Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Making the Most out of the Holiday Season

From APA's Help Center:

APA offers the following tips:

1. Take time for yourself – There may be pressure to be everything to everyone. Remember that you’re only one person and can only accomplish certain things. Sometimes self-care is the best thing you can do—others will benefit when you’re stress- free. Go for a long walk, get a massage or take time out to listen to your favorite music or read a new book. All of us need some time to recharge our batteries—by slowing down you will actually have more energy to accomplish your goals.
2. Volunteer – Many charitable organizations are also suffering due to the economic downturn. Find a local charity, such as a soup kitchen or a shelter where you and your family can volunteer. Also, participating in a giving tree or an adopt-a-family program, and helping those who are living in true poverty may help you put your own economic struggles in perspective.
3. Have realistic expectations – No Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, or other holiday celebration is perfect; view inevitable missteps as opportunities to demonstrate flexibility and resilience. A lopsided tree or a burned brisket won’t ruin your holiday; rather, it will create a family memory. If your children’s wish list is outside your budget, talk to them about the family’s finances this year and remind them that the holidays aren’t about expensive gifts.
4. Remember what’s important – The barrage of holiday advertising can make you forget what the holiday season is really about. When your holiday expense list is running longer than your monthly budget, scale back and remind yourself that what makes a great celebration is family, not store-bought presents, elaborate decorations or gourmet food.
5. Seek support – Talk about your anxiety with your friends and family. Getting things out in the open can help you navigate your feelings and work toward a solution for your stress. If you continue to feel overwhelmed, consider seeing a professional such as a psychologist to help you manage your holiday stress.

Friday, October 7, 2011

October 10th: World Mental Health Day

I blog for World Mental Health Day

How This Works

On October 10, PsychCentral will post all the blog posts related to increasing awareness or people’s understanding of treatment for mental health issues and concerns.

The blog post can be about anything related to mental or emotional health, or its treatment. You can tell your story about how you first learned about your condition, and what kinds of challenges you faced to get treatment for it.

Use the hashtag #mhblogday on your tweets and Tweet @psychcentral to let us know about your blog entry, or email: blogparty at psychcentral.com. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Honoring Older Workers

In celebration of National Employ Older Workers Week, Experience Works, the nation’s largest organization serving older workers through the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), announced today that Hedda Bolgar Bekker 102, and Mazerine Wingate 101, are America’s Outstanding Oldest Workers for 2011.
Hedda Bolgar Bekker was born on August 19, 1909.  She received her PhD in psychology at the University of Vienna.  She fled to the United States in 1938 on the day Hitler marched into Austria.
In the 1970s Bolgar co-founded the Wright Institute of Los Angeles, a nonprofit mental health training and service center and co-founded the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psycholanalytic Studies. The Hedda Bolgar Psychotherapy Clinic offers affordable service to limited income people.
Bolgar is dedicated to improving women’s roles especially poor women and those living in underdeveloped countries. She says, “Women must be agents of their own lives.”
With no plans to retire, Bolgar sees patients from 16 to 20 hours a week and gives lectures, appears in videos and writes.
A great-grandson of slaves and son of a sharecropper, Mazerine Wingate was born on September 20, 1910 in Lamar, S.C.  He quit school after completing the sixth grade to work on a farm.  Later he helped build roads during the Great Depression.
When Wingate began his career 40 years ago at the U.S. Post Office in Lexington Park, Maryland, most Americans were ready to retire.  He still drives to work, where he spends four hours a day, six days a week.
Mr. Wingate has lived to see the effects of segregation and the election of Barack Obama.   His secret to a long life is not smoking or drinking alcohol, attending church every Sunday and eating good food.  His secret to success in his career is ‘be nice to people – everyday’.
In these difficult economic times, the number of older workers who are going back to work is increasing.  The Experience Works SCSEP operates in 30 states and Puerto Rico, providing community service, training, and employment opportunities for low-income adults 55 and older.  The program helps older workers maintain self-sufficiency, and age with dignity. Source: Retirement Living.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Inequity to Equity: Promoting Health and Wellness of Women with Disabilities

Inequity to Equity: Promoting Health and Wellness of Women with Disabilities

We hope that you are aware of the upcoming conference, "Inequity to Equity: Promoting Health and Wellness of Women with Disabilities", sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Howard University Women's Health Institute, and Gallaudet University, and taking place in Washington, DC on October 17-18, 2011.  We invite psychologists, other health care providers, researchers, educators, policymakers, women and girls with  disabilities, and advocates to join us as we work to develop an integrated health care agenda that will improve health outcomes for women with disabilities.  For more detailed information, see the email included below, or visit the conference website at: http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/disabilities-conference/index.aspx

Register online at: https://cyberstore1.apa.org/cyb/cli/casinterface1/women/ to attend, so that you can be involved in the development of research, practice and policy recommendations on behalf of women with disabilities

Thank you for your interest and your assistance in this worthy effort.  Questions regarding registration or donations should be emailed to Shari Miles-Cohen (smiles@apa.org) or Kari Hill (khill@apa.org).  Donations should be mailed to: Ms. Kari Hill, American Psychological Association, Public Interest Directorate, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

9/11 Anniversary: APA teams with Nickelodeon to talk to kids

With the impending 9/11 anniversary, APA wanted to provide free resources and activity ideas for APA members and SPTAs to use within their communities if they so choose to engage in local public education activities.

As part of 9/11 Anniversary recognition activities, the APA partnered with Nickelodeon Channel to develop children’s curriculum materials to accompany the Nick News TV special, What Happened? The Story of September 11, 2001, scheduled to air on September 1st at 9 p.m. ET on the Nickelodeon channel.

The APA/Nick News curriculum materials will give parents, caregivers, and educators tips to understand and support children as they learn about the events surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which happened a decade ago. It will provide information about common reactions, including worries and anxieties, and ideas for helping children cope and build resilience when confronted with this difficult historical event. Psychologists can use these materials in local activities.

The following materials are available
· APA/Nick News curriculum materials
· Tip sheet on hosting community discussions
· List of additional online resources available on APA’s website
The TV special will be available online at the Nick News website following the initial air date, http://news.nick.com/.

The curriculum materials are only available electronically. They will be available on both the APA and Nick News websites prior to September 1st. We will notify you once they are posted and provide the direct URLs.

If you have any questions on how to use the materials, please contact Kathleen Ashton at ashtonk@ccf.org

Friday, August 26, 2011

Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walks

The COPA/OPA Team at a past walk
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is holding their annual suicide prevention walks across the nation! 50% of all the proceeds raised in each walk stay locally for suicide prevention programs, and the other 50% go to support suicide prevention research. Please consider starting a team or getting involved! Here is a list of the Ohio walks.

08/20/20113rd Annual Suicide Prevention Poker Run, Quaker Steak & Lube - Milford, Ohio
09/17/2011Toledo OOTD Community Walk, Centennial Quarry & Terrace - Sylvania, Ohio
10/08/2011Youngstown Walk, Mill Creek Park Wick Recreation Area - Youngstown, Ohio
10/16/2011Cincinnati Walk, University of Cincinnati’s McMicken Com, - Cincinnati, Ohio
10/22/2011Cleveland Walk, Wendy Park - Cleveland, Ohio
10/23/2011Columbus Walk, Fred Beekman Park , 2200 Carmack Rd - Columbus, Ohio
10/29/2011Fremont, OH Community Walk, Birchard Park - Fremont, Ohio

If you are in Central Ohio, please consider joining the COPA/OPA team or providing financial support for a good cause!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Back to School Blues?

August marks the start of the school season and can be stressful for both kids and parents. Changes in routine, new sleep schedules, and coping with new people can be a challenge for kids and parents alike. Consider some of the following tips from the American Psychological Association:
1. Practice the first day of school routine: Getting into a sleep routine before the first week of school and organize lunches and bookbags the night before. Visit the school in advance to ease anxiety of the unknown.
2. Get to know your neighbors: If your child is starting a new school, walk around your block and get to know the neighborhood children
3. Talk to your child: Asking your children about their fears or worries about going back to school and also what they liked about their previous school or grade.
4. Empathize with your children: Nerves are normal, but highlight that not everything that is different is necessarily bad. Encourage your children to face their fears instead of falling in to the trap of encouraging avoidance.
Get involved and ask for help: Knowledge of the school and the community will better equip you to understand your child’s surroundings and the transition he or she is undergoing and seek expert advice from a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, if you are having trouble coping.

Links: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/school-rush.aspx

Sunday, August 7, 2011

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. This observance provides the opportunity to remind the community of the importance of immunization. Make sure that your family and friends are up-to-date on their immunizations.

In August, parents are enrolling children in school, older students are entering college and adults and the health care community are preparing for the upcoming flu season. This makes August a particularly good time to focus community attention on the value of immunization. 

Vaccines are responsible for the control of many infectious diseases that were once common in this country. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that once routinely killed or harmed tens of thousands of infants, children and adults.The viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable diseases and death still exist and can infect people who are not protected by vaccines.

Source: National Partnership for Immunization (www.partnersforimmunization.org)

A 2006 Study by Chapman & Coups found that worry and regret were stronger predictors for receiving vaccinations than perceived risk in preventative health decisions. Psychologists can help work through emotions that may be preventing you from making the best health decisions!

For more information about immunizations, please visit the CDC's Immunization Information Page

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Debt Crisis—How to control your own stress when the government stresses out!

Kathleen Ashton, Ph.D.
The Debt Crisis—How to control your own stress when the government stresses out!

Five Tips for Debt Crisis Stress Relief.

  1. Focus on what is in your control. Write, e-mail, or tweet your senator, congressperson, or the President. Let them know what your priorities are for spending and your opinion on tax breaks.
  2. Avoid information overload. Constant watching of 24 hour news channels, listening to pundits argue, reviewing internet articles can be overwhelming. Gather information in a small chunk from a reputable source. 
  3. Don’t look too far ahead. Some people tend to think about all the worst case scenarios. Take one step at a time and don’t predict the future—unless you have psychic abilities!
  4. Maintain your usual coping strategies. Get outside, exercise, eat right, and socialize with your friends. 
  5. Make one small step to balance your own budget. Taking action helps people to feel positive. Make a meal instead of going out tonight, skip the designer coffee, have a small amount taken out of your paycheck each week and automatically deposited into a savings account. You’ll be doing your own small part to be financially responsible.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New technology brings new obsessions

tip of the day: Use technology wisely not obsessively: Smartphone dependency: a growing obsession

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Delay those cravings when stressed!

Feel cravings for food when stressed? Delay just 10 min and watch craving fade! Make sure to keep busy with another activity that helps with your stress like breathing and exercise.

Monday, July 11, 2011

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Did You Know? July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental illness affects one in four American families and people in diverse communities are no exception. The U.S. Surgeon General reports that minorities:

  • Are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness
  • Have less access to and availability of mental health services
  • Often receive a poorer quality of mental health care
  • Are underrepresented in mental health research

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Call for Volunteer Psychologists

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has contacted the AAAS "On-call" Scientists project in search of mental health professionals who are available to document evidence of torture and other abuse for asylum seekers in the US. Volunteers may be asked to review one case, or multiple cases in one year, depending on the demand at any given time and location. Each case is estimated to take about 6 hours of the volunteer's time, including the evaluation of the individual and preparation of documentation in support of their asylum application. You are always free to decline a case. Further information about the PHR Asylum Network, including resources available to volunteers, is available below.

All volunteers must be board certified and/or hold a current state license. PHR will request copies of relevant documentation once you are in direct contact.

Anyone interested in volunteering for this work is invited to sign up to become a volunteer here:
http://oncallscientists.aaas.org/default.aspx. If they have any questions, they can contact me directly at oncall@aaas.org.

Thank you for your help and please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.

Jessica Wyndham
Associate Director, Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program American Association for the Advancement of Science
1200 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005 USA
Ph  +1 202 326 6604
Fax +1 202 289 4950

Friday, June 24, 2011

15 Fascinating Studies on College Students

15 Fascinating studies on students:
Learn about ways college students have contributed to psychology as well as current psychological issues among college student populations in the attached article!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Guest Blogger: Managing Chronic Pain

by Guest Blogger, David Schwartz, Ph.D. 

One of the few advantages of getting older is the ability to say “”I remember when…”

In 1982 when I did my first clinical placement in pain management, the “state of the art” was that focusing on the patient’s self-report of pain was worthless. Research showed that 0-10 pain scales varied widely between individuals, had little relationship to pathophysiology, and were highly dependent on psychosocial factors.  The emphasis in the field was on the measurement and change of pain behavior  i.e. measures of function such as uptime, days off work, walking tolerance, etc. A parallel theme was that the use of opiates and aggressive medical interventions such as nerve destruction surgery and nerve blocks for chronic pain management were ineffective and counterproductive.  Use of opiates led to decreased function, and withdrawing patients from opiates in the context of a psychological/physical re-activation model (A pain rehabilitation program) consistently increased function. These pain programs remain today as the most effective documented intervention to improve overall life functioning for individuals who had become disabled due to pain.

Fast forward to 2011. These structured pain rehab programs are essentially extinct, starved to death by insurers who saw them as too costly. A patient coming to a pain clinic will almost always be placed on opiates, and receive multiple interventional treatments.  The cost of pain treatment has skyrocketed, yet outcomes are worse.  Prescription opiates are now the most commonly abused drugs, and many states (including Ohio) are launching expensive initiatives to get the ”drug problem” under control.  Worst of all, when the patient returns for a follow-up visit, the only question they are asked is “how is your pain”?

I recently attempted to survey the literature as to whether there was any new evidence that opiates improved function in chronic pain.  What I found was- NOTHING!  It was exceedingly rare to find a study that even measured function whatsoever! (Keep in mind that many studies have shown that patient self-report of function is both reliable and valid, and there are many brief instruments that assess function with documented validity). The studies employed NONE of them. The few studies I did find showed that opiates produced decreases in self-reported PAIN, but no change in FUNCTION.

“The emperor has no clothes”- remember the fable?  Is it possible that the multi-billion dollar pain management industry is a sham? That we are doing worse than we were 30 years ago?

What can we do today?  To me, the crucial thing is to go back to function as the core measure when we deal with pain. Always ask- what are doing that you weren’t doing last session? Are you on your feet, talking to people, cleaning the house more, etc? If opiates are used, are increases in function observed? 

I tell a joke in talks about pain- the punchline is that the patient had pain that was 10 of 10 and lays on the couch in misery all day. His doctor puts him on OxyContin- he comes back and says “it’s a miracle! My pain is 1-2 out of 10! My life is so much better!”  When asked what he now does, he says, “Well, I’m so stoned on the medication I lay on the couch all day…” 

Online Pain Resources:
Bio: Dr. David Schwartz earned his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1982, specializing in behavioral medicine, and was an intern and post-doctoral fellow at the University of Virginia Medical Center. He has had medical school appointments at the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Cincinnati. He has published and presented extensively in pain management and behavioral medicine. He has been in private practice since 1995 and is currently a partner in Hamilton Health Associates, a multi-specialty practice focused on industrial injury.   He is a consultant to the Freiberg Spine Institute and a member of the Disability Evaluation Panel for the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (BWC). He presently serves as the Ohio Psychological Association (OPA) representative on the BWC’s Health Care Quality Assurance Advisory Committee and chairs the OPA Task Force on Workers Compensation Reform.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Did You Know? June Fact

Summer! Time for the beach, vacation, sun, and fun! Right?  Well, maybe.  Many people find summer more stressful than carefree.  The logistics of planning a vacation, finding childcare and activities for children home from school, and trying to fit in too much during good weather can stress even the most avid summer enthusiast.  Here are some basic tips to make your summer a breeze:
  1. Don't overplan: having 50 fun activities scheduled for each day of summer will leave you feeling more burnt out than relaxed.  Make sure you leave some unstructured time to sit back and slow down.
  2. Don't underplan: doing nothing is also not the answer.  Boredom can be as stressful as doing too much.  Make sure you have a few meaningful activities spaced out over the summer to look forward to.
  3. Take advantage.  The natural light during summer can be a mood enhancer, and the weather allows you to use nature as stress reliever.
  4. Increase physical activity.  Use the outdoors for your workout or just take more walks.  Exercise is a natural antidepressant.
  5. Take time to connect.  Take a technology vacation and spend time camping, playing outdoor games, and having face time with your family and friends.
 Useful links:




Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mental Health Month Blog Party May 18

Mental Health Blog Party Badge

Did You Know? Facts about mental health

  • One in four Americans experiences a mental health disorder every year, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.
  • Chronic stress can affect both our physical and psychological well-being by causing a variety of problems including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.
  • A 2009 poll by the American Psychological Association found that 75 percent of adults report experiencing moderate to high levels of stress (24 percent extreme, 51 percent moderate) and nearly half report that their stress has increased in the past year (42 percent).
  • A 2008 survey by Harris Interactive and the American Psychological Association found that 25 percent of Americans report they do not have adequate access to mental health services and 44 percent either do not have mental health coverage or are not sure if they do.
  • Research recently published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior (Vol. 41, No. 2) finds that 68 percent of Americans do not want someone with a mental illness marrying into their family and 58 percent do not want people with mental illness in their workplaces.

For more information about mental health, mind/body health and family well-being, please visit:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

NEDA Walk: Columbus, OH

"Walk About It" on The Ohio State University's campus, and support volunteers in raising awareness about eating disorders in a fun, interactive way! Register today and do your part to help NEDA gain a stronger foothold in the fight against eating disorders!

Columbus NEDA Walk
May 14, 2011
The Ohio State University
Fred Beekman Park

Registration at 10:00am; Walk at 11

If you cannot make the walk, please consider making a donation! Even $10 in support of NEDA's 10th Anniversary helps us get one step closer to "a world free from eating disorders!"

Monday, May 2, 2011

American Psychological Association Marks Mental Health Month

WASHINGTON -- The American Psychological Association will spotlight a range of issues including traumatized children and health disparities among diverse older Americans in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in May. Activities include:
May 3: Congressional Briefing Marking National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 430, 9-10a.m. 

Sponsored by the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Mental Health America, the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, this briefing will focus on school mental health and trauma and early intervention services for children and adolescents.


  • Kathryn Power, Director, Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will share new data on outcomes of programs the center has supported through school and community-based grants.
  • Abigail Gewirtz, PhD, APA member and director of the Ambit Network at the University of Minnesota, will speak about the success of her National Child Traumatic Stress Network in raising the standard of care and improving access to services for traumatized children and their families.
  • Andrew, a youth advocate from North Carolina Families United, will share his experience of growing up with mental health challenges and how the services and support he received helped build his resiliency.

May 18: Blogging for Mental Health

APA continues its annual blog party for mental health. Psychologists writing for APA's public education blog, Your Mind, Your Body, invite people to share their stories related to mental health and emotional wellness. Writers are encouraged to blog about mental health-related topics and use the specially created graphic. More information is available on the blog party page. APA will also host a series of Facebook chats throughout May with psychologists and other experts in mental health on topics such as workplace stress and anxiety. 

May 24: Congressional Briefing Addressing Health Disparities Among Diverse Older Americans, G11 Dirksen Senate Office Building, 12-1:30 p.m.

Co-sponsored by APA and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, this briefing will focus on health disparities among America's increasingly diverse aging population.  Specifically, experts will discuss health disparities among ethnic minority and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elders and innovative ways to reduce such disparities in health care settings and communities.


  • Patricia Arean, PhD, University of California, San Francisco, and an APA member, will speak about integrating mental health in primary care to reduce health disparities in older adults.
  • Laurie Young, PhD, director of Public Policy & Government Affairs at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, will speak about health disparities in LGBT elders.
  • James Jackson, PhD, University of Michigan and an APA member, will speak about aging, the life course and health disparities.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 154,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Social Responsibility for Psychological Public Statements Made by Non-Psychologists

by Guest Blogger, Kevin Arnold, Ph.D. ABPP

Social responsibility is a broad term, defined on Wikipedia as “ethical ideology or theory that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act to benefit society at large. This responsibility can be passive, by avoiding engaging in socially harmful acts, or active, by performing activities that directly advance social goals” (Wikipedia). Psychologists act socially in both passive (e.g., decline to advise on effective torture methodology) or active (e.g., deliver behavioral programs to increase child car restraint use by parents) ways. For some psychologists, the opportunity to benefit society is ever present, such as when a psychologist writes for the public media. This blog provides three tenants regarding socially responsible public statements when confronting pseudo-psychology in the media or press.

Claim Our Expertise. We psychologists have clearly defined expertise in the application of psychological constructs and research to everyday problems. We helped developed highly effective prevention programs for health, such as the smoking cessation program at the University of Rhode Island (e.g., Stages of Change), and regularly advise courts on issues ranging from parenting to violence potential. Unfortunately, non-psychologists lay claim to our constructs and theories when they write or make public statements as if experts on clearly psychological topics. Sometimes those writings or statements are benign, while at other times they can create the opportunity for harm. When the latter occurs, we must lay claim to our field, and take an active stance that our education, experience, and training give us unique capacity to apply psychology that others simply do not have. If psychologists fail to own our field, we could both lose our identity and allow pseudo-psychology to harm society. 

Provide Reasonable Alternative Ideas. Far too often, non-psychologists (and sometimes psychologists) overstate the validity of psychological theories in media statements. For example, I have often heard attorneys say that witnesses will not admit to something that is against their interest unless the admission is true. Several psychological theories exist to explain the motivation to meet a task demand under stressful conditions. For example, suggestibility theory argues that false ideas can be implanted through leading questions or exposure to non-factual narrative descriptions. Drive reduction theory (most recently captured in Barlow’s concepts of escape and avoidance) explains efforts to reduce stress cause counter-intuitive behaviors (ala the Milgram experiments). Functional behavior analysis would argue that statements against one’s interests can function to provide social attention and rewards even when such statements are not true. Socially responsible psychologists have an obligation to actively inform the public of these alternatives to thwart the mis-perception that theory is truth, when in fact theory is but plausible explanation of data. 

Correct Mis-representation of Psychological Research. Books, published articles, and media statements often rely on psychological research, or sometimes junk-science masquerading as psychological research, to appear authoritative. In my own experience, the articles and book by the “Tiger Mom” argued that research findings validated her claim that the majority of Asian parents in Asia used, essentially, authoritarian parenting while parents in the United States used overly permissive parenting. She further argued that research showed that her “Tiger Parenting” produced better academic outcomes. However, research specifically on the topic provided findings often either more equivocal than her statements or contradictory to her position. When psychological research is mis-represented, we must actively correct the errors in public statements. Psychologists have a social obligation to protect society against the mis-use of our research so that evidence drives public policy, not pseudo-science.

A Final Thought. I remember former president of APA, Ted Blau, once saying that graduate school often left psychologists with little self-confidence, and without the skills to speak authoritatively. He might have been right; and if so, many of us avoid or ignore the mis-use of psychology by others. But, our education is extensive, our experience accumulates knowledge, and our training is well-supervised. We learn psychological theory, social science statistics, complex research designs, and clinical application methods. Psychologists, most of all, speak with authority on psychology’s role in addressing social problems. Socially responsible psychologists strive to be heard over the din of talking heads and pundits who sometimes use our field to serve their own self-interests.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Infertility Awareness Week

April 24-30 is National Infertility Awareness Week. Around 1 in 8 women and men are diagnosed with infertility. Bust the infertility myths!

Myth #1: “This is ‘her’ problem—I don’t need to be an active participant.”

Busted!: Having a baby, whether it is the result of GOFI (good old fashioned intercourse) or with the help of a reproductive doctor can be one of the most intimate, connecting experiences a couple has.

The Hollywood image of a magical night of lovemaking yielding a positive pee stick result is simply replaced by an extra squeeze of your wife’s hand during an ultrasound, a quick breakfast date and kiss before the morning blood draw, and an extra long hug after an embryo transfer.

For more information, please visit the RESOLVE National Infertility Awareness Week website.

Drug Deaths Overlap Accidents in Ohio County

A recent NY Times article features Scioto County (county seat: Portsmouth) in Ohio. The article is entitled "Ohio County Losing Its Young to Painkillers' Grip" and gives a number of grim statistics, such as:

* Nearly 1 in 10 babies born in Scioto County are born addicted to drugs.
* In Ohio, the leading cause of accidental death is overdose, bypassing car accidents.
* Children as young as in junior high are being arrested for drug possession and intent to sell.

For more information on addiction and how to combat it, please visit the APA Addictions webpage, which has more information on changing behavior and dealing with addiction. To find a psychologist to help with addiction in Ohio, please visit the OPA "Referral" Page.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cleveland Clinic Minority Men's Health Fair

Last night, several psychologists represented OPA and Mental Health at the 9th Annual Cleveland Clinic Minority Men's Health Fair.  The fair serves over 2000 men and their families who come for screenings for everything from prostate cancer to depression.  There were over 50 booths and 20 free screenings offered.  Efforts such as this help to reduce healthcare disparities and  destigmatize psychology and healthcare for minorities. 
It was a pleasure to talk with over 75 of the participants.  Some shared their positive experiences with psychology and therapy, as well as positive coping strategies they use to manage stress such as spirituality, meditation, exercise, and humor.  Others were seeking to build coping strategies and seek treatment for financial stress, caregiver stress, and coping with medical problems.  We were able to provide materials from the APA Public Education Campaign about resilience, stress management, obesity, and heart disease.  We also provided information about referral sources such as the Cleveland Psychological Association's "Find a Psychologist" feature.  What an exciting event!

April is National Minority Health Month

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Office on Minority Health is again sponsoring National Minority Health Month in April. This year's focus is on Minority Health and School Food. According to the OMH, in Fiscal Year 2009 more than 31.3 million children a day received lunch through the National School Lunch Program with about 11.1 million participating in breakfast each day, according to the Food Research and Action Center. According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2005, 41 percent of 4th graders were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. Only 24 percent of White 4th graders were eligible, while 70 percent of Black and 73 percent of Hispanic students qualified. Eligible as well were 65 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native and 33 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander 4th graders. 

Minorities participate in great numbers in the school lunch program, and some school districts have devised ways to extend the food service over the summer to guarantee that lower income children have access to at least one full meal per day. Minority children are also particularly hard hit by obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes. Therefore, school food is a critical social determinant of the health of minority children. school meals could and should be also a great teachable moment, a pathway to a lifelong education on healthy eating and the environmental impact of our food choices. And we should not forget the link between good nutrition and ability to perform well academically, which has something to do with the persistence of the achievement gap.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April is Autism Awareness Month

The Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s. The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report that concluded that the prevalence of autism was 1 in every 110 births in the United States and almost 1 in 70 boys. Psychologists work with children who have autism and their parents, and the American Psychological Association has some good information on Autism. For more information, please visit the Autism Society's Awareness Month page as well as the CDC's Information Page about Autism Awareness Month.

Fat Stigma Spreading

A recent study published in the journal Current Anthropology revealed that stigma against obese individuals is spreading, not only in countries such as the U.S. and Europe, but also in countries where being "fat" was previously seen as a sign of wealth and prosperity. This NY Times Well Blog article discusses the research in more detail. For more information on the Mind/Body connection and Obesity, please visit the APA Help Center's Obesity link, as well as APA's tip sheets on Obesity.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Profile of Older Americans: 2010

This annual summary of the latest statistics on the older population covers 15 topical areas including population, income and poverty, living arrangements, education, and health. A description of the highlights of this document can be found below.

The Profile has proven to be a very useful statistical summary in a user friendly format. It is a web based publication and will be posted shortly on the AoA web site.

Highlights - Profile of Older Americans: 2010
  • The older population (65+) numbered 39.6 million in 2009, an increase of 4.3 million or 12.5% since 1999.
  • The number of Americans aged 45-64-- who will reach 65 over the next two decades-- increased by 26% during this decade.
  • Over one in every eight, or 12.9%, of the population is an older American.
  • Persons reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 18.6 years (19.9 years for females and 17.2 years for males).
  • Older women outnumber older men at 22.7 million older women to 16.8 million older men.
  • In 2009, 19.9% of persons 65+ were minorities--8.3% were African-Americans.** Persons of Hispanic origin (who may be of any race) represented 7.0% of the older population. About 3.4% were Asian or Pacific Islander,** and less than 1% were American Indian or Native Alaskan.** In addition, 0.6% of persons 65+ identified themselves as being of two or more races.
  • Older men were much more likely to be married than older women--72% of men vs. 42% of women (Figure 2). 42% older women in 2009 were widows.
  • About 30% (11.3 million) of noninstitutionalized older persons live alone (8.3 million women, 3.0 million men).
  • Half of older women (49%) age 75+ live alone.
  • About 475,000 grandparents aged 65 or more had the primary responsibility for their grandchildren who lived with them.
  • The population 65 and over will increase from 35 million in 2000 to 40 million in 2010 (a 15% increase) and then to 55 million in 2020 (a 36% increase for that decade).
  • The 85+ population is projected to increase from 4.2 million in 2000 to 5.7 million in 2010 (a 36% increase) and then to 6.6 million in 2020 (a 15% increase for that decade).
  • Minority populations are projected to increase from 5.7 million in 2000 (16.3% of the elderly population) to 8.0 million in 2010 (20.1% of the elderly) and then to 12.9 million in 2020 (23.6% of the elderly).
  • The median income of older persons in 2009 was $25,877 for males and $15,282 for females. Median money income (after adjusting for inflation) of all households headed by older people rose 5.8% (statistically significant) from 2008 to 2009. Households containing families headed by persons 65+ reported a median income in 2009 of $43,702.
  • The major sources of income as reported by older persons in 2008 were Social Security (reported by 87% of older persons), income from assets (reported by 54%), private pensions (reported by 28%), government employee pensions (reported by 14%), and earnings (reported by 25%).
  • Social Security constituted 90% or more of the income received by 34% of beneficiaries in 2008 (21% of married couples and 43% of non-married beneficiaries).
  • Almost 3.4 million elderly persons (8.9%) were below the poverty level in 2009. This poverty rate is statistically different from the poverty rate in 2008 (9.7%).
  • About 11% (3.7 million) of older Medicare enrollees received personal care from a paid or unpaid source in 1999.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Managing Stress During Disaster

The recent media coverage about the earthquake in Japan and subsequent tsunami has generated some anxiety. For people with friends and family living in regions affected by earthquakes, watching news coverage of the earthquake’s devastation can be very distressing, particularly if there is no news on their safety and well-being. Even for those without personal connections to the country, the news coverage can be overwhelming. The APA Help Center has some excellent suggestions about managing stress during these times, including (1) turn off the TV, (2) control what you can, and (3) engage in health behaviors. For more information and details about coping, please visit the "Managing Your Distress About the Earthquake from Afar" brochure website.

Friday, March 11, 2011

New Government Website Aims to Stop Bullying in America

The Government website, StopBullying.gov, is managed by the US Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with the US Department of Education and the US Department of Justice. It was showcased today, March 11, 2011 at the Conference on Bullying Prevention at the White House.

The website is geared towards both parents and children. Resources such as "Recognizing the Warning Signs" and "How Do I Get Help?" are prominently featured on the website. Information regarding cyberbullying, state policies and laws, and violence prevention program directories are also available on the website.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

OPA Legislative Day Health Fair

OPA is hosting a health fair at the Statehouse in Columbus on May 25th in conjunction with their annual Legislative Day. Our hope is to educate legislators and state workers about the value of psychology. We will have six tables, including health psychology, childhood obesity, SMI, stress management, issues affecting veterans and the military, and addressing minority healthcare disparities.

We are looking for 12 psychologist volunteers. The time commitment is 8-1 PM or 4 PM if you choose to stay and meet with your individual state representatives. We will provide an orientation by phone conference and lots of materials to help you talk about the wonderful things psychology can do for the public. Please consider donating your time for this important event! Contact me at ashtonk@ccf.org if you are interested.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Map of Well-Being

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® is the first-ever daily assessment of U.S. residents' health and well-being. By interviewing at least 1,000 U.S. adults every day, the Well-Being Index provides real-time measurement and insights needed to improve health, increase productivity, and lower healthcare costs. The NY Times recently published an article entitled "The Happiest Man in America" and an accompanying map of the nation's well-being according to 20 indexes and sorted by Congressional District. Ohio appears to overall have lower rates of well-being than other states. For more information about Health and Well-Being from the American Psychological Association, please visit this link.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ohio Psychologist Blogger on Psychology Today

Check out The Older Dad Blog on Psychology Today, written by Ohio Psychologist Kevin Arnold, Ph.D., ABPP! Dr Arnold is the director of the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy in Columbus, Ohio, and a licensed psychologist. Kevin is a clinical faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at Ohio State University, as well as serving a number of leadership roles at the state and national level in cognitive-behavioral therapy and professional psychology. He will be a guest blogger for us in the near future, stay tuned!

Mind Over Morphine

Cheer up: Negative view of pain treatment actually affects outcome, researchers find.

Whether you perceive the glass as half-full or half-empty could impact the way you react to pain and other medical treatments, according to a new study into the effects of negative thinking.

In the most sophisticated study on the subject to date, British and German researchers from Oxford University and University Medical Center in Hamburg subjected 22 healthy volunteers to heat pain, and then treated that pain with a fast-metabolizing, morphine-based painkiller, all the while scanning the volunteers' brains as they described their levels of pain.

The researchers discovered that by lying to the volunteers--for example, telling them that the painkiller was about to wear off and that they should expect pain to increase, even though the painkiller never actually stopped working--they could affect their perceived level of pain, according to the Associated Press. The brain scans confirmed increased activity in certain pain- and stress-related areas of the brain during these lies, suggesting that a patient's outlook has actual therapy-negating effects.

Although this is a small study, researchers suspect the findings could hold true in a broad range of areas, particularly the treatment of chronic illnesses. Chronic disease patients, the vast majority of whom are elderly, are generally conditioned to expect their treatments to fail, according to the AP. By studying the effects of negative thinking on therapy, researchers could find ways to overcome pessimistic patient views to enhance medical therapies, experts believe.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

PsycAdvocates Day

August 4, 2011
9:00 am-4:00 pm

The APA Education and Public Interest Government Relations Offices invite you to join us for the 2011 PsycAdvocates Day, which provides members with an exciting opportunity to serve as federal policy advocates for psychology. This day-long event, which will end in time for Opening Session of the APA convention, will begin with a morning federal advocacy training that will include an overview of the federal legislative process, strategies for effectively informing and influencing policymakers, and a briefing on current legislative issues on APA's advocacy agenda.

The day will culminate with early afternoon visits to Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress or their staff to advocate on pressing issues facing the psychology community. The congressional visits are a requirement for participation in the workshop. No prior advocacy experience or preparation is required to participate.

CE Credits: 3
Enrollment Limit: 75
Member $75
Nonmember $100
(Breakfast and lunch will be provided as part of your enrollment fee.)
Enrollment opens April 15, 2011.
Enroll online at http://www.apa.org/convention or call the CEP Office at 800-374-2721, ext. 5991.

For more information or questions about this workshop, please contact Ben Vonachen at (202) 336-6097 or bvonachen@apa.org or visit the PsycAdvocates website at http://www.apa.org/news/events/2011/psycadvocates-day.aspx

APA Science Showcase

Please spread the news about the APA Science Showcase, a research demonstration program that will take place at the APA Convention in Washington DC, August 4 - 7. We hope the Science Showcase will feature some of the most intriguing and engaging science from our discipline. Please consider submitting a demonstration for this program.

The Showcase will take place in the Convention Center in an informal learning situation - this will not be set up like a regular session - with up to six different demonstrations on the program over the course of two days. Please identify engaging, stimulating demonstrations that you think will attract and keep an audience. These demonstrations should be only about 15 minutes long, with some additional time for discussion.

The benefits are substantial - not only will you help inform those in attendance about research in our field, you might be singled out as the best of the demonstrations, resulting in a prize of $3,000. In addition, all selected programs will receive support for expenses associated with mounting the demonstrations.

Please visit http://www.apa.org/science/programs/science-showcase.aspx for the full program description and application form. The deadline date for submissions is April 15, so please don't delay discussing this with your colleagues. Contact the Science Directorate (science@apa.org; 202-336-6000) if you have questions.

Awards for High School Teachers

Know a High School Psychology Teacher who makes a difference? Want them to be able to get funding for education or professional development? Please pass this information on!

NEW: APF Professional Development Awards for High School Psychology Teachers

The purpose of these awards is to help high school psychology teachers travel to and attend regional or national teaching and/or psychology conferences. Applicants may be awarded up to $250. Funds can be used to offset costs of travel, conference registration, and housing accommodations. Applications to attend the APA Convention (August 4-7, 2011, Washington, DC) are encouraged. $2,500 is available for funding. These grants are made possible through a generous gift from Dr. Lee Gurel.

The application deadline is April 15, 2011; for details on how to apply, visit http://www.apa.org/apf/funding/professional-topss.aspx.

NEW: APF High School Psychology Teacher Network Grants

The purpose of the these grants is to support the development of local and regional networks of psychology teachers and to support a local or regional teaching workshop or conference for high school psychology teachers. APF is particularly interested in proposals for professional development opportunities for teachers that could lead to the formation of a new regional network of psychology teachers. APF will award $1,500 in grants in 2011. These grants are made possible through a generous gift from Dr. Lee Gurel.

The application deadline is May 1, 2011; for details on how to apply, visit http://www.apa.org/apf/funding/psychology-teacher-network.aspx.