September: National Suicide Prevention Month

Suicide Rates are Constantly on the Rise Every Year Suicide is becoming a growing health concern in this country. It has become one of the leading causes of death within the United States. Suicidal thoughts do not discriminate. No matter your age, race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or education level, suicidal thoughts can still occur. Unfortunately, the rates of suicide are only increasing. Due to this shocking realization, organizations and people are across the country recognize September as National Suicide Prevention Month. September is a time for drawing the nation’s attention to the problem that is plaguing our country. It is a time for sharing stories and resources with the hopes of ending the stigma surrounding mental illness. This month is used as a chance to help those who are suffering from mental health issues, been affected personally by suicide, and raise awareness on this taboo topic. Suicide is often the result of a medical condition going untreated, yet these mental illnesses do not receive the resources and help they deserve. That is why September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Lifeworks Counseling Center and all other organizations across the country hope to reduce the number of deaths every year while…

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The Impact of Mass Shootings

Mass Shootings Often Leave Lasting Mental Health Effects In under a month, the state of Texas was the place of two deadly mass shootings. The first occurred on August 3rd, 2019 at an El Paso Walmart, leaving 22 killed and another 24 injured. The more recent one happened on August 31st in Odessa, Texas. Seven people were killed with 22 others wounded. These incidents often have lasting effects on those involved. Their survivors are those from nearly every race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and any other identifier. Even more jarring is the fact that most of these shootings take place in peaceful places, including schools, churches, theaters, and office buildings. Most survivors show resilience. However, there are still many who experience long-term mental health struggles after these mass shootings. Mental Health Impact  Many survivors don’t always experience physical wounds. For those who survive mass shootings, especially those who believed that their lives were in danger, they tend to experience a host of continuous mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the National Center for PTSD, nearly 28% of people who have witnessed a mass shooting become the victim of PTSD. Another third…

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The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is Important to Maintaining Your Overall Health When it comes to sleep, most people believe this is a time when our mind and body shuts down. However, this couldn’t be further from the case. Our brain and body are both very active during periods of rest. Your mind is processing and storing information while your body is restoring and strengthening itself. Sleep is incredibly important to protect your mental and physical well-being. Getting a good night’s rest is as vital to your health as exercising and a healthy diet. Poor Sleep Leads to Obesity Not getting the right amount of sleep has been strongly linked to weight gain. Studies have shown that individuals with short sleep duration are more likely to see their weight increase significantly as opposed to those who get the right amount of sleep. Those deprived of it tend to have bigger appetites and consume more calories than they should. The production of hormones that control appetite is disrupted by the lack of sleep. Studies have shown that levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, were higher, and the levels of leptin, the hormone that subdues appetite, were lower in those without proper sleep. If…

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How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Alcohol

Alcohol Can Be Harmful if Not Consumed in Moderation Drinking has become a staple in many adult lives. Many tend to go to happy hour after work with their coworkers. Alcohol is often used in many networking events as well. It seems difficult to avoid alcohol no matter where you are. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, some struggle to have a healthy relationship with alcohol. It is important to note that if you do have a problem with drinking, you should seek professional help from trusted addiction counselors such as the ones at Lifeworks Counseling Center. That being said, it is still important to be conscious of your relationship with alcohol to stay as healthy as possible. Risks of Alcohol While many people use alcohol as a way to relax or ease nerves, it is well known for its negative effects. Alcohol not only leads to negative consequences for your mind and body, but it can also affect other areas in your life. Here are some risks that come with drinking: Danger to Your Body: Your overall physical health is in danger whenever you drink. Even the smallest doses can lead to noticeable effects. Alcohol attacks your…

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Caffeine and Anxiety

Consuming Caffeine Leads to Mimicked Anxiety Symptoms Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the entire world. In fact, about 85% of the American population consumes caffeine in one way or another every day. Caffeine is an extremely powerful stimulant. It keeps you alert and energized, but it can also have adverse reactions. Too much caffeine consumption can lead to increased anxiety or worsen existing anxiety disorders. According to the Nation Institute of Mental Health, roughly 31% of U.S. adults experience some form of anxiety disorder throughout their life. Because of this, caffeine can lead to worsened anxiety symptoms. Correlation Between Caffeine and Anxiety When consumed, caffeine encourages the body to release the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol leads your body to experience a stress response. These responses are synonymous with feelings of anxiety and panic, making you feel on edge. To further prove this connection between anxiety and caffeine, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the American Psychiatric Association’s guide to help healthcare professionals diagnose mental disorders, currently includes four caffeine-related disorders: Caffeine intoxication Caffeine withdrawal Unspecified caffeine-related disorder Other caffeine-induced disorders (anxiety disorder, sleep disorder) Symptoms Anxiety is our body’s response to situations that are…

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Going Back to School and Children’s Mental Health

The Start of a New School Year May Give Children Anxiety August typically indicates the start of a new school year for many young children. It gives them a chance to experience new settings, learn new information, and see their friends. However, the beginning of the school year also leads to an increase in anxiety for many children. Going back to school may be exciting for many, but it can also be dangerous to children’s mental health. Schools are effectively jobs where kids are incredibly micromanaged by their teachers. These working conditions are extremely stressful for adults, let alone children. It is no wonder why going back to school leads to a decline in children’s mental health. Going Back to School Increases Psychiatric Hospital Admissions  The summer months are a time for children to relax and enjoy their stress-free everyday lives. Kids get to relax and refresh themselves, being free from the stress of working in a classroom. Unfortunately for many parents, once the school year begins, there is a rise in mental health crises in school-aged children. According to one study, the average number of psychiatric hospital admissions dropped from 32 to 22 per 100,000 school-aged children over the…

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Individual Therapy vs Group Therapy

Individual Therapy & Group Therapy Both Have Pros & Cons Psychotherapy, or therapy as it will be referred to in this article, is the use of techniques to assist in managing thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Therapists typically utilize therapy to relieve symptoms of emotional or behavioral dysfunction or distress. Therapists also use it to help clients achieve improved levels of self-awareness, realize their full potential, navigate through big life changes, and enhance current and future relationships. Every individual has their own concerns and problems. No two people share the same experiences, so naturally, it makes sense that the form of therapy that people choose varies. Today, we are going to compare individual and group therapy, discussing their advantages and disadvantages. Individual Therapy  Individual therapy occurs where one individual known as the client engages in a therapeutic process with at least one trained therapist. This therapist must be someone who is professionally trained in the use of therapy, which can include psychologists, social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, marriage and family counselors, and more. If they have not received formal training, they are not a therapist, and the process is not therapy. Advantages:  Stronger Therapeutic Alliance. A therapeutic alliance refers to the relationship…

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Learning to be Happy While Single

Being Single Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Also Be Happy It can sometimes feel like being single is treated as some terrible condition that no one wants. The popularity of social media allows those in a couple to broadcast their relationships for the world to see, while also alienating those who are single. Many people see being single as a bad thing. While it is not always easy, it is still possible to be happy while single. While being in a relationship can be great, it isn’t necessarily superior to being single. Even though you may want a relationship and a partner, you can still find happiness while being alone. Here are some tips to help you learn to be happy while single. Learn from the Past but Don’t Let It Ruin Your Future.  There are plenty of people out there who are scarred from things they experienced in past relationships, making it difficult for them to find happiness again. So, what should you do if these painful moments are stopping you from trying to find love again? First, you need to do everything you can to stop thinking about your ex. Unfollow them on all social media and stop talking…

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How to Improve Communication in a Relationship

Communication is the Key to a Healthy, Long Relationship Relationships can give you a lifetime of joy, but they require a lot of hard work and commitment. Sometimes your relationship may feel like it is lacking, and you and your partner may be struggling to effectively communicate. Open and honest communication should be a staple in every healthy relationship. Improving communication in your relationship can go a long way in ensuring that it is a long and happy one. However, it can be difficult to figure out how to effectively improve your communication skills. After all, communication in a relationship isn’t always about words. Your partner may have a different love language than you, so they will communicate differently than you. It is important to understand how they feel most comfortable communicating, so you can take the necessary steps to improve in your relationship. Regardless of their love language, here are some tips to help you improve communication in your relationship. Pick the Right Time It is important to bring things up to your significant other if it bothers you, but what is just as important is picking the right time to tell them. Far too often we bring something…

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Foods to Improve Your Mental Health

A Healthy Diet Can Help Improve Your Mood Many people who struggle with their mental health tend to look for a quick fix. Unfortunately, there is no remedy that will immediately relieve them of their anxiety or depression symptoms. However, there are changes in lifestyle that, over the long run, can help as an overall treatment. One of these lifestyle changes involves your diet. There are plenty of foods that can improve your mental health. Obviously eating one meal is not going to cure you of your condition, but consistently eating healthy can help relieve you of some of your chronic symptoms and get in a more positive mood. Here are some of the foods known to improve your mental health. Fatty Fish In most American’s diet, they are sorely missing too much omega-3 fatty acids. Instead, they are supplemented with trans fats and saturated fats which have been known to have negative effects on the brain. Our brains are mostly composed of fats, and since our bodies can’t produce their own essential fatty acids, our diet must consist of foods rich in omega-3s to meet our body’s needs. Cold water fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel all…

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