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Reflect On This


Possible Warning Signs of Suicide

Posted on January 30, 2017 at 9:44 AM Comments comments (244)

There is not a single cause for suicide, nor is there always a certain warning sign that a person may be suicidal. Depression, stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns beyond the level with which a person can cope can lead to suicidal thoughts or actions. If left untreated, these mental health conditions can increase a person’s chances for suicidal thoughts or actions. However, when treated properly people can manage their mental health concerns and lead happy, fulfilling lives.

Possible Warning Signs:
Something to be aware of when someone may be suicidal is a change in behavior. This can mean new behaviors appearing that have not been present before, or the absence of behaviors that are generally common. This change is especially important if it happens alongside a major life change or a particularly painful event.

What to Look For:
A person may be thinking about suicide if they engage in the following behaviors:
-Intentional self-harm, such as cutting or burning
-Looking for ways to kill themselves
-Reckless behavior such as increased drug or alcohol consumption
-Withdrawing from or losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
-Acting more aggressive or depressed than usual
-Visiting or calling friends and loved ones to say goodbye
-Giving away valuable or prized possessions

What to Listen For:
A person may be thinking about suicide if they talk about the following:
-Wanting to die or kill themselves
-Feeling worthless or guilty
-Feeling helpless, hopeless, or trapped
-Experiencing unbearable pain
-Being a burden to others

Risk Factors for Suicide attempts:

In addition to the outward warning signs like behaviors and talk, there are other risk factors to consider when a person may be suicidal. Whether they are occurring currently in someone’s life or they are a part of the past, these risk factors can increase the likelihood of a person considering suicide.

Personal Risk Factors:
-Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline        personality disorder, impulse control or conduct disorder, and others.
-Drug and/or alcohol abuse or dependency
-Long-term health concerns such as an incurable or unknown condition or chronic pain

Environmental and Historical Factors:
-A history of suicide attempts
-Family history of suicide attempts
-Exposure to the death or suicide of another person
-Exposure to traumatic events such as war or repeated emergency situations
-Prolonged exposure to stress such as abuse, bullying, harassment, stalking, work problems, or  relationship problems

-Access to lethal means such as firearms, illegal drugs, or large quantities of prescription medications

Diabetes and Depression

Posted on November 14, 2016 at 2:33 PM Comments comments (369)
Depression can strike anyone, but people with diabetes may be at a greater risk. Diabetes is a serious health concern that afflicts an estimated 16 million Americans. Treatment for depression helps people manage symptoms of both diseases, thus improving the quality of their lives.
Several studies suggest that diabetes doubles the risk of depression compared to those without the disorder. The chances of becoming depressed increase as diabetes complications worsen. Research shows that depression leads to poorer physical and mental functioning, so a person is less likely to follow a required diet or medication plan. Treating depression with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of these treatments can improve a patient’s well-being and ability to manage diabetes.

Causes underlying the association between depression and diabetes are unclear. Depression may develop because of stress but also may result from the metabolic effects of diabetes on the brain. Studies suggest that people with diabetes who have a history of depression are more likely to develop diabetic complications than those without depression. People who suffer from both diabetes and depression tend to have higher health care costs in primary care.
Despite the enormous advances in brain research in the past 20 years, depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated. People with diabetes, their families and friends, and even their physicians may not distinguish the symptoms of depression. However, skilled health professionals will recognize these symptoms and inquire about their duration and severity, diagnose the disorder, and suggest appropriate treatment.

To learn more go to:

Mental Health Tips for College Students

Posted on August 13, 2013 at 12:08 PM Comments comments (361)
Healthy Minds: Tips for Every College Student

Did You Know?
· Mental health conditions are most common during the ages of 18-24. In fact, twenty-seven percent of young adults experience mental health conditions, of which anxiety disorders and depression are the two most common disorders.
· Mental illnesses – if left untreated – can derail a young adult’s college career and dismantle many other areas of their life and dreams. With treatment, nearly all people who experience a mental health condition can live normal, productive lives.
· Support is available at school and in the community, and mental health treatments are extraordinarily effective.

What College Students Should Know
· One in four adults experiences a diagnosable mental health disorder each year.
· Without proper mental health treatment, mental health conditions may lead to poor school performance, trouble with the law, strained relationships and even suicide.
· Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.
· It’s important that college students familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions. If a person feels they or someone they care for needs help, they should not hesitate to ask for help.
· Support is available at school and in the community, and mental health treatments are extraordinarily effective.
· Most colleges provide some free mental health services and can refer students who need longterm treatment to local professionals.
· Mental Health America of Illinois (MHAI) can help students find the help they need.
· To find help or get more information contact RCD at (940) 367-9887 or go to your on campus student counseling center.

Depression and College Students
· Depression affects approximately 10 percent of all American adults each year.
· Depression is a serious mental disorder. It is not a normal part of growing up or a personal weakness.
· Nearly 50% of all college students report feeling so depressed that they have had trouble functioning, and 15% meet the criteria for depression.
· Depression is very treatable: more than 80% get better with treatment. The most common treatments are antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, or preferably, a combination of the two.

Anxiety Disorders and College Students
· Extreme forms of fear, worrying and panic could signal an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million American adults each year. 5
· There are a range of anxiety disorders that include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder.
· If left untreated, an anxiety disorder can interfere with students’ academic, social and personal lives. Fortunately, treatments are effective and often combine medication with specific kinds of psychotherapy.

Info from Mental Health America 2007

Why Yelling Defeats Your Purpose

Posted on June 1, 2013 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (262)
For some, when in a heated conversation, emotions are not  the only thing on the rise; so is the volume of the voice.  When this occurs the individual is attempting to get their point across or be heard.  The idea of increased volume = increased understanding is an irrational thought; meaning it is not based on factual evidence. 
If you are a yeller you need to understand the following:
Abstract cognitive processes occur in the frontal part of our brains.  This type of thinking is needed for successful communication.  When you choose to yell at someone, you are forcing them into "Fight or Flight"; the survival mode of the brain.  "Fight or Flight" occurs in the lower part of the brain far away from where purposeful thought occurs.
So what does this mean?
This means that when you yell at someone you are decreasing the likelihood of being heard or understood.  So the next time your are in a heated conversation and you find yourself yelling and frustrated that you cannot get your point across....Now you know why; yelling defeats the purpose : )

Everyone Grieves Differently

Posted on January 19, 2013 at 5:07 PM Comments comments (8319)
Everyone greives differently:

Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried – and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.

Common symptoms of grief:

While loss affects people in different ways, many people experience the following symptoms when they’re grieving. Just remember that almost anything that you experience in the early stages of grief is normal – including feeling like you’re going crazy, feeling like you’re in a bad dream, or questioning your religious beliefs.

  • Shock and disbelief – Right after a loss, it can be hard to accept what happened. You may feel numb, have trouble believing that the loss really happened, or even deny the truth. If someone you love has died, you may keep expecting them to show up, even though you know they’re gone.

  • Sadness – Profound sadness is probably the most universally experienced symptom of grief. You may have feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning, or deep loneliness. You may also cry a lot or feel emotionally unstable.

  • Guilt – You may regret or feel guilty about things you did or didn’t say or do. You may also feel guilty about certain feelings (e.g. feeling relieved when the person died after a long, difficult illness). After a death, you may even feel guilty for not doing something to prevent the death, even if there was nothing more you could have done.

  • Anger – Even if the loss was nobody’s fault, you may feel angry and resentful. If you lost a loved one, you may be angry at yourself, God, the doctors, or even the person who died for abandoning you. You may feel the need to blame someone for the injustice that was done to you.

  • Fear – A significant loss can trigger a host of worries and fears. You may feel anxious, helpless, or insecure. You may even have panic attacks. The death of a loved one can trigger fears about your own mortality, of facing life without that person, or the responsibilities you now face alone.

  • Physical symptoms – We often think of grief as a strictly emotional process, but grief often involves physical problems, including fatigue, nausea, lowered immunity, weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains, and insomnia.

Coping with grief and loss tip: Get support!

The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry. Wherever the support comes from, accept it and do not grieve alone. Connecting to others will help you heal.

Finding support after a loss

  • Turn to friends and family members – Now is the time to lean on the people who care about you, even if you take pride in being strong and self-sufficient. Draw loved ones close, rather than avoiding them, and accept the assistance that’s offered. Oftentimes, people want to help but don’t know how, so tell them what you need – whether it’s a shoulder to cry on or help with funeral arrangements.

  • Draw comfort from your faith – If you follow a religious tradition, embrace the comfort its mourning rituals can provide. Spiritual activities that are meaningful to you – such as praying, meditating, or going to church – can offer solace. If you’re questioning your faith in the wake of the loss, talk to a clergy member or others in your religious community.

  • Join a support group – Grief can feel very lonely, even when you have loved ones around. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar losses can help. To find a bereavement support group in your area, contact local hospitals, hospices, funeral homes, and counseling centers.

  • Talk to a therapist or grief counselor – If your grief feels like too much to bear, call a mental health professional with experience in grief counseling. An experienced therapist can help you work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles to your grieving.

Do You Own Your Self Esteem?

Posted on December 18, 2012 at 11:02 AM Comments comments (331)
In meeting with various clients I have discovered that those who report negative self worth concerns do not "own" their self esteem.  What I mean by this is that they gather self worth from the opinions of others.  Someone tells them they look nice, they then believe they are attractive and feel good about themselves.  However, when someone tells them they look bad, they then believe they are unattractive and feel terrible about themselves.  Do you see the problem with this?  They do not "own" their self esteem.  They allow others to give it and take it away.  A healthy self esteem is "owned".  No one can give it or take it away from you.  Sure, a positive comment will feel good and a negative comment may prick you, but if you "own" your self esteem, others cannot control what you think and feel about yourself.

Author: Heather N. Smith, M.Ed., LPC
            Director of Reflections Counseling of Denton
            (940) 367-9887

64% of College Students with Mental Health Issues Drop Out

Posted on November 28, 2012 at 8:21 PM Comments comments (674)
64% of College Students wtih Mental Health Issues Drop Out

Mental health may be a larger factor in college student success than previously thought.
A majority of former students with mental illnesses dropped out for a mental-health related reason, according to a survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
There were 765 respondents in the survey, all from individuals diagnosed with a mental health condition who are currently or were enrolled in college within the past five years. Of the respondents who participated in the survey, 64 percent are no longer enrolled in college.

"For some, the stigma associated with mental illnesses keeps them from seeking the help on campus that may allow them to suitably deal with their issues and stay in college," said Christopher Scott, Associate Clinical Director of the UH Counseling and Psychological Services.

In the survey, students said receiving certain accommodations like lower course loads and help communicating their needs to professors may have helped them remain in school. They also said connecting with mental health providers earlier and having peer-run support groups available would have positive effects.

“Sometimes they may need to take a leave of absence, reduce their course load or switch to part time student status – but for some students these actions had negative consequences on their academic careers,” Markey said.

"Schools and students need to be more proactive about noticing signs of a mental health problem, like a sudden drop in grades, increased absences and social isolation," Markey said. "Schools can connect students to its services by promoting what it provides and by publicizing the importance of mental health to the entire campus."

Symptoms of Depression

Posted on October 23, 2012 at 2:54 PM Comments comments (219)
Common Symptoms of Depression
  • sleeping much more or much less than usual
  • eating much more or much less than usual
  • feeling fatigued, lacking energy
  • frequent headaches, stomachaches, or otherwise inexplicable aches and pains

  • diminished interest in and enjoyment of previously pleasurable activities, such as going out with friends, sports, hobbies, sex, etc.
  • difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • neglecting responsibilities and personal appearance
  • depressed mood-this can mean feeling down, irritable, pessimistic, guilty, anxious, empty, etc.
  • suicidal thoughts
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • feelings of worthlessness
If you believe you are currently experincing symptoms of depression we can help.  Give us a call at (940) 367-9887.

Did you know you become what you think about?

Posted on October 5, 2012 at 8:18 AM Comments comments (408)
"What You Think, You Become"

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become character.
Watch your character, as it becomes your destiny.
(Yoga Philosophy)