Category Archives: Mental Health

50plus LIFE COVER STORY: Senior Volunteers Close the Generation Gap”

senior life

April is National Volunteer Month. National Volunteer month in the United States takes place in the month of April. This month is dedicated to honoring all of the volunteers in our communities as well as encouraging volunteerism throughout the month.

The April 2018 issue of 50plus LIFE includes several articles that hone in on the beneficial aspects and opportunities for volunteering.

Read the COVER STORY: Senior Volunteers Close the Generation Gap.

Here’s a link to a page listing volunteer opportunities: http://50pluslifepa.com/local-stories/volunteering

50plus LIFE (formerly 50plus Senior News), an award-winning publication published monthly, provides individuals 50 and over in the Susquehanna and Delaware valleys with engaging editorial on a range of relevant topics: entertainment, travel, healthy living, financial matters, profiles, veterans’ issues, community events, and more.

With more than 20 years in publication, 50plus LIFE is available in six county-specific issues: Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York. 50plus LIFE and can be found in print, online, and on Facebook.

Study: Evaluation of the Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health Services

va mental health

Approximately 4 million U.S. service members took part in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Shortly after troops started returning from their deployments, some active-duty service members and veterans began experiencing mental health problems. Given the stressors associated with war, it is not surprising that some service members developed such mental health conditions as posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and substance use disorder. Subsequent epidemiologic studies conducted on military and veteran populations that served in the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq provided scientific evidence that those who fought were in fact being diagnosed with mental illnesses and experiencing mental health–related outcomes—in particular, suicide—at a higher rate than the general population.

This report provides a comprehensive assessment of the quality, capacity, and access to mental health care services for veterans who served in the Armed Forces in Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn. It includes an analysis of not only the quality and capacity of mental health care services within the Department of Veterans Affairs, but also barriers faced by patients in utilizing those services.

Inpatient Care Surveys—Open from March 13th-27th

The Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has begun the process of reviewing and updating the regulations (state requirements) for the inpatient level of care. This includes services provided in private psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric units in a general hospital, residential treatment facilities for adults (RTF-As), psychiatric residential treatment facilities for youth under 21 (PRTFs) and extended acute care (EACs) settings.

We want to hear from you as we move forward with this very important work. Below are links to surveys for the following groups: nursing staff, clinical staff, direct care staff and individuals who have, or are, receiving inpatient services. Please click on the link below to complete the survey that is appropriate for you.

Individuals-
Individuals

Family Member Survey: **
Family Member Survey

Direct Care staff-
Direct Care Staff

Clinical-
Clinical

Nursing**
Nursing

“Chronic loneliness, some say, is like ‘smoking 15 cigarettes a day.’ It ‘kills more people than obesity.’ | A history of loneliness”

lonelinessAndrew Wyeth’s ‘Baleen’ (1982). Mia Feigelson, CC BY-NC-SA”

“Is loneliness our modern malaise?

“Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says the most common pathology he saw during his years of service “was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.”

“Chronic loneliness, some say, is like ‘smoking 15 cigarettes a day.’ It ‘kills more people than obesity.’

“Because loneliness is now considered a public health issue – and even an epidemic – people are exploring its causes and trying to find solutions.”

Read this article at The Conversation in its entirety; click here.

“A Quiet Drug Problem Among the Elderly” – The New York Times

Despite warnings from experts, older people are using more anti-anxiety and sleep medications, putting them at risk of serious side effects and even overdoses.

elderly drugs

by Paula Spahn

“At first, the pills helped her feel so much better.

“Jessica Falstein, an artist living in the East Village in Manhattan, learned she had an anxiety disorder in 1992. It led to panic attacks, a racing pulse, sleeplessness. ‘Whenever there was too much stress, the anxiety would become almost intolerable, like acid in the veins,’ she recalled.

“When a psychopharmacologist prescribed the drug Klonopin, everything brightened. ‘It just leveled me out,’ Ms. Falstein said. ‘I had more energy. And it helped me sleep, which I was desperate for.’

“After several months, however, the horrible symptoms returned. ‘My body became accustomed to half a milligram, and the drug stopped working,’ she said. ‘So then I was up to one milligram. And then two.’ Her doctor kept increasing the dosage and added Ativan to the mix.

“Now 67, with her health and stamina in decline …

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

“Suicide isn’t just a ‘white people thing’” – The Conversation

by Kimya M. Dennis

“As a sociologist and criminologist, I often do community outreach on mental health prevention. I urge organizations and programs to avoid ‘one size fits all’ approaches. There are many ways that mental health issues can impact individuals, depending upon race and ethnicity, gender identity, sexual identity, religion and more.

suicide“Research suggests that suicides by racial and ethnic minorities are undercounted. – Joseph Sohm/shutterstock.com”

“But I have found mental health conditions and suicide are often still considered a ‘white people’s problem.’ When I speak with African-Americans and non-white Hispanics – groups that are often overlooked by the mental health community – I’m often asked why I’m “wasting time” addressing race, ethnicity and other cultural variations.

“In some ways, this is not surprising. Whites make up more than 70 percent of the total U.S. population and have the highest rate of suicide relative to population size.

“In the African-American community, there’s a tendency to label suicide and mental health conditions as ‘crazy’ or evidence that you aren’t praying enough. People in this culture, as well as Hispanic, Asian and American Indian communities, are less likely to acknowledge the possibility of having a health condition or seek mental health services.”

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

VA provides mental health care to veterans of recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars of comparable or superior quality to other providers, yet substantial unmet need remains

WASHINGTON — While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides mental health care of comparable or superior quality to care provided in private and non-VA public sectors, accessibility and quality of services vary across the VA health system, leaving a substantial unmet need for mental health services among veterans of the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  A survey of these veterans developed and fielded by the committee that conducted the study found that approximately half of those who may have a need for mental health care do not use VA or non-VA services, indicating that a large proportion of veterans do not receive any treatment for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorder, or depression. In addition, more than half of veterans who screened positive in the survey for having a mental health care need do not perceive a need for mental health services.

va mental health

Approximately 4 million U.S. service members took part in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  In Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) began on Oct. 7, 2001, and ended on Dec. 31, 2014.  In Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) began on March 20, 2003, and on Sept. 1, 2010, operations there continued under the name Operation New Dawn (OND).  To help carry out its charge, the committee conducted site visits and sought input on the use of VA mental health services directly from veterans of these wars, their Continue reading →

Register now for these important FREE trainings: QPR and MHFA

WellSpan Philhaven is offering two very important training programs … with multiple training dates in 2018. And the programs are FREE.qprTo register for any of the above QPR trainings, click here: www.https://www.wellspanphilhaven.org/Education/-QPR-Suicide-Prevention-Training

mhfaTo register for any of the above Mental Health First Aid trainings, click here: www.https://www.wellspanphilhaven.org/Education/-QPR-Suicide-Prevention-Training

“You may feel lonely, but you’re not alone” – next avenue

“Although making friends later in life is difficult, perseverance is worth it”

Lonely-Youre-Not-Aloneby Barbara Rady Kazdan

“‘I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; can give and receive without judgment and derive sustenance and strength from the relationship,’ Brené Brown, the author and speaker of one of the most famous TED Talks once said.

“I was reminded of this quote when today’s mail brought a survey from my congregation for ‘households with only one adult member.’ They’d found that 25 percent of members fit that description. How, the letter asked, could these households be better served?

“I wondered, who are those single members?  Never married, not yet, not interested; divorced; widowed like me…. The survey never asked the jackpot questions: Are you lonely? How can we help?”

Continue reading this article at next avenue, click here.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY – “Developing Solutions for Social Isolation in the United States: Learning From the World”

We’re providing a total of $2.5 million in funding, looking for the best ideas from around the world that can address social isolation in the United States.

SOCIAL ISOLATION

by Maryjoan Ladden

I remember reading the story of a dying patient who, when asked who to call as his life was ending, he replied, ‘no one.’ He had absolutely no immediate family or close friends. Dr. Druv Khullar who wrote the piece noted ‘the sadness of his death was surpassed only by the sadness of his solitude. I wondered whether his isolation was a driving force of his premature death, not just an unhappy circumstance.’

“This profoundly sad story struck me to my core.

“Not everyone has a social network to call on when they need people by their side. Many people feel disconnected from society and from life, and that contributes to a host of physical, mental and emotional health problems. In fact, according to experts, social isolation is as bad for your health as smoking, obesity, elevated blood pressure, and high cholesterol.”

Click here to continue reading.

 

If you have an idea from abroad that just might work in America, see our new Call for Proposals!

 

See full Call for Proposals for more information.