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.

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