July News Brief

Happy July Further Shore friends! I hope these days of summer are treating you kindly. I was noodling around for special days in the month of July and ran across something that is just plain FUN! It is National Lasagna Day! What??? A day set aside to honor that yummy, savory, layered dish? What a grand idea! Lasagna was one of Wayne’s favorites. He figured out how to make it vegan; I figured out how to make it gluten free. You can find out how in Recipes from The Food Doctor and Friends. Vegan, gf, or traditional, sink your fork into some of your favorite lasagna and celebrate (with Garfield) on July 29th – Bon Appetite! Now for the News:

On the Blog: my latest blog post in the ABC’s for Living Well series, “P” is for Practice is coming soon. Stay Tuned!

Mental Health Crisis:

  • Mental, or behavioral health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Mental health processes include the ways we think, feel, and act. They determine how we learn and grow, handle stress, make decisions, respond to stimuli, understand ourselves and others, make contributions to community, and maintain relationships throughout every stage of life. Mental health disorders are diagnosed and treated as medical conditions. Some mental health diagnoses you may be familiar with include medical conditions like social anxiety, eating disorders, schizophrenia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or obsessive/compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Recent mass shootings in our country have given way to a robust public debate about gun laws and mental health, and the part each one plays in these deadly events. A recent article from NPR-WBUR, Boston reports that Americans are more anxious about gun violence and it is affecting our mental health. As well, the pandemic has led to an estimated 25% increase in the use of antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs. In February of this year, the American Hospital Association published a statement regarding the mental health crisis in our nation. Mental health services have been underfunded and stigmatized for decades and the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. A good place to begin understanding the mental health crisis facing our nation is Healing, Our Path From Mental Illness to Mental Health by Thomas Insel, MD. The book explores how we have failed at mental health care, and what can be done to change that. “Put simply, the mental health problem is medical,” he writes, “but the solutions are not just medical — they are social, environmental, and political.” Just complaining about the lack of mental health services will not fix or change the problem.
  • Learning more about these may help you to recognize early signs and symptoms of mental challenges in yourself or those you care in order to seek appropriate support before a crisis arises. Here are ten things that you can implement to improve your own mental health processes. Number 10 on the list is to seek help if you need it! Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength and courage. If you are a caregiver for someone who is struggling with behavioral health challenges, there a number of do’s and don’ts to offering support. If you are struggling, consider reading up on, or making a making a call to a Warmline. They now exist in almost every state and provide valuable peer support from trained individuals who have faced their own mental health challenges. For suicidal ideation and other more serious crisis situations, call the Hotline at 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Flagstaff Flooding: Some of you have been inquiring about Flagstaff flooding that is making national news. Our neighborhood is far from the burn scar areas, but footage from the recent flooding shows the devastation for communities in those areas. Residents, volunteers, and the National Guard are working to fill and place sandbags to protect their property. Yesterday Flagstaff Mayor Paul Deasy declared a state of emergency that will open up funds to assist with flood mitigation and clean up in those areas.

Pandemic tidbit: I am hearing from folks in my orbit that they (or their dear ones) have had Covid-19 and recovered. Some were very ill for several weeks, some just had what felt like “a bad cold,” and some have been reinfected soon after recovery. According to science, the latest variant (BA.5) is a super spreader, doesn’t care much about vaccine status, and doesn’t always present in a “mild” case. There is a public perception that C-19 is now a thing of the past and that catching it repeatedly will be sort of like catching a cold repeatedly. That will be true for some, but not others, according to Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis. You can read his research project about reinfection here.

Movies that Move Us:  This month’s choice is Hereafter, (Rated PG13) a drama centered on an American clairvoyant (Matt Damon), a French journalist (Cecile de France) and a London schoolboy (Frankie and George McLaren) who are all touched by death in different ways. Director, Clint Eastwood has woven their stories in an intricately poignant tale that will invite deep reflection about the fragility of life and the mystery of death. The film humbly presents itself, never demanding or insisting on an answer about the existence of a hereafter. Powerful. Beautiful. Thought provoking. Worth watching more than once. Tuck in.

Quote of the Month:  “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” ~ Albert Einstein

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