Blog written by Madeline Gardner, Occupational Therapist, specializing in mental health.
Mental health affects all clients, and regardless of your discipline, it can impact the therapeutic process. Mental health is not simply a lack of mental illness, so it’s important to consider if your clients are mentally flourishing.
Truly listen to your clients. You may be able to provide recommendations that are within your scope of practice, or a referral may be necessary.
- What are they saying that may be indicative of their mental well-being?
- Do they speak of feeling lonely or isolated?
- Lacking motivation?
- Anxious about managing their health condition?
- Are they having difficulty adjusting to life with a disability?
Some examples to address mental wellness include:
- Incorporating stress management or relaxation techniques
- Mindfulness practice
- Gratitude journaling
- Learning healthy coping mechanisms
- Or just providing a listening ear
If mental health seems to be a significant barrier or if you suspect an undiagnosed mental illness, a referral to a mental health professional (counselor/LCSW) or PCP is necessary. Also consider a referral to occupational therapy, as OTs can be a great resource to address daily routines, health promotion strategies, and activity modification to improve participation and enhance quality of life.
*If you have concerns about the safety of your client, get help immediately. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number: 1-800-273-8255
Find helpful resources at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-someone-else/ about how and when to help others who may be going through a crisis.
Guest blogger, Colorado State University Graduate and Covell Care Intern, Hailey Jungerman.
Being a mobile practitioner there are a number of health factors to keep in mind. You are constantly on the go, but not being active in the sense of physical activity requirements. There is also a high chance that you are eating in between appointments while in the car. On top of that you may also be stressing about making it to your next appointment on time if one runs over, or there is traffic. All of these, and I am sure you know, and many more are stressors. All these can also pose serious health problems. Chronic stress can cause issues such as high blood pressure, racing heart, weakened immune system, depression, headaches and so many more (Pietrangelo and Watson). They also state that “Chronic stress is also a factor in behaviors such a overeating or not eating enough, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal.”
Symptoms of chronic stress include (Pietrangelo and Watson):
If you are experiencing any of these, it is important to know how to relieve stress. Stress management techniques vary. Some can be more effective than others. It will depend on you and what you are comfortable with. Many of them have health benefits beyond just relieving stress.
Some evidence based stress management techniques include (Darviri and Varvogli):
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: leads to a decrease in stress and anxiety as well as decreased blood pressure, heart rate, and decreased headaches.
- Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction: positive impact on mood, stress and anxiety reduction.
- Guided Imagery: can help in stress reduction, pain management, preventing relapse of smoking, and treatment of depression.
These are just a few strategies that could help to reduce your stress. It is important to find something that you enjoy and that works for you. Listening to books on tape, podcasts, or light music while you are driving are great ways to relieve stress in between appointments. Finding time to workout, take your dog for a walk, or making time for hobbies are other great ways to find a work-life balance and reduce stress. Ask Covell Care about our employee stress management!
Works Cited :
Darviri, Christina and Liza Varvogli. “Stress Management Techniques: evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health.” Health Science Journal (2011): 74-89.
Pietrangelo, Ann and Stephanie Watson “The Effects of Stress on Your Body.” 5 June Health Line. 30 April 2019.
According the American Cancer Society in 2018, there will be an estimated 1,735,350 new cancer cases diagnosed and 609,640 cancer deaths in the United States. It is estimated that 25,570 new cases will be reported in Colorado alone. Among the highest reported are breast cancer, prostate and lung cancers.
Who is at risk? Cancer usually develops in older people. 87% of all cancers in the United States are diagnosed in people 50 years of age or older. Certain behaviors also increase risk, such as smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, or not being physically active. In the US, approximately 40 out of 100 men and 38 out of 100 women will develop cancer during
What does this mean for you? Be proactive and start practicing good habits now to decrease your chances. Start by following these steps and always work with your physician in best practices for you individually.
These 7 tips from the Mayo Clinic will give you some simple steps to make big improvements:
- Don’t use tobacco products -Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — including cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix and kidney.
- Eat a health diet – eat plenty of fruits & vegetables, drink alcohol in moderation or not at all and limit processed foods.
- Maintain a healthy weight and stay active – both weight & physical activity have been linked to cancer reduction.
- Protect yourself from the sun – use sunscreen & sunglasses, stay out of the mid-day sun and cover exposed areas.
- Get immunized – Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections. Ask your physician about Hep B and HPV vaccines.
- Avoid risky behaviors – practice safe sex & limit your partners.
- Get regular medical care – Regular self-exams & screenings for various types of cancers can increase your chances of early detection.
For more information on 2018 Cancer facts visit: https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2018/cancer-facts-and-figures-2018.pdf
In honor of Andrew Potts, one of our occupational therapists who lost his battle with cancer we continue to share his story and legacy. Visit our website to learn about what Team AMP is doing for our community. www.covellcare.com/teamamp
Last week someone asked me about our monthly education program called Clinicians and Comrades. She asked me if it was free. I said yes. She asked if we give continuing education credits and I said yes. With eyebrows raised she asked me why we did this. I smiled and said, “Because I believe in education no matter how long someone’s worked in their field and I believe in my heart that learning together helps us all work better together, too.” But, there’s more to it than that.
Most licensed clinicians are required by their state and/or national organizations to maintain a certain number of continuing education credits to maintain their credentials. In my opinion, this should be simply eyed as a technicality. If you are a clinician, you need to continue learning for the sake of the clients you treat and the teams you lead.
Governing agencies are requiring a certain level of new learning to help the respective field stay viable, current and ethical while ensuring practicing clinicians are credible and current. Hopefully, if you are a clinician, you are requiring more from yourself to be the best clinician you can be and that means learning new research, treatment techniques, understanding changing theories and best outcome strategies for clients.
There are countless seminars, webinars, online continuing education classes, conferences around the country for clinicians to access. Clinicians and Comrades provides education from our local colleagues which changes the dynamic of what we learn.
For example, this last week we learned about Cancer Harbors and how to help clients navigate life after cancer treatments. And we are learning how to do this in our own community. Not in Cleveland or Orlando where other classes may be held. Another session we learned about driving rehabilitation. We took turns on a computerized assessment that the instructor led us through that she uses in real time with her clients. She helped us know how to access this, what to look for, how to help clients in our community. Not in Chicago or even Denver.
We are more than clinicians with licenses. We are helping other people live fuller lives and we need to connect with our community, gather helpful, evidenced-based and practical strategies to maximize our time with clients and learn from on another. If you are only gathering continuing education credits because you are required to, think again. Your knowledge impacts people’s lives. The more you know, the more you grow. And together we can be a more powerful community.
Blog written by Krista Covell-Pierson, OTR, BCB-PMD & owner of Covell Care.