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Mental Health Awareness Month – Week 04: Going Beyond May

Sign the Pledge

Having a month dedicated to raising awareness to a cause can be helpful, but that is only a starting point. We need to be called to sustained action going forward to make real, permanent change happen. For mental health, part of that involves every day efforts to eliminate the stigma of mental health conditions and seeking treatment. As outlined by NAMI, “the need to eliminate stigma is nothing new. Fifteen years ago, a U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health—the first and only one to date—identified stigma as a public health concern that leads peoples to “avoid living, socializing or working with, renting to, or employing” individuals with mental illness.” So as we wrap-up mental health awareness month, will you consider taking NAMI’s pledge to work toward eliminating the stigma of mental health and mental health treatment? Learn more and take the pledge below…

Sign the Pledge

Mental Health Awareness Month – Week 03: We’re In This Together

While the emphasis on addressing the growing mental health needs of our country is often placed no the role professionals play, we often lose site of what it is we can do for each other.  As shared on their website, this is the focus of mental health month at National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). As part of this they are seeking to amplify the message of “Together for Mental Health.” They are using this month and their platform to bring our voices together to advocate for mental health and access to care through NAMI’s blog, personal stories, videos, digital toolkits, social media engagements and national events.  In this they feel that we can realize our shared vision of a nation where anyone affected by mental illness can get the appropriate support and quality of care to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Ready to learn what you can do to help those in need? Check out NAMI’s “Together for Mental Health” resource page at https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Mental-Health-Awareness-Month

Mental Health Awareness Month – Week 02: Self Check-In

As Mental Health Awareness Month continues we want to assure everyone is checking in with themselves. While the names of many mental health diagnoses have made their way into our everyday vocabulary, not all of us have been given the opportunity to learn what they are and to what degree the are part of our lived experience. As such, this week we encourage you to have a look at the mental health screening tools offered by Mental Health America at https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools/. If you suspect you are living with one of these conditions, be sure to check out our resources page to get connected with a professional to discuss this further. Cooper employees and their families can take advantage of CareBridge, more information is available at http://wellness.cooperhealth.org/carebridge/. Everyone can also have a look at the PsychologyToday therapist locator at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us, which lets you filter by location, insurance status, and specific issues you would want to address in therapy.

Mental Health Awareness Month – Week 01: Just the Facts

Each May, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services observes Mental Health Awareness Month. During this month, our featured posts will focus on promoting information about promoting and maintaining good mental health, as well as what to do when you are someone you love are struggling. This week, we are focusing on some basic facts about mental health as presented by Mental Health America (MHA).

With mental health entering more and more of our daily conversations, it’s critical that everyone has a solid foundation of knowledge about mental health.

  • Addressing mental health symptoms early is critically important for overall health. From social determinants of health to genetics, many factors are in play when it comes to mental health conditions, but there are protective measures that can prevent mental health conditions from developing or keep symptoms from becoming severe.
  • While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.
  • About half of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, with symptoms starting by age 24 for the majority of people.
  • The average delay between symptom onset and treatment is 11 years, meaning a lot of people spend months or years facing mental health challenges before getting a diagnosis. It is never too early to seek treatment for your mental health. Intervening effectively during early stages can save lives and is critically important for people living with mental health conditions.
  • Social, cultural, and historical factors often impact the mental health of communities that have traditionally been marginalized. These communities experience overt racism and bigotry far too often, which leads to a mental health burden that is deeper than what others may face.
  • Life can be challenging, but every day shouldn’t feel hard or out of your control. If it does, one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition is to take a mental health screening at mhascreening.org.
  • The delays in treatment for mental health conditions are longer than for many other health conditions. Getting screened increases the chances of getting treatment. Mental Health America has free, anonymous, and scientifically validated mental health screens at mhascreening.org.
  • Your screening results can be used to start a conversation with your primary care provider or a trusted friend or family member, and you can begin to plan a course of action for addressing your mental health.
  • When facing a mental health concern or living with a mental health condition, it’s common to feel like no one understands what you’re going through. You aren’t alone – help is available, and recovery is possible.
  • Starting July 16, 2022, call 988 for matters of mental health crisis. Calling 988 will connect you directly to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is staffed by trained crisis counselors 24/7, 365 days a year.

Get Connected!

One of the most consistent and powerful predictors of wellbeing is a sense of being connected to our fellow humans. That sense of connectedness was already fraying pre-COVID and, in may ways, has worsened since. But this is a solvable problem! The folks over at The Art of Health Living have created a list of 10 very different ways you can improve your sense of connectedness to your community today. These range from longer term commitments like volunteering, to things that may only take a half hour or so like donating blood.

Check out the full list in the article 10 WAYS TO GET INVOLVED IN YOUR COMMUNITY at https://artofhealthyliving.com/10-ways-to-get-involved-in-your-community/

Annual Psychology Day – 2022

April 21, 2022, marks the 15th Annual Psychology Day at the United Nations (UN). This yearly event celebrates psychologists and highlights the importance of psychology in a global context. It also provides an opportunity to demonstrate to the public the multitude of ways that psychologists improve society. While the UN day focuses on psychologists who use their research and clinical experience to contribute to the protection of human rights and healing those who have suffered abuse and trauma, there are countless other areas where psychologists, clinical and non-clinical, are making a difference.

The field of psychology is broad, and its applications and contributions are vast, with many psychologists contributing in academic health systems such as Cooper. Cooper’s growing group of psychologists join their colleagues in other medical centers across the country and the world in applying their extensive training in behavioral science to health care research, clinical care, wellness initiatives, and the education of medical students, graduate students, pre- and post-doctoral psychology fellows, intern and resident physicians, and other health professionals. This same clinical and research experience benefits health systems such as Cooper when psychologists contribute to institutional governance, research, educational programs, administration, leadership, and policy development.

Cooper is fortunate to have clinical psychologists across multiple departments, and will be welcoming even more in the coming months and years to assure we are providing care for the entire person. Today we honor our Cooper psychologists by highlighting their unique contributions. Click here to learn more!

Burnout and Change: The Perspective of a Behavior Change Scientist and Mom

Dr. Jacqueline Kerr left a 20 year career in academia back in 2018 and has since dedicated herself to helping to prevent burnout in others. She is a burnout survivor. She recently spoke at the annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and presented on the 12 Stages of Burnout (below), how burnout happens, and how we can take a comprehensive approach to fixing it now and preventing it going forward.

Dr. Kerr’s behavior change approach considers the systems we are part of and empowers people to change themselves and to advocate for change in others. She is now applying her research to different settings; schools, senior centers, retirement communities, workplaces, neighborhoods, healthcare systems, and government agencies. She leverages her background as an implementation scientist to guide a collaborative approach to behavior change and to build quality improvement learning cycles into the process. Her approach now incorporates using mobile devices, software systems, mobile applications, and machine learning to maximize precision in solving complex personal and systematic problems.

Learn more about Dr. Kerr at https://www.drjacquelinekerr.com/

Tree Planting in Camden (4/16, 4/30)

Organizations like the Center for Environmental Transformation and the NJ Tree Foundation have taken an active role in greening Camden. CMSRU and our residents have been partnering with the NJ Tree Foundation for years, going out into the community to plant trees throughout neighborhoods of Camden.

This month, we will host two events on 4/16 and 4/30. We will be meeting at the intersection of 6th & Benson Streets for the planting. The planting will be located on both sides of Benson Street leading up to Broadway, with 7 pits on Broadway as part of this project. The event runs from 9am-12pm and volunteers should plan to arrive between 8:30-9. NJTF provides all tools, water, gloves, and training. Volunteers should dress for the weather and wear close-toed shoes. If you are interested, please fill out the Volunteer RSVP Form. Please contact Meredith Pichini (mbrown@njtreefoundation.org) with questions.

This event is open to all CUH Team Members! For a complete list of Earth Month events and challenges check out http://wellness.cooperhealth.org/environmental/

Interested in incorporating more wellness into your work day?
Check out the Zenith Climb! Click the link below for more information:
http://wellness.cooperhealth.org/zenith-climb/

Want to be happier? There’s a class for that!

Science and business journalist Sara Harrison recently wrote a piece for Wired.com examining the recent increase in popularity of online happiness courses. The full article, “Online ‘Happiness’ Classes Might Work Better Than You Think“, can be read at https://www.wired.com/story/online-happiness-classes-might-work-better-than-you-think/. In a nutshell, she is told and settles into the conclusion that the concept of having unremitting happiness, while a good aspirational goal, is not sustainably achievable. More to the point, she quotes Science of Happiness professor Bruce Hood in concluding that to “register a positive emotion, you have to know what those less pleasant feelings are like you need to experience both sides of the coin.” They jointly suggest that improving our sense of well-being and satisfaction is possible and what will give us the greatest benefit.

You can consider taking a Science of Happiness course online, but for starters, consider taking a moment today to pick a target for well-being and satisfaction and set one small goal toward it.