Manage Holiday Stress With Tips From Healthy365

Manage Holiday Stress With Tips From Healthy365

The holidays are supposed to be a happy time, but even the most enthusiastic holiday aficionado can become overwhelmed with too many seasonal activities and expectations. Holiday spending, overbooked schedules, healthy eating concerns and the pressure of choosing just the right gift can weigh heavily on the brain during what’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Add in loneliness, substance use disorders or other additional mental health concerns, and you might not be feeling the holiday spirit this season. Are you wondering how to manage holiday stress this season?

You’re not alone. One recent survey found that 18% of respondents said the holidays were “very stressful” and 44% called them “very stressful.” The greatest source of stress? Money issues. But healthy eating, family drama and working in the retail sector also contributed to higher stress levels over the holidays.

Healthy365 feels your holiday pain. As a community health improvement initiative that works to improve the wellbeing of Hancock County residents and families, we want to boost your holiday spirit with some self-care tips. While it’s easy to focus on what you need to do for everyone around you during the holidays, you can’t take care of others unless you’re taking care of yourself first!

Manage your time and don’t try to do too much

Your neighborhood cookie exchange is set for a Saturday, but your 10-year-old just came home and announced that it’s the same day as her Brownie holiday party. Then your spouse points out that the company party is later that evening, and your in-laws called and told you they are holding a special birthday party for all the December birthdays in the family, and it too falls on that Saturday. How are you going to manage holiday stress?

Spoiler – You can’t. No matter how strong and independent you strive to be, you’re going to need some help to make this all happen. Call on another Brownie mother to take your daughter to the party. Ask your in-laws to schedule the combined birthday party earlier in the day so you and your spouse can attend the company party in the evening. Touch base with the neighborhood cookie exchange organizer to find out if you can drop off your cookies ahead of time and pick up your assortment on Sunday. Or wish them well and tell them you’re going to have to skip the event this year.

Set boundaries to reduce holiday stress.

If you’re the go-to person in your family, you’ve probably trained them to see you as the person who can do it all. It’s time to adjust that attitude. Saying “no” is a powerful form of self-care. Is an activity adding to your holiday joy or draining your seasonal soul? You deserve a happy holiday, and it something is robbing you of that happiness, let it go. Practice saying no – it’s a lot easier once you get the hang of it. Are you already worrying about what to buy your nephews, who hand you a wish list on Thanksgiving and expect you to make it all come true? Call their parents now and tell them you’re going to be giving an experience instead, like an Indianapolis Zoo membership. You don’t have to be everything for everybody. Manage that holiday stress.

Practice relaxation and set aside time for yourself.

While you’re taking care of others this holiday season, who is taking care of you? Remember what the flight attendant tells you to do in case of an emergency? Put on your own oxygen mask first, and then help others put on theirs. You must take care of yourself first, or you won’t be able to care for others. Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive, although we’re not averse to taking some of the holiday budget and treating yourself to a professional massage. But a quiet walk in the woods (with your phone set to “silent”) can help you rediscover your serenity. Are you hoping to burn off some calories along with your holiday stress? Consider a Hancock Wellness Center membership to help you find fitness activities you enjoy.

Volunteer.

There’s some truth to the adage that you make a living by what you get, and you make a life by what you give. Giving time can have powerful reverberations in the community, whether you’re signing up for a single volunteer opportunity or committing to regular shifts as a Hancock Regional Hospital volunteer. You can find more local volunteer opportunities here.

Manage holiday stress with therapy.

If life seems overwhelming, you may want to talk to someone who is trained to help. Fortunately, our Healthy365 Support Navigators are ready with sympathetic ears and access to local resources for your specific needs. If you’re already committed to regular therapy sessions, resist taking a holiday break. The holidays can add another layer of stress and pressure to your life, and you owe it to yourself to continue the care that can make a difference during trying times. If you’re seeking mental health help for the holidays – or throughout the year – contact the Healthy365 Connection Center. We serve residents of Greenfield, New Palestine, Cumberland, Fortville, McCordsville, Wilkinson, Shirley and Spring Lake.

A happy holiday starts with taking care of yourself. With these helpful tips, you can prepare yourself for a holiday you’ll look back on with happiness for years to come.

Our New Hancock County RISE Program: Resilience and Individualized Care, Safe Space and Empowerment

Our New Hancock County RISE Program: Resilience and Individualized Care, Safe Space and Empowerment

Hancock County Indiana RISE is our newest program here at the Healthy365 Connection Center. RISE stands for Resilience, Individualized care in a Safe Space, and Empowerment. The program is designed for Hancock County residents who are affected by mental health and substance use disorders. Laura DeArmond, LCSW, talks more about RISE below.

What is RISE?

As DeArmond explained, “RISE is a dual-diagnosis program. Substance use is the primary diagnosis, but as with most addictions, trauma, depression, and anxiety are all underlying. The best model is to treat both of those at the same time.” RISE is an outpatient treatment primarily for those in early recovery. “They are in control of what their treatment plan looks like,” said DeArmond. “We’ll support them and give them all the available options.”

What does treatment look like?

RISE services will include medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder. Patients will receive mental health counseling and potential medication management with a psychiatrist. “We treat a lot of patients who don’t need the medication management or maybe they’re already receiving meds from their primary care physician,” said DeArmond. “We want to transfer to a psychiatrist when necessary, but not everyone needs that medication piece.”

Support Navigators can also help with case management if there are concerns of homelessness or unemployment. Support groups will begin as more patients join the program. Overall, RISE is designed to fill in any of the gaps or challenges that an individual may face in early recovery. 

How can someone join the RISE program?

Individuals can reach out directly to the Healthy365 Connection Center, or physicians can send in referrals as well. Krysti Montgomery will serve as the intake coordinator for RISE and will be the patient’s first point of contact. 

“They’ll talk to Krysti, get triaged, and she runs insurance so that we can make sure it gets accepted and there are no surprises,” explained DeArmond. Next, an hour-long intake is scheduled with DeArmond, when all their information is gathered in order to determine how often to meet (typically weekly) and any other services that may be necessary, such as a psych appointment, MAT treatment, case management, etc.

What is MAT treatment?

MAT is one of the most effective harm reduction strategies to prevent withdrawal. The RISE program will use a few different types to help individuals in their recovery journey, including suboxone. “Out of all MAT treatments, we’ve found that suboxone is not as addictive as some other treatments, and it can be closely monitored,” said DeArmond. 

Suboxone can produce a few side effects, but for most patients, pain is the biggest trigger for relapse and suboxone can take that away. Many patients even taper themselves down from suboxone on their own. “MAT is all about the process of meeting people where they’re at, and helping them get to recovery without judgment and stigma,” DeArmond said. 

How will RISE serve our community?

“It is my hope that the RISE Recovery and Wellness program will help to fill a gap in much-needed services for our community,” said Amanda Everidge MSW, LSW, Director of Community Health Improvement. “Concurrently addressing addiction, mental health, and social needs of an individual can have a significant impact on outcomes. We strive to meet individuals where they are and empower healthy behaviors in a stigma-free and supportive environment.”

The RISE program also partners with the CRAFT Support Group, which allows loved ones to better support patients in their recovery. “If a RISE patient is talking about their family really struggling or says ‘I just don’t feel like they understand,’ then I’ll typically give them information about CRAFT,” said DeArmond. CRAFT is a 16-week highly effective, evidence-based curriculum that supports communication and family dynamics. 

If you or someone you know could benefit from our RISE program, please reach out to the Healthy365 Connection Center today by calling 317-468-4231.

Finishing Strong in our Mental Health Campaign

Finishing Strong in our Mental Health Campaign

Have you heard about the Mental Health Campaign from the Hancock Health Foundation? Launched early last year, the goal of this $3.5 million campaign is to bring mental illness and substance misuse issues to light in Hancock County — and to bring an end to the darkness and suffering. The campaign has now reached $3 million in generous donations, and we are hoping to finish strong and band together to get our community to the finish line. Are you able to help fund this critical support and resources for Hancock County?

What are the goals of the Mental Health Campaign?

The Hancock Health Foundation’s Mental Health Campaign was started as an honest conversation about the issues of mental health and substance misuse and their impact on Hancock County. But it’s more than just the raising of voices. The $3.5 million goal for the campaign was put in place to fund two new mental health navigators, 10 new licensed social workers, school-based prevention and early intervention services and medication-assisted opioid treatment. 

What has the Mental Health Campaign done so far?

So far, the campaign has used generous community donations to make great strides in meeting those goals. Two new social workers have been hired, and navigators have seen 160+ clients. Contracts have been set with two local school systems, and multiple mental health programs have been established within those schools. Additionally, the newly launched RISE program is set to provide dual diagnosis services and medication-assisted treatment for those who need it. 

These services are primarily being conducted through the Healthy365 Connection Center, where Support Navigators work as caring community partners, provide a confidential listening ear and connect clients with local resources to overcome life’s many challenges. Even prior to the start of the campaign, Healthy365 was hosting their QPR suicide prevention training and CRAFT support group for individuals who have a loved one in addiction.

Why does the community need this campaign?

Some people might think that local Hancock County residents aren’t impacted by issues with mental health or drugs, but mental illness and substance misuse leave no community or age population untouched. In the U.S. overall, 1 in 4 adults—and 1 in 5 children—live with mental illness. More specifically, Indiana ranks 5th in the nation for states with the worst drug problems and ranks 2nd for youth suicide attempts. 

And right here in Hancock County, recent studies show that 65% of our youth report knowing someone who has had serious thoughts of suicide. But with your generous support, you can help us open up about mental health and substance misuse in our community. Early education and intervention about these concerns, particularly in schools, can literally save lives. 

Success stories from local residents

Don’t just take it from us. The Healthy365 Connection Center has served hundreds of clients in Hancock County – with life-changing results. Said one client, “I was just ready to walk out and give up. In all honesty, Healthy365 helped me a lot. It has changed so much since someone finally just listened.” And working with a Support Navigator is not just a one-time outreach. “They take the time to listen and get to know you and your needs and help you every step of the way,” said another client. “It’s not just done after one phone call, they really created a relationship with you and keep in touch regularly to make sure you are okay.”

Many individuals in our community have been trying to get help for their mental health or substance misuse for weeks, months or even years. But the Support Navigators are trained to provide a non-judgmental (and confidential) listening ear, as well as a connection to local resources. “I have been searching for help for the last 4-5 years,” said an additional client. “I’ve had overwhelming anxiety and did not know what to do. When I called Healthy365 I didn’t feel brushed to the side due to my history. They took time to listen, understand, and helped me figure out what to do.”

Would you like to learn more about the Hancock Health Foundation or their Mental Health Campaign? Visit their website today. Any support you can generously offer is appreciated as they aim to reach their final campaign goal of $3.5 million in donations.

How ADHD Affects Children and Adults

How ADHD Affects Children and Adults

Did you know that October is ADHD Awareness Month? We’re tackling exactly what ADHD is, the different symptoms that individuals may experience both in childhood and adulthood, as well as a variety of mental health treatments that can support focus and reduce the hyperactivity that comes with an ADHD diagnosis. 

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and is a condition that affects behavior, making someone seem restless, impulsive or distracted. It is thought that symptoms begin in childhood, and often become more noticeable when they begin attending school. Research shows that the condition often runs in families, and some differences in the brain and its chemicals/neurotransmitters have been identified, although the exact cause remains unknown. 

ADHD is not thought to manifest later in life, but some individuals, particularly women, can go undiagnosed well into adulthood. These days, schools and healthcare professionals are becoming more adept at identifying ADHD, and with intervention and treatment, it can generally be well-managed. 

What are the most common symptoms?

The symptoms of ADHD are often divided into two different categories. People with ADHD may experience symptoms from both categories, or they may just fall into one or the other. One category is inattentiveness/difficulty focusing and the other is hyperactivity and impulsiveness. 

Some of the most frequent symptoms related to inattentiveness may include a short attention span, careless mistakes at work or school, forgetfulness, or appearing unable to listen. Symptoms related to hyperactivity can include lack of concentration, fidgeting/being unable to sit still, excessive talking or movement, interrupting, speaking without thinking and little sense of danger. 

How does ADHD affect children and adults differently?

There is a great deal more research on children with ADHD as opposed to adults, mostly due to adults going undiagnosed. In fact, research shows that nearly one in 10 children are diagnosed, compared to less than 5% of adults. For adults, hyperactivity tends to decrease, and inattentiveness symptoms may become more subtle. 

Some suggested symptoms can include a lack of attention to detail, poor organization, inability to prioritize tasks, speaking out of turn, mood swings, extreme impatience and risky activities. Additionally, other mental health conditions can resemble this condition, including depression, anxiety, thyroid problems, sleep disorders, or alcohol/substance misuse.

What ADHD treatments are available?

The most common treatments are behavior therapy and medication. For children under the age of 6, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends utilizing behavior management and parent training before trying medication. After 6 years of age, behavior training is usually combined with medication. Therapy for ADHD can include social skills training, talk therapy (CBT) and educational programs. 

For adults, ADHD treatment is also often a combination of medication and therapy. Adults diagnosed later in life can benefit greatly from education and skills training to learn new coping mechanisms. Medications generally include either stimulants to boost and balance neurotransmitters, or antidepressants for adults. 

However, it is important to note that ADHD treatment can help manage your symptoms, but there is no cure. If a specific treatment causes side effects or does not work for you, don’t give up – keep trying other options to determine what is best for your situation. 

If you suspect that you or your child may have ADHD but you don’t know where to start getting help, you are always welcome to contact the Healthy365 Connection Center. Our Support Navigators provide free and confidential services to connect you to local resources that can help identify and treat mental disorders.

What Happens in a Mental Health Screening?

What Happens in a Mental Health Screening?

Have you ever had a mental health screening? October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month, and this common practice can be a true life-saver. Let’s explore what happens when you take a screening, how to analyze your results and how organizations like the Healthy365 Connection Center can help you find the support that you need. 

What is a mental health screening?

A mental health screening is a quick and simple exam that can help determine the state of your mental wellness. You may receive one of these exams during a visit with your primary care provider if you are exhibiting symptoms of a mental disorder, but many physician’s offices have also made these screenings a standard practice. For example, most people who give birth will receive a screening at their one-week and six-week appointments because postpartum depression can be so prevalent. The purpose of a mental health screening is to diagnose mental conditions and help the recipient find appropriate treatment. 

Where might I receive a mental health screening?

As mentioned, you are likely to receive a mental health screening in your primary care provider’s office in order to connect you with a mental health provider. If you are already seeing a mental health professional, they may administer a screening in order to best determine your course of treatment. 

Due to the fact that approximately 50% of lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% begin by age 24, organizations like NAMI continue to advocate for periodic screenings in schools. The average delay between symptoms and treatment of a mental health condition is 11 years, and early intervention can bridge that gap. You can also easily access at-home mental health screenings online in order to identify symptoms and seek out treatment. 

What happens during a screening?

There are several different types of mental health screenings. You may receive a more generalized screening to check for a variety of mental health symptoms, or you can take a screening based on specific symptoms you have been experiencing. You may want to speak with your healthcare provider or take an online test if you have been noticing common symptoms such as:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Extreme sadness
  • Major changes in personality, eating habits, and/or sleeping patterns
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Anger, frustration, or irritability
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Confused thinking and trouble concentrating
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Avoidance of social activities
  • Thinking about hurting yourself or attempting suicide — if you are feeling suicidal feelings, call the 988 Suicide Lifeline immediately 

Many tests pose their questions in the following way, “Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by the following problems,” which you can answer with “not at all, several days, more than half the days, or nearly every day.” With some physicians and mental health care professionals, you may just discuss your symptoms and answer questions aloud. In other cases, you may be asked to fill out a paper or digital questionnaire. 

In addition to questions about your mood and behavior, your primary care provider may also give you a physical exam. Sometimes a physical disorder can cause mental health symptoms, such as thyroid disease, and a simple blood test can detect it. 

What is the benefit of mental health screenings?

The biggest benefit to taking a mental health screening is earlier identification and intervention for mental health conditions. Many people who are affected by mental disorders will find improvement from medication and/or talk therapy with a mental health professional. 

In a recent statement, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that all doctors should issue regular screenings for anxiety in adults under 65, even if they do not present symptoms. According to the Associated Press, “the recommendations are based on a review that began before the COVID-19 pandemic, evaluating studies showing potential benefits and risks from screening,” and given the surge in mental health concerns during the past few years, this guidance makes more sense than ever.

If you have taken a recent screening and/or would like to access help from a mental health professional, you can contact a Support Navigator at the Healthy365 Connection Center. Our team provides free and confidential services to walk alongside you and your family and connect you with local resources to support your mental health journey. Call us at 317-468-4231 today!