Check in On Your Mental Health
May 2022 Issue — Pink Prescriptions
Check in On Your Mental Health
During Mental Health Awareness Month this May,
It’s Never Been More Important to
Raise Awareness about Mental Health …
and the Importance of Seeking Help
Family Mental Health Check-In:
By Dr. Stephanie Jamison-Void, PhD
CEO, Jamison Consultants Integrated HealthCare Services
For more than 70 years, the month of May has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month, helping to raise awareness of mental illness, mental health and behavioral health issues. This year, as the world still deals with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on both physical and mental health, the observance of Mental Health Awareness Month is particularly relevant, and increasingly important. Fact is, mental health experts have noted that the pandemic has led to a significant increase in people suffering with both anxiety and depression, as well as exacerbating existing mental health conditions in many individuals.
The latest data is alarming: According to a brief released by the World Health Organization in March, the pandemic has led to a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. Women and young people have been affected the most. The most recent CDC data is even more troubling, noting that more than one third of high school students nationwide reported experiencing poor mental health during the pandemic, and nearly half of students (44%) reported to have felt persistently sad or hopeless in the past year. While it’s known that children and teens were already facing a growing mental health crisis in the years prior to the pandemic, it is clear that things have gotten significantly worse for many families both nationwide and right here in the Lowcountry.
Mental Health Awareness Month is a good time to take a closer look at your family’s overall mental health and “check in” on family members to see how they have handled the stress and anxiety that has accompanied the past two years, and see how they are coping now that life is returning to a “new normal.” In particular, it is a good time to take a closer look at how kids of all ages are doing when it comes to their mental health and identify any signs that they may need some help.
According to Mental Health America (www.mhanational.org), following are the signs and symptoms to look out for in kids and teens that might signal they are struggling with mental health issues:
• Changes in appetite • Problems with concentration, memory, or ability to think clearly
• Excessive worry • Feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or worthless
• Changes in sleep • Loss of interest in things they used to enjoy
• Angry outbursts • Irritability or restlessness
• Not wanting to be around people or take part in activities
Mental health screenings are a good way to identify and diagnose a wide range of mental health disorders and can be an important first step in protecting the mental health of everyone in your family, including vulnerable youth. If you are concerned about your child’s mental health in these challenging times, talk to their health care provider to discuss next steps and arrange for a possible mental health screening. Jamison Consultants Integrated HealthCare Services, as well as others, offer psychological evaluations and assessments that can help identify any mental health issues that your family may be facing and then come up with a plan of next steps to address the issues in order to treat specific mental health disorders, as well as improve overall mental health.
This May, it is more important than ever to focus on mental health and get the help that is needed to foster a healthier future for all of us, both physically and mentally.
For more information about this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month, visit www.mhanational.org/mental-health-month. For additional information about Jamison Consultants Integrated HealthCare Services, including a list of office locations throughout the Lowcountry and services offered, visit www.jamisonconsultants.com.
Dr. Stephanie Jamison-Void is the CEO of Jamison Consultants Integrative HealthCare Services. Throughout her career, Stephanie has played an instrumental role in helping many local individuals and families as well as human services professionals throughout South Carolina through employment opportunities and assisted families in receiving health services for a wide variety of behavioral health concerns. She has a strong background in Organizational Leadership and Behavioral Health Management; demonstrated through her work history as a Human Resource Director, Case Manager, Social Worker, and trainer of other qualified Mental Health Professionals, and holds her PhD in Organizational Psychology.
is More Than the Baby Blues
Along with Mental health Month, May is also Maternal Health Month. That means there is no better time to focus on postpartum depression than now. So, what is postpartum depression and how does it differ from the “baby blues?” Jean Magarelli, a lactation consultant at Hilton Head Regional Healthcare with 40-plus years of experience dealing with postpartum moms expands on the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression, how to recognize symptoms of postpartum depression and when to get help:
Nine out of ten women experience the “baby blues” usually beginning the third or fourth day after delivery. The baby blues can last just a few hours or up to a week and symptoms include trouble sleeping, exhaustion and tearfulness. These symptoms are usually short-lived and often fade away without treatment. Getting rest, asking for help with chores and having a good support system will aid in symptom relief for most postpartum moms.
Postpartum depression is more severe than the “baby blues.” One to two out of every 10 women will develop postpartum depression. It can occur anytime during the first few months after delivery. Jean encourages new moms to call their healthcare provider if they experience one or more of these symptoms:
• A sense of failure and guilt • Loss of control
• Uncontrollable crying • Mood swings
• A sense of hopelessness • Loss of appetite
• Exhaustion but can’t sleep • Loss of identity
• Difficulty focusing or concentrating
• Having a hard time caring for yourself or your baby
A family member may be more aware of these symptoms than Mom is. He or she may need to call Mom’s healthcare provider. Getting help is a key factor. Most often medication, counseling and support groups are prescribed for moms suffering with postpartum depression. There is help and hope for moms.
Jean Magarelli is a childbirth educator and lactation specialist at Hilton Head Regional Healthcare with more than 40 years experience. Jean is one of the many experts in the birthing centers at both Tenet hospitals in the Lowcountry, Hilton Head Regional Healthcare and Coastal Carolina Healthcare.