What does mental health mean to me? A Mental Health Awareness Month Reflection

Reflection in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month by: Jim Shackelford, PhD, LCP, LMFT, CADC

Sigmund Freud is often quoted for saying “work and love, love and work...that’s all there is.” 

To have a meaningful and productive vocation is critical for everyone’s mental health.

I feel lucky and blessed to have found my calling. I have retired twice from jobs I have loved, and I am still working. I look forward each day to counseling and talking with clients.

Q+A with Carolyn

You're invited!
Tell a friend! Share with parents!
Parenting is hard and we all need support, both from our fellow parents and from mental health experts.
Q+A with Carolyn is a live session curated by YFC for parents of K-8 kids who want to ask a therapist about parenting, academics, and other child-related topics.

What does drinking in moderation look like?

A Reflection for Alcohol Awareness Month by Jim Shackelford, PhD, LCP, LMFT, CADC

Recently, I spent two weeks enjoying both the men’s and women’s March Madness competitions. But it was different this year. During March Madness, I am usually on vacation in Florida and enjoy watching games at one of the local sports bars, enjoying seafood and sometimes a beer. However, COVID-19 has brought home a new reality: no large gatherings. Safety calls on us to show discretion and avoid big groups. So, I watched these games with family instead. And I enjoyed seafood of all varieties—shrimp, grouper, scallops, oysters, and calamari.  Since I rarely drink, I did not miss my occasional beer. Overall, I found a way to have fun without a big group in a bar.

Therapy For Men

By John L. Cecilia, MSW, LCSW

Why would an article from Youth & Family Counseling (YFC) - an agency whose name implies a focus on children and families - discuss therapy for men?  Isn't YFC concerned mostly with children's issues and the challenges that families face?  The answer is yes, children and families are an important part of our work at YFC.  And that is one significant reason why promoting therapy for men is so vital.

Community Counseling in Turbulent Times

As weeks in isolation drag on, one thing is clear - the COVID-19 quarantine is taking a toll on our collective mental health. While some might find this time valuable for reflection and growth, almost all of us are experiencing increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression. And for those with pre-existing mental health conditions, the added uncertainity of COVID makes their stability even more fragile.

Reassuring Your Child Amid the COVID Cacaphony

When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join in the chaos.” - L.R. Knost.

In a world turned upside down by the coronavirus, it’s crucial that we find ways to help our children feel safe.  Sheila Ciesil, LCPC, a YFC therapist who specializes in child therapy, offers these tips for parents hoping to do just that:  

First and foremost, regulate your own emotions.  Children look to their parents for information about how to interpret ambiguous situations.  If your children observe that you handle difficult emotions well, then it sends them a message that they can do so too.  

Peaceful Parenting is Possible

Parenting these days is not for the faint of heart, particularly in light of the upheaval caused by COVID-19.   If you’re looking for useful roadmap to better family connections,YFC therapist Marianny Arribas recommends the book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting  by Dr. Laura Markham.  Read Marianny's review to learn why she describes this book as a practical guide to raising happy kids.

In her book entitled “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting,” Dr. Laura Markham describes a practical guide to raising “happy kids” based primarily on fostering connection rather than teaching new tricks and bribes to discipline a child. 

YFC's Commitment in a COVID-19 World

COVID-19 is causing much stress and anxiety throughout our world, and you're not alone if you're feeling overwhelmed. But here's some reassuring news -- YFC will continue to offer help and support to those who need it during these uncertain times. As your community counseling agency, Youth & Family Counseling remains committed to our mission of opening doors to mental healthcare to all who need it, regardless of ability to pay.

We will continue support clients and provide treatment as best we can, and to maintain our high standards of care. Some points to share with you:

Beating the Winter Blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to a change in seasons.  Although often referred to as the "winter blues," people can experience SAD any time of the year, though it is most often seen during the colder months, when we lose an hour of sunlight due to daylight savings.

What causes SAD?  According to Mental Health America, transitioning from bright, sunny days to bleak winter ones can cause a drop in our body's natural production of serotonin, melatonin and Vitamin D.  This disruption can lead to SAD symptoms such as lethargy, social withdrawal, depression, anxiety, and  difficulty concentrating or sleeping.  Less commonly, SAD can also be triggered by environmental changes, such as shifting from a first to a third workshift.