Health Is Vital

Health is taken for granted, until you can't any more. In this blog I hope to put down on paper some of the articles I come across and want to remember, about health. I will be personalizing these articles to apply to me. I am diabetic, over weight, have high blood pressure and tinnitus, so these are the things you will find here. I will include nutrition, exercise, and holistic health, and many other ideas. I work in the health profession, particularly mental health, and have an interest in suicide prevention; so these topics will also be covered in this blog. Please, if you are suffering reach out. Our county health and crisis line is 1-855-278-4204.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Documentary The S (suicide) Word  The S Word Movie is an attempt to get people talking about suicide, rather than sweeping it under the  rug.  Suicide is a problem that effects so much of our population, either from someone we know, as our self survivors of an attempt, or from being a member of our communities.  This movie shares stories we would not have other wise heard.  I presents from the Black culture, gay culture, hispanic culture and asian culture.  It presents both those who have attempted, and those family members of someone who suicided.  All have their own story to tell. 
warning: If you are sensitive to gay issues, then this might not be the best movie for you, as gay issues seem to dominate a good deal of the movie.  However, it is time we broke the silence about suicide, and in so doing offer support to others to help us all get through.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Helping Children Deal with Trauma and Disasters

With so many disasters, natural and man made, taking place this year, sharing this pamphlet from National Institute of Mental Health is appropriate.  The first thing that is clear from the pamphlet is that different ages react differently to trauma,  I really like the dos and don'ts.

5 Keys to Raising Good Kids

This article attributes these five ideas to Harvard psychologists.
1. Spend quality time with your children.  This suggests spending some time each day with your children.  Questions you could ask are, What was the best part of your day? What was the hardest part of your day?  What is something nice somebody did for you today?  What is something nice you did today?  What is something you learned today?
2. Let your kids see a strong moral role model and mentor in you.  Admit mistakes and apologize.  Take time for yourself  so you have energy to be attentive.
3. Teach your child to care for others and  set high ethical expectations.  Caring for others' well being and avoiding selfishness are important qualities.  More important than being happy, is to be kind and happy.  Let your children work things out, considering the consequences their decision might have on others.
4. Encourage children  to practice appreciation and gratitude.  A child that shows appreciation is not a spoiled child.  Encourage an attitude of gratitude.  Children should say thank you to friends, teachers, family members on a regular basis.  Demonstrate by being grateful yourself.
5. Teach them to see the big picture.  It is normal for children to be concerned about their inner circle.  This zooming in is important.  however they also need to zoom out, and see others in their community.  This includes being in tune to the new child in school, or the child being teased.  Also talk about conditions in the world, and hardships of other children.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

Book Review: Helping Children Cope with Loss and Separation

Helping Children Cope with Loss and Separation, Claudia L. Jewitt, The Harvard Common Press, Harvard, Mass, 1982.

This book compliments Jewitt's earlier book "Adopting the Older Child" and has been accepted as a basic text for child care workers and parents who deal with children suffering from loos.  The ideas, thoughts, treatment methods and experiences have helped me gain a greater understanding of the grieving process involved with a loss and how to help a child work through a separation. 
Each chapter deals with a different aspect of loss--from telling a child about the loss to finishing the grieving work and moving on.  The first chapter deals with telling a child about a loss.  Jewitt feels the person closest to the child should tell him/her about the loss.  The message should be as strait forward and honest as possible.  Any possibility of the lost person returning should be explored realistically and any questions should be answered. 
In the second chapter the author present and outline of the grieving process.  She includes three stages: early grief, acute grief and subsiding grief.  Each of these stages has several sub stages.
Under early grief Jewitt includes shock and numbing, alarm, and denial.  This stage includes the initial shock and reaction to the loss.  Quite often the child withdraws or behaves in a robotish fashion.  Feelings of vulnerability and fear of another loss are also included in this stage.  Another thing to look for in this stage are physical reactions to the loss--sleep and eating patterns, muscular tension, and hyperactivity. 
The second stage of the grieving process is acute grief.  It includes yearning and pining, searching, strong feelings, disorganization, despair and reorganization.  This stage includes fantasies that some way things will work out for the better.  (I'll get them back some way.)  Searching, dealing with feelings of sadness, anger, guilt and shame and then dealing with despair an the reality of the situation, and then finally a step in the right direction, reorganization of the child's life. 
The final stage, integration of loss and grief, gives the child a sense of mastery.  The child realizes the worst possible thing happened and she survived.
The third chapter in this book deals with working with feeling.  Often a child has difficulty expressing feelings because of family norms, which indicate an nonacceptance of feelings.  Jewitt suggests several techniques to help children come to grips with their own feelings.  The most notable is the five faces technique.  The worker identifies five basic emotions: sadness, anger, happiness, fear and loneliness.  The child is encouraged to draw pictures of how she looks when she feels these particular emotions.  Several games can then be played using these emotion cards--What feeling is this?  When do you feel this way?  Storytelling and other games can also be played starting with the cards.
The child's need to make sense of the loss is the topic of the fourth chapter.  AN important concern is the child's tendency to blame herself for the loss.  A worker can assess this problem in a child by asking directly, observing developmental behavior or asking indirectly.  The author also gives suggestions for talking to the child about specific reasons for the loss--abuse or abandonment--mental illness, imprisonment, incest, parental immaturity, neglect, alcohol or drug abuse, physical illness, and parental rejection.  This section is a good reference. 
This chapter also includes an important section on helping the understand their own personal history.  She suggests several different methods: using a time line for younger children, and a time graph for older children, story telling with doll figures or puppets, and using a life story or history book. 
The fifth chapter deal with the child's lost self esteem as a result of the loss.  It is very easy for a child to feel negative about her/himself after a loss.  TO explain this concept Jewitt uses the bucket comparison.  The bucket contains our self esteem, which is filled by what others say of us, and how they treat us.  In the case of separation it is very hard to fill the bucket because of the loss in caretaker and loss of a person to fill the bucket.  Many children resort to negative behavior to get attention.  To combat this a worker can teach positive ways to fill the bucket, use praise to restore self esteem and teaching the child to make good choices.
The final chapter deals with letting go.  Because the child has already experienced loss, the termination of work with a child should be a gradual process.  In the final meeting the worker should be as open as possible about her own feelings, "I am glad you're doing so much better, but I'm sad I won't be able to see you anymore."
This book is a useful tool for working with children experiencing a loss.  for those working with children, a periodic review of this book will enhance the services they provide.  The philosophy and ideas presented are an important part of the knowledge needed to be an effective caseworker, or foster, adoptive parent.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Bed Bugs: Santa Clara County Vector Control

I especially like the section on preventing bed bugs.  This gives us a chance.  A friend visited a motel in Modesto, that was infected with bed bugs.  It is so easy to bring them home.  So I guess it is good advise to check a motel room before putting your stuff down.  These critters don't usually carry disease, but they are dependent on a blood meal in order to progress.  That blood meal is usually you.  They can cause itching.