Earlier in the week we shared a TED Talk about how to start a conversation about suicide. In the last few months we have had a number of big name celebrities die from suicide. Our media once again has become saturated with those who many of us look up to and their decision to take their own lives.
Whether you think that posting about it, talking about it, or sharing about it glorifies suicide or supports prevention, there are a few basic steps we all need to be reminded of to help someone close to use who might be struggling.
According to Elana Premack Sandler L.C.S.W, M.P.H and her article on Psychology Today, there are 5 simple steps for suicide prevention.
- Keep Them Safe
- Be There
- Help Them Connect
- Follow Up
It is hard to know what to do when someone we love has started to talk about suicide. Do we talk to them about it? Do we call for help? Do we ignore it and hope it goes away? Do we force them to get help?
These days there are a number of suicide prevention numbers and hotlines to call. 1-800-273-8255 is the National Suicide Hotline, and here in Arizona there is a local number called Empact 1-480-784-1514
But when you are close to someone and see them struggling, it’s easy to be unsure of what to do. These 5 simple steps are easy to remember, and can help someone you love get the help they need. Sometimes we are afraid of asking if someone is thinking about taking their own life, but we need to ask these tough questions. It opens the door for our loved ones to know that we care about them, and are concerned. When we take action to keep them safe, we can keep a situation from escalating. We can keep them on the phone, go over to their house if possible, send a neighbor or a friend over while we are connecting them with phone numbers or other resources for help.
It is important to follow up with our loved one and ask them how they are doing. By following up we are letting that person know we care about their long term health and happiness, and are willing to step in to keep them safe.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please give them the Empact Crisis Line phone number 1-480-784-1514 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
We are here to help as well. If you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment, call our office at 1-480-999-7070.
What are some of the signs you might be suffering with, or that you might be seeing someone close to you suffer with that could be an early indication of PTSD?
According to American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V2, in order to be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder you must exhibit a few different groups of behaviors. Those are intrusion symptoms, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity. And these groups of symptoms are diagnosed by a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist.
Before this diagnosis happens, one might start having difficulty immediately after a particularly traumatic event. These early signs of stress after trauma can be a wide range of behaviors and emotions. The thoughts and emotions can lead to reactionary behaviors that could be considered warning signs that PTSD might be on the horizon. When trying to heal from a traumatic event, understanding how the event has changed your thought process, your emotions and your entire life early following the event is the key to help from developing PTSD. It is important to get help soon after, or get your loved one help soon after the event and if they start to exhibit emotions or behaviors that are not consistent with how they were before the event.
Some signs to look out for:
1- Sleeping Difficulties
3-Numbness and Disconnection
6-Reliving the Trauma
9-Relationships Changes (person might become more irritable, angry, and have more conflicts in their relationships)
10-Loss of Self Esteem
11-Work Performance Declines
12-Lifestyle Changes (person might stop going to their gym classes, or stop engaging in other hobbies they used to love)
13-New Use (or increased use) of Drugs and Alchohl
Experiencing a traumatic event affects the person it happened to, as well as everyone surrounding this person. It is important to be supportive and loving, and to recognize when someone might not be coping with the event in a healthy manner. It is also important to recognize as a loved one, when you yourself might not be coping with the change in the loved one. Keeping communication open, getting the help that is needed on all accounts, are great first steps before a diagnosis of full fledged Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is considered. To read more about the early signs of PTSD, check out this article at Psychology Today by Jennifer Sweeton PsyD.
Happy May everyone! We hope you are all having a wonderful Spring, and getting ready for those hot temperatures for Summer! Because at the end of May we will be honoring those who served in the military on Memorial Day, we will focus this month on various topics related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We will not only be talking about the Veterans we have in our lives, but the families and friends around them. We will also talk about other things that can cause PTSD, not just those who have returned from war and might be struggling.
There are many different traumatic experiences that can cause symptoms and prolonged PTSD. We want our blog to be beneficial and full of useful information for all people who may be in a situation where they are suffering. Even if you yourself have not experienced anything like this, or think you can’t relate, there might be someone in your life who is suffering. So this month we aim to talk about a plethora of information to help uplift ourselves and those around us!
What is PTSD and how do you know if you’re suffering from it? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the after affects of someone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. These events can range anywhere from a physical/emotional attack, serious accident, natural disaster, war, and much more. People who suffer from PTSD continue to have visions, thoughts, nightmares, and reactions long after the traumatic event has ended. The person who is suffering can often feel sad, depressed, anxious, and withdraw from friends, family, work, and social situations.
Here are a few of the topics we’ll be exploring for the month of May on our blog:
-What to do if you are struggling with PTSD?
-How to help someone who is going through symptoms of PTSD?
-Living a healthy and happy life after a traumatic event.
And much more!
Have you ever heard of therapy that is conducted in the great outdoors? We have a beautiful practice here in the Biltmore, but sometimes the temperatures here in Arizona are so scorching we are happy to be inside where it is cool.
However, there has been more and more practices and counselors who are taking their craft outdoors. There have been many studies on the affects of how getting outside and being outdoors can positively impact our lives. The mere fact of just being outdoors have shown to decrease stress levels, soothe mental illness, and increase physical activity. A lot of time spent in the outdoors is spent connecting with others, so the social interaction can be a positive thing in an individuals life as well.
There is a certain sense of calm when we are outside, especially when we are in a space that is green, clean, and quiet. This type of environment can really give us a platform to reconnect with ourselves, be in the moment, and appreciate what is around us that we often forget about when we are running through our busy lives.
There are therapy programs and groups that are held in outdoor environments, like camping in the woods, hiking groups, and even one on one counseling sessions done in a park. The results have shown that these types of activities can lower the stress hormone cortisol, which can be increasingly inflammatory and damaging to our health and our minds. Lowering cortisol can help improve symptoms of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia and anxiety. Often people feel healthier, and stronger after they’ve done something outside. So it’s no wonder taking the calming feeling of just being outdoors, coupled with am individual counseling session or in a group can be successful.
There is an article over at American Psychological Association about how psychologists are using wilderness as a therapeutic tool. Check out that article here. There is also a wonderful article written by Frederick Reimers on Outside Online that explores the topic. We would love to know what you think?
Would you sign up for a therapy session done outside?
Does being outdoors make you happier?
What are your favorite outdoor activities?
We have been talking about the positive impacts of eating healthy, physical activity, exercise, and sleep patterns lately. It seems like everywhere you turn, you see something promoting the plethora of benefits of exercising for mental health. Here at Biltmore Psychology and Counseling, our staff outside of work engages in many different kinds of activities to help our emotions and moods. We have Clinicians who do Zumba, some do circuit training and Crossfit, others do yoga and pilates. No matter what activity we try to do, we know the immense benefits it can have on us as individuals and as coworkers.
Depression specifically has been linked to possible heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks. And adding just 30 minutes of exercise into your day can help combat these health risks. It can lower blood pressure, boost your mood, create community and much more. Don’t worry if you have never exercised before, start with a walk around your neighborhood or a bike ride to your local coffee shop. Physical activity doesn’t have to take place in a gym to get the full benefits to lift your mood and help depression. The most important thing is to get your body moving, and do what makes YOU happy. When we engage in activities that make us happier, we are more likely to continue to do them and create a healthy pattern in putting our mental and physical health first!