The Mental Health Connection
We all have much to be thankful for. I am grateful to each and every one of you for partnering with Help Therapy and making mental health care services more accessible to more people.
But it’s not just one day a year we should express gratitude. Gratitude helps us connect to something larger than ourselves. In the process of expressing gratitude for the tangible and intangible things we have received—whether large or small—we can recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside of ourselves. Feeling grateful can rewire our brains to be more in the present. Consistently expressing gratitude and giving thanks can help us manage negative emotions, stress and anxiety. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to start a daily gratitude practice and continue it throughout the year.
We also want to congratulate the Navy Seal Foundation for organizing another successful Whole Warrior Health Impact Forum! Help Therapy was again an exhibitor. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and network with other resources that provide services for military members and their families. We will send you a reminder of the next Impact Forum date during the summer of 2023.
We have received a lot of questions about whether we do medication management. The answer is YES, Help Therapy has Nurse Practitioners who do medication management. And there is availability for patients with Medicare, TriWest, TRICARE, BCBS, Optum/UHC and private pay.
Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
Annette Conway, PsyD
CEO and President
Inflation and Holiday Giving
Many Americans are under a lot of stress caused by the rise in inflation rates. Statistics reported by Statista show why. Monthly Inflation rates from January 2020-September 2022:
Lowest inflation: April 2020 0.3% Highest inflation: June 2022 9.1% Last reported inflation: September 2022 8.2%
A Harris Poll reported Inflation as a source of stress for an overwhelming 83% of Americans. While 69% cited the economy and 66% cited money as significant sources of stress. More than half of adults who reported money as a significant source of stress stated money was a cause of disagreements or tension in their family. What’s more, inflation rates are devastatingly affecting an astonishing number of Americans—over half a million people are homeless. It might be surprising and dismaying to find that one-third of those are families. The top causes are lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, and low wages. As Black Friday and the holidays approach, we may want to consider these facts when thinking about gift-giving. How many people on your list do you struggle to find a suitable gift for? How often do you just purchase something because you don’t know what type of gift to give? Instead of wasting money on more and more material things your family and friends don’t need, you can give a gift that also helps people (or animals) in need. There are an endless number of possibilities. One idea is to donate to a charity on a friend’s behalf. Think of your friend’s interests and passions. If they love children, contribute to an organization that helps support children in need, such as Covenant House, Children’s Defense Fund or Save The Children. Donate to a conservation organization, such as The Nature Conservancy, if they are environmentally conscious. Animal shelters and wildlife conservation programs like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) may be perfect for animal lovers. If money is tight, consider volunteering for a non-profit of interest to you and your gift recipient instead of donating money. You can volunteer on their behalf or make it an activity you do together. Don’t be tempted by Black Friday “deals.” Reflect upon the true meaning of the holidays and how you can help support others with your gifts.
Uncertainty, Disillusionment and Their Impact on Mental Health The last few years have been challenging for everyone. As more time passes, the continued uncertainty of the future, combined with the disillusionment surrounding the political environment, is affecting the mental health of many. A Harris Poll survey reported the majority of adults are unsettled by government and political actions, apprehensive about inflation levels, and distressed by boundless violence. The poll also found respondents hold a pessimistic view of the future. Over 60% disagreed with these statements: “I feel our country is on the path to being stronger than ever.” “Our children are going to inherit a better world than we did.” More than 75% of respondents said the future of our nation is a significant source of stress in their lives. And almost 70% said the current political climate is a significant source of stress in their lives. The stress caused by this uncertainty, disillusionment and fear plays a toll on mental health. This stress and pessimistic view of the future leads many Americans to consider moving to another country. Over 50% of Americans aged 18-44 said the state of this country has made them consider moving to another country. And 59% of LGBTQIA+ said the same. Stress and Health Consequences Over 75% of people polled said that stress had impacted their health. They reported headaches, fatigue, nervousness, anxiety, sadness and depression. Those with higher stress levels were more likely than those with a lower average stress level to report experiencing these symptoms. What’s more, over 70% also reported other impacts on their mental health, including feeling overwhelmed, changes in sleep and constant worrying. These changes in mental health have caused 15% of these people to turn to alcohol and drugs. [READ MORE]
Top 10 Thanksgiving Favorites If you’re wondering what to serve for Thanksgiving dinner—stick with tradition or try something new—you may want to consider some of the dishes voted in the top 10 by a Ranker opinion poll. Including a few of these favorites will help ensure your Thanksgiving’s a hit. Here’s a list of the top 10 in descending order: 10. Green beans 9. Buttermilk biscuits 8. Cranberry Sauce 7. Green bean casserole 6. Crescent rolls 5. Mac n’ cheese 4. Bread 3. Gravy 2. Stuffing 1. Mashed potatoes You probably noticed this is a carb-loaded list. That’s no surprise, as most of us love our comfort food. But you may be surprised to see turkey and pumpkin pie—two Thanksgiving icons—don’t rank anywhere on this list! According to this poll, serving some form of bread and green beans will probably make your guests happy. And don’t forget the mashed potatoes. If you don’t know if some of your guests have any food sensitivities (no dairy, no gluten, etc.) or follow a specific dietary plan (vegan, keto, etc.), it’s best to find out before you plan your menu. Don’t assume that your guests will (or should) overlook their food sensitivities or choices just because it’s Thanksgiving. If you’re looking for some new recipes that are vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free, take a look at these recipes: Balsamic Roasted Vegetables From Just What We Eat Ingredients
2 bell peppers, cut into 2” chunks
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2” thick half circles
1 red onion, cut into 2” wedges
8 oz mushrooms, cut in half
3 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
How to Make
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Chop vegetables and place them in a large food storage bag.
Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme, and salt to the bag and seal the bag tightly, letting out as much air as possible.
Shake the bag to coat the vegetables evenly.
Optionally, let the vegetables marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Pour the vegetables onto a cookie sheet and arrange them into a single layer.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the vegetables have started to brown and are fork-tender.
Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble From Bakerita Ingredients For the Sweet Potato Mash
About 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 ” flax eggs”
⅓ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup vegan butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
For the Pecan Topping
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup almond or oat flour
¼ cup coconut sugar
½ cup (1 stick) vegan butter, softened and cut into cubes
¼ teaspoon cinnamon, optional
Pinch of salt
How to Make For the Sweet Potato Mash
Add sweet potatoes to a large pot and barely cover them with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until fork-tender, about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your cut potatoes.
Once they’re tender, drain the potatoes and put them in a large mixing bowl.
Let cool slightly, and then mash the potatoes.
Add the flax eggs, coconut sugar, vegan butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir until well combined, mashed to your liking, and the butter has fully melted and incorporated.
Spread the sweet potato mash into a lightly greased casserole 8” x 11” dish or one of similar dimensions.
Set aside and prepare the pecan crumble topping.
For the Pecan Topping
In a mixing bowl, combine the pecans, flour, coconut sugar, vegan butter, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together until well combined and crumbly.
If it doesn’t seem crumbly enough, place it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to firm up the butter.
Sprinkle evenly on top of the sweet potato mash.
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes until the top is crispy and browned.
If you find yourself eating alone on Thanksgiving, you can choose to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner or celebrate your own way with a few of your favorite foods—even if they’re pizza and brownies! If you have leftovers, you can put them in the freezer to enjoy another day.
Medicare Fall Enrollment began October 15 and runs through December 7. This is the time Medicare recipients can change from Medicare Original to Medicare Advantage plans, or Advantage plans to Medicare Original, and also change prescription plans. Beware of marketing pitches that offer Advantage manage care plans with low or zero premiums. In general, Medicare managed care plans require individuals to go through their limited network of health providers, can get hit with unexpected co-pays and deductibles, receive denials for services deemed not medically unnecessary, and often requires referrals from a PCP to see a specialist. Researching options and considering the consequences to changing plans is recommended; otherwise Medicare recipients will be re-enrolled in their current plan the first of the year.
November is Adoption Awareness Month This month's particular focus is the adoption of children currently in foster care. It’s estimated that 407,000 children are now in foster care, with 60,000 here in California. As we give thanks this month, we think of the foster care children waiting for their forever families. The U.S. is making progress in placing foster children with families, particularly relatives, as opposed to group homes or institutions. But much more work is needed. Consider these statistics for children in foster care in California:
Only 45% of children in the California foster care system will be adopted
Less than half of all foster youth graduate high school
75% of young women in foster care report at least one pregnancy by age 21
Half of youth who have aged out of foster care end up homeless or incarcerated
International Stress Awareness Day
November 2, 2022
See ReThink for more information.
International Stress Awareness Week
November 7-11, 2022
See ISMA for more information.
Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
November 12-20, 2022
See HHWEEK for more information.
World Kindness Day
November 13, 2022
See National Today for more information
International Day for Tolerance
November 16, 2022
See UN for more information.
International Survivors of Suicide Day
November 19, 2022
See ASFP for more information.Giving TuesdayNovember 29, 2022
See Giving Tuesday for more information
“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all."
- Erik Erikson
Recap of the 2022 Whole Warrior Health Impact Forum
Congratulations to the Navy Seal Foundation for organizing another successful Whole Warrior Health Impact Forum! The sixth annual Forum informed the audience on the most relevant and cutting-edge issues affecting the medical and behavioral well-being of military members, their families, and medical personnel. The Forum also addressed statistics about the increasing number of service members with complex mental and behavioral health challenges, and the demand for therapists who provide evidenced-based practices in their psychological treatment. The three-day agenda included topics such as “Achieving More Happiness, Improve Well-Being, and Optimizing Performance”, “The Mismatch Between the Warrior Mindset and the Powerlessness Mindset: What Traditional Addiction Treatment Gets Wrong for Naval Special Warfare”, “Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy for Psychiatric Illness”, and “Common Sense Approaches to Suicide Risk”. The conference also included parking, lunches, receptions, and 12.5 CECs at no cost. Help Therapy was again an exhibitor. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and network with other resources that provide services for military members and their families. We will send a reminder of the next Impact Forum date during the summer of 2023.
Partner with us!
Are you a psychologist, LCSW or LMFT? We’re always looking for exceptional mental healthcare providers. Visit helptherapy.com for more information and fill out the quick and easy application.
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