What is QPR Training and How Can It Prevent Suicide?

What is QPR Training and How Can It Prevent Suicide?

You’ve heard of CPR, which can save the life of someone’s heart stops. But do you know about QPR? QPR stands for “Question, Persuade and Refer,” and it may make the difference in the life of someone who is considering self-harm or suicide. Throughout the month of September, we have been focusing on suicide prevention as part of the National Suicide Prevention Month. QPR, a training program offered by the Hancock Health Connection Center, educates people about suicide warning signs and equips them with steps they can take to save lives.

A look at suicide statistics

Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in Indiana. However, it is the third leading cause of death in Indiana for people between the ages of 10-24, and the second leading cause of death for ages 25-34, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE). Nationwide, suicide was responsible for 48,183 deaths in 2021. That’s one death every 11 minutes.

Suicide can touch any family, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, and location. However, certain groups have higher rates of suicide, including non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native people, followed by non-Hispanic white people. People who live in rural areas have higher-than-average rates of suicide, as well as young people who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Suicidal tendencies may be difficult to identify, and many survivors struggle with feelings of guilt when they lose a loved one to suicide. Sometimes it is simply impossible to prevent suicide. However, programs like QPR can make a difference. In fact, a retrospective study of QPR participants in Tennessee showed that more than 42% were able to identify and intervene with at least one at-risk youth in the six months after taking the course. Let’s dig into what happens in QPR training.

QPR training

Hancock Health Connection Center staff offers QPR training classes to interested groups and individuals. Our staff has been trained through the QPR Institute, which developed the QPR curriculum and program. QPR classes are pivotal to caring for the mental health of Hancock County residents. Just as you rely on a smoke detector to warn you before the flames engulf your home, the training offered during a QPR class can help you take action with someone who is considering suicide.

During a two-hour training session, participants focus on several key components:

  • How can you question, persuade and refer someone who may be suicidal
  • Getting help for yourself or learning more about suicide prevention
  • Common causes of suicidal behavior
  • Warning signs of suicide
  • How to get help for someone in crisis

QPR training is offered periodically through the Hancock Health Connection Center. Our next session in 2023 will be from 2-4 pm Tuesday, Nov. 14, at the Connection Center. You can register for the free class here. Our staff also offers QPR training to outside groups and organizations. If you are interested in hosting a class, call us at 317-468-4231.

A far-reaching impact

Suicidal behavior affects more than just the person who attempts to end their life. Suicide attempts can have lasting effects on someone’s overall physical health. There may long-term mental health issues, including depression or anxiety.

Suicidal behavior also leaves its mark on loved ones and family members, who can experience prolonged grief, shock, anger, guilt, depression, and anxiety. Suicide and self-harm can cost more than $500 billion in medical expenses, days lost from work and quality of life costs.

Other suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, you can call 988 to be connected immediately with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Calling this number puts you in touch with trained counselors who can listen, support and provide referrals to local resources.

The Hancock Health Connection Center has a staff of support navigators who are here to listen to concerns and refer people to appropriate support services and treatment options. Anyone who is a Hancock County resident or a Hancock Health patient or associate can stop by the center, located at 120 W. McKenzie Road in Greenfield, during regular business hours.

Suicide does not have to be an inevitable conclusion for someone who is struggling. Be proactive now by registering for the next QPR training session on November 14 at the Connection Center. Or, talk to a support navigator about how you can become familiar with the warning signs of suicide and how to help someone find appropriate resources in time to save their own lives.

Top 5 Lifestyle Risk Factors That Could Be Preventing a Healthy, Happy Life

Top 5 Lifestyle Risk Factors That Could Be Preventing a Healthy, Happy Life

Are you sabotaging your own happiness? What you’re doing – and not doing – could be keeping you from a happy, healthy life. Mental wellness is one of our passions at the Healthy365 Connection Center, and we want you to enjoy the happiness every person needs. Let’s look at some of the risk factors that endanger your contentment and talk about how you can turn things around with simple changes.

1. Lack of a good sleep routine

What’s so great about sleep? Those hours of peaceful slumber allow your brain to get ready for the demands of the day. While you’re snoozing, your brain is working to develop new pathways and enable better thinking and memory. Sleep deficiency does more than make you tired. Over time, you could notice that you’re having trouble making decisions and solving problems. You may also experience an increased risk of suicide, depression and risky behavior.

Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep daily. Are you struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep? A good sleep routine gives you a head start to being happy:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at around the same time each day, even on weekends.
  • Turn off the screens 30 minutes before you go to bed. Go old-school and read a book instead. (Remember that novel you were assigned in high school that put you to sleep every time you started reading it? Use that for nights that nothing else seems to work!)
  • Resist the urge to take a daytime nap.
  • Use nicotine, caffeine and alcohol sparingly at bedtime.

If you are regularly experiencing sleepless nights, see your physician. Many sleep issues can be addressed medically.

2. Unmanaged stress

We all encounter stress during our day. Our bodies are actually quite adept at reacting to stressful situations – our muscles can tense, our hearts will race and our short-term memory becomes more effective during this “fight or flight” reaction that helps us escape dangerous situations. That’s not a bad thing, especially if you’re trying to meet a deadline or running from a tiger. But too much stress can strain our mental health and interfere with our happiness. If stressful situations are causing you to withdraw or feel perpetually anxious, you may experience long-term consequences. Unmanaged stress may also be linked to substance misuse.

Nobody can completely avoid stress in their lives, but anyone can take steps to address stress appropriately. Consider working these habits into your daily routine:

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise gives those “fight or flight” hormones something to do and helps them work through our bodies.
  • Find a hobby. You don’t have to be Picasso to enjoy painting. Carve out time to do something you enjoy.
  • Make a list. Your responsibilities can seem overwhelming, but sometimes it helps to write them down. Pick the easiest task first so you can enjoy the rush of scratching it off the list when you’re done. If you can’t finish the list, give yourself permission to work on it again tomorrow.

3. An unhealthy diet

A handful of peanut butter cups may give you an instant sugar rush during the day, but they’re not the answer to long-term happiness. Instead, consider that Mom may have been right when she told you to eat your vegetables. Healthy food choices can have positive implications on our mental health and well-being and may even make us happy. But it’s not always easy to make healthy eating decisions, especially if food has emotional implications. Remember, you don’t have to struggle for mental wellness alone. Talk to your physician about nutritional resources or check out the nutrition and weight loss programs through Hancock Health.

4. Physical inactivity

A century ago, people’s daily activities included more active minutes. Your great-grandmother spent the day working in her garden, canning the produce and sweeping the floor with a broom. Your great-grandfather stood at a factory machine all day. Even people who were lucky enough to own an automobile weren’t as dependent as we are today. Combine this with an abundance of sedentary pastimes and screen-related activities, and we’re missing out on the relationship between physical activity and overall happiness. Physical activity can help your brain release endorphins, those feel-good neurotransmitters that can boost your mental health.

According to the World Health Organization, adults need a minimum of 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity each week or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity. If that sounds intimidating, consider that it averages to about 21 minutes daily on the low end. Are you looking for ways to add more activity into your life? Consider these options:

  • Find something you like to do. Give yourself a chance to explore different exercise options, from outdoor walking to working on the machines at one of the state-of-the-art Hancock Wellness Centers.
  • Build in exercise throughout the day. Park far away from your office entrance. Take the stairs. Do some stretching exercises while dinner is in the oven.
  • Involve the family. Busy parents may feel like they don’t have time to exercise. Invest in an exercise stroller or take the kids on a family bike ride.

5. Tobacco use

Almost everyone knows that smoking isn’t good for you. But did you know it can make you unhappy as well? Despite the stereotype of enjoying a relaxing cigarette, tobacco actually increases your stress levels and anxiety. Smoking has also been linked to depression and other mental health problems, which can put a hurt on your happiness levels. If you’re ready to kick the habit, talk to a medical professional about different strategies.

Many factors also play a role in your daily happiness, including issues related to substance misuse, recreational drug use and the harmful use of alcohol. You don’t have to tackle life alone. The Healthy365 Connection Center was designed to assist Hancock County residents who are struggling with life’s challenges. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance misuse, depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, reach out to the Healthy365 Connection Center now at 317-468-4231. Our support navigators can help connect you to important resources throughout the community. Let us help you find the happiness everyone deserves.

Finding the Right Local Counseling Options and Support Groups

Finding the Right Local Counseling Options and Support Groups

If you are struggling with depression, substance misuse, anxiety or other mental health concerns, you may want to seek out therapy or support groups. You won’t be alone. In 2021, about 41.7 million adults in the United States received mental health treatment or counseling. That’s one of the many reasons the Healthy365 Connection Center exists – to connect residents with local mental health resources.

However, finding the right therapist, support groups or a combination of treatments can be tricky. It is important to find someone you click with, and you may need to work with more than one option to address your mental health needs. Are you wondering where to start? We have some suggestions to help you begin your journey to recovery.

1.  Check your insurance coverage

Health insurance policies may have limits on mental healthcare and providers. For instance, a policy may encourage its members to choose a provider from an established network of therapists and mental health professionals. If you opt to use someone who is not within this network, you may have to pay more money out-of-pocket. Other policies can limit the number of visits they will pay for each month. Do your homework first so there are no surprises when the bill arrives.

2. Look into your company’s employee assistance program

Many employers offer an employee assistance program to assist their employees with mental health challenges. The program may cover short-term counseling, referrals and follow-up services. You’ll still want to doublecheck that a therapist is covered by your insurance policy, especially if you expect to need continued treatment.

3. Talk to your doctor

Your doctor may be able to refer you to a therapist who can help you address specific mental health concerns. Therapists may have specialties like substance misuse issues or family concerns. Just as you want to see a cardiologist for a heart ailment, you want to work with a therapist who specializes in treating your particular mental health challenges.

4. Ask your friends or colleagues

Mental healthcare is as valid and important as physical healthcare, but we often are reluctant to admit that we need professional help. You may be surprised to discover that many of your friends and colleagues have experienced mental health challenges, and some of them may be able to refer you to a trusted mental health professional.

5. Do an online search

It’s the 21st century. Many online tools offer databases of local mental health providers. Check out the American Psychological Association’s psychologist locator or the Psychology Today therapist directory.

6. Try out several options

Finding the right therapy match can involve some trial and error. If you attend a few sessions and still don’t feel comfortable, look for new options. You deserve a therapist you trust and feel comfortable working with. Therapy isn’t always easy, but the right therapist can make it more effective.

7. Consider support groups

Mental health struggles can leave people feeling very alone. A support group puts you in touch with other people who are experiencing similar challenges. For many people, support groups offer a way to find emotional strength in difficult times. Did you know that Hancock Health hosts a number of these groups? You can find out more here.

8. Let the Healthy365 Support Navigators connect you with local mental health resources

The Healthy365 Connection Center has a team of support navigators who work with Hancock County residents in need of mental health support and substance misuse treatment options. When you reach out to a support navigator, you get more than just a list of therapists and programs. You’ll also find a caring community partner who will offer a confidential listening ear and non-judgmental feedback about local resources.

If you are a Hancock County adult struggling with life’s many challenges, including substance misuse, depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, reach out now to the Healthy365 Connection Center by calling 317-468-4231 or stopping by the center at 120 W. McKenzie Road, Greenfield, during regular business hours. Your mental health is important. Let us help you take care. 

Speak Up – How Can You Effectively Communicate With Those You Love?

Speak Up – How Can You Effectively Communicate With Those You Love?

Communication receives a special focus in June, which is designated Effective Communication Month. How are your communication skills? Do you feel like you’re always talking, but nobody is listening? Does your advice to your spouse or family members seem to go unheeded? How about when someone is talking to you? Do you really know how to listen, or are you already coming up with your response while the other person is still talking?

If you feel seen, don’t despair. You’re not alone. While a whopping 96 percent of people think they’re good listeners, most people usually retain about half of what they hear. Another survey suggests we’re frustrated communicators. In this survey, people listed being interrupted, being talked over and having to repeat themselves as top complaints.

Effective communication is important in every area of our lives, from our workplace to our homes. People appreciate and understand each other better when communicating their feelings and their needs. When the communication stops, the relationship halts as well. Fortunately, the Healthy356 Connection Center has some effective communication tips you can start practicing this month to strengthen your communication and listening skills.

Effective communication skills

Do you struggle to make your voice heard? Are you an active talker but a passive listener? Do you forget the conversation five minutes after it ends? Consider adjusting your communication skills to strengthen your relationships and ensure that you aren’t playing a guessing game when it comes to what the other person needs you to know and hear.

Listen up

Your mother probably told you to listen when you were a kid, and Mom had some pretty good advice. Listening may seem like a passive gesture, but there’s a term called “active listening” that encompasses an intentional interest in what the other person is saying. Active listening has three components:

  • Cognitive listening – paying attention to what you’re hearing.
  • Emotional listening – staying calm while the other person is talking, even if they’re saying something that really hits one of your emotional triggers.
  • Behavioral listening – showing your interest both verbally and non-verbally. This can be a challenge in today’s society, where the siren song of our electronic devices entices us to scroll through social media while our friend is unloading his heart.

How can you actively listen without succumbing to distraction? Sometimes it’s as easy as repeating the person’s words back to them: “I’m hearing you say that you’re frustrated with your new boss because he wants to change everything that has worked for month.” Pay attention to nonverbal cues, like facial expressions or body language, and ask the necessary questions. It’s natural to start rehearsing your response before the other person is finished, but this is a habit you can break! Give the other person a few seconds of silence before you respond. Sometimes the most important communication happens when you remain silent.

Say what you mean

Relationships must be built on honesty. Don’t make communication into a guessing game. If you want something from the other person, stop dropping hints and ask for it. If someone asks for your opinion, offer the truth. Remember, though, that brutal honesty can be, well, brutal. If your BFF wants to know how she looks in her new chartreuse dress and you think she looks hideous, convey your opinion gently. It’s better to say, “I think the color is cheerful, but I really loved how you looked in that yellow dress you wore last week.” Authenticity is important, but so is kindness.

Hold off on the unwanted advice

Let’s face it. A lot of advice is unwanted. Sometimes friends and family members just need to unload on each other. They need to share their problems and move on. Ask before you advise. “Do you want to hear my thoughts, or do you just need me to listen?” Then abide by their answer.

Pay attention to your own nonverbal cues

Are your arms crossed? Are you scowling while you talk? Do you maintain eye contact, or do you gaze over the other person’s shoulder as though you’re looking for a better option in the crowd? Is your jaw clenched or relaxed? Do you find yourself speaking louder because you fear the other person is about to disagree with you? These cues can add more to the conversation than the words you’re saying. Use them wisely.

Clarify as necessary

Have you ever had a conversation where you were saying one thing and the other person was hearing something completely different? If you’re not sure where the other person is going in the conversation, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.

Put away the distractions

Phones are great for staying in touch, but they can ruin a good in-person conversation. Keep your phone in your purse or pocket, and don’t grab it every time you get a notification. Give the other person the gift of your undivided attention, which is pivotal to an effective conversation.

Use this Effective Communication Month to freshen up your conversation skills. You may be surprised to discover how much your relationships improve as you deepen your understanding of each other.

Eating Disorders – Myths vs. Facts

Eating Disorders – Myths vs. Facts

As we move through National Eating Disorders Awareness Month, let’s look at eating disorders and the myths associated with them. Eating disorders are on the rise, affecting approximately 24 million people in the United States. Despite the prevalence, there are many misconceptions and false beliefs about eating disorders, starting with what they are.

Eating disorders is a broad term for several psychological conditions that can lead to unhealthy eating habits. Many people associate eating disorders with anorexia nervosa, a condition where people resort to restricting food and relying on unhealthy activities in an attempt to reach an unnaturally low weight. Other eating disorders include:

Bulimia nervosa involves eating large amounts of food over a short time, followed by purging via actions like vomiting, excessive exercise or taking laxatives.

Binge eating disorder is a condition where a person will eat large amounts uncontrollably over a short period of time without purging. Similarly, binge eating disorder can cause marked distress.

Many eating disorders are associated with shame and embarrassment, which is why it is important to openly discuss these conditions. Eating Disorders Awareness Week, scheduled for February 27-March 5, focuses attention on eating disorders as it works to educated and provide hope and support to people who are struggling. Like many mental health conditions, though, eating disorders are associated with a number of misconceptions. Therefore, by understanding the facts around eating disorders, we may be in a better place to recognize them among ourselves and the people we love. Read on for some common myths and learn the facts.

Eating disorders mostly affects rich teen girls

 Eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of their age, sexual orientation, gender and socioeconomic status. Most people with eating disorders fall between the ages of 12 and 26, but eating disorders can and do affect people in their 40s, 50s, 60s and higher. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, one in three people with an eating disorder are men.

People with eating disorders are always underweight

Many people associate eating disorders with people who are extremely thin, and that can be the case with people who are struggling with anorexia, which is characterized by a significant reduction in food intake. However, other eating disorders like bulimia and binge eating disorder may not be associated with low body weights. Binge eating disorder, the most common type of eating disorder, often affects people who are overweight or obese.

They are a choice

Eating disorders are complex medical conditions. There may be biological or sociological factors involved. Many patients also struggle with other mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, or substance use disorders. Eating disorders tend to run in families, suggesting a genetic link. People with eating disorders are already struggling with feelings of worthlessness. Calling them a choice diminishes their complicated causes, which even the most accomplished researchers do not completely understand.

They aren’t really serious

This myth can have devastating consequences. Eating disorders can cause serious medical issues, including brittle bones, cardiac problems, and kidney failure. Left untreated, they can be deadly.

Eating disorders do not respond to treatment

If there is any good news in the discussion about eating disorders, it’s that they can and do respond to treatment. Recovery can take months or even years. Relapse is not unusual. Because of this, treatment must also address other underlying issues, including depression, anxiety, trauma, and nutritional concerns. An effective treatment plan seeks to restore physical, behavior and psychological health, and these changes require work and commitment. For instance, treatment can involve intensive inpatient care, or it may only require outpatient care with a trained mental health provider. Your healthcare professional can help you make this important decision.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, help is available. If you would like additional support or want to speak to a support navigator, reach out to the Healthy365 Connection Center at www.behealthy365.org or call 317-468-4231. You can also find additional information and links to treatment at the National Eating Disorders Association website at www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.