February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

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February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

1 in 3 teens have experienced teen dating violence nationwide. Teen dating violence can have long-term and severe short-term effects on teens, and these teens are more likely to use drugs, alcohol and tobacco; contemplate suicide; eating disorders and experience symptoms of anxiety and depression.

As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, we should be more aware of digital dating abuse. Digital dating abuse is defined as using technology to continually harass a romantic partner with the intent to control, coerce, intimidate, annoy or threaten them. Video chat, social media, and texting are different ways youth communicate that provide various opportunities for digital dating abuse.

It is encouraged to talk to youth early about dating violence and healthy relationships. Some tips on having a conversation with youth about health relationships are:

  • Encourage thoughtful, honest, and open dialogue – Talk openly and allow them to articulate what a healthy relationship is to them.
  • Be active in the youth’s life – Find activities and interests you can do with the teen.
  • Be supportive and nonjudgmental – Try to respect differences of opinions, come to mutually acceptable decisions, and be aware of seeming too judgmental or pushy so the teen does not become too defensive.

National Poverty in America Awareness Month

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National Poverty in America Awareness Month

January is National Poverty in America Awareness Month. The poverty rate in the United States increased from 9.3% in June to 11.7% in November, the biggest increase in one year since 1960. The federal poverty line is $26,200 for a family of four. Poverty can cause malnutrition and hunger; lack of proper medical care; social discrimination and exclusion; and limited access to education and other basic services.

Housing affects almost everything: it plays a critical role in providing stability to poor families. Housing poverty includes energy and fuel poverty, lack of access to water, and lack of sanitation. The housing market does not produce enough affordable housing, and the number of households paying more than 30% of household income for rent is at historic levels. Families with severe rent burdens are left with very little room for other necessities. Often, they face eviction, sometimes repeatedly, or in worst cases, end up homeless.

Poverty USA’s Poverty Quiz, will help you learn about the structures and systems that affect our communities. Some ways we can help to combat poverty in America is through contributing to charities with support and time. Different charities assist with food aid, access to education, and other areas. Charity Navigator evaluates charitable organizations in the US for efficient use of funds.

National Family Caregivers Month

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National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month. There are more than 40 million people who serve as unpaid caregivers for family members with functional impairment, disabilities, and/or terminal or chronic illnesses.

These caregivers are essential in the role they play to ensure the well-being and health of their family, and they need support and compassionate care. As the pandemic continues, caregivers are continuing to provide a vital lifeline of devotion, energy, immeasurable time, encouragement, resources and hope. The additional stress of caregiving may take a significant toll on someone’s mental wellness. This might be seen as struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and/or a problematic relationship with substances.

It is really important for caregivers to maintain their mental well-being, even if the caregiver feels they have no time to schedule self-care. That self-care could be accepting offers from others to help, taking care of their own health, checking in with themselves to make sure they are not becoming depressed and being open to new technologies that can assist in the care for their family member.

The National Alliance for Caregiving (caregiving.org) provides an array of valuable information that range from family supports, professional resources and virtual toolkits.

National Recovery Month

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National Recovery Month

September is National Recovery Month, designed to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with substance use and mental disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives. This is the 31st year celebrating the gains made by those in recovery, and celebrating improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.

Recovery Month promotes and supports new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible, and the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges to those in recovery, caused in part by difficulty receiving in-person treatment, the inability to meet in-person for peer support groups, and social isolation. COVID-19 has caused many other overwhelming emotions including fear, uncertainty, and stress to those who face the day-to-day reality of overcoming addiction, and made it more difficult for people to access care. Even though there are challenges to developing and fostering meaningful connections, have by creating new means of connecting, Americans in recovery resolve to fill the void of in person interactions and demonstrated resilience. This resilience comes from establishing virtual peer support groups that embrace technology like videoconferencing to holding health and wellness classes remotely or in person following social distancing guidelines. During this time, we must support our loved ones, neighbors and friends who are struggling with substance use disorder and celebrate those living in recovery.

Raising Awareness of America’s Health Centers Accomplishments

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Raising Awareness of America’s Health Centers Accomplishments

August 9 – 15 is National Health Center Week. This annual celebration’s goal is raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades. This year, the National Health Center Week honors front line providers, staff, and beloved patients who lost their lives during the (ongoing) COVID-19 pandemic. Community Health Centers serve as the beacon of service, care, and strength in their communities. In moments of pain and loss, Community Health Centers offer support and love. In moments of triumph, they offer hope and a vision for the future.

From the very beginning of the crisis, Community Health Centers began finding innovative ways to provide preventative and primary care to their patients. Health centers serve 27 million patients, which continues to be a growing number. Health centers reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the social determinants of health affecting special patient populations produce innovative solutions to the most pressing health care issues in their communities.

The following days are dedicated to particular areas that spotlight the high-quality care health centers provide as they work to improve health outcomes and narrow health disparities in their communities:

  • Sunday, 8/9: Public Health in Housing Day
  • Monday, 8/10: Healthcare for the Homeless Day
  • Tuesday, 8/11: Agricultural Worker Health Day
  • Wednesday, 8/12: Patient Appreciation Day
  • Thursday, 8/13: Stakeholder Appreciation Day
  • Friday, 8/14: Health Center Staff Appreciation Day
  • Saturday, 8/15: Children’s Health Day

Anxiety and Depression in a Global Health Crisis

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Anxiety and Depression in a Global Health Crisis

As we continue to learn and adjust to this global health crisis, this is a great opportunity for us to check in with ourselves first, then with everyone else we are in contact with even on a small scale. Anxiety and depression are both potentially debilitating mental health disorders that impact all areas of one’s life.

Depression can present itself as anxiety, brooding, or irritability even as symptoms of physical pain. People who are depressed may not be willing or able to readily identify their symptoms. Saying things like ‘I just don’t feel well’ or ‘I’m tired’ can be a sign of concealed depression. Other subtle signs include:

  • Changes in sleeping patterns including excessive sleeping or insomnia
  • Reckless behavior
  • Crying for no apparent reason
  • Sudden aches and pain

Anxiety disorders are characterized by worry or excessive fear or caused by anticipation of a threat or conflict. While anxiety itself is a normal facet of life, anxiety disorders can disrupt one’s ability to function in day to day situations.

Much like depression, anxiety can have a number of causes, including biochemical imbalances or past traumas. When depression and anxiety occur together, coping with the dueling emotions is overwhelming. Feeling anxious about achieving goals or other’s expectations may cause inaction, deepening depression when one falls short.

It may be possible to create an environment of support and care that includes you, friends, family, and other supportive people, who can all work together to help you or anyone who deals with anxiety and depression to live the highest quality of life possible.lly.