About Janine Monico

Janine Monico is a digital marketing consultant who has managed the Healthy Minds Philly initiative website since 2015.

Breastfeeding and Mental Health – It’s Personal

The arrival of a little bundle of joy brings heart-stealing smiles along with many opinions and advice about breastfeeding. Undoubtedly, nursing creates a physical and emotional attachment between mother and baby. It strengthens babies’ immune systems, and for moms, can reduce the risk of disease and bring joy and fulfillment. But not always. For some mothers, breastfeeding is extremely painful. Others cannot supply enough milk, which can lead to extreme feelings of guilt. Breastfeeding and anxiety often go hand in hand as infants on breast milk require frequent feedings. The resulting lack of sleep causes stress, which can reduce mom’s milk supply, creating a vicious cycle.  “Feeding and sleep deprivation — which, of course, are connected — are two of the biggest triggers for moms’ anxiety and mood disturbances,” says Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, a psychiatrist specializing in women’s mental health, in The New York Times.  Depression and breastfeeding Does nursing reduce the risk of postpartum depression (PPD)? For most new mothers the answer is yes. Yet those who have a negative breastfeeding experience are actually at greater risk for PPD.  Another mental health issue, but one rarely discussed, is post-weaning depression. Once baby moves to the bottle, sadness is common as the feel-good hormones released while breastfeeding drop significantly.  For post-weaning depression and PPD, antidepressants are often prescribed. But what [...]

2022-08-14T21:51:06-04:00August 4th, 2022|Family & Youth, Mental Health, Support, Women's Health|

Overdose Awareness

Addiction is such a stigmatized topic – yet people are so uninformed about it. Most of us were taught that “drugs are bad,” but that is about the most education we get or tend to remember. I am here to discuss the concept of the disease of addiction which goes far beyond the common stigmas about who “addicts” are. Yes, addiction is a disease due to the fact it is ongoing, not curable (only treatable), and a condition associated with signs and symptoms.  Just like other diseases, it may run rampant in some families. Babies are sometimes directly affected if they are born while a parent is actively using substances. Some others have become victims of the opioid epidemic by trusting medical providers that were responsible for their care, without knowing the addictive personality or predispositions of some clients. Ongoing Epidemic People sometimes ask: “Why can’t people stop? Why won’t they just stop using or drinking?” If it were that easy, we would not have an epidemic. In 2019, nearly 70,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, according to the National Institutes of Health. The addictive nature and side effects/symptoms make these substances challenging to recover from. This is important to know because although taking any drug is usually a [...]

2022-08-08T09:11:38-04:00August 1st, 2022|Addiction & Recovery|

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Overdose Deaths

I’ll never forget the day I received the call from my parents informing me that one of my sister’s friends passed away from an overdose. I was heartbroken; my sister was devastated. It was 2002, and the first time overdose touched my life personally. What I didn’t know then was that I was going to continue to hear similar stories for the next 20 years, only more often and each one just as tragic.  Back then, everyone knew that heroin was “bad” but there was very little information about the danger of other opioids, like Percocet (perc’s) and Oxycontin (oxys).  As the years have gone by, we have seen the drugs change. Most of what is found on the street contains fentanyl, a lethal drug that is found in 80 [percent of the overdose deaths in Philadelphia. Fentanyl is being mixed into heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly), and sometimes it’s being pressed into pills that look like Oxycontin and Percocet. It’s impossible to tell which drugs contain fentanyl with the naked eye. There are test strips available to detect fentanyl and help prevent overdoses. We also know that overdoses can be reversed using a medication called naloxone (brand name Narcan).   Raising Awareness Aug. 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, a day when we pause to remember the lives of individuals who have [...]

2022-08-06T17:20:27-04:00August 1st, 2022|Addiction & Recovery, Awareness|

Accessing Mental Health Services in Philadelphia

July is Minority Mental Health Month. While we celebrate the gains made by minoritized populations in the United States, much remains to be done. Notwithstanding the increased national dialogue around racism following the death of George Floyd, structural and interpersonal racism persist, with lasting effects on life expectancy and wellness of minorities. These disparities are endemic and affect access to  and quality of healthcare and social and economic opportunities. Some concerning facts about health and wellbeing of minorities in the United States: Although suicide rates went down during the pandemic, rates increased among minorities, particularly black pre-teen youth. The same trends are noted among LGBTQ individuals.  LGBTQ youth are significantly more likely to become homeless compared with other populations.  Marginalized populations experienced a disproportionate increase in anxiety and depression.  Racial and ethnic minorities groups disproportionately lack access to mental health treatment and medications. Black and brown people are systematically overdiagnosed with psychotic disorders. Black and brown persons with mental illness are incarcerated for longer periods.  50 percent of white U.S. medical students hold inaccurate views on physical differences that are known to lead to discriminatory treatment.  Compared to whites, minority ethnic populations are more likely to die of preventable cardiac causes.  Reduced overall life expectancy (including higher rates of maternal and infant mortality) among minority populations has been linked to the [...]

2022-06-16T10:30:18-04:00July 1st, 2022|Mental Health|
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