May is Mental Health Month: 6 Interesting Mental Health Stats

In the U.S., May is Mental Health Month. It’s a time when we focus on mental health issues like depression, anxiety and others with the goal of helping people better understand what mental illness is and how to address it in ways that produce the most positive outcomes.

A good first step in determining how to manage any condition — mental, emotional or physical — is to get a sense of the scope of the problem. Once you have an understanding of the big picture, you can decide how to tackle specific issues.     

Mental Health by the Numbers

Here are some statistics gathered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness from multiple sources that make it clear that nearly all Americans will be touched by mental illness in some way in their lifetime — either their own condition or that of a friend or loved one:

  1. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in America experiences a mental illness.
  2. Nearly 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in America lives with a serious mental illness.
  3. Approximately 50 percent of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; 75 percent by the age of 24.
  4. Nearly 25 percent of state prisoners have “a recent history of a mental health condition.”
  5. Approximately 26 percent of homeless adults staying in shelters live with a serious mental illness.
  6. Approximately 90 percent of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

When you look at the numbers, there is no question that by increasing awareness of mental health issues like anxiety, depression and others (during Mental Health Month and all year long), and by finding ways to get more people the help they need, we can make the world a happier, healthier and safer place for everyone.

Take Control of Your Mental Health

While mental health professionals play a critical role in helping people who are struggling with a mental illness, it’s important to keep in mind that you do, too. As you come to believe that you may have a mental health condition that requires treatment, here are some things you can do to take charge of your situation:

  • Ask your doctor to help you find a specialist or call a mental health center to ask about their services. If you feel your need for help is urgent, be sure to mention that.
  • Make an appointment to talk with a mental health specialist.
  • Get the most out of your appointment by being ready to talk openly about your symptoms and your goals in seeking treatment.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions about things like what your symptoms mean, how often you and the care provider should meet, how long it will take you to feel better and what you should do between appointments. When a treatment plan is developed, be sure you understand it.
  • Remember that treatment takes time, and stick with your therapy, medication, etc.
  • Speak up if your treatment plan doesn’t seem to be working for you.
  • Keep a wellness log that details your progress.
  • Call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 anytime you feel like you’re heading into the crisis zone. Caring therapists and peer specialists are on hand 24/7/365 to help you.

The Outlook is Bright

Both for individuals facing mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and others, and for our country in general, the outlook on mental illness is bright. Thanks to observances like Mental Health Month, we’ve made great strides in eliminating the stigma of mental illness and encouraging people to get help. But the statistics on mental illness remind us that there’s still much work to be done!

If you or someone you know needs help with any mental or emotional issues you are facing, contact us online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have centers in the Northside Denver metro area of Adams County including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.

Helicopter Parenting—How It Affects Your Children

Helicopter Parenting and Youth Mental HealthWe love our kids. From the time they are born, to when they go out and embark on their own adventures, we guide them and we worry about them—sometimes, a lot. Will he fall off the monkey bars? Will she make friends? How is her mental health? Parenting is tough work, but helicopter parenting? Whew! It’s exhausting just thinking about it.

What would you do if your son skipped school or smarted off to one of his teachers? Or, what if he broke a neighbor’s window and lied about it? It’s natural that we want to “cushion the blow” for our kids, but the benefits of letting the natural consequences teach the lesson is best. Helicopter parenting is overwhelming, and tiring.

The effects of a helicopter parent on youth mental health…

  • It’s innate to want to shield our children from harm; to love and protect them; to see them smile instead of cry. However, there is such a thing as being overprotective. According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Mary Washington and published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, “one of the major problems with helicopter parenting is that parents fail to adjust their behavior to their children's increasing maturity, competence and independence.” How would they handle the stress of getting into their first fender bender, going off to college, or even their first job?
  • Hovering directly undermines a child’s confidence. Children of helicopter mothers were more depressed and less satisfied with life, felt that they had less autonomy and were less competent, according to the same study.

We simply want to keep our kids safe and ensure they are happy, so how do we ensure that happens without being too overbearing?

There IS another way. Take a breath.

Road trip with your children

Instead of hovering, be on the same road as your kids. Sometimes, they really can take the figurative wheel. And, they just might not crash after all.

  • Allow them some freedoms. Children who never get to make their choices turn into adults who won’t be able to make decisions. Loosen your grip and watch your child run on his or her own. If you let your children learn through the natural consequences that come with their mistakes, they’ll learn how to handle almost anything life throws their way.
  • Respect their identity. Every child is uniquely their own person. Some are drawn to art, while others love algorithms or biology. There’s not another soul on the planet like your child. How cool is that? Embrace what makes him or her unique. It will build their confidence, teach them to explore new passions and how to meet new people.
  • Give them time and space to make decisions. We are parents, and we often think we know best. But, we don’t always know what the best fit is. Let them ‘try on’ decisions. Try to suppress the need to jump in when you see your child making a decision that is different than the one that YOU would make.

Balancing the desire to protect our kids, while providing them with the tools to learn and grow is necessary. And hard. But it can be done if you leave the helicopter in the hangar.

If you’d like to learn more about supporting youth mental health, or about the weekly Parenting Workshop provided at Community Reach Center, visit us online. If you have any questions, please visit us online at www.communityreachcenter.org, or call us at (303) 853-3500, Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm.

Colorado Crisis Services: A Safe Place for Crisis Counseling and Guidance

Colorado Crisis Services logoWe all have good days and bad days. Though many days are great, the bad days can occasionally feel unmanageable. During those really tough moments, day or weeks, you don’t have to navigate your crisis alone. Crisis counseling services are at your fingertips through Colorado Crisis Services (CCS).

What would you do if you witnessed someone having a heart attack or choking? Many of us have the knowledge and skills to perform CPR or provide the Heimlich maneuver. An emotional health crisis is equally as important, and action is also necessary. A quick response to mental health crises can de-stress the situation, provide immediate emotional support and assist you, or a family member/friend, in moving forward.

One in four American adults and approximately 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 experience health challenges in a given year. It affects nearly every family, classroom, work place and community.

Who calls for Crisis Counseling at Colorado Crisis Services?

You do. He does. She does. They do. Colorado Crisis Services offers 24/7/365 walk-in, call and text crisis counseling services by trained mental health professionals and peer specialists.

Brian can’t seem to shake the violence and tragedy happening throughout the world. Every time he reads a newspaper, turns on the radio, or watches television, there seems to be another act of violence. He finds himself withdrawing from friends, family and neighbors and spends the majority of his time fixating on the negativity happening around him rather than the positives. He begins to drink to dull his pain.

Maria just got home from a long, difficult shift at the hospital. She’s exhausted and anxious. Her eldest daughter helps her make dinner for the family, but Maria does not eat. She has no appetite because she imagines the tragic things she has witnessed at the hospital happening to her own family. Maria heads off to bed, but endures another sleepless night full of worry.

Kyle sits alone in his dorm room. He wishes he was still with his friends from high school and is having trouble fitting in at college. Instead of attending his afternoon classes, he decides to lie down in his bed and sleep the rest of the day away…again.

While Brian, Maria, and Kyle are fictional people, their situations are not uncommon. Crises can take many forms, and Colorado Crisis Services wants you to know that if it feels like a crisis to you, it’s a crisis to us. 

Why call?  CCS offers support for:

  • Relationship problems
  • Family crises
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Bullying
  • Stress
  • Disability
  • And more

Talking in real-time to a trained counselor provides you with immediate support and allows counselors to easily connect you with additional places to get help. Whatever your crisis, your call will be answered by someone who will be supportive and non-judgmental, and who will try to understand exactly what you’re saying and how you’re feeling. They want to help you stay safe, think through your situation or problem, explore your options and figure out what to do next.

When you call Colorado Crisis Services, you will be immediately connected to a crisis counselor—a trained professional with a master’s or doctoral degree, or a trained peer specialist who has overcome similar experiences. They offer translation services for non-English speakers, engage in immediate problem solving and always make follow-up calls to ensure you receive continued care.

How can I help others in crisis?

Mental health crises impact everyone. CCS welcomes calls from supporters, friends and families of those in crisis. Their crisis often becomes yours, so CCS is available to help YOU cope, support and thrive with crisis counseling services.

Colorado Crisis Services’ walk-in crisis centers are open 24/7, and offer confidential, in-person crisis support, information and referrals to anyone in need. View the map on Colorado Crisis Services’ website to find walk-in crisis services near you.

If you don’t know where to begin getting mental health, substance use or emotional help for yourself or someone you know, begin with a call to CCS. They provide confidential and immediate support, 24/7/365. If you are in crisis or need help dealing with one, call 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text “TALK” to 38255 to speak to a trained professional.

As a CCS partner, Community Reach Center provides crisis counseling services for Adams County and the surrounding Denver area at our Walk-in Crisis Center located at 2551 W. 84th Ave. in Westminster. For other mental health services, you can reach us at (303) 853-3500, Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm.

Other sources used for this blog:

We all have rough days

Counseling at Community Reach Center

When is it time to seek counseling?

Everyday stress stemming from work, family, school, finances, or personal struggles can cause an occasional rough day for any of us. Unfortunately, for some people, the stress causing a rough day can create interference in their lives for longer periods - weeks, months, or even years. How do you decide when your rough days are becoming unmanageable? How do you know when it’s time to seek counseling?

To guide your decision, try asking yourself a simple series of questions:

  1. Is it disrupting my typical sleeping or eating habits?
  2. Is it impacting my personal relationships?
  3. Are my problems getting in the way at work or school?
  4. Am I self-medicating with drugs or alcohol?

If you answer yes to any of the questions, then it may be time for counseling.

You may be thinking that only deeply disturbed people need counseling, or that counseling is not a financially viable option. These are only some of the myths regarding mental health treatment. The truth is everyone can benefit from counseling at some point in their lives.

There are many reasons why someone may seek counseling. Some come for support with feelings of depression or anxiety. Some for help managing experiences related to trauma, death of a loved one, illness, loss of employment, or any event difficult to cope with. Some clients seek counseling shortly after a new marriage, a new baby, or while considering adoption. Children who are having trouble in school due to truancy, ADHD, or behavioral problems experience measurable improvements with counseling.

Therapists work with clients to create individual treatment plans tailored towards client goals. In addition to private counseling sessions, therapists and clients may develop a treatment plan utilizing therapeutic support groups or wellness activities available in their community. If your treatment plan includes medication, you will most likely see a psychiatrist at least once every three months to assess symptom improvement, and make sure the medication is working for you.

It’s important to remember that these struggles and feelings won’t last forever. The success rates for most mental health treatments are higher than those for many medical conditions, making counseling an effective treatment option. The bottom line is that if you’ve been struggling with your emotional health and well-being with little relief for a while, help is available. You could start with your family physician or contact Community Reach Center directly.

May is Mental Health Month – a good time to reflect on ways you can add more meaning to your life. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or other emotional difficulties, help is available through Community Reach Center locations in Thornton, Brighton, Commerce City, Northglenn and Westminster. Visit us online at www.communityreachcenter.org or call (303) 853-3500, Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, call Colorado Crisis Services for 24-Hour assistance: (844) 493-8255 (TALK) or dial 911 for emergency assistance.

Founded in 1957, Community Reach Center has outpatient offices in Commerce City, Northglenn, Thornton, Brighton and Westminster, and operates three residential-treatment homes.  To learn about Community Reach Center or our counseling services, visit www.CommunityReachCenter.org or call (303) 853-3500.

Using Your Creativity to Help Reduce Anxiety

Using art to deal with anxiety

Are you one of those people who doodles while you’re on the phone or hums while you’re washing dishes? Do you fill your journal with all of your thoughts, goals and dreams? If any of these apply to you, keep doing them – it’s good for your health.

Health is more than the absence of disease. It is a state of wholeness, based on physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. There is evidence that engaging in artistic activities – like music, visual art, movement or creative writing – can help you emotionally and physically. It helps to reduce stress and anxiety and has been shown to alleviate symptoms associated with depression.

Do you notice that little boost you get when your favorite song comes on the radio? Music has a soothing capacity – it has been shown to decrease anxiety and fill you with positive emotions. In clinical studies, music is used to help people manage chronic pain and restore emotional balance. It has also been proven to benefit the immune system.

Music has never been more accessible. In today’s world, you can turn on the radio, pull up your favorite artist on Pandora, livestream on your laptop or break out your iPod and earbuds. You can use music to help motivate you to exercise, tend to household chores, or finish your work. You can also use music to celebrate your progress, like buying tickets to a live concert when you achieve a goal you’ve been working towards.

Visual art is also beneficial to your health. Painting, drawing and sculpting helps people communicate ideas that are hard to think about or difficult to put into words. It’s a safe place to put intense emotions when you are going through a difficult time, or dealing with past trauma. Making visual art helps you to focus on something positive and can enhance your self-worth by providing you with an opportunity to challenge yourself and achieve artistic goals. If you don’t know where to start, look for a class at a community recreation center or begin working with an art therapist.

Expressive movement has been used for centuries to connect the mind and body. Perhaps you would enjoy taking dancing lessons, or enrolling in a yoga or tai chi class? Movement of mind and body helps to release stress and anxiety. It can also improve physical symptoms and increase your range of motion. People who move regularly report improvements in quality of life, body image and self-awareness. They feel more grounded in their bodies and enjoy better sleep.

Creative writing is another form of artistic experience that benefits your health. You don’t need any fancy equipment or supplies to start writing – just put pen to paper and get going! Individuals who have written about their own traumatic experiences show significant improvements in various measures of physical health, reductions in visits to physicians and gain a boost to their immune systems. Writing about your feelings can help with pain management and depression. Journal writing has been linked to creativity, spiritual awareness and self-growth.

Some people use poetry to find their writer’s voice. It helps them gain access to a kind of wisdom that is inaccessible in ordinary language. A simple but challenging form of poetry is the Japanese haiku [pronounced “Hi-coo”]. Haiku poetry only allows the use of seventeen syllables in three lines of text for the entire poem – five in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. Haiku traditionally evokes images of the natural world. Check out this resource for more information about haiku and other creative writing ideas!

Contact Community Reach Center to get involved in a treatment plan that uses your creativity to manage your health. Visit us at www.communityreachcenter.org to learn more about our services. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, call Colorado Crisis Services for 24-Hour assistance: (844) 493-8255 (TALK) or dial 911 for emergency assistance.