The Mental Health Connection
With school back in session, mental health issues begin to surface or resurface. For students, low self-esteem, social comparisons, fear of not fitting in, stress about grades… can all lead to mental health challenges—even thoughts of suicide for some. For parents, just keeping up with their children’s demanding schedules can be pretty stressful. It’s essential that parents and students are aware of the resources available to them and feel comfortable seeking help when they need it. See Fitting in and Self-Esteem for Students further down in this newsletter for a few tips on addressing these issues.
Another population in particular need of mental health resources is veterans. Help Therapy will again participate in the annual Navy Seal Impact Forum, held October 17 and 18 in La Jolla. This event highlights speakers with insights, strategies and treatments to help Navy Seals improve their mental health and well-being. We provide service to countless veterans and always look forward to this event. If you’d like to attend in person or virtually, you can register here. Stop by our booth and say hello!
Annette Conway, PsyD
Annette Conway, PsyD
September is a Time to Promote Awareness of Four Special Issues
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month (SPAM)
There were nearly 46,000 suicides in 2020. And between 1999 and 2019, the suicide death rate increased by 33%. This National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) encourages people to advocate for better mental health care. Past efforts have led to the creation of 988—a new nationwide contact number for mental health crises, including suicide. The theme for 2022 is “Together for Mental Health.”
National Recovery Month
Since 1989, September has been chosen to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) collaborates with private and public entities to bring awareness to mental health treatments and addiction recovery.
World Alzheimer's Month
Experts estimate that the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s will rise to 16 million by 2050. Many people believe developing Alzheimer’s or dementia is a normal part of aging. Alzheimer's Disease International aims to change this misperception and increase public knowledge about these diseases. This year’s campaign will highlight the importance of support for people with dementia and their families.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans who have inspired others. But it’s also an apt time to bring awareness to the need for accessible mental health treatment for this undertreated, diverse population. It’s estimated that more than half of Hispanic adults between 18-25 with a severe mental illness may not receive treatment. Only 35% of adults in this population with mental illness receive treatment each year compared to the U.S. average of 46%.
Exploring the Hoffman Process
The Hoffman Quadrinity Process®, founded by Bob Hoffman in 1967, is a week-long personal growth retreat that helps attendees identify negative behaviors, moods, and ways of thinking that developed unconsciously in childhood. The Hoffman Process aims to help participants become conscious of their negative thoughts and behavioral patterns on emotional, intellectual, and physical levels. Participants learn to remove habitual ways of thinking and behaving, align with their authentic selves and respond consciously to situations in their life. Then, to make significant changes in their life on a spiritual level to disconnect from these negative patterns. In the course of the retreat, participants are led through exercises and experiences to begin a journey to self-understanding. Along this journey, they learn new ways of thinking and being, allowing them to experience more awareness and positivity in life. One of Help Therapy's employees just returned from a Hoffman Process retreat. What he found the most surprising was the power of forgiveness—forgiving parents and others who have wronged us in the past. “During the retreat, it became very easy to forgive when I came to understand that behavioral patterns pass from generation to generation and that our parents were once young children whose parents had faults.” Visualization, letting go of vindictiveness and identifying negative behavioral patterns were all part of the process, leading to inner peace. At the end of the retreat, the Hoffman counselors send the attendees home with tools to continue using in their lives. But as the Help Therapy team member explains, “ What I found most remarkable is that the most change from the process comes from the process, not how often you use the tools. It’s hard to believe a week retreat can have such a lasting impact, but it has for me and many others in my group.”
Grown-Ups Need Playtime Too
When we’re kids, we can’t wait to grow up. We want more freedom. We want to do what grown-ups do. As kids, we see our lives revolving around school, friends and fun activities and don’t understand how good we have it. When we grow up, work often takes the place of school, friends take a back seat to family obligations and fun activities are often more like special events.
As adults, we feel we always need to be responsible and productive and rarely make time for playful activities. We create conscious or unconscious boundaries around what is acceptable and unacceptable adult behavior. We view visiting the zoo or going to a carnival as something fun for the children to do and we just play the role of chaperone. We don’t think about actually having fun ourselves.
Children play spontaneously. They can create playful activities anytime, anywhere. As adults, we can lose this ability or bury it deep inside. At first, it may take a bit of time and creativity to think of playful activities and may need to be scheduled on the calendar. In time, playing may become more spontaneous.
Although it’s often associated with games, the idea of play is much broader. Playing can be any fun, joyful activity where you forget about time. Playing can be a solo event, like riding a bike along the beach or engaging in a hobby. Or, it can involve others, like playing a sport or throwing a ball for your dog.
Benefits of Play
Playing offers an abundance of emotional and physical benefits. The more play, the more significant the benefits. Of course, it stands to reason that play involving movement (such as tennis) has more physical benefits than sedentary play (such as chess).
Who Says “Home Visits” are a Thing of the Past?
By: Dr. Annette Conway My interest in specializing and working with the older adult and elderly population began as an undergraduate student at San Diego State University. It was there that I chose elective courses which focused on the sociology and psychology of the aging population. As well, I was fortunate enough to be mentored by two professors, who themselves were older adults. To gain clinical experience working with the older adult population, I contracted with a home-based organization in 1993, treating clients in their homes who would otherwise not be able to access mental health services, due to being bedbound, homebound, or unable to access transportation, among other reasons. In-home therapy was not only intrinsically rewarding in helping clients bring back purpose to their lives, but I also envisioned its value in helping improve the quality of mental healthcare in San Diego. [READ MORE]
This Month’s Tip Fitting in and Self-Esteem for Students It’s easy to assume we know what someone else is thinking or feeling. A misinterpreted text message, a classmate who doesn’t acknowledge a wave as they pass by, etc. Assumptions about these types of occurrences can build up and cause a student to develop low self-esteem. Add to that, situations like not being chosen to be on a team, not getting invited to a party or giving the wrong answer in class and a student’s self-esteem can crumble. Here are