Men & Mental Health

The following info is brought to you courtesy of MVP Health Care and the Saratoga County Chamber. It is not an endorsement, but rather, a sharing of very important information that needs to be shared and talked about. 

 

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Men’s Health Week is June 10-16, 2019 – Raise your awareness … know what resources are out there … 

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When we talk about mental health, typically we talk in general terms—how to recognize signs of depression, and what to do if you or a family member needs help. But when we start talking about who deals with depression—namely, men—generalities aren’t enough.

The silent crisis

In an article in Psychology Today, Rob Whitley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, discusses how men and women experience many of the same mental disorders, but their willingness to talk about their feelings may be very different.

“This is one of the reasons that their symptoms may be very different. For example, some men with depression or an anxiety disorder hide their emotions and may appear to be angry or aggressive, while many women will express sadness. Some men may turn to drugs or alcohol to try to cope with their emotional issues. Sometimes mental health symptoms appear to be physical issues. For example, a racing heart, tightening chest, ongoing headaches, and digestive issues can be a sign of an emotional problem.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, warning signs for depression and other mental illnesses in men include:

  • Anger, irritability or aggressiveness.
  • Noticeable changes in mood, energy level, or appetite.
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, or on edge.
  • Increased worry or feeling stressed.
  • A need for alcohol or drugs.
  • Sadness or hopelessness.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Feeling flat or having trouble feeling positive emotions.
  • Engaging in high-risk activities.
  • Ongoing headaches, digestive issues, or pain.
  • Obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior.
  • Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with work, family, or social life.

Unusual thinking or behaviors that concern other people.

Higher risk for suicide

 

 

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We know that one in four Americans experiences a mental health issue in their lifetime. What’s less commonly known is that of the 121 Americans who die by suicide every day, 93 of them are men, and many of them between the ages of 45 and 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High rates have been observed in veterans, young American Indians, and gay men.

 

Know the warning signs:

  • Threats or comments about killing themselves, also known as suicidal ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts (like “I wish I wasn’t here”) but can become more overt and dangerous.
  • Increased alcohol and drug use.
  • Aggressive behavior.
  • Social withdrawal from friends, family, and the community.
  • Dramatic mood swings.
  • Talking, writing, or thinking about death.
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior.

While women make more suicide attempts, using less lethal methods such as overdosing on medication, men are more likely to use a deadly firearm.

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And they’re less likely to tell anyone that they are struggling before taking actions that are often seen as sudden and unexpected.

Suffering in silence

Evidence suggests that men are significantly less likely to use mental health services in response to a mental health issue in comparison with women, says Whitley. “Men who are suicidal or have substance abuse problems are much more likely to suffer in silence, especially minority men. This is often attributed to stubbornness in men, rooted in traditional American notions of masculinity that emphasize ‘true grit’ doggedness. However, another explanation is that formal mental health services are not finely attuned to men’s needs, especially minority men. Indeed, these services tend to emphasize medication or talk therapy. But some research suggests that men prefer action over words in the face of stressful situations.”

More and more men are creating “man caves” and “men’s sheds,” which are physical spaces where isolated and lonely men can gather together for practical activities such as woodwork and repairs, while receiving valuable peer-support in the process.

Stop the stigma

As a culture, we must get past the notion that mental illness, and talking about depression, implies weakness. “When we show vulnerability, we are actually showing strength,” says Dennis Gillen in an essay for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Gillen lost two brothers to suicide.

“Men need to focus on forming some really tight connections with each other. Once those are in place, we need to get comfortable sharing real life situations, knowing full well that two (or more) brains are better than one.” Gillen has gotten involved in a faith-based, men’s-only group that meets every Friday. “We in the group have grown together to a place where we are quite comfortable admitting to each other when we’re screw ups, or when we’re worried about something.”

He also suggests keeping things light. “One thing I’m thinking about doing is hosting a men’s only comedy night with a mental health theme. Laughter helps people feel relaxed. Maybe if we guys can sit around, talk about feelings–I know, a lot of us hate that word—in a light way, it can help us become more comfortable opening up.”

Resources

 

  1. If you think you or a loved-one may be experiencing signs of a mental illness, visit mhascreening.orgto take a free, quick, and confidential screen for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD, and/or alcohol or substance use problems.

 

  1. Mental health tools designed specifically for men are becoming more common, such as ManTherapy.org, which uses humor and science to reach men and help prevent suicide. Read more about the project here.

 

3.    If you or someone you know needs help now, you should immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911

 

 

 

The Blessing of the Hot Dogs!

It never gets old when people think of us. We are tremendously blessed to be a part of a caring and supportive community in which our friends, neighbors, and even strangers lend a hand to ensure the success and vitality of our programming. Check out this great story in the Post Star about one of our latest blessings!

 

https://poststar.com/news/local/contest-hobbyist-wins-hot-dogs-for-kids/article_a6ea5b60-152e-5523-ae47-2de8c5be199c.html

Guest Article by Jim McKinley

Financial Planning As A Veteran: Tips For Seniors Who Have Served

by Jim McKinley

Photo via Unsplash

Financial planning is an important aspect of getting older, and for veterans, it can be complicated. There are so many things to consider, such as living arrangements and healthcare, and being a veteran can affect everything you do. As a senior, you want to think about planning ahead so your family won’t have any financial burdens after you’re gone, and while this can be a difficult step, it’s a necessary one for most older adults. Things like a will, health or life insurance policies, and burial insurance are all extremely beneficial for veterans who are making plans for end-of-life arrangements.

Talking to your family about these plans can be hard; no one likes to think about leaving the people they love. However, it’s crucial to have a conversation about your wishes and about how they can maintain good financial health after you’re gone, especially if you have veteran’s benefits or want to be laid to rest in a particular spot as a result of your military service.

Burial insurance

Burial insurance is one of the best ways to ensure that your loved ones won’t have to make any sacrifices after you’re gone. Not only does it help cover the cost of your final arrangements, it can also help pay for medical bills and other outstanding debts. Just make sure when you’re purchasing a policy that you know how much you’ll need and have an estimate of your final wishes on hand. Keep in mind that you’ll need someone you trust to handle the arrangements, and that they’ll need access to any important paperwork.

Have a talk

It can be extremely difficult to think about our own mortality and to share it with the people we love; it can bring about feelings of grief or sadness for both of you. However, it’s important to have a conversation with the ones you care about when it comes to your last wishes and how you want them to be carried out. Not only will this give you both peace of mind, it will help to ensure there are no issues within the family in regards to how your estate is divided up or where you are laid to rest.

Understand your military benefits

Retirement and disability benefits are extremely helpful for seniors, but they can be a bit complicated to understand when it comes to the military. Talk to someone who can help you figure out how to make the most of your government benefits, especially if you are about to retire and will be changing over to a different healthcare plan with out-of-pocket expenses. Knowing what to plan for and how much to save will help to avoid any nasty surprises down the road.

Think about long-term care

Long-term care or nursing homes can be expensive, and many healthcare plans don’t cover hospital stays over a certain amount of days. When you’re planning for the future, it’s important to think about all the possibilities, not just the positive ones. Many seniors need care toward the end of their life that a family member just can’t provide, so it’s important to start a savings account that will help you pay for those needs.

Financial planning as a veteran can be challenging, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Talk to an adviser who can assist you in making the right decisions for your needs so you’ll be well prepared for the coming years. With a good plan, you can ensure that you and your loved ones are taken care of.

 

Jim is a retired banker who started Money with Jim to help folks “make the most of their hard-earned money.” 

Contact Jim at: 
moneywithjim.org
jim_mckinley@moneywithjim.org

 

A May Day Relfection

Lace umbrellas, wreaths and floral arrangements, baskets and poles with colorful ribbons, dancing and ritualistic fires, marches, strikes and riots – how do these all come together as a single holiday in the Northern Hemisphere?

As May Day, of course!

There’s no point in regurgitating the same information that the below posted articles explain – you can read all about the history of this storied holiday.

There is, however, a point in seeking some sort of reconciliation of the beautiful ancient celebration and the sometimes-violent industrial protests. Especially if we want to gain anything from the observation of this holiday.

Respect. Honor. Dignity. Gratitude.

Like the ancient Celts we can choose to recognize and honor the longer days of Summer. We can choose to show respect and admiration for the natural forces of the planet. We can choose to look forward, with eager and open hearts, to the hope of a fruitful planting season that provides us with sustenance and strength. In our modern society, we can choose to show respect and reverence for our shared home by educating ourselves and our children about the importance of taking care of the planet, preserving forests, and cleaning the air and waterways that sustain life.

We can celebrate May Day by also recognizing the sacrifices made by strikers, marchers, and protesters who literally put their lives on the line to demand a standard of safety and dignity for all workers. We can be thankful that, even if we don’t love our jobs, we are protected from abuse and degradation because of the work done by those who came before us. We can educate ourselves about the practices and human rights records of the companies we support, and maybe, if necessary, make switches to other brands if we don’t find ourselves agreeing with employee treatment – or ecological treatment for that matter.

It’s one day with two storied, and in their own rights, beautiful traditions. From both origin stories we can glean a lesson about respect for our planet and each other; honor of the fragility and sacred nature of Earth, and of those who fought the fight for us; dignity that is inherent in all the natural world, including human beings; and gratitude for the ways we benefit and thrive off the fruits of the planet and the fruits of others’ labor.

Read about May Day’s History:
CNN
READER’S DIGEST
HISTORY

 

 

ZPL 4/29/19

 

 

 

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is almost upon us, and it’s the nationally recognized
Sexual Assault Awareness Month (#SAAM) …

Too often we try to avoid discussing topics like this because they’re too painful, too inappropriate, etc., but we’re only hurting ourselves and future generations in doing so. So, let’s talk. Let’s have an honest, maybe awkward and uncomfortable, but sincere dialogue about #consent, #power, #respect, #dignity, and a way to end rape culture and replace it with a #cultureofconsent. We’re going to be sharing some info and events about what our friends at Planned Parenthood are doing to raise awareness.

 

Check out this handout for great info and talking points: Consent Handout_508_0

Click here for the history of SAAM! 

Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson:
Facebook
Glens Falls/QBY Website

Allergy Agony

Springtime is officially upon us! After a wet, snowy, gray winter, who isn’t ready for the warmer weather? Fresh breezes? Open windows? How about no more shoveling for a while? With all the beauty of budding flowers and greening grass comes a nightmare of hyperactive immune systems for many of us. While we allergen warriors are well experienced, a refresher on how to live our best life while in a constant battle with the environment comes in handy. Here are a few suggestions from verywellhealth.com:

  • Know your pollen counts. Check your local weather forecast or the National Allergy Bureau website to get daily pollen counts as well as the breakdown of pollen or mold types.
  • Stay indoors during high counts. If you must go outdoors, do it later in the day when counts are typically lower.
  • Use a HEPA filter. These are designed to remove airborne particles. Keep windows shut and use an air conditioner if needed.
  • Close your windows when driving. Shut the vents and either recirculate the air or use your air conditioner.
  • Vacuum and dust frequently. “Pet-friendly” vacuum cleaners often do the best job of sucking up pollen and other allergens such dander.
  • Shower before bedtime. The body and hair can collect surprising amounts of pollen whenever outdoors. Also, be sure to wash any clothes you’ve been wearing as soon as possible.
  • Avoid drying clothes outdoors. Pollen can easily settle in the fibers and trigger symptoms when the put the clothes on later.

Head over their website for more great info! And remember, if you’re struggling to manage getting access to medical treatment, health insurance, or medicine to help treat your allergies and asthma, you can always stop by and talk to Rosemary or Zac – We’ll be sure to get you connected to the services you need.

Happy Spring!

Story Behind the Holiday – St. Patrick’s Day

Who was Saint Patrick?

Why is it that the we all become so suddenly Irish in March? Green apparel, shamrocks, minty shakes and treats, the flag of Ireland … all of it bombards us well before the month begins, advancing on us ahead of the feast day for a saint the many don’t know outside of the festive parades, corned beef and cabbage, and hullabaloo. As we did for Saint Valentine and his feast day, we decided to do some research into the man behind the holiday. Click on the images to read some fascinating info and gain some new insights into St. Patrick! And don’t forget to check out the blog below!

We’re not opposed to celebrating the secular aspect of holidays, 
but it’s important to know what, who, and why you’re celebrating!

https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/frbill/57-saint-patrick-celtic-orthodox-roman-catholic-anglican-coptic/

Mental Wellness Matters Just as Much as Physical and Social Wellness

Mental Health is all too often overlooked when we, as a society, talk about wellness. Though we’re making tremendous strides in removing the stigma surrounding mental illness, we have a long road ahead of us. Part of that road includes being courageous enough to share our stories, to open ourselves up to genuinely hearing our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and loved ones when they try to speak out, or when they’re dropping hints that they’re struggling and needing help. The Moreau Community Center doesn’t only care about keeping people fed, or providing them with the building blocks and resources to build stronger healthier lives, we care about breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illness – it is, after all, a major factor in overall wellness, which is what we want to help improve in our communities. Check out the article below, and remember, if we’re here for you. If you need help trying to get on the path toward strong mental health, we can help connect you the resources that you’ll need to succeed.

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/02/04/689747637/if-youre-often-angry-or-irritable-you-may-be-depressed

 

 

Tax Season Stress

Tax season is a stressful time of the year for many of us. Stack the longest government shutdown in U.S. history on top of that, with over-worked and non-paid IRS employees, new tax law and code, and the general frustration of the times, it can be downright frightening and confusing. The Moreau Community Center stands ready to help alleviate some of that stress for you, and here’s how:

VITA tax preparation: Tax preparation assistance, provided by trained Center employees, is available by appointment at the Center for households making $50,000 a year or less.  To schedule your appointment, call 518-792-6007 and dial extension 23 for Sarah, extension 10 for Donna, or extension 12 for Rosemary.

AARP tax preparation: Tax preparation assistance, provided by AARP trained professionals, is available by appointment to anyone over age 60.
To schedule your appointment, call Jeanne at 518-792-6007, ext. 13.

There are no residency restrictions to these programs! You do not have to live in South Glens Falls, Moreau, or the school district. So, please, let us help you! Call today!