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|

No Feeling Is Final

Imagine you are at your doctor’s office. The nurse takes you back to see the doctor – what do they do next?  “Let me get your temperature, blood pressure, check your height and weight.” A process we are all used to: checking vital signs  Imagine you’re a client of mine now (I’m a psychotherapist, or simply, a therapist). You come into my office. I’ll check your mental health vital signs: How are you sleeping? How's your appetite? Your mood? Are you having fun? Are you hanging out with people?  So far, pretty straightforward, right? Next question might get people nervous: Have you had thoughts of wanting to be dead or harming yourself? Why am I having suicidal thoughts? Suicidal thoughts happen for a lot of different reasons. Maybe it's stress that feels neverending. We may feel like a burden to someone or not fit in anywhere. For BIPOC (black/indigineous/people of color) folks, racism can cause suicidal thoughts. Whatever the reason, please know that help is available. How can I take care of myself? First, tell someone about your stressors! The right people can be just what we need. If you don’t have a trusted person in your corner, call 9-8-8, the new crisis support number. Keep doing the basics: Get enough sleep, eat all your meals, keep up with your [...]

2022-08-22T20:45:40-04:00September 12th, 2022|Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health, Stress, Suicide Prevention|

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|

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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