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How to take care of your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

by Dr. Sosunmolu Shoyinka, Chief Medical Officer, City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) These are stressful and uncertain times. The evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic is very sudden and can be confusing. This may provoke anxiety for many people. Those with pre-existing anxiety and other mental health conditions may be particularly at risk. Individuals and teams whose work bring them in contact with infected persons may experience stress and anxiety. Other groups at risk for increased stress include the elderly, those caring for sick or vulnerable persons, and those experiencing significant changes to work, travel, or family life. Regardless of status or work function, we can anticipate that all of us will at some point experience some increased stress. At times like this, it is important to take steps to promote mental wellness and resilience. DBHIDS aligns with SAMHSA, the American Psychological Association,…

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Nursing & Mental Health

Happy Nurse’s Week to all of my fellow nurses out there!  I am very proud to be a nurse. It’s an amazing profession. Nursing is more than a job, though; it is a calling. It’s not just something you do, it is something you are; so it can be hard to maintain a level of separation when work is such an integral part of who you are. So how can nurses step back and make sure that they are caring for themselves in addition to the wonderful care they provide to their patients? First, let’s take a look at some facts.  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) found that hospital nurses are twice as likely as the general public to suffer from clinical depression.  That is, 9% of “everyday” citizens experience clinical depression while a whopping 18% of nurses are affected. At first I found…

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Optimism: An Awesome Antidote to Stress

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. Victor Frankl Have you noticed those upbeat people in your environment who never seem to let anything get them down? They seem to manage life’s stresses and challenges with a smile on their face and a skip in their step. No matter what lemons life seems to throw at them, they are still able to make lemonade. What is the quality that these people have and how can you start to cultivate it in your own life? The quality you are noticing is called optimism. Optimism is defined as a general inclination to anticipate positive outcomes in any given situation. An optimistic person expects things to turn out for the best. You can imagine how this kind of attitude…

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Q&A Brings to Light Yoga’s Benefits for Overall Wellness

Yoga and its ties to mental health is a burgeoning area of discussion in the mental health field. The way I see it, yoga and psychology are like two roads that eventually converge into one: they both lead toward healthier, more joyful lives, but they originate from different places.  My name is Julie Caramanico.  I am a certified yoga instructor for adults and children with a master’s degree in Health Psychology.  I teach trauma-informed yoga to adults (vinyasa style) and teach kids yoga for children with special needs. For the purposes of this blog, I will be conducting an interview with Jessica Pavelka, a psychotherapist and yoga teacher.  We discussed how she uses yoga in therapy, and she offered her wisdom on utilizing yogic tools for two of the most common mental health concerns: depression and anxiety.

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