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."