Author Archives: Whole Person

How Old Am I? I am the Age I Want to Be.

Be Happy at the Age You Are
By Leigh Anne Jasheway

Leigh Anne Jasheway

Leigh Anne Jasheway

I used to subscribe to a magazine for women of a certain age (no, it wasn’t Seventeen) but I got so tired of the monthly advice on how to prevent looking old by adopting fashion and beauty trends of younger women that I stopped reading it. This reminds me of that old cliché from childhood, “If all the other kids are jumping off the roof, would you do it too?” Only in this case, the magazine insisted that I do it in 4″ stiletto strappy sandals and false eyelashes. And that I post my status to both Facebook and LinkedIn on the way down.

The best way to keep aging from getting you down is to stop thinking about how old you are and get on with your life. If you let a number stop you from doing something, wearing something, or thinking something, you’re letting math win. And that’s worse than letting the Packers win. (Ed. From a die-hard Vikings fan.)

Leigh Anne and Friends

Leigh Anne and Friends

On Monday, I gave a presentation to the Lions Club. I showed up wearing an above-the-knees black & white polka dot skirt and an orange v-neck blouse. I know Lions — they’re mostly men in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and I wanted to make sure the oldest stayed awake. (Side note: I once did a presentation at a nursing home and afterward a woman came up to me and gushed, “My husband didn’t fall asleep once!” High praise indeed.) I was the younger woman and I got a free neck massage and dozens of great laughs out of the morning.

On Wednesday, I went to a comedy show in which several of my friends were performing, including Virginia Jones from Portland. I wore jeans and a casual, yet somewhat sexy shirt. I sat with the comedians, who ranged in age from 22 to 30-something. I was the older woman and I got lots of laughs and lots of great conversation out of the evening.

If I’d said to myself, “I’m only 50, I don’t have anything in common with 80-year old men,” I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself so much with the Lions. If I’d said, “I’m over 50, I shouldn’t be out at 11:30 at night on a Wednesday hanging with people half my age,” I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself so much at the comedy club.

I have a quote on my office wall that says, “Some people pursue happiness, others create it.” If you want to create a happy life, forget your age. Act your strappy sandal size instead.

Leigh Anne Jasheway

Leigh Ann can be found at the Accidental Comic.

She has written Don’t Get Mad Get Funny available from Whole Person AssociatesDontGetMadGetFunny

Stress in the Workplace

Take this job and love it? Not how you’re feelin’ it?

In Coping with Stress in the Workplace we learn that too much stress in the workplace can interfere with productivity and motivation, can make employees dislike a job they once loved, and can impact an employee’s (and employer’s) mental, emotional and physical health. Even the perfect job has stressful deadlines and other seemingly unreasonable expectations.Workplace stress

Some of the outcomes of stress in the workplace include:

• Increased absenteeism
• Decreased productivity
• Increased health insurance claims
• Decreased motivation, energy among employees
• Heightened body reactions creating physical illness
• Increased unhealthy eating habits
• Increased concern about layoffs
• Increased poor cognitive decision making
• Increased job turnover among employees
• Increased family problems among employees
• Increased fear of effects of management changes
• Increased conflict among employees
• Worry about budget cuts

Stress is experienced in the workplace in three primary ways. Stress from one of these sources can be difficult to overcome, but stress from more than one can be debilitating.

Stress generated from within a person: Stress can be self-imposed through low self-esteem, anger, feelings of hopelessness, feelings of helplessness, anxiety, excessive negativity, the need to be in total control, perfectionistic tendencies, jealousy, and hostility.

Stress generated from the environment: Stress can be felt from the result of the work environment including overly demanding supervisors, low pay, poor working conditions, noisy work environments, too many commitments required for the work being done, long hours, lack of technology for employees to accomplish the work, lack of a safe place to work, whining co-workers, and complaining customers. Any of these external stressors can negatively affect the job performance of an employee. For example, a person who must work with an abrasive supervisor will feel uncomfortable most of the work day.Stress in the workplace

Stress from a poor job fit: Sometimes stress is felt by employees who do not have a good fit between their interests and skills and the demands of their jobs. Many people find that a good job fit is critical in being productive and being able to cope with stress. For example, a person who is not satisfied working a repetitive job may find a lot less stress in a job that is creative and flexible.

How do we get rid of stress in the workplace?

Kimberly Petrosino, Health Coach, Author and Heart Health Advocate has some suggestions to turn around the stress laden remarks we often get from co-workers when we return from a holiday. Her favorite holiday is Christmas…she loves it and everything that goes along with it. She asks:

Why is it that upon returning to the office after Christmas, my heart brimming with joy and love, I’m greeted with a chorus of “Thank goodness THAT’S over with.” “I’m exhausted.” “I’m broke.” “Now I have to go back to the stores and return everything.” WHAT? As a member of the cubicle community, I suggest we all reassess (our answers). Here are a few tips:

1. When someone asks you how your weekend was, instead of saying “Too fast, and now here we are again” just politely say “It was nice, and how was yours?”
2. Give people compliments every day! It may feel weird at first, but you’ll get used to it! When you make someone feel good, you’ll feel good too.
3. When you feel stress forming around you, take a moment to check in with yourself. Find your inner peace. Take a deep breath, and continue on. Don’t get caught up in the chaos around you.Find inner peace
4. Keep a special quote handy or post a keyword that always brings you back to center. I have the word “balance” written on a post-it and taped to the side of my computer monitor. If I feel the anxiety coming on, I look at it and remember to breathe and stay calm.
5. If your schedule permits it, don’t try to run all of your errands on your lunch break. Take a walk and get some fresh air. This is the time for a mid-day reset, not a race to see how many items you can cross off your to-do list in one hour.

Retrieved from the Huffington Post, April 4, 2016.

Great ideas for an easy fix. We need to hone our coping skills so that job stress becomes manageable. As authors Leutenberg and Liptak suggest in Coping with Stress in the Workplace, journaling can help. If you are stress-prone and a situation has made you feel upset or angry, try this:Stress relief journaling

Describe the situation that caused you stress.

Write abut what feelings you experienced? Anger, anxiety, disappointment, frustration, rage, stress, or something else. Take a couple of deep breaths. Practice breathing in through your nose and letting your breath out through your mouth.

From your past , recall and re-experience a positive event and the feelings associated with it.

Think and write about this positive event.

What feelings did you have during that positive experience? Love, devotion, compassion, exhilaration, patience, acceptance, appreciation, kindness, or something else.

Concentrate on those good feelings instead of the negative feelings you were experiencing. Bring them to mind when something stressful occurs at work.Coping with Stress in the Workplace

Keep checking our blog. More stress coping skills for the workplace is coming soon.

Need a resource about Workplace Stress? Try Coping with Stress in the Workplace by Ester Leutenberg and John Liptak, PhD.

Patty Duke

The Stigma of Mental Illness

Patty Duke

Patty Duke, March 2016

We lost an advocate fighting the stigma of mental illness this week. Patty Duke died at the age of 69. She suffered with bi-polar disorder.

Long before celebrities shared their private struggles with mental illness on talk-show couches and social media feeds, actress Patty Duke broke a Hollywood taboo by speaking publicly about her personal struggles.

Duke, who died on Tuesday morning at age 69, was diagnosed with manic depression (now called bipolar disorder) in 1982. Known at the time as the goody-two-shoes child star of “The Miracle Worker” (for which she won a best supporting actress Oscar at 16) and “The Patty Duke Show,” Duke revealed revealed a much darker reality in her 1987 memoir, “Call Me Anna,” written with L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan. In the book, she graphically detailed her turbulent life, drug and alcohol abuse, and childhood mistreatment at the hands of cruel managers.

In talking candidly about her mental illness, Duke took on the stigma long attached to the issue. In the years since Duke’s disclosure, actresses such as Catherine Zeta Jones, Carrie Fisher, Rene Russo and Kim Novak have spoken publicly about their own bipolar diagnoses, while countless other public figures have talked about their depression.  Many celebrities such as Glenn Close advocated for loved ones suffering from mental illness and helped the fight against stigma.

The text above is excerpted from “How Patty Duke broke a Hollywood taboo and became a mental health pioneer” by Rebecca Keegan in the LA Times. Downloaded March 31, 2016.

We’ve talked before about what a stigma is or is not. A stigma is extreme social disapproval of some type of personal characteristic or a belief that is not considered socially “acceptable.” People who have a particular attribute considered unwanted by society are rejected or stigmatized as a result of the attribute. People who have experienced traumatic events in the past are often judged unfairly to be crazy, violent, unpredictable, explosive, aggressive and/or unstable. These judgments, or social stigmas, can cause people who experience these issues to feel devalued as human beings. They are often ostracized from activities, rejected in social situations, stereotyped, minimized in the workplace, and shunned by others. People experiencing the stigma of reactions to traumatic events often feel extreme physical, emotional and psychological distress.

People who stigmatize and/or stereotype others bring about unfair treatment rather than help. This unfair treatment can be very obvious. For example, people make negative comments or laugh. On the other hand, this unfair treatment can be very subtle. For example – people assume that a person who experiences trauma and or mental health issues is detached, emotionless, irritable or grumpy and they avoid or shun that person.

Stigmas affect a large percentage of people throughout the world. Some of the more common stigmas are associated with physical disabilities, age, body type, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, family, ethnicity, race, religion, financial status, social sub-cultures, and conduct. Stigmas set people apart from society and produce feelings in them of shame and isolation. People who are stigmatized are often considered socially unacceptable, and they suffer prejudice, rejection, avoidance and discrimination.

What Can Be Done to Combat Stigma?

Fear of judgment and ridicule about suffering from a traumatic experience or mental illness often compels individuals and their families to hide from society rather than face the criticism, shunning, labeling and stereotyping. Instead of seeking treatment, they struggle in silence. Here are some ways you can combat stereotypes and stigmas.

  • You and your loved ones have choices. You can decide who is to know about your trauma and what to tell them. You need not feel guilty, ashamed or embarrassed.
  • You are not alone. Remember that many other people are coping with a similar situation.
  • Look into or start a support group to meet others who experience what you do.
  • Seek help and remember that the activities in this workbook and treatment from medical professionals can help you to have a productive education and career, and live a satisfying life.
  • Be proactive and surround yourself with supportive people – people you can trust. Social isolation is a negative side effect of the stigma linked to reactions to traumatic events. Isolating yourself and discontinuing enjoyable activities will not help.

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity.  ~ Thomas J. Watson

If we stamp out the stigma attached to mental health issues, shed the shame and eliminate the fear, then we open the door for people to speak freely about what they are feeling and thinking.   ~ Jaletta Albright Desmond

“The most powerful way to change someone’s view is to meet them … People who do come out and talk about mental illness, that’s when healing can really begin. You can lead a productive life.”  ~ Glenn Close

The material above is excerpted from the Managing Trauma Workbook by Ester Leutenberg and John Liptak, PhD.

Find inner peace

Emotions – window to your stressful world

What do your emotions tell you about your stress level?

From Stress for Success by Jacquelyn Ferguson
http://www.stressforsuccess.blogspot.com/
Retrieved March 15, 2016

Emotions out of control - stressed to the maxHow many people don’t connect their emotions to their stress? How many people would you guess wander through life with little awareness of their own behaviors and subsequent consequences? How many people blunder through life like a bull in a china shop?

To some degree we are all self-ignorant. We all have blind spots and miss tons of clues as to how our own reactions often cause more stress than the event to which we are reacting. Tuning into your emotions can expose many of these blind spots so you have a fighting chance of understanding how your reactions contribute to your stress.Emotions uncontrolled, stressed out employee

An underappreciated window into your stress reactions is your emotions. Psychotherapists are well aware that emotions are vital in identifying what’s bothering you. You can learn about your inner emotional world to help you navigate your outer world.

Tune into your emotions to become aware of which situations and people trigger your stress response. These reactions are fueled by anger and/or fear-type emotions: impatience, irritation, intimidation, jealousy, insecurity, etc. Once you recognize these emotions it’s a short hop to feeling the tension they create in your physical body.

Who in your life easily triggers your stress emotions? When these emotions are swimming around in your body, what do you feel physically: Tension in your arms and legs? A queasy stomach? Pay attention until you can easily see the connection.

Crying womanOnce you make the connection between a stressful person you can recognize your emotional and physical signs of tension in response to that stimulus, you are closer to being able to choose a healthier response.

Try this: choose a person or a situation that consistently triggers your stress emotions. Try to find one that you can ignore without negative consequences.

  1. Make the connection between your emotional reaction to a stressful situation or person and your body tension that develops from it.
  2. For one week, avoid the situation or the person and pay attention to any greater sense of calmness and freedom from tension.

This will help your observing self: you can observe your emotional reactions rather than be impacted by them. Watching and witnessing your internal emotional state makes the stressor less personal. You can dampen some of the drama and be more objective. This, in turn, helps your body relax.

Over time, the development of your observing self can improve your heRelaxed womanalth. You’ll become more aware of your blood pressure, physical tension, and other symptoms. Consciously observing yourself can also lower cortisol (the stress hormone) thereby protecting your body from the ravages of stress.

Your observing self requires your conscious awareness of the emotion on which you have chosen to focus.  Mindfulness (maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment) advises you to observe without judgment.

Judgment of yourself or others is a fertile area for the observing self. Observe without trying to change. Simply notice. Right behind your negative judgment, “I’m so stupid,” are negative emotions aimed at yourself. Just as when the judgment is about someone else, it triggers emotions based in anger or fear. Close on its heels are the physical signs of stress and tension.

Your observing self can help break your dysfunctional, habitual, and emotional reactions by distancing you from them, giving you a brief moment to decide how you prefer to respond. This puts you into the driver’s seat of your own life rather than being a victim to your life-long internal insecurities. I call this a “space of time” between the stressful event and your reaction to it. With this little space of time a well-developed observing self can choose a more appropriate response.

Happy emotions, stress free teens

Stress-free teens

Your defensive reactions are much if not most of what feeds your physical symptoms and the resulting physical and emotional maladies. Every desire to choke someone puts pressure on your heart and adversely affects you in a multitude of other ways.

In other words, it’s not just that jerk who puts stress on you, it’s your own defensive reactions. And the only part of stress you can control is your own reaction.

Your growing observations of automatic, emotional, and defensive reactions increase your power to decide if you want to change them for your own benefit. Your choice will influence whether your blood pressure shoots up or calms down, whether your internal inflammation grows exacerbating your arthritis or subsides and calms it. It’s always your choice and yours alone.

Retrieved from http://www.stressforsuccess.blogspot.com/ 3/15/16

Jacquelyn Ferguson

Author Jacquelyn Ferguson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms. Ferguson is the author of Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple. 

 

Julie Lusk practicing Yoga

What Relaxation Techniques Really Work?

What works for you when you want to relax? Have you found a reliable relaxation tool?Relaxing dog

Advice abounds for those who are struggling to find an effective relaxation tool – the technique that will be a magical answer to stress issues. The following are quotes from some of our authors and staff describing what relaxation tools they use when stress begins to overwhelm them. Read them, and try the ones that appeal to you. Remember, of course, that relaxation is a muscle response, just like shooting a basket or playing the piano and it takes times to master a new skill. Practice for a couple of weeks before you try another. Eventually, you will find what fits you the best. I’d love to hear about your search.

Ester Leutenberg, One of our authors, Ester Leutenbergco-author of many of our workbooks says, “When I have unwanted thoughts or memories rumbling around in my head and cannot fall asleep at night, I take in a deep breath slowly, and the release it slowly. Never make it past 4 or 5 breaths, and I’m asleep. I start with my toes and totally relax them, then ankles, calves, knees and on up, ‘till I’m a limp rag. SO GOOD!!!”

Izzy Gesel,Izzy telling a Joke author of Playing Along, and a master of improv tells us, “Whenever I am feeling stressed and I am able to take a moment to pause and listen to my self-talk, I often realize that my stress is about something that happened in the past, is going to happen in the future, or is about another person or something I cannot control. What’s helpful to me in these stressful moments is to close my eyes, take a breath and ask myself, ‘What am I grateful for?’ Within about 15 seconds I feel more grounded. I’m able to focus on the present and take action on something I can control thereby reducing my stress.”

Carlene Sippola,Carlene Sippola WPA’s Publisher tells us, “In the winter, I relax sitting in front of our fireplace playing a few games on my iPad or catching up on the day with my husband. In the summer, we spend time at our camper where we kayak, hike, and sit around the fire pit at night (my favorite). Spending time with good friends is always relaxing.”

Amy Broadsky is one of our talented illustrators, and a skilled, licensed therapist herself, says she does a progressive muscle relaxation starting at my feet and working upwards. “I also do deep breathing. Specifically I breathe in through both my mouth and nose to the count of 6 or 8, and then breath out to the same count. Initially I practiced these techniques three times every day until I was able to effectively relax. I have not had a panic attack in 27 years due to these techniques. I also listen to guided imagery at times, relaxation music, sounds of waves or rain.”

Our shipping and order entry Queen Deb says, “I relax at our family cabin in my kayak, with a soothing beverage.”

Julie Lusk

Julie Lusk

Julie Lusk, Yoga master and author, had a hard time choosing her favorite relaxation technique. She often combines Yoga with meditation to achieve the ultimate relaxed state.

 

From Jack Kosmach, WPA’s President, “I’ve always enjoyed sitting down with a good book.  When we were first married, my wife Lynne and I would sit on the couch with our books and read and read.  It was a really nice time to relax.  Then life seemed to interrupt and the opportunities to be ‘alone’ to read became fewer and fewer.  It is still my favorite way to unwind.”

Leigh Anne telling jokes to her dogsI looked forward to Leigh Anne Jasheway’s response to my “How do I relax?” question. She is the author of Don’t Get Mad Get Funny and Are You Playing with Me and is a prolific speaker on all kinds of funny topics. “I’d put improv at the top of the list. Improv is like spending 2 hours at recess with friends whose sole goal is to have a good time. We laugh so hard and completely forget about anything we were worrying about before the improv session started. Afterward, I find that not only am I less stressed by things, I’m also filled with great ideas about every project I’m working on. That, in and of itself, reduces my stress further because now I have solutions.

“And let’s not forget that all that laughter introduces endorphins and other healing chemicals into the blood stream and massages all the organs. Improv is like recess, falling in love, and a full-body massage all wrapped in one playful adventure.”

Fran Liptak who put her own devastating loss to use by co-authoring the GriefWorks series with Ester Leutenberg says she does several things. Here’s her list:

  • Meditate daily – I have a practice that involves some stretching and meditation each morning. I miss this when I don’t do it.Photo of Fran Zamore
  • Walk outside – I have a real need for fresh air so when the weather is really too harsh for me to be outside I notice it.
  • Take long, warm baths as needed/desired
  • Frequent deliberate long, slow, deep breaths throughout the day
  • Listen to guided imagery scripts as needed
  • Exercise regularly
  • Spend time with friends
  • Gratitude practice – say aloud a minimum of three things each day for which I’m grateful, just before going to sleep

Jacquelyn Ferguson definitely has a favorite relaxation approach.  Here’s what she does:Jacquelyn Ferguson

 I start in a reclining (a recliner, not a bed) position with eyes closed doing a rhythmic breathing exercise for a minute or two or more, depending upon how hyper I am.

I inhale slowly to the count of 6 observing my abdomen swelling, hold to count of 4, exhale to count of 9 (to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system – the “relaxation response”) focusing on my abdomen compressing. I repeat until I find myself floating around with no real attempt to do anything. If I return to more of an “awake” feeling I repeat the breathing exercise. If distracted I allow myself to be aware only of what I sense: sounds, a breeze, an odor, etc.

I program myself to become alert in 20 minutes or 30 minutes. I do become alert each time at the virtually the exact minute programmed. This part fascinates my husband, Bob.

That’s all I do. I have others I’ve done over the years but this one is what I’ve been doing for a good decade. So, so simple.

Me: When I first came to work at Whole Person I hadn’t heard of relaxation techniques, let alone tried one. After a particularly harrowing day my boss sent me home with “Countdown to Relaxation”, and after a couple of weeks of practice it worked like a charm.  Now I begin to count backwards from ten, deepening my breathing with each number, cleansing my body as I become more and more relaxed. I recommend it highly. Click here for the CD. I’ve used it for so long that all I need to hear is the opening music and I can do the rest myself. My other favorite: close my eyes when my family is all together and immerse myself in the sound of happy folks.

As I said at the start of this piece, I’d love to know what you do to relax. Click in the comment section and tell your story.

 

Help End the Barriers to Mental Health Treatment

How can we end barriers to mental health treatment and reduce the stigma associated with it?

An article published on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website states that “In 2010, the Affordable Care Act extended health insurance coverage to individuals aged 19 to 25 whose parents had employer-sponsored private insurance. Thanks to this extended coverage, more young adults have access to mental health and substance abuse treatment services through their parents’ employer-sponsored health insurance.”Person receiving mental health treatment

The article goes on to say that from 2004-2012, average yearly treatment costs for 19-25-year-olds who received mental and substance use treatment remained constant at approximately $1,600. However, the source of those payments changed significantly. Private insurance took on a much larger share, increasing from $520 to $822 annually, while treatment paid by Medicaid and other public sources (such as Medicare, Veterans Affairs/Civilian Health and Medicaid Program for Uniform Services) declined from $698 to $417. (February 16, 2016) Retrieved from http://blog.samhsa.gov/2016/02/18/more-young-adults-use-private-insurance-for-behavioral-health-treatment-following-the-acas-dependent-coverage-mandate/#.VsspKPkrI5c. February 22, 2016.

Although this data indicates that private insurance is covering more of the cost for those seeking treatment, there is not a corresponding statistic that shows an increase in young adults seeking mental health care. Is that because there aren’t more young adults who need mental health or substance abuse care? Are there significant barriers for those who seek mental health treatment?

Joel L. Young M.D. in Addressing Mental Health Treatment Barriers  (January 29, 2014) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/when-your-adult-child-breaks-your-heart/201401/addressing-mental-health-treatment-barriers published on Psychology Today’s blog page lists the following barriers to seeking mental health treatment for people of any age:

  • Refusing Treatment – I don’t want/need help.
  • Balancing Life and Treatment – I don’t have time.
  • Financial Issues – I can’t afford it.
  • Family Support – I’m the screw up of my family. My family doesn’t want to admit I have a mental illness.
  • Geographic Barriers – There isn’t any place to receive treatment that I can get to.
  • Finding the Right Treatment – I can’t find a therapist that I can work with.
Graphic of barriers to mental health treatment

Graphic view of barriers to seeking mental health treatment.

Another barrier to seeking treatment must not be overlooked. Stigma. Refusing treatment, balancing life and treatment, a lack of family support are frequently the result of the stigma of mental illness, and the “Black Sheep” point of view are informed by that stigma. It seems incredible that in this age of enlightenment, of ready access to the internet, and of celebrity espousal of the cause, the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse is still so prevalent. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/when-your-adult-child-breaks-your-heart/201401/addressing-mental-health-treatment-barriers. February 22, 2016.stigma symbol stop

Here are some suggestions of how to help from an article found on Shatter the Stigma Mend the Mind found at http://www.mendthemind.ca/stigma/seven-important-things-we-can-do-reduce-stigma-and-discrimination, on February 22, 2016.

1. Know the facts.

Educate yourself about mental health problems. Learn the facts (“Top 11 Myths about Mental Illness”) instead of the myths. Visiting our website is a great place to start!

2. Be aware of your attitudes and behaviour

We’ve all grown up with prejudices and judgmental thinking. But we can change the way we think! See people as unique human beings, not as labels or stereotypes. See the person beyond their mental illness; they have many other personal attributes that do not disappear just because they also have a mental illness.

3. Choose your words carefully

The way we speak can affect the way other people think and speak. Don’t use hurtful or derogatory language.

4. Educate others

Find opportunities to pass on facts and positive attitudes about people with mental health problems. If your friends, family, co-workers or even the media present information that is not true, challenge their myths and stereotypes. Let them know how their negative words and incorrect descriptions affect people with mental health problems by keeping alive the false ideas.

5. Focus on the positive

People with mental health and substance use problems make valuable contributions to society. Their health problems are just one part of who they are. We’ve all heard the negative stories. Let’s recognize and applaud the positive ones.

6. Support people

Treat people who have mental health problems with dignity and respect. Think about how you’d like others to act toward you if you were in the same situation. If you have family members, friends or co-workers with substance use or mental health problems, support their choices and encourage their efforts to get well.

7. Include everyone

In Canada and the US, it is against the law for employers and people who provide services to discriminate against people with mental health and substance use problems. Denying people access to things such as jobs, housing and health care, which the rest of us take for granted, violates human rights.

Speak up when you hear someone using stereotypical statements and/or making derogatory remarks about folks with mental illness. Keeping quiet is tacitly agreeing to what is being said. Sometimes it takes courage to speak up, but it is your duty to do so.

Click here to go to the National Alliance of Mental Health’s graphic describing how children and teens are affected by mental health issues.

Check out these websites. They offer great information and ideas for stamping out the stigma of mental illness.

http://bringchange2mind.org/
https://www.nami.org/stigmafree
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/in-depth/mental-health/art-20046477
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brick-brick/201405/the-stigma-mental-illness-is-making-us-sicker
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dustin-demoss/combating-the-stigma-of-m_b_6834980.html
https://wholeperson.com/store/mental-health-stigma.shtml