Mental Health Tips for You and Your College Bound Teenager
After your busy or fun-packed summer, are you preparing to send your son or daughter off to college?
As exciting as this life change is, the transition from home to university involves many small and large adjustments and changes--not least of which is the fact that your child will now be living away from home.
As you plan your drive or flight to campus, it's also crucial to have a plan in case a mental health problem or crisis emerges when your child is away at school.
Here are a 6 tips, courtesy of the National Council for Behavioral Health and Mental Health First Aid:
- Insurance coverage: Know the ins and outs of your insurance plan and coverage; how it relates to mental health and treatment options. What student health insurance options are available through the college? What are the out-of-network benefits provided by your insurance plan?
- On-campus resources and services: Call the counseling center on campus to ask about the kind of coverage, professional staff and the range of services available.
The Weather Outside Is Sunny: Are You?
Hooray! Our summer days seem to be finally here in New England.
This article, adapted from the NIH, offers tips and lots of health reasons to make our mood match the weather. If you tend to look on the sunny side, a growing body of research suggests that your positive outlook can boost both your mental resilience and your physical health.
Tips for maintaining a brighter outlook:
- Remember your good deeds. Give yourself credit for the good things you do for others each day.
- Forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from what went wrong, but don’t dwell on it
- Spend more time with your friends. Surround yourself with positive, healthy people.
- Explore your beliefs about the meaning and purpose of life. Think about how to guide your life by the principles that are important to you.
- Develop healthy physical habits. Healthy eating, physical activity, and regular sleep can improve your physical and mental health.
Mental Health First Aid Training at Lahey Health
This week, CMO Dr. Mary Anna Sullivan and CEO Kevin Norton (above) bring you news about our Mental Health First Aid training series.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training teaches us how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. This evidence-based program helps us to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. This is the counterpart of CPR training, i.e., if we witnessed someone showing signs of cardiac distress, what we can and should do as bystanders (including calling 9-1-1).
For more information: 978.968.1736 or email us at gro.htlaehben@snoitacinummoc.
Depression: One of the Most Treatable Medical Conditions
May is National Mental Health Month, when Mental Health America and other national organizations seek to raise awareness and reduce stigma around the issue of mental health.
This week, we bring you some good advice from Dr. Mary Anna Sullivan, Chief Medical Officer, Lahey Health Behavioral Services. Dr. Sullivan has been a member of the Lahey Health physician team for 30+ years. Read more about Dr. Sullivan here.
During our lifetime, somewhere between five and 10 percent of us will have an episode of major depression, and half of us will deal with recurrent bouts of debilitating low mood.
May, National Mental Health Awareness Month, is a good time to consider the societal cost of this, which is thought to be upwards of $20 billion, not even counting the toll it takes on families of those affected.
The impact on a depressed person's general health can be compared to having advanced coronary artery disease in the amount of lost worked time and diminished quality of life. The disease also robs us of the ability to live a full, productive life, enjoying family and friends in our time on this earth.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month
Did you know? In 1958, our agency was first launched as "The North Shore Committee on Alcoholism (NSCA)?" Back then, eleven local people founded the NSCA to educate the public about the disease of alcoholism and to increase treatment options on the North Shore of Massachusetts.
Ten years later, in 1968, the Committee opened a 20-bed halfway house on Green Street in Lynn, Mass.
Today, the Ryan House is still thriving as one of our post-detoxification residential facilities. Of course, since 1958, we have expanded all of our local and regional services to meet the increased community needs for addiction and mental health treatments.
Alcohol Awareness Month
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a time when the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) works to heighten national awareness around the effects of alcohol use on our communities, workplaces and families.
Facts About Alcohol from the NCADD
-88,000 deaths are annually attributed to excessive alcohol useAlcoholism is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation
-Excessive alcohol use is responsible for 2.5 million years of potential life lost annually, or an average of about 30 years of potential life lost for each death
-Up to 40% of all hospital beds in the United States (except for those being used by maternity and intensive care patients) are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption
Prom-Season Stress and Anxiety: It doesn’t Have to be That Way
From graduation requirements to the upcoming prom, spring can be an extra anxious time for teens and, by extension, their parents or guardians.
Anxiety is a normal and necessary part of our lives. It motivates us to prepare for important events. It helps us to stay safe and acts as our natural alarm system to warn of impending dangers.
However, for some of us, anxiety is uncontrollable and overwhelming. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (aada.org), anxiety is the most commonly diagnosed mental illness in the U.S. today.
Due to a variety of factors (life events, genetics, lack of coping skills), this natural alarm system can become overly sensitive and easily triggered by situations that are not, in themselves, dangerous.
For some teens, one of these anxiety-provoking situations is the school prom.
Overwhelming anxiety can interrupt sleep, damage relationships and impact overall health. Also, as we know from our teen-focuses substance use programs, some anxious adolescents self-manage their anxiety by using alcohol or illegal drugs—sometimes with dangerous and heartbreaking results.
The good news about anxiety: We can develop a mental tool box of ready-to-use tips and tricks for those anxious moments.
ACA Repeal: Stories from the Frontlines of Mental Health Treatment and Care
As we know, the legislative efforts to repeal and replace the Affodrable Care Act (ACA) —including or especially a potential rollback of the Act’s Medicaid expansion — carry particularly and criticially high risks for men, women and families in treatment for addiction and mental health disorders.
Nationwide, 24 million of us stand to lose Medicaid coverage, while here in Massachusetts, an estimated 300,000 MassHealth-covered families and individuals could lose access to affordable care.
In last week's blog post, we promised to bring you a series of stories from the frontlines of behavioral health — real-life patient vignettes that demonstrate how access to publicly-funded care changes (or saves) our clients' or patients' lives.
Here’s this week’s story from one of our outpatient counseling clinics on the North Shore:
Repealing and Replacing The Affordable Care Act: What We Stand to Lose
First, welcome to our new behavioral health and wellness blog.
We hadn't planned it this way, but it's fortuitious that our blog is going live at this critical juncture in the future of American healthcare--particularly for low and middle-income families and individuals.
On Monday, March 6, the U.S. House Republicans unveiled its long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The legislative efforts to repeal and replace the ACA--including or especially a potential rollback of the Act's Medicaid expansion--carry special risks for men, women and families struggling with addiction and mental health disorders.
Of course, this is not the only patient sub-group who stands to lose here, but these are the folks who we, at Lahey Health Behavioral Services, are privileged to serve. Our clients' health and recovery are what inspire us all to go to work every day.
Or, as Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health writes, "Medicaid is not a partisan issue; it is a human issue."