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.

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