. Sometimes we need time to reflect
State Mental Health Legislation 2015 Trends, Themes & Effective Practices
See more at: http://www.nami.org/statereport#sthash.fBWnHkl2.dpuf
NAMI’s report, State Mental Health Legislation: Trends, Themes and Effective Practices, highlights the good and bad news in states’ approaches to mental health.
The good news is that in 2015, 35 states adopted one or more measures that NAMI applauds with a Gold Star—and five states passed model legislation.
The bad news is that, at a time when public awareness of the need for mental health reform continues to increase, funding for mental health services fell in more states than it grew. This is the third year in a row the number of states willing to increase spending on mental health shrank.
Fewer than half of states increased their mental health budgets this year. The rest reduced funding, including three states that have been in steady decline over three years—Alaska, North Carolina and Wyoming. Only eleven states have steadily increased investment from 2013 to 2015: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia and Washington.
The report also highlights legislation that helps improve mental health systems or services. Five bills stood out:
- See more at: http://www.nami.org/statereport#sthash.7TYggX4Y.dpuf
SLEEP AND MENTAL HEALTH ARE TRUE BEDFELLOWS
When it comes to sleep and mental health, this Ben Franklin quote comes to mind:
Early to bed, early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy, and wise."
Mr. Franklin said this in the days when modern psychology didn't exist; Sigmund Freud hadn't been born, nor had the American Psychological Association. Yet Ben still knew and promoted the value of a good night's sleep (develop good sleep habits). As it turns out, his adage about the importance of sleep to wellbeing is true and has been proven by modern science.
Sleep plays a vital role in mental health. Adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep each night. When someone's average is less than that, problems begin to occur. Emotional regulation becomes difficult, cognitive functioning diminishes (that "foggy," slowed-down feeling and difficulty completing tasks), memory becomes impaired, and behavior changes. Harvard Medical School warns that there's a strong connection between:
Sleep and mental health are intricately related, and each affects the other. That can make brain-soothing sleep elusive; however, eating well, exercising, using relaxation techniques, and other sleep hygiene practices can help you get those z's and achieve the health, wealth, and wisdom old Ben touted.
If you need a boost during a particularly bad day, try listening to the Bill Withers classic “Lean on Me.” The lyrics boil it down: We all face pain, we all face sorrow, but there might be someone around who lend an ear, a shoulder, a helping hand to get us through the worst of it.
Managing bipolar disorder day-to-day can feel exhausting and sometimes hopeless. It’s a heavy load to carry alone. If you look around, you may realize there are individuals who have helped you carry on.
That help may be large or small, direct or subtle, asked-for or unexpected. It could come from a mental health worker whose warmth and enthusiasm provides invaluable inspiration. It could come from a teacher who offers encouragement at just the right juncture. It could come from a good friend who won’t let you hide away during a depression.
Those are the “Heroes of Hope” featured in bp Magazine’s new Fall 2015 issue. Lisbeth F. is right to describe her friend’s staunch companionship during a severe depressive episode as “a wonderful thing”—the kind of thing it’s important to pause and acknowledge.
(Remember, recognizing the good that drops into our lives—think: gratitude journal—helps feed a positive outlook and defend against depression.)
As the story also notes, Lisbeth wasn’t shy about admitting she could use some help. Like the Bill Withers song says: “No one can fill those of your needs/ That you won’t let show.”
Which brings us to Bipolar Disorder Awareness Day, which is traditionally scheduled for the Thursday of Mental Illness Awareness Week.
In the larger sense, Bipolar Awareness Day is an opportunity to educate others on the signs, symptoms and—perhaps most importantly—the best treatments for ongoing wellness. On a personal level, it may be an occasion to reflect on whether and with whom you might feel comfortable sharing your diagnosis.
Disclosure may not always end well, but there are many cases when reaching out brings surprising rewards. In “Heroes of Hope,” Austin L. describes how an English teacher became a mentor after he’d opened up about some of his challenges in living with bipolar. Click here to read the full story.
8 Strategies Using Positive Memories to Help Depression By Jennifer Acosta Scott Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
1 / 9 Remembering the Good Times
When you're living under the weight of depression, it's easy to get stuck in a cycle of negative emotions. But new research shows that a specific way of recalling happy memories could help boost your moods. A British study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science found that people who recalled positive memories using a "method of loci" strategy — a strategy that involves associating memories with physical objects or locations — could remember more of their memories over time than people who simply grouped them by similarities. Even if you don't use this method to recall memories, simply thinking back to good times can help lift your mood. Here are a few ways to recall the good times in your life.
2 / 9 Haul Out the Photo Albums
Everyone has them — albums or shoe boxes full of photographs from years past. Opening up these caches and shuffling through the photos can be an effective mood-booster when you're battling depression. Looking at old photos and appreciating things in your past could generate positive thoughts and emotions, said Marla W. Deibler, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and founder and executive director of the Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia.
3 / 9 Write It DownCommitting good memories to paper can help them become more concrete and also serve as a way to preserve those details you may forget later, Deibler said. So grab a notebook and pen and start writing about something fun you've done. You might even buy a special journal just to help with this approach to conquering major depressive disorder — and soon find yourself with a smile on your face as you think back on these special experiences.
4 / 9 Look at KeepsakesDo you still have your corsage from senior prom? A ticket stub from a movie you enjoyed seeing years ago? Sifting through these mementos can also be a way of remembering special times and providing a respite from major depressive disorder. Make the time to hunt through your attic for that old box of treasure and see what's inside. You could find a memento that you forgot you had. (You knew you were saving that stuff for something, right?)
5 / 9 Connect With People From Your PastA great way to relive happy memories is by talking with the people who helped make them with you. "People with depression can be very isolated," Deibler said. "Just connecting with others is very helpful — telling stories about things in the past, reminiscing about meaningful events in your lives. It can help you to feel good about what's happened." So, call up that old college roommate or high school friend for a brunch or lunch date — you'll probably leave with a smile on your face.
6 / 9 Go to Your Happy Place
Visualizing a time when you felt happy and secure can be a good way to deal with emotionally difficult moments, said Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, a psychotherapist and dating coach in McLean, Va., who uses this strategy with some of her clients. "Often what they choose is an experience in which they were truly and completely in the moment, without the concerns and distractions that get in the way of peacefulness," Coleman says. Then, during times of distress in your journey with a major depressive disorder, the happy place can be recalled using meditation techniques. Coleman likens it to "bottling up a happy moment and saving it for those rainy days ahead."
7 / 9 Put Your Memories on Display
Why keep mementos from your past stuffed in a drawer? Displaying photos and keepsakes around your house can help trigger happy memories more frequently because you'll see the items more often during the course of your day, said Carole Lieberman, MD, a psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, Calif. Take a few minutes to put those pictures into frames and hang them on your wall. Not only will you add interest to your décor, you'll add a potential mood-booster to lessen your depression.
8 / 9 Remember …With CautionNot everyone reacts to memories the same way, and for some, remembering can actually cause a further slip into depression. "Some people can become sad and reminiscent of things that are no longer in their lives," Deibler said. "That's not helpful, obviously." If you find that recalling things from your past brings you down rather than lifts you up, you'll need to try a different tactic for a major depressive disorder.
9 / 9 Keep Working With Your Mental Health ProfessionalWhen you're experiencing symptoms of a major depressive disorder — like persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness, and loss of interest in normal activities — recalling good memories isn't an adequate treatment on its own. But as you work with your psychotherapist or other mental health professional, he can help you channel these memories in a way that reinforces your therapy and depression medications to help you feel better.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Artificially reactivating positive memories could offer an alternative to traditional antidepressants.
MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can cure the symptoms of depression in mice by artificially reactivating happy memories that were formed before the onset of depression.
The findings, described in the June 18 issue of Nature, offer a possible explanation for the success of psychotherapies in which depression patients are encouraged to recall pleasant experiences. They also suggest new ways to treat depression by manipulating the brain cells where memories are stored. The researchers believe this kind of targeted approach could have fewer side effects than most existing antidepressant drugs, which bathe the entire brain.
reported from www.EverydayHealth.com
Peter Roy-Byrne, MD Reviewing Kelders SM et al., Behav Res Ther 2015 Sep 72:72
Weekly guidance from a clinician improves the effect of computerized interventions for depression, and additional support can be effectively delivered in an automated fashion.
E-interventions for common mental-health conditions like depression and anxiety are in the beginning stages but are here to stay. We have much to learn about optimizing their use — how to select the right patients, how intensive to make the intervention, and how best to provide additional support from a knowledgeable clinical source. Although some patients may garner benefits from the programs without guidance, the largest effects will likely be obtained when these include some sort of additional clinical guidance.
from NEJM Journal Watch
Shared understanding. Mutual support.
Those were two of the factors identified in a new study of whether and how a peer education program reduced self-stigma around mental illness. The researchers noted that internalized stigma has been shown to have a negative impact on people with mental health concerns and creates a major barrier to seeking help.
The study, published online ahead of print in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal last month, found that matching older adults with depression with peer educators in recovery from depression “significantly reduced” internalized stigma and also improved mental health literacy.
Easing the grip of self-stigma is far from the only benefit of peer support, whether through a formal program or on Internet forums. Connecting with other people who share the experience of living with bipolar delivers perhaps the most powerful recovery tool of all: hope.
Denise K. found the help she needed to make it through a low point after her bipolar diagnosis by visiting online support groups.
“Friends can offer support, but the extra level of understanding is missing,” she explains in “Getting Better Together” (bp Magazine, Fall 2014).
Along with empathy, people who have “been there, done that” can offer practical advice on what helps with day-to-day management of bipolar. (Research shows that peer-to-peer programs have positive results for medical conditions as well, including diabetes, stroke prevention, and even breast feeding.)
Peer support can even improve the outcome of treatment, according to an April 2014 study in Psychiatric Services. Working with so-called peer specialists or “consumer-providers”—individuals who have received training or certification to do a kind of introductory-level counseling—led to fewer re-hospitalizations and improved engagement with treatment, the study authors concluded.
Experts like Patrick Corrigan, PsyD, a noted researcher on self-stigma and self-help, stress that finding the right kind of peer support may take some shopping around. They also raise a few cautions, since a support group with too much conflict or social interactions with people who aren’t stable may end up threatening your own recovery.
By Robin L. Flanigan
Condensed from Bp Hope www.dbsalliance.org
Michael S. describes gradually shifting his sleep schedule before a cross-country trip—then wishing he’d brought snacks because none of his flights had meal service. Leah N. ended up staying five days longer than planned on a trip to Europe because of weather disruptions, so she now travels with a month’s supply of meds.
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists gives the exact same advice: Be sure to pack extra. In addition:
Carry a list of all the medicines you take in your purse or wallet. Include the phone numbers of your prescribing doctors and pharmacist.
If you are flying, keep medications in their labeled containers, place them together in a plastic baggie for easy access, and put that in your carry-on bag. This not only saves them from going astray, but also avoids extremes of hot and cold in the plane’s baggage compartment. •
If you’ll be changing time zones, consult with your doctor or pharmacist to develop a plan for when to take your medicine. Otherwise, be sure to stick with your regular schedule even if you’re in vacation mode.
Some psychiatric medications make your skin more sensitive to the sun—so that’s another conversation to have with your practitioner. You may have to limit your exposure, and definitely be vigilant about sunscreen.
ART OF RELAXATION
Lack of a regular routine isn’t the only worry when you travel. Although it may sound counterintuitive, vacations actually can be physically and emotionally taxing— whether because of a hectic sightseeing schedule, camping out on a sleeping pad, or family demands
SET EXPECTATIONS. Before vacationing with family, Kerry Bakken of Pennsylvania talks with her husband about what kind of support she thinks she may need to maintain stability. “We talk about what’s going to help the trip go smoothly,” she explains, “and I make sure to ask my husband while traveling to help track my moods.”
JOIN CLUB MEDS. A few weeks before you leave, check your medication supply and get refills if necessary. Take along more than you need so you don’t get caught short if there are unexpected delays in getting home. If you’re flying, pack meds in your carry-on bag.
HAVE FUN—WITHIN BOUNDARIES. There’s such a thing as being “overly conscientious” when you’re on vacation, says psychiatrist Joanna Cheek. After all, you want to have a good time and make good memories, or what’s the point? That can happen as long as you arrange your activities around the basics of self-care: wake up around the same time every morning, monitor how much social time you’re having, stay alert to signs of a mood shift, and so on.
HAVE REGULAR MEALS.
Michael Scott made sure to do this while at Disney World with his two children. “We always had meals around the same time every day, which is healthy in itself, but this also set up a routine that matched with sleep and exercise habits.” (Although as far as exercise goes, anyone who’s been to Disney World knows getting in lots of walking is no problem.)
Robin L. Flanigan is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in People magazine, US Airways Magazine and other national and regional publications. She lives in Rochester, New York.