, , , , ,

Recognizing and Understanding the Cycle of Abuse

Abuse can be hard to understand and recognize, especially when you’re not familiar with the cycle of abuse and how it works. However, knowing this information could potentially save you or someone else’s life! 

If you’re struggling with abuse and mental health problems, then keep reading to learn more about this serious topic. 

Cycle of Abuse

This four-part cycle helps distinguish certain behaviors and patterns that abusive partners tend to have. By knowing these patterns of abuse, you can better protect yourself in future and current relationships. 

The four-part cycle starts with tension building, then an incident where abuse or violence takes place. After that, reconciliation is made, followed by a calm state. This tragic cycle repeats itself over and over again until the victim becomes worn down.

1. Tension Building

Tension building can be brought on by anything. Some of the triggers for an abusive partner are fatigue, overworking, being hungry, and other family issues.

The abusive partner will then begin to show signs of anger, fear, and feeling unempowered in the relationship. The tension that builds up as a result of these feelings can weigh heavily on you.

You might try to find a peaceful resolution. However, there may not be a solution until the abusive partner feels in control again.

Because of this, you might start feeling anxious and even scared. It is considered emotional abuse. Often, abusive partners use this tactic to inflict pain on others. 

2. Incidents of Abuse or Violence

Once the abuser has reached the breaking point, they will externalize these feelings. Abusers will use physical and verbal tactics to gain back control.

For example, they won’t allow you to wear certain clothes, or they’ll make you cut off communication with family and friends. Sometimes these tactics turn into sexual and physical aggressions. 

It is the most dangerous stage of the cycle. In fact, a recent report stated that six women die every hour as a result of domestic violence.

3. Reconciliation 

This stage in an abusive relationship can be very confusing. Often, the victim thinks that the abuse has stopped because the abuser has calmed down.

The abuser will start to show the victim their preferred love language like gift-giving or physical touch. Unfortunately, this “honeymoon” stage only lasts for a little bit.  

Often, those in a normal relationship don’t understand why the victim “doesn’t just leave.” For starters, the victim might not be physically or financially able to leave the relationship. 

The abuser might also hurt them for trying.

Most importantly, mental abuse causes a shift in a person’s brain chemistry. During the “honeymoon” stage, the victim’s brain releases oxytocin and dopamine.

Often, the victim is longing for this gratification, but the abusive partner will withhold affection to gain control. This causes the victim to stay and chase this feeling of “happiness.”

4. Calm State

During the calm state, the abuser will try and justify their abuse by apologizing. However, the apology is never sincere. It is really just a tactic to make the victim think the abuse won’t happen again.

The abuser will also blame their actions on others or sometimes the victim.

Here are some examples:

  • “I’m sorry I yelled at you, but you made me mad.”
  • “Sorry for snapping you earlier; it’s just my job has been stressing me out.”
  • “The only reason I hit you was because you were provoking me.”
  • “I didn’t even hit you that hard; you should get over it.”

After their apology, the abuser will convince the victim that it won’t happen again. They might try to manipulate you by making the situation seem smaller.

You might start doubting yourself and think that you were dramatic. And slowly, you start believing that your partner will change. 

How Does Abuse Affect Mental Health?

This cycle of abuse can leave someone with permanent damage. Many times battered women and men show symptoms of PTSD.

This mental disorder can bring on intense feelings of anxiety and paranoia, even if the victim has left the relationship. Over time, being in an abusive relationship can diminish someone’s self-worth and confidence.

It happens because the abuser is constantly attacking them and making them feel less than them. The abuser will use this tactic to wear down an individual not to seek happiness outside of the relationship.

Battered women and men are also likely to develop depression and suicidal ideations. Overall, being in an abusive relationship can deteriorate someone’s mental health. That’s why it’s essential to get help immediately!

Gaslighting and Manipulation 

Gaslighting and manipulation go hand in hand with the four stages of abuse. For starters, gaslighting is a form of lying by creating a false reality. 

For example, if a person finds their spouse cheating on them and the abuser outright denies the accusations, this is considered gaslighting. 

This tactic makes the victim’s reality and perception unclear. Often, the victim will feel “crazy,” but just because they don’t know what’s real and fake anymore. 

Manipulation is similar to gaslighting. For example, an abuser will try and control a situation by providing false information or showing empathy. Nevertheless, the abuser is doing this to establish control over a person.

Red Flags to Look Out For

All of the abuse mentioned doesn’t necessarily begin at the start of a relationship. Sometimes abusers will withhold these strong emotions and actions until they feel secure. 

However, there are minor signs that you should look out for during the start of a relationship. For example, love bombing is when a partner shows a lot of attention and affection during the first few weeks of being together.

It may seem normal at first, but this will progress at an unusual pace. The abuser might tell you they love you and that they want you to meet their family.

The problem with love bombing is that when the abuser has “locked” you down, they begin to withhold love. Love bombing eventually turns into a cycle of abuse.

Living Your Truth 

Abusive relationships can leave you feeling hopeless. But knowing the cycle of abuse can give you back some power! If you or a loved one is struggling with an abusive relationship, get help immediately!

If you have any more questions, contact us today to receive more information on our different services!

Why You Need To Know the Warning Signs of Mental Illness

Knowing the signs of mental illness helps play a crucial role in our ability to lead fulfilling lives. Because mental illness is invisible, it isn’t always easy to recognize when we or someone we love is living with a mental health condition. It’s important to know when you or a loved one needs professional help to diagnose and treat mental health conditions. 

Overcoming Barriers To Detecting Signs of Mental Illness

Regardless of age, socioeconomic status, race, or gender, mental illness affects nearly one in five people in the United States. For some, there exist barriers to detecting the symptoms early to prevent the ongoing worsening of a person’s mental well-being. Factors that prevent early detection of a mental illness include:

  • Stigma and prejudice against people who have a mental illness.
  • Lack of mental health education and awareness.
  • The dismissal of a person’s symptoms.
  • Waiting lists for treatment.
  • Financial restraints and lack of health coverage.

Prominent people like celebrities are helping normalize mental health challenges by talking about their own experiences reducing the social stigma. Business leaders that acknowledge mental illness and the need to help care for their employees are beneficial for workers with mental health issues. CEOs are regular users of mental health services to help keep their lives balanced.

By removing the stigma of mental illness, more people will feel more comfortable getting help. Knowing the signs of when a person needs to seek treatment for a mental illness can help the person live a better life.

The Warning Signs of Mental Illness You Need To Know

Some warning signs of mental illness are similar for different conditions. Only a medical professional can diagnose a mental health disorder. However, some symptoms can alert you to the possibility of having a mental health issue. 

Many symptoms hinder you from performing the daily activities of life as normal. This may be the time to take note of the symptoms impacting your life, including:

  • Inability to sleep, or sleeping too much.
  • Constant fatigue that’s unexplainable.
  • Long bouts of deep sadness or irritability.
  • Withdrawal from social activities.
  • The onset of paranoia and excessive anxiety.
  • Intense mood changes.
  • Unexplained body aches and pains.

When you experience these symptoms, it’s recommended to reach out for help. Mental health disorders are treatable with proven medical interventions and support from family and friends.

Mood Disorder Symptoms

Multiple mood disorders including depression, major depression, and bipolar disorder share symptoms that are cause for concern including:

  • Suicidal thoughts and suicide.
  • Feelings of hopelessness and despair.
  • Excessive feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
  • Slowed movements and speech.

Complicated bereavement is also classified as a mood disorder. The grief we all experience upon the passing of a loved one becomes too much to bear for some people, the symptoms include:

  • Inability to accept death-causing intense feelings of sorrow and emotional pain.
  • Emotional numbness or feelings of anger.
  • A false belief that the person can’t live without the deceased.
  • A desire to die to join the deceased loved one.
  • Physical symptoms including weight fluctuations, fatigue, muscle pain, and nausea.

There are numerous treatment options for people diagnosed with a mood disorder. A specialist will help you determine the best plan of care specific to a person’s needs.

Anxiety Disorders and Symptoms 

There are a few common types of anxiety disorders that are treatable. These include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder. People living with this condition experience chronic worry leaving them unable to relax while suffering from physical and emotional pain.
  • Social anxiety disorder. The symptoms vary in intensity for each person ranging from extreme self-consciousness, physical symptoms including sweating, blushing, and shaking, and an excessive fear of public humiliation.
  • Panic disorder. Symptoms of this mental illness include extreme physical discomforts and a distorted sense of reality.
  • Agoraphobia. Common symptoms include avoidance of places where people may feel like they can’t escape such as public transportation and elevators.
  • Separation anxiety disorder. Common in children, a person feels distressed when out of the presence of a loved one.
  • Selective mutism. The main symptom, usually occurring in children, is not being able to speak in some normal everyday situations, but otherwise they can communicate comfortably.

When you recognize some of these indications of a mental health issue, be sure to reach out for help.

Psychotic Disorders

A few symptoms of psychotic disorders are similar to each other for schizophrenia, schizoaffective psychotic disorders. The symptoms of these disorders include:

  • Depression symptoms.
  • Lack of hygiene and self-care.
  • Hallucinations; both audible and visible.
  • Trouble with speech.
  • Difficulty functioning socially, academically, and at work.

Sometimes people living with a mental illness require more specialized treatment when they live with another psychological problem as well.

Co-Occurring Disorders

When a person is having difficulty living with either a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health challenge, they may turn to substances to alleviate symptoms. Addiction can make a diagnosis and the treatment of a mental health disorder more difficult. People living with impulse control problems such as gambling and another mental health challenge face problems in their:

  • Health
  • Professional life
  • Social life
  • Personal life 

Though it’s challenging, with the right coping skills and therapies, people can learn to manage their symptoms successfully.

Available Treatments For Mental Illness 

There are numerous options for treating mental illness. Some people benefit from a combination of psychotherapy and medications, while others receive more help from transcranial magnetic therapy. 

When you or a loved one need the most comprehensive treatment for mental illness, Solara Mental Health provides expert clinical and medical treatment. Solara Mental Health is recognized for providing the best programs with the highest rate of success. Find relief of symptoms of mental illness by the seaside within a safe compound at Solara Mental Health.

, ,

What We Can Learn From San Diego Depression Statistics

California’s a place known for its gorgeous beaches, sunny weather, and breezy attitudes. But that’s just how it looks from the outside.

Research has shown that there’s a darker reality for those who live in our West Coast state. Forty-four percent of Californians say they experience high levels of anxiety and depression.

But that’s taking a look at the statistics through a wider lens. What about San Diego?

As it turns out, San Diego depression statistics aren’t much better. Here’s what you need to know.

San Diego Depression Statistics: The Current Situation

Our city already has had a mental health crisis on its hands. For reference, 429 people committed suicide in 2019.

Those figures came in before the outbreak of COVID-19. Since then, mental health has gotten worse for many of us. This isn’t just a San Diego problem, either: worldwide, people have suffered from depression more than ever because of changes and closures caused by the pandemic.

That’s one way that experts have explained the rising suicide rates in San Diego. Gun-related suicides increased three-fold during the pandemic, so it’s easy to see a cause-and-effect relationship. People who felt lonely, isolated, or hopeless during lockdown could have felt like there was no escape.

A Look at the Statistics in the Past — and Across Demographics

This isn’t to say that mental health is a new issue in San Diego, though. Records from 2015 indicate that five percent of the city’s residents dealt with such issues in that year.

And it’s not an equal spread across all demographic groups, either. Low-income San Diegans tend to experience mental health issues more frequently than those with higher paychecks.

In San Diego, mental health and homelessness go hand in hand, too. Nearly 5,000 people in the city are homeless, and almost half of them have some sort of mental health diagnosis.

The San Diego veteran population accounts for some of the mental health diagnoses, as well. This group is more likely to suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

As our city’s number of elderly residents increases, then there will be more people with mental health needs within our borders, as well. These types of diagnoses are quite prevalent in older adults.

And then, there’s the teenage population to look at, too. As of 2016, more than 40 percent of students reported feeling overwhelmed by their day-to-day lives. They also have the stressors of their social lives — both in real life and online — with which to contend. So, that may be why more of today’s adolescent youth have depression and anxiety than before.

What These Mean and How to Move Forward

San Diego depression statistics may seem bleak. But there’s a light at the tunnel — and, if you’re feeling depressed, you aren’t alone.
At Solara Mental Health, we have an in-residence program for people who are dealing with depression. We’re here to help — call us today to learn more.

,

10 Ways Wellness Retreats in California Can Help Your Mental Health

There are few places in the world where you can snag as much sun as you find in California. The carefree life of surfers and hippies looks pretty enviable when you find yourself stressed out by the corporate world.

If you need some relaxation, a place for an annual vacation where you can find mental clarity, and a break away from the daily routine, look into wellness retreats in California. The state with sunshine, mountains, beach, and just about any terrain offers the ideal place for a wellness retreat.

Keep reading to learn about what makes California the perfect place for a wellness retreat.

1. You Find a Full Range of Help Available

If you’re suffering from any mood, mental, or emotional struggles, you can find help at a professional wellness retreat. Professional wellness retreat centers understand how to treat a variety of conditions including the following disorders:

  • Depression
  • Major depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Social anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • OCD
  • PTSD
  • Complicated bereavement
  • Childhood trauma
  • Borderline personality
  • Narcissistic personality
  • Dependent personality
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Impulse disorders

If your emotional or mental state is preventing you from living life fully, a weekend wellness retreat could help you.

2. You Experience More Than a Holiday

You may think of a retreat as a holiday. However, they’re more than just a holiday. They’re an opportunity for healing and restoration.

Holidays, especially those that involve family, rarely lead to the type of rest you receive from a retreat. You will find silence, rejuvenating nutritious food, and relaxing yoga.

Yoga is a simple exercise routine focused on stretching, deep breathing, and relaxation. You find yourself more rejuvenated and relaxed than when you started after just a simple session of yoga. Yoga has proven itself as an effective way to alleviate stress.

With a retreat, you receive the holiday rest you’re hoping to receive because of the purposefulness of a retreat center.

3. You Form Bonds

If you go on a wellness retreat, you’re bound to form some tight bonds with your companions. If you’re going on a corporate retreat or a retreat with a group of friends, expect to come away closer to your companions.

When you go to a retreat with a group of people, you have a focused, single mindset. You’re aiming to learn, rest, and relax. With this common purpose, you form strong bonds. Conversations turn from water cooler talk to meaningful discussions.

4. Retreats Encourage Stronger Work-Life Balance

Everyone is looking for a better work-life balance. A weekend away from the office, whether you’re going with corporate partners or alone, will encourage this balance.

You’ll quickly discover that you may be on the cusp of burnout. You’ll come away with a renewed sense to accomplish a balance that leads to a more productive and meaningful life both at home and at work.

Plus, a wellness retreat will educate you and your companions on the health effects of mental stress.

5. Retreats Encourage Whole-Body Wellness

Wellness retreats offer the opportunity for physical fitness. You won’t find yourself in the gym for hours, pounding away on a treadmill. Rather, picture hikes or casual walks through nature on trails, soaking in the scenes.

A wellness retreat will inspire individuals to live a healthier lifestyle. Once they receive a taste of how good wellness feels, they’ll want to keep up the routine at home.

Many retreat centers believe in holistic therapy that involves physical fitness, nutritious foods, as well as therapy for behavioral, mood, and emotional disorders.

6. You Learn to Manage Emotional Stress

Emotional stress has wreaked havoc on employees, especially in the past couple of years. The chances that have taken place in the office and the health fears that accompany working in close quarters lead to emotional stress.

A retreat will help you learn to manage this stress. You’ll come away more confident and able to do your job. You’ll learn the dangers of comparison and the power of responding to criticism positively.

As a result, people who go to wellness retreats will have improved mental wellbeing. They’ll be able to keep their emotions in check and be able to do their jobs better.

7. Retreats Give You The Gift of Time

We all know we need to slow down and take a break. But the demands of work and family are always calling.

A wellness retreat forces you to slow down. It gives you the gift of time to stop, breathe, and think. You leave the retreat with a new joy of life and the mental clarity to make better decisions.

You can work with your companions and co-workers to discuss more effective solutions and ways to care for each other. As a result, you’ll take the same care and concern back to the office, and you’ll improve the corporate climate.

8. You Draw Energy From Nature

When you go on a retreat, as much as you may want to, you won’t just stay in bed and drink champagne all day. Instead, you’ll be spending time in nature, drawing energy from it.

Natural environments affect human health positively. They allow you to recover from stress. Plus, you enjoy the physical healing effects of being in nature.

9. You Have Access to Experts

Individuals who lead retreats are experts in their field. They understand how to teach stressed-out people to relax. They know all the tips and tricks for lowering blood pressure naturally.

Additionally, you can personalize the session to your particular mental, emotional, and physical needs. You leave with the tools you need from experts on how to handle your stressful life.

10. You’ll Make Better Decisions

Earl Miller, an MIT neuroscientist, conducted studies that revealed multi-tasking actually negatively affects our brains. A wellness retreat will teach you mindfulness and the ability to focus on the task at hand. As a result, you’ll come away as a better and more efficient decision-maker.

Book Wellness Retreats in California Today

Wellness retreats in California will solve your anxiety problems. You’ll be able to soak in the California sun and breathe in the fresh California air. You’ll come away from the retreat a more productive employee and a better person overall.

Are you looking for a retreat center? Contact us. We can set up a retreat for you and your companions today.

,

7 Tips on Choosing a Mental Health Retreat Center in California

Did you know that one in four adults in the United States have some kind of mental health disorder? From anxiety and depression to PTSD and OCD, these patients need expert guidance on how to improve their mental health.

One of the preferred ways to take a step forward is by attending a mental health retreat center. These treatment centers help individuals with mental health issues work through the struggles that they may be having. And, you’ll learn tools and tricks to work with your mental illness out in the real world.

These retreat centers aren’t as out of reach as they may appear at first. So, you may want to get to researching.

Let’s talk about how to choose a mental health retreat center and explore one of the better mental health retreats in California.

Choosing a Mental Health Retreat Center

Choosing the right mental health retreat center can make all of the difference in whether you heal or not. Whether it’s because a retreat center doesn’t soothe you or doesn’t have the right resources for you, all retreat centers are not equal.

You have to find the best match for you. Let’s look at some of the traits that you should take into consideration.

1. Timing

First of all, you have to see whether or not your personal timing matches up with the program’s timing. Are you going to be able to work with one of the schedules that the program is offering?

Of course, you should always work to seek help for mental health problems, whether or not you have other responsibilities. But, you shouldn’t have to completely change your life for the sake of receiving treatment.

Different centers offer different times and dates for their patients. Look into what kind of schedule you’d want to have and compare it to what retreat centers are offering.

2. Goals

Each retreat center is going to have a different end goal. Some retreat centers are going to let you make your own.

Some retreat centers value mindfulness while others value progress. Some may want you to feel like your old self while others want you to be functional.

What kind of goals do you have when it comes to your mental health? Look for a retreat center that can help you reach those goals.

3. Approach

Depending on your condition and the center, physicians and other health personnel may approach you differently. They may want you to talk everything out through therapy. They may want you to hone your feelings into something physical.

They may want you to focus your energies on both of these things.

The approach for how to treat a mental illness will differ based on the treatment center’s philosophies and beliefs. Make sure to do your research before you find out that you don’t like a treatment center’s approach.

4. Offers

Look at the classes and activities that each treatment center offers. Make sure that the treatment center you’re going to choose offers classes that you’re actually interested in.

If you’re a creative person and the treatment center you’re looking at doesn’t offer creative outlets, it’s not going to be a good fit.

5. Location

Location and presentation matter. Whether you prefer to be near or far, location can make a difference in your retreat experience.

Think about whether you want to heal on the beach, in the mountains, in the city, or somewhere else. Determine whether you’d like to be near home or far from home.

Then, look at how the place itself looks. We all hear horror stories about psychiatric treatment centers having steel walls with mattress on the floor. While we’ve come a long way from those days, you still shouldn’t settle for anything less than the best.

This is a mental health retreat after all. How are you supposed to heal in a place that you don’t like?

6. References and Reviews

Look at the references and reviews for each treatment center you’re considering. You may be surprised at what people have to say, regardless of the location, activities, and other characteristics.

A place may look nice on paper but have horrible reviews.

As with any place, you should always take the reviews with some skepticism. However, you should also be wary of complaints, especially if they show up multiple times.

7. Interviewing

Call and ask questions about the retreat center. Ask about food and activities. Get to know what your daily life will be like.

If you read some concerning reviews, be sure to bring those up and clear the air. The staff may have an explanation or there may have been a change in policy.

You should also consider touring the facility to make sure that you feel at home there.

Take a Mental Health Retreat in California

If you’re looking for a mental health retreat center in California, look no further than Solara Mental Health in San Diego, CA. We take pride in our individualized approach and successful results.

We offer residential inpatient treatment and intensive outpatient treatment so that our patients can choose the schedule that they want. On top of this, we offer a variety of therapy programs, including cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectal behavior therapy. These therapies focus on helping you cope with your condition and learn strategies to assist you in living functionally with it.

With therapy, we offer detoxification programs, group therapy, holistic therapy, family therapy, and more. Overall, we focus on a holistic health approach that includes mindfulness and self-love. This includes a strong belief in individualized care and treatment for each patient.

We treat a wide range of mental health issues, which include depression, anxiety disorders, trauma disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and more. And, we offer group therapy for each of these conditions as well as coexisting struggles.

Located in Pacific Beach, California, our mental health retreat center is gorgeous. We’re sure that you or your loved one will settle nicely in our relaxing bedrooms and calming common spaces.

Contact us today so that we can talk about how we can help you.

What Does the Mental Health Services Act Mean for California Residents?

Since the first of January in 2005, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) has been working to support mental health programs in California. Otherwise known as Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act focuses on progressing the resources and funding for mental health services.

No matter the age of the person or the problems that that person is facing, the Mental Health Services Act is for them. If you live in California, the MHSA covers you and your mental health.

To learn more about the Mental Health Services Act and how it affects you, keep reading.

What Is the Mental Health Services Act?

The Mental Health Services Act, or MHSA, is a piece of legislation that the government in California passed in 2004. Once it went into effect in 2005, the proposition worked to strengthen mental health services in California.

Specifically, the MHSA in California works to provide funding, staff, and other resources for country mental health programs across the state. This monumental piece of mental health legislation in California also works to create a goal-oriented mental health approach for people and families of all ages.

By spreading their reach the Mental Health Services Act works to combat all kinds of mental health disorders, including those that Americans are most worried about.

Who Does the MHSA Serve?

If you live in California, the MHSA is here for you and your mental health. The act is not isolated to those with serious mental health conditions.

Instead, the MHSA works to provide resources for all Californians who want them.

Overall, this reduces the impact that untreated mental health conditions can have on individuals and families. In turn, this also takes some pressure off of state and local budgets.

Considering that the government intended that these budgets provide services that insurance companies typically don’t cover, the government was seeking a way to pull resources from other sources. The Mental Health Services Act was the way to go.

Where Does the MHSA in CA Get Its Funding?

This California mental health proposition gets funding from the higher-earning residents in the state. Those individuals who earn more than $1 million must pay a 1% tax on their income. This money provides funding for various mental health services and programs throughout the state.

This simple 1% tax makes more than a billion dollars of difference. Yes, each year this tax brings in over a billion dollars in funding to mental health services in California.

Where Does the Funding for the MHSA Go?

The Mental Health Services Act addresses a broad selection of mental health needs across the state. This includes prevention and early intervention programs that aim to get mental health problems under control before they become more serious.

The more than a billion dollars that go into the MHSA every year are distributed among different areas like infrastructure, technology, and training as well.

There are five components that the government has required that the MHSA cover across the state:

  1. The CSS (Community Services and Supports) component requires direct funding to individuals that have a serious mental illness
  2. The CFTN (Capital Facilities and Technological Needs) component requires funding towards an increase in technological capacity as well as building projects for the improvement of mental health services delivery
  3. The INN (Innovation) component requires funding to underserved populations with the intent to further collaboration across entities and increase the quality of services
  4. The PEI (Prevention and Early Intervention) component requires officials to spend 20% of the MHSA funds on outreach programs that focus on spreading information about the early warning signs of mental illnesses
  5. The WET (Workforce, Education, and Training) component requires funding for the purposes of increasing the capacity of mental health services across the state

All of these components work together to stretch the impact of the Mental Health Services Act and ensure that any and all Californians can benefit from mental health services in California.

What Has the MHSA Accomplished So Far?

The Mental Health Services Act has been rolling out changes since the government implemented it in 2005. It’s been more than 15 years since its beginning, and there have been several changes in the condition of health in California.

The Mental Health Services Act has worked with several other programs in the San Diego area to impact the health of its citizens. In their annual report, Live Well San Diego reports the changes that all of these programs worked to make in the area.

Here are some of the most notable changes as depicted in the annual report:

  • 12% fewer deaths associated with preventable health threats
  • 22% fewer heart attacks in San Diego County
  • 1% increase in life expectancy
  • 3% increase in people who are 25 years of age or older and have a high school diploma or GED
  • 9.2% increase in households that spend less than a third of their income on housing
  • 10% fewer homeless individuals living in San Diego
  • 17% lower youth disconnection rate
  • 76% fewer youth arrests
  • 26% lower crime rate

Together with other programs in San Diego, the Mental Health Services Act has helped initiate these changes. By helping those individuals with mental health issues, the city and the state as a whole are looking out for their citizens.

By caring for citizens’ mental health, the state is reducing problems that arise as a result of mental health problems.

How Can I Benefit from the Mental Health Services Act?

If you feel that you can benefit from the Mental Health Services Act, there’s no better time than now. There are plenty of mental health facilities in the state of California that can help you with your mental illness, whether you’re in the early stages or have a serious condition.

If you’re looking for proven successful results, we recommend coming to Solara. Our mental health facility is focused on helping you cope with your mental health conditions. With the highest success rate of any comparable program, we’re sure that you’ll find the help you need with us.

Call now at 844-600-9747 to get into contact with us. Otherwise, contact us online so that we can talk about how we can help you.

What Are Behavioral Health Services?

It’s easy to think that mental and physical health doesn’t affect each other. Research, however, tells us the opposite is true.

Your mental health affects your physical health in various ways, and vice versa. Conditions like addiction and mental illness have major impacts on your body.

So, how do you effectively address both sides of this equation?

That’s where behavioral health comes in. In this article, we’ll be discussing what behavioral health services are, who needs them, and what benefits they bring.

What Is Behavioral Health?

Behavioral health describes the connection between your behavior and well-being. It describes the overall health of the body, mind, and spirit. How do things like drinking, exercising, or eating affect your physical and mental health? The key is looking for a connection.

In past decades, behavioral health was seen as singling out behaviors that prevented illness or affected health. Later, it became concerned with behaviors that help manage diseases.

There’s also been much more attention paid to how mental health affects our behaviors. We’re realizing more and more how traumatic events affect our physical state of being.

Behavioral health looks at how conditions like addiction affect other symptoms like anxiety.

Behavioral Health vs. Mental Health: What’s the Difference?

Behavioral health often gets mixed up with mental health. This is because of their similar focus on how a person’s mind affects their everyday lives.

When talking about these two disciplines in tandem, it’s important we don’t confuse these terms.

Behavioral health is a blanket term that includes mental health. It looks at how behaviors affect someone’s physical and mental health.

In other words, mental health is a single category of behavioral health.

Mental health has a variety of factors including biology, habits, and psychology. Behavioral scientists look at how those habits are affecting a person’s mental and physical health.

A behavioral scientist might address an eating disorder differently than other doctors. They’ll track down behaviors and habits that contributed to that person’s disorder.

What Are Behavioral Health Services?

So, what do behavioral health services look like?

We’ve established how behavioral health encompasses a wide range of symptoms and issues. This complicates our definition of behavioral health services.

In other words, behavioral health services look different for each patient. One person might need help overcoming addiction. Another person might need help addressing their anxiety or eating disorder.

When patients engage with a behavioral health service program, they have a wide range of professionals to choose from.

Behavioral health professionals include:

Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists are the most qualified physicians when it comes to things like mental health and addiction. They can diagnose your condition and single out behaviors that might be affecting your overall health.

Social Workers

These professionals are part of institutions aimed at helping people overcome mental and physical health issues. Child, family, or substance abuse social workers are pivotal in addressing behavioral health symptoms.

Psychologists

Psychologists offer help to those that need psychotherapy or a more specific psychological diagnosis. They can help narrow down psychological symptoms that might be affecting your behaviors.

Counselors

Counselors don’t provide specific diagnoses or prescribe medication. Instead, they help patients address a specific condition or issue, such as addiction or marital issues.

Benefits of Behavioral Health Services

But what are the benefits of behavioral health services?

Behavioral health looks at a person’s health from a holistic perspective. This means addressing their addictions or issues this way improves both physical and mental health.

This means no stone is left unturned. Behavioral health services help patients find the root cause of some of their symptoms.

As such, positive behavioral health leads to happier lives. It means you can be more productive at work. You’ll be able to cope better with everyday stresses since you know where your stressors come from.

It helps eliminate negative behaviors like addiction. This means healthier eating or sleeping habits.

Who Benefits from Behavioral Health Services?

Broadly speaking, almost everyone will benefit from behavioral health services. The CDC claims that more than 50% of Americans will suffer from mental illness at least once in their lives.

As we’ve established, there are also connections between mental health issues and medical issues. Heart disease, respiratory illness, and other physical health challenges are often connected to mental health.

Behavioral health services can benefit anyone who suffers from these problems. Professionals can help get to the root of those issues and address it in a healthy and meaningful way.

Let’s look at two examples of people who benefit from behavioral health services here:

American Workers

These mental and physical health challenges often intersect in the American workplace. Over 60% of American adults are part of the workforce, and nearly 1 in 5 are struggling with mental illness.

Behavioral health services in the workplace can help address some of these issues. It can lead to better work engagement, happiness, and productivity.

It can also prevent further health complications for workers. Addressing their mental health early decreases the risk of heart disease or other physical health issues down the line.

Addicts

People struggling with addiction benefit greatly from behavioral health. For example, counseling and therapy can break down someone’s behaviors and habits that are leading to substance abuse.

It combines counseling with medication to get at the root of the issue. Behavioral health services help manage these symptoms to the point where people can use other strategies to overcome addictions.

Leverage Behavioral Health Services Today

Addressing mental health or substance abuse is always complicated and doesn’t have one convenient solution. Behavioral health services look at finding those solutions in a productive and holistic way.

Use this article to understand what behavioral health does and how it can help those in need.

Are you or someone you know suffering from mental illness or substance abuse? Contact us today and we can help you find the right solution.

,

How to Curb a Busy Mind: The Ultimate Meditation Guide

It’s estimated that the average person has more than 6,000 thoughts every day.

This being an average, it means that some of us will have fewer thoughts. Some of us will have many more.

If you find that your mind is becoming overactive, it can cause a lot of stress. A busy mind can leave us unable to fully switch off or relax, which isn’t good for our health.

If this sounds like you, then read on as we look at some simple but effective ways to curb a busy mind.

What Is a Busy Mind?

A busy mind can be a mixture of thoughts, worries and anxieties, emotions, doubts, and other thought patterns.

We all have these types of thoughts on a daily basis, but when the sheer number of these thoughts begins to get too much, then you’re suffering from a busy mind. There’s nothing wrong with thinking about things, but when you start overthinking and aren’t able to control the number of thoughts you’re having, then you might want to consider ways to curb your busy mind.

How to Curb a Busy Mind

There are some simple but effective exercises you can try which can help to calm your busy mind. By incorporating these exercises into your daily life, you can begin to calm your mind and remove the stress that a busy mind can cause.

The Power of Pause

The modern world moves at a relentless pace, and it can feel like it’s not going to stop to give you a chance to catch your breath. Even if the world doesn’t pause for a second, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Take a moment to pause and focus your attention on your senses, allowing you to refresh and renew yourself without any other concerns. One of the simplest ways to do this is with a body scan.

  • Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap
  • If you can, close your eyes
  • Bring your attention to your feet and feel the sensations as they interact with the floor
  • Bring your attention to your legs and how they feel against whatever you are sitting on
  • Now bring your attention to your chest and focus on your breathing, noticing the rise and fall
  • Bring your attention to your arms and hands, noticing any sensations within them
  • Open your eyes and feel how a short pause has made you feel refreshed and renewed

If you find your busy mind starts to think about other things during this exercise, don’t allow this to cause tension within you. Just acknowledge what has happened and redirect your attention to your body.

The power of the pause doesn’t have to involve taking a long break from your day. Try to incorporate short pauses into your daily life to slow things down a little. You could take a short pause:

  • After completing your current task and before moving on to the next
  • If you are interrupted, before dealing with the interruption
  • If your phone rings or you get a message or email, take a short pause before checking your phone

By building these small pauses into your day, you break up the relentless pace of daily life and allow yourself room to breathe.

Mindful Listening

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you suddenly realize you didn’t take in a single thing they said? Sometimes our minds are racing so much we fail to give attention to the person speaking.

Mindful listening involves bringing your full attention to the conversation you are having. Follow these steps:

  • Stop whatever else you are doing and focus solely on the conversation
  • Take a breath to give yourself time to process what you hear
  • Focus only on the content of what is being said rather than how it makes you feel
  • Ask yourself if you understand what has been said and if not, ask for clarification
  • Reflect back on what you have been told to confirm your understanding

It can be harder to practice mindful listening when you’re on the phone rather than face to face. During phone calls:

  • Put down anything you are holding so you’re not tempted to fiddle
  • If it helps, close your eyes so that you’re not distracted by anything in your field of view
  • Try to sit as still as possible to remove any distracting physical sensations

Connecting With Your Senses

A busy mind usually stems from thinking or worrying about things that have happened in the past or things that will happen in the future. A simple but effective way to pause those thoughts is to focus on the present moment.

One way to do that is to connect with your senses and bring your attention to what you are feeling in the here and now. The beauty of this technique is that you don’t have to take time out to do so; you can perform this exercise whilst going about your day. For example:

  • When you’re eating, focus your attention on the sensations in your mouth and on your tongue
  • When you’re getting dressed in the morning, bring your attention to the feeling of your clothes against your skin
  • If you’re in bed at night, listen to the sounds in your room and outside
  • If you’re driving, notice the sensations of your hands on the steering wheel
  • If you’re out walking, notice the different smells around you

By bringing your attention to the present moment, you stop your brain from worrying about the past or the future, giving your busy mind a break and allowing yourself to reset and recharge.

Are You Looking to Curb a Busy Mind?

If you’re struggling to curb a busy mind and you find that these techniques aren’t sufficient to make a difference, then we’re to help.

We treat a wide range of mental health issues, from mood and anxiety disorders to trauma and personality disorders. We have the highest success rate of any comparable program based on published scientific outcome statistics. We also offer luxurious off-site housing right next door to our treatment center so that you can move seamlessly between your appointments and your accommodation.

We’re here to help; contact us today.

Talkspace vs Headspace vs BetterHelp

There are over 1,000 mental health apps available to smartphone users.

These apps cover a broad scope, touching on everything from therapy with a live counselor to guided meditations. Some of the apps connect users to licensed therapists, while others are personally-oriented and don’t offer access to medical professionals.

Having these apps as supplements, tools, and guides is a fantastic option, but it’s worth noting that only about 14% of them include evidence such as clinical research. Doing your own research before downloading and using is a wise idea.

That’s likely why you landed here, where we compare Talkspace, Headspace, and BetterHelp — three of the more notable offerings. If you’re curious, keep reading for an honest look at the pros and cons of each.

Talkspace

First on our list is Talkspace, the #1-rated online therapy app that boasts over one million users.

Talkspace attempts to take the place of an in-person therapist. Users take a brief assessment, which pairs them with a list of recommended therapists. If you end up choosing one, you’ll begin a therapy journey with that counselor.

Here’s what you need to know.

Pros

Talkspace provides 24-hour access seven days a week. Often, a person can’t predict when they’ll genuinely need a conversation with their therapist. Talkspace provides access when you need it.

If you begin your journey with one therapist and find the connection isn’t working for you, you can switch—at no extra cost. Additionally, Talkspace has several plans that fit a wide range of budgets.

Talkspace also specializes in treating teens (13-17) or couples.

Cons

Unfortunately, many things can be missed when one does therapy over the phone—even slight behavioral changes that are noticeable in-person.

Humans are nuanced creatures, and diagnosing someone virtually may prove to be more difficult for severe mental health disorders.

Headspace

Headspace is a guided app that covers a different part of mental health: meditation.

If you find meditation challenging to do on your own, Headspace makes the practice easier and more rewarding. It aims to help its users be “less stressed,” “more resilient,” and happier.

We talk about its advantages and negatives below.

Pros

Headspace can be done for minutes at a time, offering users a world of convenience. Perhaps you arrived to work five minutes early, you’re sitting in your car in the driveway after a long day, or you’re about to make a major decision. Simply pull out your phone and allow yourself that brief but meaningful escapism.

Headspace also covers a wide range of topics, allowing users to find something specific to their current needs. Maybe you want to learn more about mindful eating, how to sleep better, or wish to cultivate a more mindful office space.

Headspace talks about all these subjects and more.

Cons

While Headspace does provide its users with a handful of free meditations, it’s likely you’ll soon want to upgrade.

The free ones tend to be shorter in length and are limited, meaning you can make your way through the entire selection—ten sessions—quickly.

Headspace is a wonderful supplement to your regular mental health routine. Still, those with more serious disorders will need something besides the app, such as a program, to care for themselves adequately.

BetterHelp

Finally, we have BetterHelp — another app like Talkspace that connects its users with licensed therapists that offer counseling sessions.

BetterHelp also specializes in individual therapy, couple’s therapy, and therapy with teenagers.

Pros

BetterHelp allows users to connect with their therapist in several ways. One can communicate over the phone, through video, or through messaging or chat options. This feature lets you choose a preference that’s most comfortable for you.

Additionally, BetterHelp doesn’t require the use of appointments. One can message their therapist at any time, and from there, schedule a live session at the next convenient moment.

Cons

While you can message your therapist at any time, that doesn’t mean there’s a specific time when you’ll hear back. This point can leave some users feeling dejected.

While you can switch therapists if you find your match doesn’t quite fit, BetterHelp encourages its users not to choose their own.

Rather, BetterHelp wants to connect you with a therapist of its choice based on answers you provide to a questionnaire. Again, like Talkspace, this process may feel a little impersonal to some. It may also cause the app or its therapists to miss something that could be important to your mental health journey.

Finally, the cost of BetterHelp is about the same cost as a traditional, in-person therapist.

Of course, you won’t have the convenience of speaking to them from the comfort of home (or elsewhere)—but some see that as a reason to have reduced costs. Expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $90 per session with BetterHelp, or $240 to $360 a month if you do weekly sessions.

Are These Mental Health Apps Right for You?

Having options is a good thing. It allows you to work with individual apps or use two or more in tandem.

Perhaps you find you enjoy using Talkspace to speak with a therapist, followed by a quick guided meditation on Headspace. Or, maybe BetterHelp is enough for you.

Either way, we hope this article provided you with transparent insight into each of these apps. At Solara Mental Health, we care about providing honest information and compassionate help. Our priority is you.

Click here to learn about our own programs, which provide anything from screenings and assessments to family programs or 24-hour, in-person programs. We look forward to hearing from you.

Say Cheese! The Effect of Smiling at Others

You are probably familiar with the effects of smiling on your own mind and body. From living a better and longer life to appearing more approachable and confident, from reducing the risk of certain serious diseases to releasing hormones that help decrease stress levels, the benefits of smiling are plentiful.

But are you aware of the effect of a smile on others? Yes, when you smile, the people around you can benefit from it, too.

Let’s shed light on why you should smile for the sake of your own happiness as well as that of others. Are you ready to smile more often?

Triggering Positive Feelings

Countless studies have shown that the very act of seeing another person smile triggers an automatic muscular response that produces a smile on our face. Yes, smiling is contagious, and science has demonstrated that time and time again.

When someone else smiles at us, regardless of whether we know them or not, it automatically lifts our mood. We can’t help but smile back, in an act that is almost involuntary, but which releases a wealth of benefits that we might not even be aware of.

The main one? A waterfall of positive, happy feelings. If we felt like we started our day in the wrong way, seeing someone smile at us will inevitably make us feel better.

All of a sudden, our day won’t look that terrible anymore—thanks to the power of someone else’s smile.

Because smiling back at someone is an automatic act (if you don’t do it, it’s normally because you are actively choosing not to), we are now reaping all those great, feel-good benefits that we would if we were the ones initiating the smiling.

Promoting Better Health for Everyone

Smiling at and with other people — whether they be friends and family or complete strangers that we come across on the street — also releases a host of great hormones in our bodies, which enhance everyone’s health. Stress levels are lowered, thus reducing any related chance of inflammation and pain.

And did you know that by decreasing inflammation, you also help prevent some of the root causes of serious diseases, such as cancer and heart disease?

Smiling more and smiling at other people can have such an incredible ripple effect, helping to make you and others around you lead healthier and longer lives.

Making Others Feel Rewarded

What other emotion would you say you feel if someone smiles at you? Besides happiness, calmness, and improved mood, another feeling triggered by a smile is a sense of feeling fulfilled and content.

It turns out that this is not just the psychology of smiling, but it has some medical and physical cause. Several scientific studies have noticed that when someone smiles at us, the part of our brain that controls feelings of reward is activated.

Yes, you’ve read it right: if we receive a smile, we may feel like we have been given a beautiful prize. And, of course, this feeling generates other positive sensations, which in turn continue to produce positive effects on our minds and bodies.

Facilitating Good Relationships

Picture this scenario. You are a student, on their first day at a new school, feeling understandably nervous, shy, and a bit lonely. You sit at your desk and start looking around at your new school mates, who are sitting all around you.

Some of them are greeting you with a smile, others are ignoring you, and another group is staring at you without smiling. Which ones will you be speaking to first, hoping to create some new friendships?

Correct: the ones who are smiling at you. In any situation, but particularly in those that might make us feel uneasy and anxious, we are drawn to bond with people who show us that they are friendly, approachable, and interested in getting to know us.

In this specific example, the students who are smiling at you are also very likely to be the ones who start a conversation and end up involving you in their lives and wanting to become a part of your life. In a nutshell, they are the ones who are going to become your friends.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you won’t ever be able to make friends with people who don’t smile at you! It means that it might take a little bit longer, as your guard might be up and you might be feeling more uncertain if you were in a relationship with them.

The Effect of Smile on Others: A Powerful Tool for Greater Wellbeing

As we have discussed, smiling is not just a wonderful way to stay happy, positive, and healthy. It also creates a ripple effect on the people around you, who reap some pretty amazing benefits from such a simple and daily act.

The effect of a smile on others is so powerful that you should really consider smiling more, and at more people, regardless of whether you know them or not.

By smiling at others, you can contribute to their happiness and their health can make them feel rewarded and create strong and long-lasting bonds and relationships.

Are you feeling like you don’t have any reason to smile at the moment? This might be a symptom of something more serious going on. Why not get in touch with us and see if we can help you?