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Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Building Community

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was celebrated in 1987 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The goal was for advocates across the nation to come together to help end violence in families. The coalition saw a need to link regional communities to a larger, national effort to end domestic violence. Each year, we: honor those who have died because of domestic violence celebrate those who have survived, and connect those who work to end violence. Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a chance to speak about this issue all month long. For many of us, home has become the office, school, and daycare - all in one place. For domestic violence survivors, this isolation that many of us feel may be harmful. While staying at home helps lower the spread of the virus, survivors may not be able to reach out to others…

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Helpful Thinking

At seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, you might have concerns about safety, helplessness, feeling unable to cope, guilt, and anger. These feelings are understandable given what we're all going through; but focusing on these negative feelings can make it even harder to cope. It can help to identify the unhelpful thoughts and then redirect your focus to more helpful thoughts. The National Center for PTSD compiled the charts below as a guide for practicing using helpful thoughts. When you're thinking "I am too scared to do anything because I might get infected," or "I'm going to infect others," some alternative helpful thoughts might be "I can gather information, set priorities, adapt my plans, and carry out the most important necessities in ways that are safe." Also remind yourself "I am doing the best I can to keep myself and my family safe," and "I can find ways to express…

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National Depression Screening Day 2020

Author: Maria Boswell, Director, Health Promotion, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services Every October, on National Depression Screening Day (NDSD), we encourage everyone to get “a check-up from the neck-up” and talk about mental health.  National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) seeks to educate, raise awareness, reduce stigma, and connect Philadelphians with mental health screenings and resources. How do I know I might have depression?  If you struggle with depression, you can have trouble sleeping (sleeping too much or not enough), concentrating, and very low energy. You can lose interest in activities you once enjoyed, lose confidence in yourself, and feel worthless. Some people have recurring thoughts of death or suicide, and can often feel trapped or desperately alone. Depression can be a very painful and frightening experience.  For many, depression can show itself in angry outbursts, frequent crying, irritability, or problems at home, work, or school. Depression can feel like…

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Recovery Month: Opioid Addiction, Recovery, & Overdose Prevention

As Philadelphia continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the city is still facing an opioid use and overdose epidemic. Every neighborhood across our city and country is affected as well as all racial and ethnic groups. Addiction to opioids can happen to anyone, no matter age, gender, income, or family upbringing. As we celebrate Recovery Month 2020, we must do all we can to support those struggling with this addiction so that they, too, can experience recovery. What exactly are Opioids?  Opioids are a class of drugs prescribed to relieve pain (often termed, 'pain killers.') Common brand names include: OxyContin® and Percocet® (oxycodone) Vicodin® (hydrocodone), and Kadian (morphine.) When appropriately prescribed by a doctor, opioids help the brain block the feeling of pain and help many people to cope with the pain caused by surgery, physical trauma, and chronic ailments. Also included in the opioids class is the illegal drug…

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