Category Archives: Mental Health

With May just around the corner, Mental Health America (MHA) is proud to announce that our highly anticipated May is Mental Health Month toolkit is FINALLY HERE!

mental health month

Download The 2021 Mental Health Month Toolkit

Since 1949, Mental Health America and our affiliates across the country have observed May is Mental Health Month by reaching out to millions of people through the media, local events, and screenings. We invite other organizations to join us in spreading the word that mental health is something everyone should care about by using the May is Mental Health Month toolkit materials and conducting awareness activities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the mental health of people of all ages. Now, more than ever, it is critical to reduce the stigma around mental health struggles, because that stigma often prevents individuals from seeking help.

In 2021, we will continue with our theme of Tools 2 Thrive, providing practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase their resiliency regardless of their personal situation.

Our toolkit includes sample materials for communications and social media as well as printable handouts on the following topics:

  • Adapting after trauma and stress
  • Dealing with anger and frustration
  • Getting out of thinking traps
  • Processing big changes
  • Taking time for yourself
  • Radical acceptance

Study on County Mental Health Services Released

county mental health services

“On Feb. 24, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) released a county mental health services report on Community Mental Health Services, as required under HR 515 of 2019. This broad-based study focused on Pennsylvania’s county-administered, community-based mental health services by collecting data from various state agencies and all 67 county mental health administrators.

“The report highlights the history of shifting Pennsylvania’s mental health service system from institutions to more whole-person focused, community-based care, allowing for a more holistic approach to combatting mental health conditions. The study noted that community residential services appear to be the most costly, though the self-reported data can create inconsistencies in reporting, which is typical for many human services. Other data on use of short-term private psychiatric facilities, mental illness in county jails and use of emergency rooms by those in mental health crisis helped to demonstrate how caseloads have increased over recent years. County mental health administrators confirmed those findings, discussing the delays in community residential services due to capacity complications, though they stressed that access to crisis services is where a lot of investment is made due to the critical nature of those services to people in distress.

“In addition, 64% of administrators reported an increase in crisis calls since the pandemic began, noting those statistics may not be as telling since people may feel isolated and may not call for help. A majority of administrators anticipated crisis calls will increase over the next year or so and many stressed the importance of capacity for telehealth and telemedicine services, including availability of broadband access as well as psychiatrists in the state, which can contribute to delays in evaluations. Other issues raised by county administrators were also included in the report.

“This report demonstrates that the current state of community-based mental health services is in need, which has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Counties have continued to advocate for increased funding for community-based county mental health services, a reoccurring county legislative priority.”

SOURCE: Legislative Bulletin, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania

“Living Alone Has More Impact on Mental Health of Young Adults Than Older Adults”

Mental-Health-250x250

From US Census Bureau

“Younger adults living alone were more likely than older adults living alone to report symptoms of both anxiety and depression in recent weeks, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data.

“The Household Pulse Survey provides insight into the mental health and well-being of adults living alone during the Coronavirus pandemic. The survey asks two questions related to symptoms of anxiety, and two questions about symptoms of depression.

“Phase 3 of the survey collects data over two-week intervals, and this article relies on publicly available data collected from Oct. 28 through Nov. 9, a time period in which the Census Bureau sent invitations to 1,035,752 households and received a total of 58,729 responses.

“Among adults living alone, respondents age 65 and over reported lower rates of anxiety and depression than those in other age groups.

Those between ages 18 and 29 and 30 and 44 reported higher rates of anxiety and depression. The age groups were not statistically different from each other on either measure.”

Read this BCTV report in its entirety, click here.

“You missed your chance to be a prodigy, but there’s still growth left for grownups.” – The New Yorker

is it too late

new skillsThe joys—and occasional embarrassments—of being a novice could be an antidote to the strain of being a perfectionist. – Animation by Luke Wohlgemuth

by Margaret Talbot

“Among the things I have not missed since entering middle age is the sensation of being an absolute beginner. It has been decades since I’ve sat in a classroom in a gathering cloud of incomprehension (Algebra 2, tenth grade) or sincerely tried, lesson after lesson, to acquire a skill that was clearly not destined to play a large role in my life (modern dance, twelfth grade). Learning to ride a bicycle in my early thirties was an exception—a little mortifying when my husband had to run alongside the bike, as you would with a child—but ultimately rewarding. Less so was the time when a group of Japanese schoolchildren tried to teach me origami at a public event where I was the guest of honor—I’ll never forget their sombre puzzlement as my clumsy fingers mutilated yet another paper crane.

“Like Tom Vanderbilt, a journalist and the author of “Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning” (Knopf), I learn new facts all the time but new skills seldom. Journalists regularly drop into unfamiliar subcultures and domains of expertise, learning enough at least to ask the right questions. The distinction he draws between his energetic stockpiling of declarative knowledge, or knowing that, and his scant attention to procedural knowledge, or knowing how, is familiar to me. The prospect of reinventing myself as, say, a late-blooming skier or ceramicist or marathon runner sparks only an idle interest, something like wondering what it might be like to live in some small town you pass on the highway.

“There is certainly a way to put a positive spin on that reluctance.”

Read this article in its entirety at The New Yorker, click here.

“‘Throw out the rulebook’ to get through pandemic holidays, a therapist says” – WITF

“Lower your expectations, and keep an open mind about what a holiday should look like.”

therapy throw out

by Rachel Wilkerson Miller and Clare Schneider/NPR

“Even if you know, intellectually, that the holidays are not actually ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ (and can, in fact, be incredibly stressful), coping with feelings of loneliness, guilt, anger, and despair during the month of December can be very challenging. And thanks to the ongoing pandemic, a lot of people are feeling bad right now. The news is bleak, pretty much everyone is stretched thin, and comfort and joy are in short supply, making it that much harder to muster the energy to celebrate — or even to reach out and ask for help.

“To better understand how to cope with this extra-rough holiday season, I spoke to Andrea Bonior, a psychologist and author of Detox Your Thoughts: Quit Negative Self-Talk for Good and Discover the Life You’ve Always Wanted. Here are some of her best tips.

“Our celebrations are likely going to look and feel different (or even…bad) this year — we’re living through a pandemic, after all. ‘I think it really is a matter of understanding that this is going to be subpar no matter what,’ Bonior says. ‘That there’s no way to get everything in a digital format… that you would get if you were in person. There’s no way to not sacrifice certain things.’

“’I think the first step is to throw out the rulebook,’”

Continue reading this article at WITF; click here.

“How to spot and cope with holiday depression.” – Futurity

holiday depression(Credit: Getty Images)

posted by Kim Ward – Michigan State

“Here, Jed Magen, chair of the psychiatry department at the College of Human Medicine and College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University, offers advice on how people can cope with depression through the holiday season:

Q. What are the symptoms of depression?

A. You may have depression if feelings of sadness or emptiness don’t go away within a couple of weeks. Other emotional symptoms include:

Share your thoughts on access to Mental Health Services in Rural PA!

access to Mental Health

Click here or on the above graphic to download as a .pdf file.

Loneliness and isolation | here are two articles that let us know that every day is not “sunshine and penguins” but there are ways to adjust.

loneliness how to deal with itShar Tuiasoa

This New York Times article, “How to Deal With Life in Long-Term Isolation” offers examples of people who have managed in scenarios of being alone or being isolated.


Resilience

74 year-old Diane Evans has learned, “If adverse situations beat you down, there wouldn’t be an African American in this country. You do what you have to do to survive.” In this NPR article, “There’s No Stopping These Seniors; Even A Pandemic Can’t Bring Them Down”, there are stories of remarkable resilience many older persons are showing in the pandemic.

SURVEY: Share your thoughts on access to mental health services in rural PA!

kutztown mental health

“‘A Slow Killer’: Nursing Home Residents Wither in Isolation Forced by the Virus” – The New York Times

“Nursing homes set restrictions to lower risks, but COVID-19 has continued spreading in some homes, and residents are now grappling with consequences from isolation.”

nursing home slow killerColleen Mallory and Deanna Williams greet their 89-year-old mother, Peggy Walsh, through the window of Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash.” Credit…Grant Hindsley for The New York Times

by Jack HealyDanielle Ivory and 

KIRKLAND, Wash. — After months of near-isolation inside his senior care facility, Charlie no longer recognizes his wife of almost 50 years. In another nursing home, Susan’s toenails grew so long that she could not squeeze into her shoes. Ida lost 37 pounds and stopped speaking. Minnie cried and asked God to just take her.

“They are among thousands of older people stricken by another epidemic ravaging America’s nursing homes — an outbreak of loneliness, depression and atrophy fueled by the very lockdowns that were imposed to protect them from the coronavirus.

“’A slow killer,’ said Esther Sarachene, who said she watched her 82-year-old mother, Ida Pasik, wither and fall mute during the months she was confined to her nursing home room in Maryland. ‘She didn’t know who I was.’

“Covid-19 continues to scythe through the halls of long-term care facilities despite an array of safety measures and bans on visitors, put in place months ago to slow the devastation.”

“Click here to read this article at The New York Times in its entirety.