COVID-19 and the Risk of Suicide
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of physical suffering, but we cannot overlook the emotional and psychological toll as well. One particularly troubling aspect of the pandemic is the increased risk factors for suicide. Although we don’t have a lot of data on suicides related to the pandemic, there are many different factors that are contributing to suicide risk during this crisis. Anxiety Many people are experiencing increased anxiety right now. They may worry about their own or a loved one’s health, [...]
How to Support Your Teen or Young Adult During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting teens and young adults in unique ways. High school students have missed important milestones like prom and graduation, while many college students are starting their fall semester from home with virtual classes. There are also many negative mental health effects that adolescents are struggling with as a result. How COVID-19 is Impacting Adolescent Mental Health The difficult circumstances of the pandemic are causing mental health issues for teens and young adults. One study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 62.9% of respondents ages 18-24 have experienced anxiety, depression, or both [...]
How to Cope with the Emotional Trauma of COVID-19
With over 29 million cases and 900,000 deaths worldwide as of September 2020, COVID-19 has devastated communities across the globe. The pandemic, which began in late 2019, has caused everyone from all walks of life to experience stress, anxiety, and loss. However, front-line and essential workers, like doctors, nurses, and grocery store workers, have often had to bear the brunt of the stress. Unfortunately for many front-line workers, COVID-19 has led to another, less obvious pandemic: trauma. High levels of stress are causing healthcare providers to experience an increase in collective trauma and PTSD. In this article, we’ll share information [...]
The Relationship Between Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health conditions. In the year 2017, there were 264 million people living with depression and 284 million living with anxiety disorders globally. There are distinct symptoms for each of these conditions, but there is also a link between them. Here we provide an overview of the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and how they influence each other. Symptoms of Depression Depression is a serious mental health disorder marked by these symptoms: Losing interest in activities that you used to enjoy Feeling sad most of the time Feeling worthless or guilty [...]
Teletherapy For Teens: How Online Therapy Can Help Adolescents During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard for teens. They’ve been separated from their friends for months, missed their proms and graduations, and are adapting post-graduation plans. They may have struggled with online learning or felt anxious about themselves or a loved one getting sick. With all of the new fears and stressors that COVID-19 has brought, it’s understandable that teen mental health has been suffering. Luckily, there is an effective and safe treatment method: online therapy. Learn more about the effects of COVID-19 and how teen and adolescent teletherapy can be an effective treatment method. Teen Mental Health During [...]
Trauma & Anxiety Coping Skills: Tip of the Day
Christine Pancurak, LSW and Lead Trauma Clinician on the Adult Psychiatric Team at High Focus Centers in Freehold, NJ, demonstrates a common technique used to reduce feelings of anxiety and negative bodily sensations called ABS or Alternative Bilateral Stimulation. Follow Christine as she moves her hands rhythmically in an alternating left-right pattern that allows the logical and emotional sides of the brain to communicate. This simple, 5 minute exercise is most effective when used at the onset of anxious feelings to prevent escalation and can be repeated as many times as needed.
How to Overcome Health Anxiety: 3 Helpful Tips
Health anxiety is an obsessive and often irrational worry about suffering from serious medical conditions. It is more formally known as illness anxiety, and used to be known as hypochondriasis. Someone who suffers from health anxiety will obsess over their health: from their normal body functions to contracting illnesses and diseases. They may frequently visit their physician or spend large amounts of time reading about their symptoms and possible conditions. In severe cases, health anxiety can become disruptive to a person’s life. It can interfere with their daily activities, hurt their work performance, and even cause strain in relationships. Fortunately, [...]
Focus on: Reducing Stress via Guided Visualization
Danielle Minkin, Licensed Professional Counselor and Board Certified Registered Art Therapist for High Focus Centers in New Jersey, shares a guided visualization reading - a powerful tool used to help reduce stress, relieve tension and strengthen the immune system by allowing the imagination to relax. Settle into a quiet, comfortable spot, close your eyes and breath deeply while Danielle's soothing voice transports you to a calm, peaceful place of your imagination. Engage your senses and explore soothing sounds, sights and smells that you can return to anytime you feel anxiety, stress or uncertainty.
The 3 Pillars for Creating a Safe Space: Managing Trauma Symptoms During COVID-19
Written by Lindsay Wheeler, LCSW, LCADC, Executive Director of High Focus Centers in Lawrenceville In these uncertain times, it may feel difficult to discover a sense of structure and calm amidst the chaos. If you are currently managing mental health symptoms, coping with traumatic experiences, or if you are noticing a decline in your well-being during COVID-19, you may feel symptoms are heightened and unmanageable while trying to adjust to the “new normal.” The good news is that there are simple strategies anyone can practice to minimize the impact of these emotions and continue to live a life with meaning. [...]
Insights On: Safety Planning
Dr. Kai-ping Wang, Chief Medical Officer of High Focus Centers, identifies and defines Safety Planning as an important facet of mental health care often used to mitigate suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, symptoms of eating disorders, explosive anger or any intense emotions that could lead an individual to partake in unhealthy or dangerous behavior as a result of compromised judgment or reasoning ability. Best developed under the guidance of a qualified medical professional such as a therapist or counselor, Safety Planning includes 6 distinct steps from identifying triggers to seeking a safe environment to contacting professionals that an individual can practice [...]
Creating a Self-Soothing Kit: Tip of the Day
Michael Fenimore, LPC, an adult psychiatric clinician at High Focus Centers in Freehold, New Jersey, discusses self-soothing as a coping skill during times of stress. Learn how to create a “self-soothing kit” for yourself that engages all five senses and can be a calming resource when you experience feelings of distress or vulnerable moments in your life.
Insights on Heuristics: How They Influence our Behavior during COVID-19
Dr. Kai-ping Wang, Chief Medical Officer of High Focus Centers, examines our diverse responses to the Covid-19 pandemic from a mental health perspective. These responses range from “panic” such as panic buying or hoarding to “party” such as complacency or ignoring social distancing guidelines. In uncertain times such as these, it’s important that we react and make decisions as rationally as possible. Having insight and self-awareness into why we react as we do can help us recognize our blind spots. Heuristics, or “shortcuts,” are used by our brain in order to be able to respond quickly to things in our [...]