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.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

America Red Cross: Taking Care of Emotional Health after a Disaster

Disasters can bring about significant stress. This is especially true if you have experienced a previous disaster. The good news is that many people have experience coping with stressful life events and are naturally resilient—meaning we are designed to “bounce back” from difficult times.
In the days following a disaster, it is common for you, your family and friends to experience a variety of reactions. Feelings of exhaustion, worry, and anger can surface, especially if you’ve had to leave your home or have had to contend with the frustrations of having no electricity, have had to clean up disaster debris, or have had to wait in long lines for disaster assistance... Here is some information on how to recognize your current feelings and tips for taking care of the emotional health of you, your family and friends.
• Feeling physically and mentally drained
• Having difficulty making decisions or staying focused on topics
• Becoming easily frustrated, on a frequent basis
• Frustration occurring more quickly and more often
• Arguing more with family and friends
• Feeling tired, sad, numb, lonely, or worried
• Experiencing changes in appetite or sleep patterns
Most of these reactions are temporary and will go away over time. Try to accept whatever reactions you may have. Look for ways to take one step at a time and focus on taking care of your disaster related needs and those of your family. If You Still Don’t Feel Better Many people have experience coping with stressful life events and typically feel better after a few days. Others find that their stress does not go away as quickly as they would like and it influences their relationships with their family, friends and others. If you find yourself or a loved one experiencing some of the feelings and reactions listed below for two weeks or more, this may be a sign that you need to reach out for additional assistance.
• Crying spells or bursts of anger
• Difficulty eating and sleeping
• Losing interest in things
• Increased physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches,
• Fatigue • Feeling guilty, helpless or hopeless
• Avoiding family and friends What You May Be Feeling Now
When we experience a disaster or other stressful life event, we can have a variety of reactions, all of which may be common responses to difficult situations. These reactions can include: Taking Action Getting ourselves and our lives back in a routine that is comfortable for us takes time. Each positive action you take can help you feel better and more in control. Here are some helpful tips that may help put your priorities in place and help you take care of yourself and your loved ones:
• Take care of your safety. Find a safe place to stay and make sure your physical health needs and those of your family are addressed. Seek medical attention, if necessary.
• Eat healthy. During times of stress it is important that you maintain a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
• Get some rest. With so much to do, it may be difficult to have enough time to rest or get adequate sleep. Giving your body and mind a break can boost your ability to cope with the stress you may be experiencing.
• Stay connected with family and friends. Giving and getting support is one of the most important things you can do.
• Be patient with yourself and with those around you. Recognize that everyone is stressed and may need some time to put their feelings and thoughts in order.
• Set priorities. Tackle tasks in small steps.
• Gather information about assistance and resources that will help you and your family members meet your disaster-related needs.
• Finally, stay positive. Remind yourself of how you’ve successfully gotten through difficult times in the past. Reach out when you need support, and help others when they need it. Each positive action you take can help you feel better and more in control
After a Disaster For additional resources, contact your local Red Cross Disaster Mental Health or community mental health professional. Please seek immediate help if you or someone you know is feeling that life isn’t worth living or if you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others. You can also call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

The Eclipse Is Here: Save Energy

Never stopped to think about the effect the eclipse could have on solar energy.  Her our some ideas from our boss at work:

Dear County Employees,

On August 21st, the first total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States since 1979 will temporarily darken skies across the country. In California, the eclipse will impact energy supply by reducing solar energy supplies for more than two hours, and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is asking for our help.

Government buildings and other facilities are significant users of electricity. With that in mind, the CPUC is requesting local governments across California to join the State Government in drastically reducing its power consumption between 9 a.m. and 11: 30 a.m. on Monday, August 21st. The less energy those facilities consume, the less additional unclean power needs to be generated. As less sunlight falls onto the Golden State, one of our greatest sources of “clean” power [solar] will see its output fall significantly.

The good news is that our Facilities teams here at the County have already been doing projects to reduce energy consumption at our buildings through lighting retrofits, recommissioning heating and air conditioning, and general ongoing maintenance.  Nonetheless, they may raise temperature set points a little and reduce lighting where there is little or no impact to operations or services.

Additionally, to reduce the anticipated additional demands on the electric grid, we are asking employees to help shave energy use in our County facilities on August 21st, between 9 – 11:30 a.m.

The following are actions you can take to shave energy while at work:
  1. Use and operate your laptops on battery
  2. Do not charge any electronics during the eclipse
  3. Turn off desktop CPUs and monitors when not in use
  4. Turn off unnecessary lighting in your work area
  5. Unplug appliances vampire loads such as TV monitors, electronic chargers, etc.
  6. Avoid running toasters, microwaves, etc.
  7. Also make sure you are as unplugged as possible at your home even if you are at work.
Thank you for your continued commitment to our environment and consideration to take part in this effort. We encourage you to take the pledge now at CALECLIPSE.ORG .

Jeffrey V. Smith M.D., J.D.
County Executive

Monday, August 7, 2017

Human Trafficking Resources

Human Trafficking 

Community Solutions’ program for Survivors of Human Trafficking provides counseling, therapy, advocacy, and case management services to assist adult or child survivors of human trafficking in regaining strength, hope, and control in their lives.  

We also provide counseling, therapy, advocacy, and case management services to Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC). Commercial sexual exploitation includes the prostitution, child pornography, and other forms of transactional sex where a child engages in sexual activities to have key needs fulfilled, such as food, shelter or access to education.

Referrals for these programs can be made through agency referrals, walk-ins, or via telephone. Walk-ins are accepted daily at the Gilroy and Morgan Hill offices. Services are available in English or Spanish. There are no fees for this program. 

24-Hour Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Crisis Line
(South Santa Clara County & San Benito County)
1.877.END. SADV

This link is to a documentary review on human trafficking of children, I Am Jane Doe

Diabetes: Lowering Your A1C

A1C is a blood test which can let you know how you are doing with regards to diabetes management.  Mine has been too high for some time, 10.2 first of 1026, then down to 8.9 and 8.5 but my last lab back up to 8.8.   have gone through several medication adjustments to try to get this under control, adding januvia and then later gong to extended release metformin.  These have done some good.  However I am looking at these points from Everyday health to bolster my results.  Anything over seven is considered too high.  Below 5.7 is considered normal.
1. Move more.  At least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week is needed.  However this does not have to be formal exercise.  Participating in a sport, walking, or other activity requiring movement will do the trick.
2. Eat a balanced diet with proper nutrition sizes.  Ideas include using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate, be mindful of portion sizes when eating fruit starchy foods and fats, avoid processed foods, and avoid sugary drinks.
3.  Stick to a schedule.  Skipping meals, and then overindulging, or going too long without eating between meals can lead to unhealthy drops and spikes in blood sugar.  I have heard small meals with regular snacks in between is best.
4. Follow you treatment plan.  Best to take medications when they should be taken.
5. Check your blood sugar levels regularly.  This is one I am not doing regularly.  Unless I am on the train, I usually don't check my level.  It is important to check so you can learn how you level responds to certain activities and foods.
Consultation with your doctor about your A!C levels is always a good idea.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

National Preparedness Month is September

The theme for national Preparedness Month is "Disasters Don't Plan Ahead, You Can."  By going to the link above you can access information on planning ahead.  This website is from FEMA.  It includes how to make a disaster plan.  It suggests practicing, even with you animals, driving them in the vehicle, so they won't be so scared in an emergency.

The Power of Self-Compassion

This article I found in the Wellness Publication at work.  It does not give credit for the article.

Having compassion means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they make mistakes. When you have compassion for others (i.e. a family member, friend, coworker), you realize that suffering, failure and imperfection is part of the human experience.
Self-compassion is acting the same way, but towards yourself, when you are experiencing a difficult time or notice something you do not like about yourself. Instead of ignoring your pain or judging yourself for personal flaws, try to stop yourself and say “This is really difficult right now” and ask, “How can I comfort myself in this moment?”
Balancing work, family, and other commitments can be difficult. We often put most of our energy into taking care of others and not giving ourselves the love and kindness we also deserve. Here are a few ways you can embrace self-compassion:
 • Be gentle with yourself when confronted with a painful or difficult experience
 • Accept that imperfection is part of being human – there is no need to criticize yourself
 • Recognize that you are not alone, or the only person who makes mistakes
 • Try your best to not isolate yourself when you are facing stress or suffering
The reality of life is that things will not always go the way you want them to. You may encounter frustrations, make mistakes or fall short of your ideals. The more you accept and open your heart to this reality rather than fighting it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and others. In doing so, you’ll begin to notice improved strength in the face of failure, an increase in ability to learn from mistakes and to “bounce back” with greater enthusiasm.
"Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others." Kristin Neff Author 'Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself'

Saturday, August 5, 2017

FEMA Guidelines for the Upcoming Solar Eclipse

Prepare for the Solar Eclipse

Solar EclipseOn August 21, the United States will be experiencing the first total solar eclipse since 1991 and the first to move across the entire mainland of the country since 1918.

A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes in between the earth and the sun. While this rare occurrence may be exciting, safety is a concern. Looking directly at the sun during an eclipse could severely hurt your eyes. 

Protect your eyes and view the eclipse safely with these tips from theNational Weather Service:
·         Make sure to wear special solar filtered sunglasses if you plan to stare directly at the eclipse.
·         It is only safe to stare at the sun during the eclipse when the moon is totally covering the sun. This only happens for a brief period and will only occur in a very narrow path about 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina.
·         You can also safely view the eclipse through a solar filtered telescope or Welder’s glass #14 and darker.
·         If you are going camping to view the eclipse, visit the U.S. Forest Service website for safety tips. Also, check  for signs of low humidity and high temperatures, which are a recipe for wildfires.

For more information on the solar eclipse or for a solar eclipse party kit,

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Emergency Financial First Aid Kit

FEMA instructions with regards to what paper work you need to have on hand in case of an emergency.  This includes a checklist; and describes four areas of papers needed.
Identification includes personal identification as well as that of children and pets.
Financial Information including tax returns and house payments and sources of income.
Medical information which should include lis of medications, insurance information and physician information.
Lastly Household contacts which should including banking and insurance agents as well as other service providers.   It can also include emergency contacts.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Everyday Health: 8 Habits that Spell Disaster for Diabetes

Everyday Health does a very good job with many of their articles, and this is no exception:  There 8 bad habits:
1. Eating three big meals.  Diabetes does not respond well to big meals, which tend to spike sugar.  Contrarily five or six smaller meals seem to do better.  I like snacks--the problem is making sure they are healthy.
2, Skipping Breakfast:  Even a big breakfast is better than no breakfast, and much better than a large dinner.  I like big breakfasts, but tend to pile on the calories at dinnertime.
3. Sleeping too little or too much.  I tend to sleep less than I need using my CPAP; usually six hours.  However I do get naps, and counting them I get enough sleep, but my goal is 6.5 hours CPAP sleep per night.  This article suggests 6.5 to 7.4 hours per night.  So if I meet my goal I am there.
4. Neglecting dental health.  I just went through a round with the dentist, after neglecting my appointments for a couple years.  Not a smart idea.
5. Not appreciating the role of stress.  With many recent changes at work, stress has been a constant factor.  I am grateful for this week off, and need to do things to take care of myself.
6. Ignoring depression.  It suggests a healthy diet with exercise as a way to combat depression, but also mentions cognitive therapy and medications if needed.
7. Striving for perfection.  Although monitoring sugar is important, trying to be perfect is impracticable and sabotage your efforts.
8. Putting off health care appointments.  I actually do a bit better here.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Colonoscopy if a same-day procedure which allows a doctor to look at your colon and part of the small intestine.  A colonoscope is inserted and the doctor slowly examines the colon looking for polyps, cancer, or other issues.  The procedure includes removal of any polyps.  These are then tested for cancer.  
Guess who went in for the ten year colonoscopy.  This is my second. The actual experience isn't that back as the give you something to make you sleepy.  I slept through most of it, but also watched some on the monitor.  However that pineapple stuff you have to drink is just terrible.  Orange would be a better flavor.  It was at the end of each glass that the stuff would gag me.  Or if I paused while drinking it I would gag.  I had the just try to chug the stuff as best I could.  I just received the report and now they are recommending every five years instead of ten.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Seven Statements that Hurt People with Anxiety; My Reaction

Seven Statements that Hurt People with Anxiety if an article  This article gives seven hurtful statements, and in each case gives an idea of what to say instead which will lead to a helpful rather than hurtful relationship.
1. You have a lot to be grateful for.
2. You Should_____.
3. Everything will be OK.
4. Just be happy.
5. It's all in your head!
6. What do you have to be anxious about?
7. There are people with much bigger problems.

There is a great lesson here.  As I read the statements, I am convinced I can do better around others.  This article is a keeper and I suggest you clic on the link to read it.

Monday, May 29, 2017

13 Reasons Why: Should Parents Be Concerned About This Netflix Series?

Here is a very good article about the !3 Reasons Why series from 700 Children's by John Ackerman Phd..  It contends that this film does not take adequate safeguards against suicide contagion, which is sometimes a problem with young people.  It concludes with a graphic portrayal of the suicide, which is confusing and can lead vulnerable individuals to copy cat suicides.  It also portrays suicide in a romanticized fashion.  The main character, Hannah Baker, blames her suicide on those around her, in an almost vindictive manner.  In truth, people who commit suicide are not able to blame others because they are dead.
There are a couple flaws, this article contends.  Someone in emotional crisis does not take the time to make videos to explain why people are the cause of their suicide.  they lack the energy as well as the time to do this.  Secondly, it appears to say that suicide is the natural consequence of the things in Hannah's life.  While bullying, sexual assault, failure to see the signs, starting rumors, etc or tragic and painful; they do not have to lead to suicide.  They are not the cause in the end of a completed suicide.  Also the series seems to say, that only in making a big decision, will others feel your pain.  This does not have to be the case.
The makers of this series may say that bringing increased attention to suicide out weighs any increased risks.  They do not.  However there are suicide prevention resources available for those who want to become involved.  There are also crisis lines for those who wish to reach out: 1-800-273-8255. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Talking Points: 13 Reasons Why

I don't do this often, but thought it important to deliver the message in this flyer from the Jed Foundation.  You can click on the header for the original location. |
13 Reasons Why is a fictional story based on a widely known novel and is meant to be a cautionary tale.
You may have similar experiences and thoughts as some of the characters in 13RW. People often identify
with characters they see on TV or in movies. However, it is important to remember that there are healthy
ways to cope with the topics covered in 13RW and acting on suicidal thoughts is not one of them.
If you have watched the show and feel like you need support or someone to talk to, reach out. Talk with a
friend, family member, a counselor, or therapist. There is always someone who will listen.
Suicide is not a common response to life’s challenges or adversity. The vast majority of people who
experience bullying, the death of a friend, or any other adversity described in 13RW do not die by suicide.
In fact, most reach out, talk to others and seek help or find other productive ways of coping. They go on to
lead healthy, normal lives.
Suicide is never a heroic or romantic act. Hannah's suicide (although fictional) is a cautionary tale, not
meant to appear heroic and should be viewed as a tragedy.
It is important to know that, in spite of the portrayal of a serious treatment failure in 13RW, there are many
treatment options for life challenges, distress and mental illness. Treatment works.
Suicide affects everyone and everyone can do something to help if they see or hear warning signs that
someone is at risk of suicide.
Talking openly and honestly about emotional distress and suicide is ok. It will not make someone more
suicidal or put the idea of suicide in their mind. If you are concerned about someone, ask them about it.
Knowing how to acknowledge and respond to someone who shares their thoughts of emotional distress or
suicide with you is important. Don’t judge them or their thoughts. Listen. Be caring and kind. Offer to stay
with them. Offer to go with them to get help or to contact a crisis line.
How the guidance counselor in 13RW responds to Hannah's thoughts of suicide is not appropriate and not
typical of most counselors. School counselors are professionals and a trustworthy source for help. If your
experience with a school counselor is unhelpful, seek other sources of support such as a crisis line.
While not everyone will know what to say or have a helpful reaction, there are people who do, so keep
trying to find someone who will help you. If someone tells you they are suicidal, take them seriously and
get help.
When you die you do not get to make a movie or talk to people any more. Leaving messages from beyond
the grave is a dramatization produced in Hollywood and is not possible in real life.
Memorializing someone who died by suicide is not a recommended practice. Decorating someone’s locker
who died by suicide and/or taking selfies in front of such a memorial is not appropriate and does not honor
the life of the person who died by suicide.
Hannah's tapes blame others for her suicide. Suicide is never the fault of survivors of suicide loss. There
are resources and support groups for suicide loss survivors.
If you're struggling with thoughts of suicide... Talking points by:
Text START to 741-741

Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Discovering My Self-Worth after Teenage Pregnancy

This films presents a short interview from a girl who struggled with self worth after teen pregnancy.  It was when she realized Jesus could heal that she started feeling better about herself.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wellness Tips for May is Mental Health Month

Wellness Tips for Mental Health

We’re midway through Mental Health Matters Month. These last two weeks we’ve shared ways how you can help others. This week we focus on how you can care for your mental health and wellness.
Taking momentary breaks throughout the day offers many benefits. One study stated that outdoor activities have been shown to alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, stress, depression, and also improve cognitive functioning andcreativity[1].

Here are a few tips to help you restore your mental health, which also contributes to improved work performance and higher levels of satisfaction:

·         Get moving. Light exercise 3 days a week improves happiness and work productivity.
·         Go outside. 20 minutes of sunlight can help your mood, concentration and sleep.
·         Get together with friends or family. Studies suggest that social support networks help you deal with stress and may even help you live longer.
·         Play games. Keeping your mind active by doing things like playing new games can alleviate depression, especially as we get older.

How do you practice self-care?

Looking for inspirational ideas on self-care? Check out these interesting TED Talks.

 [1]Wolf, K.L., and K. Flora 2010. Mental Health and Function – A Literature Review. In: Green Cities: Good Health ( College of the Environment, University of Washington.

This came to me at work and I thought I would pass it along.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

13 Reasons" Why Not to Watch"

This film came up at a meeting I was attended.  there were crisis counsellors there, who shared anecdotally that crisis calls have gone up among teens since this movie came out.  In other words, suicide attempts were more frequent, but not necessarily completions.  Many people are concerned, and mental health professional are suggesting to watch this as a family, rather than allowing youth to watch it alone.  there are too many misconceptions about suicide.  This is a common expression:
“'We are concerned about our children watching this series without adult supervision because it romanticizes and sensationalizes the idea of suicide,' Lisa Brady, superintendent of schools in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., wrote in an email to parents." (From article by Catherine Saint Louis.)
On the other side of the equation are those that say it gives a good depiction, and provides a talking board.  However the National Association of School Psychologist advise teens who have a history of suicidal thoughts to avoid this series all together.  Crisis and suicide workers agree.  
If one child completes a suicide as a result of watching this film, that is one too many.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

May is Mental Health Month from Rene Santiago

 Message from RenĂ© G. Santiago 
May is Mental Health Matters Month. Our Behavioral Health Services Department has been leading efforts to help reduce the stigma around mental health. Stigma is when someone views a person in a negative way just because they have a mental health condition. Some people describe stigma as a feeling of shame or being judged by someone else. Fighting stigma is key to getting people the care they need and preventing suicides. 
Last year the department conducted a successful campaign geared towards middle aged men, the group with the highest suicide rate in Santa Clara County. The Suicide Prevention communication work group used research to learn what messages and images would work best. This was important to reducing the stigma around seeking help for mental health issues. During the campaign the percentage of calls from these men to the Suicide and Crisis Hotline doubled. Because it was so successful, the campaign is set to run again. 
The department is also working on a number of initiatives to encourage youth in our community to seek help. Since young people text more than make phone calls, a text crisis line will be added to Crisis and Suicide Hotline services. A social media campaign to young people will also be launched this summer. It’s a bit of a myth that more people attempt suicide in the winter and over the holidays. Unfortunately, suicides are attempted by all groups all year long. 
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. 1 in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime and every American is affected or impacted through their friends and family. To help anyone in our community access services for themselves, family or friends, the department will be implementing a one phone number point of entry. This will go a long way in helping people get to the services they need. 
Suicide is the second leading cause of death of youth ages 15-24 and the 10th leading cause of death for all Americans. These numbers demonstrate why these activities and so many other initiatives taken on by our Behavioral Health Services Department and their partners are so important to the health and well-being of our community. 

You can help to reduce stigma and raise awareness about the importance of mental health. When you are posting or tweeting, spread the word by showing #MillionsLikeMe. You can also learn more about collaborative efforts at 

Santa Clara County: Universal Coverage for Children

Renee Santiago is the directory at Valley Medical.  He presented this to everyone about initiatives in Santa Clara County to make sure all children have insurance.  He reports that as access to medical services has improved for children, so too has the health of children.  

 Message from RenĂ© G. Santiago 
In 2001, the Board of Supervisors made Santa Clara County the first county in America to insure all low-to moderate-income children. Last week, our Board reviewed and accepted a report documenting how children are doing currently and since 2001. The good news is that children and youth of Santa Clara County have nearly gained 100% universal coverage since 2001. Additionally, they are reporting improved access to care and prevention, and overwhelmingly their self-reported health status levels are in the positive of ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ health. This is sound policy and decision-making at its best. 
In Washington, D.C., there is much public debate about repeal, replace, and/or repair of national health reform. We certainly need to continue to be active and informed about these discussions because of their likely impacts. Nonetheless, we also need to keep in mind that our core values, decisions, and behaviors are ultimately critical to our success of “Better Health for All.” 
Children and youth are our future. In Santa Clara County, they represent one quarter of the County’s total population. They are Latino (36%), Caucasian (about 1/3) Asian (another 1/3), and African-American (2%). Some of the good news from the report: teen birth rates are declining; fewer youth are involved in the juvenile justice system; and, kids are getting the immunizations they need before they go to kindergarten. 
However, the assessment by our public health department also revealed persistent gaps and disparities. These include: 9% of the children in our community live below the federal poverty line with 17% of African American and 16% of Latino children living below the line. Although the high school graduation rate for all children stands at 84%, the rate for Latino students is lower at 71%. Also, many communities still experience difficulty navigating an often complex system of health and other services. 
Access, affordability, and reliable care and treatment will continue to be a primary focus for all of us regardless of what happens at the federal level. For those reasons, our public health team, community leaders, and other stakeholders identified key strategies to improve the health and well-being of every child and youth in our County. These include: 
● Supporting efforts to stop bullying and violence among children. 
● Supporting expand quality, affordable childcare and quality universal preschool. 
● Expanding and improving access to high-quality medical and dental services. 
● Expanding healthy food nutrition programs. 
● Increasing high-quality, affordable housing. 
● Addressing structural racism that contributes to inequitable outcomes. 
● Adopting universal developmental screenings for all children. 
Our challenge going forward will be to continue making progress at the same time we manage the risks of ‘repeal and replace’ of the Affordable Care Act. It is vital that we continue to improve access, be a cost effective and efficient health system, and ultimately maintain our “eyes on the prize” of Better Health for All. Achieving these goals will be more important than ever before. 
If you need to have a “light” moment about why this is important, check out SCVMC’s new marketing plan featuring little ones born at the hospital cheering us on 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Smile for your Health

This poem was in an old Legacy: International Society: Daughters of Utah Pioneers.  I find it very cute, and motivational.  Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all passed on a smile or a bit of humor rather than a grumpy old face.

Smile for You
Smiling is infectious; you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin
When he smiled I realized I'd passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile, then I realized its worth,
A single smile just like mine could travel round the earth.
So if you feel a smile begin, don't leave it undetected
Let's start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected!

Smiling won't cure everything, but I think it may make a difference.  Sometimes you have to go with the flow, and just smile.  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Diabetic Podiatry Appointment for Fat Feet

I visited the podiatrist last week.  I have very fat feet, as well as diabetes.  I had a blister under a toe, and the podiatrist informed me it was likely because of my shoes.  I walk quite a bit every day with commuting.  She suggested New Balance shoes because they have side sizes.  Honestly, I usually have to buy shoes too big to get them on my wide feet.  I did go to Big Five and get a pair of New Balance, and after wearing them in they are a much better walking shoe than my Vans.  The other bit of advice was to trim my nails shorter.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Article Review: Facing Up to Sexual Violence

facing Up to Sexual Violence, unattributed, Utah State Magazine, Spring 1027.
This article in the Utah State Magazine talks about the major issue on campuses nation wide of sexual assault incidents, and the efforts of universities to deal with this crisis.  Over 300 universities across the nation are under investigation by The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights as a result.  Utah State has also has its problems.  This article deals with what is happening now to address the issue.  One of the issues is how to address the problem while allowing for confidential reporting.  Utah State has initiated two campaigns, "Consent Is" and "I Will".  As part of the4 "I Will" campaign 4000 students have pledged to do whatever they can to stop sexual violence, and create an environment that is survivors are supported.  It is estimated third parties help prevent over one million acts of sexual violence annually.  This effort wants to get people past being bystanders to stepping in when a crime is taking place.  First the individual must recognize that a crime is taking place.  They must agree that sexual crimes are intolerable.   The pledge is, "I will step in and stop sexual assault."
The "Consent Is" campaign is an educational program to make sure individuals have consent before engaging in sexual activity.  You cannot get consent when the partner is wasted, high or incapacitated.  Consent should be verbal.  Consent can by withdrawn, Consent is mutual.
Recommendations, or things being put into place are, a centralized oversight, educating about reporting options, ensure staff comply with reporting obligations, improve record keeping, improve relations with law enforcement, continually reevaluate.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Ambulance Down in the Valley (Prevention)

I think this is the social worker in me that likes this poem.  I came across it while participating with a community group looking at teen pregnancy in Roosevelt, Utah.
A Fence or an Ambulance
[A poetic case for the value of prevention]
'Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke and full many a peasant.
So the people said something would have to be done,
But their projects did not at all tally;
Some said, "Put a fence 'round the edge of the cliff,"
Some, "An ambulance down in the valley."
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
For it spread through the neighboring city;
A fence may be useful or not, it is true,
But each heart became full of pity
For those who slipped over the dangerous cliff;
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds and gave pence, not to put up a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.
"For the cliff is all right, if you're careful," they said,
"And, if folks even slip and are dropping,
It isn't the slipping that hurts them so much
As the shock down below when they're stopping."
So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth would those rescuers sally
To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,
With their ambulance down in the valley.
Then an old sage remarked: "It's a marvel to me
That people give far more attention
To repairing results than to stopping the cause,
When they'd much better aim at prevention.
Let us stop at its source all this mischief," cried he,
"Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally;
If the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley."
"Oh he's a fanatic," the others rejoined,
"Dispense with the ambulance? Never!
He'd dispense with all charities, too, if he could;
No! No! We'll support them forever.
Aren't we picking up folks just as fast as they fall?
And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?
Why should people of sense stop to put up a fence,
While the ambulance works in the valley?"
But the sensible few, who are practical too,
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer;
They believe that prevention is better than cure,
And their party will soon be the stronger.
Encourage them then, with your purse, voice, and pen,
And while other philanthropists dally,
They will scorn all pretense, and put up a stout fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.
Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling.
"To rescue the fallen is good, but 'tis best
To prevent other people from falling."
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than deliver from dungeon or galley;
Better put a strong fence 'round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.
-- Joseph Malins (1895)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April: Alcohol Awareness Month

This is an article from Infomail for valley Medical Center
Alcohol Awareness Month
The Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Prevention Division wants you to know the April is Alcohol Awareness Month.  Did you know that drinking too much alcohol increases people's risk of injury, violence, drowning, liver disease, some types of cancer, and causes an all-told 100,000 alcohol related deaths every year?  the good news?  We can all do our part to prevent alcohol abuse and take action to prevent it, both at home and in the community.  For more information about Alcohol Awareness Month visit
Below are a few ideas on how to prevent alcohol abuse:
Be careful using alcohol as a reward to deal with life pressures, find other ways to handle stress and unwind
Encourage friends and family members to make small changes, like keeping track of their drinking and setting limits
Choose a day or two each week when you will not drink.
Limit the amount of alcohol you keep in your home
Don't drink when you are upset
Make a list of reasons now to drink excessively
Talk with underage children in the home about the risks of alcohol
Keep a well-balanced life

Friday, March 31, 2017

Pamphlet Notes: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

This is a pamphlet from National Institute of Mental Health.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is when someone has to recheck and recheck things.  Not the once or twice which is normal, but over and over.  It can include ritualistic behavior as well.  Thoughts and actions associated with OCD get in the way of daily life and cause distress.
Signs and symptoms to look for:
Repeated thoughts about things, such as fear of germs, intruders etc.
Do the same rituals over and over.
Can't control unwanted thoughts.
Don't get pleasure form the rituals, but momentary relief.
Spend at leas one hour per day on the thoughts and rituals.
The cause of OCD is still not known however there is a genetic component.
OCD responds to both psychotherapy and medication.  A preferred psychotherapy is cognitive behavioral therapy.  CBT teaches someone how to control their thoughts.  Antidepressants also are helpful when taking under a doctor's direction,
Lastly combined psychotherapy and medication are also useful.

Article Notes: A Parent's Guide to ADHD

This article points out that most children have some problem with attention from time to time.  However in cases of ADHD this problem is an ongoing issues.  However kids with ADHD can focus very well when the topic interests them, they have great energy and can be very creative.  There are three types of ADHD, Hyperactive, Inattentive and Mixed.  Although we need to avoid overgeneralization, boys more generally have hyperactive, which is noticed and diagnosed earlier.  Girls for the most part have Inattentive type, which is not noticed until later, and study habits are more important.  Mixed is when a child has characteristics of both types.  Medication treatment are two types, stimulant, which is short acting, and non stimulant which last longer.  Non medication strategies can also help.  Incorporating exercise into the child's day, keeping homework sessions short or breaking up homework, using a timer, trying to do so much homework in an allotted amount of time, staying positive, goal setting, letting kids practice working independently.
Article was written by Sarah R. Cheyette MD and published in Bay Area Parent.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pamphlet Review: Depression

This is a pamphlet from the National Institute of Mental Health.  It is a pamphlet for lay people, how to determine if they have depression and whether to get help.  Signs of depression include feeling sad; feeling hopeless, anxious or guilt; loss of interest in favorite activities; feeling tired; not being able to concentrate; overeating or not wanting to eat; thoughts of suicide or attempts; aches, pains cramps, digestive issues.
Some of depression is genetically caused, but it also has an environmental component.  Sometimes genes play a role in resilience, and ability to recover from hardship.  Depression either causes, or is caused by subtle changes in the brain.
The first step for treatment of depression is to visit a doctor or mental health worker.  Depression can respond to medications, psychotherapy or both.
For those in Santa Clara County on MediCal, the number to call for assistance is 1-800-704-0900

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Training: Confidentiality and Ethical Issues in Treatment

Attending this training in February.  It was mandatory.  This training presented the requirements of confidentiality with regards to HIPAA but also 42 CFR, which sets standards for confidentiality with regards to substance abuse issues, and are much more strict generally than HIPAA.  Where our department (mental health) is now integrated with the substance abuse services, this was an important training.  We no longer call ourselves mental health, but behavioral health.  This training helps understand why people working in the substance abuse field sometimes respond the way they do, which can be very frustrating.  The statement is "I can neither confirm or deny ..."  sometime it gets in the way of screening an individual for services, but that is the way it is and there is a reason for the laws.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Thin Commandments were presented on KSFO the other morning by Dr. Mark Freed and I was impressed.  I would like to lose weight without trying.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

**Watch Your Step

Surviving Suicide

Surviving suicide when you are young is important, because there is still a whole life ahead of you.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring.  Interesting how she felt suicide was the only option.

Living with Depression

This is a story of depression presented on the Mormon Channel.  Depression has two components, physical and emotional.  Often times, without first treated the physical causes of depression, it is very difficult for someone to make the needed changes to tackle the other issues.  However, talk therapy is known to help with depression.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Documentary Review: Paper Tigers: Trauma

It been some time since I watched this, but I meant to write about it.  Paper Tigers is a movie about Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, Washington.  This is the school for those who are not making it in regular school, either due to legal or behavioral or emotional issues.
The basic philosophy of the film are that children have been subjected to complex trauma.  toxic stress or trauma can threaten brain development.  This can harm health, lead to erratic behavior.  The behavior is not the kid, but a symptom of what is going on in their life.  You have to unconditionally love them, and believe that their behavior might be out of their control.
Sant Clara County has used this movie as an introduction to their efforts to take on trauma and make a difference in the lives of others.  I must admit, as I watched I was amazed at some of the worker the teachers and counsellors were doing.  How could they stay focus and not become reactive to some of the stuff the kids were dong.
The new ad campaign for VMC

Fellow Employees:

As many of us know from the direct experience of our family, friends, and loved ones, the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center plays a pivotal role in the health and wellbeing of the entire county community.  Over 8000 of our fellow county employees are delivering outstanding patient care day in and day out, in addition to leading-edge research and medical innovation, with centers of excellence in burn treatment, diabetes, trauma, rehabilitation, childrens and womens health.  Its one of the many shining examples of what makes those who live and work in Santa Clara County proud.

For the first time in its 140-year history, the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is launching an advertising campaign to raise awareness of the fact that our public healthcare system is providing the highest levels of medical care to all segments of our county community.  Our campaign messages will be promoted in commercials, radio, transit shelters, billboards, cinemas, the San Jose Airport, on VTA buses, print ads, and the Internet (you can view the TV ad here).  As youll see, the campaign features a provocative "go public" theme, which conveys our public foundation while illuminating themes familiar to many who live here in the Silicon Valley. 

In a very real sense, Go Public applies to us all in whatever capacity we serve on the County of Santa Clara team.   We will be doing more to promote all that we do as we move forward, proudly conveying, as the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center has just done, the value we provide to our community.  

Jeffrey V. Smith M.D., J.D.
County Executive