Mental Illness Awareness Week

Mental illness is not uncommon. Millions of people of all ages across our country, experience first-hand what it means to have a mental health condition. It is a reality, then, that even more of us know what it means to care about someone who has a mental illness. Each year, during the first week of October, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and other supportive organizations work to raise awareness and reduce stigma regarding mental illness.

Since 1990, this dedicated week provides encouragement and a voice for all those who live with mental health concerns. Below are some of the statistics on mental illness provided by NAMI especially for this special week. These numbers and the scope of mental illness may surprise you. Know that mental illness affects us all. Consider organizing your church group, your child’s school, or other supportive group(s) to raise awareness in your community by giving or volunteering.

NAMI provides the following information for Mental Illness Awareness Week:

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness (SMI) each year
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth (aged 6-17) experience a mental health disorder each year
  • Annual prevalence of mental illness among U.S. adults, by demographic group:
    • Non-Hispanic Asian: 16.4%
    • Non-Hispanic white: 23.9%
    • Non-Hispanic Black or African American: 21.4%
    • Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native: 26.6%
    • Non-Hispanic mixed/multiracial: 34.9%
    • Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 18.1%
    • Hispanic or Latino: 20.7%
    • Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual: 50.9%
  • Annual prevalence among U.S. adults, by condition:
    • Major Depressive Episode: 8.3% (21 million people)
    • Schizophrenia: <1% (estimated 1.5 million people)
    • Bipolar Disorder: 2.8% (estimated 7 million people)
    • Anxiety Disorders: 19.1% (estimated 48 million people)
    • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: 3.6% (estimated 9 million people)
    • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: 1.2% (estimated 3 million people)
    • Borderline Personality Disorder: 1.4% (estimated 3.5 million people)
  • 47.2% of U.S. adults with mental illness received treatment in 2021
  • 65.4% of U.S. adults with serious mental illness received treatment in 2021
  • Annual treatment rates among U.S. adults with any mental illness, by demographic group:
    • Male: 40%
    • Female: 51.7%
    • Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual: 55.6%
    • Non-Hispanic Asian: 25.4%
    • Non-Hispanic white: 52.4%
    • Non-Hispanic Black or African American: 39.4%
    • Non-Hispanic mixed/multiracial: 52.2%
    • Hispanic or Latino: 36.1%
  • 164 million people live in a designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Area

As NAMI always says,” You Are Not Alone”, and you’re not! If you or someone you love is experiencing a mental health concern or crisis, call Silver Oaks Behavioral Hospital at (844) 580-5000. We can help by providing a free, confidential assessment to determine the best level of care for you or your loved one. We care and stand ready to help. Just call.

Broken in Grief, But Never Without Hope

August 30 commemorates National Grief Awareness Day. This important day is designed to help us understand that grief is different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief. Grief, in whatever form, means that there is a void in your life. Whatever time it takes to put closure on that loss belongs to each person.

In addition to its design to help us understand grief itself, the goal of National Grief Awareness Day is also to remember and support those who struggle with the pain of grief. Maybe this is the time to reach out to an old friend who has suffered some loss and just let them know you are thinking of them. Lend an ear and let them know that they are not alone.

Remember that grief is not just about death. It can be any event; truly ANY event. It can be a trauma, a change in status (job, marriage, etc.) or any change that makes us feel like a loss has occurred.

Sometimes grief can literally unravel you. It may happen quickly or over time, but you may see some signs of grief in yourself or others. That may look like isolation, looking less kempt, missing work or school, being short with people, or becoming increasingly disorganized. Obviously this is not a comprehensive list, because we are all very different, so know that any behavior that seems unusual for a person, combined with a recent loss may indeed be grief-triggered behavior. There should be no judgment or shame. The “behavioral-unravelling” that may occur cannot be helped. It may be time to seek help when self-care, both mental and physical seems out of reach.

National Grief Awareness Day was founded by Angie Cartwright in 2014. She knew grief first-hand and used her grief to reach out to others who need support and understanding of what to expect during the process of grief. She wanted to make sure that in grief there was acceptance without judgment and that everyone had a chance to deal with grief in their own way, so that they could find themselves on the other side of grief, much more stable, both mentally and physically, than when the process began.

If you feel broken in grief and cannot seem to find your way to health, consider calling Silver Oaks Behavioral Health Hospital at (844) 580-5000. Experts in mental health will help you determine a level of care that is right for you. There is always hope, especially when you reach out for help. Please call.

Look What’s New at Silver Oaks!

What does it mean to have Post Partum?

Post-partum depression and anxiety is characterized by severe depressive symptoms, excessive worry, and panic, following the birth or adoption of one’s child. Onset can occur between 6 weeks to 12 months post birth/adoption and symptoms can last indefinitely.

What do the symptoms look like?

The symptoms look very similar to someone who has traditional clinical depression or anxiety with the following exceptions:

  • Excessive sadness and/or crying
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Severe mood swings
  • Feeling anxious or having panic attacks
  • Thoughts of self-harm or harming your baby
  • Fear that you might harm your baby, either accidentally or intentionally
  • Feeling overwhelmed by even the simplest, easiest things like washing the dishes
  • Emotional numbness or feeling “unplugged,” withdrawn or isolated (from people in general, not necessarily just from your new baby)
  • Feeling like you’re not a good parent, having low self-esteem and/or taking your baby’s behavior personally.
  • Trouble sleeping (even when your baby is sleeping)
  • Loss of appetite

Baby Blues vs. PPD

The baby blues are more of a time of adjustment, with mild mood ups and downs that don’t interrupt your sleep, and they typically last about two weeks after giving birth. After that two week transition period of adjusting to a new schedule, a new person and a new role as a parent, the “blues” start to feel less overwhelming and your overall mood feels happier and calmer. Essentially, the baby blues are mild and transient.

The baby blues and postpartum depression are differentiated by severity. If your symptoms are severe enough to get in the way of your daily functioning, it’s more likely that you’re experiencing PPD. The onset of PPD can overlap the baby blues, and can happen as soon as immediately after your little one arrives or as far out as up to a year afterward. While the baby blues only last a few weeks at most, postpartum depression symptoms can continue indefinitely.

What does a PPD and PPA IOP offer?

  • A warm, welcoming environment with parents just like you who are going through similar experiences. Group comradery allows for feelings of safety when processing every day struggles of PPD and PPA.
  • DBT, ACT, and CBT coping skill groups to help assist the parent in coping effectively with the symptoms experienced.
  • PPD and PPA focused interventions to assist in healing PPD and PPA triggers and responses.
  • Medication management

We now offer two new outpatient groups!

  • Partial Hospitalization (PHP) for adults. This is a 4-6 week program, 5 days a week from 9am-2:30pm.
  • Geriatric Mental Health Intensive Outpatient (IOP). This is a 4-6 week program, 4 days a week from 12:30pm-3:30pm.

Call us 24 hours a day to get more information at (844) 580-5000.


LGBTQ+ Pride Month is in June! Pride month is celebrated each June to commemorate The Stonewall Uprising of 1969 in Manhattan. On June 28 of that year, the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village New York was raided. Customers of that establishment were taken outside and treated as criminals. Tensions arose and rocks and bottles were thrown at police and riots occurred over a 3-day period to protest treatment of those simply seeking entertainment in a community business. Here is where the Gay Rights Movement was born and some say that this was the first time the gay community fought to just be themselves. They got involved in seeking rights from political leaders. From this moment of striking back came the Gay Liberation Front, and the Gay Activists Alliance. A national monument now stands at the sight of the Stonewall Inn where patrons were taken outside and brutalized.

Today, celebrations of anti-stigma, pride, independence, and choice, happen around the country for the month of June. These include parades, workshops, concerts and festivals. It is a month of remembrance for lives lost due to stigma, HIV/AIDS, and mental health and trauma issues. It is a celebration of the impact of the LGBTQ+ individuals and groups who have changed the world in so many positive ways.

At Silver Oaks Behavioral Hospital, we celebrate Pride Month with all of our LGBTQ+ Staff and patients. We encourage you to take pride in who you are too, be proud of who you are because we are proud of you!

Mental Health Month May Mean Making Changes

May has been the identified month for mental health since 1949. It means changing our beliefs about what it means to be unwell, making personal efforts to reduce stigma, and accepting responsibility for staying as mentally healthy as we possibly can. It may also mean making changes to become healthier and keeping our mental health in the front of our minds and our efforts.

Here are some ideas for choosing change and some ways to make those changes stick. Remember positive efforts often lead to positive results:

  1. Get motivated: Alert a friend to your struggle. Use their motivation to help boost your motivation to move forward. Look for joy. Feeling better is more motivating than feeling down. Get outside; nature is a healer. Document the little changes you make and celebrate each one. It is hard to change, and every effort you make is really a big deal!
  2. Stay inspired: Remember what caused you to consider making a change in the first place. Keep that thought. It will drive you to stay in the game!
  3. Expect temptation: There will be roadblocks. Expect them and, even better, anticipate them. Anticipation will help you be ready and you will have a plan in place for positive change to take over. Sometimes you have to allow for a weak moment followed by a do-over. It happens!
  4. Know yourself: Have you set a meaningful, measurable goal? Is this something that will improve your physical and mental health? Is it important to your well-being?
  5. Stay the course: Positive change is worth it.
  6. Be kind to yourself: If you have a setback, try not to get caught up in negative self-talk. Make every effort to not see one day (or even two!) as permanent failure.
  7. Sometimes the process is worth more than the product: As you develop your positive-change habits, know that you’re setting change in motion every time you follow your plan. The first few times may not be the exact outcome you had been hoping for, but you are on your way.

Mental Health Month will be the perfect time to set change in motion. The positive things you achieve may inspire others to do the same.

If you need help with your Mental Health, please come in for a free mental health assessment. We are here 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Loving Yourself Makes for Better Mental Health

Let’s start this article on Loving Yourself with two quotes that say it all: “Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”, from Lucille Ball and “How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.”, from Rupi Kaur. Many articles on self-love (Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, Very Well Mind and Heart of Leadership), indicate that caring about you is key to staying well, both mentally and physically.

Self-love, self-caring and self-compassion, call it what you will, cannot be underestimated. It is not some silly way of talking about how you feel about yourself and it is not being conceited. It should be a constant reminder that we are fallible, but valuable. We may never be perfect, but that does not, at all, diminish our potential and our ability to influence others.

The antithesis of self-care is probably self-criticism, also known as negative self-talk. This happens most often when we miss the mark of perfection in our relationships, in our work efforts, and in our daily goals. Everyone reading this has probably participated in some denial of positive self-value at one time or another; and some of us find that our inner voice often denigrates us more than lifts us.

Finding ways to reduce negative thoughts about you and your worth to family, friends, and workplace is important in many ways. Thinking that perfection is the only acceptable route for you is stressful, because it is not achievable. Stress alone is linked to digestive conditions, pain-related syndromes, depression, anxiety, and devastating disorders like heart disease and cancer. Combine a consistent barrage of self-hating thoughts and behaviors and you have the perfect storm for illness of all kinds.

So quit it! Quit feeling and thinking in such negative tones about you. Oh, if it were only that easy! This is definitely one of those baby-steps situations. Some of us have such a negative view of ourselves and have “spoken” badly to ourselves for so long that it will be a difficult (but not impossible) habit to break. You deserve to feel comfortable in your own skin with a positive outlook and acceptance of mistakes that humans can make. Basically, you deserve to be happy just being you. Get it? That is the essence of self-love, self-care and self-compassion.

There are 5 skillsets that people who have self-love work hard to cultivate. These skills can change the course of negative self-worth when utilized overtime (David Fletcher, Kelly McGonigal and Susan B. Kemp). These resilience-based skills are:

  1. Problem solving: Key self-love strategists do not have to solve every problem. In fact, the best solutions are those that have multiple views and options available. That can only happen when perfectionism is set aside and others are invited to share in a task and many opinions become viable. Sharing problems with others also creates relationships and relationships are number 2 on this list!
  2. Social competence and relationships: Developing solid friendships, family connections, and work engagements lead to self-love as you model to others how you want to be treated. Being kind, being patient and being sincere leads to successful interactions and good feelings about your capability in terms of both giving and caring.
  3. Sense of Future: People who experience self-love are those who look forward to the next adventure. Depression and anxiety, the feelings that take away our sense of wonder, are often kept to a minimum when we have a good sense of our self and of our potential future.
  4. Sense of Humor: Self-compassion means that we forgive ourselves for things not done well and look to make changes the next go-round. Being able to laugh at our foibles; being aware of our weaknesses and not always taking ourselves too seriously is like a valve releasing pressure. Humor and an ability to step back and enjoy the moment is a real healer of our mental and physical selves. Find jokes, comedians, books and people that are fun and make you laugh. A smile alerts your mind and body to positivity. Some researchers even say that you should walk straight to a mirror and smile when you are having a bad moment in your day. Change the way you are thinking and feeling by seeing yourself in a different light.
  5. Find a mentor: Who do you admire? Who just by being near, makes you feel relaxed? Who can you be with and just be you? Who is honest with you in a kind and genuine manner? Find this person, let them know that you feel they can teach you about yourself and can influence and impact you in a positive way. Rely on this person to help you stay positive about you and to help you find self-love.

Overall, just pay attention to achieve self-love. Listen to what you are thinking and feeling and watch how you behave with others. Seek kindness. Be caring. Help others.

You will find that baby steps toward learning to think lovingly of you and paying attention to the messages you give others will go a long way to finding the happiness you deserve. Loving yourself really does improve mental health.

If you are in need of additional support, please contact Silver Oaks Behavioral Hospital for a no cost, confidential assessment. We are here for you 24 hours a day, every day, at (844) 580-5000.

After the Holidays: Think Self-Care

The holiday has come and gone. It’s all a blur now! What a whirlwind! As the hustle and bustle and the excitement of the holidays has passed, it is now that the winter blues can really set in. It can be especially difficult if your holiday did not include seeing and spending time with those you love. In this case, the loneliness and winter cold can settle in the most amplified way.

Self-care can make a difference. Given the right set of skills and practices the feelings of being down and out can be lifted! With a self-care practice regimen, you can feel more like you, ready to take on whatever comes your way.

Self-care is not just spending money on massages, manicures, pedicures, movies, and meals. It is not just about self-indulgence. It is about really looking at what is making you feel blue: physically, emotionally, and mentally, and using your self-care skills to move toward positive health in each of these areas.

Here are some things to do to care for yourself:

Physically – Get up and shower! Wash yesterday away and start fresh. Don’t stay in your pajamas all day. Give your body a message of positive health and movement. Brush and floss your teeth. Ladies, put on a little blush! Eat breakfast. Enjoy it. Choose foods that are good for you, but don’t deny yourself the occasional donut.

Emotional – Seek the company of others. Even if you go by yourself, talk to strangers; the waiter, the clerk, brighten their day and you brighten yours at the same time. Volunteer! Start your new year by giving back. Service clubs like Kiwanis, the Exchange Club and Rotary are just waiting for your call. When you make a difference, you feel the difference in you. Don’t be demanding on yourself. Although self-discipline is important, if something doesn’t get done, will it still be there when you get to it? Create a routine, reserve special days or times for things like, bills and household chores. Routines can steady us when things get rough.

Mental – Stay alert with journaling, meditation, or learning new things. How about a book group, music lessons, or art classes to keep your focus away from negative feelings? Limit your TV time to your favorite show and maybe 1 news hour, limit social media too – it’s a time sucker. Don’t just stare at the moving pictures on the TV, you should be the one who is moving!

Think self-care. Know yourself and know the triggers that show you are getting burned out or just down and blue, or get some support from places like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), 12 step anonymous groups like AA, OA or NA, or join a group at your local church.

If self-care and community supports are still not enough, please think of Silver Oaks Hospital, for a free, confidential level of care assessment. We can help determine the kind of support that will move you toward health. Our professional and caring team are waiting for your call at 844-580-5000. We are here to help, 24/7/365.

Loneliness and Isolation During the Holidays

It is hard to understand the wonder and excitement others feel during the holiday season when all you feel is lonely. If this is how you feel, please continue reading. These feelings are not to be taken lightly. At the very least, you need to understand why you may feel this way.

Although we often think that it is lonely widowers who experience the holidays as less than joyful because of living alone and missing a spouse/partner, younger people are equally at risk. In this time of online support, the feelings of family, friends and face to face social engagement may be missing; causing loneliness to set in.

Things get pretty gloomy when you just can’t seem to feel content. It is especially hard when offers by friends to connect just make you want to dig deeper and isolate further. It is a cycle of wanting to be social, but avoiding it and not understanding why.

Part of why is that Covid changed how and where people have face to face interactions. Some coffee shops, libraries, and shopping centers are still closed to sit-down-and-visit areas. This limits social interaction for some. Social media posts are always happy and focus on how easy and wonderful life is, making anything less feel awful. Our work lives, in general, can be all-encompassing and there just seems to be less time for being with others. With all of these reasons for not being social, it’s no wonder isolation, as bad as it feels, might seem like the best choice. The holidays can be hard!

In addition to the external issues causing isolation, the holiday blues can drive you to pull away and be less social. Memories of hurtful holidays, times of trauma, lost loved ones and financial worries can intensify stress and loneliness.

Sometimes, even being around others on the holiday intensifies loneliness. When relationships are shaky or arguments occur and expectations are set too high, you can certainly feel like you just don’t fit in. It can also hurt when feelings of loneliness are discounted because you have friends and a family who are with you during the holidays.

So you know that the holidays are tough and you know that feelings of loneliness and isolating from others are a part of your holiday experience, what can you do? Here are some suggestions that may help get you through the rough spots:

  1. Start with the basics: eat well, exercise, drink water, refrain from too much alcohol (which is a depressant), and engage in meditation or faith-based readings or gatherings.
  2. Make mental lists of difficult people that you know you must see, but cause negative feelings to arise. Can you shorten the time you spend with them? Can you plan for benign conversations like movies, books, or community evens? Can you stay away from hot topics like politics or family gossip?
  3. There are some people who just seem to be like fresh air. Who are these people? Are they available to help you “catch your breath”? Even a phone call can help.
  4. Engage in your community. It is well known that giving lifts spirits and moods. Who in your community can use some support during the holidays? Be that support. Try food banks, hospitals or shelters (pets or people!).
  5. Do something that you enjoy (and don’t feel guilty about it).

If you find that you just can’t seem to shake feelings of loneliness and you find yourself pulling away from others, maybe the holidays have exacerbated a more long standing condition like depression or anxiety. Please don’t think you have to go at it alone. Your behavioral health team at Silver Oaks Behavioral Hospital is here to help. One call to (844) 580-5000 will help you schedule a level of care assessment. Free and confidential, this assessment will point you to the level of support that you need. Just call. You are not alone. We can do this together.

November brings Gratitude

It is that time of the year when we naturally think of “Thanksgiving”. This is a time for caring family, friends, and gratitude for having both. Gratitude doesn’t need to just come once a year. Making gratitude a part of everyday can actually improve your life.

Openly appreciating those around you will cause a positive reaction from them; that causes them to respond favorably, and your brain will make the translation that you are happy, connecting with others and satisfied with your life. The more you look for the positives in others, the longer you will extend your feelings of positivity. People who feel this way treat themselves better, are more productive, and have better work, relationship, and family outcomes.

Some ways to stay in gratitude:

  1. Jot down some names of people who could use a “boost”. Think of things that you can say that may make a difference in their day. Journal your feelings about their reactions.
  2. Start your day with a “Gratitude Statement.” This can be about the beautiful fall leaves, that you are having coffee with a friend, or that you are just glad to be you.
  3. Let your best friends know when you need support. Don’t let yourself get low. Share what you are thinking and feeling. Let them bring you up… You already paid it forward!
  4. Grab a book on gratitude; there are zillions out there; there are even gratitude apps.

All in all, gratitude is life changing. Try engaging in everyday gratitude. You’ll be grateful you did.

How Can This Happen to Me?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

One day things seem fine. The next day you get a call from your doctor that something was amiss on your mammogram requiring a diagnostic look at what might be going on. The rest is a blur of tests and conferring with your doctor about options for your specific type of breast cancer. You didn’t even know there was more than one kind of breast cancer.

If you have ever experienced breast cancer, “emotional roller coaster” doesn’t even begin to describe the range of emotional turmoil a breast cancer diagnosis can bring. Feelings of fear, anxiety and depression are probably at the top of the list, but feeling alone and confused can add to the stress and emotional upheaval. Cancer diagnoses, of any kind, produce an array of mental health concerns.

Fear of the unknown; the “what’s next” of cancer is a genuine worry. The fears can relate to the kind of treatment options, the costs involved, the impact on your appearance, future health and the future, in general, and how to interact with family and friends in your new role as a cancer patient.

Many challenged with a cancer diagnosis don’t seek support. Many hesitate to tell close friends and family and go for months without support.

If you have received a diagnosis of cancer, know that this Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with the right support, may be a time of both personal discovery and recovery. Please let the team at Silver Oaks Behavioral Hospital be the difference for you.  One call for a free assessment can be what you need to determine the level of mental health care that can reduce your fears and help you feel more in control. You don’t have to go through it alone. We will help you 24/7/365. It’s what we do. Just call us Toll-Free at 844-580-5000.