Are You Serious! I can be normal? GO GREEN!

by Cheryl Johnson Wednesday, February 19, 2014

HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP and NAMI instructor, to help people with mental health issues and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges. Cheryl offers lifestyle choices we control that really make a difference.

Last week Cheryl suggested a smile to boost your mood.  This week …….. GO GREEN!

Studies show living close to green areas like parks and gardens is good for your mental health. Just having a green plant in your house or workplace can reduce stress.  Those with ADHD who get outside to exercise or work concentrate and focus better.

Going green may improve your mental health in ways that have long lasting effects on your life.  Simply surrounding yourself with green can reduce anxiety and stress, lessen depression and lead to more happiness overall.

Go green! Be happy! Feel Good! 

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

 

Tags:

Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapy | Treatment Modalities

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? SMILE!

by Cheryl Johnson Thursday, February 13, 2014

HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP and NAMI instructor, to help people with mental health issues and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges. Cheryl offers lifestyle choices we control that really make a difference.

Last week Cheryl suggested a pet to boost your mood.  This week …….. a smile! Cool

Do you want to be happier - SMILE!  Smiling can truly change the way you feel. No need to  quote research or provide reasoning or justification. Just smile. Try it for yourself.

When you feel down - browse pictures you like, particularly ones that make you smile. Then smile. It may not last, but it may be the nudge you need to engage in a pleasant activity to improve your mood. 

When you are angry - smile. Then keep smiling. It is hard to be angry or frustrated with a smile on your face.   Fake it until you make it with a smile! 

When you feel tired and apathetic - smile. It may provide the gateway to pleasant dreams or induce a serene and tranquil state on days you may not have what it takes to get a lot done.

Smile ... It is contagious. Not only will smiling lift your spirits, it will lift the spirits of those around you.

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

Tags:

Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | Pet Therapy | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? Pets Are a Mood Booster!

by Cheryl Johnson Wednesday, February 5, 2014

To help people with mental health issues and their families and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges, HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP (http://www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/wrap/) and NAMI (http://www.nami.org) instructor. Cheryl “connects the dots” between lifestyle choices we control and our ability to live a ‘normal’ life. Explore your options below and these next few weeks with the HelpPRO Blog and Cheryl.

Last week we talked about food affecting your mood. Remember Vitamin D? Plenty of sunshine can improve your mood.  Get outside, enjoy the sun and eat food rich in vitamin D in combination with K vitamins to improve your mood (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx).

Vitamin D and a pet that likes to be outdoors is a sure recipe to boost your mood and lift your spirits.  We recommend owning a pet, however, only if you are stable and healthy enough. Pets require a lot of care.  Alternatively, you can walk or spend time with a friends’ pet. Are you ready for a pet?  http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/adoption-pet-care/are-you-ready.html      Keep in mind puppies and kittens are much more work than older dogs and cats.  There are many older pets in shelters that need homes.  These articles present considerations to help you decide to own a pet or not.  Owning a pet is a huge commitment. Your life as well as your pets’ is at stake. 

http://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/dog-adoption/puppies-vs-senior-dog-adoption/

http://savingcaesar.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/rebellious-rescue-or-pesky-puppy.html

http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/yournewdog/Before-You-Adopt

A fish tank is much lower maintenance option for a pet. Ever wonder why you see fish tanks in doctor’s offices?  Fish have a calming effect on mood, but even fish require food and attention.  http://www.mynycdoctor.com/aquarium-therapy-adhd/  http://aquariumdesignindia.com/residential-aquarium

One of the biggest benefits to my two puppies, Patty  and Selma is that one is a lap dog who likes to snugglewhile the other is active and a constant reminder to get up and out and enjoy the sunshine!  I work from home and sit in my office with Patty stretched out on my lap.  Selma on the other hand tugs on mysleeve or arm several times a day to remind me to get out and enjoy the sun.  I go out for 5-10 minutes,even in the bitter cold and rain to play ball with Selma who does not understand bad weather.Even when I am not in the mood to boost my mood – each animal is a mood booster -- either a calming spirit or motivation to get up and move and enjoy Mother Nature, whether I am in the mood or not!  Both provide that nudge I need to feel good. 

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

Tags: , ,

Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | Pet Therapy | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? Choose Your Food. Choose Your Mood!

by Cheryl Johnson Thursday, January 30, 2014

To help people with mental health issues and their families and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges, HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from certified WRAP and NAMI instructor, Cheryl Johnson. Cheryl “connects the dots” between lifestyle choices we control and our ability to live a ‘normal’ life. Explore your options below and these next few weeks with the HelpPRO Blog and Cheryl.

It’s no secret food affects your mood.  Skip a meal and you feel sluggish and may get a headache.  But can food actually make you more positive and upbeat?  There is growing evidence certain foods can improve your mood.  Food is not a cure or a substitute for medication for diagnosed mood disorders, but it can serve as another tool to keep your perspective bright.  Here are some simple suggestions, but if you do research on your own, there is a wealth of information on foods to improve your mood.

Carbs – those evil carbs that make you gain weight and are not healthy.  Not necessarily.  Good carbs contribute to serotonin production, the calming, feel good brain chemical that can help alleviate depression.  (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-food-affects-your-moods)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – fish, flaxseed and walnuts are rich in Omega-3 and also help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.  Fish is a good mood food!  Personally I like walnuts, but moderation is important.  Walnuts can contribute to weight gain, another factor that may contribute to a sour mood. (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-food-affects-your-moods)

Vitamin D – Plenty of sunshine can improve mood.  Get outside, enjoy the sun and eat food rich in vitamin D.  But keep in mind that without K vitamins – vitamin D has limited effect on mood.  (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx)

Chocolate and Caffeine – The milk chocolate many of us love only has minimal impact on mood.  The best chocolate for mood is more than 50% cocoa and the higher the better.  Cocoa rich chocolate is an acquired taste so give it a chance and enjoy the added benefit of a calmer and more relaxed mood.  (http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/04/27/chocolate-and-mood-disorders/)  And what about caffeine?  Moderation is best.  Caffeine may affect sleep and lack of sleep can affect mood, but a cup or two of coffee will not hurt and may help perk you up and focus to get your work done contributing to a good mood…. 

Take time to learn more at the links provided (or any others) or talk to your doctor and nutritionist. 

Focus on good mood food! 

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

 

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Mental Health | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities | Mood

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? Cope with and rise above mental health challenges

by Cheryl Johnson Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I am not a therapist, but I am a certified WRAP and NAMI instructor and I teach people with mental health issues and their families how to not only cope with, but rise above the challenges that people with mental health issues face. 

My interest in mental health is from a strong family history of people who have either been diagnosed with mental health issues or those who clearly exhibit behaviors consistent with a diagnosis, but do not believe they have issues. 

Those who have sought out treatment (both medical and therapeutic) definitely cope with life on a much higher level than those who have not. You are probably all too familiar with the reasons people choose or refuse to get care. 

What I can testify to is that those who consistently monitor their behavior and track it to their lifestyle habits are acutely aware of how important our lifestyle choices are to living a ‘normal’ life. 

So how do you accomplish this?  Stay tuned…. Each week into February we will explore together tips and suggestions  to supplement the care you are currently receiving to make sure you manage your condition instead of it managing you!

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

Tags: , ,

marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Mental Health | relationships, friendships | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities

Unfolding the "Magic" of Therapy

by Sherry Katz Tuesday, January 7, 2014

While often people acknowledge professional therapy creates gains in self-awareness, more confidence handling relationships, and improved ability to manage stress, how these results are achieved appears mysterious. 

What key factors in the conversation happen during a therapy session,  which inspire confidence and awareness in the patient, which were previously either weak or lacking?

 

From years of clinical practice, I summarize the way a therapist listens and responds to a patient, as “bi-lateral listening”. A therapist who helps you reach desired change, listens with both their mind and their heart. 

 

Hearing past the words, gives your therapist a read on your emotions.  If someone tells a story that includes major life shifts, and is matter of fact while doing so, a therapist may ask a question that lifts these shy emotions into the therapeutic dialogue. By giving more attention to emotions and identifying and elaborating on them during a therapy session, the patient learns how to know and explain their feelings.

 

The flip side usage of bi-lateral listening is if a patient during a session talks almost exclusively about their feelings and has little understanding of when feelings arise and how they are effecting both the patient and people in the patient’s life. In this case a therapist most likely would hear the emotions and speak to the cognitive processing of the patient. Your therapist may ask questions that help you collect information and theorize on how you are responding to the ways you express yourself.

 

As you and your therapist repeat this basic listening process during your therapy sessions, you’ll notice greater balance in your own approach and dialogues in your everyday repertoire with others. What starts developing and strengthening is your awareness of the vastness and complexity of your emotions and thoughts, and your ability to moderate when to express your emotions and when to express your thoughts. You may surprise yourself one day with how naturally you articulate feelings in situations you did not know you had any!

 

You may notice as well, yourself taking a new path in conversation rather than a debilitating emotional rerun. This will be your magical moment of recognizing the rewards of working with a professional talk therapist.

 

Sherry Katz, LCSW is clinically trained in systems relational therapy, and practices marriage and family therapy in her solo practice located in Ridgewood, NJ.  Comments and questions are welcome. 

www.newviewsfamilytherapy.com

 

Eating Disorders Triggered by the Holidays

by Janine Vlassakis Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Believe you can and you're halfway there.                                   

Theodore Roosevelt 

The “most wonderful time of the year” can be tough for those suffering from an eating disorder. The holidays can be overwhelming and stressful with so much focus placed on food in social environments.  As a result many, and especially those with eating disorders, become anxious, upset or engage in disordered eating behaviors to attempt to mitigate their anxiety.  Here are suggestions to get through the holidays:

·          Remind yourself or your clients of common self-soothing practices and avoid dangerous coping mechanisms. 

·           Identify or encourage yourself or your client to identify what is “happy” about the holidays.  That simple reminder can help focus on the positive aspects of the season.

·          Families can play an integral part in helping the holidays be joyful. Remind your family or your clients’ family what a trying time this may be.  While food is an inherent part of most events during the holidays, families can help diffuse the focus by planning activities such as a craft or family game to focus on as a distraction. 

·          Remind your family or your client’s family that discussing your appearance may do more harm than good.  Help close family understand that statements such as, “you look so much better!” can translate to “I look fat” in your or your client’s mind.  Ask family to make other family members aware as well, so time with family can be remembered as positive rather than triggering negative emotions. 

·          If you or your client is taking a break from treatment over the holidays, be sure to address any concerns about being away and social situations.  Be sure to strategize and discuss skills to continue recovery. 

·          Arrange a time to start back into therapy after the holiday to continue treatment in the New Year.

·          Be mindful and encourage clients to be mindful of the positives of this time of year.  Focus on time spent with people supportive in recovery, and to create new happy memories to reflect upon next year.

Janine Vlassakis, M.Ed. is the Mid-Atlantic Professional Relations Coordinator for the Cambridge Eating Disorder Center.  Her role at CEDC is to provide clinicians and other professionals with information about the levels of care which CEDC offers.  In addition, with her background in counseling and education, she speaks regarding various topics relating to the complexity and treatment of Eating Disorders.  

 

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relationships, friendships | Self-Care | Social Work | Treatment Modalities

Suicide Prevention Blog Series: Clinical Tip #5

by Staff and Faculty of the QPR Institute Sunday, November 24, 2013

In honor of the launch of the HelpPRO Suicide Prevention Therapist Finder (see Press Release) we bring you this five part series of clinical tips with the most up to date research and thinking on suicide prevention.  

Paul Quinnett, PhD, President and CEO, The QPR Institute, Inc, says eighteen veterans will take their own lives today.  So will someone's daughter, a brother, a co-worker, and far too many working men and grandfathers.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in just one day, more then 101 of our fellow Americans will die by suicide.  Perhaps this clinical tip will save just one.

Clinical tip #5 -- Communicating Suicide Risk

The nature of modern clinical care by multiple providers requires clear communication to assure consumer safety.  Not only do prescriptions need to be clearly written, but progress notes must be legible to all providers of care.  In the root cause analysis of 400 consumers in active care who attempted or died by suicide while inpatients, communication failures ranked at the top of the list of contributory causes (National Center for Patient Safety, 2006).

To improve communications between clinicians regarding suicide risk, there is little consensus about a) how to assess immediate risk or b) how to determine its severity.  Still, risk stratification decisions and clinical judgments must be made every day as these assessments necessarily guide our interventions, monitoring levels, and frequency of contact. For a variety of reasons, suicidal consumers may not be entirely helpful in disclosing their suicidal intent, desire and plans.  If, after an assessment, you are not confident of your conclusions, it may be helpful to others on your team to add a chart note to this effect.

An explanatory note of “low confidence” would be warranted when the consumer:

·      Has been uncooperative and refused to collaborate in the assessment process

·      Has or may have psychotic symptoms, especially paranoia

·      Is or has been recently intoxicated

·      Has a history of impulsivity

·      Is faced with an uncontrollable external event, such as the serving of divorce papers or an arrest warrant 

In sum, a note of low confidence in the assessment suggests higher risk and that reassessment is indicated in the near term (not more than 24 hours), as well as the need for a second opinion, greater vigilance, and more frequent observation.

The QPR Institute (www.QPRinstitute.com) provides Online Advanced Suicide Prevention Courses for a wide range of professionals including: Mental health professionals, school counselors, crisis line workers, substance abuse professionals, EMS/firefighters, law enforcement, primary care providers, nurses and correctional workers. For more information please visit our full library of advanced courses!

Paul Quinnett, PhD., Founder & CEO QPR Institute, www.QPRInstitute.com

 

Tags:

relationships, friendships | Self-Care | Social Work | Suicide Bereavement | Suicide Prevention | Treatment Modalities

Suicide Prevention Blog Series: Clinical Tip #4

by Staff and Faculty of the QPR Institute Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In honor of the launch of the HelpPRO Suicide Prevention Therapist Finder (see Press Release) we bring you this five part series of clinical tips with the most up to date research and thinking on suicide prevention.

Paul Quinnett, PhD, President and CEO, The QPR Institute, Inc., says 22 veterans will take their own lives today.  So will someone's daughter, a brother, a co-worker, and far too many working men and grandfathers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in just one day, more then 105 of our fellow Americans will die by suicide. Perhaps this clinical tip will save just one.

Clinical tip #4 -- Reassessing suicide risk

 

Suicide risk changes with time and circumstances.  A single, initial assessment of suicide risk is seldom adequate for safe practice.  Suicide risk assessments should be repeated both a fixed intervals and during times of increase stress. Based on the literature and the clinical experience of several of the QPR Institute faculty, we suggest four non-exhaustive circumstances where re-evaluating suicide risk is indicated:

 

Changes in health status, e.g., diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, exposure to HIV, continued experience of chronic pain, and when the consumer is faced with significant surgery or has suffered a significant physical injury.

Stressful life-transitions, e.g., loss of a major relationship, change in living arrangements, treatment transitions (between therapists or programs), threats to housing, income or access to care.

Response to treatment, to include side effects of psychotropic medications, non-therapeutic response to medication or other intervention failures, including impasse in therapy or conflict with therapist

Substance abuse dramatically increases suicide risk.  Relapse from recovery, binge drinking or drugging, relapse of one’s sponsor, and any significant use of intoxicants, even by non-addicted consumers.

 

A number of other circumstances suggest the need for a reassessment of suicide risk.  These include reports by third parties that suicide warning signs have been observed, any report of violent behavior, the sudden loss of a loved one through death, divorce, desertion and especially suicide.  Finally, anytime a consumer of any age is facing what may be a personal and public humiliation, suicide risk may be sharply elevated.

 

Basically, suicide risk increases dramatically with multiple successive losses, co-morbidity of illnesses, acute environmental stressors, and anytime the consumer begins to feel he or she is becoming a burden on others or care providers.  If in doubt, reassess!

 

The QPR Institute (www.QPRinstitute.com) provides Online Advanced Suicide Prevention Courses for a wide range of professionals includingMental health professionals, school counselors, crisis line workers, substance abuse professionals, EMS/firefighters, law enforcement, primary care providers, nurses and correctional workers. For more information please visit our full library of advanced courses!

Paul Quinnett, PhD., Founder & CEO QPR Institute, www.QPRInstitute.com

Tags:

relationships, friendships | Self-Care | Social Work | Suicide Bereavement | Suicide Prevention | Treatment Modalities

Suicide Prevention Blog Series: Clinical Tip #3

by Staff and Faculty of the QPR Institute Thursday, October 31, 2013

In honor of the launch of the HelpPRO Suicide Prevention Therapist Finder (see Press Release) we bring you this five part series of clinical tips with the most up to date research and thinking on suicide prevention.

Paul Quinnett, PhD, President and CEO, The QPR Institute, Inc., says 22 veterans will take their own lives today.  So will someone's daughter, a brother, a co-worker, and far too many working men and grandfathers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in just one day, more then 105 of our fellow Americans will die by suicide. Perhaps this clinical tip will save just one.

Clinical Tip #3 -- Quick and Effective Response can Save Lives ...

The vast majority of all residential and inpatient suicides occur by hanging.  From the restrictive closure of the air passage, unconsciousness occurs in 30 seconds, death in four minutes.  Saving a life from a hanging attempt requires quick and efficient action.  Emergency rescue tools have become a standard piece of equipment for responding to such events, including the now widely used "911 rescue knife." These are specially designed knives with a hooked and protected blade that allow the victim to be cut down quickly and without injury.  Because the blade is located inside the frame of the tool it cannot be utilized as a life-threatening weapon in the hands of a potentially violent person.  Fire fighters and paramedics have used them for years to cut seat belts off trapped victims.

If you work in a residential or inpatient facility, consider securing 911 rescue knives and training staff in how to access and use them quickly.  When a consumer is found hanging, every second counts.  Once a victim is discovered any time lost trying to remove a ligature by hand - and especially if unassisted - may delay rescue and lead to a preventable injury or death.  More precious time may be lost if staff cannot locate the knife or, once in hand, they are unfamiliar with how to use it.  Good safety management practices require knowledge and practice.  If fire drills save lives, so can "cut down" drills.

The QPR Institute (www.QPRinstitute.com) provides Online Advanced Suicide Prevention Courses for a wide range of professionals including: Mental health professionals, school counselors, crisis line workers, substance abuse professionals, EMS/firefighters, law enforcement, primary care providers, nurses and correctional workers. For more information please visit our full library of advanced courses! 
Paul Quinnett, PhD., Founder & CEO QPR Institute, www.QPRinstitute.com

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