May is Mental Health Month

Do you know how it feels to be adrift in one’s own mind? According to Mental Health America, one in four American adults lives with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition. May is Mental Health Month, which began more than 65 years ago by Mental Health America to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness. Home

Last month, in support of mental health wellness, Assembly Bill 89, authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine, (D-Marin County), and sponsored by the California Board of Psychology, passed out of the Assembly. The bill requires applicants for licensure with the California Board of Psychology to complete a minimum of six hours of coursework or applied experience under supervision in suicide risk assessment and intervention.

“Suicide kills twice as many people in California as homicide, but not all mental healthcare providers have the training they need in suicide risk assessment and prevention,” said Assemblymember Levine. “AB 89 will save lives by making sure that psychologists have the training they need to identify suicidal individuals.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data, suicide is the third leading cause of death for Californians ages 15 to 34, and the tenth leading cause of death for Californians of all ages.

Moreover, in Sacramento County, nearly 355,000 residents live with mental illness, but research shows that only one-third of those individuals will seek help primarily due to the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. 

The amount of training licensed psychologists receive varies widely from as few as six hours, to over 50. Assembly Bill 89 will standardize the minimum number of hours of suicide prevention training required for licensure in the State of California. This training can be completed through coursework, continuing education, or through applied experience.

On May 24, join mental health advocates on the East Steps of the State Capitol  for Mental Health Matters Day 2017.  The Each Mind Matters coalition has come together to plan and host this event to better the lives of people with mental illness.

In addition, learn more about reducing stigma and discrimination at StopStigmaSacramento.org and show your support on social media by following the project on Twitter @StopStigmaSac and be sure to ‘like’ the project on Facebook . Engage in positive mental health messages using the hashtag #StopStigma.

To check the licensing status of a psychologist, please visit the Board of Psychology’s website at www.psychology.ca.gov.

To learn more about Mental Health America, visit their website at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PTSD Awareness Month Spotlights Veterans Programs, Resources

June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month: To help spread the word about PTSD and effective treatments, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder—created in 1989 by a congressional mandate to address the needs of veterans with military-related PTSD—offers an online initiative called “AboutFace,” which is focused on helping veterans recognize PTSD symptoms and motivating them to seek treatment (www.ptsd.va.gov/apps/AboutFace/). NCPTSD-Aware_FB

The VA’s website explains that PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that can occur in different ways. It can begin after experiencing extreme trauma like combat exposure, a serious accident, an assault or abuse, natural disasters, or terrorism.

It’s estimated that 20 percent of the soldiers who’ve been deployed in the past six years have PTSD and many others can be experiencing signs of PTSD from previous deployments, according to the VA. It lists the following as possible signs of PTSD:

  • Apathy toward loved ones
  • Trouble sleeping, reoccurring nightmares
  • Experiencing flashbacks, bad memories of the event
  • Paranoia, being scared or startled easily, feeling irritable or angry
  • Uncomfortable reactions to daily activities, avoiding routine activities
  • Not wanting to talk about traumatic events, general feeling of the world being dangerous
  • Adverse reactions to crowds, feelings of detachment, emotional numbness, inability to concentrate

The “AboutFace” campaign introduces viewers to veterans from all eras who have experienced PTSD and turned their lives around with treatment. Through personal videos, viewers will meet veterans and hear how PTSD has affected them and their loved ones. They will also learn the steps to take to gain control of their lives.

For some people, treatment can get rid of PTSD altogether. For others, it can make symptoms less intense. Treatment also gives you the tools to manage symptoms so they don’t keep you from living your life.

The VA provides effective PTSD treatment and conducts extensive research on PTSD, including prevention. To learn more, visit www.ptsd.va.gov/about/ptsd-awareness/index.asp and get the VA’s booklet at www.ptsd.va.gov/public/understanding_ptsd/booklet.pdf.

To verify that a counselor or therapist is licensed, visit the website of DCA’s Board of Behavioral Sciences at www.bbs.ca.gov/quick_links/weblookup.shtml. You can also find service referrals and other mental health resources on their website at www.bbs.ca.gov/consumer/awareness.shtml and at the website for the California Department of Veterans Affairs at https://www.calvet.ca.gov/VetServices/Pages/Mental-Health-Program.aspx.

If you’re in crisis, get help right away. If you feel like you might hurt yourself or someone else, call the Veterans Crisis Line at (800) 273-TALK (8255) anytime to talk to a crisis counselor. The call is confidential and free. Chat online with a crisis counselor anytime at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. You can also call 911 or go to your local emergency room.