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 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.