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Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Myths, Truths and “So, What Do We Do?” [Part Two]

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Many of the signs of depression and indicators of suicidal thinking are similar and can include:

·        Expressing self-hatred

·        Intense emotional distress, such as hopelessness, guilt, shame, abandonment

·        Unable to enjoy pleasures in life

·        Changes in eating, sleeping and personality

·        Preoccupation with death

·        Self-destructive thoughts and actions

·        Substance abuse

Someone considering suicide may verbalize the following:

·        “You would be/the world would be better off without me.”

·        “I’m a complete loser.”

·        “I’d be better off dead,” and/or “I want to die.”

·         “I won’t be bothering anyone for much longer.”

·        “I hate my life.”

…and do the following:

·        Give away possessions

·        Say good-by to family and friends

·        Start “making arrangements”

People who are considering suicide are focused on one thing: ending their pain. If depression has impaired their thinking, they are not reflecting on how their death may impact others, nor are they capable of thinking through logical solutions or making changes. Depression distorts reality. It produces an extreme sense of hopelessness from which a person sees no escape. Humiliation and despair overtake the mind. They build to a point where the person becomes so overwhelmed, he or she is desperate for the pain to end.

If you suspect someone—say, your sister—has arrived at this point in her mind, there are things you can do and say to help her before it’s too late.

·        Do not leave her alone. Reassure her of your love and support.

·        Try to get her to agree to seek immediate help—or call 911.

·        Be sure she does not have access to guns, medications or other items she may use to hurt herself.

·        Start a conversation! Talking about suicidal thinking will not encourage her to commit the act.

·        Listen to what she has to say without judgment! Do not try to quickly talk her into feeling better or telling her “things aren’t that bad.” Establish a genuine sense of empathy and understanding.

·        Gently remind her that her thoughts may be distorted—and although her situation is very painful, there is hope for a solution.

Depression and other factors leading to suicidal desperation can be successfully addressed and treated. Want to learn more? Register now for Soul Shop.


Linda and Charlie Bloom – September 10, 2013

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Food and Mood--Really...?

By Beth Healey
Director of Development and Marketing

Do the foods we eat really affect how we feel? Is it that significant? Can the consumption of healthy versus unhealthy food have a noticeable impact on our day-to-day lives?

If you have read any of my blogs, tweets or Facebook posts, you know I always base the information I publish on good research. I have done my research on food, nutrition and wellness—especially since the Samaritan Counseling Center and Catholic Charities are presenting a Food, Mood and More workshop on February 3rd at Saints John and Paul Roman Catholic Church.

But I am writing today to reveal my own personal experience with food, mood and feeling well.

I used sugary snacks to uplift my mood and reduce stress. Kind of like a reward for my hard work. Or a break from work. My brain always told me how bad this was for me, but my craving for that quick sugar fix always seemed to win out.

Since December 30th, I have been eating much healthier. Because I need to lose weight, I have cut my calorie and “bad” fat intake. I have virtually eliminated sugar from my diet. For me, this is a pretty drastic move.

As a result, I have lost six pounds so far. That’s great—but how do I feel? The answer is great! I used to wake up every morning with aching joints. I had very little energy. I could barely motivate myself to get moving on the weekends. I am thrilled to say that my joint pains have vanished. I get out of bed easily—and earlier than I used to. My energy level has gone up. And it hasn’t even been a month since I changed my ways.

Now, instead of a vicious cycle of eating poorly, feeling poorly, and losing the motivation to turn things around, I am now on a healthy cycle of eating well, feeling well and increasing my motivation to continue in a positive direction. Here’s something to ponder next time you reach for that tempting chocolate chip cookie: You may love sugar, but sugar doesn’t love you.

Do the foods we eat really affect how we feel? Unequivocally Y-E-S. Want to learn more about food and mood? Sign up for our Food, Mood and More workshop. Tasty, healthy snacks will be served!

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Myths, Truths and "So, What Do We Do about It?"

[Part One of a Three-Part Series] - by Beth Healey

How often have you heard people remark that those who commit suicide are “cowards… selfish…just looking for attention…are guilty of something?” If you’re reading this, I hope you do not agree with hurtful comments like these. (They are made by folks who are seriously misinformed.) Whether you do or not, please take a little time to learn the truth about suicide and the most common reason why people are driven to do it—which happens to be depression.
Chances are good that you know at least one person who has taken his or her life or someone who has survived the loss of a loved one through suicide. (Personally, I know three.) After you have read this three-part series on suicide, you will hopefully have a better understanding of this tragic, worldwide problem. (If you are a ministry leader, clinician or someone who wants to learn how to help others—from a faith perspective—who are suicidal, now is your chance to register for Soul Shop.)

First, let’s start with some facts about suicide.
·        38,000+ people in the U.S. take their own lives each year

·        Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in U.S. (homicide ranks 17); it is the 3rd leading cause of death worldwide for those aged 15-44; and is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students

·        Males have nearly four times the suicide rate of females

·        Baby boomers (born 1945-1964) have a higher rate of suicide than any other age group

·        There are more deaths annually of young people by suicide than auto fatalities

·        There has been a 128% increase in suicides among children aged 10-14 since 1980

·        One in 12 high school students attempt suicide

·        More young people die from suicide than cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, strokes, pneumonia, and lung disease combined!

·        15% of clinically depressed people commit suicide

o   80-90% of adolescents that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication.

o   Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression get treatment!
·        80% of those who die by their own hand have given warnings of their intentions to others
·        The suicide rate among military veterans is 50% higher than that of civilians
There are at least a half dozen reasons why people commit suicide. As I mentioned earlier, the most common one is depression—an illness that is often misjudged and misunderstood. 
If you were to tell someone afflicted by depression to “just snap out of it…things aren’t that bad,” you would be giving the most precarious kind of advice, even if your intentions were well-meaning. To expect someone suffering from depression to just snap out of it is like expecting someone who has just broken a leg to hop up on both feet and run around the block.
We understand that when a limb or an organ is injured or unhealthy, we are limited in what we can do until healing occurs. Yet, due to lack of knowledge and the lingering stigma, we do not seem to understand that when a person’s brain is not functionally normally, he or she is incapable of snapping out of anything! Depression is a mental disorder. It impairs thinking. It distorts and debilitates…

[Check back in a week for Part Two will include indicators of suicidal thinking and depression symptoms.]