DiversityNursing Blog

Hospitals Seeing Increase In Children and Teen Suicide Attempts

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jun 07, 2021 @ 03:31 PM

mentalhealth-1Hospitals are seeing more cases of severe depression and suicidal thoughts among children, particularly attempts to overdose. 

The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the way children and teens learn, play and socialize. Many studies found forced isolation and loneliness among children correlated with an increased risk of depression.

Children’s Hospital Colorado, declared a "State of Emergency" in youth mental health. Jena Hausmann, CEO said, "It has been devastating to see suicide become the leading cause of death for Colorado’s children." 

According to the CDC, the proportion of children who arrived in emergency departments with mental health issues increased 24% from March through October 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. Among preteens and adolescents, it rose by 31%. 

Matthew Davis, MD, MAPP, Chair of the Department of Medicine at Lurie Children’s, emphasized the need for accessible, affordable mental health care for pediatric patients has greatly increased because of the pandemic. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 parents said they were unable to access  mental or behavioral health care for their child at some point, most often because they could not find a specialty provider, they could not afford it, or they could not get an appointment in a timely fashion.

Some hospitals like Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio report running at full capacity and having more children “boarding,” or sleeping in EDs before being admitted to the psychiatric unit. 

Terrie Andrews, a Psychologist and Administrator of behavioral health at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Florida said, "Up to 25 children have been held on surgical floors while waiting for a spot to open in the inpatient psychiatric unit. Their wait could last as long as five days."

Hospitals are not only seeing a higher volume of patients, but these patients have more intense illnesses.

Dr. Jennifer Downs, a pediatric psychiatrist at Connecticut Children’s said, “Instead of seeing kids who are saying, ‘I’m thinking about suicide,’ we’re seeing kids who have had attempts. Instead of seeing kids who are maybe brought in because of parents who feel that they’re verbally out of control, yelling, screaming, saying awful things, we’re seeing kids who are having physical aggression.”

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, if you notice any of the following symptoms in your children, be sure to contact your child’s Physician as soon as possible:

– unusual changes in mood, such as ongoing irritability, feelings of hopelessness or rage, and frequent conflicts with friends and family
– changes in behavior, such as stepping back from personal relationships
– a loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
– a hard time falling or staying asleep, or starting to sleep all the time
– changes in appetite, weight, or eating patterns
– problems with memory, thinking, or concentration
– less interest in schoolwork and drop in academic effort
– changes in appearance, such as lack of basic personal hygiene
– an increase in risky or reckless behaviors, such as using drugs or alcohol

If you have contemplated suicide or someone you know has talked about it, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or use the online Lifeline Chat, both available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Topics: mental health, depression, children, teens, suicide, attempted suicide, overdose

She told him to get back in the truck

Posted by Pat Magrath

Mon, Jun 19, 2017 @ 02:50 PM

0ddea7c3cbfc4d408c0ae6307490e386-0ddea7c3cbfc4d408c0ae6307490e386-0.jpegThere were many texts, but it was the incomprehensible text encouraging a young man to get back in the truck that sent him to his death. Perhaps you haven’t heard of this story. It started as local news in Massachusetts, but when it went to trial, it became national news.
 
It is the senseless, shocking, and tragic story of a suicidal young man and a young woman who communicated primarily through texting about their depression and suicidal thoughts. He had attempted suicide before, but with her encouragement, he finally succeeded. This case received a lot of attention because the young woman, accused of involuntary manslaughter, was not physically present when he died. Yet through texting, she shamed and encouraged him to complete the act. Why? What was her motivation and what was she thinking?
170610114404-michelle-carter-conrad-roy-split-exlarge-169.jpeg
To learn more about this story, please read and then share your thoughts with our community. What do you think about the verdict? What should her sentence be? Clearly there are mental health issues here. Do you think she should be held accountable?
 
Learn more about the case here www.boston.com
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Topics: laws, depression, Massachusetts, suicide, michelle carter, national news

Dealing with Depressed Patients

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jan 21, 2016 @ 11:20 AM

nurse depression

Depression is a common situation dealt with on a daily basis. Most patients that Nurses find themselves coming in contact with have some form of illness or injury. This makes depression among patients common. Knowing how to spot it and how to react to depressed patients can help you handle the situation properly and deal with it with minimal stress.

What is Depression

Depression is a common disorder that affects many people every day. It affects all age groups, males and females, although females are more likely to suffer from it than males. Stress contributes to depression, making this illness more common in the last few years. The amount of stress an individual handles on a daily basis is on the rise and can contribute to depression.

What Contributes to Depression

There are a number of factors that contribute to depression. Stress is a huge factor. Debt, work and family can weigh heavily on the amount of stress someone experiences today. Age also plays a major role in depression and sickness in the elderly can increase the chances of them suffering from depression. This is a main factor as to why Nurses experience depressed elderly patients the most. Some elderly patients are forced to relocate to a new residence, while others become ill and are unable to live the life they are accustomed to. Some can feel abandoned by their loved ones and find themselves feeling alone. Leaving people without a strong social support network increases the chances of developing depression.

Signs of Depression

There are many warning signs of depression, although some may not be so easy to spot. A feeling of hopelessness or helplessness can lead to depression. Nurses often see this in elderly patients who don't have a lot of family support. A loss of interest in daily activities is another sign of depression. These signs can become apparent when patients are no longer able to get around on their own. Loss of mobility can make a patient no longer want to engage in activities for fear of embarrassment.

175121306.jpgChanges in sleep patterns or appetite are another sign of depression. Nurses have to watch this sign as well, because certain medications can interfere with sleep and appetites of patients. Frequent physical complaints or ailments, anger or rage toward others and feelings of anxiety are other signs of depression. Many of these symptoms Nurses experience in their patients frequently. The key is determining when they start happening and ruling out any other possible causes. When there are no other possible causes, depression could be the reason.

How Can Nurses Help or Prevent Depression

Nurses play a vital role in their patient's lives, no matter the age of the patient. There are certain things that Nurses can do to help prevent depression altogether. Encouraging outdoor activities, even when your patient doesn't feel like doing them, is an excellent way to combat depression. A healthy diet and a regular eating schedule helps to recognize any changes in eating patterns. New hobbies help patients realize fun activities they can engage in to be entertained, even though they may not be able to do everything they could once do.

How Nurses Play an Important Role in Depressed Patients

Nurses are the people that patients see the most throughout the day, so it only makes sense that they play an important role dealing with depressed patients. Many things Nurses do can help a depressed patient not feel so worthless, and sometimes even lift their spirits. Talking to patients about their feelings is a good first step in dealing with their depression. Being sympathetic helps them know that you understand their feelings rather than judge them for how they feel.

Be careful about any advice you offer and always refer them to their doctor for specific medical advice. Accept their feelings toward the rest of the world. Trying to reason with them may make it seem like you are just another person who is against them or doesn't care about them. Reassure them of depression treatments and how effective they are. Let them know that treatment has high success rates, and they can work with their doctor to find the best treatment options.

It is common for Nurses to deal with depressed patients on a regular basis. Despite this, it is still important to remember to treat them as if they are all individual cases, and never group them together. A little reassurance could make all the difference in a depressed patient's outlook. The caring compassionate attitude that Nurses are known for could be exactly what a depressed patient needs.

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Topics: depression

Is Therapy Worth It? Seven Personal Stories About The Price Of Mental Health

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Feb 18, 2015 @ 11:52 AM

Jana Kasperkevic

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Far from offering patients pennies for their thoughts, mental health therapists often end up billing them hundreds of dollars per month.

The cost is a growing burden as depression among US adolescents and adults rises. The US is suffering a mental health crisis, with a San Diego State University study in October finding that one in 10 Americans is depressed – and more report symptoms of depression.

More Americans are seeking help, and that help can come at a financial sacrifice of thousands of dollars a year. Aside from the cost of often-weekly visits to psychologists – which may or may not be defrayed by insurance – there can be additional costs for psychiatrists and any medicine they prescribe.

The cost of therapy is especially acute for young Americans, many of whom are underemployed and burdened with college debt. This year, a record number of college freshmen reported being depressed. And while many campuses provide free mental health care, affordable help is often harder to find after students leave school.

The Guardian interviewed seven young professionals about their experiences to find out how young Americans manage to pay for therapy – and if they think it’s worth it. To protect their identities, we have kept their surnames anonymous.

Click on the titles below to read their stories: 

‘I just can’t afford to go’

– AK, 27

‘Why do I need to pay someone to listen to me?’

– Matt, 23

Therapy was ‘the best chance I had of feeling OK’

– JE, 29

I needed someone to help me find courage to leave [my job]

– Eve, 33

‘At its best, it’s paying for a friend’

- John, 27

‘Therapy is not a magic wand’

-Jenn, 26 

‘I’d rather be sad’

– Alex, 27

Source: www.theguardian.com

Topics: mental health, therapy, health, healthcare, depression, patients, medicine, patient, treatment, therapists, cost, psychiatrists

Dark Days Here for Folks With Seasonal Depression

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Oct 27, 2014 @ 02:54 PM

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SeasonalDepression2

October's shorter, darker days can trigger a type of depression, known as seasonal affective disorder, according to an expert.

People affected by seasonal affective disorder, also called SAD, may feel overly tired, lack motivation and even have trouble getting out of bed. In extreme cases, SAD can lead to suicide, said Dr. Angelos Halaris, a professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Loyola University Chicago Stitch School of Medicine.

"Seasonal affective disorder should not be taken lightly," Halaris said in a hospital news release.

Seasonal affective disorder affects up to 5 percent of the population, Halaris said. It's linked to a reduction in light exposure from shorter days and gray skies, which is thought to cause a chemical imbalance in the brain.

SAD season starts in October and lasts until the middle of April. Until then, there are ways to reduce your risk for the condition, advised Halaris. He said the following strategies might help:

  • Get outside. Spend at least 30 minutes a day outside. Avoid wearing sunglasses during this period of time. If weather permits, expose the skin on your arms to the sun.
  • Let light inside. Keep your home well-lit. Open curtain and blinds to allow sunlight in. You can also consider buying a high-intensity light box specially designed for SAD therapy. Sit near the box for 30 to 45 minutes in the morning and at night. Be sure to talk to your doctor before attempting this type of light therapy on your own, Halaris cautioned.
  • Exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins and other brain chemicals that help you feel better and gain more energy, Halaris explained. Exercising for 30 minutes daily can help.
  • Consider medication. When all else fails, there are medications that can help ease the troubling effects of SAD. Halaris recommends visiting a mental health professional if extra sun exposure, indoor lights and exercise are not effective in treating your symptoms.

Source: www.nlm.nih.gov

Topics: health, depression, seasonal depression, seasons, winter, autumn, Seasonal affective disorder

A Nurse Who Lends an Ear May Ease Anxiety in Moms of Preemies

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Oct 16, 2013 @ 02:48 PM

One-on-one talks with nurses help mothers of premature infants cope with feelings of anxiety, confusion and doubt, a new study reveals.

"Having a prematurely born baby is like a nightmare for the mother," Lisa Segre, an assistant professor in the University of Iowa College of Nursing, said in a university news release. "You're expecting to have a healthy baby, and suddenly you're left wondering whether he or she is going to live."

Segre and a colleague investigated whether women with premature babies would benefit from having a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse sit with them and listen to their concerns and fears.

The study included 23 mothers with premature infants who received an average of five 45-minute one-on-one sessions with a NICU nurse and study co-author Rebecca Siewert.

"The mothers wanted to tell their birth stories," Siewert said in the news release. "They wanted someone to understand what it felt like for their babies to be whisked away from them. They were very emotional."

The sessions reduced depression and anxiety symptoms in the women, and boosted their self-esteem, according to the study published online recently in the Journal of Perinatology.

The findings show that "listening matters" when it comes to helping mothers of premature infants, Segre said.

"These mothers are stressed out, and they need someone to listen to them," she explained.

She and Siewert believe nurses are well-suited for the role.

"Listening is what nurses have done their whole career," Siewert said. "We've always been the ones to listen and try to problem solve. So, I just think it was a wonderful offshoot of what nursing can do. We just need the time to do it."

Source: US News Health

Topics: anxiety, mother, Preemie, one-on-one, listening, depression, reduce, NICU

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