DiversityNursing Blog

Chief Wellness Officer - More Healthcare Organizations Are Adding CWO’s To Their C-Suite

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Oct 08, 2021 @ 03:06 PM

wellnessEven before the pandemic, healthcare providers experienced burnout and other negative mental health issues. Now more than ever, it is critical health systems take steps to support their staff's well-being.

Recently, more healthcare organizations have started to hire Chief Wellness Officers (CWO), as a strategy to address burnout, mental health, and compassion fatigue.

Jonathan Ripp MD, MPH, Chief Wellness Officer at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said there were only a handful of Chief Wellness Officer positions when he was appointed to the role in May 2018. “There has been at least a dozen more who have been named in the past year, and several more places that are looking to create the position,” said Dr. Ripp. “I would not be surprised if, 10 years from now, it's commonplace for most large organizations to have a Chief Wellness Officer or equivalent, taking this challenge on, and doing so in a way that is effective.”

The ultimate goal of this role is to aid system-wide changes that enable staff to practice in a culture that prioritizes and promotes mental health and well-being.

The CWO is responsible for measuring well-being across their organization. Then, they create and implement wellness programs that address the current environment causing burnout and stress.

The hiring of a CWO is not a remedy all on its own. The CWO works in collaboration with other leaders and staff to prioritize well-being and would ultimately lower costs and improve patient care.

According to Beckers Hospital Review, burnout and depression result in major costs to health systems due to an increase in medical errors, reduced quality of care, and turnover. Research has found that for every dollar invested in wellness, hospitals can see a $3 to $6 return on investment.

Medical Schools are also following the hiring trend.

According to Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, medical students are more likely to experience burnout and depression than peers on different career paths. To confront the challenge head-on, they appointed their first Chief Wellness Officer, Dr. Kelly Holder.

Holder said, "Mental and emotional wellness is essential to complete health. We simply cannot ignore this fact. I view my role as another way to serve the students, faculty and physicians in Brown’s medical school, and aid them in not just meeting their immediate self-care needs but also creating and developing plans that can help them learn more about how to take care of themselves in a way that's sustainable for a profession that demands a lot."

“Wellness and self-care is more important than ever before. These next few years will be critical for health care workers as we address the mental and physical burdens from COVID-19,” said George Washington University's Chief Wellness Officer, Lorenzo Norris, MD.

Hopefully this position sticks around, even after the pandemic passes, because burnout and mental health have been issues in the healthcare field all along.

Topics: mental health, compassion fatigue, burnout, hospitals, Nurse burnout, healthcare organizations, frontline workers, front line workers mental health, compassion fatigue in nursing, C-Suite, Chief Wellness Officers, CWO

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

Creative Ways Hospitals Are Supporting Nurses Mental Health

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, May 12, 2021 @ 02:41 PM

nursestressBefore the COVID-19 pandemic, Nursing was known to be a stressful profession. There was plenty of data showing burnout to be a significant problem among US Nurses.

With increasing stress placed on front line Nurses during this pandemic, hospitals are investing in initiatives and programs to support the mental health of these employees.

Mount Sinai Health System, created recharge rooms for healthcare workers. Dr. Putrino and his team created multi-sensory experiences that can reduce stress in just 15 minutes. These rooms are filled with faux plants and candles, illuminated with calming lights and one wall displays relaxing scenes and sounds. Slider5-Episode38-Recharge-750x400Putrino said, "Listen, what we need is a space or a series of spaces where our healthcare workers can sit down and for just a moment have a lot of their stress just relieved and taken away from them."

Stony Brook Medicine used a similar idea when creating a respite room called "Resilience at the Brook." The large, peaceful area features plants, calming wall art, a pod for private mediation, and relaxing materials, such as coloring books and miniature Zen gardens, to help employees rejuvenate. Employees can also add encouraging messages and quotes to inspire each other on the Motivation Mural Wall.

CharminOhio State University Medical Center (OSUMC) Stress, Trauma and Resilience (STAR) Program uses the Buckeye Paws program. A group of certified therapy dogs visit to provide comfort and emotional support to healthcare staff.

Emily Fawcett, R.N., a float Nurse on all floors at Lenox Hill hospital, started "hope huddles." Hope huddles are held at the beginning of shift changes and Nurses gather together to share news of patients recovering and other inspiring, and even humorous, stories.

Cody Regional Health created a wellness area for employees. The new space, staffed 24/7, includes a meditation room, eight bedrooms with private bathrooms, laundry and shower facilities, on-site access to licensed therapists for emotional support, puzzles and games, and an exercise area to meet employees’ needs.

Elise Phelan, a surgical unit Charge Nurse at UCHealth created the Resilience Program. Phelan would bring in massage therapists, movement therapists, yoga instructors, nutritionists and sometimes therapy puppies.

Code Lavender began in 2008 with Earl Bakken at North Hawaii Community Hospital. Calling the code signals to the Code Lavender team that an individual or group of individuals are in need of emergency psychological assistance.

Many hospitals like Cleveland Clinic have started implementing this code. The Code Lavender team usually comprises representatives from the spiritual care and healing services departments, and other hospital-based support services (such as employee assistance, music therapy, wellness, the ethics consultation service, and art therapy), and volunteers.
Code-Lavender

Bayhealth offers staff Code Lavender Kits. Kits include a back massager, aromatherapy inhalers, LED candles, a sound machine, Code Lavender journals, and a tote to store everything in.

It's very clear there is a need for this kind of support and innovation. The well-being and morale of front line workers should remain a top priority even after the pandemic.

Topics: mental health, mental health nursing, front line workers mental health, mental health support programs, nurses mental health

Health Care Workers Are Facing a Mental Health Crisis During The COVID-19 Outbreak

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, May 05, 2020 @ 11:25 AM

mentalhealthMany Nurses and Doctors said in interviews with TIME, that fighting COVID-19 is making them feel more dedicated to their chosen career, and determined to persevere and help their patients. But, many also said they were struggling with negative feelings.

Healthcare workers are afraid of spreading the virus to their families, frustrated about the lack of PPE, and feel they can’t do enough for their patients. First responders are tired from long shifts, and are extremely sad for their dying patients, of which many are passing away alone. This is heartbreaking.

Dr. Jay Kaplan, an emergency room Physician and wellness specialist at LCMC Health system in New Orleans, lets his staff know they aren't alone. He listens as Nurses and Doctors share their fears and problems.

Kaplan tells them it’s okay to get sad or angry over the coronavirus. He reads them his poems. He shares that one day he came home and cried to his wife because he was  overwhelmed by the rate of dying patients.

“We need to break the culture of silence and let people know it’s okay not to have it all together all the time,” he said.

Kaplan’s “wellness visits” are a key strategy in preventing healthcare workers from spiraling into depression and post-traumatic stress disorder during the pandemic. Many hospitals across the U.S. are launching similar initiatives.

Mount Sinai hospitals in New York City ramped up initiatives, such as a 24/7 mental health crisis line and one-on-one counseling. It also launched a wellness and resilience center that will track staffers' mental health long term.

Dr. Deborah B. Marin, Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of the new center said,  “This multi-disciplinary center will consider the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of our entire health care community, including those on the frontline and in supporting roles. Working closely with every department across the health system, our aim is to not only address  but to also prevent the development of mental health issues before they occur by intervening early, offering resilience training and treatment for every health care working in need. It’s important that we launch now as this crisis continues to evolve and take a toll on our community.”

Several healthcare workers in the TIME interviews said, among all the uncertainty and fear, they have found some relief in support from their families, communities, and one another.

We’re offering this article during Nurses Week as a reminder to all to be as patient, kind and loving to our Nurses, Healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store employees and all the people out there working to keep us safe. Thank you!

Topics: mental health, first responders, mental health nursing, COVID-19, coronavirus, healthcare workers

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses - The Growing Demand

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Jan 24, 2020 @ 09:41 AM

mentalhealthnursingApproximately 56 million American adults are struggling with a mental illness or substance use disorder, according to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA).

An article from mentalhealth.gov, shows the current mental health workforce shortage is projected to grow and would leave the country 250,000 professionals short by 2025.

Only 44% of adults and 20% of children in the U.S. receive the mental health and substance use care they need because there is a growing shortage of qualified professionals trained to provide timely and effective treatment.

This lack of treatment significantly contributes to one of the leading causes of death in the U.S, suicide.

According to the same mentalhealth.gov article, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It accounts for the loss of more than 41,000 lives each year, more than double the number of lives lost to homicide.

An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) discusses the increase in children under 18 going to emergency departments due to attempts of suicide or suicidal ideation.

According to a Hard Cases article, more than 75% of all U.S. counties have a shortage of any type of mental health worker and 96% of all counties have an unmet need for mental health prescribers. This care gap is most profound in rural states where 111 million Americans live in mental health professional shortage areas.

One reason demand for mental health professionals has increased is because more Americans are gaining health coverage. It's the law per the Affordable Care Act that insurers can no longer deny coverage to people who have diagnosed mental illnesses.

Also fewer medical students are specializing in psychiatry because psychiatry jobs don't pay as well as other fields. Students facing high medical school debt are more likely to pick the jobs offering better pay.

There has also been a surge in substance use disorders and greater public awareness of mental illness. Increased public awareness means more people living with mental illness will seek treatment.

Healthcare providers and the medical community at large need to implement a more supportive environment for the psychiatry profession. There should also be increased compensation for psychiatry jobs and student loan forgiveness or free/low-cost psychiatry schooling.

Policy makers should support and enact quality mental health services that will improve public health, particularly populations who most often have no access to mental health services.

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Topics: mental health, substance use disorder, mental health nursing, psychiatry, mental illness, psychiatric mental health nurse

Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Jul 03, 2018 @ 10:18 AM

mental healthMental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity. Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background. However, background and identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult.

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and the month offers organizations an opportunity to create mental health awareness in diverse communities. 

In May of 2008, the US House of Representatives announced July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Albert Wynn and cosponsored by a large bipartisan group to improve access to mental health treatment and services and promote public awareness of mental illness.

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Bebe Moore Campbell was an author, advocate, co-founder of NAMI Urban Los Angeles and national spokesperson, who lost her battle with cancer in November 2006.

One in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.

Ways to get involved

America’s entire mental health system needs improvement, including when it comes to serving marginalized communities. With all of our help, we hope this month brings awareness to this issue. 

Topics: mental health, minority mental health, Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, mental health awareness, Bebe Moore Campbell

Doctoring, Without the Doctor

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, May 26, 2015 @ 02:59 PM

By 

www.nytimes.com 

26NEBRASKA master675 resized 600There are just a handful of psychiatrists in all of western Nebraska, a vast expanse of farmland and cattle ranches. So when Murlene Osburn, a cattle rancher turned psychiatric nurse, finished her graduate degree, she thought starting a practice in this tiny village of tumbleweeds and farm equipment dealerships would be easy.

It wasn’t. A state law required nurses like her to get a doctor to sign off before they performed the tasks for which they were nationally certified. But the only willing psychiatrist she could find was seven hours away by car and wanted to charge her $500 a month. Discouraged, she set the idea for a practice aside and returned to work on her ranch.

“Do you see a psychiatrist around here? I don’t!” said Ms. Osburn, who has lived in Wood Lake, population 63, for 11 years. “I am willing to practice here. They aren’t. It just gets down to that.”

But in March the rules changed: Nebraska became the 20th state to adopt a law that makes it possible for nurses in a variety of medical fields with most advanced degrees to practice without a doctor’s oversight. Maryland’s governor signed a similar bill into law this month, and eight more states are considering such legislation, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Now nurses in Nebraska with a master’s degree or better, known as nurse practitioners, no longer have to get a signed agreement from a doctor to be able to do what their state license allows — order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medications and administer treatments.

“I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is such a wonderful victory,’” said Ms. Osburn, who was delivering a calf when she got the news in a text message.

The laws giving nurse practitioners greater autonomy have been particularly important in rural states like Nebraska, which struggle to recruit doctors to remote areas. About a third of Nebraska’s 1.8 million people live in rural areas, and many go largely unserved as the nearest mental health professional is often hours away.

“The situation could be viewed as an emergency, especially in rural counties,” said Jim P. Stimpson, director of the Center for Health Policy at the University of Nebraska, referring to the shortage.

Groups representing doctors, including the American Medical Association, are fighting the laws. They say nurses lack the knowledge and skills to diagnose complex illnesses by themselves. Dr. Robert M. Wah, the president of the A.M.A., said nurses practicing independently would “further compartmentalize and fragment health care,” which he argued should be collaborative, with “the physician at the head of the team.”

Dr. Richard Blatny, the president of the Nebraska Medical Association, which opposed the state legislation, said nurse practitioners have just 4 percent of the total clinical hours that doctors do when they start out. They are more likely than doctors, he said, to refer patients to specialists and to order diagnostic imaging like X-rays, a pattern that could increase costs.

Nurses say their aim is not to go it alone, which is rarely feasible in the modern age of complex medical care, but to have more freedom to perform the tasks that their licenses allow without getting a permission slip from a doctor — a rule that they argue is more about competition than safety. They say advanced-practice nurses deliver primary care that is as good as that of doctors, and cite research that they say proves it.

What is more, nurses say, they are far less costly to employ and train than doctors and can help provide primary care for the millions of Americans who have become newly insured under the Affordable Care Act in an era of shrinking budgets and shortages of primary care doctors. Three to 14 nurse practitioners can be educated for the same cost as one physician, according to a 2011 report by the Institute of Medicine, a prestigious panel of scientists and other experts that is part of the National Academy of Sciences.

In all, nurse practitioners are about a quarter of the primary care work force, according to the institute, which called on states to lift barriers to their full practice.

There is evidence that the legal tide is turning. Not only are more states passing laws, but a February decision by the Supreme Court found that North Carolina’s dental board did not have the authority to stop dental technicians from whitening teeth in nonclinical settings like shopping malls. The ruling tilted the balance toward more independence for professionals with less training.

“The doctors are fighting a losing battle,” said Uwe E. Reinhardt, a health economist at Princeton University. “The nurses are like insurgents. They are occasionally beaten back, but they’ll win in the long run. They have economics and common sense on their side.”

Nurses acknowledge they need help. Elizabeth Nelson, a nurse practitioner in northern Nebraska, said she was on her own last year when an obese woman with a dislocated hip showed up in the emergency room of her small-town hospital. The hospital’s only doctor came from South Dakota once a month to sign paperwork and see patients.

“I was thinking, ‘I’m not ready for this,’ ” said Ms. Nelson, 35, who has been practicing for three years. “It was such a lonely feeling.”

Ms. Osburn, 55, has been on the plains her whole life, first on a sugar beet farm in eastern Montana and more recently in the Sandhills region of Nebraska, a haunting, lonely landscape of yellow grasses dotted with Black Angus cattle. She has been a nurse since 1982, working in nursing homes, hospitals and a state-run psychiatric facility.

As farming has advanced and required fewer workers, the population has shrunk. In the 1960s, the school in Wood Lake had high school graduating classes. Now it has only four students. Ms. Osburn and her family are the only ones still living on a 14-mile road. Three other farmhouses along it are vacant.

The isolation takes a toll on people with mental illness. And the culture on the plains — self-reliance and fiercely guarded privacy — makes it hard to seek help. Ms. Osburn’s aunt had schizophrenia, and her best friend, a victim of domestic abuse, committed suicide in 2009. She herself suffered through a deep depression after her son died in a farm accident in the late 1990s, with no psychiatrist within hundreds of miles to help her through it.

“The need here is so great,” she said, sitting in her kitchen with windows that look out over the plains. She sometimes uses binoculars to see whether her husband is coming home. “Just finding someone who can listen. That’s what we are missing.”

That conviction drove her to apply to a psychiatric nursing program at the University of Nebraska, which she completed in December 2012. She received her national certification in 2013, giving her the right to act as a therapist, and to diagnose and prescribe medication for patients with mental illness. The new state law still requires some supervision at first, but it can be provided by another psychiatric nurse — help Ms. Osburn said she would gladly accept.

Ms. Nelson, the nurse who treated the obese patient, now works in a different hospital. These days when she is alone on a shift, she has backup. A television monitor beams an emergency medicine doctor and staff into her workstation from an office in Sioux Falls, S.D. They recently helped her insert a breathing tube in a patient.

The doctor shortage remains. The hospital, Brown County Hospital in Ainsworth, Neb., has been searching for a doctor since the spring of 2012. “We have no malls and no Walmart,” Ms. Nelson said. “Recruitment is nearly impossible.”

Ms. Osburn is looking for office space. The law will take effect in September, and she wants to be ready. She has already picked a name: Sandhill Behavioral Services. Three nursing homes have requested her services, and there have been inquiries from a prison.

“I’m planning on getting in this little car and driving everywhere,” she said, smiling, behind the wheel of her 2004 Ford Taurus. “I’m going to drive the wheels off this thing.”

Topics: mental health, AANP, health, healthcare, nurse, medical, patients, medicine, patient, treatment, psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, health laws

Grown-Ups Get Out Their Crayons

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Mar 30, 2015 @ 12:27 PM

By 

Source: www.nytimes.com

coloring master675 resized 600It may surprise fans of Johanna Basford’s intricately hand-drawn coloring books that the artist is, by her own admission, “pretty bad” at coloring.

“I can’t stay in the lines,” she said sheepishly.

Not that it matters. Ms. Basford’s coloring book “Secret Garden,” a 96-page collection of elaborate black-and-white ink drawings of flowers, leaves, trees and birds, has become a global best-seller.

Since its release in spring 2013, “Secret Garden” has sold more than 1.4 million copies in 22 languages. It shot to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list this month, overtaking books by authors like Harper Lee, Anthony Doerr and Paula Hawkins. Her follow-up, “Enchanted Forest,” which came out in February, is briskly selling through its first print run of nearly 226,000 copies.

What makes Ms. Basford’s breakout success all the more surprising is her target audience: adults who like coloring books.

There are, it seems, a lot of them. Though it is tempting to describe the market for her books as niche, Ms. Basford, a 31-year-old illustrator in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, has quickly outgrown that label.

Like Play-Doh, jungle gyms and nursery rhymes, coloring books have always seemed best suited for the preschool set. So Ms. Basford and her publisher were surprised to learn that there was a robust — and lucrative — market for coloring books aimed at grown-ups. When they first tested the waters with “Secret Garden” a year ago, they released a cautiously optimistic first printing of 16,000 books.

“I thought my mom was going to have to buy a lot of copies,” Ms. Basford said. “When the sales started to take off, it was a real shock.”

Surging demand caught Ms. Basford and her publisher off guard. Fan mail poured in from busy professionals and parents who confided to Ms. Basford that they found coloring in her books relaxing. More accolades flowed on social media, as people posted images from their coloring books.

Hard-core fans often buy several copies of her books at a time, to experiment with different color combinations. Others have turned it into a social activity. Rebekah Jean Duthie, who lives in Queensland, Australia, and works for the Australian Red Cross, says she regularly gathers with friends for “coloring circles” at cafes and in one another’s homes.

“Each page can transport you back to a gentler time of life,” she said of Ms. Basford’s books in an email.

Ms. Basford has become something of a literary celebrity in South Korea, where “Secret Garden” has sold more than 430,000 copies, she says. The craze was kicked off in part, it seems, by a Korean pop star, Kim Ki-bum, who posted a delicately colored-in floral pattern from Ms. Basford’s book on Instagram, where he has 1.8 million followers.

Part of the apparent appeal is the tactile, interactive nature of the books, which offer respite to the screen-weary. “People are really excited to do something analog and creative, at a time when we’re all so overwhelmed by screens and the Internet,” she said. “And coloring is not as scary as a blank sheet of paper or canvas. It’s a great way to de-stress.”

Ms. Basford started out in fashion, working on silk-screen designs. Then she opened a studio on her parents’ trout and salmon farm in Scotland, and began designing hand-drawn wallpaper for luxury hotels and boutiques. When the financial crisis hit, her business evaporated. She closed the studio and found work as a commercial illustrator for companies like Starbucks, Nike and Sony.

Her publishing break came in 2011, when an editor at Laurence King Publishing discovered her work online. The editor thought her graceful illustrations could work well as a children’s coloring book.

“I came back and said I would like to do a coloring book for grown-ups, and it got a bit quiet for a moment,” Ms. Basford said. “Coloring books for adults weren’t as much of a thing then.”

To convince them that it was a viable market, she drew five sample pages of detailed, mosaic-like illustrations. The publishers were sold.

“When Johanna first approached us with the idea, we knew that people would love her illustrations as much as we did, but could never have predicted just how big the adult coloring trend would be,” said Jo Lightfoot, editorial director of Laurence King Publishing.

Ms. Basford spent the next nine months working on the book at night and freelancing as an illustrator during the day. Occasionally she had doubts. “I was worried that coloring for adults was silly and it was just me that wanted to do it,” she said.

It turns out she was far from alone. Other entries to this small but growing category include Patricia J. Wynne’s lavish, nature-themed Creative Haven coloring books — discreetly described as being “designed for experienced colorists” — and the more explicitly titled “Coloring Books for Grownups,” released by Chiquita Publishing. A subspecies of these books promote the meditative aspects of coloring and doodling, including “Color Me Calm” (subtitle: “A Zen Coloring Book”) and books that promise “Easy Meditation Through Coloring.”

Major publishers are seizing on the trend. This year, Little, Brown will release four illustrated coloring books for adults, all subtitled “Color Your Way to Calm.” The books, “Splendid Cities” by the British artists Rosie Goodwin and Alice Chadwick and three titles by the French illustrator Zoé de Las Cases, feature detailed cityscapes with famous landmarks, cafes and street life. Promotional materials for the books emphasize the health benefits of “mindful coloring,” noting that the activity “has been shown to be a stress reliever for adults.”

Ms. Basford is now working on her third book, after soliciting suggestions for themes from fans. A vocal faction has requested an ocean-themed coloring book. “I’ve been drawing starfish and seahorses this afternoon,” she said.

In the meantime, “Secret Garden” has sold out in many markets, to the consternation of fans. Laurence King is reprinting 75,000 copies for the United States.

This month, Ms. Basford tried to calm her followers with a post on her Facebook page, promising that newly printed books would be shipping in a few weeks: “Don’t panic! New stock of Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest is on its way!”

Some were not placated. “WEEKS?” one frantic follower replied. “I can’t possibly wait WEEKS!”

Topics: mental health, adults, health, healthcare, stress, coloring books

New York City To Teens: TXT ME With Mental Health Worries

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Mar 30, 2015 @ 09:56 AM

MAANVI SINGH

Source: www.npr.org

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The majority of teenagers with mental health issues don't get help. But maybe if help were just a text message away — they wouldn't be so hesitant to reach out.

That's the thinking behind NYC Teen Text, a pilot program at 10 New York public high schools that allows teens to get help with mental health issues by text.

Chiara de Blasio, the 20-year-old daughter of Mayor Bill de Blasio who has been vocal about her own struggles with depression and substance abuse, helped launched the program. "I know from personal experience that reaching out when you're in pain can be the turning point – the first step on the road to recovery," she said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The initiative is managed by the city's health department in collaboration with the Mental Health Association of New York City, which already runs a citywide crisis phone service.

"Teens can be more candid on text than even in a phone conversation or in person," says John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which helped design the Teen Text program. "This generation of teens make and break up relationships by text. So you can get pretty strong levels of intimate conversation with text."

The program is inspired by similar initiatives, including the Teen Line service in Los Angeles and the Crisis Text Line — which is available 24/7 for teens all over the country.

The advantage of having a local service is that counselors can look up and recommend local counselors to teens who need extra help. "We have more than 2,000 providers in our databases," Draper says.

And when teens who text the helpline appear to be in imminent danger of harming themselves or others, counselors can work with the local police department to track them down make sure they're safe.

But the text-based approach poses a few challenges, as well, Draper says. "One of the tricky things is making sure we're communicating our empathy. You can't hear someone say 'Mhm, mhm' over text."

Counselors who operate the text line receive extra training, Draper says. "Over text, counselors go out of their way to make it clear that they're actively listening. We may say something like 'It sounds like this loss has been terribly devastating for you, I'm so sorry to hear that.' "

And teens who reach out to such services may need extra validation, Draper says. "The whole world could be black today and it may feel like that's the way it will be forever. They don't have life experience telling them that this is going to end and get better," he says. "The counselor's job is to really be there in the moment so they learn that they can get through this."

Privacy is another concern. "We use encrypted messages and store all the information in secure databases," Draper says. "Still, on their end, we have no control over what they do with their information. The advantage of keeping the texts on their phone is that they can read and reread these messages that were useful or important to them. But we do warn them — if they're concerned about someone seeing, they should forward their texts to a more secure setting."

"I was very excited about this program," says Nadine Kaslow, the president of the American Psychological Association and vice-chair of Emory University's psychiatry department. "I think it has a great deal of potential."

In-person counseling is the best, most effective way to help teens with mental health trouble, says Kaslow, who isn't involved with the Teen Text program. "But there will be some subgroup of teens where this text service is the only way to connect with them."

There is a lack of research on the long-term efficacy of text and mobile app based services, she notes. "The issue is that everything is anonymous and there's no way to follow-up with them to see if they ended up seeing a counselor later, or if they're doing better."

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will be tracking the number of students who use the new service, and they're planning on gathering feedback from students at the 10 pilot high schools, according to Gary Belkin, the executive deputy commissioner for mental hygiene.

If the program is successful, the health department hopes to expand it and promote it in high schools citywide.

Topics: mental health, technology, health, medical, patients, teens, text message, mobile phone

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

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