SAD: It’s More Common Than You Think

Have you experienced changes in appetite, trouble sleeping, low energy, and difficulty concentrating? How about feeling sad or not like your usual self? Do you notice feeling a bit down as the fall/winter arrives and days get shorter? If so, you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder (also know as “the winter blues”). and it’s more common than you may think. What is SAD? SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, is a form of seasonal depression most apparent by changes in your mood and behavior when the seasons change. For most cases of SAD, symptoms begin in late fall or early winter and go away in spring and summer. This is referred to as winter-pattern SAD. Some experience depressive episodes in the spring and summer called summer-pattern SAD. One important thing to remember is that it is more common than you think.  Who gets SAD? It is estimated to affect 10 million people yearly. SAD occurs more often in women than men, and more often in people who live further north of the equator. Amongst these millions, many may experience the symptoms, but not know they have it. What can I do if I am experiencing symptoms of SAD? If you experience symptoms, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider and/or mental health counselor. If you are comfortable confiding in [...]

2022-11-07T09:56:14-05:00November 7th, 2022|Awareness, Depression, Mental Health|

Veterans are a Vital ‘Special Population’ Within Philadelphia

Nearly 70,000 veterans reside in Philadelphia as of the 2020 Census Veterans are greeted so often with “Thank you for your service” that it has become cliché. But those thanks — without the knowledge or passion of knowing what you are being thankful for — is meaningless for those hearing these words. Veterans are a multifaceted population with a distinct culture that includes values, customs, ethos, selfless duty, codes of conduct, implicit patterns of communication, and obedience to command. They also experience mental health disorders, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress, suicidal ideation, homelessness, traumatic brain injury, and a multitude of physical ailments at disproportionate rates compared to their civilian counterparts. So: “Thank you for your service” without “Thank you for your sacrifice” is no thanks at all. This is where we as a community can and should make a difference. Veterans and their key support system, their families, experience sacrifice from the time they take their oath “to serve and protect” and leave their families for basic training. The sacrifice continues through their duty assignments and includes following service orders that may involve participating in hazardous activities. Their sacrifice built the backbone of this country, and they have put their lives on hold and at risk to protect it. They answered the call of duty, fought wars, and provided humanitarian [...]

2022-10-17T11:09:21-04:00November 4th, 2022|Awareness, Veterans|

Healing After Suicide Loss

My son was 16 when he took his own life. His name is Michael Alfred. After my loss, I did not believe there could be healing. I ate and ate and ate. I gained 65 lbs. I saw no future. But slowly – very slowly, after counseling, therapy, and research with support groups – I came to realize this was my new life and I had to either embrace this or not. In the beginning, I sat on the couch and ate. I did not believe that there were other parents who had lost a child by suicide. I was living in Philadelphia/Delaware County. I found AFSP, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I was married at the time, for over 25 years, but with the death of my son, so went my marriage. The most helpful thing, I found, was to be able to talk. Just talk. This was back in 1993, so online support groups were not as available as they are now. But through AFSP and SOS (Survivors of Suicide), I was able to see that I was not alone. It really is difficult when you try to heal and your partner does not want to, however, heal I did. The most difficult part  for me was seeing others going on with their lives; seeing my son’s friends [...]

2022-10-17T11:18:52-04:00November 1st, 2022|Awareness, Suicide Prevention|

Hispanic Heritage Month: Our Culture is Our Strength

This post is also available in English below. Nuestra cultura es nuestra fuerza El mes de la Herencia Hispana en los Estados Unidos se celebra desde el 15 de septiembre hasta el 15 de octubre. Aunque nosotros los latinos no limitamos nuestras celebraciones a días especiales, aprovechamos cada oportunidad que tenemos para celebrar. Siento orgullo poder celebrar nuestra cultura, nuestros éxitos y nuestra historia con toda la comunidad latina y con la comunidad de Filadelfia en general. Tenemos mucho para celebrar. En el poema, “La mancha de plátano, el poeta puertorriqueño, Luis Llorens Torres se refiere a esa cosa de nuestra herencia que ni el jabón no las quita de encima. Así como la mancha del plátano, tenemos esas cosas culturales que por mas que uno trate, nadie no las puede quitar. Ni deben intentarlo. Poder ser quienes somos de forma autentica es necesario para nuestro bienestar. Nuestra musica es musica de alegría. Nuestra comida fortalece el alma. Nuestra historia esta repleta de éxitos. Nuestro idioma acaricia el corazón. Para el Latino que es recién llegado a este país tal como el que nació aquí, a veces buscamos forma de quitarnos la mancha del plátano para poder asimilarnos. Desafortunadamente, nos olvidamos de esas cosas que nos hacen ser único y son esas cosas nos da [...]

2022-09-29T14:38:10-04:00September 30th, 2022|Awareness, Community, Racial Equity|
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