Recovery

For Parents: Supporting Your College Freshman

My husband, my daughter and I recently moved the youngest member of our family into his freshman dorm, at a university far from home, where there are no familiar faces.

Maybe your family also has a college freshman. While this is an exciting time for these young people, let’s recognize that some students may need some help navigating this major life transition.

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The NAMI Convention Welcome Center: A Home Away from Home

This past July marks the twelfth year I’ve had the privilege of supporting the Consumer Welcome Center at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) National Convention.

This year’s theme was Act, Advocate, Achieve. These are welcome calls-to-action for Beacon Health Options. Our core values reflect our focus to act with integrity, build community, foster resiliency in ourselves and those we serve, treat all with dignity, and advocate for continual improvements in behavioral health awareness and systems of care.

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Why Minority Mental Health Awareness Month? A First-Person View

I know when some people see that July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, they may ask themselves why such a thing is even necessary.

Why talk about minorities specifically? Why can’t we focus on mental health issues generally? The answer is that mental health issues do not discriminate, but societal inputs can make identifying and treating mental health issues in minorities even more difficult than in the population at large.

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Play Golf, Take the Pledge, and Help Stamp Out Stigma

If you want to know what Beacon Health Options’ (Beacon) values look like in “the real world,” look no further than our fourth annual Stamp Out Stigma golf outing today in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Each year, Beacon employees tee up with a variety of community partners to support Stamp Out Stigma, an initiative to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use disorders.

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The Unacknowledged Potential of PTSD: Posttraumatic Growth

Last week, Beacon Lens’ blog post explored the latest developments around Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in honor of June as PTSD Awareness Month.

However, there is an element to PTSD that doesn’t get its due: Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) which, in brief, is any positive change that results from a life-altering or traumatic event.

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New Thinking for an Age-Old Condition: PTSD

Since the dawn of time, humankind has realized that there were negative consequences to experiencing overwhelming stressful situations.

For example, reactions to wartime trauma have many names: soldier’s heart, shell shock, combat fatigue and, since the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III, 1980), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

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Prince: Fame Highlights the Infamy of Opioid Addiction

I love Prince. My first job was at a movie theater that played Purple Rain for months.

I saw that movie hundreds of times, in five-minute bursts while I left the ticket booth unattended. My first concert was the Purple Rain tour – at the Capital Centre, outside of Washington, DC; one of the first albums I bought with my own money was Dirty Mind, on cassette, no less.

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Zero Suicide: Aspirational or Reality?

It turns out that almost everything I was taught about suicide during my clinical training is not true.

Contrary to what most clinicians are taught, there is clinical protocol we can follow to prevent suicide attempts – apart from locking people up. Very little of this new knowledge about detecting and treating suicidality has translated into practice.

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PTSD: Not Just a “Veteran” Problem

It is frustrating as a retired Army infantry officer to see people assume that veterans, particularly combat vets, live with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Most do not.

This perception is unfair to veterans, perpetuates a larger misunderstanding of PTSD, and diverts attention away from a larger population in need. Illustrating this problem, a combat vet recently told me about an ill-informed supervisor who replied, “I don’t need you going all PTSD on them…”

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Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Mother’s Call to Action

It should have been a call forgotten without hesitation.

The daycare director called my office to let me know my 18-month-old daughter, Lilly, had eaten sand on the playground. She just wanted to let me know. I mentioned the call to a coworker, and she acted like it wasn’t unusual at all. “Kids test out the world one bite at a time,” I recall her saying. Yet, I didn’t forget the call and probably never will.

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