Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Did You Know? World Day of Social Justice is February 20

By Guest Blogger, Amanda M. Mitchell, Ph.D.

World Day of Social Justice was officially declared as February 20th by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2007.1 The UN describes social justice as central to their mission of promoting development and human dignity.1 Although social justice definitions vary widely, one relevant to the field of psychology is a “perspective emphasizing societal concerns, including issues of equity, self-determination, interdependence and social responsibility.”7

In the context of psychology, justice is a core principle in the American Psychological Association Code of Ethics.3 Over the past decade, we saw increased calls in the literature for the integration of social justice and advocacy into various psychology settings, including training.e.g., 2, 5, 6, 7 In addition, advocacy is a competency described in the American Psychological Association’s Benchmarks Evaluation System, a set of competencies professional psychology programs can use to ensure students are obtaining the necessary knowledge and skills for their career.4 As social justice and advocacy continues to evolve in the psychology field and society, it is meaningful to consider or reexamine the role it plays in your life.

As we observe World Day of Social Justice, some questions to reflect on:
  • How do you define social justice?
  • What is your reaction to the term social justice?
  • How do you integrate social justice into your personal and professional identities? 
    • What does it look like on a daily basis?
  • What other words come to mind when you think of social justice (e.g., oppression, privilege, equity, access to care, health disparities)? 
  • What personal experiences have informed your understanding of social justice?
  • What types of social justice and advocacy-related activities would you like to become involved in?

1UN, 2017. World Day of Social Justice: 20 February. http://www.un.org/en/events/socialjusticeday/
2Ali, S. R., Liu, W. M., Mahmood, A., & Arguello, J. (2008). Social justice and applied psychology: Practical ideas for training the next generation of psychologists. Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology, 1, 1-13.
3American Psychological Association (2017). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/
4American Psychological Association (2017). Benchmarks Evaluation System. http://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/benchmarks-evaluation-system.aspx
5Burnes, T. R., & Singh, A. A. (2010). Integrating social justice training into the practicum experience for psychology trainees: Starting earlier. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 4, 153-162.
6Constantine, M. G., Hage, S. M., Kindaichi, M. M., & Bryant, R. M. (2007). Social justice and multicultural issues: Implications for the practice and training of counselors and counseling psychologists. Journal of Counseling & Development, 85, 24-29.
7Vera, E. M., & Speight, S. L. (2003). Multicultural competence, social justice, and counseling psychology: Expanding our roles. The Counseling Psychologist, 31, 253-272.

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Dr. Mitchell is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Louisville and completed an APA-accredited internship at the University of Utah Counseling Center. Her research examines links among cognitive and systemic coping strategies with neuroendocrine and immune functioning in the context of chronic stress.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Treating Pediatric Bipolar Disorder

by Kelsey Ross, M.A., Guest Blogger

In the United States, at least 750,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with pediatric bipolar disorder (PBPD) (Killu & Crundwell, 2008). PBPD is a biological brain disorder that causes fluctuations in a youth’s mood, energy, and ability to function (Killu & Crundwell, 2008). PBPD is characterized by a slightly different presentation than the adult presentation of bipolar disorder, yet the adult criteria are used to diagnose children (American Psychological Association [APA], 2013; Grier, Wilkins, & Szadek, 2005). This is one reason why PBPD remains one of the most difficult disorders to diagnose and treat in youth, and under-detection, misdiagnosis, and inappropriate treatment are serious problems (Lofthouse & Fristad, 2004; McDonnell, 2010).

Evidence-Based Treatments

Lofthouse, Mackinaw-Koons, and Fristad (2004) found that pharmacological treatment is often the first step for children and adolescents with PBPD, and it is not uncommon for youth with PBPD to take several medications. Youth are often given a mood stabilizer, followed by a low dose anti-depressant to reduce depressive and anxiety symptoms and/or psychostimulants to reduce ADHD symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. These medications may be supplemented by anti-psychotic medications to reduce aggressive or psychotic symptoms and/or anti-hypertensive medications to improve the sleep-wake cycle.

To address the significant impairment in family life, social relationships, academics, and behavior, psychotherapy is often needed (Lofthouse et al., 2004). Psychoeducation, which teaches parents and youth about the disorder, its treatment, and the signs of relapse so that they can seek treatment early, can be an important component of psychotherapy (NIMH, 2012). The major psychotherapy options for PBPD include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which helps the youth change harmful thought patterns and behaviors; family-focused therapy (FFT), which teaches the family coping strategies, communication skills, and problem-solving skills; and interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, which aims to improve peer relationships and manage daily routines and sleep schedules (NIMH, 2012). Psychotherapy that combines these approaches can also be effective: one study found promising results for an FFT and CBT combined treatment for PBPD (Pavuluri et al., 2004).

School-Based Interventions

There are currently no research-supported school-based interventions for PBPD (Lofthouse et al., 2004). The pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy discussed do not primarily involve school professionals and would not be appropriate if administered solely in school settings. However, school professionals still play an instrumental role in treating youth with PBPD.

In terms of pharmacotherapy, school psychologists and school nurses can create a behavioral intervention plan that schedules a youth’s medication to be taken during the school day (Grier et al., 2005). This plan increases medication compliance, which can be an issue for youth with PBPD (Grier et al., 2005). School psychologists should also be aware of common side effects of PBPD medications (Grier et al., 2005). Then, school psychologists can include accommodations and modifications that address these side effects in a youth’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan (Grier et al., 2005). For example, one common side effect is frequent urination (Casey, 2006). A school psychologist could suggest an accommodation that allows the child to have unlimited access to the bathroom.

Regarding psychotherapy, school psychologists can supplement the community-based therapy with additional skills training sessions. For example, perhaps a child with PBPD receives Child and Family Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment (CFF-CBT) in the community. Phase three of CFF-CBT teaches the child social and problem-solving skills (Casey, 2006). The school psychologist can collaborate with the community mental health professional to provide a school-based social skills intervention that reinforces the CFF-CBT social skills training (Grier et al., 2005).

Though pediatric bipolar disorder affects 2.2% of U.S. adolescents ages 13 to 18, it is not yet entirely understood (Merikangas et al., 2012). Researchers debate almost everything about the disorder, including the label, age range, prevalence, and risk factors. However, what is not debated is that PBPD can negatively impact students’ academic, social, and psychological functioning. Fortunately, evidence-based treatments exist; however, additional school-based interventions are needed to provide comprehensive support for youth with PBPD.

  1. American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
  2. Casey, K. (2006). Effective interventions for students with bipolar disorder. In C. Franklin, M. B. Harris, & P. Allen-Meares (Eds.), The school services sourcebook: A guide for school-based professionals (119-127). New York: Oxford University Press.
  3. Grier, E. C., Wilkins, M. L., Szadek, L. (2005). Bipolar disorder in children: Treatment and intervention, part II. NASP Communique, 34(3), 1-7.
  4. Killu, K., & Crundwell, R. A. (2008). Understanding and developing academic and behavioral interventions for students with bipolar disorder. Intervention In School & Clinic, 43(4), 244-251.
  5. Lofthouse, N., & Fristad, M. A. (2004). Psychosocial interventions for children with early-onset bipolar spectrum disorder. Clinical Child And Family Psychology Review, 7(2), 71-88. doi:1096-4037/04/0600-0071/0
  6. Lofthouse, N., Mackinaw-Koons, B., & Fristad, M. A. (2004). Bipolar spectrum disorders: Early onset. Retrieved from http://www.nasponline.org/communications/spawareness/bipolar_ho.pdf
  7. McDonnell, M. A. (2010). Race, gender and age effects on the assessment of bipolar disorder in youth (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Nursing dissertations. (d20000351)
  8. Merikangas, K., Cui, L., Kattan, G., Carlson, G., Youngstrom, E., & Angst, J. (2012). Mania with and without depression in a community sample of US adolescents. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69(9), 943-951. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2012.38
  9. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2012). Bipolar disorder in children and adolescents. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder-in-children-and-adolescents/Bipolar_Children_Adolescents_CL508_144277.pdf
  10. Pavuluri, M. N., Graczyk, P. A., Henry, D. B., Carbray, J. A., Heidenreich, J., & Miklowitz, D. J. (2004). Child- and family-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy for pediatric bipolar disorder: Development and preliminary results. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 43(5), 528-537. doi:10.1097/01.chi.0000116743.71662.f8

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Kelsey Ross, M.A., is a third year doctoral student in school psychology at The Ohio State University (OSU). She received a B.A. with Honors Research Distinction in psychology and English from OSU. She currently serves as the Social Justice Chair for OSU's Student Affiliates in School Psychology (SASP). Kelsey's research interests include reading instruction and interventions.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Did You Know? Maternal Depression And Coping

Did You Know? Maternal Depression And Coping

By Guest Blogger, Amanda M. Mitchell, Ph.D.

Pregnancy and the postpartum period can be filled with many emotions, reactions, and changes. Some people may be surprised to hear that 6.5% to 12.9% of women experience major or minor depression during pregnancy or the first year of postpartum (1). Depression can look like a collection of many different symptoms, including sadness, difficulty concentrating, guilt, and loss of interest in activities.

Depressive symptoms may be difficult to share or describe to other people, especially during pregnancy or postpartum. However, it is important that women with depression and their families are able to get the support and help they need. Studies from our lab have shown that depressive symptoms can negatively affect women’s health, including pregnancy outcomes such as birth weight (2,3). Other studies have found that depressive symptoms can negatively affect the transition into parenthood (4).

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression during pregnancy or postpartum, encourage them to reach out for professional support.

Other coping strategies to help with daily stress include:

  • Doing something you enjoy, such as hanging out with family and/or friends
  • Finding a relaxing activity (e.g., music, mindfulness)
  • Connecting with other women who are pregnant or recently had a baby
  • Seeking professional support to help with transitions during pregnancy and postpartum
  1. Gavin, N. I., Gaynes, B. N., Lohr, K. N., Meltzer-Brody, S., Gartlehner, G., & Swinson, T. (2005). Perinatal depression: a systematic review of prevalence and incidence. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 106, 1071-1083.
  2. Christian, L. M. (2014). Effects of stress and depression on inflammatory immune parameters in pregnancy. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 211, 275-277.
  3. Mitchell, A. M., & Christian, L. M. (under review). Pathways linking financial strain to birth weight: The roles of race, depressive symptoms, and pregnancy-specific distress.
  4. Paulson, J. F., Dauber, S., & Leiferman, J. A. (2006). Individual and combined effects of postpartum depression in mothers and fathers on parenting behavior. Pediatrics, 118, 659-668.

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Dr. Mitchell is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Stress and Health in Pregnancy lab (https://stressandpregnancy.osumc.edu) housed in the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Louisville and completed an APA-accredited internship at the University of Utah Counseling Center. Her research examines links among cognitive and systemic coping strategies with neuroendocrine and immune functioning in the context of chronic stress.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Eliminating Mental Health Disparities

Eliminating Mental Health Disparities

by Guest Blogger, Alicia Brown, M.A.

Did you know that July is National Minority Mental Health Month? For minority individuals with mental health problems, their symptoms may go undiagnosed, under-diagnosed, or misdiagnosed due to cultural, linguistic, and/or historical factors.

When mental health problems are not diagnosed properly, appropriate treatment options may not be provided. This can result in prolonging the suffering of individuals who otherwise could have experienced a reduction in symptoms through treatment.

According to research by Smith and Trimble (2015), minority populations are significantly less likely than white European-Americans to use mental health services:

· African Americans: 21% less likely

· Hispanics/Latinos: 25% less likely

· Asian-Americans: 51% less likely

Every year, the National Network to Eliminate Disparities (NNED) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) partner to provide a series of webinars to celebrate the month. For more information, go to http://nned.net/nmmham. You can also check out the National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/minoritymentalhealth.

Want to learn more about behavioral health equity for specific minority populations? Check out this resource from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): http://www.samhsa.gov/behavioral-health-equity

Want to get even more involved? Check out these recommendations from the American Psychological Association (APA): http://www.apa.org/about/gr/issues/health-care/disparities.aspx

Reference: Smith, T. B., & Trimble, J. E. (2015). Foundations of Multicultural Psychology: Research to Inform Effective Practice. American Psychological Association (APA).


Alicia Brown is a psychology intern at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center where she is completing her APA accredited internship. She is getting her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Regent University.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Disaster Resources

Disaster Resources

Mass Shootings / Mass Violence

Fact Sheets and Resources

7 ways to talk to children and youth about the shootings in Orlando

Responding to the Tragedy in Orlando: Helpful Responses for LGBTQ People and Allies

Managing your distress in the aftermath of a shooting

Helping your child manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting

How to talk with children about difficult news and tragedies

How much news coverage is okay for children?

Building resilience to manage indirect exposure to terror

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

In response to the Orlando nightclub hate crime and act of terrorism, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network has developed resources to help families and communities respond:
Talking to Children about the Shooting
Psychological Impact of the Recent Shooting
Tip Sheet for Youth Talking to Journalists about the Shooting
Tips for Parents on Media Coverage
Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth after the Recent Shooting
After a Crisis: Helping Young Children Heal
Parents Tips for Helping Preschool-Aged Children after Disasters
Parents Tips for Helping School-Aged Children after Disasters
Guiding Adults in Talking to Children about Death and Attending Services
Restoring a Sense of Safety in the Aftermath of a Shooting: Tips for Parents and Professionals
Helping Youth after Community Trauma: Tips for Educators
Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers
Helping Young Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers
Helping School-Age Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers
Sibling Death and Childhood Traumatic Grief: Information for Families
LGBTQ Issues and Child Trauma
LGBTQ Youth: Voices of Trauma, Lives of Promise (Video)
Safe Spaces. Safe Places for Traumatized LGBTQ Youth (Video)
LGBTQ Youth and Trauma: Information for Mental Health Professionals


Incidents of mass violence

Mainstream media – articles and videos

Orlando Nightclub Shooting

Here’s Why You Feel Actual Pain Over The Orlando Shooting
Research shows that following devastating news can take a major toll on mental health. But, in a way, you can’t help but follow along. Studies suggest the mind has a natural negativity bias, which compels you to pay closer attention to tragedies than uplifting news. (Huffington Post, June 13, 2016: Lindsay Holmes)

VA Deploys Mental Health Staff in Orlando After Mass Shooting
In a statement released Monday afternoon, the VA said its services would be available to veterans and department employees, as well as the general public "in the wake of the tragic mass shooting." (Military.com, June 13, 2016: Bryant Jordan)

UnitedHealthcare offers free mental health counseling to anyone, insured or not
UnitedHealth Group has opened their mental-health counseling help lines to anyone (literally anyone, you do not have to be insured by UnitedHealthcare) affected by Sunday morning’s events. (OrlandoWeekly.com, June 13, 2016: Holly Kapherr)

The Orlando Shooting Could Have Long-Term Effects on LGBTQ Mental Health
The Orlando shooting may take an invisible toll on the mental health of LGBTQ people worldwide. What happened at Pulse was a clear act of hate-based violence, occurring in a historically safe space. (Yahoo! News / .Mic, June 13, 2016, Jordyn Taylor)

Orlando authorities could take mental health cues from Aurora tragedy
City officials have reached out to their counterparts in Florida to offer support. Some witnesses to the 2012 theater tragedy also have sought help processing the mass shooting that took place nearly 2,000 miles away, a reminder of how such incidents span both time and distance.

Could you be next? Coping with fear after the Orlando shootings
Will the shootings take an emotional toll on many who've been watching the tragedy and its fallout from afar? (CBS News, June 13, 2016: Mary Brophy Marcus)

Coping with Grief and Anxiety in the Wake of the Orlando Shooting
This article talks about the ways people were affected by the tragedy and offers suggestions on how to support those directly affected and how to look out for one’s own mental health. (Talkspace, June 14, 2016: Joseph Rauch)

Zika Virus

Fact Sheets and Resources

World Health Organization

Psychosocial support for pregnant women and for families with microcephaly and other neurological complications in the context of Zika virus: Interim guidance for health-care providers

This document from the World Health Organization describes guidance for a supportive response by healthcare providers (e.g. physicians, nurses), focusing primarily on women affected by Zika virus infection during pregnancy and their families, for their mental health and psychosocial needs. This is available as a free download at: http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/zika/psychosocial-support/en/

Assistant Secretary for Preparedness Response, Department of Health and Human Services

Promoting Stress Management for Pregnant Women during the Zika Virus Disease Outbreak: A guide for healthcare providers. http://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/planning/abc/Pages/zika-stress.aspx

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Fact Sheets and Posters in Different Languages
Fact sheets and posters are available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Creole, and Korean. “Ideas for Talking to Your Children About Zika” is one of resources available. http://www.cdc.gov/zika/fs-posters/index.html

Mainstream media

Zika-associated mental health burdens: is little knowledge a dangerous thing?
Today Infectious Diseases of Poverty has published an opinion piece on the recent Zika outbreak. Here, the co-author of the article explains more about how little knowledge of the virus could be dangerous to those living in areas at risk. (Biomedcentral.com, April 20, 2016: Andrew Taylor-Robinson)

Fort McMurray Wildfire

Mainstream media

Fort McMurray youth feel guilty for taking town for granted before fires
Experts say parents should watch children for signs of trauma for several months. (CBC News, June 1, 2016: Marion Warnica)

Returning Fort McMurray residents face long road to recovery
Taking stock and establishing routines can help create feelings of normalcy, experts suggest. (CBC News, June 1, 2016: Amy Husser)

Texas Floods

Mainstream media

Red Cross mental health volunteers go to aid of Texas flooding victims
Red Cross Volunteer Talks About Texas Floods
Maui Red Cross Workers Deploy to Texas Flood Areas
Red Cross volunteers from Dayton head to flooded Texas
Additional Volunteers Assisting Texas Flood Victims


Books available for free download

Healthy, Resilient, and Sustainable Communities After Disasters: Strategies, Opportunities, and Planning for Recovery
In the devastation that follows a major disaster, there is a need for multiple sectors to unite and devote new resources to support the rebuilding of infrastructure, the provision of health and social services, the restoration of care delivery systems, and other critical recovery needs. In some cases, billions of dollars from public, private and charitable sources are invested to help communities recover. National rhetoric often characterizes these efforts as a "return to normal." But for many American communities, pre-disaster conditions are far from optimal. Large segments of the U.S. population suffer from preventable health problems, experience inequitable access to services, and rely on overburdened health systems. A return to pre-event conditions in such cases may be short-sighted given the high costs - both economic and social - of poor health. Instead, it is important to understand that the disaster recovery process offers a series of unique and valuable opportunities to improve on the status quo. Capitalizing on these opportunities can advance the long-term health, resilience, and sustainability of communities - thereby better preparing them for future challenges.

Free PDF: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/18996/healthy-resilient-and-sustainable-communities-after-disasters-strategies-opportunities-and

Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters: The Perspective from the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi: Summary of a Workshop
Natural disasters are having an increasing effect on the lives of people in the United States and throughout the world. Every decade, property damage caused by natural disasters and hazards doubles or triples in the United States. More than half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a coast, and all Americans are at risk from such hazards as fires, earthquakes, floods, and wind. The year 2010 saw 950 natural catastrophes around the world--the second highest annual total ever--with overall losses estimated at $130 billion. The increasing impact of natural disasters and hazards points to increasing importance of resilience, the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, or more successfully adapt to actual or potential adverse events, at the individual , local, state, national, and global levels.

Free PDF: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/13178/increasing-national-resilience-to-hazards-and-disasters-the-perspective-from

Building Community Disaster Resilience Through Private-Public Collaboration

Natural disasters--including hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and floods--caused more than 220,000 deaths worldwide in the first half of 2010 and wreaked havoc on homes, buildings, and the environment. To withstand and recover from natural and human-caused disasters, it is essential that citizens and communities work together to anticipate threats, limit their effects, and rapidly restore functionality after a crisis. Free PDF: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/13028/building-community-disaster-resilience-through-private-public-collaboration

Thank you to the APA Disaster Response Network for these resources

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Did You Know? Sleep Awareness Week

March 6th through the 12th is sleep awareness week?

The following tips can be implemented in your routine and may improve sleep quality.
  • Incorporate exercise into your life. Regular exercise can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. However, you want to avoid exercising within three hours of when you plan to fall asleep.
  • Maintain a consistent schedule. Try to wake up and go to bed around the same time each day (even on the weekends).
  • Avoid caffeine and foods/drinks with a lot of sugar close to bedtime as these substances can make falling asleep more difficult.
  • Avoid watching television in bed and do not read for an extended period of time in bed. You want to associate your bed with sleeping and not other activities.
  • Develop a bedtime routine such as taking a warm bath, engaging in relaxation or meditation activities, or listening to calming music. These activities can help your body get ready for sleep.
  • Make your bedroom a dark, quiet, cool place and make your bed as comfortable as possible. Consider putting up blinds or curtains if a lot of light gets in your room at night. 
  • Avoid exposure to bright light during the time right before you go to bed as light signals to your brain that it is time to be awake and not sleeping. You may also find fans or other sound machines to be helpful in reducing noise that is inconsistent with sleeping.
  • Avoid napping throughout the day and avoid large meals before bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol prior to bedtime as it can reduce the quality of your sleep.
There are several websites that provide additional information on sleep hygiene and improving the quality of your sleep. Some helpful websites are listed below. Also, remember you can consult with your doctor if you have concerns about your sleep.



Friday, February 19, 2016

Did You Know? Broken Heart Syndrome

Broken Heart Syndrome
by Guest Blogger LaKisha L. Sharp, M.S., M.A.

Did you know February is American Heart Month?

Medical research has confirmed a strong relationship between one’s emotional and physical functioning. Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, commonly known as “Broken Heart Syndrome” is a stress-induced cardiac disorder which mimics a heart attack. Physiologically, the condition manifests when normal heart arteries are attached to an abnormally enlarged blood-pumping chamber (Maldonado, Pajouhi, & Witteles, 2013). The name of the syndrome tako-tsubo is derived from Japanese language because the cardiovascular abnormality is said to resemble the shape of a fishing pot used to catch octopus in Japan (Maldonado et al., 2013).

The exact cause of Broken Heart Syndrome is unknown however major life stressors such as death, divorce, and sudden changes in one’s financial status (e.g. loss of fortune, winning the lottery) are positively correlated with the development of said medical condition. Similarly, over 65% of persons diagnosed with Broken Heart Syndrome also have a pre-existing diagnosis of anxiety or depression (Maldonado et al., 2013). A family history of mood disorders (e.g. depression and/or anxiety) and social isolation are hypothesized to be predisposing risk factors (Maldonado et al., 2013). Interestingly, postmenopausal women, aged 68 years or older are disproportionately diagnosed with Broken Heart Syndrome compared to men (Derrick, 2009).

The primary signs and symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome include:
  • Chest pain (Angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat (Arrhythmia)
  • Cardiogenic shock (Diminished blood-pumping/circulation)
The American Heart Association and Cardiomyopathy UK are both helpful, quick reference websites which contain additional information about Broken Heart Syndrome, the management of stress, and treatment options.





Derrick, D. (2009). The “broken heart syndrome”: understanding Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Critical Care Nurse, 29(1), 49-57.

Maldonado, J. R., Pajouhi, P., & Witteles, R. (2013). Case Reports Broken Heart Syndrome (Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy) Triggered by Acute Mania: A Review and Case Report. Psychosomatics, 54(1), 74-79.

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LaKisha L. Sharp is a fourth year doctoral student in clinical and forensic psychology at Fielding Graduate University. She previously completed Masters Degrees in criminal justice at Tiffin University and clinical psychology at Fielding Graduate University, respectively. For over 12 years, LaKisha has been employed as a forensic probation officer supervising a caseload of adult, severely mentally ill, felony offenders sentenced to a term of community control supervision as part of Cuyahoga County’s Common Pleas Court Mental Health Docket. LaKisha was recently appointed as faculty to the Ohio Supreme Court’s Judicial College to teach cognitive behavioral therapy to all newly hired probation and parole officers in the state.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Did You Know? Managing Holiday Stress

by Guest Blogger, Nicole Bosse, Psy.D.

The holidays are often the most stressful months of the year. This may surprise some, as many think that holidays bring joy and celebration. Often holidays can trigger many stressful situations, such as trying to figure out how to afford to buy gifts, remembering loved ones who are no longer here to celebrate with us, mingling with family members when relationships are strained, taking on too many duties, and preparing a home for guests.

There are several different types of stress that range from Eustress, which is a positive form of stress, to chronic stress, which has been linked to many serious health issues. While we want to manage or eliminate the negative types of stress, we also want to keep positive forms of stress in our lives to help us remain vital and alive.

To eliminate negative stress identify techniques that relax and energize you, have immediate impact on your stress, are enjoyable and make you feel good, consistently work for you, and are always or easily accessible. One of the best ways to reduce stress quickly is through the senses: sight (look at a cherished photo), sound (listen to nature), smell (light a scented candle), taste (sipping hot tea), touch (petting cat/dog), and movement (running in place).

In addition, here are five quick ways to cope with feeling overwhelmed during the holiday season:
  • taking a brief walk to clear your mind
  • practicing deep breathing
  • partaking in guided imagery
  • reframing the situation
  • delegating tasks
  • engaging in progressive muscle relaxation.

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Dr. Bosse is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow on the OCD and Anxiety team at the Lindner Center of HOPE. She primarily provides treatment on the two residential units, Sibcy House and William’s House. Dr. Bosse obtained her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Xavier University in 2014 and her Master’s in Clinical Psychology at the University of Dayton in 2009.Prior to joining the Lindner Center of HOPE, she completed her APA accredited internship at the Wright State School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Bosse has also served as adjunct faculty at Xavier University for several Introduction to Psychology courses.