Archive | April, 2011

University of Baltimore Career Panel

19 Apr

By Michael Reeder

I was delighted to participate in a University of Baltimore career panel sponsored by Psy Chi last Thursday night entitled “Where do you go from here? A panel discussion exploring postgraduate careers, educational paths, and possibilities in Psychology”.

Several professors were on the panel to answer student questions about the best ways to apply to graduate schools and what types of programs fit desired career paths.  I was able to answer questions on terminal master’s degrees for those looking to go directly into counseling, as well as outline the sorts of career options and salary ranges available to students and bachelor’s-level graduates.

I was approached by a small handful of students afterwards about job and internship opportunities.  I hope that University of Baltimore can become more of a recruiting source for staff in the future.  The school has both undergraduate and graduate programs of interest.

Thanks to Psy Chi student president Simone Bolton, John Gasparini, Dr. Gasser, Dr. Farley, and Dr. Johnson for coordinating and participating in this event.

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Negative Thought Patterns & their Association with Addictions

19 Apr

At the Harford PRP, Melissa Potemra is the instructor of the Mental Illness & Substance Abuse (M.I.S.A) class, which is held on Mondays. Alcoholism and Drug Addiction are major conditions that not only affect the abuser, but their entire family and friends as well. Addiction in and of itself has plagued our society and caused some major challenges.  When it comes to thinking and thought patterns, I have recognized just how powerful a persons thinking can be.  Positive thinking is empowering, motivating, and increases self-esteem, while negative thinking is distorted or black and white thinking. Changing your thoughts can  lead to  different emotions, which produces different outcomes.

Some helpful resources:

http://addictionrecoverybasics.com/how-to-change-negative-thinking-in-addiction-recovery/

http://www.edrugrehab.com/

Is Mental Health Stigma still prevalent? Check out this article!

11 Apr

The results of this study showed that while more people are understanding that there may be neurobiological causes of mental disorders, we’re still a long way off from removing the prejudice and discrimination that accompanies a mental disorder diagnosis: However, the results show that although believing in neurobiological causes for these disorders increased support for professional treatment, it did nothing to alleviate stigma. The results show that, in fact, the effect increased community rejection of the person described in the vignettes.  Pescosolido said the study provides real data for the first time on whether the “landscape” is changing for people with mental illness. The negative results support recent talk by influential institutions, including the Carter Center, about how a new approach is needed for the fight against stigma.

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Sep 2010
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

When I think about Stigma as it relates to mental illness, I am reminded of Stigma as a general problem and concern for many, in all facets of life. In my opinion, Stigma, as it relates to mental illness is a form of discrimination that is automatically placed on an individual due to their specific mental illness.  There are a variety of misconceptions and prejudgments about those who cope with mental illness on a daily basis. These misconceptions could possibly imply that one who suffers from a mental illness is not capable of  contributing to society as much as someone who doesn’t have a mental illness, when in fact, persons with mental illness can make just as much of a positive impact on society.  With mental illness, it is very easy for society to make judgments, but often times, stigma is prevalent specifically with mental illness due to lack of knowledge and awareness.  The topic itself is often taboo in certain respects and it almost suggests that if you have a mental illness, you are not able to hold a job, raise a child, go to school, etc. This is false.  Many individuals with mental illness are actively involved in treatment and participating in programs and community resources that will aid them in getting the best care possible. Reducing stigma requires more community education and for advocates to willingly challenge unfair treatment and discriminatory stereotypes.

So, in essence, Is Mental Health Stigma still prevalent? Yes! And something should be done! It begins with you!

Some Helpful Resources

Fight Stigma: Become A StigmaBuster! http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=fight_stigma

Mental Health America, http://www.nmha.org/index.cfm

 

MENTAL HEALTH & EXERCISE

4 Apr

You will be surprised to find what exercise, fitness, and balanced eating habits will do for you! Researchers have discovered that exercise and physical activity is an essential activity that impacts a number of psychological, emotional, physical, and mental issues such as obesity, depression, anxiety, stress, and depression. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.

One study found that short workouts of 8 minutes in length could help lower sadness, tension and anger along with improving resistance to disease in healthy people.

Meditation and yoga, though more nontraditional, also lend themselves to using the body to achieve optimal levels of mental health.

For the last several months, a small group of consumers at the Harford PRP volunteered to participate in the ACHIEVE program, sponsored by Johns Hopkins Hospital and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).  The ACHIEVE Healthy Lifestyles Trial is a weight loss study for people with severe mental illness. It involves a multi faceted weight loss lifestyle intervention which includes group exercise classes, behavioral weight management classes and individual weight loss counseling sessions, at Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs across all of Maryland.  Several PRP participants have volunteered to participate in this study and will be gathering together 3 times per week to work toward weight loss and an increasingly healthy lifestyle. The consumers at Harford PRP are doing an amazing job and have maintained interest and participation in the program since the beginning.

Sources:
“Mental Health Benefits of Exercise” was written by Jennifer C. Panning and published in the Find Counseling.com (formerly TherapistFinder.net) Mental Health Journal in November, 2000.

Guszkowska M.. Effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood [in Polish] Psychiatr Pol.2004;38:611–620. [PubMed]

Here is a video that further explains how exercise and nutrition can have an impact on Mental Health.