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Posts in Mental Health

Friends wearing masks for a group photo

Gatherings & Get-Togethers During a Pandemic: Tips for Staying Safe & Healthy

November 16, 2020

As the temperatures nudge colder and the days grow shorter, a bright spot of the fall and winter seasons each year is the holiday gatherings. But the celebrations—Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Years—usually include indoor gatherings of friends and families, crowded parties, and travel. All of these activities increase the risk for getting or spreading COVID-19. So how do we reduce risk for our own parties and the ones we attend? Here, from the Augusta Health Infection Prevention specialists and the CDC, are some tips to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. First...Continue Reading

Best friends wearing masks and chatting

Risk of suicide and the COVID-19 pandemic

September 22, 2020

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been overwhelmed and experienced feelings of anxiety, fear, loneliness and sadness. People feel stress related to the disease and stress related to the economic impact of the pandemic. The pandemic has progressed at a time that suicide rates were already rising in the United States. According to an article published in JAMA Psychiatry in April, 2020, the data for 2018 show the highest age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States since 1941. Local data also reveals a concern about suicide. The 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment coordinated by...Continue Reading

Young teen doing school work at a computer

5 tips to help your kids focus during virtual learning

September 8, 2020

The 2020 school year is different than ever before. Along with many changes in the school year, more than likely, your child’s learning environment includes a virtual learning component. Unlike leisure screen time, virtual learning requires a level of focus that many kids (and parents!) may not be used to. To help ease the transition from the classroom to the virtual classroom, we’ve comprised a list of tips to help kids focus and learn during this challenging time. Set Reasonable Expectations Whether you’re homeschooling your child or your child is participating in a school-based virtual...Continue Reading

A happy boy looking through a window at the nighttime city lights

5 Ways to Support a Person with Autism

August 4, 2020

Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disorder, and according to the latest Center for Disease Control research, 1 in 59 children in the United States (a 15% increase) are diagnosed with autism. Autism is also four times more common in boys than girls. It's challenging to acquire exact statistics about autism in children because many adults not diagnosed with autism in early childhood go undiagnosed into adulthood. It's estimated that there are about 3.5 million Americans living with a type of autism, but all ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups worldwide are impacted. Given these...Continue Reading

Girl swinging and laughing

Soothing for an Anxious Time: Tired of Living in a Time of Pandemic

July 31, 2020

Yesterday seemed to be the tipping point. Every single person seemed to be done with the Covid-19 pandemic. Over it, done, kaput, depressed, exhausted. The heat is definitely exacerbating the whole difficult thing. Everybody seems to be feeling the strain of months of life being altered in every direction. We want to hug Grandma. We want to go to the pool, to church, to restaurants. We want to cough or sneeze without feeling conspicuous and potentially dangerous. We want the real birthday party, wedding shower, wedding, baby shower, church. We are grateful to Zoom and other platforms that...Continue Reading

Close-up of man vaping

What Are the Facts About Vaping?

July 24, 2020

This relatively new industry is worth billions and deserves a second look into what it means for your health. Are these products safe to use? Are they better than cigarettes? Let’s take a look at some of the myths and facts. It’s just a harmless vapor False. Vaping might sound a lot like water vapor, but the similarity stops there. Vape pens, e-cigarettes, Juuls, and other similar products typically still contain nicotine along with other flavors and additives. E-cigarettes heat a liquid mix of flavorings and nicotine into an aerosol form for the user to inhale. It may not be smoke, but that...Continue Reading

Girl blowing a dandelion and laughing

Help for Isolation Blues

May 26, 2020

A lot of us are getting tired of isolation, tired of masks, tired of virtual visits, just tired of life in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic. We each have our own set of worries and frustrations. Though we are all roughly going through the same thing some of us have complicating factors that simply make it harder (specific issues with health, finances, childcare, eldercare, etc.). It would be hard to argue that anyone is immune from the effects of living with all of the changes that have been brought about by the Pandemic. What can we do to make things a little bit better without putting...Continue Reading

Father teaching his son to play guitar

Soothing for an Anxious Time: Maintaining Perspective

April 29, 2020

It is hard to have a clear idea of when our need to practice social distancing will end and "normal" life will resume. The experts are trying to weigh the pros and cons of easing restrictions and many of us are having cabin fever. It isn't easy to have so many of our normal activities altered or postponed or simply cancelled. We are going to virtual meetings, attending virtual services, and having phone conversations instead of visits. We have times of great productivity and times of quiet inactivity. We may be struggling with the thought that we could be doing more. This can be a good time...Continue Reading

Senior woman talking on phone with her eyes closed

Soothing for an Anxious Time: Being Alone Can Be Hard

April 16, 2020

One of the side effects of Social Distancing is that people who live alone can become even more isolated. When people who live alone are very socially connected and have lots of technical ability to visit friends and family using virtual means (computers, phones, tablets) they can tolerate this "Shelter in Place" time fairly well. And there are a few people who actually enjoy alone time and feel quite nourished by it. If they have a phone they can connect with family and friends as needed. But there are people in our lives and in our communities who are particularly isolated. They may even...Continue Reading

Father with his two daughters who are drawing at a table

Soothing for Anxious Time: Dealing with Irritability

April 15, 2020

"Sheltering in Place" or staying at home day after day as we wait for the "All Clear" message to get back into the world is hard for most people. We are used to our freedom of movement. We enjoy going out and visiting, shopping, playing, hiking, exploring, etc. Though we love our families tremendously we also love our private time and our time away from home. And now we are isolating either alone (which has its own set of frustrations) or with our families. All of the togetherness can make us irritable especially if one or more family members is trying to work or study from home. This can be...Continue Reading