Monday, December 1, 2008

Did You Know? Dec. 1st is World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day, a day when individuals and world organizations unite to educate and bring attention to the global AIDS crisis. For more information, please visit these websites:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November 22 is National Survivors of Suicide Day

On November 22nd, join with other survivors of suicide loss at a local site near you or register to watch the 90-minute program from your home computer from 1-2:30pm Eastern Time and take part in a free online chat immediately afterwards.

The program includes a blend of emotional support and information about resources for healing for survivors of suicide loss. Survivors and mental health professionals discuss their experiences and answer the questions that so many survivors face: Why did this happen? How do I cope?

To find a conference site nearest you, or to register to watch the webcast from home, visit When you register to watch from home, you are automatically registered for the online chat afterwards.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Public Interest Committee wins "OPA Committee of the Year" Award

At the 2008 OPA Annual Convention, the Public Interest Committee won the "OPA Committee of the Year" Award. The dedication and passion of the group, combined with the hard work of the members enabled the PIC to recieve this award. Congratulations to all the members!

From left to right in the picture: Mei Ng, Tasneem Khan, Todd Seibert, Kathleen Ashton, Lindsay Orchowski, Michele Evans, Mary Lewis, and past OPA president, Cathy McDaniels-Wilson.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Helping Military Families Cope

The American Red Cross today announced a new course, Coping With Deployments: Psychological First Aid for Military Families, is now available. The course, offered free of charge, is open to military family members of active duty, Reserve and National Guard forces, as well as veterans and their families.

For the entire article, click here.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Red Cross or learning more about disaster relief or assisting with crisis situations, please contact the DRN co-chairs Kurt Jensen, Psy.D. & Jim Broyles, Ph.D., or visit the Red Cross website.

Reach Out and Read

If you are attending the OPA Convention, please consider bringing "gently used" books for children. This is a community outreach project by the OPA staff. There will be a collection box at the registration table for the books.

The books are donated to Operation Reach Out and Read. Reach Out and Read is a national organization that makes literacy promotion a standard part of pediatric care so that children grow up with books and a love of reading. Reach Out and Read trains doctors and nurses to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud and to give books to children at pediatric check-ups from six months to five years of age. A special focus is placed on children growing up in poverty. By building on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers, Reach Out and Read helps families and communities cultivate early literacy skills so that children enter school prepared to succeed at reading.

For more information, please visit the "Reach out and Read" website.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Celebrate Healthy Aging!

The Administration on Aging (AoA) has published information about some national programs that are devoted to the promotion of positive and healthy aging. These are evidenced-based programs located in specific states. For more information, please visit the AoA website.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Walking for a Cause

We've all been told that walking helps both our physical and emotional health. You can make your walking count even more by walking (or biking) for a cause! Here are some public walks & events across Ohio that you can participate in, and raise money for a good cause of your choosing.

Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk -- Lima
Saturday, September 13th
Faurot Park, Lima

2008 North to South Ohio AIDS Charity Ride
Friday & Saturday, September 19-20

Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk -- Toledo
Saturday, September 27th
Olander Park, Sylvania

NAMI Walk-- Akron
Saturday, October 4th
Munroe Falls Metro Park

Walk From Obesity - Columbus
Sunday, October 5th, 10 a.m.
Groveport Recreational Center in Columbus.

Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk -- Bowling Green
Sunday, October 5th
Downtown Bowling Green

NAMI Walk - Butler County
Saturday, October 11th
The Fitton Center, 101 S Monument Ave.

Walk Now for Autism -Columbus
Sunday, October 12th
Schottenstein Center
(Nationwide Children's Hospital is sponsoring a large team including some OPA psychologists)

Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk -- Cleveland
Sunday, October 12th
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk -- Clermont County Walk
Sunday, October 19th
Union Township Veterans Memorial Park

Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk -- Columbus
Sunday, October 26th
Fred Beekman Park
(OPA/COPA Team Link:

Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk -- Cincinnati
Sunday, October 26th
University of Cincinnati

APA Articles for Weather-Related Disaster Relief

In light of the recent weather conditions, APA has developed two new articles that have been posted on the homepage of the APA Help Center and are available to download in PDF form and distribute to your community.

Below you will find links to informationon the Red Cross and the CDC's efforts in dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav.

Websites Red Cross Update on Hurricane Gustav
CDC Update on Hurricane Gustav
CDC's Coping with a Disaster after a Traumatic Event

Kurt Jensen
OPA Disaster Response Co-Coordinator

Stand Up 2 Cancer

Did you know that cancer is the cause of death for almost 25,000 Ohioans per year ( That cancer continues to be the #2 reason for death in the United States?

Research has indicated that depression and other mental health issues are also frequently found in individuals with cancer (Passik et al., 1997), and psychologists can be effective at helping individuals with cancer, as well as their families and caregivers.

On September 5th, a national campaign designed to raise money for cancer research was aired on all three major networks. Although the network campaign is over, you still have a chance to Stand Up 2 Cancer, by visiting the national website. This website provides opportunities to get involved, as well as information about the cause.

Heroes In The Fight

Here are the 2008 Heroes in the Fight Winners for Franklin County

Individual Allied Healthcare Professionals
Karen Berry - Mental Health America of Franklin County
Joanne Mieding - NAMI - Miami County

Individual Community Supporters
Tom & Margaret Quinn
Ryan Kidwell - Hancock County Sherrif's Dept.

Individual Media Professional
Ted Smith - WBNS 10TV

Individual Psychiatrist
Dr. John Campo - Nationwide Children's Hospital

Treatment Team
In Place Steering Committee - Cambridge, Ohio

For more information about Heroes in the Fight, please visit their website.

Friday, July 25, 2008

PIC Sponsored Programming at the APA Convention

Public Interest Sponsored Programming at the 2008 APA Convention

See highlights of the rich and varied APA convention programming sponsored by the Public Interest Directorate and governance groups at:

Topics include...........
  • Psychology's contributions to public health.
  • Incorporating socioeconomic status into research, practice, and policy.
  • "Speed mentoring" for women.
  • Working with older adults.
  • Children and electronic media.
  • Strategies for recruiting, retaining, and graduating students of color.
  • Eating disorders and advocacy.
  • PTSD and trauma in youth.
  • New directions in ethnic minority research.
  • Ethical practice issues and persons with disabilities.
  • Opposing discriminatory legislation aimed at lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Did You Know? June 21st is National ASK Day

ASK Day is a national day of focus on the lifesaving message of the ASK (Asking Saves Kids) campaign. ASK Day will take place on Saturday, June 21, 2008, the first day of summer, a time of year when children play more often in other homes.

Parents ask all sorts of questions to protect their children when they go play at the home of a friend, neighbor or relative. But there is one important question that more than half of parents say it never even occurred to them to ask: "Is there a gun where my child plays?"

Forty percent of homes with children have guns, and the ASK campaign offers free materials for professionals to encourage parents to ASK if there are guns where their children play. You can download the ASK Day Kit which contains details, ideas and materials to organize an ASK Day event. Please visit the Real Solutions to Gun Violence website for more details about this day.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: June 15

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was held on June 15th this year. It was a call to action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. Please visit for a free "Community Guide to Raise World Awareness on Adult Abuse Tool Kit" which was produced by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA). It has sample ideas and templates for activities, as well as examples of materials, resources, proclamations and messages. World Elder Abuse Awareness day was organized to support the UN's International Plan of Action, which recognizes the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human right's issue (Gerontology News, 2008).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Did You Know? National Schizophrenia Awareness Day is May 24th

The National Schizophrenia Foundation has delared May 24th as National Schizophrenia Awareness Day to help raise awareness of schizophrenia and overcome the stigma around the disorder. For more information about Schizophrenia, please visit this NAMI website.

The mission of the National Schizophrenia Foundation (NSF) to develop and maintain support groups for individuals, and their friends and family members, affected by schizophrenia and related disorders; and to be a broad resource for all persons regarding schizophrenia and related disorders through education, information, and public awareness services.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Did You Know? National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day is a day for SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration) and the initiatives and communities it supports to promote positive youth development, resilience, recovery, and the transformation of mental health services delivery for children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families. Awareness Day will be held on Thursday, May 8th, 2008.

Awareness Day raises awareness of effective programs for children's mental health needs, demonstrates how children's mental health initiatives promote positive youth development, recovery and resilience, and shows how children with mental health needs thrive in their communities. The theme for this year's national event is Thriving in the Community, with a special emphasis on high school youth who receive the services they need are more likely to have positive outcomes such as better grades and higher rates of education and less likely to have negative outcomes such as involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

For more information, please visit SAMHSA's website.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Did You Know? May is Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month!

Mental health affects every aspect of our lives, from school, to family and work. Even daily stress can contribute to physical ailments such as high cholesterol and heart disease, or lead to depression and anxiety. That's why it's important to raise awareness of good mental health practices.

May is Mental Health Month. This year's theme, "Mind Your Health," focuses on how to deal with life's stresses in a healthy way. The Ohio Psychological Association, Mental Health America of Franklin County, the Ohio Psychiatric Association, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Franklin County, the Ohio Counseling Association, and the Ohio School Counselor Association will host an informational display about Mental Health Month from April 30-May 4 at COSI Columbus, 333 W. Broad St., Columbus. Other organizations providing information include Children's Hospital, PLANCO, and the Ohio Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.

Please head to the Life Exhibit to pick up information about mental wellness, depression and raising mentally healthy kids. For kids, activities such as puzzles, coloring sheets and games will teach them about best mental health practices.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month. If you are concerned that your child may have autism, speak to a psychologist. Psychologists are uniquely trained to assess children’s behavioral and social development, and will be able to diagnose your child.

Listen to the following podcast for more information about the symptoms of autism.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Give An Hour: Service for Veterans

Give an Hour is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop a national network of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society. They are initially focusing on the U.S. troops and families affected by the current military conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Large numbers of veterans are returning home to find that they must cope with a wide range of psychological difficulties. There is an opportunity to prevent a national tragedy and we have the obligation and the resources to do so.

A national network has been created of mental health professionals who are literally giving an hour of their time each week to provide free mental health services to military personnel and their families. By providing critical psychological support to these families, it supports the sacrifices they are making and ameliorate the difficulties they face.

Thus far, nearly 1000 professionals from the mental health community have registered to participate in this critical effort. Professionals are being asked to provide the type of services they currently provide in their offices. While no additional training is required, we offer a variety of training opportunities to those individuals who might be interested. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to interact with each other, to share information about their experience and to seek feedback and additional resources.

Providers to participate in the network for one year in order to provide continuity of care for these deserving families. Those individuals who receive services from the Give an Hour network will be given the opportunity to give back to their own communities.

Please visit to sign up for our national network and to learn more about the organization.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Free Workshop on Disaster Preparedness

The Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authoritiesis sponsoring some free workshops on disaster preparedness throughout Ohio. They are holding these in 4 Ohio cities and have brochures for each presentation. While these programs do not lead to Red Cross or Disaster Response Network certification, they are likely to provide attendees with a good overview onhow behavioral health professionals might assist after a disaster.

Upcoming trainings of the Helping People Find Strength Following Disaster curriculum.
* Cincinnati - April 18, 2008
* Columbus - April 25, 2008
* Toledo - May 1, 2008
* Cleveland - May 2, 2008

For more information, please contact Liz Henrich, Administrator of Behavioral Health Initiatives, Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities. Ph: 614.224.1111

Information provided by Kurt Jensen, Psy.D.; Coordinator, OPA's Disaster Response Network

Did You Know? April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month

From the Wilmington News Journal:

"This month, child welfare advocates across Ohio are coming together to shed light on the impact of abuse and neglect and encourage all Ohioans to do their part to prevent it. Efforts range from public displays representing the number of abuse and neglect cases in a given county to a two-day conference at the end of the month for child welfare professionals.

According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), there were 73,156 reports of abuse and neglect in Ohio for 2006, up from 71,762 in 2005. Efforts to protect the children affected by these reports must go beyond those of government agencies to succeed. "

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

April is Autism Awareness Month

In 2007, the CDC estimated the prevalence of autism to be as high as 1 in 150 children; as many as 560,000 children may be affected. Given this recent increase in prevalence, psychologists need to be aware of the clinical issues in autism. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released materials to help pediatricians identify autism, and useful information for parents.

Psychologists play a critical role as one of the key professionals who are able to diagnose autism. Children with autism are often first identified by their language delay; children also demonstrate echolalia (repeating words and phrases). Autism is also characterized by deficits in socialization, such as difficulties in making direct eye contact, demonstrating joint attention (looking at an object that another person refers to), and sustaining reciprocal conversations. Finally, children with autism often demonstrate excesses in repetitive behavior or restricted interests; these include self-stimulatory behavior (e.g. rocking back and forth, flapping their hands), insistence on routines, lining up objects such as cars, unusual interests such as ceiling fans, vacuum cleaners, headlights, or excessive interests in typical things, such as only talking about trains or dinosaurs.

Best practices in treatment in autism is controversial, but most agree on early, intensive interventions, typically behavioral in nature, but also stemming from developmental approaches, that include reinforcement for learning new tasks, visual supports, efforts to improve language, socialization, adaptive behavior and decrease disruptive behaviors. For more information on autism, go to .

Information by: Nabil Hassan El-Ghoroury, Ph.D.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Did You Know? April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), with the assistance of several bureaus and offices within the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), has compiled several resources and publications related to sexual assault. Please visit these sites and download these resources to help raise awareness about sexual violence in your community or workplace. Working together, we can raise awareness, change attitudes, and help prevent sexual assault.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please call 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673) to be connected to the rape crisis center nearest to you, or visit for assistance and more information.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Did You Know? National Heath Care Decisions Day

To encourage Americans of all ages to prepare advance directives and share their decisions regarding end-of-life care with loved ones, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives recently passed a resolution recognizing April 16 as "National Health Care Decisions Day." The National Health Care Decisions Day initiative, headed by representatives of leading medical, nursing, legal and bioethics organizations, is spearheading the event -- enlisting other groups, health care providers, attorneys, chaplains and individuals in an effort to provide accurate, easy-to-follow information the public can use to complete written advance directives.

"The National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) Initiative is a collaborative effort of national, state and community organizations committed to ensuring that all adults with decision-making capacity in the United States have the information and opportunity to communicate and document their healthcare decisions."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

March is MS Awareness Month

MS (Multiple Sclerosis) is believed to be an autoimmune disease that affects the Central Nervous System (CNS). Although anyone can develop MS, it does affect women at rates twice that of men. Symptoms vary greatly from person to person, and can include (but are not limited to) fatigue, difficulty walking, numbness, tremor, stiffness, or speech problems. Some people with MS will develop depression -- at times due to the medications used to treat MS, and at other times due to the psychological impact of the disease process. For more information about MS, please visit the National MS Society or the Ohio Chapter of the MS Society. For a brochure about depression and MS, please click here (opens as a .pdf file).

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Did You Know? About Gambling Addiction

The National Council on Problem Gambling is the national advocate for programs and services to assist problem gamblers and their families.

Their research finds that 2%-3% of the US population will have a gambling problem in any given year. That is equal to 6 million to 9 million Americans. However, only a small fraction seek out services, such as treatment and self-help recovery programs.

Warning signs of a gambling problem include:
• Gambling for a longer time and/or more money than intended;
• Gambling in an effort to try to win back what you’ve lost;
• Lying to loved ones about the amount of time or money spent gambling

For more information and fact sheets, please visit the NCPG website at

Monday, February 25, 2008

Did You Know? About Sleep Problems

Fact: Up to 67 percent of women report that they experience sleep problems a few nights a week, and 46 percent of women report that they experience sleep problems every night! (National Sleep Foundation, 2007 Sleep in America Poll).

Details: There are easy behavioral steps that you can take to promote healthy sleep. In fact, behavioral treatment for insomnia is as effective in the short term and more effective long-term than sleep medications. Keys to effective sleep include:

-Getting up the same time every morning.
-Avoiding napping.
-Getting out of bed if you’re not asleep in 20 minutes and doing something else.
-Avoiding stimulants such as nicotine, caffeine and food four hours before bed.
-Avoiding alcohol.
-Exercising regularly, but preferably four hours before bed.
-Keeping a “to do” list or have a “worry time” early in the evening.
-Relaxing before bed
-Turning your clock around; using an alarm.
-Only sleeping in your bedroom (no TV, work or computer use in the bedroom)

Be active: March 3 through March 9 is National Sleep Awareness Week. Visit the National Sleep Foundation for more information at

Information by: Kathleen Ashton, PhD

Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Did you know...
* At least 10 million females and 1 million males in the U.S. are battling anorexia and bulimia, while another millions more suffer from binge eating disorder.

* Eating disorders are a silent epidemic with devastating and life-threatening consequences. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

* Eating disorders affect people from all walks of life, including young children, middle-aged women and men,and individuals of all races and ethnicity.

* Treatment does work! A team approach with focus on both the body and mind can help people overcome the symptoms and develop a positive body image and live a healthy life.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is February 24 through March 1, 2008. This week we encourage you to visit the OPA EDAW site ( for more information.

The OPA Public Interest Committee also ask you to consider donating a pair of jeans to a local charity in the spirit of The Great Jeans Giveaway. The theme of EDAW is "Be Comfortable in Your Genes. Wear Jeans that fit the REAL You!" Please visit and click on NEDAW for more information about the giveaway.

If you have questions or would like more information, please