The 2nd Annual Black Women’s Health and Wellness Conference was held at the Education Building of the UC Davis Medical Center on July 12th. The goal of the conference was to inform black women on common health disparities they face and connect them with resources for prevention.
July is National Minority Mental Health Month, and Sacramento responded with its first annual Multicultural Mental Health Town Hall meeting to help increase awareness about the stigmas surrounding mental health. Many organizations gathered to help educate the public on the subject.
Researchers claim that the consumption of certain fast-food menu items releases dopamine “good feeling” hormones and that overeating of these foods are found to be “just as addictive as street drugs”.
Paul Kenny, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Therapeutics at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla., said, “Most people who are overweight would say, ‘I would like to control my weight and my eating,’ but they find it very hard to control their feeding behavior,” in an article in Scientific American titled Addicted to Fat: Overeating May Alter the Brain as Much as Hard Drugs.
Some in the field now believe that this could possibly be the making of a food addiction. “(D)opamine must be felt,” author Katherine Harmon says in her article, “and for that, the brain must have ample dopamine receptors. In many substance abusers a low level of dopamine receptors, either from the outset or caused by the behavior, means they increasingly have to seek more dopamine-inducing substances to reach a level of neurochemical reward they can enjoy.”
According to an article in ScienceDaily in a survey of 2,366 children between the ages of 2 and 12 years, 25% were overweight and obese and 19% said that they frequently felt feel unhappy. In a Taiwanese study from 2001, researchers found that children who ate fast food and drank soda were less likely to report being unhappy.
“Our findings suggest that consumption of fast food and soft drinks can result in a trade-off between children’s objective (i.e. obesity) and subjective (i.e. unhappiness) well-being,” the study concluded.
Researchers in the study suggest that policy makers “aim to improve children’s overall health should take these effects on children’s objective and subjective well-being into account to facilitate the reduction in childhood obesity without sacrificing children’s degree of happiness”.
The 2017 Living Well Expo is dedicated to promoting the issues surrounding mental health. Stigma has been known as one of the most important factors why people don’t get the help they need to treat mental illnesses.
A parent might say that they know their kids very well. Perhaps some do, and perhaps some do not. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five young students between the age of thirteen and eighteen suffer from a mental health condition. The condition could be minor such as an anxiety disorder to highly damaging one such as major depression. This directly correlates to the fact that suicide is the third largest killer of young adults from the age of ten to twenty-four. Nine out of ten of the victims of suicide deteriorated from a mental health problem.
Sometimes a teenager who is at risk and depressed could be seen by their parent as acting moody. According to the Telegraph, the mark of depression and moodiness often overlapped during the developing teenage years. Parents might dismiss a serious health complication as a teen being a teen because of stereotypes. When these things happen, researches believe that young person is more likely to commit suicides.
“Over time, there is less support within the family,” says David Baine of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “However, communication skills about mental health never increase to accommodate that loss of family support.” People and organizations throughout Sacramento are trying to address these problems within their own communities. One such organization is the Youth Mental Health First Aid program which is aiming to train people to detect early sign of mental illness in teens and young adults. Their program offers free training to volunteers through federal grants which hope to offer relief for youth mental health problems. They have a “5-step action plan to help a young person developing a mental health problem or in crisis” which helps to de-escalate a crisis situation which involves teens with mental health problems with the risk of suicide. Upcoming mental health training dates can be found here.
Many may not know it, but increasing people’s access to nature offers one of the most reliable ways to reduce stress and depression. A recent study just found that just from simply bird watching a person can boost their mental and physical well-being tremendously.
“This study starts to unpick the role that some key components of nature play for our mental well-being,” said Daniel Cox, a researcher with the University of Exeter.
The study focuses on social engagement of people in their communities to see if people who have more access to bird viewing and have nice scenery outside may be a factor in improving their overall well-being. The research objective was aiming to find out if people who live in greener areas, with more access to fresh air, birds, and nature could have lower risk to have mental health symptoms.
In order to do this over 270 people were surveyed from different backgrounds, ethnicity, ages, and neighborhoods. The research relied heavily on data to determine people’s exposure and levels of symptoms with mental health. The survey found that people who seek or have more birds in their neighborhood did in fact report having less anxiety. People who reported seeing few birds or no birds said they had higher levels of anxiety or depression.
“Birding is very relaxing for many reasons, it’s a great way to get fresh air, walk, and it’s inexpensive Meghan Samarra, a member of the Environmental Student Organization at California State University Sacramento. “There’s just something about getting lost in the sky that I feel helps all your problems or stress go away for a moment.”
There are many theories that suggest what bird watching and nature may or may not do for mental health. However, Dr. Cox evidence suggests social engagement with bird watching can encourage people to improved mental health; No matter the economic background, ethnicity, or age.
Living in Sacramento, which is known to be the “City of “trees”, people in our community should take advantage of bird watching. Since Sacramento is made up of communities filled with trees and birds that are more likely to be an eye’s view for many people. According to the U.S Fish & Wild Services birds could be found by parks, rivers, lakes, and neighborhoods. So go get relaxed and bond with nature.
Though it seems implausible, it is still possible in 2016 for a public school student to be kicked out the classroom because of their disabilities. While a teacher would never throw out a student because he or she had a broken arm or other such ailment, when it comes to mental health, that’s an entirely different story.
Before modern science taught us better, people with mental health problems are treated like criminals and thrown into prisons. Only recently has society tried to stop the stigma around it. Studies show now that one in five youth experience some sort of severe mental illness. They can range from depression to bipolar disorders, all of which can cause students to have an irrational emotional outburst in the classroom. It is especially true for teenagers who are just entering the “real world” and face more responsibility than had before.
Overwhelming stress can cause young people to be isolated and allow time for mental illness to develop. Emotionally, some students feel a disconnection to everything around them, causing more isolation and continuing the cycle of worsening mental health. Many schools have zero tolerance policies which can inadvertently make outburst situations worse for the students and the school itself in the long term.
“No one would ever say that someone with a broken arm or a broken leg is less than a whole person, but people say that or imply that all the time about people with mental illness,” says Elyn Saks, Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at University of Southern California Gould Law School. The Sacramento Unified School District has taken the initiative to train staff and learn what are the early signs of mental illness and how best for staff to address it. Schools should be able to create environments which make student feels safe to come out and talk their problems openly if they need to.
The district has created a Facebook page for those who wish to learn more about creating a safe environment for students which you can find here.
Universitiy of California campuses are taking bigger strides to end mental health stigma and reach out to students to let them know there are programs and clinicians for there needs and help. In this video I interviewed students planning on attending a UC campus this upcoming fall of 2016.
Welcome to another episode of the AccessLocal.Tv Podcast. On this show, the Neighborhood News Correspondents discuss the important issues surrounding teen mental health issues. What are some of the causes of mental health problems for young people? Where can a teen turn locally for help? Is there a solution to this massive problem? Feel free to chime in with your opinion on the discussion in the comment section below!
Like a broken arm, mental illness hurts. However, unlike a shattered bone, there are many people in the nation afraid to go to a doctor for treatment for a mental illness.
In 2012, a man named Denis Asselin walked from Cheyney, Pennsylvania to Boston, Massachusetts. This trek was made in honor of his son, who committed suicide at the too-young age of 24. He had suffered for years with body dysmorphia and obsessive compulsive disorder. When Asselin completed his walk, he was greeted by loved ones, fans, and members of the International OCD Foundation.
Since then, Asselin’s tradition has been faithfully carried out by thousands of citizens wanting to support the cause by raising awareness and funds.
On June 6th, OCD Sacramento will be hosting their second annual “One Million Steps for OCD”. The marathon will begin at Southside Park, 2115 6th street. Registration will begin at 8 am, and an opening ceremony will take place at 9:30.
According to a fact sheet on adaa.org, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. If affects approximately 40 million adults, or 18% of the nation’s population. Despite this large number, only about one-third of sufferers are treated.
OCD interferes with a person’s daily routine, relationships, and much more. Several hours a day can be spent performing complicated rituals and dealing with unwanted thoughts or compulsions.
As said on the International OCD Foundation’s website, “we will walk to raise awareness, hope, and funds to the support the important programs of the International OCD Foundations and our local affiliates”.
You can register or donate to One Million Steps for OCD, here.
For more mental health statistics, you can visit adaa.org.