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.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Safety Seminar: Safety It Starts with You by Craig Harrison

Craig Harrison was the Keynote speaker at the Safety Seminar.  He talked about creating a culture of safety.  He included three things: Establish trust, Two-way communication and Cultivate a Kaisan philosophy of continuous learning.  He presented as examples of this philosophy Tesla Motors, which was able to reduce their accident rate, and the pilot Sully (Chesley Sullenberger), who has in place a system of employing these methods with his flight crew, even if someone is newly assigned.  He would meet with his assigned crew before they began their flight.  At this meeting he would open communication, and provide a safe atmosphere for them to work together towards a common goal. 
The last topic presented by Harrison was that of praising.  His four tips for praise: Make it genuine, Make it specific, Never mix positive with negative, keep praise positive and It should be timely to be most effective.  He further emphasized praise by saying, MBW, Manage by Wandering, catch people doing things right and be a praise dispenser!

Mosquitoes: Spreaders of Disease

I went through a Facebook list of the most dangerous animals, and mosquitoes were on the list.  More than 700 million people get diseases from mosquitoes annually.  This results in over a million deaths.  Not because they are dangerous of themselves, but because they carry so much disease.  Malaria traditionally has been the most feared disease that the carry.  However, now there are other illnesses to worry about.  These diseases include Zika, Dengue, West Nile, Yellow Fever,  Chikungunya, La Crosse Enchephalitis, Rift Valley Fever, Jamestown Canton Virus, and Snowshoe Hare Virus.  The flier I received form Santa Clara County Vector Control suggests wearing long sleeves when outdoors, apply insect repellent and making sure screens are tight fitting and not in need of repair.  Another important thing is when traveling to areas where malaria is prevalent, sleeping under a screen that has been treated with repellent. 

Another thing to be careful of, is that we are not breeding mosquitoes in our own property.  Mosquitoes can take advantage of even small bodies of water to breed.  The mosquito fish is a good way to rid breeding mosquitoes without using chemicals. 

Elizabeth Smart and Resiliency

If anyone can teach and explain how to overcome overwhelming trauma it is Elizabeth Smart, who has kidnapped, and held hostage for nine months.  During that time she experienced tremendous trauma, including almost daily rape.  Elizabeth provides some insight of how she has been able to overcome such horrendous trauma. 
She says, The human spirit is resilient.  God made us so.  He gave us the ability to forgive.  To leave the past behind.  To look forward instead of back.  I'm not the first on who has ever done this.  People have been doing it for generations.  Since the beginning of time, men have found ways to heal. 
She talks about the history of strong Mormon women in her family, especially her mother.  After her ordeal, these are the words her mother told her:

Elizabeth, what this man has done is terrible.  there aren't any words that are strong enough to describe how wicked and evil he is!  He has taken nine months of your life that you will never get back again.  But the best punishment you could ever give him is to be happy.  To move forward with your life.  To do exactly what you want.  Because, yes, this will probably go to trial and some kind of sentencing will be given to him and that wicked woman.  But even if that's true, you may never feel like justice has been served or that true restitution has been made.  But you don't need to worry about that.  At the end of the day, God is our ultimate judge.  He will make up to you every pain and loss that you have suffered.  And if it turns out that these wicked people are not punished her on Earth, it doesn't matter.  His punishments are just.  You don't ever have to worry.  You don't ever have to even think about them again.  You be happy, Elizabeth.  Just be happy.  If you go and feel sorry for yourself, or if you dwell on what has happened, if you hold on to your pain, that is allowing him to steal more of your life away.  So don't you do that!  Don't you let him!  There is no way he deserves that.  Not one more second of your life.  You keep every second for yourself.  You keep them and be happy.  God will take care of the rest.

Elizabeth put this advise into practice.  She also employed some specific activities to help herself heal.  On of these included horse back riding with her grandfather.  Horses provided her a place to heal, as she experienced nature on the back of a horse.
Elizabeth also turned to her music.  She plays the harp.  She studied music performance at BYU. 
She also embraced an attitude of gratitude, focusing on her many months of good experience, rather than her terrible nine months. 
She concludes with this statement, "All of these things have helped me.  But ultimately, to get better, I simply made a choice.  Life is a journey for us all.  We all face trials.  We all have ups and down.  All of us are human.  But we are also the masters of our fate.  We are the ones who decide how we are going to react to life. 

Resilience is a special gift.  It is such a factor in our reaction to trauma.  It is often a determining factor on our response and outcome.  Those people with more resiliency are able to move past trauma.  However less is known about where resiliency comes form.  Is it something that can be taught, because if it can, this could be a major focus of mental health treatment.

Wikipedia gives a definition of psychological resilience, which is a new area of focus in mental health:
Psychological resilience is defined as an individual's ability to successfully adapt to life tasks in the face of social disadvantage or highly adverse conditions.[1] Adversity and stress can come in the shape of family or relationship problems, health problems, or workplace and financial worries, among others.[2] Resilience is the ability to bounce back from a negative experience with "competent functioning". Resilience is not a rare ability; in reality, it is found in the average individual and it can be learned and developed by virtually anyone. Resilience should be considered a process, rather than a trait to be had. It is a process of individuation through a structured system with gradual discovery of personal and unique abilities.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Santa Clara Fire Station: Safe Surrender Site

I walked past a fire station in Santa Clara today and this sign was on the door.  This is a law in California that allows a mother who is overwhelmed, to surrender a baby to a responsible site without any type of criminal charge or questions asked.  In our state the surrender sites are determined by the Board of Supervisors of the county.  They are usually hospitals and fire stations.  The surrender must occur within 72 hours of the babies birth.  The law has resulted in a decrease of abandoned babies by about 5x to now only about five a year in the state.  On the other hand, statewide there are over 50 babies surrendered each year.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mormon Newsroom: Working Together to Reduce Suicide and Depression

This article from the Mormon Newsroom highlights that September is National Suicide Prevention Month.  It offers some practical advice on how we can help.  Among other things it suggests reaching out to those who may need our help, as isolation is one thing that increases the rate of suicide.  It especially advocates that we cannot leave our children and youth feeling isolated.  This especially includes young people who are struggling with any issue, including same sex attraction.  If people we know are dealing with loneliness, depression or isolation, we should reach out with love.  This article quotes and article from Jeffrey R. Holland, "Like a Broken Vessel," which is also worthy of review.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Documentary Review: Feeding Frenzy

This is a very interesting documentary, and on a topic I would rather not think about.  The premise is that the food industry has as their major goal to sell product, even if this could be harmful to people in general.  Is the food industry manipulating us into buying more?  I think the answer is a resounded less; however where does person responsibility come into play.  If the food industry can present things in such a way that we buy more, especially processed food, which is not always the most healthy, then what chance do we have.  Supermarkets put stuff up in such a way as to get people to spend more.  There are schools which study people, and their finding make a difference in how stores are set up, how advertisements are presented etc.
People do eat to relieve stress.  What if the food industry was creating some of the stress which leads to this need.  Feeding Frenzy is very good, but I couldn't find a link to a version on YouTube, but the link provided leads to the website of the makes of the film.
Not only are we manipulated, but at times we are lied to.  What is organic?  What does low-fat mean, glutten free, etc..

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Book Review: This Side Up: Making Decision About Drugs

by, Maureen H. Cook and Carol Newman, Artist Cim Anderson, National Institute  on Drug Abuse, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Philadelphia, PA, 1980.
This is an older book, geared toward the prevention of substance abuse.  It begins with an information section covering drugs in generally and then specifically, psychoactive drugs, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, stimulants, sedatives, hallucinogens, narcotics and inhalants.
Then it delves into ideas to prevent abuse, discovery games etc.  I especially like a section on anger.  It includes describing "Mad Notes."  This is a way to vent anger without resorting to violence or drugs.  Mad notes are very effective.  You can write you anger.  The important thing is to make sure the note is for your eyes only.  Best to destroy these notes.  You do not want to deliver them at someone else's expense.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Diabetes and Sick Days

Article appeared in WebMD Magazine, Winter 2015 and was distributed by Walgreens.  It was written by Sonya Collins.
There are things a diabetic must consider when sick.  This article answers five questions:
Do I keep taking my medicine?  The thought is I eat less when I am sick; but you also exercise less.  The best answer is to keep taking your medicine.
What should I eat?  You should try to eat normally, but if you can't you should try gelatin, soup and crackers and popsicles which my be easier to keep down.
What should I drink?  It is important to get plenty of liquid to avoid sugar spikes.  8 ounce calorie free beverage is recommended.  If you have difficulty keeping food down, you may want to add a drink with calories every other hour.  This would juice or soda.
Can I take cough or cold medicine?  Avoid medicines with sugar as much as possible.  Syrups often have sugar.  Even so, if you need a syrup to soothe your throat go ahead as there is not a significant amount of sugar.  You can also consult your doctor about medicines as some without sugar also raise blood sugar levels, i.e. aspirin and decongestants.
How often should I check by blood sugar?  You likely will not recognize sugar issues when you are sick as you already feel crappy.  Consequently you should check every two to four hours.  If your blood levels are normal after a couple days then you can go back to your regular routine.

Back to School: Emergency Preparedness

BACKPACK EMERGENCY CARD Child’s Name: Date of Birth: Home Phone: Cell Phone: School Name: School Phone Number: Special needs, medical conditions, allergies, important information: DIAL 911 FOR EMERGENCIES Parent/Guardian/Caregiver Name: E-mail: Cell Phone: Alternate Phone: Text Okay: Yes □ No □ Employer: Name: E-mail: Cell Phone: Alternate Phone: Text Okay: Yes □ No □ Employer: Out of Town Contact Name: E-mail: Cell Phone: Alternate Phone: DIAL 911 FOR EMERGENCIES

Friday, September 8, 2017

Book Review: Who Knew? 10,001 east Solutions to Everyday Problems

by Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin, TELEBrands Press, reprinted from Castle Point Publishing, Fairfield, NJ, 2013

A good reference book for common household problems.  It starts with chapters dedicated to seven heroes: vinegar, baking soda, lemon, salt, vegetable or olive oil, aluminum foil and duct tape.  It is amazing how many different things can be done with these items.  For example vinegar will cool a sunburn.  Vinegar is also good for swimmer's ear.  Vinegar will kill the smell of burnt food, boil a cup with two cups water.  Baking soda can be used for fire prevention.  Lemon will help with cleaning burnt milk.  Duct tape can tape on a child's gloves if he keeps taking them off.  You can also use it on the handle of a tool to customize the fit to your hand.  Duct tape can repair a trash can lid.
This book also includes cleaning tips, tips for getting organized, pet tips,managing money, and giving items a second life.

Great to have around for thos special tips.  There are also similar things on Facebook and Pinterest.

Earthquake Preparedness from FEMA

Lots of disasters happening these days from earthquakes, to hurricanes to fires.  It is important to be prepared.  Here is a flyer to help with that.  This brochure suggest three steps: Prepare, Survive and Recover for before during and after an earthquake.  Lots of good advice.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Sex and Diabetes

Read an interesting article from Everyday Health.  It was on sexual problems to look out for if you have diabetes.  Problems can be caused by the diabetes itself, especially if it is not well controlled.  However you also have to worry about medications, which also can cause problems.  Diabetes can result in restricted blood flow to all parts of the body, as well as nerve damage.
Specific problems to look out for include erectile dysfunction, low arousal or low response, infections (particularly yeast infections) and low libido.
The conclusion of this article is that as diabetes is well controlled, then sexual issues will be less.  In other words, controlling diabetes can lead to better sex.  Now that is motivation to keep your diabetes well-controlled.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Tagalog: Know the Signs

We can all become helpers when people are feeling down or suicidal.  The first step is to know the signs.  Someone who is suicidal my:
Talk about death or wanting to die
Seek methods for self-harm
Feel hopeless, trapped, desperate
Give away possessions
No longer do things the normally enjoy
Put affairs in order
Be angry
Have sudden mood changes
Change sleep patterns
Have no sense of purpose
Increase drug or alcohol usage

After recognizing the signs, you must enter the conversation.  It is hard to accept that someone may be thinking about taking their own life.  Start the conversation by mentioning the warning signs you have observed.  Then ask the question, "Are you thinking of suicide?"  Then listen, express concern, give reassurance, and listen. Use the suicide hot line if you feel someone is suicidal.

Pain Isn't Always Obvious" Know the Signs: Suicide Prevention

We can all become helpers when people are feeling down or suicidal.  The first step is to know the signs.  Someone who is suicidal my:
Talk about death or wanting to die
Seek methods for self-harm
Feel hopeless, trapped, desperate
Give away possessions
No longer do things the normally enjoy
Put affairs in order
Be angry
Have sudden mood changes
Change sleep patterns
Have no sense of purpose
Increase drug or alcohol usage

After recognizing the signs, you must enter the conversation.  It is hard to accept that someone may be thinking about taking their own life.  Start the conversation by mentioning the warning signs you have observed.  Then ask the question, "Are you thinking of suicide?"  Then listen, express concern, give reassurance, and listen. Use the suicide hot line if you feel someone is suicidal.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Free HIV and STD Testing: Santa Clara County The Crane Center

I was downtown San Jose when someone asked me if I wanted to be screened for HIV.  He was in front of a medical van.  This appeared to be an outreach by The Crane Center, which is part of Public Health in Santa Clara County.

Clinical Supervision

Clinical supervision is an important role in social work.  To be able to help someone at the start of their career is important, and the responsibility should not be taken lightly.  I have provided supervision for several different employees of Santa Clara County Behavioral Health, and it is fun to see what some have accomplished.  I wouldn't say because of my supervision, but at least it was a step along the way.
At a recent training given my Melanie Stern, this statement was provided: Clinical supervision is an interactional process between supervisor and supervisee that promotes the development of responsibility, skill, knowledge, attitudes, and ethical standards in the practice of clinical work.
Actions that help accomplish this are:
providing a safe environment, acquiring therapeutic techniques, knowledge about relevant laws and regulations, able to anchor skills to client issues, comfortable and confident, able to assess areas for growth, models how to handle anxiety and able to evaluate.
Some ethical and legal issues to consider, informed consent, due process, confidentiality, Tarasoff (vicarious liability), training, record keeping and dual relationships.
There are also many obligations to do supervision correctly, as required by the BBSE.  This includes contract and reporting requirements.  

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Breast Cancer Prevention: Know Your Lemons

Knowyourlemons is a website devoted to breast cancer prevention.  Using lemons it includes descriptions of 12 different signs of breast cancer.  It also promotes regular medical exams and mammography to prevent or detect breast cancer.  It also provides information on self-exam.
I was informed of this website from the Utah State Magazine in an article about Corrine Ellsworth Beaumont, USU alumnus.  Her own grandmothers had succumbed to the disease which motivated her to look for information on breast cancer.  This website is the result.

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.