Category Archives: Wellness

Prevent Heat Related Stress

From the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Excessive Heat Exposure Can Pose Higher Risks for Those on Psychotropic Medication or Other Substances

During this period when parts of the Nation are experiencing record high temperatures, SAMHSA is reminding everyone that these conditions can pose certain health risks to everyone—including people with mental and substance use disorders.

Exposure to excessive heat is dangerous and can lead to heatstroke, which is considered a medical emergency. Heatstroke occurs when an abnormally elevated body temperature is unable to cool itself. Internal body temperatures can rise to levels that may cause irreversible brain damage and death.

Individuals with behavioral health conditions who are taking psychotropic medications, or using certain substances such as illicit drugs and alcohol, may be at a higher risk for heatstroke and heat-related illnesses. These medications and substances can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate heat and an individual’s awareness that his or her body temperature is rising.

Visit the CDC’s Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide To Promote Your Personal Health and Safety for information on how to prevent, recognize, and treat heat-related illnesses.

Setting Goals for the New Year

As January comes to an end, so do a lot of New Year’s resolutions. The University of Southern California School of Social Work recently posted a blog about some stats and tips on self-care resolutions. Of those who make a resolution, about 60% have kept their resolution after 1 month and 40% have kept their resolution after 6 months. Depending on the resolution, several factors may determine if a goal is successful or not. Self-care goals such as increasing physical activity, eating healthy foods, or setting time for one’s self can be difficult when life becomes busy and stressful.

Goal setting can be done anytime in the year, but its important to prepare. When setting a new goal, there are a few helpful tips to remember:

> Be realistic about your goals. Is this goal achievable? It’s important to challenge yourself, but setting a goal that is too complex can lead to frustration and be impossible to carry out. Goals should be simple and clear.

> Start with short-term goals rather than long-term goals. Achieving short-term goals can provide much needed confidence before setting a long-term goal.

> Track your goals. Write down your goal and keep track of how that goal is progressing. Ask yourself: What is working and what needs to be done differently?

> Don’t feel discouraged if you are unable to carry out a goal. Issues come up and things happen that you may have no control of. Revisit that goal when things become better.


Below are some resources on goal setting:

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – Setting goals for recovery

Mayo Clinic – Stress blog

Self Care Infographic
Brought to you by MSW@USC: Masters in Social Work

Depression and Young Adults

In the coming weeks, college students will be returning home for the holidays. For many, this break provides a time to catch up and relax with old friends and spend some quality time with family; yet for some, deep sadness and emptiness prevents them.

A recent national study conducted by the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA) reported that 31 percent of college students reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function” at some time in the past year. In 2009, 8 percent of 18-25 year olds had a major depressive episode, but less than half received treatment according to a national survey.

Everyone feels sad or down from one time to another, but for individuals affected by depression, the symptoms are serious and long lasting. A person with depression may feel: sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, guilty, worthless, helpless, irritable, and/or restless. They may also experience one or more of the following:

• Loss of interest in activities
• Lack of energy
• Problems concentrating, remembering information, or making decisions
• Problems falling sleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much
• Loss of appetite or eating too much
• Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
• Aches, pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not go away

Depression is common and for most people, depression can be treated successfully. If you feel that you may have depression, try to be seen by a health professional as soon as possible. If you are a friend or relative encourage your loved one to seek help. It may be necessary to make an appointment and to go with them. If you have no insurance, having trouble finding a health professional, or need additional resources accessing treatment, please contact MHAM at 651-493-6634 or 800-862-1799 to talk with an advocate.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, get help quickly.
• Call your doctor.
• Call 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
• Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

For more information and resources on depression, visit the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) website or click on the selected NIMH publications below:

Depression in Women
Men and Depression
Depression and College Students: Answers to college students’ frequently asked questions about depression