Out of Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk on 9/24

out of darkness walk

There is one death by suicide every 11 minutes, and it is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Suicide is also the second leading cause of death among ten- to 34-year-old people, according to the CDC. Chances are that many people have been impacted by suicide in some way. MRHC Occupational Therapist Amanda Arneson invites the community to join the first “Out of The Darkness Walk” in Manning on Saturday, September 24th at 10am at the Manning City Park to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention. Occupational therapist, Amanda Arneson

“My husband and I have been personally affected by suicide, so we are passionate about spreading awareness and resources, which is why we decided to host our own walk locally,” shared Arneson, MOTR/L, CLT. “Our mission in this walk is to raise awareness for suicide prevention, reduce the stigma surrounding this issue, and support survivors, those at risk, and families who have lost loved ones. These events empower people to share how suicide has impacted them.”

The Out of the Darkness movement started in 2004 to give people courage to share their connections to the cause, unite communities, and provide an opportunity to acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental health conditions have affected our lives and the lives of those we love and care about, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

To donate, learn more, or register for the Manning walk, please visit AFSP.org.You can also contact Amanda Arneson at 712-304-1290 or amanda.arneson@mrhcia.com. Participants can also register at the walk itself, beginning at 9am.

“With this being our first year, our goal is to have 100 people present,” Arneson said. “The walk is free to attend, however, we ask that everyone, whether individually or in a team, set a goal of $150 in fundraising to reach our cumulative goal of $5,000.”

Suicide awareness T-shirts are also available through MRHC and can be ordered online here or through the Out of the Darkness Walk Facebook event on the MRHC Facebook page. T-shirt orders are due by September 6.

If you or a loved one are in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, please call 988, the National Suicide Prevention line. If you need more mental health information, education, or would like to discuss support, please contact your primary care physician at (712) 655-2072. For those 65 and older, call Senior Life Solutions at (712) 655-8262. Or call the Manning Recovery Center at (712) 655-2300 and talk to a professional. To learn more about mental health and available resources visit mhanational.org.

Mental Health IS an Issue, Even in Rural Communities

mental health awareness month

Distinct mental health differences are evident when comparing rural and urban residents. While mental illnesses have a similar prevalence in both environments, the circumstances and access to treatment look different. According to The National Rural Health Association (NRHA), rural residents face more obstacles in obtaining behavioral health services.

Based off these findings as well as the CHNA results, Manning Regional Healthcare Center is spreading awareness of the challenges of receiving mental health access in rural areas.

“We know that mental health is one of the main concerns of our rural communities based off our latest Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA),” shared MRHC Education Coordinator, Julie Hodne, RN. “Based off those results we will prioritize addressing mental health concerns over the next three years.”

Studies have also shown that the risk of suicide is higher in rural areas, making it that much more vital that individuals have access to and seek out help. The Rural Health Information Hub states that the suicide rate is near twice as great in the most rural areas of the U.S. compared to the most urban areas.

“Everyone deserves access to quality mental health care,” said Senior Life Solutions Program Director, Janet Brus, RN. “Helping as many people as possible get the help and treatment they need is what we work towards every day.”

Finding a solution starts with identifying the problem. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) highlights the following barriers to receiving mental health care in rural areas:

  • Lack of privacy
  • Lack of culturally appropriate treatment – Accommodates clients’ beliefs and practices, preferred languages, individual and family histories, differences in symptoms, and preferred treatment approaches.
  • Lack of services – Even if rural residents desire mental health treatment, they commonly have few services and providers in their areas. They may have less access than urban residents to evidence-based practices (EBPs).
  • Lack of practitioners – Rural areas have few behavioral health practitioners, especially those qualified to provide specialty treatment or EBPs. More than 75% of all U.S. counties are mental health shortage areas, and half of all U.S. counties have no mental health professionals.
  • Evidence-based practices – Some research shows that behavioral health facilities in rural areas are more likely than their urban counterparts to be independently operated and less likely to collaborate with a university to train providers on EBPs. At the same time, most studies that support EBPs are not conducted in rural areas or with rural populations.

Solutions

Advances such as telehealth have helped increase access to mental health care for rural Americans, making treatment more obtainable. Along with these technological improvements, another effort we can all partake in to help improve access to mental health is simply talking about it. Talking about mental health can open the door for people to feel more comfortable and less afraid to seek help.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, research shows that knowing or having contact with someone with mental illness is one of the best ways to also reduce stigma. Individuals speaking out and sharing their stories can have a positive impact. When we know someone with mental illness, it becomes less scary and more real and relatable.

If you need more mental health information, education, or would like to discuss support, please contact your primary care physician at (712) 655-2072. For those 65 and older, call Senior Life Solutions at (712) 655-8262. Or call the Manning Recovery Center at (712) 655-2300 and talk to a professional. To learn more about mental health and available resources visit mhanational.org/may. To learn more about how you can become an advocate this Mental Health Awareness Month and join the national campaign, visit www.nami.org.

###

I’m Fine…Really, I’m Fine!

tips for mental health success

“I’m fine…I’m really fine!” The classic and automatic response when someone asks how you’re doing, “But, how are you? Really?”

This is a common response for anyone who faces the challenges of ‘smiling’ depression. It’s appearing happy to others and smiling through the pain, keeping the inner turmoil hidden. It’s a major depressive disorder with atypical symptoms, and as a result, many don’t know someone is depressed or they don’t seek help. This often concerns those who prefer to keep their struggle private.

Unlike the usual stigma of mental health, people with smiling depression are often partnered or married, employed, and are quite accomplished and educated. They’ve usually struggled with depression and/or debilitating anxiety for years and have had some experience with therapy or medication. Many who know they are depressed don’t disclose it due to fear of discrimination from loved ones or employers. Their public, professional, and social lives are not suffering. Their façade is put together and accomplished. But behind the mask and behind closed doors, their minds are filled with thoughts of worthlessness, inadequacy, and despair.

The image many of us have of depression is inaccurate and incomplete.

Take this example for instance. There was a woman that seemed to have it all together. She was a nurse, a mother, a wife, and a sister. She was active in church and several nonprofits and was a mentor to many and loved connecting to people. Was she disheveled, withdrawn, and a downer to be around? Absolutely not. She was encouraging and thoughtful. Did anyone ever ask her how she was doing, if she was hurting, or if she needed someone to listen to her for once? No. The whole community bought in to the façade and could not see the pain hiding just under the surface.

Her life was one-of-a-kind, but unfortunately her story is not. Many who’ve felt the impact of suicide say the same thing: “I just had no idea she was suffering. She was the last person I would have expected to do this.”

How can you help?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Manning Regional Healthcare Center wants to raise awareness about signs, symptoms, and risk factors regarding mental health and how to know when to seek help. Over the past few years, especially because of the pandemic, mental health challenges have skyrocketed, even close to home in the communities MRHC serves.

“Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a mental health condition is the first step to a happier, healthier life.” says, Program Director for Senior Life Solutions, Janet Brus, RN. “Understanding that mental health conditions are common and treatable is the next. We must keep working to break down the stigma against mental health to ensure people receive the help they need.”

  1. Create awareness to de-stigmatize mental illness. Pay more attention to yourself and loved ones. Ask the hard questions. Specifically, notice if a loved one begins giving away possessions (often a sign of someone considering suicide), or begins to isolate and withdraw.

If you have a friend who suddenly stops responding to phone calls or texts or cancels plans, don’t hesitate to ask them what’s going on and if they’re feeling okay. Or offer a low-key activity you can do together where they know they can be heard and are not alone.

Many people suffering from depression are perfectionists, or they don’t want to appear weak or out of control. The more we can shift the conversation to show positive role models with depression – those who advocate for therapy, exercise, medication, sleep, diet – the less shame will be associated with the depression.

  1. Understanding the risk factors for a mental health condition can be difficult when it’s your own mental health. It’s hard to see the changes. Take time to ask yourself about any changes in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to see if this is part of a pattern caused by a situation affecting the health of your mind. Here are some questions to get you started:
    • Have things that used to feel easy started feeling difficult?
    • Does the idea of doing daily tasks, like making your bed, now feel really hard?
    • Have you lost interest in activities and hobbies you once enjoyed?
    • Do you feel irritated, possibly to the point of lashing out at those closest to you?
  1. If you think you or a loved one might be depressed, get help. On the days when your brain seems to be fighting you for your life, remember and know that you are enough, you are worthy, you are loved, and you are not alone.
  2. Find activities and pursuits that are meaningful and make you feel productive and fruitful. Reach out to someone you trust, consider contacting a therapist and let both help you flip the script running through your mind.
  3. Rather than becoming submerged in negative, self-defeating thoughts, learn self-compassion and be present and fully engaged. Mindfulness is the opposite of perfectionism in that it focuses on balance without judgment, and it’s an important set of skills that someone can learn in therapy.
  4. Above all, please don’t give up. Please don’t let depression win. You are not alone.

Around half of the people in the United States will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition at some point in their life. And an increasing number of people are beginning to see mental health for what it is: a vital component of overall health and well-being, just as important as physical health.

It may be hard to talk about your concerns, but simply acknowledging that you’re struggling is a huge step. If you are concerned about your mental health, several options are available, even locally.

If you need more mental health information, education, or would like to discuss support, please contact your primary care physician at (712) 655-2072. For those 65 and older, call Senior Life Solutions at (712) 655-8262. Or call the Manning Recovery Center at (712) 655-2300 and talk to a professional. To learn more about mental health and available resources visit mhanational.org/may.

(Article adapted from https://themighty.com/2016/05/smiling-depression-what-you-need-to-know/)

Reverse those Winter Blues

Amy Hull, licensed therapist at MRHC for Senior Life Solutions

By: Amy Hull, LISW (Therapist with Senior Life Solutions) Amy Hull, licensed therapist at MRHC for Senior Life Solutions

As we continue into the long days of winter, I am reminded that so many of us face challenges: some because of the cloudy, cold, and grey days which trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Others because they face depression year-round and find the absence of loved ones difficult while having to pillage through snow, ice and frigid cold to travel. In addition, we are also navigating the protocols and restrictions of COVID, feeling political unrest, and learning how to make socially sensitive changes so that all members of our nation feel that they are accepted and valued. Much of this causes confusion, uncertainty, and isolation (spiritually, emotionally, and physically) for all ages, from our developing youth to the mature members of our community.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of clinical depression is helpful so that you can seek additional help from your primary care physician or contact a therapist/psychiatrist to manage the need for psychotropic medications.

Clinical Depression includes five of the following symptoms:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking
  • Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, sadness, or numbness
  • Irritability
  • Reoccurring thoughts of death
  • Diminished interest in once pleasurable activities
  • Significant weight loss or overeating
  • Sleeping too much or too little

It is important to catch these symptoms early. If you are having at least two or three symptoms, ask for help immediately rather than trying to manage it alone and waiting. Seeking assistance early can prevent depression from progressing, and it can resolve the issue much quicker than if you allow the symptoms to become entrenched and multiply.

When faced with symptoms of depression, I encourage my patients to do the opposite of what depression is telling them. Feelings of depression often suggest that you should stay isolated, avoid socializing, eat more or less, sleep more, or avoid activities you once did. However, it is important that we connect with our friends and family using any means available including phone calls, Facetiming, sending care packages, or hand-written cards. One can’t help but feel good by engaging in activities that they once enjoyed, serving others through volunteer work, or simply helping a neighbor.

A few ways to counteract depression and sadness include helping others, exercising, interrupting or stopping negative thoughts, and getting fresh air and sunshine. These options will help you find the joy you once had both in activities and in interacting with others.