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Mental Health and the Holidays

Now that harvest season is wrapping up, many of us are looking ahead to the holiday season. The last several weeks of the year are full of parties, gift-giving, and festive meals. While many eagerly anticipate this time of year, some individuals feel more anxious or depressed during the holidays. A study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in 2021 found that 3 out of 5 people said their mental health worsened during the holiday season. Financial pressures, conflict with family members, loss of loved ones, and busy schedules were common reasons people felt stressed, anxious, or depressed.

If you notice your mental health worsening during the holidays, take hope! You can do many things to boost your mood or reduce stress. Consider these options:

  • Practice self-care. What activities help you feel refreshed or relaxed? Taking a walk around your property, watching a favorite movie, or driving through a Christmas light display in your community are all simple activities that can bring happiness.
  • Avoid negative coping strategies. It is common for people to enjoy alcoholic beverages, but excessive drinking to change your mood can harm your physical and mental health. Click here to learn more.
  • Set healthy boundaries. It is okay to say “no” or “not right now.” If your schedule is too busy, consider limiting the number of invitations you accept. If family gatherings are a little contentious, plan to stay for only an hour or two.
  • Follow your regular routine. Enjoy holiday treats AND remember your veggies and protein. Settle in for a fun movie night AND aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Proper rest and nutrition help your mental health tremendously!
  • Acknowledge your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or family member and tell them how you feel. Sometimes, just saying words out loud can help remove a burden from our minds. Your loved ones may also be able to provide additional support.

Sometimes, our own efforts aren’t quite enough. Don’t hesitate to contact a trained professional if your mental health worsens or you experience a mental health crisis. Here are some important resources:

  • 988 – call or text this number 24/7 to be connected to the Suicide and Crisis Prevention Lifeline. A trained counselor will listen to you, support you, and share resources in your area.
  • 741741 – text the Crisis Lifeline 24/7 to connect with a trained counselor.
  • 911 – if you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts or a medical emergency, call emergency services immediately.
  • 1-800-720-9616 – The Ohio Careline is a 24/7 service that provides emotional support and connects callers to local resources.

The holidays can be a time of excitement and happiness and can also be challenging or difficult. You can take many steps personally, and many professionals can help. You are not alone. Take the steps you need to protect and improve your mental health today.

Farm and Dairy- Life after Suicide

“The topic (mental health) has long been stigmatized in farming communities. We’re tough. We can handle things on our own. We don’t need to be all touchy-feely, talking about our emotions or our problems. Things need to get done. Animals need our care. Crops need to be harvested. Farmers would much rather push it all down inside and keep going.” This is a powerful quote from an article published by Farm and Dairy. In this article, the author features two stories of farm families impacted by suicide. Take a moment to read this piece written by author Rachel Wagoner.

As Suicide Prevention Month draws to a close for 2022, we want to remind you that if you are experiencing mental health challenges (anxiety, depression) or mental health emergencies (suicidal thoughts), YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are many people who are ready, willing, and able to help you find the resources you need to feel better. Mental health challenges can be overwhelming, but it is important to know that with the right help, recovery is both possible and probable!

Consider the following resources:

  • 988- Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Call or text this number to be connected to a trained counselor who will talk with you and help you connect with the right resources
  • 741741- Crisis Text Line. Text this number to be connected to a trained counselor.
  • Ohio Mental Health Resource Guide– click on your county to see a list of resources available in your area
  • Ohio Careline- dial 1-800-720-9616 to be connected to a behavioral health professional who will offer emotional support to anyone experiencing a personal or family crisis

If you are interested in raising awareness of mental health and bringing Mental Health First Aid or QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) trainings to your community or organization, please reach out to Bridget at britton.191@osu.edu

Join Us at the Kitchen Table

Ohio State University (OSU) Extension’s Ohio Women in Agriculture Program announces opportunities to Learn, Grow, Connect, Inspire and Empower at the 2022 Farm Science Review!

Some of the best conversations and discussions have occurred around the family kitchen table. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, lunch, or snack and join us from our kitchen table or yours to engage in conversations in-person or “virtually” on September 20, 21, and 22, 2022 for “Kitchen Table Conversations” hosted by the Ohio Women in Agriculture of Ohio State University Extension.

These sessions are offered during the Farm Science Review daily from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM. In-person sessions will be located on the north side of the Firebaugh Building at 384 Friday Avenue at our kitchen table. ZOOM session registration is required to participate. Register @ https://go.osu.edu/2022fsrkitchentableconversation

Programs will focus on key topics related to health, marketing, finance, legal, and production for women in agriculture.  Each topic will feature a leading expert and moderators to generate dialogue and empower discussion among participants.  A list of daily topics and leaders is provided below.

TUESDAY

When Death Happens- Managing the Farm Without Your Business Partner

Death can change everything, especially your ability to manage the farm without your business partner.  How can you better prepare to manage your farm business without your spouse or sibling?  Learn some strategies that can help you plan for the challenge of managing a farm alone.

SPEAKER: David Marrison, OSU Extension Educator, Coshocton County

WEDNESDAY

Female Farmer Financing Options: Opportunities with USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Loans

Come participate in this kitchen table conversation on how you can find unique farmland financing options for females, veterans, and minority farmers. Learn a little bit more about the requirements, normal rates, and roles.

SPEAKER: Eric Richer, OSU Extension Educator, Fulton County

THURSDAY

The Devil is in the Details: Communication and Record Keeping for Improving Farm Management

Family farms are only as good as their communication.  A record-keeping system is a valuable form of communication when the level of detail fits the needs of the farm decision-makers.  Useful record keeping can move a farm management team beyond the basic tax return to exploring problem-solving and strengthening the family farm business.

SPEAKER: Bruce Clevenger, OSU Extension Educator, Defiance County

Your host for the event will be Extension Professionals of the OSU Extension Ohio Women in Agriculture Team. Visit our display inside the Firebaugh Building for additional women in agriculture opportunities.

For more information: Gigi Neal, neal.331@osu.edu, 513-732-7070 or Heather Neikirk, neikirk.2@osu.edu, 234-348-6145

Blog site: u.osu.edu/ohwomeninag

Suicide Prevention Month: Using destigmatizing language

Words can pack a punch. Choosing nice words to give a compliment can brighten someone’s day, while negative words can incite anger or sadness.

The same is true when we discuss suicide. Many words that we have used to discuss suicide in the recent past are stigmatizing, meaning they can add a sense of blame or shame towards people who have attempted or died by suicide. This can make it difficult to talk about suicide, and it is important to talk about suicide! Over the last several years, there has been a push to change the language around suicide so we can discuss the topic without adding to the stigma.

Phrases to change, limit, or avoid:

  • “Committed suicide”- have you noticed that we use phrases like “commit a sin” or “commit a crime?” While it might not be our intention, saying a person committed suicide can imply that they did something selfish or sinful and cast blame.
  • “Successful suicide”- we often use the word success when we’re talking about something that is positive, such as successfully meeting a goal or running a successful business. There is nothing positive about suicide.

Phrases to use instead:

  • “died by suicide”- this phrase does not add any shame or blame, but simply and clearly explains what happened.
  • “completed suicide”- this phrase is also a way to simply and clearly state what happened.

Changing the words you use to talk about suicide might be difficult at first. You might accidentally slip up and use stigmatizing language instead of non-stigmatizing words. Simply correct yourself and practice using the new words. It might take a few tries to feel comfortable switching out the words you use, but it will go a long way in helping break down some of the stigma that surrounds suicide.

(If you or a loved one are experiencing a suicide crisis or other mental health crisis, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by simply dialing 988. You can also text HELP to 741741 to reach the Crisis Textline. If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health emergency or substance use emergency, dial 911.)

 

September is Suicide Prevention Month

Every year, the month of September is set aside for us to raise awareness for suicide prevention and to remember those we have lost. This month can be difficult for many of us to navigate, but it is also an opportunity for us to offer HOPE to someone in need.

It is important during this time to remember the resources that are available to us. The Suicide Lifeline has a new, easy-to remember number (simply dial 988) and has expanded to offer support to individuals experiencing any type of mental health crisis. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health crises, 988 is the number to call! A trained professional will walk with you during the crisis and can connect you with additional resources in your community.

While it is great to have resources like 988 and other local hotline numbers (which you can find under the Get Help Now! tab of this page), studies overwhelmingly show that prevention and early intervention are far more impactful than crisis intervention. This means it is crucial that we become familiar with warning signs of suicide.

Here is a list of common warning signs that a person may be considering suicide. It is important to note that many of the changes in behaviors or emotions will likely happen over a period of four or more weeks.

  • Avoiding friends or family
  • Confused thinking or struggling to concentrate
  • Expressing excessive sadness or worry
  • Overuse of substances such as drugs or alcohol
  • Thinking or talking about suicide
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Aggressive or passive behavior out of character to them
  • Withdrawal
  • Changes in appetite

You can find more information on potential signs here.

Together as a community, we can come together to support friends, family, and even strangers that may be struggling. There are classes to help educate at the very basic level to help spot warning signs and symptoms, and how to support before a crisis happens. Mental Health First Aid is a great program that OSU Extension offers for FREE right now, both in-person and virtually. Register here go.osu.edu/farmstress22mhfa

Upcoming Mental Health First Aid training dates

Would you recognize the signs of worsening mental health in your friends, family members, neighbors, or colleagues? Would you know how to react and help if someone was experiencing a mental health crisis?

Mental Health First Aid is a course designed to help you become aware of mental health challenges and teaches you how to respond in both crisis and non-crisis situations.  We currently have trainings scheduled through the end of 2022, and will soon be announcing our 2023 training dates.

These are blended virtual courses, where participants complete approximately 90 minutes of online self-paced learning before attending a six hour-long instructor-led training on Zoom. You can get more information and register for a training by clicking here.

If you have a large group that would like to host a training, or if you would prefer an in-person training, please reach out to Bridget at britton.191@osu.edu to discuss.

988 Crisis Lifeline PSA

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has been live for nearly a month now, and individuals and organizations across the state of Ohio are working diligently to share information about this resource with friends, family, and neighbors.

This new, easy-to-remember number can be used by anyone in the United States who is experiencing suicidal thoughts, emotional distress, thoughts of harming others, or substance use concerns. When you dial 988, you will be connected with a trained counselor who will help you reduce the stress of the crisis and find local resources to help support you in the future.

Bridget Britton, Behavioral Health Field Specialist for Ohio State University Extension, recently sat down and recorded a PSA that you can use to spread the word about 988. Watch this short video and then share on your social media pages today! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fse9ryxGjz4&ab_channel=OSUSouthCenters

Making the Switch to 988!

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been in existence since 2005. The Lifeline has been an invaluable resource for people to use in a suicide crisis situation, and now a new initiative has made it even easier for people to connect with trained counselors in times of distress. Anyone in the United States can now call or text 988 to reach the Lifeline when they are in a state of emotional distress, having thoughts of suicide, having thoughts of harming others, or having substance use concerns.

In addition to the new, easy-to-remember number, the Lifeline has expanded the services it offers. Traditionally, the Lifeline primarily focused on supporting individuals experiencing a suicide crisis situation. It now also offers support for someone who would like to talk through the distress they are experiencing related to anxiety, depression, or substance use.

Just as when people called the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (which will continue to remain in service), a person who calls or texts 988 will be linked to a trained professional such as a counselor, therapist, or social worker for support. These counselors are trained to reduce the stress of the challenge or crisis, provide emotional support, and link the caller to services in their local area for additional assistance. Research has shown that most calls to the Lifeline can be managed or resolved over the phone.

Help us break down the stigma of receiving support by promoting 988! There is no shame in seeking out support.

Here is a list of common signs a person may need to talk with a mental health professional:

  • New or unusual fatigue
  • Increased irritability
  • Depression lasted more than 2 weeks
  • Social isolation
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • Difficulty following through with tasks at work or school

Most of these signs are compounded on top of each other and last for several weeks.

The switch to the new 988 number has been a work in progress for several years, and it will take some time to spread the word within our communities. You can help spread the word today by sharing this information on your personal or professional social media pages, or by visiting https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988/partner-toolkit to find resources that can be shared at locations throughout your community.