6/28/2013

I Don’t Need Anyone’s Help!

By: Jason Ulanet, PLPC
Social Services Clinican

Sometimes current events give bloggers a nice; easy, perfect segue into what they want to write about. This is ALMOST one of those times. The major headlines of the last few days all include news of the New England Patriots’ tight end Aaron Hernandez, who has found himself in serious legal trouble. Such a dramatic reversal in fortune for this young man reminded me of something I’ve returned to over the years in my conversations with those who’ve been in treatment, or are considering seeking it.

6/25/2013

HIPPA, Privacy Rights and Improved Patient Outcomes

By Rich Faillla, CEO
I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the problems that family members run into when they try to get information on their adult children who suffer from mental illness. Due to HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and the other privacy rules family members cannot get any information about their loved ones without a signed release. This is especially troubling for families of patients who are diagnosed with schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.
Oftentimes if the family of these patients knew that they were not taking their medication, or refused community living arrangements, or did not make an outpatient follow up appointment, the families could intervene. Many times Psychiatric patients loose all touch with reality and have hallucinations, delusions, or hear voices which make them paranoid.

5/20/2013

The New DSM V - Helping Patients or Hurting Them?

By: Richard Failla, Chief Executive Officer
It is interesting to follow all the articles about the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V (DSM V). We are seeing more criticism about DSM V then we have about any other previous manual revision. Actually, the criticism is not new. Almost every edition has had its critics going back to the early 1990’s when 'The Selling of the DSM', a book by Stuart Kirk, and 'Making us Crazy', a book by Herb Kutchins, appeared on the scene. What makes the current criticism of note is that the attacks are coming from within the Profession of Psychiatry. One of the leading psychiatric researchers who was in charge of developing the DSM IV, Allen Frances, says that the authors for the DSM V have failed to ask the most important question: Will the new diagnosis help patients or harm them?

4/05/2013

Talking Care of Our Veteran's Mental Health

The Institute of Medicine Report (IOM) that was requested by Congress on March 26 recommends that the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Veterans Administration (VA) actively work to counter negative connotations surrounding treatment for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders.
The report also talks about the special needs of a voluntary force that has had multiple deployments and has spent very little time in rest and recuperation (R&R).  There are some excellent evidence based treatment options for our returning soldiers.

3/01/2013

Anxiety: You Don't Have to Be a Nervous Nelly

By: David P. Robbins, LPC


In America today, most adults have experienced or suffered anxiety or anxiety-related symptoms -- or even panic attacks -- or personally know someone who has. Anxiety can be debilitating for those who suffer from it, but the good news is that in most cases, there are effective treatments for anxiety! 

So, what is anxiety?

I would define anxiety as this: a fear and expectation of a thing. Anxiety is a normal emotional/physical state within the human body. One might wonder, "How does it get so bothersome that folks have to go see a therapist, or even a psychiatrist for medication to treat the issue?" Here is a short explanation:

2/22/2013

Looking Beyond the Illness and Into the Heart of the Patient

By: Peggy Cunningham, NCC, LPC
“Real success is finding your lifework in the work you love.” - David McCullough
I often marvel at how lucky I am to be able to come to work every day, being in the place I want to be, and doing the thing that I love to do.  I feel passionate about working in the behavioral health field and providing the best care we can to those who seek our assistance.  I also am glad to see the progress we have made in destigmatizing mental illness.  There was a recent commercial on TV where several celebrities are seen with family members or friends with an identifiable mental illness.  The message “These are real people with real feelings with real lives’ and people who love them.”

2/15/2013

Silencing the Bell of Suffering

By: Peggy Cunningham, MA, NCC,LPC
I am familiar with a mental health organization that has a bell that it rings at an annual event.  The bell is made of chains that were from old psychiatric state hospitals, or “Asylums”, where a lack of understanding of mental illness and often ineffective methods of treatment had us treat these individuals in inhumane ways.  When this bell rang you could almost hear the voices and the cries of those who were chained and suffering from mental illness. It was a very eerie.  We have made progress from those days but still have much progress that needs to be made.

I have long believed that people fear that which we don’t understand and mental illness is one of those areas many people fear.  Mental illness is an impairment that can affect how one thinks, feels, socializes, and behaves.  The precise causes are not always clear.  Those who suffer from mental illness are our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends and neighbors. Their behavior is often unpredictable and bizarre.  One is embarrassed, baffled and afraid by how mental illness plays out in the here and now. Those who are mentally ill suffer from a disease of the brain.  Mental illness is treatable with medication and various forms of therapy.  One would never be embarrassed by someone who suffers from diabetes, heart disease or diabetes and would never hesitate to seek medical assistance.  Yet when it comes to mental illness we hesitate to recognize it or seek help. 

Those who suffer from mental illness are not predestined to a life misery, criminal behavior or disability.  Those who suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety or any other mental illness are not predestined to become mass murderers.  These individuals have thoughts, feeling, love, hurt, cry, and work.  It is the responsibility of each one of us as individuals and as a society to embrace and support those who suffer from mental illness and to offer encouragement and assistance to their families.

1/28/2013

Tips for Considering New Year’s Resolutions

By: Anne Snider, RN, BSN
So with the New Year approaching many of us will make resolutions.  And, most of those will be based in trying to somehow change or improve ourselves.  And, most of us will fail.  
According to a 2007 study out of the University of Bristol, 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail.  What do you suppose that might do to someone’s mood, self esteem, and anxiety level?  Many of these resolutions are improvement based, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve ourselves.  However, in setting these goals, we must be realistic. 

1/09/2013

Post-Holiday Mental Health: Blowin' Down those Blues

By: Rosanne Parks,  BSN, MSN, Director SAGE Unit

For some people, the time period after the holidays can be more than just a “let-down.” After the holiday rush, family time is short as most people go back to work.  There is increased worry about money from all that Christmas spending, the weather is often cold, and daylight hours are in short supply until spring.  It’s no wonder that maintaining mental wellness gets put on the “backburner.” 
If this is a difficult time of year for you, keep in mind some measures to take which can help you cope. Research shows the best areas to focus on are: 

12/20/2012

Depression is a Disease, Serious and Treatable

By: Peggy Cunningham, MA, NCC, LPC

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 10 adult in the United States suffers from Depression.  In the state of Missouri it is estimated that between 9.2% and 10.3% of the adult population suffers from depression.  This means that everyday in our workplaces, at the grocery store, in our neighborhood, or places of worship we see the face of depression.  Sometimes it is the elderly grandmother, sometimes it is the urban professional, other times it is the factory work, the medical technician, the high school football player or the third grade student who appears to be a book worm. The faces and lives of those suffering from depression surround us.