Mental Health in the LGBTQ+ Community

Mental Health in the LGBTQ+ Community

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, a time to celebrate and honor those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community. Pride is celebrated in June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, often known as one of the first major demonstrations for gay liberation. At Healthy365, we serve and respect everyone in our local Central Indiana community, no matter your sexual or gender identity, and we also recognize that this population may be in greater need of our services. Let’s explore why mental health should be an important focus for those in the LGBTQ+ community.

Higher rates of mental health issues

According to the American Psychiatric Association, LGBTQ+ individuals are “2.5 times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and substance misuse compared with heterosexual individuals.” It is very important to note that being LGBTQ+ is not a mental disorder, as recognized by all major professional mental health organizations, but that the stigma and discrimination faced by this population can correlate with higher rates of mental health issues. 

Many LGBTQ+ individuals report that they have experienced discrimination when trying to access health services, and some may put off or avoid healthcare/treatment altogether because of this stigma. People in this community may also have less social support than others, including from family and close friends. This isolation and trauma can have major impacts on mental health, including comorbid disorders such as anxiety, substance misuse, depression, PTSD or suicidal thoughts. 

Marginalized communities within LGBTQ+

Although LGBTQ+ individuals, in general, are more likely to be victims of violence and discrimination, there are even smaller subsections of the community that are at a higher risk of mental health concerns. For example, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), transgender individuals “are almost four times as likely as cisgender individuals to experience a substance use disorder.” 

Further, transgender individuals who identify as Black, Latino, Native American or Mixed Race are at an even higher risk of suicide attempts than the white transgender population. Young people in the LGBTQ+ community also experience higher rates of mental health concerns, with a four times higher rate of suicide attempts for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and two times higher for questioning youth compared to straight teens. 

How allies and education can help

Recognizing these statistics is an important first step to helping those in the LGBTQ+ community. If you have a loved one who identifies with a sexual or gender identity that is different from your own, you can actively listen to their needs and offer support wherever you can. Educate yourself on how to be a good ally, including asking respectful questions, taking the LGBTQ+ person’s lead on inclusive language, and asking for preferred pronouns/offering your own. If you make a mistake in how you refer to someone, apologize sincerely and try again. 

Pride celebrations, like our local Indy Pride in Indianapolis, are another great way for LGBTQ+ individuals to connect with others and feel less alone. Increasing visibility is very validating when many in this population may feel isolated within their family or a small town. Feeling connected to a community can have wonderful benefits for positive mental health, so celebrating Pride and the rich history of the LGBTQ+ population, even as an ally, can make a big difference in showing others you care. 

At Healthy365, our Support Navigators are happy to provide a confidential listening ear to our clients and would be honored to connect you or a loved one with an LGBTQ+ affirming mental health professional. Contact us today at 317-468-4231 to learn more about the services we can provide for those struggling with mental health, substance misuse and more. And once again, Happy Pride!

Super Staff Series: Heidi Carmichael

Super Staff Series: Heidi Carmichael

The newest member of the Healthy365 team is our administrative assistant Heidi Carmichael. She is excited to serve the Hancock County community by connecting individuals with Support Navigators, as well as the myriad of mental health and substance misuse resources offered by Hancock Health and other local organizations. Next time you call the Healthy365 Connection Center, make sure to say hello to Heidi!

Experience in healthcare and beyond

Before entering the field of healthcare, Heidi spent a number of years working for a Midwest-based gas station and convenience store company. “I used to work for what was formerly GasAmerica in several different departments,” said Heidi, including payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable. A little over a decade ago, she chose to transition into healthcare, a field she has become quite passionate about. 

“I have been in healthcare for 10 years now,” said Heidi. “I previously worked with Trilogy Health Services in admissions and marketing for a skilled nursing and assisted living facility.” When Healthy365 was looking to expand the team with a new administrative assistant, Heidi was excited to apply. “I was introduced to Healthy365 by a current coworker at Hancock Health, who I previously worked with in another healthcare setting,” she said. “I was ready to make a change from the location I was in.”

Joining the Healthy365 team

Although Heidi is a recent addition to Healthy365, she already feels at home. “I like the positive and supportive environment,” she said. Despite the serious nature of our work, the Healthy365 team makes it a point to both work hard and play hard, and Heidi has especially enjoyed getting to know the fun-loving environment at the Connection Center. “There is a lot of positive reinforcement,” she said. “And there are lots of fun pranks.”

In her work as administrative assistant, Heidi is often the first point of contact with individuals calling into Healthy365 for help. “I like to connect with people and help them find a navigator to manage their needs,” she explained. Heidi is also excited to see the Healthy365 Connection Center continue to grow our substance misuse resources for clients in need of this specific support. 

Serving the Hancock County community

A resident of neighboring Henry County, Heidi looks forward to serving her fellow Hoosiers as a member of the Healthy365 team. “My favorite thing about Hancock County is how it is a very close-knit community,” said Heidi. Like many of our clients and staff members, Heidi is continuing to learn about the wide variety of local organizations that are dedicated to serving Hancock County. “It’s also very supportive with lots of resources I’m learning,” she said.

Heidi and her husband of nearly 30 years, Gabe, also have a special connection to the local agricultural population. “Our family, previously alongside Gabe’s dad, is part of the farming community in Hancock and Henry Counties, which have a major rural agriculture focus.” Her family includes three children, one at Purdue, one at Ball State and one who just graduated as a Ball State Cardinal. Heidi also has a four-legged family member: “My favorite thing is to go home and just hang out with our dog, Boomer.”

Rapid-fire questions:

If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have?  

“Teleporting … travel time totally stinks!”

What is your favorite Indiana season and why?  

“Fall, because of the color and it’s cooler, no humidity.”

What is your favorite way to kick off a Monday? 

“Coffee!”

What’s your most recent favorite read, movie or show? 

“Yellowstone and 1883, I am completely addicted.”

Wellness Tips When Recovering From Substance Misuse

Wellness Tips When Recovering From Substance Misuse

Are you or a loved one recovering from substance misuse? The journey to wellness should be all-encompassing, incorporating all aspects of your life. While there is a big focus on the physical effects of addiction and your mental health, substance misuse can impact other areas as well. These wellness tips when recovering from addiction or substance abuse from the Support Navigators at Healthy365 can help you achieve a greater overall quality of life. 

Physical wellness 

Your physical health is often the most commonly thought of aspect of wellness. This is especially true for someone recovering from substance misuse, and a healthy diet and exercise can have a big impact on your wellness journey. Incorporating foods rich in omega-3s and protein specifically can improve your health while recovering. 

Omega-3, found in many types of fish, is an essential fatty acid that has been shown to improve mood disorders like depression, anxiety and ADHD thanks to its optimization of our brain cells and neurotransmitter signals. Eating protein for its amino acids is another great way to improve neurotransmitter production, especially for dopamine, in a brain that has been impacted by habitual drug use. Exercise can also make a big difference in substance misuse recovery for its ability to relieve stress, improve symptoms of depression and anxiety and even restore brain chemistry. 

Intellectual wellness

Speaking of the brain, consistent use of drugs and alcohol can change how your brain functions, even altering its structure. Once a body has fully detoxed from any substances, it can begin to recover and retrain the way its brain works. Our brains are constantly creating new cells and neural pathways, and although it can be a difficult process, it is totally possible to teach your brain to operate naturally once again, without the influence of alcohol or drugs. There are many forms of therapy focused on restoring brain function, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), that are offered in both inpatient and outpatient recovery programs. 

Emotional wellness

Rediscovering and retraining your emotions is another important part of substance misuse recovery. Many people begin using alcohol or drugs as a way to avoid their emotions or to numb themselves from a bad situation or past trauma. Finding emotional wellness in recovery will likely focus quite a bit on accepting your emotions, letting go of shame in order to forgive yourself and your past and developing a practice of mindfulness in order to observe and accept your emotions in the future without judgment. 

Occupational and financial wellness

As you come out of recovery and either return to work or look for a new job, a sense of purpose and satisfaction will be important to look for. Studies show that people with job satisfaction often feel their lives are more fulfilling, and the Mayo Clinic has many tips for finding better satisfaction and significance, no matter the job you currently hold. Closely connected to occupational wellness is financial wellness. An addiction to alcohol or drugs can have a major effect on your finances, and taking small but meaningful steps to achieve better financial security through wellness tips when recovering will make a positive impact.

Environmental, social and spiritual wellness

Your environment and the people you surround yourself with will also cause ripple effects on your recovery from substance misuse. Do your best to ensure that your living arrangements post-rehabilitation are calming and don’t tempt back into substance use. Same goes for your social life while in recovery. Spend time with friends and family who will encourage your sobriety, and also try to avoid social isolation, which can be a major trigger for relapse. Having a sense of spirituality (either religion or simply a greater sense of purpose) can bring greater meaning to your recovery as well. 

Are you interested in learning more about getting into recovery and improving your wellness after substance misuse? Our Healthy365 Support Navigators are here to support our Hancock County residents with a confidential listening ear, and to provide guidance and wellness tips when recovering from your specific life situation. Contact us today at 317-468-4231!

How to Support Someone with Depression

How to Support Someone with Depression

Watching a friend or loved one struggle with a mental health issue like depression can be extremely difficult. But, there are ways that you can help. Working with a Support Navigator at Healthy365 can teach you how to identify and support someone with depression, plus they can connect your loved one to a mental health professional and other local Hancock County resources.

How to tell when someone is depressed

Depression is more than just feeling sad, it is generally an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and withdrawal from life. The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person, but a few that you might recognize include a persistent negative outlook, a loss of interest in things they once enjoyed, lack of concentration, or a change in appetite or sleep habits (either eating or sleeping too much or too little). 

Someone suffering from depression may also express feelings of guilt, indecisiveness, exhaustion, frustration or a lack of confidence. Depression can be common after a death/loss, major life changes (even seemingly good ones) like a new job or moving, as well as postpartum or prenatal depression/anxiety. Depression is also commonly comorbid with substance use disorder. But depression can also come on without an explicit reason. 

Ways to support someone with depression

If you think someone you love may be showing signs of depression, talk to them as soon as you can. Keep in mind that mental health issues like depression can affect anyone. Just because we can’t always see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Checking in on someone can be hard, but it could make all the difference in someone getting the help they need. You can also connect your loved one with a Healthy365 Support Navigator, professionals who are here with a sympathetic ear to provide guidance for identifying local resources such as therapists or support groups. 

One of the best ways to support someone with depression is to remain patient and understanding. Treatment can help those with depression, but it can take time. Encourage your loved one to stick with it and try to offer a listening ear without judgment. Many people with depression may judge themselves harshly, so reminding them of their positive qualities can be very supportive. You can also work to create a lower-stress environment for them by offering assistance with household tasks that may be difficult to manage as they focus on their mental health.

Mental Health FIRST AID Training

If you want more practice and resources for how to identify and support someone with depression, a mental health condition, or a substance misuse problem, check out our Mental Health FIRST AID Training. This groundbreaking eight-hour course gives people the tools to look out for symptoms of common mental health conditions, as well as the best ways to connect someone with appropriate support and resources when necessary. The next Mental Health FIRST AID Training will be taking place on May 18, 2022 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at Hancock Regional Hospital.

What to do if someone is suicidal 

If you believe that someone is considering suicide or self-harm, it is important to get them the help they need as soon as possible. If you feel you’re at risk of harming yourself or others, call 911 immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 is another free and confidential resource for those in crisis. Additionally, Healthy365 offers a Suicide Prevention Training called QPR, which stands for “Question, Persuade and Refer.” Like CPR, these are three emergency response steps that you can take to help save someone’s life if they are considering self-harm or suicide. 

If you are interested in hosting or attending a QPR class, or need to talk with a Healthy365 Support Navigator about how to support someone with depression, contact us today at (317) 468-4231 or by visiting the Connection Center at 120 W. McKenzie Rd., Suite G in Greenfield. We are always here to help!

Local Treatment for Substance Misuse

Local Treatment for Substance Misuse

If you or someone you love has fallen into a habit of substance misuse, it’s important to get support. Addiction is one of the most pressing health issues in the Hancock County community, and Healthy365 is here to connect individuals with local treatment options, alleviate suffering and find solutions to these challenges by partnering in healing.

Looking for signs of addiction

There are a number of signs that you may want to watch for if you are concerned about someone’s misuse of a controlled substance. These can include a loss of control when using a substance or engaging in other destructive behavior, frequent risk-taking, as well as neglect of loved ones/interests and other relationship issues. Signs of addiction may also include changing appearance (especially relating to hygiene), a decrease in attendance/performance at work or school, and continued substance use despite these negative consequences. If substance misuse is disrupting your life or that of a loved one, it is likely time to get help. 

Types of local treatment

When you reach out to a Healthy365 Support Navigator to get support for substance misuse, we will discuss your situation, individual needs, and offer suggestions for local treatment options. One of the most common choices for sufferers of substance use disorder is a residential treatment center, which offers a break from the stress and temptations of daily life. Many residential centers also offer outpatient treatment and dual-diagnosis services for patients with comorbid mental health conditions. Some treatment centers may focus specifically on adolescents or women, or larger facilities may offer special programming for these populations. 

Local treatment facilities in Central Indiana

American Addiction Centers offer a 90-day residential rehabilitation, with locations across the country, including one in Indianapolis. Treatment includes detoxification and rehab for substance use disorders, and they also provide dual diagnosis services. 

Ascension St. Vincent Anderson Center is located in the Behavioral and Mental Health Care Division of Anderson’s Ascension St. Vincent Jackson Street campus. They provide mental health and addiction treatment for all ages, including for adolescents with substance abuse issues. Their dedicated programs for addictions to drugs (opioids), alcohol and even gambling offer a personalized recovery process that may include individual therapy, couples or family therapy, group therapy, intensive outpatient counseling or partial hospitalization.

Ascension St. Vincent Stress Center in Indianapolis, offers personalized behavioral and mental health outpatient treatment to youth, adults and seniors who may be struggling with drug and alcohol dependency. Their dual diagnosis treatment focuses on healing the mind, body and spirit.

Bridges of Hope is an accredited Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Anderson that takes a comprehensive and integrated approach to addressing any and all issues related to substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues. Bridges of Hope offers inpatient residential rehab, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs, specialized living environments, self-help groups, transportation to and from treatment and more. 

Fairbanks Recovery Center is a longstanding treatment provider for drug and alcohol addiction in Indianapolis, and was recently acquired by Community Health Network. Fairbanks offers both inpatient and outpatient programming, including recovering housing and long-term residential services, one-on-one counseling, medication-assisted treatment and even a family support center.

Harbor Light Center in Indianapolis, sponsored by the Salvation Army, provides individuals in need with withdrawal management and detoxification services, a 28-day residential treatment program, a transitional housing program for adult men and women in need of temporary housing, as well as an intensive eight-to-sixteen week outpatient program. 

Hickory House in Greenfield is a standalone, inpatient rehab and treatment center that treats individuals with addictions to alcohol, heroin/opioids, prescription drugs, fentanyl, cocaine and crack. In addition to their residential treatment, they also offer an intensive outpatient program, dual diagnosis treatment and individual/group therapy. 

IU Behavioral Health has multiple addiction treatment and recovery centers in Central Indiana, including locations in Muncie, Martinsville, Indianapolis, Bloomington, Avon and Portland. Outpatient services for adults 18+ at these locations include individual, group and family therapy, dual-diagnosis services, medical-assisted treatment, 12-step program education, recovery coaching, aftercare and more. 

LifeSpring Recovery Campus is located in Jeffersonville and provides men and women aged 18 and older with a one-stop dual-diagnosis experience. Their Integrated Treatment Center is an outpatient setting and the Turning Point Center is a residential facility for those seeking recovery from their behavioral health and addiction issues.

Options Behavioral Health is the most recognized mental health, addiction and psychiatric disorder treatment hospital in Indianapolis, with 24-hour treatment and continuing care beyond an in-patient stay. Options provides care not just for adults but also specifically for teens and seniors. 

Recovery Works is a residential detox facility located in Cambridge City. In addition to their medically-assisted treatment detox services, they also provide counseling, psychiatric services, relapse prevention and more. They even offer a specialized alumni program post-treatment.

Regional Mental Health Center in Merrillville offers both outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs with mental health counseling. Their wraparound addiction services offer guidance and empowerment for adults on the journey to recovery, with admission including (and preference given to) pregnant women. 

Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services with more than a dozen locations in Indianapolis. Their fully integrated, dual-diagnosis treatment includes outpatient detoxification, medical-assisted treatment, specialized services for expectant and new mothers and children’s programming, all with a focus on family and community participation.

Tara Treatment Center is located in Franklin, with a 30-day immersive adult program in a home-like environment. Tara also provides a transitional residential and intensive outpatient program, relapse prevention, a variety of experiential approaches such as yoga, equine and art therapy, holistic and dual-diagnosis treatment from a multidisciplinary staff, and family involvement encouraged. 

Valle Vista Health System in Greenwood provides adults with inpatient and outpatient substance misuse programming, including partial hospitalization. Their dual-diagnosis individualized treatment focuses on providing patients with a greater understanding of the cycle of substance abuse and developing long-term strategies. 

Wheeler Mission has multiple locations in Indianapolis that serve a variety of populations. They have a men’s homeless shelter and a residential center with substance misuse services for men (as well as a men’s center in Bloomington), and a center specifically for women and children who are homeless or in need of addiction recovery. 

Mental health and substance misuse

Research shows that there are direct connections between mental health and substance misuse, but in many cases, one or both can go untreated. In an effort to shed more light on these issues — and bring an end to the darkness and suffering, the Hancock Health Foundation is seeking to raise $3.5 million to fund critical support and resources for our community through their Mental Health Campaign

You can help our community further enhance our local treatment options by donating now or spreading awareness about the campaign. With the results of this fundraising initiative, the Hancock Health Foundation plans to hire two new mental health navigators, 10 new licensed social workers, and implement more school-based prevention and early intervention programs along with medication-assisted opioid treatment services.

You can learn more about substance misuse programming by contacting Healthy365 or by supporting the Mental Health Campaign on the Hancock Health Foundation website

Super Staff Series: Sarah House

Super Staff Series: Sarah House

Our newest Support Navigator, Sarah House, joined the Healthy365 team in January 2022. She is happy to be home again in Hancock County, using her years of experience in the realm of resource connection on our team of Support Navigators. Our staff members go far beyond simply handing people a list of available resources, and Sarah is a great example of going above and beyond for our community. 

A background in providing resources

As Sarah explained, she has always worked professionally with families to connect them to resources that can support them. “I was a Peace Corps volunteer after college and I lived abroad for 4 years teaching English in Namibia,” she said. “When I moved back home in 2019, I knew that I wanted to get back into that grassroots, community level of work.”

When she returned to Indiana, she took a position with the Department of Child Services, “And that refocused me to want to be back in my specific community,” said Sarah. “I really wanted to be in Hancock County and was very fortunate to join the Healthy365 team.”

Choosing to work at Healthy365

Sarah first heard about Healthy365 through a family member, and she was really struck by the mission. “I love how Healthy365 is going back to basics by meeting people where they’re at and removing barriers,” she said. “And I love the community aspect.”

Healthy365 serves as a free and confidential centralized connection to resources for those living in Hancock County, especially with regard to those in need of mental health and substance misuse support. For Sarah, her favorite part of Healthy365 is “how we serve as the connection to the service and I think what sets us apart is how personable it is,” she said. “Plus, it’s a great team here, just a wonderful group of women and I’m very grateful for them.”

As a Support Navigator, Sarah also loves the consistency she can provide to clients in the community. “Once you establish that connection with a patient, you are going to be the one working with them going forward,” she explained. “Every time they call, they’re going to be connected back to you. They’re going to work with you and you are going to walk alongside them.”

Serving the Hancock County community

Sarah especially enjoys how the work she does with even just one patient can lift everyone in Hancock County. “Helping an individual be healthier and happier – that benefits the entire community,” she said. And why does she love living and serving in this community? “It feels small but we have big resources available.” Hancock County is a small world, and Sarah loves how you so often “know somebody who knows somebody” in nearly every interaction. “I really enjoy knowing that I am making a difference one person at a time in my community.”

Rapid-fire questions:

If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have? “I think I’d want to fly.”

What is your favorite Indiana season and why? “Fall. I love Halloween, I like the leaves changing, I love being outside but not sweating. Indiana in October, you can’t beat it.”

What is your favorite way to kick off a Monday? “A very hot cup of coffee.”

What’s your most recent favorite read or movie? “I love to read and I loved the book ‘Station Eleven’ which they just made into a tv series. I was very concerned they were going to ruin it but it was totally different and really phenomenal.”