Anxiety & Depresssion

Life Transitions & Stress

Self-esteem & Relationships

Trauma-based Issues

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September 2015 Updates

The World Health Organization says that your "health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being (emphasis mine) and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

As a health psychologist, I provide monthly updates of resources for individuals and families that support well-being.
Cheers, Marilyn Wilts

Note: I am not responsible for the content, claims or representations of the listed sites and post these links for informational purposes only.

“Until we change our culture so that mental health is viewed in the same way we view physical health - as one of many important elements of being human - we will continue to fail those in need."
--Barbara Van Dahlen, Founder and President of Give an Hour

September is National Childhood Obesity Month:

New Resource for Teenage Depression:

September 9, 2015 news release: "Military medicine tackles suicide with prevention tools for patients, families and providers."

The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) , in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), announces the release of four clinical support tools that bring together evidence-based practices to help service providers identify and treat service members and their families at risk for suicide. The tools provide recommendations on suicide warning signs, protective factors, safety planning and effective treatments. "We worked with the VA/Department of Defense Evidence Based Work Group to develop clinical support tools that cover such areas as warning signs, evidence-based treatments and care transition," said Public Health Service Cmdr. Angela Williams-Steele, a clinical psychologist and chief of evidence-based practices at DCoE's Deployment Health Clinical Center.

The tools are available for download at the U.S. Medical Department website: (Look under the Health Care Team menu on the left.)

Patients and family members of active-duty military members and veterans can get help with identifying the warning signs of suicidal tendencies, both direct and indirect. "If this person uses alcohol or drugs or even smokes more than usual, that could be a sign of a problem," said Williams-Steele, adding that other indirect signs include hopelessness, rage, reckless or risky behavior and even significant changes in the amount of sleep the individual gets. "From a clinical side, some diagnoses, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, are more commonly connected to suicide risks."

Williams-Steele said while friends and family members might be tempted to be the keeper of a secret, they really shouldn't keep knowledge of suicidal intentions to themselves. "If someone says it to you, take it seriously. It's better to act upon it, even if they are not serious, because you might have saved a life."

Tools available for providers include a guide developed by the VA, "Suicide Risk Provider Pocket Guide," a foldable pamphlet, that helps assess and manage a suicidal patient in primary or specialty care. This tool includes a table of warning signs, identifies the main risk and protective factors and looks at the levels of risk per suicide. Williams-Steele said the fact this was developed by DoD in concert with the VA recognizes the need to address suicide risk in the active-duty population, and also to use it across systems and help veterans as well.

For patients, there's a handout available through providers with tips on overcoming suicidal thoughts and feelings and a safety plan work sheet that helps patients and providers work together to identify stressful triggers, warning signs, sources of support, coping strategies and ways to access care. "Once the patient and provider fill this out, the patient holds onto it so when things come up--they're feeling sad or feeling hopeless or they need to talk to someone--they have that information right there and don't have to think about a phone number," said Williams-Steele.

The common denominator for all of these tools is raising awareness of the risks and the help that is available to prevent suicide.

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