What is Disordered Drinking?
An alcohol problem can affect anyone at any age. Many factors, including job stress, genetics or depression, may contribute to the start of disordered drinking. Drinking alcohol exists on a continuum. For example, if someone feels down in the dumps for some time, it doesn’t mean they are clinically depressed. So if someone goes through a period with above-normal alcohol consumption, it doesn’t necessarily mean they abuse alcohol. Although “alcoholic” and “alcoholism” are common, they are not clinical descriptions. Alcohol use disorder is the preferred term. Symptoms are often mild but can be the start of a more significant problem. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), over 16 million adults live with alcohol use disorder. Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder Do you recognize any of the following symptoms in yourself or someone you know? Drinking more or longer than intended Trying to cut down or stop drinking but not able to Having to drink more than you once did to get the same feeling Being annoyed when family members discuss your drinking Regretting your behavior while you were drinking
10 Facts About Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression linked to seasonal changes. Learn to recognize the symptoms of SAD in your kids (or yourself) should they appear. We checked in with Dr. Vanessa Slots, the Division Chief of General Pediatrics at Renown to help us understand this condition. 1. Blame SAD on the sun—or the lack of it Seasonal Affective Disorder is a more severe form of the “winter blues. Over-sleeping, feeling irritable or unhappy, and withdrawing from people are classic symptoms of SAD. Approximately 90 percent of people with SAD experience depressive symptoms yearly in the fall and winter, while about 10 percent have depression in the spring and summer. The causes of SAD aren’t explicitly known. Still, researchers believe it’s related to a change in circadian rhythms, with differences in the amount of sunlight during different times of the year as one factor. 2. The further north you live, the more common SAD becomes While Seasonal Affective Disorder is predominantly an adult condition, estimates are that one million children in North America have it. Interestingly, SAD does not occur in the tropics. 3. SAD is more recognizable in adults than in children Common symptoms include feeling “empty,” pessimistic, hopeless, short-tempered, restless and not knowing what to do with oneself. Symptoms vary greatly from one individual to the next. SAD is more common in women than in men. When symptoms are severe, physical examinations are required to rule out other medical causes and determine whether antidepressant medication is needed. 4. In teenagers, symptoms tend to revolve around school-related issues Schoolwork suffers, students have difficulty getting up in the morning and arriving late for class, homework is incomplete, and grades may plummet. Afflicted students have difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions. They lose interest in activities that they previously enjoyed. Some teenagers tend to overeat, crave carbohydrates such as pasta and gain weight. Many teachers, school counselors and therapists should be more familiar with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Fighting Depression with rTMS Therapy
If you ask most people who suffer from depression what it's like, it can be difficult to fathom. We spoke with the courageous and fearless Kathryn, who has endured major depressive disorder (MDD) most of her life. She recollects what it was like, and how grateful she is for a new rTMS therapy treatment she recently completed. Kathryn is a local resident who shares her story to provide hope and support to others surviving depression. From her accounts of the grueling years she faced this disorder to how hard she fought to find treatment, Kathryn is a true hero. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. The disease causes people to experience sadness and helplessness, and in some cases, may prevent people from carrying out their daily routines. No two people are affected the same way, meaning there's no "one-size-fits-all" for treatment. Finding help is typically a long and exhaustive journey for most surviving depression. The Long and Confusing Road to Finding Help Kathryn is no different from most major depressive disorder (MDD) survivors, fighting for a better future. Her mental health treatment journey started as early as 12 years old; however, she wasn't diagnosed with depression until much later in life. In her late 20s, a friend told Kathryn she was depressed, but like so many individuals battling the illness, Kathryn didn't know what depression was. The waiting lists to get into mental health treatment was devastating. She found mental health resources scarce, an issue far too familiar throughout the U.S. After being prescribed more than twenty different depression disorder medications, she wasn't sure who she was or if she'd survive. Determination to Fight Kathryn's darkest moments lead to experiences that are unspeakable to relive. But in her persistence to not give up, she began researching a more promising treatment. “I was looking for an evidence-based therapy,” says Kathryn. “In my research, I found Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy to be most promising.” After a yearlong waiting list for repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) therapy in another state, Kathryn moved to Reno, Nevada, still searching for a location that offered this therapy. Thankfully, Kathryn's arduous journey led her to the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown. That is where she received news from her doctor, Gunjan Lehil, MD, that rTMS is offered for people looking for a new way to fight depression. How rTMS Therapy Works rTMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression – typically used when other depression treatments haven't been effective. This treatment involves delivering repetitive magnetic pulses, referred to as repetitive TMS or rTMS. During an rTMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed against the person's scalp near their forehead. The electromagnet painlessly delivers a magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the region of the person's brain involved in mood control and depression. It's thought to activate areas of the brain that have decreased activity in depression. Though the biology of why rTMS works isn't completely understood, the stimulation appears to impact how the brain works, which seems to ease depression symptoms and improve mood. On average, patients undergo rTMS treatments for four to six weeks, five days a week for about 40 minutes a day. A patient's doctor will determine a treatment plan that's best for the patient in all cases. Life After rTMS Therapy After completing six weeks of rTMS therapy, Kathryn feels as though she is coming back to life. She has noticed her posture is different, and she is more animated. She is also more interactive at work, and her coworkers are more perceptive and positive towards her. Life at home is also improving, as Kathryn's family is noticing a difference. She notes that while she still faces feeling depressed, it's so much different from it used to be. The difference is, she can better decipher a bad day and work through the challenging moments. She has hope - which she never felt before. rTMS Therapy has given Kathryn a chance at life, and she's excited to start living! The Future is Fearless Kathryn says the way to success is never to give up and to keep pushing herself forward every day. Currently a veterinarian technician in training, Kathryn is working on getting her license. She loves working with all animals, but her true passion is falconry and helping injured birds of prey. She loves falcons because they are utterly fearless, just like her. "It's time for me to be brave and show up. I couldn't do that before," says Kathryn. "I'm grateful to have rTMS treatment, and I share my story in hopes of helping others."
Bye-Bye Holidays, Hello Routines! Getting Kids Back into the Groove
The kids are back in school and the holidays are all but a distant memory: Now what? Karen Wagner, APRN, offers specific tips about getting kids back to their routines in the post-holiday-hustle-and-bustle. Are you finding the kids struggling with bedtime routines? Having trouble getting them to tackle homework? There’s a simple reason: The holidays messed with their mojo! Here, we talk with Nurse Practitioner Karen Wagner about what to do to get them back on the straight and narrow. Why Routines Are Important “Holidays are a fantastic time to get together with family and friends, so our routines are usually off — and this is understandable, “Wagner says. “While the holidays are exciting, they are chaotic and can put our kids out of the routines.” So how do you get kids back into those routines they crave? “Consistency/routines are crucial for our kids,” she says. “Most people — kids and adults — experience a let-down feeling after the holidays, and post-holiday adjustment takes time.” So what can we do, specifically? Wagner recommends the following: Re-establish family routines, including before- and after-school programs or child care routines. Once kids are back on the regular schedule, they’ll find that sense of familiarity as the old routine returns. But keep in mind, this won’t happen overnight. Encourage healthy eating, as the upheaval of their schedule can be offset by a balanced diet. Make sleep time a priority: Keep in mind that it might take up to three nights of strict bedtime to get them back on track. But enforcing normal bedtime will get their bodies back on a normal schedule. Return to usual chores and expectations. Nothing encourages a return to routine like reminding them of the basics. Incorporate indoor and outdoor time. They likely spent lots of time outdoors during our unseasonably warm winter break — and they even had a snow day or two! So encouraging both indoor and outdoor time will help them return to a circadian rhythm and tire them out from exposure to fresh air. “It is never too early to encourage a love for physical activity in kids by exposing them to fun fitness activities and sports,” Wagner says. “Physical activity improves bone health, cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, decreases levels of body fat, reduces symptoms of depression, and improves cognitive skills and the ability to concentrate.”
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Suicide Risk How to Spot a Friend in Crisis
How can you tell if a friend is in trouble or struggling with suicidal thoughts? And how can you support them in finding help? Are you feeling virtually exhausted? Life is always challenging, but the mental fallout of a global pandemic is real. Contributing to the loneliness epidemic is the shifting American lifestyle. More Americans live alone (28%) now than ever before, and fewer have kids. First, let’s acknowledge this is a time of anxiety and worry for everyone. Economic uncertainty, job transitions, grief, and loneliness are a perfect storm for mental stress. Even before the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic mental health was a concerning issue, now it is a relevant topic of crisis. Secondly, anyone can struggle with suicidal thoughts. Those suffering from drug addiction are especially vulnerable. In particular the U.S. is currently seeing a rise in drug overdoses by almost 18% due to the pandemic. Unfortunately suicide is responsible for one U.S. death every 11 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not to mention the millions who think about it, make a plan or attempt it. It is important to remember that suicidal thoughts, plans or intent must be helped immediately. Understanding Suicide Risk To clarify, depression is not a choice. No one wishes for endless days of feeling down, sleepless nights, and feeling as if you are in a dark tunnel. Currently, one in five Americans will experience a mental illness this year. This means one of your friends is struggling, right now. Specifically, consider this: When your body feels pain it talks to your mind. When your mind is suffering who does it talk to? So, how can you tell if a friend is in trouble? According to the National Institute of Mental Health be on the lookout for some depression clues below. Signs and Symptoms of Depression Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism Irritability Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities Decreased energy or fatigue Moving or talking more slowly Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions Signs and Symptoms of Suicide Risk Expressing feelings of hopelessness or having no purpose Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain Talking about being a burden to others Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs Sleeping too little or too much Withdrawing or isolation Displaying extreme mood swings. Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself (Reference: Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) How to Help a Suicidal Friend It can feel awkward to approach the subject of suicide with a friend, but take any of the above warning signs seriously. Other ways you can help are by: Encouraging self-care and making sure they take care of basic needs Listen to their worries without judgement Ask them what they need from you, then follow through with action Let them know they are not a burden Don’t minimize or invalidate their feelings Point them to helpful resources Be their advocate and get them help If someone you know is in a life-threatening crisis situation, call 911 immediately. Suicide Risk Resources: National Suicide Prevention 24/7 Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 Ayuda En Español: (Spanish National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) 1-800-628-9454 Crisis Text Line: Text HOME (or CONNECT) to 741741 to chat with a crisis counselor 24/7 free of charge. The National Alliance on Mental Health: 1-800-950-6264 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: (SAMHSA) 24/7 helpline 1-800-662-4357
Five Tips for Maintaining Your Mental Health While Job Hunting
It is no secret that looking for a new job can be stressful and overwhelming. Yet a record number of Americans are quitting their jobs to look for new opportunities, a trend also known as the “Great Resignation.” While there are many reasons why someone might be on the hunt for new work, it’s important for all job hunters to check in with their mental health regardless of their job hunting circumstances. To learn more about maintaining your mental health while looking for a new job, we spoke to Dr. Mavis Major, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Behavioral Health Therapist at Renown Health. 1. Identify Goals When beginning your job-hunting journey, your first step should be to make a plan that focuses on quality over quantity. Make lists of companies you would like to work for and, if you’re looking to change fields or industries, make a list of careers that interest you. At this stage in the process, it’s also important to determine what salary range you’re looking for, what type of work environment you want (in-person, remote or hybrid) and understand what benefits are important to you. Identifying goals makes it easier to narrow down the list of jobs you apply for so you can produce quality applications rather than frantically applying for jobs without putting thought into the process. 2. Set Boundaries It does not matter if you are working full-time while applying for jobs or if applying is your job right now; it can be easy to get lost in the stress of it all. For that reason, it is essential to set intentional boundaries throughout the process. This can look like scheduling days that you fully take off from the job search or going for a walk before a big interview to clear your head. Setting boundaries will make you more productive overall and hopefully help you get your mind off the process. 3. Ask For Help Do not try and tackle this undertaking on your own. Once you have identified goals (see tip #1) make lists of people you know within those industries, and do not be afraid to reach out. Of course, never be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional to talk through why this process might be making you feel anxious. Talking to someone who is not your friend or family can give you a different perspective.
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4 Fantastic Health Benefits of Being Clutter-Free
The Benefits of Being Clutter-Free Gives you a better sense of well-being. Did you know procrastination is linked to clutter? According to a recent study clutter problems led to less life satisfaction, especially among older adults. Helps you lose weight. Constantly being in cluttered room, office or car can be stressful. All the undone cleaning tasks in the back of your of mind cause stress, which is linked to obesity. Promotes mental health. Having clutter around can make you feel anxious or overwhelmed. This prevents you from truly relaxing or focusing. Saves you money. It’s not a secret that money worries cause stress. According to a Journal of Consumer Research study, you’re more likely to make a purchase when you’re sitting in a messy room compared to a tidy room. Clutter-Free Tips Start with a plan. Make a list of your clutter-improvement priorities and the tasks needed to accomplish each one. Focus on one section of your home per week, so you don’t get overwhelmed. In fact, organizational expert Peter Walsh suggests starting with the easiest room first to gain momentum. Conversely, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" author Marie Kondo suggests organizing by category (for example clothing or books). Experiment with an organizing plan that appeals to you. There are also many helpful on-line calendars you can use as a starting point. Delegate when you can. Include your children and spouse into your plan. Is uncle Bob an electrician? Then get him to swap out your eyesore of a ceiling fan or update an old light fixture. Of course it’s ok to outsource the duties - such as window cleaning or painting - if your budget allows. Buy less. The less you purchase the less you need to store, clean, keep track of, organize or dust. Seems simple, right? Not for everyone. On average we are bombarded with over 4,000 marketing messages a day, not to mention FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) when we see our friends posting about their newest toys on their social media feeds. Focus on quality over quantity. When in doubt, throw it out. Still on the fence about what to throw away? Use these declutter decision-making guide questions to help you. Organize Your Health Along with taking care of your surroundings, make a commitment to get up to date on your health checkup and screenings. Preventing an illness is a bargain compared to the cost of a chronic disease. It's also a good idea to go through all of your medications and check the expiration date. Remember to properly dispose of medications. DO NOT flush medications down the drain or toilet, unless the label indicates it is safe to do so.
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Social Connections: Why They Benefit Your Health
Some days a chat with a friend is all you need to feel better. Why? Because humans are social beings. Although we have more technology than ever at our fingertips, sometimes we may still feel left out or disconnected. Dr. Buddy Coard, Ed.D., Psychologist at the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health Addiction Institute at Renown, discusses the importance of social connections and tips on how to keep connecting, warning signs of loneliness and how to feel less lonely. Why are Social Connections Important? Dr. Coard points to significant research on the topic of loneliness and social connections. He uses the findings below to detail how social connections affect our overall health. In a recent survey 40% of participants reported they sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful and that they feel isolated. Surprisingly, this survey suggests Generation Z (18-22 years old) is the loneliest generation. Another study associates loneliness as a risk factor for early death. It indicates lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, or having alcohol use disorder. In fact, loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity (Perspectives on Psychological Science, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2015). A 2018 study investigated several standard measures of social isolation, including marital status, frequency of religious service attendance, club meetings/group activities and number of close friends or relatives. The findings revealed race as a strong predictor of social isolation. In particular, black men and women were more likely to be lonely than were white men and women. Loneliness also switches on your body’s long-term “fight-or-flight” stress signaling system, which negatively affects your immune system. People who feel lonely have lower immunity and more inflammation than people who don’t. Dr. Coard recommends the following tips for those who feel lonely. Tips to Increase Social Connection Get outside. More and more nature prescriptions are common. In fact even a 10 minute walk can elevate your mood and get your blood flowing. Develop a schedule of activities to accomplish in a week, setting realistic goals. Monitor your technology. Of course, watching the 24/7 news cycle can be depressing. Turn off the TV and listen to music or read a book instead. Even better, use technology to connect with family members by having a virtual game night or book club discussion. Write it out. When was the last time you sent a good old-fashioned letter or card? Or even wrote in a journal? Try to brighten someone’s day with snail mail. Writing down your hopes and fears also helps you to get worries off your mind and process your emotions. With this in mind, there are also volunteer opportunities to support others by sending a handwritten letter to others battling depression. De-clutter your surroundings. Go through those old photos and put them in an album. Clean out a drawer, cupboard or closet. You will feel a sense of accomplishment and can donate items you no longer need that others can enjoy. Increase your joy by reducing your clutter. Warning Signs of Chronic Loneliness One size does not fit all when it comes to loneliness. For this reason, loneliness can be different depending on your particular situation and your unique personality. However, if you feel some (or all) of the following symptoms, chronic loneliness may be affecting you: Lack of ‘best’ or close friends. You connect with others on a surface level, but feel no one truly understands you. People are n your life, yet you are not connecting on a deep, intimate level with them. You feel lonely even when people are around. This means feeling disengaged or not part of the group when around others. You feel less than enough. You often doubt yourself or don’t feel good enough when comparing yourself to others. And social situations feel exhausting. What Can Someone Do to Feel Less Lonely? Dr. Coard offers the following suggestion for those with a lack of social connections: Talk with your doctor, psychologist or another healthcare professional. Sometimes chronic loneliness relates to longstanding negative beliefs that an individual has about themselves. Engage in behavioral activation. For example, being more active and involved in life by scheduling activities which can potentially improve your mood and decrease feelings of isolation. Initially behavioral activation can be very challenging due to lack of motivation, but setting a reasonable schedule of activities is a good start. Pay attention to your sleep. Sometimes when people become lonely they experience significant changes in their sleep cycle. Frequently they sleep too much, or too little. Make sure to maintain a normal, healthy sleep/wake cycle, following good sleep hygiene recommendations.
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How Philanthropy Helps Address Gaps in Care
In Nevada, we are so fortunate to have a number of not-for-profits and philanthropists who are supporting our mission at Renown Health; we couldn’t do it without them. In the world of healthcare, we are doing well in driving community benefit programming through operations. However, the things our communities need investments in are so much broader than we might be able to afford on our own. That is why it is essential for us to be supported by the people who are so in love with this community and want to assure we get the kinds of services and care for those who can’t afford it or add new services that are contemporary and leading edge that have not been offered here before. Establishing Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute We are so excited to receive a very generous donation from Chuck and Stacie Mathewson for the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute. This institute is so sorely needed in northern Nevada. Renown Health has a very important role in being able to bring attention to this important problem of mental health and addiction challenges in northern Nevada. Keeping Pediatric Care Close to Home One of the most important areas where philanthropy comes in handy for us at Renown Health is by assuring that we have the foundational programs that we would not be able to afford with operations alone. For example, the William N. Pennington Foundation’s generous gift has allowed us to create 15 pediatric specialty areas here in northern Nevada so children who have an illness or injury no longer need to leave town. The William N. Pennington Foundation supported Renown Children’s Hospital in a way that we never would have been able to support on our own. We are eternally grateful, and their gift — that 100,000 children are assured access to contemporary health and healthcare services — is beyond comprehension.
Healthy Aging 5 Tips to Improve Happiness and Quality of Life
There are a few simple ways to encourage healthy aging that can translate to an improved quality of life. Here are some expert tips. What does healthy aging mean to you? If you’re like most people, you’re looking forward to removing the negative from your life — negative energy, thoughts, people and activities that don’t contribute to your best life. And while that’s a noble goal, too often we forget about ways to strengthen the positive parts of our lives. Expert Herbert “Buddy” Coard III, Ed.D, psychologist with Renown Behavioral Health, provides us with five positive behaviors to focus on to improve happiness and life satisfaction. Healthy Aging in 5 Easy Steps: 1. Connect – Make connections with friends, family, colleagues and neighbors. When you build strong connections, they can help enrich your life with new experiences and opportunities. Besides, having a support system to call upon when you need a favor is valuable as you age. 2. Be Active – Make time to get moving and work those muscles. Being active can include walking, practicing yoga, playing a game of pickleball or dancing. Exercise makes you feel good and keeps you health. Pick a physical activity that you enjoy, and don’t make excuses. Not only will being active help you build stronger muscles, it also helps you build strong connections with others. If you need a workout buddy, Meetup is a great resource to find like-minded people that share common exercise goals. 3. Take Notice – Be mindful and become more curious. Like a child, see the wonder and beauty of the world. Notice the things around you — the weather, the landscape, the mood and feelings of the people around you. By taking notice, it’s easier to learn to appreciate the things that matter. 4. Keep Learning – We never stop learning. Keep trying something new — a new course you’ve always wanted to try or a more challenging task someone has solicited for your help. Challenges keep us on our toes and increase our confidence and excitement in our day. OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Nevada, Reno), brings diverse educational and social opportunities to active older adult learners (50+). EPIC (Educational Programs Inspiring the Community), offers a divers curriculum ranging from art classes to Accelerated training certificate courses. 5. Give – Be generous with your time, your knowledge and your talents by giving to friends, family and even strangers. Some easy ways to give is to show thankfulness, smile at people and volunteer. Sharing of yourself to a wider audience gives you a greater reward than just doing things for yourself. Nevada Volunteers Volunteer at Renown Health Practice these five tips to improve happiness and quality of life at any age.
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How to Spot Depression in Men
Has a male in your life been affected by depression? It could be your father, husband, or son. Or maybe your brother, a friend – or even, your co-worker. They all have one thing in common, they’re men and they may not always be able recognize when they need help. Here’s how you can support the men in your life by understanding their unique signs of depression. Dr. Coard, Ed.D., Psychologist with Renown Behavioral Health, weighs in on the topic of depression and the warning signs. More than 6 million men are diagnosed with depression each year, and surprisingly, depression in men can differ from women. The signs of depression are not easily recognized and it’s common for men to be in denial about what they’re going through. They can demonstrate anger and aggression instead of sadness – making it difficult for loved ones, or even their providers, to recognize. Behavioral Signs of Depression in Men High levels of the hormone cortisol are released during stressful situations affecting the neurotransmitter, serotonin (a feel good hormone), contributing to depression. You can identify depression or suicidal tendencies by paying close attention to the following behavioral changes: Anger, irritability, or aggression Avoiding family or social situations Losing interest in family responsibilities, passions and hobbies Lack of sex drive Becoming controlling/abusive in relationships Risk-taking behavior such as; unsafe sex, overspending or gambling Not being able to concentrate or remember details Excessive drinking or drug use Having frequent thoughts about death Talking about suicide Attempting suicide Factors That Lead to Depression in Men Life Events Work stress or long-term unemployment can be huge contributing factors relating to depression. This type of life event can be overwhelming, making it impossible for a man to cope. Changes in Relationships The loss of a relationship can be a significant contributing factor to the emergence of depressive symptoms and past experienced physical, sexual, or emotionally abusive relationships. With this in mind, counseling can often help individual to overcome this type of trauma. Grief and Loss Overwhelming sadness due to the loss of a loved one can trigger depression. Although normal, each person goes through their own grieving period. For example, normal responses to death are insomnia, poor appetite and loss of interest in activities. Pay attention if grief seems prolonged or out of the ordinary. Health Problems In particular, depression coexists with medical conditions. As men age, this can be passed off as normal aging, but it could be more serious. In addition, illnesses such as thyroid disorders, Addison’s disease and liver disease can cause depressive symptoms. Diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or Parkinson’s disease can affect any age, thus triggering or worsening depression. Some older men also feel like they may be suffering from dementia because of difficulties with memory this may be a symptom of depression. A trip to the doctor may be in order to help alleviate concern and worry. Depression in Men and Suicide Frequently the emotional pain occurring with depression can distort a man’s ability to see a solution beyond suicide. Individuals with depression become very rigid and constricted in the way they solve problems. The statistics below speak for themselves, helping us understand the need to reach out to those who need our support. Male suicide rates are on rising – men die by suicide 3.53 times more often than women, accounting for 70% of all suicides. Sadly, every day 129 men commit suicide. White males accounted for 69.67% of suicide deaths in 2017. In 2017, firearms accounted for 50.57% of all suicide deaths. Middle aged Men who are middle aged have the highest suicide rates. 40% of those identifying as transgender have attempted suicide in their lifetime. Males who are guy or transgendered are at an increased risk for suicide attempts, especially before age 25. Veterans often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, and are more likely to act on a suicide plan. How You Can Help Now that you can identify some of the warning signs of depression, here’s how you can help: Talk about your concern and communicate that you’re there to help him. Let him know depression is a medical condition and will usually get better with treatment. Suggest professional help from a Primary Care Provider, Psychologist or Therapist. Help set up appointments and offer to accompany him – let him make the decision, but make it clear you’re there for him, no matter what he decides. If you feel he is in a dire or life-threatening situation, contact 911. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to talk to a trained counselor. Call the Veteran’s Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) and press “1”
What Is the Role of a Child Life Specialist?
What is the role of the child life specialist? Here are common questions and answers about how these special individuals give both parents and kids peace of mind. Let’s face it: A hospital can be an intimidating place for just about anyone. But add in being a small human with very little worldly experience — aka a child — and it’s easy to imagine how overwhelming a hospital visit can be. Enter the role of the child life specialist. Liz Winkler, a child life specialist with Renown Children’s Hospital, explains how a Renown program puts young patients and their families at ease. What does a child life specialist do? Child life specialists help young patients develop ways to cope with the anxiety, fear and separation that often accompany the hospital experience. They give special consideration to each child’s family, culture and stage of development. As professionals trained to work with children in medical settings, specialists hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the areas of child life, child development and special education or recreational therapy. Our child life specialists are also professionally certified and affiliated with the national Child Life Council. Child life specialists also offer tours of Renown Children’s Hospital for families whose children are scheduled to have surgery. Child life supports children and families by: Helping children cope with anxiety, fear, separation and adjustment Making doctors, needles and tests a little less scary Providing art, music and pet therapy Organizing activities Addressing your concerns Telling you what to expect Creating a therapeutic and medical plan Offering a hand to hold What else is available at the Children’s Hospital that helps ease some of the stress of a hospital visit? Whether it’s seeing a pediatrician, getting a sports physical or looking for advice, our care is centered on supporting and nurturing patients and families at our many locations. We have kid-friendly environments to help ease some of the stress of a hospital visit. These include colorful exam rooms, kid-friendly waiting and common areas, and medical equipment designed especially for children. Our children’s ER is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So parents and caregivers have access to emergency care tailored to little ones — anytime, day or night. We have several pediatric specialists on the Renown team in areas including diabetes, emergency medicine, neurology, pulmonology, blood diseases and cancer. How can parents start to ease their children’s mind when they know a hospital visit is in the future? As with many things in life, good preparation can help kids feel less anxious about the experience and even get through recovery faster. It’s important to provide information at your child’s level of understanding, while correcting any misunderstandings, and helping to eliminate fears and feelings of guilt. If you’re anxious and nervous, your child may reflect these feelings and behaviors. So make sure you educate yourself, feel comfortable with the process, and get your questions answered.
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