Health and Wellness
If you are responsible for the wellbeing of others – whether you’re a parent of a child with special needs, or caring for an aging parent, spouse or other loved one – you know that caring for someone else is hard work. Approximately 44 million Americans are caregivers, and the average caregiver devotes more than 20 unpaid hours per week to supporting the health and wellbeing of their loved one. That is on top of their other duties and obligations, including full time jobs in many cases.
If you had a cold, with a stuffy nose, sore throat, and headache, would you want a medicine that treated all the symptoms or just the stuffy nose? Most people would want the medicine that treated all the symptoms. Yet, when it comes to mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, standard mental health treatments do not necessarily address all the issues involved, particularly cultural issues.
October 15th is National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day, and this year’s theme is “We’ll Defeat AIDS con Ganas!” But why is it important to talk about acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the Latino community? Latinxs are disproportionally affected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)—the virus that causes AIDS. Our community represents 17% of the total U.S. population, but accounts for 21% of all new HIV infections and 21% of people living with HIV. In addition, research shows that Latinxs are more likely to receive late diagnosis and HIV care compared to other races and ethnicities.
October 6th is National Depression Screening Day. This day affords the opportunity to receive a free, anonymous and confidential screen for a mood disorder. Depression’s end game is the death of its victim. But, screenings help all those who may be afflicted to begin the process of understanding and healing. Please do yourself a favor if you are struggling with your mood, and take the brave and wise step to get screened.
Through a very complete body of research, the field of psychology has established that a person’s identity is composed of several different parts. However, psychological research projects often only focus on one or two aspects of identity. As we move towards a more complete picture of human behavior, we must remember to keep in mind that the intersections of identity are a vital piece of that picture.
Rebecca, a former smoker featured in CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign, started smoking cigarettes at age 16. Everyone in her family smoked, and once she started smoking, she quickly became addicted. She kept smoking into adulthood. While she tried to stop, she had difficulty quitting. “I probably tried to quit smoking at least half a dozen times, but the addiction was so strong.”
Exercise and competitive sports can feel like they are worlds apart, and if you’ve never considered yourself an athlete, it may feel like it’s too late to change that part of your self-concept. If you consider the inspirational work of master athletes, you realize that it’s never too late to become an athlete – and that finding your sport can bring a variety of physical and psychological benefits, including an opportunity for fun!
Reducing health disparities among older adults overall is a massive undertaking and managed healthcare significantly reduces time spent with patients. However, there are still small steps that providers and older adults themselves can take. Providers and older adults can talk to each other about barriers to receiving care, barriers to achieving healthier lifestyles, and their own values and beliefs.
As we age, it’s natural to worry about possible declines in our mental and brain health. Research shows that mindfulness can improve brain functioning, resulting in thinking and feeling better as we get older.
People over the age of 85 have more life satisfaction and less negative affect (in other words, less stress, anxiety, and depression) than people in midlife – as long as physical health and functioning are considered.