Suicide Prevention: Look for the Warning Signs

September 01, 2017

Suicide has strong emotional consequences for the families and friends of its victims. With 44,000 people in the U.S. successfully committing suicide each year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) notes, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. NAMI also states that suicide is often the result of mental health conditions that affect people when they are most vulnerable.

September is National Suicide Awareness Month, but our goal is to bring awareness to the warning signs of suicide, which can happen at any time.

Warning Signs and Risk Factors

When concerned about a loved one who may be suicidal, it’s important to look out for a change of behavior or entirely new behaviors. This could be triggered by a painful event, loss or some type of personal change. Most people who decide to take their lives show one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. Here are a few things to look out for if you are concerned about a friend or loved one:

If a person talks about:

  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Experiencing unbearable pain
  • Having no reason to live
  • Killing themselves

Specific things to look out for include:

  • Increased use of drug or alcohol
  • Keeping away from friends and family
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression
  • Loss of interest
  • Rage
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation
  • Anxiety

Treatment

Ninety percent of people who commit suicide have a mental disorder at the time of their deaths. There are biological and psychological treatments that can help address the underlying health issues that put people at risk for suicide.

At AltaMed, we are here to help. If you know someone that is feeling stressed or overwhelmed, talk to your provider, who can refer you to our Behavioral Health team. One of our clinicians may be able to give you information and guidance to help you or someone you know. Other resources for help include:

  • Call 211 for assistance with services like housing, employment or child care Click here for LA County and here for Orange County.
  • Call the suicide prevention hotline if you’re in crisis or are experiencing suicidal thoughts at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 

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Spring Into Action!

March 01, 2017

With colder weather and rainy days, winter can turn the best of us into couch potatoes. Which is why it’s good not to just give your home, but also your body, a good spring cleaning. 

There is, however, a right and a wrong way to do this. Don’t just dive in head first—your body has settled into a more sedentary lifestyle so it’s important to take it slow and work up to a healthy weekly exercise schedule. 

Pre-Check All Systems

Spring is also a great time of the year to make your annual physical appointment. You’ll be able to get things like your blood pressure and cholesterol checked out to make sure you’re ready for take off. It will also give you a chance to talk to your PCP about any questions or concerns you might have, and what he or she thinks is the best way for you to get back into a physical routine. 

Be Equipped

Check the soles and overall condition of your athletic shoes. Worn out shoes can lead to injury, so be sure to replace them on average about once a year, more often if you clock in extra mileage.  

Fuel Up

You can’t drive your car without gas and the same applies to your body. This means avoiding processed foods and eating plenty of healthy proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables. Staying hydrated is also really important—the more you sweat the more water you need to drink, about four to six ounces of water for every 15 minutes of exercise.

Walk Before You Run

Take it slow and start off with a brisk walk 10 minutes a day, at least three to four times a week. Once that feels comfortable, increase by five-minute intervals weekly until you’re up to about 30 to 40 minutes. A month of conditioning will build up flexibility and endurance, which is necessary before moving on to more strenuous activities.

Stretch It Out

 It’s just as important to cool down as it is to warm up. Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles and can help prevent post-workout soreness. Once your heart rate has slowed down after cooling off, you’ll want to stretch the muscles you just used. Hold every stretch for at least 30 to 60 seconds, two to three times. For intense stretches go no longer than 15 seconds. If you did overdo it, practice RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. 

Stick to a Plan

Set realistic daily and weekly goals for how long and how often you’d like to be active. It’ll make it harder for you to give up if you get a family member or friend on board, too. Remember, just the fact that you’re making an effort to get moving a few times a week is great. 

 

Let Us Be Your One Shot Stop

February 01, 2017

Imagine being able to tell your children they’ve got a superpower. It may not be as exciting as reading minds or flying, but if they get all their vaccinations according to schedule they’ll be immune to over 14 different diseases. Here at AltaMed we think that’s pretty heroic. 

Vaccines are the most successful and practical way to prevent diseases like the measles and whooping cough, and according to the Centers for Disease Control, the United States currently has the safest and most effective vaccine supply in its history. 

Getting your child vaccinated is important for their health and the health of your entire community in order to prevent possible outbreaks. Most vaccines need to be given before your child reaches 2 years of age, and your AltaMed provider is here to help you create an immunization plan. Children and adolescents also need vaccines between age 9 and 13. Your child’s wellness exams are a great time to check in and make sure you’re on track. 

Did You Know Vaccines…


…can save your child’s life?

…are safe and effective?

…protect others from spreading harmful diseases?

…save time and money by preventing missed school/work and possible medical/hospital bills if your child gets sick?

…are typically covered by health insurance plans or are available at no cost to low-income families?

…protect future generations by hopefully one day eliminating these diseases from our world?

 

For more information or to schedule an appointment with your provider call (888) 499-9303