrich, R. S. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science, 224, 420-421. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.6143402

8Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological Science, 19, 1207-1212. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02225.x

 

Biographies:

 

Layla Dang is a senior at St. Olaf College, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with concentrations in Management Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is currently doing research focused on healthy age-related changes in various types of learning and memory, in the Petok Aging Lab. In the future, she hopes to pursue graduate studies in industrial/organizational psychology.

Brianna Wenande is a senior undergraduate student at St. Olaf College, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Statistics. She is currently doing research in the Petok Aging Lab on how healthy aging and genetics influence learning and memory, and in the future, she hopes to pursue a career in child clinical psychology or pediatrics.

Beth Westphal is a junior at St. Olaf College, and she is studying Chemistry and Neuroscience. She is currently researching healthy aging, learning, and genetics alongside Brianna and Layla. Although undecided about her future career goals, she plans to spend time this summer working in her mother’s garden.

Jessica Petok, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at St. Olaf College. Her research is aimed at understanding the cognitive and neural mechanisms of learning, memory and decision-making in healthy adults of all ages. Her current work examines how genetic polymorphisms contribute to variability in learning and memory across the adult lifespan. She received her BA in Psychology from Skidmore College and her PhD in Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience from Georgetown University.

 

Image source: iStockPhoto.com

 

 


Filed under: Aging, Health and Wellness Tagged: emotional health, gardening, healthy aging, mental health, physical activity, physical health

Are You Talking to Parents About Keeping Guns Away from Children? 5 Reasons You Absolutely Should

A small child staring at a hand gun within reach on a table

By Clinton W. Anderson, PhD (Interim Executive Director, Public Interest Directorate, American Psychological Association)

Psychologists are recognized as having important knowledge about psychological health and development. That is why parents routinely seek our advice on a wide range of issues affecting their children’s well-being. However, protecting children from gun violence is a rarely broached topic. June 21 is National ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Day. Launched in 2000 by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the ASK campaign reminds health professionals, parents, and caregivers of the importance of asking if there are unlocked guns in the homes where children live and play.

 

Once this question is asked, a frank discussion about protecting children from the dangers of gun violence can begin. Although the conversation may be awkward, having it could potentially save their child’s life. And yes, psychologists and other health professionals are well within their rights to do so. A federal appeals court in Florida recently ruled that state laws prohibiting doctor-patient discussions of guns violated the First Amendment. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that doctors and nurses address firearm safety as part of their routine guidance with patients and parents.  As psychologists, we have extensive education and training that equip us to understand and communicate the dangers of guns in the home. Regardless of our areas of expertise or professional setting, we have a vital role to play.

Here’s why:

1. Firearm safety is a public health issue:

Gun violence has leached into every aspect of our American way of life. It occurs in every setting whether Americans are at work, at play, at worship, at school, or at home. Our efforts to prevent gun violence need to be informed by the best evidence.

2. Children often have far too easy access to guns:

Parents should be aware that guns are like Christmas presents – kids will find them no matter how well hidden they are. Many parents have unrealistic expectations about their kids’ behavior toward guns. High-quality research shows that training kids to stay away from or not handle guns does not work. We must communicate to parents that the best preventive measure against gun injury or death among children is removing guns from the household entirely.

3. Developmental factors contribute to risk of gun violence for children:

Many parents are unaware of the developmental factors that make keeping firearms in the home risky for children. For instance, they underestimate the inquisitiveness of young children who are primed to explore and test boundaries. Many don’t even realize that 2- or 3-year-olds possess the strength to pull a gun’s trigger. Similarly, during the teen years, traits like impulsivity, a sense of invulnerability, and temporary but intense feelings of despondency contribute to risk of firearm use. Some experts counsel that it is best not to have guns at all in a home with teenagers. Psychologists and other health professionals can help parents understand these risk factors.

4. Children with behavioral problems are at greater risk:

Parents with children showing behavioral health problems should consider that these problems may elevate risk of harm when there are accessible firearms in the home.  If they have children or teens with mood disorders, substance abuse (including alcohol), or a history of suicide attempts, encourage them to remove or restrict access to firearms. Arrange for the adult to talk to a psychologist or pediatrician if questions persist.

5. If guns are in the home, they should be treated like all other household dangers:

We routinely tell parents to take precautions to make their homes as safe as possible for their children. We tell them to keep household cleaners, prescription medicines, and even alcohol and cigarettes out of their children’s reach. Households and families with firearms should treat guns the same way.

  • Encourage parents to store all firearms at another location – alternate storage options include:
    • at another licensed gun owner’s home
    • in a secure storage unit
    • in a bonded warehouse for gun storage
  • If adults insist on keeping firearms in the home, emphasize that it is critical to store guns unloaded, in a securely locked location, and with ammunition stored in a separate locked container. One caveat: although locked storage provides some protection, parents should know that it may not prove effective against children’s creativity, curiosity, and persistence.
  • If their child will be spending time in another family’s home, advise parents to ASK whether there are guns in the home, and if so, how they are stored before sending their child over to play.

We all have a responsibility to reduce the risk of gun violence in America, particularly for our youngest citizens. It starts with you:

 

Acknowledgments:

I would like to thank Susan Sorenson, PhD, (Director, Evelyn Jacobs Ortner Center on Family Violence), and W. Rodney Hammond, PhD, (retired Director of the Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control) for sharing their input and expertise for this blog post.

 

Image source: iStockPhoto


Filed under: Children and Youth, Health and Wellness, Violence Tagged: accidental death, ASK day, children's health, children's mental health, firearm safety, firearm violence, gun safety, gun violence, gun violence prevention, homicide, parenting, parenting tips, public health, suicide

4 Reasons to Add Dancing to Your Valentine’s Day Plans

Romantic Mature Urban Couple

 

By Kimberlee Bethany Bonura, PhD

 

Whether your Valentine’s Day plans include a romantic partner, dear friends, or a solo activity, why not trip the light fantastic? In other words: make like Fred and Ginger and go dancing!

 

Dancing, research increasingly shows, is good for both your physical and your psychological health.

 

1. In terms of physical health, dancing is good exercise.

One scholarly review found that dancing improved a range of physical strengths and abilities, including cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and flexibility, and balance. Balance, in particular, is important for maintaining health and independence in older adults, since improved balance reduces a risk of falls. Research has found that while falls are common among older adults, they can be devastating and the risk of mortality increases drastically after a serious fall.

 

2. Dancing may even improve physical strength and balance among older adults with Parkinson’s disease-related balance issues.

One research study found improved balance, walking distance, and backward stride among participants in a 13-week dance class. Both tango and foxtrot participants improved compared to a control group who took no dance classes, and tango participants improved the most. The researchers proposed that the rhythm of dancing activated brain areas necessary to improve balance and functioning.

 

3. Dancing is also great for your mind and psychological health.

One longitudinal study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that dancing was associated with a lower risk of dementia. A 12-week dance intervention found that dance participation reduced the experience of bodily pain. Other research with older adults in care homes and facilities has found that a variety of dance interventions (line dancing, social dancing, and aerobic dancing) all improve wellbeing and enjoyment by the individuals in the home. And a study with older adults with depression found that dance lessons improved self-efficacy and reduced hopelessness.

 

4. Dance melds health and fun in one.

When you put on your dancing shoes and hit the floor, you get physical exercise, maintain your memory, improve your mental health, and have fun in the process. Plus, there is the magic of dressing up, remembering the dances of your youth, and enjoying the beat of the music. Can you think of a better way to spend an afternoon or evening?

 

Ready to go dancing?

 

In your local area, check the calendars and schedules of these organizations, which often host regular dances.

At most dance venues, a free introductory lesson is usually included at the start of the evening. Dances are often hosted on a regular basis at: Community Centers, Senior Citizen Centers, VFW halls, and American Legion halls. Many college extension programs and community continuing education program host dance classes as part of their courses. Dance studios often have introductory packages to get you started at a low cost, and once you meet dancers in your area, you’ll learn of other opportunities in the area.

 

Ballroom dance:

USA Dance has chapters throughout the US. Most chapters host regular social dances at a minimal fee, and include an introductory dance lesson before the start of each social dance. You can make friends with local dancers and have a fun evening on the town. Find your local chapter here.Click here

 

Line dancing:

Line dancing instructor Bill Bader offers a list of line dancing venues by country and state. Click here to look in your area. The United Country Western Dance Council promotes both line dancing and country partner dancing around the US and the world, through dance festivals and competitions. Local events in your area will include lessons and opportunities to dance. Click here to learn more about UCWDC.

 

Aerobic dance:

Zumba (a Latin-based dance exercise program) and Jazzercise both offer the benefits of dance in group exercise format. Many gyms, fitness centers, community centers, and YMCAs offer Zumba and Jazzercise classes, and classes are often included in your membership. You can also look for Zumba dance classes by clicking here (on the main page, click on “Find a Class). For Jazzercise, click here to find a class in your area.

 

Biography:

Kimberlee Bethany Bonura, PhD, is the Division 47 (Sport and Exercise Psychology) liaison to APA’s Committee on Aging. As an exercise scientist, Dr. Bonura focuses on promoting health and wellness through fun activities and self-care. Dr. Bonura has been an amateur ballroom dancer for more than two decades, and plans to keep her balance and maintain her memory by twinkling her toes. Learn more about her work at www.drkimberleebonura.com or contact her directly at [email protected].

Image source: iStockPhoto.com


Filed under: Health and Wellness Tagged: dancing, emotional health, exercise, health, mental health, older adults, physical activity

5 Ways to Become Better Involved In Medical Decisions as You Age

senior asian woman talking to family doctor

By Rebecca Delaney, MS (Doctoral Student in Development Psychology, West Virginia University)

 

Throughout our lives we face a range of medical decisions that can affect ourselves and others. Should I undergo a medical or surgical procedure? Should I encourage a loved one to get a medical screening or diagnostic test? What medication would be best to take when managing a chronic illness?

How people approach such medical decisions differs. Often, the responsibility for the medical decision is placed on the physician given their medical expertise. However, some patients prefer to be more involved in the decision process (Brom et al., 2014).

Facilitating physician and patient engagement in a shared, or collaborative, decision-making process is gaining more attention within healthcare. Using shared decision-making strategies gives physicians more opportunity to provide patients with the necessary medical information to make informed choices.

Patients can also discuss their own opinions and preferences to ensure that their medical choices align with their values. Through this approach, patients can better understand the potential harms and benefits of medical options and feel informed about their decisions (O’Connor et al., 2003).

 

Here are 5 ways to become better involved in the medical decision-making process:

 

1. Ask questions!

  • If you have difficulty understanding the medical information provided to you, be sure to ask your medical provider additional questions to gain clarity.
  • Ask specific questions about the benefits and harms regarding your healthcare options (e.g., types of treatment, medication).

 

2. Seek advice from others

  • Seeking advice and help from others can be beneficial for your long-term health (Delaney, Strough, & Turiano, 2016).
  • Speaking to others who have the same chronic illness or have gone through a surgical procedure you are considering, for example, can help you evaluate the pros and cons to medical choices you need to make.

 

3. Be vocal about your preferences and experiences

  • Make sure your medical preferences and values are known to the physician.
  • Provide your physician with as much information as possible about your pain, feelings, and context of everyday life. This can lead to different medical choices based on your answers.

 

4. Ask for decision aids

  • An increasing number of decision aids are being developed to help patients learn more about their health condition. Decision aids are used to facilitate conversations with their physician to decide which health care choice best fits the patients’ values and preferences.
  • These have been shown to improve quality of health care, increase patient knowledge of benefits and harms of health care choices, and increase patient satisfaction (Shafir & Rosenthal, 2012).

 

5. Create a medical support network

  • You can make your medical preferences clear to those close to you and have them be there to support you in your health care choices.
  • This can be informal, such as bringing someone with you to be a second ear in case you missed what the physician said. Or more formal, such as having your caregiver or an assigned health care proxy involved with your medical decisions.

 

 

For more on this topic, check out this resource from the National Institute on Aging:

 

Biography:

Rebecca Delaney is in the life-span developmental psychology doctoral program at West Virginia University, with plans to graduate in May of 2017. Rebecca plans to continue with research and work with older adults in the community postgraduation. Her research seeks to identify factors that can serve to inform intervention development to aid aging men and women with making advantageous health decisions and enhancing physician-patient relationships when considering important healthcare decisions.

 

References:

Brom, L., Hopmans, W., Pasman, H. R. W., Timmermans, D. R., Widdershoven, G. A., & Onwuteaka-Philipsen, B. D. (2014). Congruence between patients’ preferred and perceived participation in medical decision-making: a review of the literature. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 14(25), 1-16. doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-14-25

Delaney, R., Turiano, N., & Strough, J. (2016). Living longer with help from others: Seeking advice lowers mortality risk. Journal of Health Psychology. doi: 10.1177/1359105316664133

O’Connor, A. M., Stacey, D., Entwistle, V., Llewellyn-Thomas, H., Rovner, D., Holmes-Rovner, M., Tait, V., … Jones J. (2003). Decision aids for people facing health treatment or screening decisions. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 1, 1-106. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001431

Shafir, A., & Rosenthal, J. (2012). Shared decision making: advancing patient-centered care         through state and federal implementation. Washington, DC: National Academy for State            Health Policy.

 

Image source: iStockPhoto


Filed under: Aging, Health and Wellness Tagged: aging, health care, healthcare, healthcare decision making, healthy aging, medical decision making, older adults

How Mindfulness Can Lower Your Stress and Anxiety in 2017

Sharing their spirituality

By Tiffany Chiu (APA Minority Fellowship Program Office Intern and Undergraduate Student at University of California, Irvine)

It’s a new year and we know that 2016 was a stressful year for many of us. Thinking of a way to manage your stress and anxiety in the year ahead? Practicing mindfulness may be the answer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010 about 9 percent of Americans reported feelings of hopelessness or despondency associated with depression (CDC, 2010). How can we overcome such negative emotions? Prescription medications help many to alleviate depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. However, practicing mindfulness and relaxation exercises (e.g., meditation, yoga), may be equally as effective, if not more so, to alleviate stress and anxiety.

In a psychology study, cancer patients reported lower ratings of pain intensity and attributed pain relief and emotional positivity to praying and framing positive thoughts (Dezutter, Wachholtz, & Corvelyn, 2016). This study shows that we can all use mindfulness to build a therapeutic outcome in stressful situations.

 

There are three subjective themes to Mindful Meditation and Centering Prayer:

  1. Community: Participating in prayer groups can be an opportune time to show vulnerability without the fear of judgment. Having a safe forum allows us to build close friendships and share a sense of connectedness and purpose (Jones, Bodie, & Hughes, 2016).
  2. Peace: Practicing mindful meditation can also lower cortisol levels, the stress hormone (Turakitwanakan, Mekseepralard, & Busarakumtragul, 2013). Practicing mindfulness can give us strong clarity in our thoughts and peace during stressful and uncertain times.
  3. Moral Purpose: Mindful meditation and prayer can allow you to connect with your moral compass. Having a confirmation of your purpose and identity may lessen anxiety and stress in your daily life (Fear, Kenney, Loucks, McPherson, & VanOverbeke, 2005).

As a college student who struggles with anxiety, I became interested in practicing mindfulness after experiencing stigma for seeking professional help from within my community. The discrimination I experienced further fueled my passion for public awareness as a means for reducing the stigma of mental illness. To learn more about mindfulness, I conducted an independent research project on the effects of prayer practices on college students by interviewing and learning about students’ experiences with stress management.

Throughout my research, I discovered the prominent roles that mindfulness may play on the mental health of young adults. I am also interested in pursuing research that demonstrates how mindfulness may be implemented in wellness programs at institutions, such as federal prisons and schools. I would love to learn more about:

  • How we can use mindfulness to lower recidivism rates and increase social support in federal prisons.
  • How we can utilize mindfulness to make learning more effective for so many students in schools.

I hope that I can contribute to the answers of these questions as a researcher and school psychologist in the future.

More than adding to my professional capacity in research, mindfulness has improved my personal self-care. Practicing mindfulness in my everyday life has allowed me to create a balance between spending time with myself and connecting with others. Whether it’s praying in solitude or practicing yoga, these practices regulate my emotions and avoid burnout.

 

Here are 3 ways to implement mindfulness and relaxation exercises in your daily life

1. Mindfulness:

blog-prayer-meditation1

Find quiet time to sink into deep thought about the blessings in your life. Remind yourself of the people and things that you are most grateful for. Positively framing your thoughts can remove distractions of distressed thoughts and focus your mind on positive emotions.

2. Yoga:

blog-prayer-meditation2

This relaxing exercise allows you to practice your deep breathing techniques and simultaneously find clarity in your thoughts and emotions. By aligning and disciplining your mind to focus, you may also engage in reflective learning.

3. Reflective Journaling:

blog-prayer-meditation3

Writing in a journal is not only a way to document your thoughts, feelings, and values, but it allows you to know more about yourself by critically thinking, evaluating, and making sense of the events in your life.

 

Other Resources: 

Check out this handy infographic for how to do a 5-minute mini meditation:

blog-prayer-meditation4

Or watch this TED Talk video by psychologist, Dr. Kasim Al-Mashat, on how mindfulness meditation can redefine pain, happiness and satisfaction.

 

Overall, practicing mindfulness is positive for your emotional and physical health!

How do you practice mindfulness in your daily life? Please share your experiences in the comments!

 

References: 

Chiu, T. (2016). Prayer and biblical meditation for college students. (In Progress).

Dezutter, J., Wachholtz, A., & Corveleyn, J. (2011). Prayer and pain: The mediating role of positive re-appraisal. Journal of Behavioral Science, 6, 542-549. doi:10.1007/s10865-011-9348-2

Fear, F., Kenney, P., Loucks, R., McPherson, K. & VanOverbeke, J. (2005) Mindfulness and moral purpose: Exploring connections. Journal of College and Character, 6, 1-9.

Jones, S., Bodie, G., &Hughes, S. (2016). The impact of mindfulness on empathy, active listening, and perceived provisions of emotional support. Communication Research, 3, 1-14.

Turakitwanakan, W., Mekseepralard, C. & Busarakumtragul, P. (2013). Effects of mindfulness meditation on serum cortisol of medical students. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, 3, 222-249.

 

Biography:

Tiffany Chiu is currently a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine. She is currently participating in the UCDC Internship Program, with placement in the APA Minority Fellowship Program Office. She is interested in pursuing a graduate degree in School Psychology and ultimately becoming a School Psychologist. If you have any questions regarding her research interests, please contact her at [email protected].

Image sources: #1 (iStockPhoto.com), #2, #3, #4 (Flickr via Creative Commons) and #5 (GuardYourHealth.com)  

 


Filed under: Health and Wellness, Stress and Health Tagged: anxiety, depression, meditation, mindfulness, mindfulness meditation, mindfulness strategy, prayer, stress, yoga

Caregivers Need Care Too: 3 Steps to Self-Care

blog-self-care-caregivers

By Kimberlee Bethany Bonura, PhD

If you are responsible for the wellbeing of others – whether you’re a parent of a child with special needs, or caring for an aging parent, spouse or other loved one – you know that caring for someone else is hard work. Approximately 44 million Americans are caregivers, and the average caregiver devotes more than 20 unpaid hours per week to supporting the health and wellbeing of their loved one. That is on top of their other duties and obligations, including full time jobs in many cases.

The work of caregiving can take a toll on your sleep and your health. Research indicates that more than two-thirds of caregivers experience disturbed sleep. Other research indicates that caregivers have three times the rate of depression than matched non-caregivers, which may be related to chronic impaired sleep. More than half of caregivers experience declines in health while providing care. Caregivers may feel that they are burning the candle at both ends, and at two places in the middle, and never have a chance to rest.

Caregiving is meaningful and caregivers value making sure that their loved ones have a higher quality of life. Even though caregiving is tough, it is also emotionally gratifying and rewarding, and it can yield positive benefits. In a 6-year study at John Hopkins University of 3,500 caregiving spouses, adult children, and relatives, researchers found that caregivers had an 18% reduced rate of death compared to non-caregivers. Perhaps caregiving, although challenging, provides an innate sense of meaning and purpose that promotes you taking care of yourself, so that you can keep on taking care of your loved ones.

There are clearly benefits to being there for a loved one, and you experience that love, joy, and gratitude every day. As you reflect on caregiving during National Family Caregiver Month, allow yourself space to support your own health and wellbeing, and find ways to care for yourself.

If you are a caregiver, self-care is critical to maintaining your energy and your quality of life. Here are 3 steps to self-care for caregivers.

 

1. Learn the benefits of mindfulness

At its simplest, mindfulness means being aware of your mind – being aware of what goes on in your thoughts. There is a great deal that goes on within our heads, and often the drama in our heads is based on regrets of the past, expectations that weren’t met in the present, and our fears or hopes for the future. Mindfulness is intended to help us become aware of all those streams of thought. This is a powerful opportunity for insight, because in the present moment, we can better manage our stress. That’s why being mindful is such a useful tool for stress management.

 

2. Get mindfulness training

Mindfulness training can be a big help. First, mindfulness training helps build your resources to survive challenging times. Second, mindfulness training helps you pay attention and notice and enjoy the good times with your loved ones. Third, mindfulness training offers you a consistent way to recharge, restore, and recover. Research at Northwestern University found that when caregivers participated in mindfulness training, they had lower levels of depression, improved sleep, and an overall improved quality of life. In the study, the care-recipients (individuals with early stage dementia) also participated in mindfulness training, and experienced similar benefits.

 

3. Try Chair Yoga as a great mindfulness strategy

Chair Yoga is a simple, accessible way to bring gentle mindful exercise into your life. It’s an adapted form of yoga that anyone can do, no special equipment required. Chair Yoga can be totally seated, making it accessible for individuals with mobility limitations. It can also include standing poses with the support of the chair. Try Chair Yoga to manage your own stress and boost your health and well-being or try it with your loved one, as a shared strategy for stress management and wellness promotion.

To find a class in your local area, look for Chair Yoga classes at fitness centers, community centers, and health and wellness facilities.

Try these gentle and fully seated Chair Yoga exercises at home or at work or with your loved one.

  • Chair Meditation:
    • Sit quietly on a comfortable chair.
    • Roll your shoulders down and back to engage the muscles of the back and open your chest.
    • Rest your palms in your lap, palms facing up.
    • Close your eyes, and focus on slow, deliberate breathing.
    • As you inhale, say “Inhale.” As you exhale, say “Exhale.”
    • Breathe deliberately for 2 to 5 minutes.

 

  • Chair Twists:
    • From your seated position, gently twist at the waist toward the right, bringing your right hand back to the side of the chair and your left hand to the outside of your right leg.
    • Keep your neck soft with a gentle stretch.
    • Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
    • Repeat on the other side.

 

  • Chair Leg Lifts:
    • From your seated position, lift the right leg forward as high as possible, engaging the thigh muscles.
    • Hold for 5–10 deep breaths to cultivate mental and physical endurance.
    • Repeat on the left side.

Overall, remember that being a caregiver is an honor, because your loved one has trusted you with their health and safety. But also, remember to honor yourself for the hard work you do. You already take good care of your loved ones – remember to take good care of yourself, too.

***

Learn more about National Family Caregivers Month, and review resources to support you as a caregiver, from these organizations:

American Psychological Association

National Alliance for Caregiving

Caregiver Action Network

American Society on Aging

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Samueli Institute: Resources for Military Caregivers

 

Biography:

Dr. Kimberlee Bethany Bonura is the Division 47 (Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology) representative to APA’s Committee on Aging (CONA). Dr. Bonura is a fitness and wellness educator; her work focuses on the benefits of gentle exercise and self-care for health and wellness promotion. She is a contributing faculty member in the Walden University College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and a Professor for The Great Courses. Learn more at http://www.drkimberleebonura.com/ and http://www.chairyoga.com/ and contact Dr. Bonura at [email protected].

 

Image source: Flickr user pslee999 via Creative Commons


Filed under: Health and Wellness Tagged: caregiving, chair yoga, mindfulness, mindfulness strategy, National Family Caregiver Month, self-care, sleep, wellness

Getting Better or Getting Well? How Culture Can Improve Your Health

man head silhouette with jigsaw

By Gordon Nagayama Hall, PhD (Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon)

If you had a cold, with a stuffy nose, sore throat, and headache, would you want a medicine that treated all the symptoms or just the stuffy nose? Most people would want the medicine that treated all the symptoms. A decongestant can make you feel better but a medicine that treats all three symptoms can get you well. Yet, when it comes to mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, standard mental health treatments do not necessarily address all the issues involved, particularly cultural issues. Standard mental health treatments make many people better and even well, but does everyone get well?

Jennifer was a successful 29-year-old Chinese American computer engineer in the Silicon Valley with one apparent weakness; she was indecisive (Should I bake cookies for my co-workers? Should I take on this project at work?) and needed repeated reassurance from her family that her decisions were correct. After experiencing heart palpitations, she went to a doctor who could not find a medical reason for the heart palpitations and sent her to psychologist. The psychologist told her that her heart palpitations were caused by anxiety associated with her dependence on her family and diagnosed her with obsessive-compulsive disorder and dependent personality disorder. The goals of treatment prescribed by the psychologist were for Jennifer to become more independent: (a) set personal boundaries with her family; (b) stop seeking their assurance and advice; and (c) stop second-guessing her own decisions. Jennifer tried not to contact her family for two weeks and she felt relieved and less anxious but began to miss her family and the heart palpitations resumed occasionally. She was better but not completely well.

A Chinese American coworker of Jennifer’s noticed that she seemed preoccupied and asked what was going on. Jennifer told her about seeing a psychologist and having mixed feelings on the attempts to set boundaries with her family. The coworker told Jennifer about a Japanese American psychologist who seemed to understand Asian American cultures. Jennifer decided to leave the first psychologist and try the Japanese American psychologist. The treatment began with controlled breathing exercises and Jennifer noticed that her heart palpitations became less frequent. The psychologist observed that seeking her family’s advice kept Jennifer connected with her family, who were concerned about “losing her” as she became more involved in her career. Similar to the first psychologist, this psychologist encouraged Jennifer to stop second-guessing her own decisions. But rather than stopping contact with her family, the psychologist had Jennifer meet once a week, not for unnecessary advice but to go grocery shopping together. Her heart palpitations stopped, she became more confident in her decisions, and she felt good about her relationship with her family. In other words, she got well.

The first psychologist offered the standard treatment – be your own person, make your own decisions, don’t rely on others. Jennifer began to feel better but this treatment didn’t help her relationships with her family or her heart palpitations. Wellness for Jennifer meant: (a) reduced heart palpitations; (b) making her own decisions; and (c) staying in touch with her family. The second psychologist offered a culturally-adapted treatment that promoted wellness by:

  • addressing physical health complaints which are an important component of distress for many Asian Americans and other cultural groups (Hunter & Schmidt, 2010; Ryder et al., 2008)
  • combining independence and interdependence, which are both important for many Asian Americans and other cultural groups (Nguyen & Benet-Martínez, 2007; Oyserman, Coon, & Kemmelmeier, 2002)

Science tells us that paying attention to culture can improve the effectiveness of mental health treatments. In a recent meta-analysis of 78 studies of nearly 14,000 people worldwide that will be published in the 50th Anniversary Issue of Behavior Therapy, culturally-adapted mental health treatments were more effective in reducing mental health problems than standard treatments that did not incorporate the client’s culture (Hall et al., 2016). A meta-analysis is a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple studies to determine the overall effectiveness of a treatment. People with African, Arab, Asian, Latino/a, and Native American ancestries in these 78 studies all benefitted from attention to their cultures.

Nearly 40% of the people in the United States are not White and the majority of children under age 5 are not White (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). These are people who stand to benefit from culturally-adapted treatments. Yet, critics of cultural adaptations argue that they are more costly and complicated than standard treatments. Such criticisms have impeded research and development of culturally-adapted treatments. But the costs in not developing culturally-adapted treatments include unaddressed suffering for a large number of people and in some cases suicide. Standard mental health treatments help people get better, but incorporating culture into mental health treatments can help many people get well.

 

References:

Hall, G. C. N., Ibaraki, A. Y., Huang, E. R., Marti, C. N., & Stice, E. (2016). A meta-analysis of cultural adaptations of psychological interventions. Behavior Therapy. (Online version available here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005789416300806)

Hunter, L. R., & Schmidt, N. B. (2010). Anxiety psychopathology in African American adults: Literature review and development of an empirically informed sociocultural model. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 211-235. doi: 10.1037/a0018133

Nguyen, A. D., & Benet-Martínez, V. (2007). Biculturalism unpacked: Components, measurement, individual differences, and outcomes. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 1, 101-114. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-9004.2007.00029.x

Oyserman, D., Coon, H., & Kemmelmeier, M. (2002). Rethinking individualism and collectivism: Evaluation of theoretical assumptions and meta-analyses. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 3–73. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.128.1.3

Ryder, A. G., Yang, J., Zhu, X., Yao, S., Yi, J., Heine, S. J., & Bagby, R. M. (2008). The cultural shaping of depression: Somatic symptoms in China, psychological symptoms in North America? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117, 300-313. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.117.2.300

U.S. Census Bureau (2014). A more diverse nation. Retrieved 9/20/16 from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/newsroom/releases/2015/cb15-113_graphic.pdf

 

Biography:

Gordon C. Nagayama Hall, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon. He has authored over 100 publications on topics including Asian Americans and mental health. Dr. Hall is Past President of the Asian American Psychological Association and of the Society for the Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race.


Filed under: Culture, Ethnicity and Race, Health and Wellness Tagged: cultural adaptation, cultural competence, culturally adapted treatment, mental health, mental health care

Getting Better or Getting Well? How Culture Can Improve Your Health

man head silhouette with jigsaw

By Gordon Nagayama Hall, PhD (Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon)

If you had a cold, with a stuffy nose, sore throat, and headache, would you want a medicine that treated all the symptoms or just the stuffy nose? Most people would want the medicine that treated all the symptoms. A decongestant can make you feel better but a medicine that treats all three symptoms can get you well. Yet, when it comes to mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, standard mental health treatments do not necessarily address all the issues involved, particularly cultural issues. Standard mental health treatments make many people better and even well, but does everyone get well?

Jennifer was a successful 29-year-old Chinese American computer engineer in the Silicon Valley with one apparent weakness; she was indecisive (Should I bake cookies for my co-workers? Should I take on this project at work?) and needed repeated reassurance from her family that her decisions were correct. After experiencing heart palpitations, she went to a doctor who could not find a medical reason for the heart palpitations and sent her to psychologist. The psychologist told her that her heart palpitations were caused by anxiety associated with her dependence on her family and diagnosed her with obsessive-compulsive disorder and dependent personality disorder. The goals of treatment prescribed by the psychologist were for Jennifer to become more independent: (a) set personal boundaries with her family; (b) stop seeking their assurance and advice; and (c) stop second-guessing her own decisions. Jennifer tried not to contact her family for two weeks and she felt relieved and less anxious but began to miss her family and the heart palpitations resumed occasionally. She was better but not completely well.

A Chinese American coworker of Jennifer’s noticed that she seemed preoccupied and asked what was going on. Jennifer told her about seeing a psychologist and having mixed feelings on the attempts to set boundaries with her family. The coworker told Jennifer about a Japanese American psychologist who seemed to understand Asian American cultures. Jennifer decided to leave the first psychologist and try the Japanese American psychologist. The treatment began with controlled breathing exercises and Jennifer noticed that her heart palpitations became less frequent. The psychologist observed that seeking her family’s advice kept Jennifer connected with her family, who were concerned about “losing her” as she became more involved in her career. Similar to the first psychologist, this psychologist encouraged Jennifer to stop second-guessing her own decisions. But rather than stopping contact with her family, the psychologist had Jennifer meet once a week, not for unnecessary advice but to go grocery shopping together. Her heart palpitations stopped, she became more confident in her decisions, and she felt good about her relationship with her family. In other words, she got well.

The first psychologist offered the standard treatment – be your own person, make your own decisions, don’t rely on others. Jennifer began to feel better but this treatment didn’t help her relationships with her family or her heart palpitations. Wellness for Jennifer meant: (a) reduced heart palpitations; (b) making her own decisions; and (c) staying in touch with her family. The second psychologist offered a culturally-adapted treatment that promoted wellness by:

  • addressing physical health complaints which are an important component of distress for many Asian Americans and other cultural groups (Hunter & Schmidt, 2010; Ryder et al., 2008)
  • combining independence and interdependence, which are both important for many Asian Americans and other cultural groups (Nguyen & Benet-Martínez, 2007; Oyserman, Coon, & Kemmelmeier, 2002)

Science tells us that paying attention to culture can improve the effectiveness of mental health treatments. In a recent meta-analysis of 78 studies of nearly 14,000 people worldwide that will be published in the 50th Anniversary Issue of Behavior Therapy, culturally-adapted mental health treatments were more effective in reducing mental health problems than standard treatments that did not incorporate the client’s culture (Hall et al., 2016). A meta-analysis is a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple studies to determine the overall effectiveness of a treatment. People with African, Arab, Asian, Latino/a, and Native American ancestries in these 78 studies all benefitted from attention to their cultures.

Nearly 40% of the people in the United States are not White and the majority of children under age 5 are not White (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). These are people who stand to benefit from culturally-adapted treatments. Yet, critics of cultural adaptations argue that they are more costly and complicated than standard treatments. Such criticisms have impeded research and development of culturally-adapted treatments. But the costs in not developing culturally-adapted treatments include unaddressed suffering for a large number of people and in some cases suicide. Standard mental health treatments help people get better, but incorporating culture into mental health treatments can help many people get well.

 

References:

Hall, G. C. N., Ibaraki, A. Y., Huang, E. R., Marti, C. N., & Stice, E. (in press). A meta-analysis of cultural adaptations of psychological interventions. Behavior Therapy. (Online version available here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005789416300806)

Hunter, L. R., & Schmidt, N. B. (2010). Anxiety psychopathology in African American adults: Literature review and development of an empirically informed sociocultural model. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 211-235. doi: 10.1037/a0018133

Nguyen, A. D., & Benet-Martínez, V. (2007). Biculturalism unpacked: Components, measurement, individual differences, and outcomes. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 1, 101-114. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-9004.2007.00029.x

Oyserman, D., Coon, H., & Kemmelmeier, M. (2002). Rethinking individualism and collectivism: Evaluation of theoretical assumptions and meta-analyses. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 3–73. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.128.1.3

Ryder, A. G., Yang, J., Zhu, X., Yao, S., Yi, J., Heine, S. J., & Bagby, R. M. (2008). The cultural shaping of depression: Somatic symptoms in China, psychological symptoms in North America? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117, 300-313. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.117.2.300

U.S. Census Bureau (2014). A more diverse nation. Retrieved 9/20/16 from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/newsroom/releases/2015/cb15-113_graphic.pdf

 

Biography:

Gordon C. Nagayama Hall, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon. He has authored over 100 publications on topics including Asian Americans and mental health. Dr. Hall is Past President of the Asian American Psychological Association and of the Society for the Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race.


Filed under: Culture, Ethnicity and Race, Health and Wellness Tagged: cultural adaptation, cultural competence, culturally adapted treatment, mental health, mental health care

Suffering from Depression is Pointless

blog-depression-screening-day4

By David Palmiter, PhD (Psychology Professor, Marywood University)

Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us and sometimes they win.

Stephen King

October 6th is National Depression Screening Day. This day affords the opportunity to receive a free, anonymous and confidential screen for a mood disorder. Some statistics to keep in mind:

  • About 15.7 million American adults suffered from depression in 2014.
  • Suicide is the 3rdleading cause of death among young people ages 10-24.
  • Depression has a higher mortality rate than cardiac disease.
  • Depression causes more days off from work than any other medical disease.
  • The large majority of people suffering from depression do not get effective care, even though evidence-based treatments yield impressive results.

What would we conclude about our culture if the same statistics were true regarding our dental health? It’s sort of hard to imagine, isn’t it: dental health problems are common, destructive and usually treatable but only a small percentage of people receive said healing treatment. Images of us walking around with our knuckles dragging on the ground would come to mind. Yet, this is the reality regarding our collective mental health. Let’s vow to combat this state of affairs. Let’s agree that such a reality is stupid and beneath us. October 6th affords an opportunity to walk the talk that our mental health matters and that we deserve to live lives filled with joy and meaning.

Those attending a screening event can typically count on being greeted by a gracious person and asked to complete a form. No identifying information is requested and no fee is charged. Participants fill out the form, wait a little (so the form can be reviewed), and then meet with a mental health professional in a confidential space. The primary goal is to figure out whether further evaluation might be worthwhile but there is usually time to discuss other matters as well. Screening sites also typically provide referral information and education materials.

Referring back to the Stephen King quote, depression is a lying, liar that lives within its victim’s mind. It sings dirges such as,

“Everything is terrible. It’s all your fault and none of it can be changed.”

“You’ll never feel better again.”

“You suck and have no purpose.”

Depression’s end game is the death of its victim. But, on 10/6/16, an army of lean-mean-healing-machines will be available to help all those who may be so afflicted to begin the process of understanding and healing.

Please do yourself a favor if you are struggling with your mood, and take the brave and wise step to get screened. And, if you have a friend or a loved one who might benefit, ask that person to keep you company as you get screened. Such an act of kindness portends to open a door to transformative change. To find a screening site in your location, click here. For additional resources on fighting depression, visit the APA Help Center.

Biography:

Dr. David Palmiter is a psychology professor at Marywood University and a private practitioner. He is a fellow of APA, The American Academy of Clinical Psychology and the Pennsylvania Psychological Association (PPA). He is also a past president of PPA, a frequent consultant to the media and a blogger. An author of multiple scholarly papers, his two books are Working parents, thriving families: 10 Strategies that make a difference and Practicing cognitive behavioral therapy with children and adolescents: A Guide for students and early career professionals. His website is at http://www.helpingparents.com/; his blog can be found at http://www.hecticparents.com/ and his Twitter moniker is @HelpingParents.

Image source: Graţiela Dumitrică via Flickr Creative Commons


Filed under: Health and Wellness Tagged: depression, depression prevention, depression screening, mental health, National Depression Screening Day, screening, suicide prevention