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In the News: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month – Part II

Written by Lisa Jillanza

(Continued from Part I…)

Care – Show you care. The context of caring makes it a lot easier to ask the hard questions about suicide. By actively listening and engaging, without judgment, you are showing that you care – this might just be enough to help the person feel relief and that they are not alone.

Escort – When someone acknowledges that they are feeling suicidal or hopeless, care enough to connect them to the nearest helping resource. Do not leave them alone! If possible, separate them from methods of harm.

Resources that are available 

  • Take the person to the nearest Emergency Room, where they will receive a full suicide assessment and receive needed care. If the person is hesitant to receive emergency healthcare, call 911.
  • Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and follow their guidance. You can also visit their website, suicidepreventionlifeline.org for further information.
  • If the person you know has a mental health professional that they see, help them schedule an urgent appointment. If they do not have an existing connection with a mental health professional, help them make an urgent appointment with their family physician. 

This year Suicide Prevention Week is celebrated September 10 – 16. The week is about prevention awareness but it is also about reducing the stigma surrounding suicide and encourage the pursuit of mental health assistance, such as therapy.

In the News Suicide Prevention Awareness Month– Part I

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Suicide is a problem that affects people of all different walks of life. Many of us know someone, such as a friend, family member or coworker that has committed or attempted suicide. Over the past 20 years, suicide rates have risen rather steadily in the United States. Suicide is currently ranked as the 10th highest cause of death of among all ages.

During the month of September, we celebrate Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, as suicide is preventable and together through treatment and support, we can help reduce the number of suicides.

Warning signs of suicide

  • Feeling extreme depression, guilt, or shame.
  • Feeling hopeless.
  • Talking about, or preoccupation with, death or suicide.
  • Preparing for death, such as updating/preparing a will, giving away possessions, or taking steps to access lethal means (buying a firearm, acquiring quantities of pills/medication, researching ways to die).
  • Exhibiting a dramatic change in behavior, including withdrawal from friends or usual activities, increased alcohol/drug use, difficulties in sleeping or eating, decreased self-care.

What to do if someone you know is experiencing a crisis or hurting

If you believe someone needs help, we encourage you to follow the ACE (Ask, Care, Escort) suicide prevention model, with these easy-to-remember steps:

Ask – Ask, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” Although it may feel awkward, research shows that people having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks them in a caring way.

(Continued in Part II…)

In the News Psychological Hacks for Better Mental Health – Part II

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Continued from Part I…)


  • Look around — notice those areas that need a make-over. We often get stuck in habitual patterns of behavior. Life is constantly evolving — things that used to work may no longer. Adjust accordingly.
  • Avoid wearing all-grey clothes to work as this color is associated with passivity, low involvement. and a lack of energy.
  • Make Sunday your personal-care day: get a massage, a mani-pedi, extra sleep, a delicious brunch, or catch up on leisure reading.
  • Wake up 15 minutes earlier than normal during the week. Moving slowly and purposefully sets you up for a calm, peaceful day where you are in control. Not the other way around.
  • Leave drama where it belongs: On Broadway or at the movies. Your central nervous system will thank you.
  • Steer clear of jerks. And while you’re at it, don’t be a jerk yourself!
  • Think faster. As counter intuitive as it may seem, mulling, over-analyzing, and delaying decisions doesn’t help. Trust yourself and decide, already.
  • Remember that happinessis a habit. You can rewire your emotional template every day. Let these tips guide you.
  • When distraction interferes with productivity, try the Pomodoro Technique: Work for 25 minutes, then take a break for 5 minutes. Repeat this sequence two more times. On the fourth round, take a longer break. Having an egg timer or mobile device helps keep track of time.
  • Dance, skip, tell a joke, or do something you normally wouldn’t do that adds whimsy, spontaneity, and fun to your day.
  • Focus on solutions rather than problems.

In the News Psychological Hacks for Better Mental Health– Part I

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Humans are complicated beings with complicated minds. According to one Science journal, we have anywhere between 12 and 50 THOUSAND thoughts per day.

With that many thoughts coursing through our heads each day, it’s no wonder that many people struggle with managing their mental health.

In this two-part article, we offer some psychological hacks to help you maintain more positive thoughts throughout your day. 

  • Recognize all the times you got it right. Rather than wake up each morning anxiousabout what didn’t get done on the to-do list, focus on what’s going well.
  • Protect your emotional well-being day with the Big Three: Quality sleep, lots of water, and slow, deep-breathing.
  • Consider your options when catastrophic thinkingthreatens to derail your mood. Close your eyes (this helps to block out stimulation) and fill in the blanks: I am afraid of ________. The worst-case scenario would be ________. On a scale of 1-10, the likelihood of this happening is ________. If this happens, I can do ________ and ________ and ________, instead of worry, feel helpless or stuck.
  • Talk less.You don’t need to explain yourself as much as you think you do.
  • Share your talents. When things don’t go your way it’s easy to think you’re a failure. You’re not. Switch the dial and notice your unique gifts. Find someone to help out.
  • Hug your family, friends and pets Don’t forget yourself — you need hugs, too.
  • Spend a few extra minutes in bed each morning to focus on the day ahead and all the opportunities that await.

 (Continued in Part II…) 

In the News: June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month - Part II

Written by Lisa Jillanza

(Continued from Part I…) 


some slowed thinking and occasional problems with remembering certain things. However, serious memory loss, confusion, and other major changes in the way our minds work may be a sign that brain cells are failing. 

As Alzheimer's advances through the brain, it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood, and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time, and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends, and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behavior changes; and difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking. 

What are the risk factors? 

Age, family history and genetics, having Down syndrome, sex (females tend to get Alzheimer’s more than males, mainly because they live longer than males) head trauma, excessive alcohol consumption, air pollution, and poor sleep patterns.

How can I prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

Evidence suggests that taking steps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease may also lower your risk of developing dementia.

To follow heart-healthy lifestyle choices that may reduce the risk of dementia:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a diet of fresh produce, healthy oils, and foods low in saturated fat, such as a Mediterranean diet.
  • Follow treatment guidelines to manage high blood pressure, diabetes. and high cholesterol.
  • If you smoke, ask your health care provider for help to quit.