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Speaker Series: Battlefield to Civilian Life

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In this edition of our Speaker Series we sit down with Teressa Carter and Femi Olukoya to discuss mental health and our veterans. 


Many aspects of military life has unique challenges. In this conversation Sally, Teressa, and Femi discuss the difficulties of transition from military to civilian life both from the veteran’s perspective and military family perspectives, the complexity of relationships for veterans transitioning out of military service, why veteran mental health matters to civilians, and how we can do better by those who have served. 


Teressa is a licensed clinical social worker based in Texas, her family has a long history of military service and she has spent many years embedded on base and with military units offering mental health services. 

Femi is a licensed professional counselor and also a U.S. Navy Veteran. Femi’s story is special as he morning he graduated from bootcamp was the morning of 9/11. He draws upon his active duty experience to offer points of connection and care for the active duty and veteran clients he treats now as an LPC. 

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Provider’s Perspective: Veteran Mental Health and the Invisible Wounds of War


Provider's Perspective: Veteran Mental Health and the Invisible Wounds of War

November 4, 2022
Teressa Carter – LCSW

This post was written by Teressa Carter, a therapist at Heading Health with extensive experience serving and treating active-duty service members and their families

 

In celebrating Veteran’s Day, I am honored to create a space to salute all who have served, and the sacrifices made by members of the U.S. armed forces and their families to preserve our freedom. This day is very personal for me as my family, and I celebrate the service and sacrifice of both my maternal and paternal grandfather, as well as my father, who all served in the United States Army. My six-year-old son is reminded that his father is a hero, having served in the United States Marine Corps. Aside from my familial connections to the military, I have had the privilege and the honor of providing mental health services to active-duty service members and their families of all branches.

A Military Mental Health Crisis

Veteran’s Day allows us to explore and assess how we can better support our veterans, especially when navigating their mental health. Recent research suggests 11 to 20 percent of veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a given year. Suicide rates of military service members and veterans are also at an all-time high, with deaths by suicide having increased by 25% during 2020.

 

Despite the prevalence of mental health needs, veterans often struggle to find and stick with care. One study found that among the veterans with mental health needs, 55 percent did not seek treatment from Veterans Affairs. Some of the more commonly cited reasons for avoiding or not continuing with treatment include:

 

Given all of this, it’s vital that veterans have the tools to receive and stick with effective care and that clinicians know how to reach out and provide support to service members in need.

Advice for Veterans in Need of Mental Health Care

If you are a Veteran in need of mental health treatment, you are not alone, and great support is out there. I strongly encourage veterans to reach out to someone, whether your medical provider, your VA liaison, family, or friends, who can support and assist them in finding the right mental health treatment for their needs. Here are some other tips:

 

  • Look for clinicians that have either military experience or experience training to treat military-related issues.
  • The VA or Military OneSource are great resources for finding treatment options.
  • Prepare for your first intake. There will be a lot of information gathering. This is also where you have the opportunity to interview the therapist to make sure this is a good fit for you and that you feel comfortable.
  • Remember, mental health treatment is a process and should not be rushed. Prepare for this by viewing your treatment as a journey.
  • Share your feelings, hesitations, limitations, and boundaries with your therapist.
  • Always remember that getting help is a sign of strength and resilience.

Tips For Therapists Treating Veterans

There are several steps mental health professionals can take to ensure they are effectively reaching out to veterans in need and providing them with adequate care. 

Market Your Services to Veterans

The civilian mental health community should ensure they are marketing services to the veteran population. Here are some suggestions.

 

  • Add any military experience or previous work with the veteran population or armed services to your professional online profile.
  • Highlight if you have specialized training to treat conditions prevalent among veterans, such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and addiction-related issues.
  • Advertise your services to agencies that cater to the veteran community, such as your local Veterans Affairs office, TRICARE, or Military OneSource. Make your services known and available through the base coordinator that assists Active-Duty service members transitioning to veteran status.
Build Rapport

In my career working with active-duty service members and veterans, I found building an initial rapport centered around trust, understanding, and respect was an absolute must. Here are 10 simple strategies I use to build rapport and develop a strong relationship with service members and veterans.

 

  1. Always thank the service members for their sacrifices.
  2. Share your background and personal experience with the military.
  3. Be honest about where your gaps in knowledge or understanding of the military lifestyle are.
  4. Emphasize your willingness to learn.
  5. Be curious. Inquire about their branch of service, rank, years of sacrifice, and duty stations.
  6. Explain that you are trying to obtain a deeper understanding of their unique service and experience.
  7. Create a safe space. Make sure your clinical area is quiet, private, and free from sudden noises or distractions that could trigger PTSD symptoms. Invite your veteran clients to share as much or as little of their military experience as they are comfortable disclosing.
  8. Allow veterans to speak freely and at their own pace.
  9. Never say, “I understand.” This could trigger the veteran client to be upset if you do not have military experience, especially direct combat experience.
  10. Refrain from using a lot of clinical jargon and acronyms. Veterans are used to clear, concise, and direct communication because of their military experience. Too much clinical jargon may create space for miscommunication and confusion.
Utilize Available Resources

An important aspect of providing mental health treatment to veterans is to have a working knowledge of available resources in the community and helping clients get connected to them. Here are some resources that may be helpful:

 

Address Family Needs 

Mental health providers will also need to address family needs when working with veterans, as families have also served and sacrificed. Additionally, the family is transitioning with their service members. For example, families may be transferring medical, educational, and social services from on-base providers to civilian providers. As a result, they must adapt to new doctors and mental health providers. They may also be moving to new homes in new neighborhoods, meaning the children will be transferring schools and making new friends. Adjusting to these changes can be challenging and added support can be helpful.  

Conclusion

As we gather to celebrate this upcoming holiday, please take a moment to acknowledge and honor the sacrifices of our veterans and active-duty service members. Please be an advocate in your community, workspace, and even your organization for increased support and resources for the veteran community. When you see a veteran, thank them for their sacrifice. Thank you to all who have served and the families that served along with them. 

 

If you know a veteran who may be experiencing mental health issues, please help them get care. You can do this by enrolling in their local VA and requesting mental health services. If you feel a veteran is experiencing a crisis, please call the national suicide hotline (988).

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Dia de los Muertos and the Impact of Culture on Grief and Mourning


Dia de los Muertos and the Impact of Culture on Grief and Mourning

November 1, 2022

This post was written by Patricia Hernandez, a therapist at Heading Health. Patricia is a licensed clinical social worker who strives to provide a diverse and culturally sensitive perspective.

 

 

Culture encompasses religion, food, what we wear, how we wear it, our language, marriage, music, what we believe is right or wrong, how we sit at the table, how we greet visitors, how we behave with loved ones and a million other things.” Cristina De Rossi, Anthropologist at Barnet and Southgate College in London.

Mexican-American Culture and Grief 

As a young child growing up in a Mexican-American household, culture was a significant part of my interpretation of death and the grieving and mourning process. For example, it was common to see ofrendas (an altar to honor the dead) year-round in my own home and those of my family members. These ofrendas were filled with pictures of deceased family and friends, religious candles, and saints. It was also commonplace to speak to the deceased, celebrate their birthdays, and express gratitude for their believed guidance and protection in our daily lives. 

 

It was not until I was introduced to other cultures that I learned this expression of grief and mourning was, in some ways, unique to Mexican American culture. 

 

Near the beginning of November, ofrendas grow to a larger scale in planning for Dia de los Muertos. Dia de los Muertos is a celebration deeply rooted in Mexican culture celebrated annually on November 1 and 2. It is believed that on these dates, the deceased cross the realm of the spirit world into the world of the living, and ofrendas help guide them on their journeys. 

 

Although there is no right or wrong way to have an ofrenda, most utilize the elements of Earth, Wind, Fire, and Paper to guide the deceased on their return to the world of the living. These elements are represented on the ofrenda by having food, water, candles, and papel picado (i.e., colorful and intricately cut paper)  that is said to move when the deceased are present. 

 

Grief Vs. Mourning

Though often used interchangeably, grief and mourning are notably different, and each plays a critical role in how we react to death and loss. Psychology Today distinguishes mourning as  the outward response to griefsuch as creating altars, planting a tree, and playing a song. In contrast, grief is defined as “the emotional response to a loss,” such as feeling sad, hopeless, or angry. 

 

Grief and mourning also differ in terms of their stages or components. The often cited stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The parts of mourning are equally important but less well-known. 

 

Psychologist J. William Worden divided the process of mourning into four tasks.

 

  • Task 1 –  “Accept the reality of the loss.” Here, an individual begins to move past the sense of disbelief by integrating death into their reality. 
  • Task 2 – “Process the pain of the grief,” where one begins to experience grief  “emotionally, cognitively, physically, and spiritually.” Doing so assists in refraining from avoidance. 
  • Task 3 – “Adjust to the world without the deceased.” These adjustments occur externally, internally, and spiritually. Externally, one may take on new responsibilities, internally one creates an understanding of who they are now as an individual, and spiritually, one may develop a new understanding of their belief systems.
  • Task 4 – “Find the balance of an enduring connection with the deceased while embracing a new version of a meaningful life.”

The tasks of mourning, much like the stages of grief, are nonlinear processes without a timeline.

 

The beliefs and traditions of Dia de los Muertos are a tangible example of how culture impacts not only grief but also mourning. Dia de los Muertos is a culturally accepted expression of love and remembrance that can help an individual through the tasks of mourning. It’s also a joyful time to commemorate the love that lives on for the deceased by creating altars, playing music, joining with loved ones, sharing memories, and continuing to honor the memory of the dead and integrate their memory into the present day.  This allows one to outwardly embrace the connection with the deceased as they proceed with life. 

Other Cultures and Grief 

Cultural norms related to grief and mourning can both support and impede one’s own individual grieving and mourning process. According to Grief Speaks, “stoic attitudes are common” among Asian-American cultures, whereas  “Haitians express grief with the physical manifestation of great emotion.” As there are differences in emotional expressions, there are also differences in timelines associated with mourning rituals. In Eastern Orthodox Christian funerals, it is normal to mourn loved ones up to 40 days after the funeral.” Mourning periods can also vary depending upon the relation of the deceased. In some Islamic communities, the mourning period can even be extended to four months and ten days for those who are widowed, whereas in some Jewish communities, the mourning period can last up to one year after the death of a parent. 

What’s “Normal” Grief?

Cultural rituals related to the grief and mourning process can help create predictability in a time of uncertainty. For many, these cultural norms are a sense of support, whereas for others, it may be a source of conflict if their current beliefs, or the beliefs of the deceased, are misaligned with the cultural norms. So the question is, what is normal when it comes to grief and mourning?

 

According to the DMS-5, a diagnostic and classification tool of mental disorders, a diagnosis of prolonged grief disorder is considered when “the loss of a loved one occurred at least a year ago for adults, and at least six months ago for children and adolescents.” Symptoms related to prolonged grief disorder can include intense loneliness, avoiding reminders of the deceased, and difficulty reintegrating into social groups, work, personal obligations, etc. With any diagnosis, it is also important to consider the symptomology in relation to social, cultural, or religious norms. However, not all grief leads to prolonged grief disorder. Depression, anxiety, and/or trauma, dependent on the events related to the death, can also occur. To meet the criteria for a diagnosis of any of the aforementioned conditions, impairment in daily functioning must be present. 

Seek Support 

For as much togetherness as many cultural norms bring to the grieving process, grief is also individualized and sometimes isolating. But there are means to seek support to help ease the feelings of loneliness, confusion, and isolation that can accompany grief. Seeking support and comfort in the predictability and structure of cultural norms can help ease the process of grief and the tasks of mourning. Seeking therapy can also help normalize and validate the thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and timelines associated with grief and mourning in both a cultural and individual context.

 

If you feel you need to see a mental health professional or could use help deciding which service is right for you, please give us a call at 805-204-2502 or fill out an appointment request here. We have a wide variety of providers, including therapists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and nutritional therapists, who can see you in as little as one day via teletherapy. 

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6 Brain Healthy Tips for Your 4th of July Celebration

6 Brain Healthy Tips for Your 4th of July Celebration

July 4, 2022

Independence Day is upon us, with hot sunshine and loved ones gathered with games to play. Between family barbecues, watermelon galore and smores over the campfire, each year in the United States we spend around $6.7 billion dollars on our midsummer feast. 

 

But amidst all this celebration is a tricky detail we’re liable to forget: what we eat! Burgers, beers, brownies, queso dip, chips, hot dogs on hot dogs – the indulgence is never ending and can lead to feeling physically and mentally slow the following days. According to an article by Harvard Health, a diet high in refined sugars has been shown in multiple studies to not only impair brain function, but also aggravate symptoms of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.So, here are a few tips to help you keep your mind and body working their best: 

 

  1. Veggies + dips = success – Whether you enjoy hummus, ranch, or guacamole, pair it with some carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, or cucumber slices and you’ll have healthy fiber-packed options to keep bellies happy and energized. Want to up your health game even further? Check out this simple recipe for a healthy, probiotic packed veggie dip!
  2. Impress with a charcuterie board – Maybe veggies and dip is a bit basic for you. Why not try a charcuterie board? Centered around cured meats and cheeses, charcuterie boards often include other interesting, savory food items like fruits, vegetables, jams, and crackers. Whole wheats and healthy fats are great brain food, while charcuterie boards help ensure your party is one people will remember! 
  3. Know how food affects you and what to avoid – Here’s a quick list of foods that are most harmful to your mental and physical health: 
    • Soda and sugary drinks full of excess sugar contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, and long-term problems with brain function 
    • Diet sodas rich in aspartame and other fake sugars are linked to cognitive and behavioral health issues 
    • Refined carbohydrates found in white bread, pastries, and other sugary desserts have high glycemic loads that spike blood pressure, increase obesity risk, and are correlated with lowered brain function over time   
    • Trans fats packed into junk foods, frosting, ready-made cakes, and pre-packaged cookies are tied to increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory issues 
    • Alcohol is widely known for next-day effects like hangovers and stomach problems, but can also affect sleep quality or leave you with general brain fog 
  1. Tell family and friends about your goals – If you are focused on eating well as you celebrate, tell your family and friends. They may want to join you, but if not, it’s important they’re aware you aim to eat healthy so they respect your boundaries and avoid tempting you with unhealthier options. 
  2. If you’re tempted to eat more, take a break – If you’re fighting the temptation to eat unhealthy food or eat more than you normally do, take some time to yourself to check in with your body. Maybe it’s a quick walk around the neighborhood or time alone in your car. 
  3. Indulge with moderation – Sometimes the day isn’t complete without holiday staples. If a 4th of July without a cheeseburger or beer feels wrong, you don’t have to hold yourself back from those things, just enjoy in moderation. Try changing your portion to something smaller so you can have your cake and eat it too – go with half a cheeseburger or just one drink.

Looking for help as you learn what foods are right for you on your path to improved mental health? Heading Health offers science-based nutritional therapy focused on high-quality, nutrient-dense foods that provide the key vitamins and minerals needed to heal your body and the brain from the inside out. Learn more about nutritional therapy and request your appointment by giving us a call at 855-204-2502.

Happy Independence Day from Heading Health!

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LGBTQIA Mental Health Struggles & How to Help

LGBTQIA Mental Health Struggles & How to Help

By Corbin Blevins

June 30, 2022

Throughout history, society has widely disregarded mental health. For those struggling with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, this has been an incredible struggle, as frequently we are told to just “suck it up”, “have a positive attitude” or “put on a happy face”. Fortunately, over the last few years, mental health (and with it mental healthcare) has become less stigmatized. It is becoming more acceptable to reach out for help and new treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and Spravato are becoming more commonplace. 

However, for many in the LGBTQIA+ community, their journey to be accepted for their truest selves is perceived as attention-seeking. Those who choose to pursue gender-affirming counseling, gay-friendly providers, or surgeries to reflect who they are can receive severe backlash and rejection from those close to them.

Because of this, suicide rates are at an all-time high among transgender youth. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and non-binary individuals frequently report feelings of hopelessness and anxiety as they struggle to find providers, friends, and family who truly love and support them. 

So what can be done to help provide a more mentally healthy society for the LGBTQIA+ community?  Whether you identify as part of the community or not, here are three simple things you can do to support positive mental health for all.

  • Pay attention- if you see someone who seems to be struggling, ask how they are doing.
  • Truly listen- when someone opens up to you, take the time to hear what they have to say and recognize how they are feeling
  • Express love- remember that everyone deserves to feel safe to be themselves. Whether you agree with their personal decisions or not, let them know that you care about them and will continue to be there for them. 

Lastly, if you see someone who is truly struggling, don’t be afraid to help them build a better support system. If you’re worried that they might be suicidal, ask them. This can help them know you are a safe place to talk, and doesn’t increase the risk of suicidal actions. Whether they are suicidal or not, there are many phenomenal outreach programs and LGBTQIA+ friendly providers are becoming available. If you feel comfortable, offer to help them find allies in the mental health community. 

Everyone deserves to feel safe within themselves, and at Heading, our goal is to provide safe, non-judgmental, accessible mental healthcare to all. We accept most insurance and have diverse staff from all walks of life to help ensure we can provide the highest-quality care to people from all walks of life.

As an LGBTQIA+ safe space, we invite all who are searching for allies to reach out to us. We are here for you, and we love you. You deserve happiness, and we would be honored to be your partner in finding it. Whether you are searching for help for yourself or for a loved one, please give us a call at 855-204-2502.

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Celebrating Juneteenth

Celebrating Juneteenth

By Teressa Carter, MSW, LCSW

June 20, 2022

Across the United States of America, millions of Americans young and old take great pride in living here and celebrating freedom every on Independence Day. Juicy watermelon, delicious barbecue, and vibrant fireworks fill the sky across the country as we celebrate living in the aptly named “land of the free”. However, not everyone gained true freedom that day.

 

Juneteenth, which is short for “June Nineteenth” is the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people were freed. This event occurred two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and almost 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Texas was the last state to set all enslaved persons free, and on June 17, 2021, Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday honoring the end to slavery in the United States.

 

As you can imagine, this holiday holds great meaning to many- both in mind and in heart. Holidays and celebrations such as this hold the key to reminding us how far we have come as a nation, and that all people are deserving of love and respect. Juneteenth is not just a celebration of the end of physical enslavement, but a celebration of diversity and individuality.

So as we celebrate this Juneteenth, we invite you to take a deeper look and allow yourself the space to embrace not just who you are today, but who you have been and who you hope to be. Holidays like Juneteenth teach us resiliency, determination, healing, and the importance of recognizing the value in everyone, including ourselves. Self-love begins with recognizing our own needs, so here are a few small ways you can honor your own value during this holiday and throughout the rest of the year.

  1. Set boundaries
    Remember, nobody can take care of you as well as you can. Give yourself permission to speak up if you don’t want to cook the pot roast, feel too tired to go to the zoo, or just need some alone time.
  2. Set goals
    While hearing the term “goal setting” can feel overwhelming at times, goals can be anything: whether it’s taking a candy-making course with your mother-in-law, changing the oil on the car, or spending an hour a week reading a good book. Ask yourself, “What would make me feel more satisfied with my life right now?”, “What would bring me greater peace?”, or even something like “What would make my day feel more enjoyable?” and follow through!
  3. Talk with someone who cares
    Whether it’s a friend, family member or therapist, choosing to spend time in an environment where you can be your authentic self and feel accepted and valued is one of the greatest forms of self-care. Talk about whatever is on your mind- anything from frustrations to successes, and anything in between! If you don’t have a place where you feel accepted and loved for who you are, spend some time looking for one. Therapy is a great place to start!

This Juneteenth let’s take the opportunity to celebrate our resiliency and recognize our own value. If you are searching for a place to start your own mental or emotional healing journey, we have worked hard here at Heading to create a safe and diverse environment to allow you to honor your individual path. We’d love for you to give us a call at 855-204-2502 to learn more about the services and support we offer, or how to find a mental healthcare partner that’s right for you.

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Maintaining Mental Health During the Work Day

Maintaining Mental Health During the Work Day

Tips on combating stress

May 5, 2022

The pandemic catapulted many of us into a new arena with work, work from home. At first, the sweatpants dress code for Zoom calls felt luxurious, and a midday nap and fun lunchtime snack felt exciting…but almost 3 years later the allure of working from home seems a little less enthralling. Earlier this year, Deloitte published a survey that illustrates how this societal shift is impacting mental health.

  • 69% of employees are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home.
  • 48% of workers say they lack emotional support at work to help them manage this daunting task.
  • 65% of surveyed remote workers also reported working more hours than they had while working in the office.
  • More than three-quarters of respondents agree that workplace stress affects their mental health, leading to depression or anxiety.

No matter where or when you’re working, it’s important to maintain a healthy work atmosphere and cultivate positive mental health. So, here are a few simple things you can implement during your workweek that can help you stay mentally healthy.

  • Try the 90/20 method: If your employer offers some flexibility in your schedule during the workday, you can try implementing a cyclical work-break schedule to keep you fresh and clear-headed. One method that has been shown to positively impact productivity and aid in feeling centered is the 90/20 method. In this method, you work fully focused with no breaks or distractions for 90 minutes, then take a 20-minute break. During this break, you may want to engage in a mindfulness meditation exercise or fix yourself a nourishing snack. 
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking water probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of maintaining your mental health, but this simple change can make a world of difference. A study in 2018 illustrated that individuals who drank less water were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, while individuals who drank ample water throughout the day were more likely to be emotionally balanced and mentally engaged. Another study in 2014 showed that hydrated individuals were able to maintain calm, feel less overwhelmed, and feel more satisfied with life overall. Learn more about the importance of hydration for mental health on our blog.
  • Ask for help: It can be overwhelming at times with a demanding work schedule to juggle the other aspects of our life that require time and attention, so when you can, ask for and accept help. Remember, just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to do it all.
  • Boundaries- Many employees have noted an increased amount of work and hours since the start of the pandemic. Give yourself permission to be open with your team and manager about what your work hours are, what workload you have the bandwidth for, and be comfortable saying no when you have hit your limit.

While these are just a few of the many ways you can help balance your personal self-care with your work life, there are many ways to combat work stress. If you are interested in gaining additional support in your personal mental health journey, we are here for you. Please give us a call at 855-204-2502.

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The Custom-Made Care Plan

The Custom-Made Care Plan

March 11, 2022

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 20 percent of adults or 46.6 million Americans have a mental illness, 17 million of whom suffer from depression. While traditional talk therapy and medication management help many, an estimated 30% of these individuals are considered “treatment-resistant”, meaning they see little or no results from standard treatments. That is a massive number of people who are left with no clear path of how to heal and see relief from their struggles. 

The standard for mental healthcare for years has utilized an impersonal “try it and see if it works method”, even though nearly every other area of healthcare takes into account personal circumstances. For example, if a patient is diagnosed with high cholesterol, a doctor might prescribe a cholesterol-reducing medication, alongside lifestyle changes, healthy diet, exercise, etc. So when it comes to something as unique as our brain…why is the one size fits all approach still considered the standard?

At Heading, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to live their best life, and have built our practice around this premise.  We offer a holistic new model of care, which takes a multi-dimensional and personalized approach to treatment. At Heading, treatment plans are tailored to your needs and goals, integrating effective, cutting-edge treatments such as TMS, intramuscular ketamine, Spravato and nutritional therapy alongside mental health medications, psychotherapy and even nutritional therapy. 

As we grow, we hope that our personalized care model will take root as a new standard for  the mental health community. In the meantime, if you’re ready to invest in yourself, your mental health, and your future through a treatment plan fitted specifically to you, we invite you to give us a call at 855-204-2502 or contact us on our contact page to get started on your mental health journey today

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Talk Therapy: What, Why, How

Talk Therapy: What, Why, How

March 5, 2022

It’s incredible how something as simple as talking, sharing our thoughts and feelings is such a powerful tool for self-liberation and healing. Many mental health treatment centers, including Heading, offer a well-known form of therapy known as “talk therapy” or psychotherapy. Talk therapy has a long-standing record of efficacy and  has become one of the most accepted and widely used treatments in the world of mental healthcare. Even as modern medicine and innovation has offered millions a wider array of available treatments to help improve their mind health, this form has continued to hold true in its overall effectiveness and versatility for treating mental illnesses and trauma from anxiety to suicidal ideation. Let’s quickly break down the back story of this age-old method, and how it can benefit you!

 

History: According to the American Psychiatric Association, talk therapy or psychotherapy is a way to help people with a broad variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Talk therapy can help increase self-awareness, allowing the individual in treatment to reduce troubling symptoms and develop strategies to improve overall quality of life. 

 

While the most widely accepted “birth of talk therapy” was in the 1800s, as far back as ancient Greece, philosophers like Aristotle began exploration into what would eventually become psychotherapy. As these philosophies emerged, some of the world’s earliest known physicians including Hippocrates, further explored the link between mental state and medicine. Flashing forward a thousand years or so, two names that are familiar to most Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud came together to investigate Breuer’s “talking cure” for nervous disorders and with that modern psychotherapy was born. 

 

While psychotherapy has evolved quite a bit from the Freudian images of people laying on a couch while sharing their feelings to a man behind a clipboard nodding along and asking probing questions, the essence of talk therapy as a powerful remedy for combatting depression, PTSD, or even OCD.

 

How does it work? Generally speaking, when a person enrolls in talk therapy, the  therapist or leading physician will ask several questions during the initial appointment, known as an intake to allow the therapist to gain a comprehensive understanding of a person’s history, background, present circumstances and state of mind. This allows the therapist to, collaboratively with the patient, decide on the best approach to treatment. Questions might focus on family history, past experiences, current coping skills, what they want to achieve out of therapy, etc. 

 

Talk Therapy goes with everything: While many individuals see medication and psychotherapy as opposing treatment options, they don’t have to be. Talk therapy can certainly be a stand alone treatment option but many studies have shown how, when  used in combination with another intervention such TMS, traditional medication management or ketamine infusions, the effects of both treatments can be enhanced and amplified further than either standalone treatment typically offers. 

 

If you are curious about talk therapy and the possibility of implementing it in your personal mental health journey, reach out to us by giving us a call at 512-777-2591 or visit us at headinghealth.com, or join us in our Q&A session next Thursday, March 10 at 6:00 pm CST on Facebook Live!

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Mental Health(care) is for Everyone

Mental Health(care) is for Everyone

February 24, 2022

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty, stress, discomfort and periods of isolation has increased across the world. This increased stress has resulted in amplified waves of anxiety, exacerbated depression, and even increased OCD. What many individuals may not realize is that almost everyone struggles with their mental health at some points, not just those who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. This means that even those without a diagnosable mental illness can benefit from comprehensive mental healthcare and implementing positive coping strategies.


When we find ourselves in these moments of uncertainty, here are a few basic concepts to keep in mind:

 

  • Sharing really is caring: Talking about how we feel is powerful. In many circumstances, speaking to someone who cares about you or a mental health professional can help you to feel supported and less alone. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to sharing your emotions and thoughts, a good place to start is using simple statements such as, “today I feel…” or “when this happens it causes me to feel..”
  • Sleep is your friend: Prioritize a good night’s rest. It’s no secret we aren’t at our best cognitively when we haven’t made time for quality rest. Sleep and mental health are closely linked and frequently affect one another. While it may seem challenging to relax and fall asleep when we have a lot on our mind, things like sticking to a schedule for sleep and ensuring that at least 30 minutes prior you are reducing or eliminating distractions such as TV, phone time, or working on projects can help prepare your body for a much needed rest.
  • Move: Stay active. Physical activity is not only good for your body, it’s also great for your mind. With the increase of online activities over the last few years, it has become increasingly easy to lose sight of the importance of moving our bodies. Staying active can mean anything from taking part in a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout to doing some stretching or taking a quick 10-15 minute walk. As you consistently engage in even just a few minutes of physical activity per day, you will provide increased support to your mental well-being, effectively helping to combat stress, anxiety, depression, or anything else you may be struggling with.
  • Get help when you need: Talking to friends and family, sleeping well, eating well, and physical activity are strong steps that we can take to promote mental wellness. It is important to recognize however, that sometimes we need additional. Mental illness, just like any illness, sometimes requires the care of someone specially trained to treat it. Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength and a way to show yourself compassion and self-love. Professionals such as therapists and psychiatrists are trained to help you find and implement the best strategies for your unique circumstances and will support you on your journey to recapture your highest quality of life.

To learn more or request an appointment with one of our providers, give us a call at 512-777-2591 or visit us at headinghealth.com.

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