Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Need Resources? Try 211

by Guest Blogger, David Weaver, Ph.D.

Clients Over-Whelmed? You Over-Worked? Call 211 or Search

Does your clint have multiple unmet needs? Like food, shelter, health care, transportation, child care, recovery from addiction or other problem. Would you feel over-whelmed? Could you effectively and simply help them help themselves?

Calling 211, or going to or (Hands On Ohio in FC) gets the person the necessities they need. They get them for themselves. Its sponsored by the United Way and Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (nationwide). The person quickly learns about self-help groups, self-reliance, and all community services.

The new psychologist in a community mental health agency working with addicted, alcoholic, homeless, physically ill, felons, suicidal or homicidal clients has backup. Simply refer those pesky non-treatment plan issues to 211. The professional also learns by exploring 211.

I have been strengthened and calmed by knowing 211 had my professional back. It discharges my counter-transference (especially when I use self-reliance groups like Al-Anon) and my liability. Referral to the professional 211 agency allows the person to decide what to do and with which resource. It works for my clients multiple problems, allowing us to focus on psychotherapy and helping all of us to feel better. I sleep better.

People using 211 gain motivation, remission and recovery. They are more likely to help themselves solve their problems.

Self-help groups are the third pillar of treatment. They boost the effect of psychotherapy and medicine. They are infinitely expandable having the capacity to divide like a cell and serve all 3 million diagnosable Buckeyes. For free and with around the clock coverage given their use of sponsors and phone numbers. Peers helping peers are motivated and knowledgable. They are always available. The meetings are always available. They target their issues with great fidelity. When wo recovering people are welcomed, accepted and respected, we heal. Self-reliance also heals.

211 began in 1979 (the 'community' mental health promise, since broken). But, according to my small sample surveys only a consistent 20% of police, physicians, counselors, teachers, and State employees know what 211 is. Let us get 80% educated about 211. Get the 411 on 211. Refer to it.

Call 211.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

PEC Press Releases for 2014

Stay tuned for these press releases from OPA and APA in 2014!

  • January - Willpower and New Year's Resolutions.
  • February - Heart Health . 
  • March - TBD . April - Tax Day 
  • May - Mother's Day 
  • June - Father's Day
  • July - Summer Vacation 
  • August - Back to School
  • September - Job Stress 
  • October - Mental Illness Awareness Week/National Depression Screening Day .
  • November - Holiday Stress 
  • December - Seasonal Affective Disorder 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Out of the Darkness Walk Report - Columbus

On Sunday, October 13th, 2013, team members from the Ohio Psychological Association/Central Ohio Psychological Association participated in the Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk. Pictured are team members Nicolette Howells, Marjorie Kukor, Beth McCreary, and Mary Lewis. Also pictured are Makayla and Marina McCreary and Emma Lewis. Walking but not pictured are Aaron Lewis (in the stroller) and Mike Cutright. The team walked at Fred Beekman park in Columbus, OH to support suicide prevention efforts and raised $905 from 15 donors. The entire Columbus walk raised $67,767 (pending mail-in donations). Fifty-percent of the donations will stay in the Columbus area for direct suicide prevention efforts, while the other 50% will go towards suicide prevention research.

While at the walk, OPA and COPA distributed 100 Apa Help Center book marks, 50 "Road to Resilience" and 65 "Talk to a Psychologist" brochures, plus 50 of the "Mind your Mental Health" brochures. We also provided flyers on "211," which is a local service that can link callers to self-help groups and mental health resources.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Guest Blogger: "They" can be "Us"

by Guest Blogger: Morgan Shields 

America is a place that fosters individualistic pride. But this sense of independence is an illusion. We are not actually independent. As social creatures, our mental and physical health depends upon the support and acceptance of our community and society at large.  We need each other for social support, but also services. We need doctors, teachers, and farmers to provide services that we cannot produce on our own.  We need our neighbors to call 911 when we fall off of a ladder, and we need doctors to “fix” the broken bones.  We need the police to investigate when we are mugged, and we need our friends and family to support us after the trauma.

Can you imagine a society without a cooperative system? Can you imagine living in a world where everything is a cut-throat competition; where the only person you could depend on was yourself?  If you can imagine this, I am sure you can also imagine how short-lived the human race would be in such an environment.
But this is what we expect from each other and ourselves. We expect others to be tough and able, and if others are not tough and able, then that means they are not “good enough.” Further, since we expect ourselves to also be tough and able, we experience shame in asking for help, because we fear appearing weak.

What sickness and stigma this fosters.

Nobody can be tough and able all of the time. We all have our moments of need. Yes, some require more support than others, but this is rarely their fault. People do not give themselves depression on purpose. Or bipolar disorder. Or autism. Or homelessness. People do not make a decision to acquire these struggles and differences. People do not choose to be born into poor families, grow up in foster care, or to be the child of a parent who used drugs during pregnancy. People do not elect to get cancer, traumatic brain injury, or multiple sclerosis. It happens and it can happen to any of us. In fact, it is likely that we will experience severe illness – whether mental or physical – at some point in our lives.

What is amazing about the people of this world is that we are all different. Every single person has had an accumulation of different experiences and perceptions that make them who they are. In recognizing this, we can then realize the uselessness and underlying ignorance in passing judgments.

Judging another’s situation is not going to serve anyone well. Contrary to a competitive mindset, another’s misfortune does not make you a better human.

What we all should be aware of is that tomorrow we can be the person sleeping on the street. We can have a psychotic break. We can get into a car accident, hit our head, and experience a change in personality. These things can happen tomorrow. My objective is not to instill fear, but to engender gentleness in our interactions with the world, our thoughts of people and their labels, and our perceptions of our true independence and dependencies.

We need to end the stigma of mental illness and difference. It is the stigma that keeps people from reaching out for help. Mental illness needs to be normalized and accepted. This needs to happen at all levels of society. We need to educate people about mental illness without dichotomizing the “ill” from the “sick.” Creating otherness does not help. Otherness perpetuates stigma. Further, perhaps there would be decreased rates of anxiety and depression if there was not so much pressure to be tough and able. We are not naturally built to operate in this way. It is not healthy.

It is my hope that we can all learn to be gentler with ourselves and with each other. We have all been born into different situations and have had different experiences. While it is great to have pride in one’s merit, our worth should not be dictated by our accomplishments and ability.

* * *
This post is in honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 6-12, 2013). It's time to speak out. 
* * * 

Morgan is currently a senior at Kent State University, majoring in psychology. Prior to college, she served in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, where she traveled the country working for various non-profits and government agencies. During her service, she interacted with the homeless population on a regular basis, and saw our system’s failure in the lives of these individuals. Once she started college, she began working as a Research Assistant in the Clinical Neuropsychology Laboratory, under Dr. Mary Beth Spitznagel, and the Emotion, Stress, and Relationships Laboratory under Dr. Karin Coifman. She has numerous research presentations under her belt, as well as several manuscripts in the works. This past summer, Morgan was awarded a research fellowship by the National Science Foundation to study under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. While there, she was exposed to research projects that focused on cultivating compassion and empathy. Currently, Morgan is applying for a Fulbright scholarship, to study at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada. If awarded the Fulbright, her project will focus on investigating how the occupational culture of staff workers within acute psychiatric facilities influences the staff-patient relationship. She will collect perspectives from both staff and patients, and hopes to elucidate the enormous value of patient-perspectives. Morgan plans to continue her education and research at the PhD level in a program where she can focus on studying mental health care and stigma.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Reminder: Suicide Prevention Walks

October 13, 2013
Join the OPA/COPA team!

October 19, 2013

October 20, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Guest Blog: Mental Illness and Quality of Care

by Guest Blogger Morgan Shields

Mental illness impacts all sectors and populations across the globe, and exacts heavy costs with regard to both economic and human suffering. However, our mental health care systems do not effectively treat individuals; this is especially true at the acute level. During the 1970s, there was a global deinstitutionalization of long-term-stay mental health care hospitals. With increased effectiveness of psychotropic medication, patients were better able to function independently through the support of outpatient community services. What remains are acute psychiatric wards of hospitals, which largely serve as a stabilization hub for patients who pose a threat to themselves or the community, with the typical stay lasting between three to seven days. Additionally, social workers and providers sometimes work to connect these patients with community services upon discharge, to ensure they receive appropriate long-term treatment. 

However, the experience one has within these wards, and upon discharge, varies drastically depending on insurance, location, and even the occupational culture of the ward. Furthermore, whether patients seek out community services upon discharge is largely dependent upon their ability to pay for these services and their trust of the system.   

While there are many contributing factors to the quality of care within acute psychiatric facilities such as funding mechanisms, policy, and location, it has been suggested that the staff-patient relationship is potentially one of the most important moderators of patients’ perceptions of quality of care and treatment outcome. This makes intuitive sense, as patients interact with the staff workers more than they do anyone else; meetings with a psychiatrist last only two to fifteen minutes a day. The occupational culture of staff workers, or their shared beliefs and norms, shape the way the staff interact and view patients. 

This, of course, is also influenced by the overarching culture of the administration and hospital at large, and also by the patients’ behavior. Additionally, there are no standardized credential-requirements to work within these wards; therefore, some places have workers who lack necessary training, and often carry a good deal of stress due to being underpaid and overworked.

Currently, investigation of psychiatric wards is sparse, with very little integration of patients’ perspectives.  Such lack of input from patients is disconcerting, as these individuals are the sole consumers of this care. Therefore, their insight into the treatment experience should be of unique value. However, it is the unfortunate case that patient-perspectives are not valued at the research level as much as provider and nurse feedback; this is largely due to the stigmatic belief that patients lack insight. This outdated and extreme view only works to oppress individuals who find themselves in need of such services, as it prevents them from having an active voice in the treatment process and to be taken seriously when possible mistreatment is at-hand. Furthermore, it sends the message that society views these individuals as problems to be taken of, rather than humans in need of help and sensitivity, and creates a divide of “us vs. them.”  

I am currently working on a project where I collect personal testimonials from former patients. There are common themes of invalidation throughout the experiences I have listened to and received. One woman stated that she felt like she was treated like a prisoner during her stay on an acute psychiatric ward, and eventually started to view herself as a bad person being punished, instead of a sick person receiving treatment. She explained that she did not have insurance at the time, and was therefore transported to a state–ran facility.  When she arrived, she immediately felt like a prisoner; there were many rules, she could only use the phone for a few minutes a day, and most of the staff workers ignored her concerns. She was never told what type of medication she was on, and when she tried to refuse medication, she was threatened to be restrained and put into a locked room alone. 

Without much choice, she ended up taking the medication, even though it made her ill and eventually paralyzed her neck. It was only when her neck was paralyzed that the staff listened to her complaints by adding a countering medication to her cocktail. After she was discharged, she struggled to rebuild her sense of self and trust of the mental health care system. This story exemplifies disconnected, demoralizing, and dehumanizing aspects of a mental health care system intended to heal. This is not the affect these places are supposed to have on people; it is counterproductive and has serious ethical concerns.

Of course, there are many staff workers and nurses who work their hardest to maintain compassionate interactions with patients, and I don’t mean to insult their efforts. This is not meant to serve as a blanket generalization of the entire system. There are effective and humane wards that serve the community well, but there are also units that have the potential to do more damage than good, and these should not be overlooked. It seems clear that there needs to be more attention given to acute psychiatric care, with an emphasis on increasing its quality and humanity. There needs to be more research of not only patients’ lived-experiences, but also further investigation of staff workers perceptions of their responsibilities and role within the hospital system, in order to better understand the complex interplay between the hospital, administration, staff, and patients. 

I personally believe that stigma underlies most of the disconnect we see within these wards. It is not only the staff workers who can sometimes view patients through stigmatic lenses, but it is also the providers and the community at large. As a society, we have been conditioned to view suffers of mental illness to exist on the periphery of what we consider worthy of acceptance, respect and love. Therefore, not only can a change in policy improve conditions, but so can a change in culture. The latter may be the hardest part to change, but it can be done with time, persistence, and openness. 
* * * 
Morgan is currently a senior at Kent State University, majoring in psychology. Prior to college, she served in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, where she traveled the country working for various non-profits and government agencies. During her service, she interacted with the homeless population on a regular basis, and saw our system’s failure in the lives of these individuals. Once she started college, she began working as a Research Assistant in the Clinical Neuropsychology Laboratory, under Dr. Mary Beth Spitznagel, and the Emotion, Stress, and Relationships Laboratory under Dr. Karin Coifman. She has numerous research presentations under her belt, as well as several manuscripts in the works. This past summer, Morgan was awarded a research fellowship by the National Science Foundation to study under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. While there, she was exposed to research projects that focused on cultivating compassion and empathy. Currently, Morgan is applying for a Fulbright scholarship, to study at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada. If awarded the Fulbright, her project will focus on investigating how the occupational culture of staff workers within acute psychiatric facilities influences the staff-patient relationship. She will collect perspectives from both staff and patients, and hopes to elucidate the enormous value of patient-perspectives. Morgan plans to continue her education and research at the PhD level in a program where she can focus on studying mental health care and stigma. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back-to-School Stress

Parents have a lot on their plate: mortgage payments, healthcare, caring for elderly parents, raising kids, just to name a few. As the new school year approaches, they face additional stressors — paying for back-to-school supplies, clothes and possibly tuition. Many parents may also be worried about their children starting a new school, changing school districts, facing a more rigorous academic year or dealing with difficult social situations. Often the fear of the unknown — classmates, teachers, the school building — is the most stressful for family members, whether it’s the children hopping on the school bus or their parents who have to wave goodbye.
“The end of summer and the beginning of a new school year can be a stressful time for parents and children,” says psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD. “While trying to manage work and the household, parents can sometimes overlook their children’s feelings of nervousness or anxiety as school begins. Working with your children to build resilience and manage their emotions can be beneficial for the psychological health of the whole family.”
Fortunately, children are extremely capable of coping with change and parents can help them in the process by providing a setting that fosters resilience and encourages them to share and express their feelings about returning to school.
 APA and OPA offers the following back-to-school tips:
  1. Practice the first day of school routine: Getting into a sleep routine before the first week of school will aide in easing the shock of waking up early. Organizing things at home — backpack, binder, lunchbox or cafeteria money — will help make the first morning go smoothly. Having healthy, yet kid-friendly lunches will help keep them energized throughout the day. Also, walking through the building and visiting your child’s locker and classroom will help 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. Try and set up a play date, or, for an older child, find out where neighborhood kids might go to safely hang out, like the community pool, recreation center or park.
  3. Talk to your child: Asking your children about their fears or worries about going back to school will help them share their burden. Inquire as to what they liked about their previous school or grade and see how those positives can be incorporated into their new experience.
  4. Empathize with your children: Change can be difficult, but also exciting. Let your children know that you are aware of what they’re going through and that you will be there to help them in the process. Nerves are normal, but highlight that not everything that is different is necessarily bad. It is important to encourage your children to face their fears instead of falling in to the trap of encouraging avoidance.
  5. 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. Meeting members of your community and school will foster support for both you and your child. If you feel the stress of the school year is too much for you and your child to handle on your own, seeking expert advice from a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, will help you better manage and cope.
Special thanks to Dr. Mary Alvord for her help with this article. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

90 for 90 Days Summer Event

90 for 90 Days Summer Event

Early ADHD identification and treatment are extremely important! OPA member Dr. Rose Mary Shaw is sponsoring the 90 for 90 Days summer event at the Mindfully Well Center. 

Learn about programs to improve your child's life:
-How to get along with others
-How to make decisions and stick to them
-And behavioral home management

The 90 for 90 Days program is a limited offering to the first 90 families to call and schedule their screening. Call The Mindfully Well Center 937-832-1765 to schedule your child or teen's screening TODAY

Mindfully Well Days

in Celebrating the
Grand Opening of the Mindfully Well Center
during the Mindfully Well Days,
a FREE Community Event!!!

When:             SATURDAY JUNE 22, 2013
Where:           Mindfully Well Center  
Dr. Rose Mary Shaw, PsyD
12 W.  Wenger Rd.,
Englewood, OH 45322

 10:00 AM    ADHD: Positive Ways for Parents to Survive while Encouraging their children.
Presenters: Rebecca Clarke, PsyM, Rebecca is a Psychometrist at the Mindfully Well Center & graduate student at WSU: School of Professional Psychology.

·         11:00 AM   Gardening for Health: Hands-On Family gardening projects that promote family bonding & brain health.  
Presenter: Rose Mary Shaw, PsyD & Girl Scout Troop, Dr. Shaw is  a Health  Psychologist/Neuropsychologist. She recently attended the University of Arizona’s Nutrition and Wellness Conference. She is the Director of the Mindfully Well Health Center.

·         12:00 PM   Food as Medicine-Eating for Brain Health: Tasty & nutritious meals and snacks on a budget.      
Presenter: Dorothy Clarke, R.D., is a dietician currently working at the Cleveland Clinic.
            She has her cultural roots in a traditional approach to Food as Medicine.

·         1:00 PM   Bullying: What every parent should know about school bullying & what you can do about it.
What is bullying? Is my child being bullied? How do I get my child’s school to address my concerns? What can I do as a parent? What changes can we make as a family? How do I keep my child safe? This talk will address the answers to these questions. Emphasis will be placed on practical tips and ideas for parents.
Presenter: Dr. Jim Broyles, Ph.D., President of the Ohio Psychological Association and member of the Ohio Task Force on Bullying

·         3:00 PM   Ayurveda: Explore the World's Oldest System of Natural Medicine Recognized by the World Health Organization as "a complete natural health care system."
            Presenter Rose Mary Shaw, PsyD,  D.Ay Diplomat of Ayurvedic Medicine

·         4:00 PM   The Importance of Hydration to Health and Healing     
Water: the body's most fundamental element.
-Importance of water to vital organs (heart, kidneys, muscles, brain, etc.)
-Hydration and energy levels, metabolism and weight loss
-Science behind natural, clean water intake
-Using water as your first & most crucial medicine
Presenter Uohna Foster, PhD candidate in the Dept. of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology at Wright State University.

·         5:00 PM   Laughter & Health: Experience Positive Aspects of Humor on Brian & Body Health
Presenter: Amy Cowgil, MSW. Amy is a licensed social worker & owner of  Fun for All Celebrations, an entertainment company

·         6-8:00 PM   Spirituality  & Pranic Healing       
Presenter: Felicia Beverly, LMT. Pranic Healing is an effective and powerful 'no-touch' healing modality developed by GrandMaster Choa Kok Sui that uses 'Life force' or Prana (Chi or Ki) to heal physical and emotional ailments.

Entertainment & Demonstrations         

10-2:00PM   Clowning Around with Balloons by Fun For all Celebrations           
Free ADHD Screening, Evaluation, and Recommendations
Kangen Water Filtration Demonstrations                   
Free Chair Massages and Wellness Door Prizes every two hours
For more information and complete event description, visit our website:  
And Like us on Facebook:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mental Health: The Role of Well-Being

I'm Blogging for Mental Health.The mass media and our own stigma would still have us believe that "mental health" is a term that revolves around negative terms: sadness, violence, lethargy, apathy, angst, etc. While those terms may apply to certain types of mental health conditions, mental health also focuses on positive factors.

Carol Ryff's (1989) research on psychological well-being identified six positive factors involved in life satisfaction and happiness. Focusing on these in your daily life may help you not only maintain positive mental health, but create strong coping skills that can act as a buffer when depression or anxiety seem to be overwhelming.

Accepting who you are, flaws and all, can help your overall sense of happiness. Don't try to live up to unrealistic expectations of the media or others, but rather take yourself for who you are and find a positive attitude toward yourself.

Positive Relations With Others
Having empathic, warm and trusting relationships with others is strongly related to positive mental health. In this day and age of social media relationships, it is our personal, face-to-face relationships that continue to offer the strongest boost to emotional well-being.

Independent, self-assertive behavior that allows one to regulate your behaviors from within, rather than externally, is linked to life satisfaction and well-being. Evaluate yourself according to your own standards, rather than the standards of others.

Environmental Mastery
Feeling like you have some control over your environment and managing your everyday affairs can help you maintain positive well-being. Take advantage of external opportunities, or create opportunities for positive experiences.

Purpose in Life
Frankl's (1959) Man's Search For Meaning explored the idea of meaningfulness and purpose in life. If one can find a goal and sense of direction for life, then it seems one can overcome almost anything. "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how." ~Nietzche

Personal Growth
Being open to new experiences, realizing your potential, and being able to grow and improve your own sense of self and behavior is one way to maintain positive mental health. Stagnation is detrimental to health in many ways, so continue to grow and reach your potential throughout your life.

Notice that many of these factors are within your control, if you make the effort to mindfully incorporate them into your day. Work at maintaining your positive mental health!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Article by Guest Blogger, Kimberly Burkhart, Ph.D.

Bullying is a relationship-based form of aggressive behavior, which involves the use of repeated intentional acts to humiliate, dominate, and oppress others.  There are four types of bullying that are most common among children and adolescents:  Verbal, physical, relational/social, and electronic.  

The 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicated that 20% of students had experienced some form of bullying in the previous 12 months.  Moreover, research suggests that 10-40% of youth reported being victims of some form of electronic bullying.  Bullying is associated with increases in suicide risk, depression, irritability, anxiety, sleeping difficulties, somatic problems, violent behaviors, and higher rates of school absenteeism among victims.  

Children who have special healthcare needs, specific language impairment, learning disabilities, pervasive developmental disorders, co-morbid psychiatric problems (internalizing and externalizing disorders), and those who have identified or who are perceived as being part of the LGBTQ community are more likely to be the victim of bullying.  

Some signs that a child may be bullied include unexplainable injuries, destroyed property, changes in eating habits, decline in academic performance, decreased self-esteem, avoidance of social situations, and engaging in self-destructive behavior.  

Some signs that a child may be bullying others include getting into physical or verbal fights, acquiring new belongings that are unexplainable, increasing aggressiveness and competitiveness, and blaming others for his/her mistakes.  

For more information on how to prevent or respond to bullying, please consult

 * * * * * 

Kimberly Burkhart, Ph.D. is a Clinical Child Psychology Fellow at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  She is the Chair of the Ohio Psychological Association’s Bullying Prevention Task Force.    

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

Ohio Psychological Association Raises Awareness for Mental Health Awareness Month
Association focuses on Bullying for National Children’s Mental Health Day on May 9

The Ohio Psychological Association (OPA) is taking part in Mental Health Awareness Month to bring public awareness to the critical importance of mental health. This Thursday, the association is joining the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in recognizing National Children’s Mental Health Day.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), systematic international research has shown school bullying to be a frequent and serious public health problem.  Psychologists and other mental health professionals are using this research to develop bullying prevention programs that are being implemented in schools around the world.

Current OPA president, Dr. Jim Broyles launched a task force to examine how psychologists may become a part of the solution to prevent and respond to bullying.

Dr. Broyles said, “As a group, psychologists are very aware and concerned about this topic, and the ongoing issues which continue to spring to light associated with it. Many of us work with children and families who are affected by bullying. Our clients can be individuals who are the target of a bully or in some cases may be the bullies themselves, who have their own unique psychological issues and needs.”

Dr. Kimberly Burkhart chairs the Bullying Prevention Task Force whose mission it is to increase awareness about warning signs that bullying may be occurring and to connect families, as well as school staff with resources.

Children who bully may exhibit the following characteristics:
·         Getting into physical or verbal fights
·         Acquiring new belongings that are unexplainable
·         Increasing aggressiveness and competitiveness
·         Blaming others for his/her mistakes

Children who have been victimized may have some of the following characteristics:
·         Unexplainable injuries
·         Destroyed property
·         Changes in eating habits
·         Decline in academic performance
·         Decreased self-esteem
·         Avoidance of social situations
·         Engaging in self-destructive behavior
·         Frequent stomachaches or headaches
·         Sleep problems

Students who experience bullying may feel depressed or anxious. If your child or student is having trouble at school, problems with relationships, or displaying signs or symptoms listed above as a result of bullying, a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, can help your child develop coping skills to manage negative emotions and to respond to bullying.  Mental health professionals can also work with children who bully to help decrease behavioral problems and better manage anger.   

Located in Columbus, OH, The Ohio Psychological Association is a membership organization of approximately 1,600 Ohio psychologists. Its mission is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and to improve people’s lives in Ohio. For more information, or for a psychologist referral, visit

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walks 2013

Please consider participating in one of the Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walks this fall. Participation can include walking as part of a team, volunteering your time, or giving a donation to the effort. Here is the information for Ohio walks that have been scheduled at this time.

September 28, 2013

October 13, 2013
Join the OPA/COPA team!

October 19, 2013

October 20, 2013

YMCA Healthy Kids Day -- Cleveland

OPA participated in the YMCA Healthy Kids Day in Cleveland, OH on Sunday, April 7th. 

OPA Members Nancy Duff-Boehm, Wendy Kellon, Cathy Gaw (pictured above) and Kathleen Ashton participated in the event. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May is Mental Health Month!

Welcome to Mental Health Month. This year's theme is Pathways to Wellness.  For more information, or access to the 2013 Toolkit from Mental Health America, please visit their website.

May is Mental Health Month 2013 horizontal banner

Key Messages

  1. Wellness - it's essential to living a full and productive life. It's about keeping healthy as well as getting healthy.
  2. Wellness involves a set of skills and strategies that prevent the onset or shorten the duration of illness and promote recovery and well-being. Wellness is more than just the absence of disease.
  3. Wellness is more than an absence of disease. It involves complete general, mental and social well-being. And mental health is an essential component of overall health and well-being. The fact is our overall well-being is tied to the balance that exists between our emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health.
  4. Whatever our situation, we are all at risk of stress given the demands of daily life and the challenges it brings-at home, at work and in life. Steps that build and maintain well-being and help us all achieve wellness involve a balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, a sense of self-worth, development of coping skills that promote resiliency, emotional awareness, and connections to family, friends and community.
  5. These steps should be complemented by taking stock of one's well-being through regular mental health checkups and screenings. Just as we check our blood pressure and get cancer screenings, it's a good idea to take periodic reading of our emotional well-being.
  6. Fully embracing the concept of wellness not only improves health in the mind, body and spirit, but also maximizes one's potential to lead a full and productive life. Using strategies that promote resiliency and strengthen mental health and prevent mental health and substance use conditions lead to improved general health and a healthier society: greater academic achievement by our children, a more productive economy, and families that stay together.

Monday, April 29, 2013

May is Mental Health Month

MHM2013 Button WebThe theme of this month is "Path to Wellness." For more information, to download the Intro and Media Tools kit, fact sheets, posters and electronic calendar, please visit the Mental Health Month America website. More posts will be coming, so stay tuned!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Stress in the Midwest

The American Psychological Association recently released results from their annual Stress in America Survey. The following is an article from the APA related to those results:
Americans in the Midwest, on average, report lower levels of stress than people in other regions. The majority also say they are doing enough to manage their stress despite reporting that their stress levels have largely stayed the same this year. What’s more, they report fewer unhealthy behaviors as a result of stress.
More Midwesterners say that they are doing enough to manage their stress this year (62 percent in 2012 vs. 56 percent in 2011).
Stress Management: Midwest TrendEven still, average stress levels in the Midwest exceed what people living in the region define as a healthy level of stress (4.7 average stress level vs. 3.3 healthy stress level on a 10-point scale).
Midwesterners are more likely than other Americans to say that their stress has stayed the same over the past year (50 percent compared with 45 percent in the South and West and 42 percent in the East), but one-third (33 percent) still say their stress increased during that time frame.
Money (74 percent), work (65 percent) and the economy (65 percent) remain the most commonly reported sources of stress for Midwesterners.
When asked what they do to manage stress, Midwesterners most commonly report exercising or walking (51 percent), listening to music (50 percent) and spending time with friends or family (46 percent). Midwesterners are more likely than people living across the country to turn to friends and family for stress relief (46 percent vs. 39 percent nationally).
The number of Midwesterners who say they have lain awake at night or overeaten, eaten unhealthy foods or skipped a meal because of stress has declined in the past year.
  • Thirty-nine percent of people in the Midwest say they have lain awake at night due to stress (compared with 46 percent in 2011).
  • Thirty-seven percent say they have overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods because of stress (compared with 44 percent in 2011).
  • Twenty-four percent say they have skipped a meal because of stress (compared with 35 percent in 2011).
Despite their desire to live healthier lifestyles, many in the Midwest, on average, appear to be having difficulty reaching their healthy living goals. Midwesterners are also more likely than people in other regions to feel that a lack of willpower is preventing them from making these changes. They are, however, increasingly likely to recognize that psychologists can help with making lifestyle and behavior changes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How is your New Year's Resolution going so far?

Steps to New Year’s Resolution Success

By: Nicolette Howells

Fact: In an article published in April 2002 in Journal of Clinical Psychology (Vol. 58, No. 4), University of Scranton psychology professor John Norcross, PhD, noted that readiness to change, or how prepared a person is to enter the action stage of behavior change, is the single best predictor of New Year’s resolution success.

Consider these 6 tips to help you find success in your New Year’s resolutions.

Start small. Resolutions that are attainable are ones you think you can keep. Make resolutions that you think you can keep. If, for example, your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule three days a week at the gym instead of seven. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing one night of eating out a week with a meal at home. Once this is successful, you can set your next healthy eating goal.

Change one behavior at a time. Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time, making replacing them with healthy ones difficult. This will take time. Don’t get overwhelmed by changing your entire routine. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.

Rise and sing. Set your iPod or alarm clock to wake you with your favorite song so you start every morning humming a happy tune. Music is a great stress-buster, especially when you listen to songs you really like. Waking in a good mood will help you feel motivated and confident that you can reach your goals.

Take a breather. When your job or kids are driving you crazy, go somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and count backward from 10 to zero, taking one deep breath for each number. Relieving your stress is an important step in keeping to your goals.

Find laughter. Laughter is a powerful stress reliever. It can soothe your mind and keep you in a positive mindset. Calling a funny friend or watching a comedic video or show for just 15 minutes can help soothe your mind.

Don’t beat yourself up. Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal. Everyone has ups and downs, the key to success is to resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

Information taken from the following helpful links:


APA Help Center

Monday, January 14, 2013

Successfully Empowering Male Survivors of Sexual Victimization to Thrive

Successfully Empowering Male Survivors of Sexual Victimization to Thrive
a guest post by Howard Fradkin, Ph.D.

Male survivors face special challenges to achieve mental health, and the good news is it is possible and achievable to overcome these challenges and help them not only survive and heal, but to actually thrive.  As a Psychologist, we have an incredible opportunity to be agents of change for these men and those who love and support them.

One in 6 men has been sexually victimized by the age of 16, according to social science research ( One in 8 rape victims is a man.  These statistics represent an epidemic of silence that has the potential to severely damage the lives of boys and men who do not get help.  We've all heard about the recent scandals:  Jerry Sandusky, the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, even Sesame Street.  It seems once a week our local papers have yet another article about the crimes being committed against boys and girls.  But often, by virtue of language, "abused children" does not translate to boys in many people's minds; they think about the girls.  Without minimizing the horrendous crimes done to 1 in 4 girls, we must as a society wake up to the huge numbers of boys and men who are also being victimized.

Typically, male survivors face many mental health challenges, including depression and suicidality, anxiety disorders, damaged self esteem, impaired ability to embrace masculinity, difficulty with trust and forming intimate relationships, and engaging in addictive behaviors including alcoholism, substance abuse, sex addiction and gambling.  Many of these illnesses are rooted in the deep shame that male survivors bury deep inside their souls, fearful for anyone to know the truth of what was done to them.  Survivors of course are even fearful of telling us!  And truthfully, many of them do not even know about their own abuse, or have suppressed so deeply in their bodies, minds and souls, that they are not able to connect the dots between their current dysfunction and the betrayal of their bodies years, maybe even decades before.

Treatment is now readily available in many communities thanks to the training efforts of and, and our own Ohio Psychological Association.   MaleSurvivor and 1in6 are very important resources for any of your clients who do identify as survivors.  They host extensive websites that offer chatrooms, bulletin boards, articles, bookstores, and access to support groups and psychotherapists who can all provide help.  

Have you received specific training in working with male survivors?  There are significant differences, including the most important:  your recognition that men can indeed be survivors of sexual abuse.  I am amazed at how many male survivors I have worked with who have been to therapy for years, but were never asked the right questions that might have led them to uncover their shameful secrets of being abused.  True, some of them were not ready to talk, but I am convinced that many of them were giving lots of signs to their therapists about their histories, but because the right questions were not asked, they chose not to walk down that path either.

Men are especially vulnerable to male socialization which teaches many destructive messages that must be unlearned in order to heal.  The most significant of these messages are: Men must be strong and tough; men who ask for help are weak; men should always be in control and if they are abused, it is a sign of their weakness.  Thankfully, in our profession, we are skilled at helping men who seek therapy learn how to honor their courage and strength in seeking help for their problems.  Men need a great deal of reassurance that it is okay to talk about abuse, and that you will not judge them.  Too often, men are afraid they will hear from their therapist that they should have been stronger, or should have told someone instead of hiding and burying the secret.  And some are afraid they'll be labeled as perpetrators, or presumed they will become perpetrators simply because they were victimized.

I believe that healing is a process of learning to be disloyal to dysfunction and loyal to functionality.  Each of these damaging dysfunctional messages must be challenged, not just intellectually, but emotionally and physically as well.   Men can be helped to be loyal to functional messages such as:  it is a sign of strength for a man to courageously face the truth of his abuse; men who ask for help will become stronger and more effective and more loving; men can recognize they have zero responsibility for the abuse done to them and that the shame of these actions belongs to the perpetrator who hurt them.  Too often, survivors feel loyal to the perpetrator, and hold on their shame instead of finding ways to release it.  Men can learn to stop choosing to be loyal to dysfunctional ways of coping, such as alcoholism, drug addiction and sex addiction.  They need our support, and they need the support of other male survivors and loved ones to help them overcome their blocks to functionality. 

If you work with male clients, think about the real possibility that 1 in 6 of these men are survivors.  How many are we missing?  

Male survivors need to hear a message of hope.  I for one believe it is ethical and responsible to tell survivors they can survive, they can heal, and yes, they can thrive.  Men need to hear this message of hope.  Too often I think therapists are so cautious that the message male survivors hear instead is, this is a life sentence... it will get better, but you will always suffer from the effects of your abuse.  I am not suggesting we be Polyanna, and tell them it is easy and simple to heal.  Far from is a journey, one with lots of bumps in the road; and many brothers and sisters who will identify, who will offer help, and who really will understand.  I hope you will join forces with me and be a beacon of hope for the 1 in 6 men abused as children and the 1 in 8 adult rape victims who is a man.

Howard Fradkin, Ph.D., LICDC has counseled over 1000 male survivors in individual, couples, group psychotherapy and weekend workshops over the course of his 30-year career as a Psychologist. As Co-Chairperson of the MaleSurvivor Weekends of Recovery, ( he has co-directed 40 Weekends of Recovery since 2001 for over 880 men. Dr. Fradkin has also trained hundreds of professional colleagues. Dr. Fradkin’s first book, Joining Forces: Empowering Male Survivors to Thrive, was recently published by Hay House in November, 2012.  He is the Co-Founder of Affirmations: A Center for Psychotherapy and Growth, in Columbus.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Taking action to improve our resilience

Why do some people recover quickly from traumatic experiences while others go in to a spiral of negative emotions and reduced functioning? Dr. Donald Meichenbaum, one of the ten most influential psychotherapists of the 20th century,  has some answers in his new book "Roadmap to Resilience: A Guide for Military, Trauma Victims and their Families." Dr. Meichenbaum outlines six different areas of resilience and provides ways that we all can boost ours. For example: exercising regularly, giving back and helping others, expressing gratitude, journal writing, establishing realistic expectations and more. You can find a large list of suggestions on this checklist from the Roadmap to Resilience website.

If you'd like to hear more from Dr. Meichenbaum about resilience, particularly after a trauma, you can hear an interview Todd Finnerty, Psy.D. did with him on the first ever Mental Health Day podcast. Dr. Meichenbaum describes post-traumatic growth and the six domains of resilience. He also talks about ways that you can I can improve our resilience in each area. Check out the podcast now.