Recognizing Suicide Prevention Month and Recovery Month: Raising Awareness and Holding Hope

September is both Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Recovery Month. This offers us a unique opportunity to raise awareness about suicide, its triggers, and the process by which people can recover from mental illness and substance use disorders.

In the U.S., suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between 10 and 34 years of age. Suicide is the 15th leading cause of death worldwide, with over 800,000 people dying by suicide annually. Risk factors for suicide include genetic, psychological, social, and cultural factors as well as experiences of trauma, grief, and loss. The most common mental health condition among people who die by suicide is depression. For every one suicide, another 25 people attempt suicide.

Just as it is important to recognize the signs of a medical emergency, like a heart attack or a stroke, it is also important to recognize the signs of a potential mental health crisis that could lead to suicide. These signs may include:

  • Talking about death or suicide
  • Seeming depressed, hopeless, or helpless
  • Talking about feeling like a burden to others
  • Appearing anxious, irritable, or angry
  • Other sudden mood changes
  • Loss of interest or withdrawing from relationships or social activities
  • Giving away possessions
  • Finding ways to say goodbye
  • Reckless behavior
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs

If you are concerned that someone in your life may be experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts, it is important to address these concerns quickly and effectively. Don’t be afraid to ask, “Are you thinking about suicide?” This question is important to understanding what they are really thinking. Research shows that asking about suicidal thoughts will not cause someone to consider suicide. In fact, people are often relieved that the question has been asked and they can freely talk about their feelings. Please don’t leave anyone alone who may be suicidal. Never keep suicide threats a secret.

At Chicago Behavioral Hospital, we believe in providing hope and helping people develop the necessary tools and supports to achieve and maintain their recovery. Our team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help those in need of treatment for conditions related to their mental health or substance use, including depression or thoughts of suicide. Assessments are free and confidential. Call us at 844-756-8600.

Suicide is preventable. Recovery is possible.

Additional helpful resources on suicide prevention:

International Association for Suicide Prevention

NAMI

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK (8255)

Mental Health America

Chicago Behavioral Hospital and Elyssa’s Mission Provide Mental Health Support to Educators

Studies show that teachers experience some of the highest levels of work-related stress among professionals. In a 2015 survey, the American Federation of Teachers found that 78% of teachers reported feeling physically and mentally drained at the end of the day. The current pandemic has only caused further complications for teachers who were already feeling strain and stress in the classroom. Teachers are facing more challenges than ever to care for their students, their families, and themselves.

Chicago Behavioral Hospital and Elyssa’s Mission have expanded their existing partnership to provide support groups for local educators amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Danielle Carleton, LMFT, Director of Business Development at Chicago Behavioral Hospital and Jodie Segal, MSW, Director of Education for Elyssa’s Mission, will co-facilitate two 8-week support groups, one with participants from school districts in the northern Cook County area and the other with participants from school districts across the state. These groups will focus on supporting teachers in navigating the challenges of returning to physical and virtual classrooms during extremely uncertain times. Group topics will include stress management, navigating transitions and uncertainty, practicing mindfulness and other self-care strategies, and tools and resources for engaging and supporting students.

Chicago Behavioral Hospital is a 146-bed free-standing behavioral health hospital located in Des Plaines, Illinois. Open since 2014, CBH provides specialized mental health and substance use treatment for teens and adults. Chicago Behavioral Hospital offers inpatient and outpatient levels of care to treat a variety of mental and behavioral health conditions including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders.

Free confidential assessments are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 844-756-8600.

Elyssa’s Mission provides resources to help prevent teen suicide. The community-based organization was founded in 2006 and provides hands-on support in implementing the evidence-based SOS Signs of Suicide program in more than 250 middle and high schools in Illinois. The program educates students, staff, and parents on how to recognize and assist those most at-risk of depression, self-harm, and suicide. Elyssa’s mission has helped educate over one million students, staff, and parents since inception.

Chicago Behavioral Celebrates Pride

Pride Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the advances and victories of the LGBTQ community. It is also a time to reflect on the challenges they still face. Discrimination, lack of acceptance, and bullying can have detrimental effects on mental health.

Research within the LGBTQ community has found that individuals who identify as LGBTQ are at a greater risk of experiencing mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety, and suicide rates are considerably higher. It is clear that discrimination, stigma, and other social pressures play a role in this.

At Chicago Behavioral Hospital, we value diversity and inclusion. We work to educate ourselves on how to be respectful, aware, and supportive of the identities and life experiences of the individuals we treat. We have partnered with leaders in the LGBTQ community, such as Howard Brown Health and Practical Audacity, to make trainings available to our staff and community professionals on using gender affirming language and best practices in working with diverse populations.

Chicago Behavioral Hospital provides mental health and substance use treatment for adolescents, adults, and senior adults regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Support is provided in both an inpatient and outpatient setting.

Free assessments are offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 844-756-8600.

Caring for Seniors

Caring for Moms During Mental Health Month

Budding trees and blooming flowers remind us that spring is a time for growth and transformation. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the month in which many people celebrate Mother’s Day. Between the cards, flowers, and thoughtful gifts, Mother’s Day can be a complicated holiday and a source of pain for many women.

Motherhood comes in many forms: single mothers; mothers who share custody; mothers who have experienced infertility; foster and adoptive mothers; mothers who have experienced the tragic loss of a pregnancy, an infant, or an older child; mothers who feel overwhelmed by the demands of life.

There is immense societal pressure for mothers to feel happy on Mother’s Day, but the reality is that motherhood is emotionally and physically challenging at times. The pressure for women to balance their life roles flawlessly—to be the perfect mother, partner, employee, daughter, sister, and friend—while handling challenges with ease and grace can have significant negative impacts on their mental health and wellbeing.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 20% of mothers experience clinical depression after childbirth. This has an impact not only on a woman’s ability to care for themselves, but also the ability to care for their infant or child. This in turn has an impact on the development of the child and can of course cause the mother further distress.

We can look out for the moms in our lives by recognizing the signs of maternal mental health issues such as depression or other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, which may include:

  • Extreme sadness and/or tearfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Lack of interest or motivation
  • Feeling numb or disconnected
  • Feeling irritable or angry
  • Extreme worry, fear, or anxiety
  • Extreme mood swings or changes
  • Appetite or sleep disturbances

At Chicago Behavioral Hospital, our Women’s Connection program is designed to address the mental health needs of women experiencing symptoms of mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

If you or someone you care about is in need of help, please call us at 844-756-8600.

How COVID-19 Impacts Women

Women are reporting higher rates of psychological distress compared to men. Anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic is a growing concern but early studies have indicated women may experience these feelings at an increased level.

Families affected financially by COVID-19 and those adjusting to closures of childcare and after school day care, are more likely to be psychologically impacted by this crisis. Women in Illinois are more likely to be living paycheck-to-paycheck and more likely to be responsible for children with school closures. All of these factors contribute to the increased stress and anxiety women may be feeling.

Many women may find themselves in a situation where the anxiety and stress from these emotions overwhelm them. For working parents, balancing the requirements of a job with new family obligations can be a real struggle.

Recognizing when these feelings become too much is important. Changes in sleep patterns, inability to complete small tasks, and feeling extreme fatigue are all signs it may be time to ask for help.

Chicago Behavioral Hospital specializes in treatment for women. Our compassionate team of mental health professionals work with patients and their families to determine the best type of support we can provide. Using evidence-based treatment specific to women, we hope to provide long lasting change.

No cost mental health assessments are offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Please call for more information: (844) 756-8600

COVID-19 and Your Mental Health

Worries and anxiety about COVID-19 and its impact can be overwhelming. For many people, social distancing can make it even more challenging. Learning ways to cope during the pandemic and knowing when to seek help, ensures your mental health needs will be met.

The COVID-19 pandemic has most likely disrupted how you live your daily life. Changes in routines, uncertainty, financial pressures, and social isolation can all lead to a mental health crisis. Information overload, misinformation, and rumors can lead to overwhelming anxiety and feeling like your life is out of your control.

Chicago Behavioral Hospital understands this can be a stressful time. Here are some self-care strategies you can try:

  • Get enough sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same times each day. Keep close to your regular schedule, even if you’re staying home.
  • Physical activity. Regular physical activity and exercise, while following CDC guidelines, can help reduce anxiety and improve mood.
  • Eat healthy. Avoid junk food and eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Relax and recharge. Set aside time for yourself to meditate, read, or work on a hobby.

If your feelings of anxiety and uncertainty prevent you from accomplishing everyday tasks, it may be time to get help. Chicago Behavioral Hospital has the tools and knowledge you need to feel in control. We offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment for adolescents, adults, and senior adults.

Chicago behavioral offers no cost mental health assessments 24 hours a day, 7 days week. A licensed mental health professional will recommend treatment based on your individual needs.

We take the health and safety of our patients, staff, and their families very seriously. CDC and local health guidelines have been implemented at our hospital to ensure everyone’s safety.

As an added feature, assessments can also be completed via telehealth. Call to schedule an appointment or for more information: 844-756-8600.

COVID-19 and Mental Health

COVID -19 has caused a serious economic downturn and tremendous social changes impacting mental health of all ages.  This has resulted in an overall spike in suicide.  In addition,

  • 67% of people report higher levels of stress since the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • 57% say they have greater anxiety since the outbreak.
  • 54% say they are more emotionally exhausted.
  • 53% say they feel sadness day-to-day.
  • 50% feel they are more irritable.
  • 42% report their overall mental health has declined.

With such impact on mental health it has become necessary for individuals to seek support for themselves and others.  We are here for you 24-7. Making one phone call is all it takes to get the support needed.  Call Chicago Behavioral Hospital at 844-756-8600.

What are we doing to combat COVID-19?

Mental health and addiction treatment should not be delayed, and we are taking every precaution possible while continuing to offer needed treatment in a safe way to you or a loved one.

Chicago Behavioral Hospital is following CDC guidelines, as well as that of state and local public health departments.

Every patient, family member, and visitor who comes to our facilities is screened for COVID-19 with a Symptom Questionnaire and by having their temperature taken. This ensures that people with symptoms of COVID-19 are recognized promptly and actions are taken to guarantee that illness is not introduced or spread.

Staff and patients are monitored daily for COVID-19 symptoms and are screened with a temperature check as well as the Symptom Questionnaire and are asked to stay home if they are feeling ill. Mask wearing, hand hygiene, social distancing, and environmental deep cleaning continues to be top priorities for us and occurs on a regular basis 7 days a week.

How does this impact patients?

We are committed to high quality, compassionate care, and that will not change.  We remain available 24/7 to screen and accept patients into all our inpatient and outpatient programs.

What You Can Do to Prevent Virus Spread

  1. Notify staff if you have a fever or are feeling sick. The hospital may ask you to stay home.
  2. Notify staff if you have reason to believe you have been in contact with an infected person.
  3. Wash your hands often with either soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  4. Routinely disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home (doorknobs, light switches, countertops).
  5. Follow social distancing guidelines.
  6. Wear a mask.