Tuesday, September 10, 2013

World Suicide Prevention Day 2013

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Did you know that in 2010, it was the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 38,364 deaths? That year, someone died by suicide every 13.7 minutes... That same year, 464,995 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm behavior. Together, those harming themselves made an estimated total of more than 650,000 hospital visits related to injuries sustained in one or more separate incidents of self-harm behavior. As this data does not distinguish between suicide intent or self-harm behavior we do not know how many of these were attempted suicides. And we can only imagine the numbers of unreported suicide attempts and self-harm behavior.

But what can we do to change this? How can we reach out to people who feel that their last and only hope is to commit suicide?

1. Take them seriously
2. Know the warning signs
3. Approach the person
4. Be direct
5. Listen
6. Be genuine
7. Help them eliminate access
8. Convey hope
9. Help them get help
10. Call 911 in case of emergency

Another important step prior to reaching all of this is being available all along. We as a society have a lot of work left to do to make access to help easier and less stigmatized. As long as people refuse to seek help because they are worried how society, friends and family will perceive them for admitting to being depressed, feeling hopeless and being at the end of their rope we will continue to see people making the decision to commit suicide. As long as we cannot show people that it is OKAY to ask for help and that it is not a sign of weakness we will continue to not see the number of suicides and suicide attempts decline. As long as we treat people with mental health problems as outsiders and 'less than others' people will be afraid to admit to these problems.

Not until we can start treating Mental Health as a normal part of health and treat those with mental health problems just like we treat people with cancer, diabetes or broken bones will we start to see a difference. Make it your goal to help change the conversation. Make others around you comfortable enough to come to you when they experience difficult times. Take them serious. Know what resources are available and reach out to people who might need you.

If we can do that we can and WILL make a difference in our lives and in the lives of those around us.



Resources:
AFSP
PsychCentral: What to Do When You Think Someone is Suicidal

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

Today is the day that the US celebrates its independence. A day to celebrate all things American.Images of hot dogs, burgers, watermelons, flags come to mind. Picnics and BBQs with family and friends.



We often think that this must be a wonderful day for the Veterans who have fought for this country. What all too many do not realize that for many of them, today can be a very difficult day.

The reason for that is invisible and one wrought with stigma: PTSD.

PTSD affects about 7.7 million Americans, and for many of them July 4th is an ordeal, not a celebration. For some veterans, the holiday sparks painful memories; for others the crackling loud noises resemble the horrifying sounds of war.


While L has never been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, he, too, has PTSD and sudden loud noises are difficult for him to deal with. Last night as people started shooting fireworks in anticipation of today I saw him jump with every sudden noise. A day that used to be a day of celebration has become a difficult day for him and many others. The loud and sudden explosions, the large crowds of people gathering, for some the memories of traumatic events that happened on this very day in their own life have become too much to handle with ease.

So today, while you celebrate please remember that the Veteran you know might not be avoiding festivities because he is not patriotic enough but simply because Independence Day has become a difficult day to handle.



Source: http://www.startribune.com/local/214228591.html

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Fathers come in many forms. There is the new dad who just became a dad for the first time, the dad who has two, three or more kids and is a 'Pro' at this dad thing. Most grow with the child and learn the ropes from the very beginning. But some get thrown into this when the child is older simply because they happened to fall in love with someone who already had a child.

That was and is my dad. He married my mom when I was still little so he had always been there in my memory. That does not mean that it was easy for me. With the arrival of two sisters there were times when I felt that I wasn't a complete part of the family. And I clearly remember the day that I lashed out at him telling him that he wasn't allowed to tell ME what to do. He wasn't my father after all. Looking back I can only imagine how much I hurt him with that. He loved (and loves) me just like he does my sisters. We continued to butt heads all through my growing up and it wasn't until I moved out that I really started to appreciate all that he had done for me.

Here at home, L faces different struggles due to his own experiences growing up without a father with the added 'bonus' of his mental health struggles. Despite all of that there is not the tiniest doubt in my mind that he loves our children. What most would consider normal situations are not always easy for him to handle. Going to the park on a busy day, birthday parties, the early morning rush to get kids ready for school all can create a challenge for him. Yet he tackles these things because he loves us.

Thank you for all that you do to L and my dad.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Follow up to ENT appointment

We met with the doctor this week to discuss Mr K's recurring ear infections. The verdict? Tubes getting put in in an outpatient procedure in two weeks. This will be a lot less invasive than Miss K's eye surgery last year so I am currently not all that nervous. I took the day off and it is on a Friday so I will have three days that I can focus on just taking care of our little guy. He is pretty easy going and I am hoping that he will do just fine. His sisters love to help and will probably fight over who will get to help the most.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

ENT referral for our little guy

With the girls we have had situations where we would go to a well-child visit and came home with a diagnosis of an ear infection. No symptoms, no crying, no signs of pain. It started out the same with Mr K. Over the time though and as they became more frequent that changed. Mr K had a wonderful break from ear infections for the last 5 months but in the last 2 weeks we have been at the doctor with back to back ear infections. We now have a referral for him to the ENT.

Have any of you dealt with frequent ear infections with your kids? If yes, what has your experience been?

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