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Men’s Mental Health is A Silent Crisis

Men's Mental Health is A Silent Crisis

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of the world but those who fight and win battles that others do not know anything about.
–Jonathan Harnisch

Mental health stigmas prevent those struggling with mental illness from seeking treatment. There have been significant strides to reduce the stigmas surrounding mental illness. Yet, when it comes to men, mental illness is often overlooked. Numerous researchers have stated that there is a silent crisis in men’s mental health. More awareness is needed specifically for men to reduce mental health stigmas.

Men struggle with seeking help for their mental illnesses because of the stereotypes and stigmas involved. Men have elevated rates of suicide and substance abuse, as well as low rates of mental health service use.  Mental health is a serious priority and there are reasons why men, specifically need to be motivated to seek treatment.

 3 Reasons Why Men’s Mental Health is a Silent Crisis

  1. Suicide:
    Men make up over 75 percent of suicide victims in the United States. Every 20 minutes, a man dies from suicide. Men living in rural areas and small towns are at a higher risk of suicide. States like Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Utah have the highest rates of suicide in the country. Alaska also has very high rates. The reason for this varies and has been attributed to various factors. One factor is the massive decline in employment in areas like manufacturing, forestry, and fisheries, leaving large amounts of men under-employed or unemployed in certain regions.A common reasoning behind this may be due to rejection from mainstream society, leading to strong feelings of alienation and isolation.
  2. Substance Abuse:
    Substance use disorder is high among man. Men have a rate of 3 to 1 when it comes to substance use compared to a woman. Substance abuse is sometimes referred to as “slow-motion suicide.” It often ends in premature death if left untreated. A variety of genetic and environmental components can result in substance abuse. High rates of substance abuse occur in certain sub-groups, including veterans, which are predominately men. Therefore, men need interventions in this area.
  3. Lack of Mental Health Service Utilization:
    Research reveals that men are less likely to access mental health resources compared to a woman. This is especially true among Black, Latino, and Asian men, who have lower utilization rates than white men, as well as women in general.Another explanation is that mental health services are catered more towards women and do not attune to men’s needs, especially minority men. Research shows that men prefer action over words in the midst of stressful circumstances. This could explain the popularity of interventions where men get together for physical activities while engaging with each other in the process.

What Can Be Done to Improve Men’s Mental Health?

Men’s mental health should be recognized as a social issue as much as a health issue. There are a variety of factors such as unemployment and familial disruptions that affect mental health. Secondly, there should be more options in the system with male-tailored options that respond to men’s unique needs.

Men tend to shy away from seeking mental health treatments due to the stigmas associated with it. It is important that more resources are available that appeal to men. Men have alarming rates of suicide, substance abuse, and other mental illnesses.

If you or someone is struggling with mental health or substance use disorder, please reach out for help. Do not let the stigmas behind your condition get in the way of you seeking treatment. We have professionals waiting to get you on the right track. Do not wait. Call now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Hospitals Recruit Volunteers To Cuddle Drug-Addicted Babies

Hospitals Recruit Volunteers To Cuddle Drug-Addicted Babies

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Every 25 minutes, a baby is born addicted to opioids. The use of opioids results in newborns born with a condition called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), and it is essentially when a baby is born withdrawing from drugs. The condition causes a newborn to suffer through a variety of withdrawal symptoms resulting in lengthy and costly overnight hospital stays.

A study from 2012 estimated that nearly 21,731 babies are born with this condition. With the rise of drug addiction, more babies than ever are born addicted to substances mothers consumed during pregnancy. Often, these mothers are too consumed by their addiction to nurture their child.

Now, hospitals are fighting back by recruiting volunteers to cuddle these innocent babies. A few cuddles from selfless volunteers may be just what they need to heal.   These babies have incredible obstacles to overcome from the moment they leave the womb. Healing from neonatal abstinence syndrome is a long painful process. Nurses wean babies off of their withdrawal symptoms by administrating smaller and smaller doses of morphine or methadone.

The good news is that a program developed by veteran nurse Jane Cavanaugh of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is proving to drastically help with the treatment process. Cavanaugh knew she had to do something to help the staggering amount of babies born with NAS. She came up with an ingenious plan that let people volunteer to help cuddle and hold newborns in an attempt to help them through their withdrawals.

“These babies going through withdrawal need to be held for extended periods,” Cavanaugh tells Philly.com.They need human touch. They need soothing. They need talking,”

Shortly after the program was announced on Philly.com, it quickly exceeded capacity on volunteers.  Philadelphia readers eagerly wrote in asking how they could become a baby snuggler. The list is currently full and won’t reopen until July 2017.


Maribeth McLaughlin, chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services at Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh, strongly supports Cavanaugh’s treatment solution.  According to her, the cuddling and snuggling seem to be helping.

“[Cuddling] is helping them manage through these symptoms, They are very irritable; they are hard to console. This is about swaddling them and giving them that comfort and safe, secure feeling,” she told Today.com.

McLaughlin, who oversees a group of volunteers for the program, found that cuddling expedites the healing process. She discovered that babies in withdrawal who are held go home sooner and need less medication on average than those that are not held.

Overall, the program demonstrates that cuddling helps babies through their dependencies. Even more comforting, it helps the parents by creating a liaison between the children and their mothers who often feel characterized by the doctors and nurses.

Anyone interested in snuggling babies should reach out to volunteer programs in their area. Although not every hospital will have this exact program, many do and need volunteers to help. So far, hospitals in Texas, Ohio Chicago, California (and much more) have similar programs.  Try calling your local hospital and ask about their volunteer services. Even if they do not have this exact program, you could find another way to contribute.

This form of treatment proves that touching and human connection often make the biggest impact in the healing process. Babies who are held and cuddled, on average, go home sooner than those who were not held during treatment. Perhaps, these results say a lot about human nature.  If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance use disorder or mental illness, please call now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

What Everest Mountaineers Reveal About Adrenaline Addiction

What Everest Mountaineers Reveal About Adrenaline Addiction

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva 

Over the weekend, my sister watched the 2015 movie, Everest. I know this, because she simply had to tell me about it.

The movie depicts several mountain climbers determined to summit the top of the world. Unfortunately, not all of them returned home. After hearing her describe the movie in shocking detail, I began to research the true events myself. Thus began my inevitable hours of research and documentary exploration.

The tragedies depicted in the movie are based on a true event known as the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster. The fatalities occurred on 10-11 May 1996, when eight people caught in a blizzard died on Mount Everest while attempting to descend and ascend from the summit.

Since that fatal day, hundreds more have lost their life attempting to reach the top of the world.

But climbing Everest is not the feat it once was. The first to the summit was New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary alongside Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay in the early 50s. However, Everest has transformed into a completely different place since the days of that early trek. Now, climbing the mountain has become more about status and bragging rights than sheer determination.

Climbing Everest can cost upwards of $65,000+, and with more modern equipment comes more unskilled climbers attempting the dangerous feat. Hundreds of climbers now attempt to climb Everest each season, and as a result, climbing Everest is more of a traffic jam than a secluded adventure.

The Risk and Rewards of the Climb

In the 1996 Everest tragedy, two outspoken survivors were Beck Weathers and Jon Krakauer. Beck Weathers was a seasoned climber with over ten years of experience, while Jon Krakauer was a journalist determined to write his next big story for Outside magazine. Both wrote books describing the events that occurred during those tragic two days.

While I won’t go into too much detail (you’ll have to dig into that yourself), I will say what these two men went through was astounding. Weathers was, in his own words, “left for dead,” by several climbers. He lied in the snow lifeless and eventually reached the point of accepting his own fate.

Shockingly, after lying unconscious for 15 hours, Weathers suddenly woke up and staggered down to safety. By sheer miracle, Weathers gathered enough energy to trek back to base camp. He barely made it out alive, suffering from severe hypothermia and frostbite that would lead to the loss of his nose and hands. Yet, he survived.

Now, looking back, Weathers says the love for his wife was what kept him going during that near-death experience. He realizes how much he let his love for adrenaline get in the way of what mattered most: his family. After returning home, his wife threatened divorce if he continued his adrenaline junkie ways. Ultimately, Weathers made the decision to change.


In the beginning, Weathers gravitated toward climbing to release himself of depression:

“I fell into climbing, so to speak, a willy-nilly response to a crushing bout of depression that began in my mid-thirties. The disorder reduced my chronic low self-regard to a bottomless pit of despair and misery. I recoiled from myself and my life, and came very close to suicide.”

Soon, climbing turned into an escape and his desire to conquer the tallest mountain in the world was too great to pass up. His wife, Peach, remembers Weathers well during those days:

“I think Beck was trying to prove himself to himself,” Peach says. “He was really hard on himself. I don’t know where that comes from or why he picked that way to fix it. I guess it’s just something that you come with.”

Despite Peach’s constant pleading for Weathers to stop his adrenaline-seeking ways, Weathers realized he was far too deep into his obsession to stop:

“When my wife, Peach, warned that this cold passion of mine was destroying the center of my life and that I was systematically betraying the love and loyalty of my family, I listened but did not hear her,” he remembers.

Fortunately, Weathers learned from his near-death that fateful day in 1996. He realized how selfish he had become.  Thankfully, he was given a second chance.

“I am neither churchly nor a particularly spiritual person, but I can tell you that some force within me rejected death at the last moment and then guided me, blind and stumbling— quite literally a dead man walking—into camp and the shaky start of my return to life.”


Jon Krakauer goal when climbing Everest was totally different from Weathers. He was hired to write a compelling piece for Outside magazine. He knew chronicling the plight of Everest mountaineers would make for an excellent story. In the end, he certainly got more than he bargained for.

Krakauer ended up nearly escaping death on the mountain. Looking back, he regrets having gone at all.

“Climbing Mount Everest was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life. I wish I’d never gone,” Krakauer said. “I suffered for years of PTSD, and still suffer from what happened. I’m glad I wrote a book about it. But, you know, if I could go back and relive my life, I would never have climbed Everest.”

 Furthermore, Krakauer believes Everest has turned into a tourist attraction for the wealthy, instead of a life changing adventure for the strong willed.

“Everest is not real climbing,” he said. “It’s rich people climbing. It’s a trophy on the wall, and they’re done… When I say I wish I’d never gone, I really mean that.”

Adrenaline Addiction: The Quest for the Ultimate High

There are literally hundreds of bodies frozen in time on Everest. Plenty of people continue to lose their lives trying to do what so many people have done in the past. In 2015, Mount Everest had its highest death toll ever with 22 climbers who passed after getting caught in an avalanche.  No one reached the summit that year. It seems the risk of climbing Everest far exceeds the rewards, so why do so many bother?

The reasons for climbing up the mountain vary from person to person. Some have a personal vendetta while others just enjoy the adrenaline rush. Furthermore, the concept of adrenaline addiction is one often overlooked, yet looking at the hundreds of people who choose to climb Everest, it clearly has some merit.

Sports like mountaineering are havens for adrenaline junkies. Typically, they seek out activities with a certain degree of danger. Any activity that involves a larger than normal risk of injury appeals to those fueled by adrenaline.

Over time, adrenaline can be just as addictive as any drug. After first feeling the euphoria of climbing the top of a mountain, it can be difficult for many mountaineers to refrain from putting Mount Everest on their bucket list. Despite the fatalities and limitless dangers,  the desire to summit Everest remains.

The problem with the adrenaline rush is that it wears off, and often regret takes its place.  Ask yourself: Is the danger worth the reward? If you or someone you know is struggling with any type of addiction, call now. We want to help.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

5 Root Causes of Insensitivity

5 Root Causes of Insensitivity

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Do you find it difficult to show sensitivity towards others? You are not alone. In fact, there are common reasons why some people are more insensitive than others. Some people simply lack empathy, and there are a variety of legitimate reasons for this. This article is great for those who feel they are insensitive and great for those who want to understand the insensitive people in their lives.

The reasons for sensitivity range from person to person. Often, sensitive people can lose sight of what is going on in the background of another person’s mind. It is especially difficult to understand those who go against the social contract of common courtesy. Why are people so dang insensitive?

HERE ARE 5 EXPLANATIONS BEHIND INSENSITIVITY

  1. BRAIN CHEMISTRY

Every brain is different, therefore it makes sense that brain chemistry could play a role in how sensitive we are. Insensitive people have very different brain chemistry than most. Certain mechanisms within their brain inhibit them from conveying sensitivity.

Often times, insensitive people are not aware of how insensitive they are being. Even if someone pulls them aside and explains that their behavior is unacceptable, the insensitive person will not understand and think the sensitive person is simply “too sensitive,” Clearly, this situation does not ever end well.

  1. DIFFERENT THOUGHT PATTERNS

In addition to brain chemistry, thought processes are another main reason why insensitive people act the way they do. Insensitive people are a byproduct of environmental factors. For example, a person who spends a lot of time in the corporate world learns to have aggressive thought patterns. After a while, these thought patterns actually alter one’s brain chemistry.  Also, thought patterns can be a product of personal beliefs, religious views and political stances resulting in someone behaving more aggressive and insensitive.

  1. ANGER

Sometimes insensitivity is a result of anger. When we are angry, it becomes more difficult to retain a sense of self-control. Of course, lacking self-control increases the chances of saying something insensitive. Anger lowers inhibitions making us more careless of the consequences of our actions. Therefore, it is easy to be insensitive to others. In this state, we can hurt others when they do not deserve such treatment. Insensitive people may be angry inside and are lashing out at others to release their build up of anger.

  1. LACK OF SELF ESTEEM

Self-esteem and insecurity often are reasons behind a lot of our actions and emotional outbursts. Some people with insecurity issues can still interact with others without burdening the other person with their self-esteem issues. However, other people degrade others to “make themselves feel better.” The problem with this is that it offers a very short-term “solution” and it also results in pain to the other person. Insensitive people may be fighting insecurity issues so they tend to have a natural desire to put down others. They tend to be more careless about other people’s feelings because they are struggling with their own.

  1. STRESS

Oh stress…don’t you love stress? Not. Of course, stress plays a major role in every facet in our lives, including how sensitive we are. When dealing with stressful situations, it can be easy to be insensitive to other people’s situation. After all, our problems usually feel worse than others.  Some people simply cannot handle stress in a constructive fashion. Therefore, they elect to deal with their stress by spreading their negative state of mind. Stress is a distraction, and insensitive people are incapable of handling the effects of stress without hurting someone in the process.


Whether you are sensitive or insensitive, we all have the ability to understand each other. The next time someone says something that simply lacks sensitivity, try to consider that there could be more going inside of them.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

    CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

 

The Five Stages of Pornography Addiction

 

Author: Shernide Delva

Pornography addiction is one of the most controversial addictions out there. Even the DSM-5, the latest official manual of mental disorders, does not list pornography or sex addiction as an actual mental illness. Yet, those who struggle with it know that it is very real. Those who suffer with it deal with the reality of their addiction every single day.

An addiction to pornography does not happen overnight. It is a gradual process that worsens over time.  However, once pornography becomes a full blown addiction, it is difficult to stop. Furthermore, because of the stigma surrounding pornography addiction, many people struggle to get treatment for it. The media makes pornography seem harmless, but when it consumes every second of a person’s life, it can become as detrimental as any other addiction out there.

If you or a loved one suffers from pornography addiction, we encourage you to be mindful of the five steps of pornography addiction.

The 5 Steps of Pornography Addiction:

  1. Early exposure:

    Most people who later on struggle with pornography first viewed pornography at a young age. While this not apply to all  porn addictions, it is extremely common. Viewing pornography during childhood and adolescence exposes the mind to the act at a young age. Eventually, porn addiction becomes a way to escape reality and solve problems. Like other addictions, the brain rewires to understand that viewing pornography is a source of comfort and security.

  2. Formulation of Addiction:

    Pornography is designed to be a fantasy. It portrays sexuality in an unrealistic and compelling way. Individuals who turn to pornography continue to turn to it again and again. It skews the reality of sexuality and makes it into a spectacle.

  3. Escalation:

    Eventually, images and words become familiar, even boring, however the desire remains. What this means is that pornography that was once fulfilling in the past becomes boring. However, the desire for the same high and craving for pornography remains. Therefore, at this point, the porn addict seeks new, more graphic material, even exploring content that they once found disgusting.

  4. Desensitization:

    As mentioned above, after a while the addict becomes desensitized to the graphic material. Therefore, they watch more and more porn and even more graphic material and are never fully satisfied. This begins a destructive pattern because the porn addict is left with an overwhelming desire they can no longer fulfill.

  5. Acting out sexually:

    After a while, it becomes difficult for the pornography addict to separate reality from what they see online. At this point, many begin to act out the images and scenarios that have surrounded them for so long. While this is not a step for everyone, it is a possibility. However, just because your addiction has not reached this point does not mean it will not in the future. Also, if you have not reached this point, that does not mean you do not have a pornography problem.

Seeing a loved one struggle with porn addiction is difficult. Having a pornography addiction is even harder. However, the first step is acknowledging the problem and taking steps to ensure that the addiction does not take over your life. Understand that any addiction that affects your day to day life is a serious issue. You do not need the validation of others to seek help for your addiction.

If you have identified yourself in any of these steps, or suspect a loved one is struggling with a pornography addiction, please contact us today. We can give you the tools to overcome your addiction. Please take the initiative to get your life back on track. Call now.

    CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

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