Pride Month is a time for LGBTQ+ members to gather and celebrate their freedom to live authentically. As pride month comes to an end, it is important that we keep the momentum and positivity going. The LGBTQ+ community deserves to be affirmed, safe, supported, proud, and live mentally healthy lives. (Mental Health America)
Although being LGBTQ+ is absolutely not a mental illness, many LGBTQ+ people experience mental health struggles. LGBTQ+ teens are 6 times more likely to experience symptoms of depression than non-LGBTQ+ identifying teens. LGBTQ+ youth are over 2 times as likely to feel suicidal and over 4 times as likely to attempt suicide compared to heterosexual youth. Forty-eight% of transgender adults report that they have considered suicide in the last year, compared to 4% of the overall US population.
Ongoing stigma, discrimination, lack of support, and other factors contribute to these higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, and more. With acceptance, allyship, and appropriate treatment, family and friends can help their loved ones prevent, manage, and overcome mental struggles. (Ellis, 2021.)
We support equality and acceptance by providing a safe space to every identity.
If you or an LGBTQ+ individual you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org. You can also reach a trained counselor at The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386 and Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860. Or call to schedule with one of our trained therapists at The Mental Mediator 484.515.6125.
Ellis, M. E. (2021, July 22). 5 ways to support your LGBTQ loved one’s mental health. Constellation Behavioral Health. https://www.constellationbehavioralhealth.com/blog/5-ways-to-support-your-lgbtq-loved-ones-mental-health/
LGBTQ+ communities and Mental Health. Mental Health America. (n.d.). https://mhanational.org/issues/lgbtq-communities-and-mental-health
3/8/2023 0 Comments
Blog Author: Kearston Wishnefsky, Intern Counselor
Soon we'll be observing the end of Daylight Savings Time on Sunday 11/6/22, by changing our clocks an hour forward as we approach the beginning of Winter. The time change means adjusting to earlier nightfall, preparing for colder weather, and planning for more indoor activities. But for some, the changing time and seasons brings unexpected changes in our feelings and behaviors.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), often referred to as seasonal depression, is a form of depression that comes and goes with the changing of the seasons. Although symptoms of SAD are more commonly associated with Fall/Winter as the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter, it's not uncommon for people to experience symptoms at the end of Winter as Spring approaches as well.
So, what does SAD look like? In essence, SAD is a series of symptoms typically associated with depression, but symptoms occur only for a short period of time, at about the same time each year during seasonal changes.
Commonly reported symptoms of SAD may include irritability/agitation, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, loss of energy or motivation, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, decreased sex drive, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, and loss of interest in activities or socializing.
How might these symptoms differ if SAD occurs during the Fall/Winter as opposed to the Spring/Summer? In the colder months, people with SAD often sleep more and eat more, and as a result gain weight. In contrast, SAD symptoms in the warmer months often include insomnia, reduced appetite with associated weight loss, as well as some symptoms of anxiety.
There are a few things you can do to be proactive against SAD:
- Spend at least 30 minutes a day outside in the fresh air before the sun sets—bonus points if you use that time to get some physical exercise in!
- Turn off tech at least 2 hours before bed—instead, choose an activity that doesn’t involve unnatural bright light, such as reading, a jigsaw puzzle, playing cards, or a board game
- Keep to a consistent bedtime and wake-up routine
- Eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water
- Keep in touch with your loved ones regularly for social connection
If you still find yourself experiencing symptoms related to SAD, don’t hesitate to seek support. Reach out to your therapist for help. If you don’t have a therapist, your primary doctor can provide you with referrals, or you can search online for local mental health providers in your area. If you have an insurance plan, call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card, and ask for a list of available providers.
As with any depressive disorder, more severe symptoms may include suicidal thoughts. If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can access immediate support by contacting the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Dial or message 988 to talk or text, or go to https://988lifeline.org/ to chat live with someone who can help.
Blog Author: Amy Hamby, Intern Counselor
Most patients see their therapist weekly and often biweekly. There are many exercises patients can do in between sessions that can assist in future sessions. Occasionally therapist will give their patients “homework” such as journaling and breathing exercises. Depending on what someone is looking to get out of therapy there is plenty of outside work someone can do in between therapy sessions. Below are suggestions.
◦ Journaling. You can journal about your thoughts about the session you previously had, some questions you might have for your next session. It’s also a great idea to journal your feelings and thoughts throughout your daily life. Journaling is a great exercise that could be utilized in therapy because often patients forget about certain things and writing allows certain memories to come to the surface.
◦ Meditate. Meditation is a great grounding technique Allowing patients to become more mindful and present. Meditation can start off in smaller increments (1-5 minutes) and increase overtime.
◦ Connecting with nature. This can be done by gardening, combining a meditation outside, walking or doing any type of exercise outdoors.
◦ Going for a walk. Walking is a wonderful, low impact exercise that can assist in relieving stress and anxiety. Going for a walk is also connecting with nature.
◦ Focus on one thing at a time. Making list and prioritizing what needs to get done can help you focus on one task at a time.
Often people feel many different emotions after being with their therapist. Many of these exercises can help with the emotions in between sessions along with grounding and becoming more mindful.