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!

How Prevention and Recovery Can Work Together

How Prevention and Recovery Can Work Together

Fall is a busy time of year for the mental health and substance use recovery community. September is National Recovery Month, and October is Substance Abuse Prevention Month. Prevention and recovery are two important elements related to substance use disorders, and the resources and programs in each sector often work in tandem to build overall community resilience. Let’s explore how the Healthy365 Connection Center can connect you and your family with local resources to support the overall wellness of Hancock County. 

What is recovery?

Recovery Month is an annual celebration of the strong and proud recovery community that takes place each September. This month also brings more awareness and support to new evidenced-based treatment and recovery practices that are being innovated, as well as honoring the dedication of family members, friends, service providers and community members who help make recovery possible for those affected by substance use disorders.

Treatment centers, outpatient services and dual-diagnosis programming can help bring people with substance use disorder to the successful management of their condition and long-term recovery. Many recovery programs incorporate peer-run engagement that allows those further along their journey to help those just starting out, and may also work to reduce stigma and negative attitudes toward those suffering from substance use disorders. 

What is prevention?

As it relates to substance misuse, prevention is most often related to education about addictive substances like drugs and alcohol. During Substance Abuse Prevention Month in October, we also recall those who have lost their lives to substance use disorder or drug overdose. In doing so, we can recommit to promoting the local resources that can help prevent these devastating losses and bring healing to those communities affected. 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), prevention strategies can also help “prevent or delay the use and misuse of substances, prevent suicide, promote mental health, mitigate problems among populations at risk for mental and substance use disorders, foster resilience, and prevent the onset among populations showing early signs and related problem behaviors.”

How can prevention and recovery work together?

Services for prevention and recovery both fall under the umbrella of mental and behavioral health, and often work together to build community resilience. Educational prevention programs and the recovery movement are each represented in the continuum of care for substance use disorders, and a number of people in the community touch them both, including clinical providers, prevention practitioners, representatives from the community and people with lived experience. 

When advocating for better treatment services, it also makes sense to work with the community on improvements to prevention, and vice versa. As SAMHSA explains, “Scaling up the capacity and infrastructure of these programs will create strong resource networks to equip communities to support recovery for everyone.”

Healthy365 programming

The Healthy365 Connection Center provides a few different options for both prevention and recovery services. First is Rise Above It, an educational prevention program for ages 12+ to adults that addresses mental health and substance misuse in Hancock County. These free annual events provide attendees with the opportunity to open up about mental health and substance misuse in an environment with resources that are ready to help. Indiana has rising rates of addiction, substance abuse and use of nicotine products, but help is available. This year’s Rise Above It event will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 9 from 5:30-8 p.m. at Eastern Hancock High School, and you can register online today. 

Another service provided by the Healthy365 Connection Center is our CRAFT Support Group. This Family Support program is based on the Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) model and is designed for family members and friends concerned about their loved ones who currently live with a substance use disorder. The ultimate goal of this 16-week curriculum is to help your loved one enter treatment services and engage in recovery, but it also addresses communication skills and your own self-care. The next CRAFT Support Group will meet each Thursday beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 3 and you can register or learn more online.

Are you ready to help support prevention and recovery programming right here in Hancock County? Contact Healthy365 today at 317-468-4231!

National Recovery Month: How to Support your Loved One

National Recovery Month: How to Support your Loved One

Do you have a friend or loved one in recovery from addiction or with mental health concerns? September is National Recovery Month, and it’s the perfect time to learn more about how you can support them. The Healthy365 Connection Center is here to help both those in recovery, as well as their loved ones and support system. Learn more about the resources we can connect you with and local programs we offer. 

What is Recovery Month?

National Recovery Month, also known simply as Recovery Month, was founded in 1989. This month-long observance is a time to promote new evidence-based treatment and practices, the proud individuals in addiction recovery, and the dedication of service providers and community support systems who help make recovery possible. In particular, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) often releases announcements of new treatment initiatives and funding during National Recovery Month, celebrating individuals during their long-term recoveries as well as grantee organizations who have shown compassion and dedication to the recovery community. 

Tips for supporting someone in recovery

There are many ways that you can support your loved one in recovery. Your first step may be acknowledging that they need help and offering it. They may be nervous to ask for support, but discussing the ways that you are available to help can make a big difference in their recovery. Also, keep in mind that you can’t recover for them. Find ways to encourage their responsibility and offer assistance without enabling them. For someone in recovery, it may be difficult to remember the things they once enjoyed. Help them rediscover their favorite hobbies, talents or goals while making new, healthier lifestyle choices. 

Local recovery treatment centers

As much as you can support someone in recovery on your own, there may be times when they need professional help. This would primarily include the chance of harm to themselves or others, as well as the inability to take care of their own basic needs. The Healthy365 Connection Center can help connect you and your loved one in recovery with a variety of local treatment centers, including residential programs, which offers a break from the stress and temptations of daily life, as well as outpatient units and dual-diagnosis services for patients with comorbid mental health conditions. Additionally, some treatment centers offer programming for specific demographics, such as adolescents, seniors or women in crisis. 

Mental health and substance use pocket guide

Also from Healthy365, our mental health and substance use pocket guide can be especially helpful for determining the best treatment options for someone in recovery. This pocket guide contains the phone numbers for 24-hour crisis hotlines supporting a variety of situations such as suicide prevention, gambling addiction, mental health and addiction resources, eating disorders and more. It also provides readers with a color-coded list of mental health and substance misuse resources, their contact information, and the type of services they provide, including inpatient vs. outpatient, age ranges, dual-diagnosis programming, detox and medication-assisted treatment.

CRAFT Support Group

While being in recovery can be extremely difficult, supporting someone in active addiction or recovery can be stressful as well. At Healthy365, we provide regular sessions of our CRAFT Support Group, which stands for Community Reinforcement and Family Training. This 12-week course is designed for adults 18+ who have a family member or friend in addiction, with the goal of getting that person into treatment for recovery. CRAFT is a free program that takes a compassionate approach to communication strategies, empowering you not only to support your loved one in their journey to recovery but to take care of your own well-being too.

If you have questions about helping a loved one with recovery, or the resources that our Healthy365 Support Navigators can connect you with, contact us today at 317-468-4231.

How to Support Student Mental Health

How to Support Student Mental Health

A new school year can bring a number of anxieties for students, especially considering we are starting our fourth school year with a global pandemic. Mental health has long been a concern for adults as well as children, and the COVID-19 pandemic, school shootings and other societal concerns continue to exacerbate the need for better mental wellness support in school and beyond. Here are some tips for how we can support student mental health in Greenfield, including the connection to resources you can find from our Healthy365 Support Navigators.

How are students feeling lately?

According to a recently published CDC study entitled, “Mental Health, Suicidality, and Connectedness Among High School Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic” found that 44 percent of high school students reported “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness” during the past year, when served between January-June 2021. These persistent feelings were defined as feeling so sad or hopeless nearly every day for at least two weeks that it prevented them from doing some of their usual activities. 

Even before the pandemic, a major increase in mental health concerns was found among students across the country from 2009-2019, including “having persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness (26.1% to 36.7%), having seriously considered attempting suicide (13.8% to 18.8%), and having attempted suicide (6.3% to 8.9%).” However, these concerns for poor mental health have been found to be significantly less prevalent in students who are well-connected to their loved ones, friends and others at school.

Communicating with your student

Of course, we’ve all heard before the benefits of good communication with our children and/or students, but studies can directly correlate “connections to trusted adults and supportive peers” with better mental health and reduced risk for suicide or other harmful behaviors. Isolation can cause a snowball effect of more isolation, shame or poor mental health, so staying in frequent communication with your student is very important. Talking in the car can be a great way to get your student to open up, since there isn’t as much pressure to maintain eye contact. 

Making them aware of multiple approaches for seeking out help when they are experiencing mental health concerns or other issues can also be extremely helpful. This help-seeking behavior could be talking to a parent, another trusted adult like a teacher or counselor or even a hotline like the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Although it can be intimidating, it’s also vital to talk with your student about substance misuse, which can be easily connected to mental health conditions.

Maintaining a schooltime routine

Participating in extracurricular activities can be another good way to provide more connectedness and prevent poor mental health, but a busy schedule can also be a fast track to burnout. Sit down with your student and establish a regular routine for waking up, eating meals, going to extracurriculars, homework time and getting ready for bed. Sleep is extremely important for mental health, especially in teens and preteens, so setting up a consistent routine and sleep schedule can have a lot of benefits. 

Extracurricular activities can also provide additional opportunities for connection, whether that is with their teammates, a coach or their parents in shared activities. One such shared activity could be our regular Rise Above It event, which offers space for adults and teens (over the age of 12) to talk about mental health and connect with potential sources of help. The goal of the event is to help families in our county learn to cope with life’s challenges and stress, and reach out when help is needed.If you’d like to know more about connecting to resources that can support your family’s mental wellness, contact the Healthy365 Connection Center today at 317-468-4231 or visit our offices at 120 W. McKenzie Rd., Suite G in Greenfield.

New 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

New 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

As of July 16, 2022, the United States has updated the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available simply by calling 988. Shifting from a longer 1-800 number to a three-digit code is anticipated by experts to be easier to remember during a mental health crisis. Learn more about the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, as well as how you can support someone who may be considering self-harm or suicide.

What happens when you call 988?

When a person in crisis calls or texts the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, they are connected to a trained counselor who can listen to their concerns, provide support and connect them with resources as needed (not unlike the function of the Healthy365 Connection Center). The 988 Lifeline is available 24/7 and is staffed by counselors and trained volunteers at more than 200 crisis centers nationwide. 

Why is the number changing?

Formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the 11-digit phone number could be cumbersome for some to remember, especially an individual in distress. So much so that popular music artists Logic, Juanes, Alessia Cara and Khalid collaborated on a song about the pain of suicidal feelings called “1-800-273-8255” in order to bring more awareness to the Lifeline and make it easier for people to recall in a crisis. 

With a short three-digit code (similar to the 911 number that most people know by heart) the new Suicide & Crisis Lifeline expects to meet the growing need for mental health support in our country. However, the 1-800-273-8255 Lifeline phone number will remain available indefinitely to connect those in need with a trained counselor. 

What is the point of the 988 Lifeline?

The ultimate goal of the Lifeline is to direct people who are in crisis to the care that is most appropriate for their situation. With the support of trained counselors, the official 988 Lifeline website reports that “numerous studies have shown that callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed and more hopeful after speaking with a Lifeline counselor.” 

This will also ideally minimize the contact they have with law enforcement, public health and the justice system. Did you know that the rate of mental illness in jails is at least three times higher than in the general population? With resources like the 988 Lifeline, we can help reduce the over-incarceration of people with mental illness & substance use disorders by keeping them out of the justice system in the first place. 

How can you support someone who is feeling suicidal?

One of the ways that local residents can support someone in crisis is by taking a QPR training class. QPR stands for “Question, Persuade and Refer,” which are three steps you can take to assist someone who is considering self-harm or suicide. Just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response that you can learn to save someone’s life. We host QPR suicide prevention trainings at the Healthy365 Connection Center and across Central Indiana on a regular basis, with our next class taking place on Sept. 12 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Hope Center Indy (11850 Brookville Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46239). You can register for QPR training online or contact our Healthy365 Support Navigators at 317-468-4231 to learn more.

Talking to your Children about Substance Misuse

Talking to your Children about Substance Misuse

No one likes to have difficult conversations, especially with their kids. But avoiding talking to your children about substance misuse can have major consequences. At Healthy365, we seek to help individuals and families that have been affected by addiction, substance misuse and other mental health conditions concerning mood, thinking and behavior. Learn more about why and how we recommend talking to your children about substance misuse – even from a young age!

When should I start talking about substance misuse?

The exact age that you should begin talking about drugs and alcohol will depend on your child. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “When parents talk with their children early and often about alcohol and other drugs, they can protect their children from many of the high-risk behaviors associated with using these drugs.” Some experts say that 5-7 is a good age to start the conversation, especially since studies have shown that children as young as nine may start to see alcohol in a positive way. 

It’s also better to talk about drugs and alcohol before your children are directly exposed to it, and that age is getting younger all the time. SAMHSA reports that roughly 3,300 children as young as 12 try marijuana each day and about 10% of 12-year-olds say they have tried alcohol. Additionally, about 50% of kids young as 12 have used prescription pain relief for nonmedical purposes. Anytime that your child is asking about drugs or alcohol, that is a good sign that they are ready for an age-appropriate conversation.

How do I talk to my young child about substance misuse?

For young children, organic teachable moments are an ideal time to bring up substance misuse. If someone is drinking wine with dinner, you can talk about what it means to drink responsibly. If you see a TV commercial for beer or a movie character smoking, you can talk about these substances and the negative effects they can have on our bodies. Especially if the users seem to be enjoying themselves, you can talk about how drinking too much can cause someone to make bad decisions, and how doing something like drinking and driving can hurt themselves and others.

Whenever you’re talking to your children about substance misuse, be sure to keep your tone calm and use words that they can understand. And as KidsHealth says, be sure to “teach kids early on how to say no if someone offers them something they know is dangerous.” Younger children are more likely to be willing to talk to their parents about tough subjects, and starting the conversation now can help keep that door of communication open as they grow older.

What is the harm in avoiding talking about it?

Although most schools discuss substance misuse to some degree, it is still important to talk about it with your children so that you know they have all the facts. Not talking about alcohol or drugs could send the message to your kids that trying them out is not too harmful, or that you, as their parents, won’t mind. Set clear rules for your children and teens to establish how your family feels about substance misuse, including the natural consequences that they could face from experimenting with drugs and alcohol. You could also decide together on a “code word” that they can call or text you with to let you know that they are in a situation where drugs or alcohol are present and they need to be picked up – no questions asked.

You might also feel the need to avoid talking about substance misuse if you have a loved one with addiction or in recovery. However, children who have a family history of addiction are more likely to struggle with substance misuse themselves, due to a combination of both environmental and genetic factors. According to MentalHealth.net, “first-degree relatives (i.e, a sibling, parent, or child) of someone with a history of addiction are between 4 to 8 times more likely to develop problems with addiction themselves.” In these cases, it’s even more important to have regular conversations about substance misuse. If you are an adult over 18 who has a loved one affected by addiction, the Healthy365 CRAFT workshop can offer support and communication techniques to use in your family.

If you need more tips for talking to your children about substance misuse, or are in need of support for your own addiction, the Healthy365 Connection Center is here to help. Contact us today at 317-468-4231 or stop by our offices at 120 W. McKenzie Rd. in Greenfield to talk to a Support Navigator.