Digital #Mindfulness

All of us are surrounded by digital devices, and many of us spend a good portion of our day using the internet on our smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Yet our digital wellbeing isn’t something we often think about. Digital technology can impact our health and relationships and shape the society we live in.

Digital mindfulness is about taking charge of your wellbeing and balancing your use of the many devices in your life. Noticing and understanding how you spend your time online and the feelings this produces is an essential part of building a positive digital identity.

For me, I can become sad, depressed, and often times very angry reading and/or viewing images for hours.  It shows in my responses to various posts.

Calming music…

#MentalHealth and #Alcohol

President Trump selects Jake Leinenkugel to lead VA commission focused on Veterans’ mental health treatment

[Well that nice but did you know – In cases where a person has a genetic predisposition to alcohol, underlying emotional or psychological issues can easily become a driving force behind excess alcohol consumption. While drinkers may not start out with a full-blown psychological disorder, alcohol’s effects on the brain can cause psychological dysfunction to develop. Unfortunately, mental illness caused by alcohol abuse is a common occurrence. According to the Medical University of South Carolina, nearly 40 percent of alcoholics suffer from one or more psychological disorders.]

Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that President Donald J. Trump has selected former VA White House Senior Advisor Thomas “Jake” Leinenkugel to lead a key commission focused on the department’s mental health care programs.

“Jake is a veteran; two of his children are veterans. He certainly knows first hand the challenges and opportunities men and women who leave the military face,” Dick Leinenkugel said Monday. “This will allow him to impact the policies that will impact veterans.”

“Jake has been an ambassador for change at VA, working to implement President Trump’s policies throughout the department over the past year and a half,” said Acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke. “As leader of this important new commission, Jake will continue to advocate for better care and services for his fellow Veterans.”

At VA, Leinenkugel has been instrumental in the creation of the department’s “ChooseVA” branding campaign and the implementation of November’s National Veterans and Military Families Month. He has also worked to promote VA’s efforts to reduce Veteran suicides.

Lastly – Leinenkugel’s #brewery in Chippewa Falls was built over natural springs in 1867 but now uses about 70 million gallons of water a year from the city. In the past eight years, the brewery has spent more than $12 million on improvements that, said Jake Leinenkugel, the brewery’s president. The company is also donating $500,000 to help preserve wetlands in Chippewa County.

That’s right the man overseeing the Mental Health of #Veterans owns a brewery!

Is Providing Access to Healthcare After Release from Prison Enough?

Mental Health Care in Jail

Is Providing Access to Healthcare After Release from Prison Enough?

Providing health care after release is a great program, however, most mental illness requires constant review, which does not occur inside the prison walls.  Alana Horowitz Satlin wrote in the Huffington Post, “A 2006 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that over half of all jail and prison inmates have mental health issues; an estimated 1.25 million suffered from mental illness, over four times the number in 1998. Research suggests that people with mental illness are overrepresented in the criminal justice system by rates of two to four times the normal population. The severity of these illnesses vary, but advocates say that one factor remains steady: with proper treatment, many of these incarcerations could have been avoided.”

Connecticut’s Department of Correction’s Disclaimer reads: “The Department of Correction provides comprehensive health care to the offender population that meets a community standard of care, and includes medical, mental health, dental, addiction and ancillary services, in compliance with applicable state and federal laws and consent decrees. This spectrum of health care is carried out through a partnership the Department has established with the services of the University of Connecticut, Correctional Managed Health Care.”

Suicide Prevention

NCIA’s analysis found that only three departments of correction (California, Delaware, and Louisiana) had suicide prevention policies that addressed all six critical components and that an additional five departments of correction (Connecticut, Hawaii, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) had policies that addressed all but one critical component.  Thus, only 15 percent of all departments of correction had policies that contained either all or all but one critical component of suicide prevention.  In contrast, 14 departments of correction (27%) had either no suicide prevention policies or limited policies — 3 with none, and 11 with policies that addressed only one or two critical components.  The majority (58%) of DOCs had policies that contained three or four of the critical components.

Medicaid Enrollment for Prisoners

Administration officials moved to improve low Medicaid enrollment for emerging prisoners, urging states to start signups before release and expanding eligibility to thousands of former inmates in halfway houses near the end of their sentences.

Health coverage for ex-inmates “is critical to our goal of reducing recidivism and promoting the public health,” said Richard Frank, assistant secretary for planning for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Advocates praised the changes but cautioned that HHS and states are still far from ensuring that most people leaving prisons and jails are put on Medicaid and get access to treatment.

“It’s highly variable. Some states and jurisdictions are having a lot of success” enrolling ex-prisoners, said Kamala Mallik-Kane, a researcher at the Urban Institute who has studied the process. “Others of them have initiatives in place that aren’t reaching the kinds of numbers that are making a dent.”

The 2010 health law made nearly all ex-prisoners eligible for Medicaid in states that chose to expand the state and federal insurance program for the poor. Many welcomed the chance to cover a group with high rates of chronic disease, mental illness and substance abuse problems.

But prisons and jails, burdened with ineffective computers, understaffing and complicated Medicaid enrollment procedures, have been slow to sign up released inmates.

Federal and state prisons let out more than 600,000 people a year. Millions more cycle through jails. But a study published in Health Affairs found prisons and jails nationwide enrolled only 112,520 emerging inmates between late 2013 up to January 2015.

Much of HHS’ guidance repeats existing policy, reminding states that those on probation or parole are eligible for Medicaid and urging states to keep prisoners’ names in the Medicaid computers while they’re locked up. (That eases re-enrollment.)

Inmates are generally ineligible for Medicaid while incarcerated. Prison and jail medical systems care for them.

HHS is “providing encouragement and a nudge” to states to improve sign-ups as well as money to upgrade enrollment computers, said Colleen Barry, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who has studied ex-inmate enrollment. “They understand that this is a technology issue.”

Making up to 96,000 halfway-house inmates eligible for Medicaid is new policy, designed to connect people with care before they’re fully released. Prisoners often move to halfway houses or home detention near the end of their terms, closely supervised but frequently allowed to shop, apply for jobs and see a doctor.

Under the new policy, “if you have a fair amount of freedom of movement” in a halfway house, “you’re not considered an inmate” for Medicaid purposes, said Sarah Somers, an attorney for the National Health Law Program, an advocacy group. “That will be very helpful for a lot of people who are trying to transition out of incarceration.”

Ex-inmates have extremely high rates of HIV and hepatitis C infection, diabetes, mental illness and substance abuse problems. They are especially vulnerable after they leave the prison medical system and before they connect with community doctors.

One study in Washington state showed that ex-inmates were a dozen times more likely to die than the general population in the first two weeks after their release.

Immediate Medicaid coverage “can mean the difference between life in the community and recidivism and even life and death,” Michael Botticelli, the White House’s director of national drug control policy, told reporters.

HHS has been urging states to enroll ex-inmates in Medicaid for years. But the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion made many more of them eligible for coverage, giving policymakers a new reason to promote sign-ups, advocates said.

So far 31 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid under the law.

By Jay Hancock April 29, 2016 Kaiser Health News

 

Killers In Our Midst

the boy who killed in the church

The Godfather trilogy directed by Francis Ford Coppola and distributed by Paramount Pictures, starts out with Mr. Amerigo Bonasera stating his love for America.  He goes on to speak about his parenting relative to his daughter’s dating.  One thing that bothers me is that Mr. Bonasera states he gave her freedom, freedom to do what I ask?  She dates a young man outside of their heritage and that doesn’t cause Mr. Bonasera any concern?  She then misses curfew and again Mr. Bonasera is not implementing any consequences to his daughter.  When her honor is stripped from her his love for America does not cause him accept the verdict in the American court of a suspended sentence, but he chooses to take matters into his own hands by soliciting the help of Mr. Don Corleone (The Godfather).  After viewing Anderson Cooper’s episode titled “Killers in our Midst” I become interested in understanding the thoughts that drive those that elect to commit murder.  I have often heard that the violence depicted in rap music drives young Afro American men to behave like the words in the songs, I wonder if the violence depicted, no let me rephrase –  the Killing and Murderous acts depicted on television whether it be in movies or live from Iraq feeds the thoughts and emotions of some of the killers in Anderson Cooper’s piece.

Another point from the Cooper’s piece speaks to the immaturity of the college students saying no and/or setting boundaries with interacting with members of the opposite sex.  Do we as parents teach our children about stalking and the signs and symptoms to look for when this scenario arise.  I think not, I would attempt to say that we only teach our children about issues we have personally dealt with and anything outside of our scope may or may not be discussed as a sidebar conversation when it hits the news as a “Breaking News” item.  So one has to think have we adequately prepared out youngster for living life outside of the home.

Warning signs missed

  • The female killer goes ballistic at the postal building – reasons were unknown. She had a history of mental illness and was able to purchase a gun in New Mexico.  New Mexico has the weakest gun laws, yet she must have known this.
  • The son kills the mother with a hatchet, he attempts suicide, pulls a gun on his friends in Maine. He is released from the psych ward because he does pose a threat of imminent danger.  At 18 years of age he is released from involuntary confinement and 2 months later he kills his mom.  What was his diagnosis, did the mental health workers take into account his behavior when he was admitted?

Andrea Yates’ Children

  • Drowned her children and had the presence of mind to call the police. She suffered in a world of delusion that was exacerbated each time she had another child.  Where was the father?  She heard voices and instructions from Satan. When will the church experts be called in to speak to the spiritual warfare that goes on unnoticed, un-identified or simply rejected?

Who is Most Likely to Kill

  • The mindset of a killer – A study was conducted and there was no clear profile established, however stress, depression and rage are common denominators. If those of the common denominators I would suspect we should see an increase in mass murders given the present state of the economy coupled with this government shut down.

Are the laws incompatible with regard to patient’s rights?  Are the managed care organizations doing enough to ensure that a holistic approach to dealing with mental illness is executed?  In as much as the patient must have his/her needs addressed the guardian of the patients should also be included in the care.  Are the churches ever engaged in providing care for the mentally ill, considering there is often times a lot of talk about hearing voices and receiving instructions from Satan.  The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 –  Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.  At first glance one would think that this tells us how the devil works but look more closely.  It also instructs us to “.be sober, be watchful” ….

Unforgotten–25 Years After Willowbrook

Yet in the year 2016 not much has changed for those who have mental illness.

Read more

This is one of the most disturbing movies surrounding human behavior and treatment I have ever seen.  Watching the inhumane treatment of human beings with disabilities was gut wrenching.  I found it very interesting that some parents were either unaware of their children’s diagnosis or simply followed the advice of “society”.  Unfortunately not only in the 1950 did this type of encouragement prevail but it is still apparent today.  There are many adults in group homes because society has put such a strong emphasis on looks and behavior that there are families that would gladly pay for their child to be “awarded” to a group home versus dealing with the child/adult in the home environment.

When the family members speak of the visitation at the institution it almost sounds like the introduction to a horror film.  The young lady that speaks of the screams eluding from the building but not knowing where the screams emerged from is frightening in and of itself.   How unfortunate that the workers did not or simply did not care to reach out for additional funding to provide adequate services.  Basically no one was watching the barn when patients were identified with broken bones on a regular basis.  I shudder to think about the atmosphere of this facility and lack of concern that a physician could tell a concerned parent to shut up when asked about the care of a loved one.

Bernard’s story of being misdiagnosed it utterly amazing.  I ask myself why would an institution seek to keep a patient under lock and key especially one that is not mentally ill and does not cause harm to himself or others.  Was the facility receiving funds for each patient or bed that occupied?  What a tragedy for this young man to have wasted so much of his life in a mental institution when he had a case of cerebral palsy.

This movie is a must see for all who are interested in pursuing a career in the Human Services field.  This is catastrophic picture of the necessity of proper diagnosis, oversight and a genuine desire to help those less fortunate.  This movie should help one understand societal roles and the demands society places on what’s normal and what it acceptable.  This movie gives insight to lack of courage family members have when dealing with other family members that have severe mental health issues.  Additional this movie should serve a strong reminder that we must reach the unreachable and protect the lost.  Human Service workers must stand in the gap and form a bridge for the family and family member that requires assistance.

It’s a sad state of affairs when we discount those that are different from us or those that no longer live up to our standards of normalcy.  We must make a concerted effort to bring together help not only for the individual that has the struggles but we must include a program for the family members to be able to walk through the process and continue to be a source of support.  For example the woman that speaks openly about her embarrassment of Patty the lady with Down syndrome.  If only she had the been connected to the proper institution and been able to learn about the disease and how to cope how much more effective she would have been to assist Patty through her struggles.  Often times we don’t take into account that someone with disabilities actually has feelings and can tell when they are being pushed off, walked away from, discounted as a full-fledged human being with ability to learn and manage some type day to day living.