Mental

medicine

Ex-lacrosse star Delby Powless writes about mental health in novel ‘Medicine Game’

Writing a novel is one of the hardest — but most cathartic — things former pro lacrosse player Delby Powless has ever done.

“Medicine Game” centres on Tommy Henry as he struggles with violent outbursts and addiction on the fictional Sparrow Lake Nation. Powless said that he wrote the novel as a way to open up about his own mental health struggles and pay tribute to friends he’s lost.

“This was by the most therapeutic thing I’ve ever done,” said Powless. “It was really emotional to write about this stuff, not just because of my own things but because I was thinking about people that have passed, that aren’t with us anymore.”

Powless, who won the Tom Longboat Award as Canada’s top Indigenous athlete in 2003, spent his entire six-year career in the National Lacrosse League with the Buffalo Bandits. He played all levels of his junior and senior lacrosse for teams in Six Nations of the Grand River, Ont., and represented the Iroquois Nationals in international competition.

Even with his success as a lacrosse player, Powless said he struggled with his mental health and opening up to friends and teammates.

That began to change when Powless read “Playing With Fire,” a memoir by former NHLer Theo Fleury. Powless said Fleury’s memoir made him realize he was not alone and that opening up could help him and his readers.

“This was my way of coming out to let people know what I’ve gone through mental-health wise,” the 40-year-old Powless said. “I had kept stuff inside of me for 30, 35 years.”

In the short time “Medicine Game” has been out, Powless said he’s received a lot of positive feedback, especially from other Indigenous men, who have told him it’s encouraged them to be more open.

“They bought it because they thought it was about lacrosse and they start reading it and they start realizing how it’s about the rez and the mental health stuff and the history of residential schools and other things they could relate to,” said Powless.

Lacrosse was played by the Haudenosaunee — known in French as the Iroquois and in English as the Six Nations — thousands of years before Europeans arrived in North America. Sometimes called the Creator’s Game or the Medicine Game, many First Nations people believe that playing lacrosse can heal them spiritually and physically.

Powless, who is now a child and youth counselor in the Six Nations community, said that the camaraderie he — and his protagonist — feels when playing lacrosse is an experience he wanted to convey to his readers.

“When I was going through a really rough time, one of my coaches texted me that he hoped to see me back at the rink because lacrosse is good medicine,” said Powless. “That stuck with me, just to think of it that way.

“Just to get out there and be around the boys is helpful to people and their well-being.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov.

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medicine

Ex-lacrosse star Delby Powless writes about mental health in novel ‘Medicine Game’

Writing a novel is one of the hardest — but most cathartic — things former pro lacrosse player Delby Powless has ever done.

“Medicine Game” centres on Tommy Henry as he struggles with violent outbursts and addiction on the fictional Sparrow Lake Nation. Powless said that he wrote the novel as a way to open up about his own mental health struggles and pay tribute to friends he’s lost.

“This was by the most therapeutic thing I’ve ever done,” said Powless. “It was really emotional to write about this stuff, not just because of my own things but because I was thinking about people that have passed, that aren’t with us anymore.”

Powless, who won the Tom Longboat Award as Canada’s top Indigenous athlete in 2003, spent his entire six-year career in the National Lacrosse League with the Buffalo Bandits. He played all levels of his junior and senior lacrosse for teams in Six Nations of the Grand River, Ont., and represented the Iroquois Nationals in international competition.

Even with his success as a lacrosse player, Powless said he struggled with his mental health and opening up to friends and teammates.

That began to change when Powless read “Playing With Fire,” a memoir by former NHLer Theo Fleury. Powless said Fleury’s memoir made him realize he was not alone and that opening up could help him and his readers.

“This was my way of coming out to let people know what I’ve gone through mental-health wise,” the 40-year-old Powless said. “I had kept stuff inside of me for 30, 35 years.”

In the short time “Medicine Game” has been out, Powless said he’s received a lot of positive feedback, especially from other Indigenous men, who have told him it’s encouraged them to be more open.

“They bought it because they thought it was about lacrosse and they start reading it and they start realizing how it’s about the rez and the mental health stuff and the history of residential schools and other things they could relate to,” said Powless.

Lacrosse was played by the Haudenosaunee — known in French as the Iroquois and in English as the Six Nations — thousands of years before Europeans arrived in North America. Sometimes called the Creator’s Game or the Medicine Game, many First Nations people believe that playing lacrosse can heal them spiritually and physically.

Powless, who is now a child and youth counselor in the Six Nations community, said that the camaraderie he — and his protagonist — feels when playing lacrosse is an experience he wanted to convey to his readers.

“When I was going through a really rough time, one of my coaches texted me that he hoped to see me back at the rink because lacrosse is good medicine,” said Powless. “That stuck with me, just to think of it that way.

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“Just to get out there and be around the boys is helpful to people and their well-being.”

This report by The

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fitness

Large study finds clear association between fitness and mental health

New research from a large study demonstrates that low cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength have a significant association with worse mental health.

Researchers have reported a clear link between low physical fitness and the risk of experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or both.

The study, which included more than 150,000 participants, found that cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength independently contribute to a greater risk of worse mental health.

However, the researchers saw the most significant association when they looked at cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength in combination.

The research, which appears in the journal BMC Medicine, may help inform clinical guidance on mental health and physical fitness.

Problems with mental health, just like physical health issues, can have a significant negative effect on a person’s life. Two of the more common mental health conditions are anxiety and depression.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18.1% of adults in the United States have experienced an anxiety disorder in the past year. In addition, the National Institute of Mental Health note that 7.1% of U.S. adults have had a major depressive episode.

There is growing evidence that being physically active may help prevent or treat mental health conditions. However, many questions still need answering.

For example, what measures should researchers use to quantify physical activity? In what ways can it prevent mental health issues or improve a person’s mental health? And is it possible to demonstrate a causal link between physical activity and better mental health?

It is important to have detailed evidence of the relationship between physical activity and mental health, as well as the mechanisms that might underlie it. With this information, clinicians can offer more targeted guidance to people with mental health conditions.

To begin to answer some of these questions, a team of researchers analyzed an existing large dataset that allowed them to build on their understanding of the association between physical fitness and mental health.

In the present study, the researchers drew on data from the U.K. Biobank — a data repository comprising information from more than 500,000 volunteers aged 40–69 years from England, Wales, and Scotland.

Between August 2009 and December 2010, a subset of the U.K. Biobank participants — amounting to 152,978 participants — underwent tests to measure their fitness.

Investigators assessed the participants’ cardiorespiratory fitness by monitoring their heart rate before, during, and after a 6-minute submaximal exercise test on a stationary bicycle.

They also measured the volunteers’ grip strength, which the researchers of the present study used as a proxy for muscle strength.

Alongside these physical fitness tests, the participants completed two standard clinical questionnaires relating to anxiety and depression to give the researchers an overview of their mental health.

After 7 years, the researchers assessed each person’s anxiety and depression again using the same two clinical questionnaires.

In their analysis, the researchers accounted for potential confounding factors, such as age, natal sex, previous mental health issues, smoking status, income level, physical activity, educational experience, parental depression, and diet.

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medicine

Medicine Hat school boards continue to focus on mental health

Local school boards came together this week to discuss mental health and the suicide crisis in Medicine Hat.

This was the second virtual meeting in the last month that was held for parents and caregivers. The event was hosted by school division psychologists Claire Petersen and Greg Godard.

“I think it went really well,” Petersen said of Wednesday evening’s meeting. “We were able to address some different topics than the first meeting we had.

“This has been a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with other divisions to have these really important conversations.”

The first event, which was held last month, was hosted by trauma expert Kevin Cameron. More than 600 tuned in live to hear their questions answered.

Wednesday’s event answered questions submitted by parents that were not answered last month.

“Parents sent in some amazing, thoughtful and really brave questions – we just couldn’t get to them all,” said Petersen. “We took the ones we couldn’t get to and grouped them together by theme.

“This week we talked about self-harm, talking with other adults about suicide, the stigma and mental health, accessing support and then we talked about building resilience.”

Petersen says the focus now is to keep the conversation going with school-based mental health professionals in the region.

“We’ve been sharing our contact information, but over the next week or so parents will see a series of videos start to come out that introduces these professionals,” she said. “We want to continue that conversation on a more individual level.

“We know there may be some specific questions people have asked that we may not have answered, so we want people to know that we are here. The video series will help families put names to faces.”

Each division is going to gather information and determine what ways it should continue to address mental health conversations and how to keep them going.

“We’ll follow up with people with more intimate conversations on a school level,” she said.

Petersen says the school year has been busier for psychologists and mental health workers than ever.

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“There’s multiple reasons it’s been so busy,” she said. “I think mental health concerns, along with COVID-19 and planning, and just trying to have a way for everyone to learn.

“Everyone is working so hard and we’re ensuring that we’re there for students and staff when they need us.”

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fitness

This Top-Rated Mental Fitness App Can Help You Be Your Best

A business is only as good as the people who run it. For many entrepreneurs, that means it’s up to only them to ensure their business is healthy and thriving. But in these days of economic turmoil and political stress, it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed from time to time. When your mental health is struggling, it’s impossible to put your best foot forward every day, and your business will likely suffer because of it.



a hand holding a cellphone


© Calmind


If you’re trying to manage stress and anxiety, it may be a good time to invest in an app like Calmind. Calmind is a digital therapy app that offers physiological and stress-reducing benefits that can improve the quality of your life by focusing on what’s important and eliminating distractions. Calmind can help you in a variety of ways. It offers soothing and sensory stories to reduce stress and help you fall asleep faster, as well as ASMR triggers and calming tones to increase the release of positive hormones. It can help you stop procrastinating by improving your concentration and even offers emotion tracking for stronger resilience and emotion regulation.

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Calmind has earned top reviews from Healthline, TechCrunch, and was a #4 Product of the Day on Product Hunt because it offers users such a valuable service. With Calmind, you can reduce the stress you’re under, improve your emotional resiliency, and be better suited to deal with challenges in your everyday life.

Improve your mental health and start putting your best foot forward every day. A lifetime subscription to Calmind Mental Fitness App is normally $699, but it’s been on sale for $69.99. For a limited time, however, you can get one for just $39.99.

Related:

This Top-Rated Mental Fitness App Can Help You Be Your Best

If Running Your Business Feels Hard, You’re Doing it Right. Here’s Why

The Dangers of Digital Fatigue, and How to Prioritize Your Mental Health

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medicine

Sidra Medicine highlights importance of mental health in families

Sidra Medicine has reiterated the importance of mental health in families as part of its ongoing commitment to support the development and advancement of mental health services in Qatar.

Dr Felice Watt, division chief, Adult Psychiatry for Women’s Mental Health at Sidra Medicine said, “Mothers are the key to a family’s mental health and we need our mothers to be physically and emotionally well. It is important that pregnant women and mothers feel supported and empowered. We can ask them “How are you feeling?” and “What can I do to help you?” and offer support and company. It is also important to listen without judgment. If you feel that you are unable to support, then help her get professional assistance.”
Mental health not only affects the woman but also impacts the pregnancy, the child and the family. This highlights the importance of fathers’ and infants’ mental health and wellbeing.
Infant Mental Health describes the capacity of a baby to form close relationships; to recognise and express emotions and to explore and learn about their environment. Every interaction contributes to the child’s brain development and lays the foundation for later learning.
To reach their full potential, children need support of their physical and mental health and an environment of nurturing care. This includes responsive caregiving whereby their caregivers notice, understand and respond to the child’s signals in a timely and appropriate manner. Opportunity for early learning is also encouraged.
Fathers also play a unique and important role in their children’s development and in supporting their wife.     
Dr Zainab Imam, psychiatrist from Sidra Medicine said, “According to research featured in the Wiley Online Library, about 10% of new fathers experience depression, especially if their wives are depressed; while up to 18% of fathers suffer from anxiety. Since most new mothers look to their husbands as the main source of support, poor paternal support can worsen a mother’s mental health.”
“We advocate that there needs to be stronger support systems for fathers, encouraging them to be involved, and giving them an opportunity to talk about their experiences as fathers and to learn how to support their children’s development And most importantly, fathers need support to access professional help when needed, without the stigma that sometimes stops many new fathers from seeking help,” continued Dr Imam.
Qatar has set up a helpline (16000) to support people of all ages and nationalities who are looking for advice on coping with stress, anxiety and depression and other mental health disorders. The helpline is available from 8 am to 7pm Sundays to Thursdays, and 8am to 3pm on Saturdays.

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health

Hillary Clinton supporters endured poor mental health

Saint Louis, MO, USA - March 12, 2016: Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton campaigns at Nelson-Mulligan Carpenters Training Center in St. Louis.
Supporters of Hillary Clinton may have seen their mental health decline after Donald Trump’s presidential victory. The former US secretary of state is pictured in St. Louis in March 2016. (Getty Images)

Residents of US states that voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election may have endured poor mental health after President Donald Trump won the White House race, research suggests.

Scientists from Duke University and the University of California, San Francisco, analysed more than 499,000 adults who took part in nationwide household surveys.

In December 2016, the month after Trump was elected, people who lived in Democratic states reported a cumulative 54.6 million more days of poor mental health compared to in October.

Read more: One in six children in England has ‘probable mental disorder’

The increase in poor mental health days largely persisted in the six months following the election, results suggests.

No such rise was observed among residents of states that voted for Trump.

Social distancing or physical distancing is a set of nonpharmaceutical infection control actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. Strict new curbs on life in the UK to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
Ahead of the 2020 election, medics have been urged to look out for signs of mental health issues. (Posed by a model, Getty Images)

The president’s 2016 victory and controversial campaign left many concerned about the impact his taking office would have on Clinton supporters, the scientists wrote in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

A survey carried out before the election suggested more than half (52%) of Americans considered the event a “significant source of stress”, while 49% felt the same way in January 2017.

With the 2020 election result looming, the Duke and San Fransisco scientists set out to uncover how a disappointing outcome could affect a resident’s mental health.

The team analysed data on adults collected in 2016/17 as part of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a joint state and federal annual household survey.

The team looked for changes to three mental health indicators – the number of poor mental health days in the past 30 days, 14 days or more of poor mental health in the past 30 days, and being diagnosed with a depressive disorder.

Read more: Self-harm more common among teens who start puberty early

These were compared between Clinton- and Trump-voting states in the six months before and after the November 2016 election.

Results suggest that in Clinton-voting states, the average number of days on which an adult reported experiencing poor mental health over the past 30 days increased from 3.35 in October 2016 to 3.85 two months later.

“The additional half a day per adult translated into 54.6 million more days of poor mental health in December 2016 alone for the 109.2 million adults living in Clinton-voting states,” said lead author Brandon Yan, from the University of California, San Francisco.

The rise in poor mental health mainly affected white women aged 65 or over.

Younger age groups, men and people with minority ethnic backgrounds experienced no change to the number of poor mental health days they endured in either Clinton or Trump states.

Watch: Seasonal affective disorder may be worse

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health

Your Teachers May Have Been Key to Your Adult Mental Health | Health News

By Cara Murez, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

MONDAY, Nov. 2, 2020 (Health Day News) — Great teachers can make a big difference in their students’ long-term health, research shows.

Teenagers who had good, supportive relationships with their teachers became healthier adults, according to a new report.

“This research suggests that improving students’ relationships with teachers could have important, positive and long-lasting effects beyond just academic success,” said study author Jinho Kim. He is an assistant professor of health policy and management at Korea University in Seoul.

“It could also have important health implications in the long run,” Kim said in a news release from the American Psychological Association.

For the study, Kim analyzed data from nearly 20,000 participants in a U.S. health study, including 3,400 pairs of siblings. That study followed participants from seventh grade into early adulthood. The teens answered a variety of questions about whether they had experienced trouble getting along with other students or teachers, and whether their friends or teachers cared about them.

In adulthood, the participants were asked about physical and mental health. The study recorded measures of physical health, including blood pressure and body mass index, an estimate of body fat based on height and weight.

The analysis found that participants who had better relationships with teachers and peers also had better physical and mental health in their mid-20s. When Kim looked at pairs of siblings (as a way to control for family background), only the link between student-teacher relationships and adult health remained significant.

Past research had suggested that teens’ peer relationships could be connected to adult health outcomes, possibly because poor relationships can lead to chronic stress, which raises the risk of future health problems, Kim said. It might be that other factors, including different family backgrounds, contributed both to relationship problems in teens and to poor health in adulthood.

Kim recommended that schools invest in training teachers on how to build warm, supportive relationships with students.

“This is not something that most teachers receive much training in,” he said, “but it should be.”

The findings were published online Oct. 29 in the journal School Psychology.

SOURCE: American Psychological Association, news release, Oct. 29, 2020

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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health

The mental health toll of COVID-19

When it comes to wearing a mask, Seattle writer Wendy Sparrow was way ahead of the curve: “I’ve been wearing a mask during flu season and allergy season for, like, years,” she said. “And people would look at me when I would walk into a store and they would stare at me.”

Masks and hand sanitizer are both part of Sparrow’s lifelong mental health battle with OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder. “I plan for all of the worst things that could happen,” she said. “I have first aid kits everywhere. I have, like, multiple ones in my house.”

“First aid kits?” asked correspondent Susan Spencer.

“Yes, first aid kits! I mean, somebody could get their head lopped off and I could just probably get it back on with the first aid kits I have around.”

“You described yourself as suffering from something called contamination phobia. Can you explain what exactly that is?”

“As far as like germs go, up until I can see somebody, like, sneeze or something, I’m usually okay with it,” Sparrow said. “I don’t go to hazmat levels of cleaning, unless somebody is sick. And then I kind of lose my mind.”

She’s been accused of over-reacting for as long as she can remember, until COVID-19 came along: “One of my friends online commented to me the other day, she goes, ‘How does it feel to have mask-wearing normalized finally?’ And I was just like, I’m not gonna get stared at anymore!

But, as gratifying as you might think that would be, she says the pandemic actually has made her OCD worse. “It’s much harder to control symptoms and habits and stuff like that when you are genuinely, you know, at risk for these things,” Sparrow said. “I mean, how do you tell yourself, No, that’s too much hand sanitizer, when at this point, there’s no such thing as too much hand sanitizer?”

“We’re in the midst of a mental health epidemic right now, and I think it’s only gonna get worse,” said Dr. Vivian Pender, president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association.

Spencer asked, “You don’t think the worst is over?”

“No, not at all. No, I think in a way the worst is yet to come, in terms of mental health. There’s gonna be tremendous grief and mourning for all the lost people, and the lost opportunities, and the lost dreams and hopes that people had.”

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More than half of American adults say their mental health has suffered because of the pandemic.

CBS News


She said the pandemic is aggravating mental illness among those already battling it – and taking a toll on the rest of us, too. “Anxiety always rises in the face of uncertainty, and we’re living in very uncertain times,” she said.

More than half (53%) of American adults say their mental health has suffered because of the pandemic. Prescriptions for antidepressants shot up 14% after the initial outbreak.

Spencer asked Atlanta psychiatrist Dr. Sarah Vinson, “You could argue that,

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health

Mental Health Advocates Say These Things Need To Change No Matter Who Wins The Election

Looking beyond Tuesday’s elections, mental health advocates are gearing up to become a more potent political lobby, as the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a surge in people seeking services and flooded an already understaffed system. They are urging political leaders to increase funding and extend protections for mental healthcare regardless of who wins the presidency and the down-ballot races that will decide the makeup of Congress and statehouses around the country.

“We’re going to be seeing a tidal wave of people seeking out mental health support,” said Matthew Shapiro, associate director for public affairs at the National Alliance on Mental Illness in New York State, at a virtual policy panel in October. Many of the callers to a state-run support line during the pandemic have been “seeking out mental health services for the first time in their lives,” he said.

“That’s a very encouraging thing to hear the people are seeking help,” Shapiro said, adding that it’s “scary and really concerning” that there might not be enough help to go around.

Shapiro and other advocates are becoming more vocal about funding for mental health and issues that affect it, reflecting a desire to follow the example of activists who fought taboos against HIV and other conditions to win support in the halls of power.

The movement has a long way to go. Mental health and substance use have been virtually absent from the presidential debates. That lack of attention reflects mental health advocates’ lack of power, said Bill Smith, who this year founded Inseparable Action, a political group advocating for greater access to mental healthcare. “There are a lot of really, really smart people who know what we need to do and understand the policy solutions. They just don’t have the power to get it done,” said Smith, the former political director for a marriage equality group.

Inseparable Action aims to help build that political power. It helped pass California’s new law making it harder for insurers to deny mental healthcare and is at work on an agenda of reforms Congress can pass and ones the president can make without its approval. Those include more strongly enforcing the equality of mental and medical benefits and rolling out the new 9-8-8 emergency number for mental health crises. While Smith personally supports Joe Biden’s campaign and has raised money for it, a second Trump administration could also act on any of those proposals. “There are things that need to happen no matter who the president is,” Smith said.

Groups that support people with mental illness are raising their voices as well. Fountain House, a community center in New York for people with serious mental illness, helps its members build social, vocational, and educational skills by teaching them to run the center itself. It can also help members advocate for their political

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