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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

**Book Review: Diabetes: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Healthy Living Series

This is a  book of many stories, interspersed with practical advise about diabetes from Dr, Byron Hoogwerf of the Cleveland Clinic.  Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen edit the stories.   I think the most important thing I get from this book is motivation, and realization that diabetes is really a disease I need to worry about, and take care of.  I don't want to be dependent on pills forever.
The stories are repetitive, and tell the story of diabetes from several different angles.  As someone growing up with juvenile diabetes,and the parents or siblings of someone with juvenile diabetes.  
Also as being told as an adult that you have type II diabetes, and the consequences, life changes and what this means.  The doctor explains some of the things to be aware of in terms of taking care of you health when you have diabetes.
I enjoyed this book, but more than the practical information, I enjoyed the motivational stories presented.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

**National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives 2001

I am looking at some National goals 12 years after the fact.  The goals and objectives were redone in 2012.
Goal #1  Promote awareness that suicide is a public health problem that is preventable.
One of the objectives for this goal is increase the number of public service campaigns.  Outside of the mental health community, I am not sure how effective we have been in this area.
Goal 2: Develop Broad-based Support for Suicide Prevention
One objective here is to increase public/private collaboration.  Another objective is to integrate suicide prevention in professional and other groups.  I know it is a big part of education and licensure for social workers and other help professions.
Goal 3: Develop and Implement Strategies to Reduce the Stigma Associated with Being a Consumer of Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Suicide Prevention Services.
There has been a slow push for parity with medical insurances with regards to treatment of behavioral health being equal to physical health.  The only great push in this area that I have noticed was the discourse of Elder Holland at the last conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Goal 4: Develop and Implement Community-Based Suicide Prevention Programs  As a result of this goal we now have a national suicide hotline, which is actually answered locally in most cases.  Many of the local hotlines have gone through a national certification to be included.  1-800-273-2855
Goal 5:  Promote Efforts to Reduce Access to Lethal Means and Methods of Self-Harm This objective could be alarming to gun rights advocates, but reduced access does not necessarily mean gun control.  This area should include better safety measures, and ways to keep guns safe.  Also included are proper disposal of medications and manufacturing cars in such a way as to make carbon monoxide poisoning more difficult.
Goal 6: Implement Training for Recognition of At-Risk Behavior and Delivery of Effective Treatment
  There is a campaign among the professional community to recognize at-risk signs.  This is spilling over into the population in general.
Goal 7: Develop and Promote Effective Clinical and Professional Practices 
Goal 8:  Increase Access to and Community Linkages with Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services  This is a tricky area which is influenced by budgets, and most often budget cuts recently.
Goal 9: Improve Reporting and Portrayals of Suicidal Behavior, Mental Illness, and Substance Abuse in the Entertainment and News Media  I do not know how to judge the media, but for myself I have seen no change
Goal 10: Promote and Support Research on Suicide and Suicide Prevention
This is an area which is slowly developing
Goal 11: Improve and Expand Surveillance Systems
This sounds scary, but I th ink they are hoping for better reporting of suicide so numbers will be more accurate.  This includes investigation of all deaths which may be attributable to suicide or other violent causes.
The biggest judge of the effectiveness of what we are doing would be by adecrease in suicides.  However the opposite has been true, a slight increase.  You can argue the increase could have been more, or that we are more aware of and report suicide more often, but the bottom line is to this point there has not been a decrease in suicides. 

**Fiction to Get You Through Tough Times

This is a book mark from  It suggests children's books which give a greater understanding of various maladies.  This list was compiled in 2011.  The themes is mentions are: abuse, bullying, depression, eating disorder, helping, manic depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, self harm and suicide.  I cannot recommend any of the books because I have not yet read them.

Friday, August 15, 2014

**CANS: Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths

CANS Training

I attended CANS Training at EMQ Families First in Campbell.  CANS stands for Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths.   It is a comprehensive multisystem assessment for children.  It is “communimetric” in that it facilitates communication between children, parents and therapist, as well as between therapists as a way be on the same page in communicating.  This provides a set of different area for which a score determines the course in therapy.  Basically for need items, a score of 0 indicates no action, 1 indicates something to keep an eye on, 2 calls for action, and 3 for immediate action or intensive action.  Strengths are scored differently with 0 indicating a centerpiece strength, 1 a useful strength, 2 an identified strength, and 3 no identified strength in that area. 
The scaling is done in six different area.  Only Youth strengths use the alternative scoring mechanism.  These areas are: Life Domain functioning; Youth’s Strengths; Acculturation; Caregiver’s Needs and Strengths; Youths Behavior/Emotional needs; and Youth’s risk Behaviors.  Each area has a series of questions to define what might be a need or a strength in each particular area.  Additional there are individualized assessment modules.  These modules are only completed based on a response to previous question.  These modules include: developmental Needs; Trauma; Substance use Disorder; Violence; Youth Emotional/Behavioral risks; Resiliency Factors; Sexually Aggressive Behavior; Runaway; Juvenile Justice; Fire Setting.
I liked this module because you could go quickly from an identified need to formulating a plan to address that need.  This way counseling could be goals oriented and a child and parent could actually see progress being made. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

**Violence Against Women

What would be the improvement in the health and quality of life of our women, if we did away with violence towards them.  It is important to remember: Women are not property, they do not belong to you.  There is no excuse for being violent.  If you feel the need to control, then you need to take a look at yourself, and see where you are on the continuum of violence, and take a few steps back.

**Book Review: The Sugar Blockers Diet

The Sugar Blockers Diet: Eat Great; Lose Weight: A Doctor’s 7-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Lower Blood Sugar and Beat Diabetes—While Eating the Carbs You Love, Rob Thompson with the Editors of Prevention 2012.
This is wwat I gleaned from the Sugar Blocker Diet.  Good stuff to eat that will help black the sugar rush in your blood stream when you eat too much starch, like too much potato, rice, bread, corn etc.
Sugar Blockers: Fruit: Apricot, Avocado, Black Berries, Grapefruit, papaya, peach, pear (not quite ripe), raspberries, strawberries and water melon.
Vegetables: sprouts, artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cucumber, dandelion greens, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peppers, scallions, spinach, tomatoes, water chestnuts, beans, peas,
Other: beans (not all the way done) best is lentils (navy and pinto also good) but all good; nuts, chia seeds best, almond, sunflower seeds hazelnuts; bran; flaxseds; Fiber supplements; Metformin.
Other ideas, fat ½ hour before meal can cause system to digest more slowly, cheese or nuts;
Vinegar and pickles will create better enzyme balance
Protein with Carbs
Exercise right after eating (20 minute walk) will allow cells to absorb carbs without insulin
Strength based exercise.
One other tid-bit, Metformin can cause diarrhea as a side effect.  I take this medication so something to watch for.

Monday, August 4, 2014

**Documentary Review: Diabetes: Understanding Your Condition

These are a few ideas from Mayo Clinic.  Take control of your illness and keep it in check so you don't have any of the severe complications.  Complications of diabetes can be minimized by good diabetes care: exercise and look at health holistically.
Some of these long term effects are eye problems, retinopathy is when the blood vessels break, and nerve damage.  Neuropothy is when you feel numb. 

**What Would You Do if You Knew that I Want to Commit Suicide

This is the front, and an inside page to this pamphlet in Spanish. What would you do if you knew I was thinking of suicide?  This pamphlet answers this question with three answers.
1) First recognize the signs.  The pamphlet explains that recognizing signs of suicide can be difficult.  If you have a sense something is wrong, go with your feelings.
This our clues to look for:
Talking about suicide or wanting to die
Feeling without hope, desperate or trapped
Giving away possessions
Rage or anger
Increase in consumption of alcohol or drugs
Distancing self from others
Feeling anxious or agitated
Change in sleep pattern
Sudden changes in humor
Feeling useless

2)  Second is to communicate, to talk; to ask "Are you thinking of suicide"  This pamphlet suggests starting the conversation.  Mention the things you have observed, the things that are worrying you.  Ask are you thinking of suicide, listen.

3) Look for help.  This pamphlet suggests
911 for emergency situations,
  for advice and direction
The national hotline is

1 (800) 273 8255

Sunday, August 3, 2014


This website offers information and experiences about depression, self harm, mental illness, suicide and a host of other related issues.  It also offers an open forum as well as a place to reach out for help.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

**Pamphlet Summary: Older Adults and Depression

Older Adults and Depression is a pamphlet produced by the National Institute for Mental Health.

This pamphlet discusses depression and older adults.  It says depression is not a normal part of again.  Symptoms which may indicate one is depressed include: feeling sad or empty; feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious or guilty; loss of interest in favorite activities; feeling very tired; not being able to concentrate or remember details; not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much, aches or pains, headaches, cramps, digestive problems, overeating or not wanting to eat. 
Depression can be caused by several factors including genes, brain chemistry and stress. 
In terms of treatment for depression, the first step is to talk to your doctor.  it is important to remember you can just “snap out of it.”  Treatment choices include medications or psychotherapy.  One should remember medications can take some time to work, and they may also have side effects which should be discussed with your doctor.  ECT is sometimes used for severe depression which is difficult to treat with conventional methods. 
If you have a loved one who is experiencing depression offer support and understanding, talk the the person, DO not ignore talk of suicide.  You can invite the person for a walk or other activity.  Assure them that with time, treat can help to lift depression. 
If you are depressed, some things to remember include: break up large tasks into smaller; spend time with people, friends and loved ones; stick to your treatment plan; do not make important life choices until you feel better.
National Suicide Prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255.  Santa Clara County Suicide and Crisis line is 1-855-278-4204.

**Panic Disorder: When Fear Overwhelms

This is a free pamphlet from the National Institute for Mental Health.  It starts with a series of questions:  Do you sometimes have sudden attacks of fear that last for several minutes?  Do you feel like you are having a heart attack or can’t breathe?  Do these attacks occur at unpredictable times causing you to worry about the possibility of having another one at any time?

Panic disorder is manifested by sudden attacks of fear, with associated physical symptoms such as racing heart, feeling you are having a heart attack, sweating, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, hot or cold chills, tingly numb hands, chest pain or stomach pain.  Panic disorder includes fear of places where attack have occurred, and intense worry about the next attack and feeling out of control. 

Panic disorder is generally treated with psychotherapy or medications or both.  Cognitive behavioral therapy is especially useful.  Medications used include anti-anxiety medications which give quick relief but generally should not be used over long periods of time.  Antidepressant medication is also used.  There is a warning on antidepressant medication as for some people it can increase the risk of suicide. 

A common descriptor for panic disorder is fear—the attack is terrifying and then you have fear of the next attack, and fear of having a possible physical condition.

Friday, August 1, 2014

**Dr. David Mee-Lee Dual Diagnosis from Dynamic Health: Powerful Strategies for Healthy Living!

David Wright interviewed Dr. David Mee-Lee about dual diagnosis services.  This is treatment for people with co-occurring substance us and mental health problems.  Dr. Mee-Lee consults with Santa Clara County departments of Alcohol and Drugs as well as Mental Health.  As such I have had the opportunity to attend his trainings as well as sit in consultation of cases with him.  He is a pioneer of motivation interviewing, and he works with the call center on being able to figure out what people would like to get from mental health.  “You start at the door they open and where they let you in rather than telling them they have to work on a problem they don’t think they have.  Work on what they’re there for and from that point move to how their substance use and their mental health problems have been shooting themselves in the foot, preventing them from getting what they really want. 
This article is best when it talks about rehabilitation of mental health and substance abuse problems.  “Recover doesn’t necessarily mean they’re cured when you’re talking about a chronic illness—no more than if somebody with diabetes  or hypertension or asthma. … A person suffering from a mental illness as well as a substance problem won’t be able to be cured in the sense that they will never have a mental health problem or substance problem again.  They can recover, meaning they can live beyond just the fact that they have alcoholism or a mental illness.  They can have goals and aspirations and be empowered to have hope to change their life in terms of their relationships, in terms of productivity in the community, and reaching their dreams and aspirations. … Recover really means stabilizing their mental health and substance problem, but then living and growing to have an identity beyond just their illness.”
Dr. Mee-Lee concludes with advice for family and community.  The first is to realize that mental illness is not unusual.  There is “nothing bizarre or weird about…having substance problems or mental health issues.  The second point he makes is that there is help for mental illness.  Getting treatment sooner rather than later leads to a better result.