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Blog: Crossroads with Dr. Dave - Navigating the Path

About Dr. Dave Miers

Dr. Dave Miers is the Counseling and Program Development Manager for Mental Health Services at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, NE. In addition, he co-chairs the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Dr. Miers has published research focusing on family survivors of teen suicide and co-authored a chapter in an international handbook for clinical suicide research on the role of professionals in helping families after a child’s
suicide. Dr. Miers assisted in the development of the Lincoln Lancaster Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors team in Lincoln, NE.


What is Happiness? | September 2014

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in society. It is also one of the most treatable of the mental illnesses. Left untreated depression can lead to serious problems.  Persistent sadness or feeling “empty” is one of the symptoms of depression.  If you have had persistent feelings of sadness and are wondering if your sadness is a symptom of a more serious condition called depression take a free, confidential online screening.  The good news is that depression can be overcome.  You can have feelings of happiness once again. 

The opposite feeling, Happiness, is something people strive to find in their daily lives. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines happiness as a state of well-being and contentment and a pleasurable or satisfying experience. What exactly is happiness for you and how do you find it? The Mental Illness Awareness Week Committee has invited Dr. Shawn Shea, M.D., author of Happiness Is, to speak at a free event to help explore what happiness is and how we go about finding it. This will be the feature program for Lincoln’s Mental Illness Awareness Week.

The free presentation titled The Mysteries of the Human Matrix: Finding a “Tough Happiness” in Difficult Times on Wednesday, October 8th is scheduled from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Bryan East Plaza Conference Center at 1500 South 48th street.  Dr. Shea is an acclaimed speaker in the fields of suicide prevention and creating resiliency. Come and join Dr. Shea on an intriguing journey into the heart of three questions: What is the nature of happiness? How do we make it last? And what is the nature of human nature that allows us to find it in the first place? He deftly, and with a wicked sense of humor, provides a dynamic map for self-exploration and problem-solving, and shows you how to use it to transform difficult times.

There will be a free mental health fair at 6pm and following Dr. Shea’s presentation. To register for this free event please call 402-481-8886 or online at bryanhealth.org/calendar.


Depression in the Summer | August 2014

Summer is here! Vacations are on the horizon and your kids are out of school. Barbeques, time by the beach or the lake, and ballgames are all in your future. Most of your coworkers, family, and friends may seem more positive and energetic. Does your mood match the bright summer days? 

Regardless of the season, depression can put a dark, gloomy cloud over how you see the world. In fact, summer can be a particularly difficult time of year for those with depression. Clinical depression can impair your ability to sleep, eat, work, and get along with others. It can damage self-esteem, self-confidence, and your ability to accomplish everyday tasks.

Depression is more than a low mood. It can be a serious illness. This summer, take advantage of free anonymous online screenings for depression, anxiety disorders and alcohol problems by utilizing the free and anonymous screening provided by Bryan Medical Center

To find out if you should seek treatment, take Bryan Medical Center’s anonymous and confidential online screening. It only takes a few minutes to complete. You will receive customized feedback and treatment information if necessary. Take the first step to health today.

If you would like to visit with a mental health professional, the Bryan Counseling Center has trained staff that can help. To schedule an appointment, call 402-481-5991.


Postpartum Depression | July 2014

It is summertime and everyone around you seems to be enjoying the beautiful weather and time off with friends and family. You’ve just had a baby and everyone expects you to be ecstatic. So why are you feeling so low? Surprisingly, up to 80 percent of new mothers experience the baby blues, an emotional reaction that begins a few days to a week after delivery and usually lasts less than two weeks. Symptoms can include weepiness, anxiety, inability to sleep, irritability and moodiness.

If the feelings persist after two weeks, you could be suffering from postpartum depression. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider if you think you may be feeling this way.

If you think you may be feeling general depression symptoms, you are not alone. About 10 to 15 percent of new mothers experience clinical depression, anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). To find out if you should seek treatment, take Bryan Medical Center’s anonymous and confidential online screening.

It's a quick and easy way to determine whether you could benefit from meeting with a mental health professional. If you would like to visit with a mental health professional, the Bryan Counseling Center has trained staff that can help. To schedule an appointment, call 402-481-5991. 

 


Men and Depression | June 2014

Contrary to what some believe, both men and women can have depression. In fact, every year, about six million American men are diagnosed with the mood disorder. Yet these numbers may not reveal the whole story. The effects of stigma and societal expectations can prevent some men from sharing how they feel. Therefore, many men do not recognize, acknowledge, or seek help for their depression.

Many times, men experience depression differently than women do and the symptoms are often more difficult to discern. When a man has depression, he has trouble with daily life and loses interest in anything for weeks at a time. Rather than expressing a depressed mood, men may seem more irritable and aggressive. Men may also be more likely to have difficulty sleeping than women who have depression. And although women with depression are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide.

Worried about yourself or someone you know? In support of National Men’s Health Week® from June 9th to the 15th, please encourage the men in your life to take a free, online self-assessment for depression.

Bryan Medical Center offers mental health screenings at Bryan Health online screenings. The screening is anonymous and confidential. After answering a few questions, the user will receive feedback, educational materials, and treatment resources if necessary. Share the screening with someone in your life today.


Importance of Mental Health | May 2014

Most of us are familiar with what it takes to keep our bodies in good shape. Regular exercise, a nutritious diet and routine visits to the doctor can help protect against disease and other health problems. While most people know the ways to keep their physical bodies healthy, not as many know the ways to keep their mental health in check.

May is Mental Health Month and it is a great time for a mental health check-up! Here are some symptoms to watch for:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Feelings of panic and fear
  • Sleeping too much or having trouble sleeping
  • Hopelessness

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms like these, it’s a good idea to take a mental health screening—just like you would do for any other disease. Bryan Medical Center offers an anonymous online screening for a variety of mental health concerns. The screening is available 24/7 at Bryan Health online screenings. Simply choose the appropriate screening based on how you feel and quickly receive educational information and treatment resources if necessary.

Remember: your mental health is just important as your physical health! Visit the Bryan Counseling Center today.

 


The Importance of Sleep

Studies show that we spend about 26 years of our life sleeping. There’s a good reason, too. Sleep is an integral part of overall health and well-being. Think about a specific day when you got little to no sleep—you felt slow, vacant and most likely had a difficult time staying focused. Unhealthy sleeping habits can develop in high school and follow you through to adulthood and it can be difficult to break them. It’s easy to prioritize work, school, family and entertainment before a good night’s sleep. Most adults need seven to eight hours of interrupted sleep each night to function well.

If you’ve been having trouble getting a good night’s rest for some time, there’s a chance you may be suffering from generalized anxiety or depression. Those with generalized anxiety can often have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Some people also report their sleep to be restless and unsatisfying. There is also a link between lack of sleep and depression. In fact, one of the most common symptoms of depression is insomnia.

If you or someone you know has been having trouble getting the sleep you need, take one of the Bryan Health online screenings – SleepAware or the Mental Health Screening may be good places to start. The screening only takes a few minutes and provides confidential results and information on where to find treatment.   

 


Coping with the Holiday Blues

If you're feeling sad or depressed while everyone else around you seems to be singing along to Christmas carols, excitedly buying presents or planning for the holiday party at work, you aren't alone. It's not unusual to feel this way during the holiday season. Holidays, anniversaries and other special occasions can trigger an episode of the blues, feelings of loneliness, depression and melancholy.

Don't give up hope - here are some tips to help you cope with these difficult feelings:

  • It's okay to cry.
  • Don't try to be all things for all people. Set realistic limits for yourself.
  • Pay close attention to your own needs. If possible, do something self-indulgent, such as getting a massage, watching your favorite movie or even just a bubble bath.
  • Keep your body happy with consistent sleeping and exercise habits.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. It's easy to turn to alcohol to try to boost your mood, but it's a depressant and inevitably it will most likely end up making you feel worse.
  • Write a thank you message to an influential person in your life. Psychologists have scientifically proven that one of the greatest contributing factors to overall happiness in your life is expressing gratitude.

If you think you may be suffering from something more serious than the holiday blues, consider taking Bryan Medical Center's anonymous online depression screening.

It's a quick and easy way to determine whether you could benefit from meeting with a mental health professional. If you would like to visit with a mental health professional, the Bryan Counseling Center has trained staff that can help. To schedule an appointment, call 402-481-5991. 

 


Back to School and Your Child’s Mental Health

Students are back in school, and we’re all getting back into our ‘school routines’. This can be a very exciting or a very stressful time for students as they embark on new experiences and face new challenges. Your child’s mental health is just as important as their physical health.

 Here are some ways you can support your child’s transition back to school:

  • Structure and routine are helpful for children. Establishing a consistent routine for your child will help your child adapt to the new school year.
  • Encourage your child to get involved in school activities and support their interests.
  • Encourage your child to make new friendships.
  • Encourage your children to sleep well and eat healthy.
  • Communication with your child is very important. Take time out of each day to sit down and ask your child how the day was and if there is anything he/she wants to talk about. Be prepared for silence and not always getting an answer. The important thing is that you are giving your child the opportunity to talk which tells them you care and are there to support them.


It is normal for children to have some anxiety at the start of school. This stress and anxiety should go away within the first few days or weeks. If the stress and anxiety does not go away, then it may be helpful to talk to your child’s teacher and physician. If problems continue, you may want to consider professional mental health care assistance.

 
Bryan Medical Center Mental Health Services has professionals available to assist you and your family. The Bryan Counseling Center offers outpatient services.  We have specialists who work with children and adolescents, as well as families. We also have a mental health nurse available 24/7 in the Bryan West Campus Emergency Department for crisis situations. 


Resources for You

Here’s wishing you and your family a successful transition back to school! Learn more about our services here. Online confidential depression and other mental health screenings are available here on our online screenings page. To schedule an appointment, call 402-481-5991.


Mark Your Calendar!


National speaker and parenting expert Robert Brooks, PhD will be in Lincoln providing a free community education program for parents and others interested in raising responsible and respectful children.


Here is the program information. It is free, but preregistration is required.

  • Raising a Self-Disciplined Child with Dr. Robert Brooks, author and psychologist from Harvard Medical School
  • Monday, October 7, 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Bryan East Campus, Plaza Conference Center, 1500 S. 48th St., Lincoln, Neb.
  • To learn more or register, call 402-481-8886 or visit our calendar.

 


Grief versus Depression


Grief:

Each of us experiences grief at varying stages in our life. Grief is a normal reaction. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration defines grief as the normal response of sorrow, emotion and confusion that comes from losing someone or something important to you. It is a natural part of life. Grief is a typical reaction to death, divorce, job loss, a move away from family and friends, or loss of good health due to illness.
Grief has been described as an empty or numb feeling. Some individuals indicate they have had physical changes such as trembling, nausea, trouble breathing, muscle weakness, dry mouth, or trouble sleeping and eating.

Sometime grief brings the feelings of anger and guilt. Some individuals may withdraw socially and have a difficult time returning to life’s routine such as work. It is important to take care of oneself when grieving and to manage these feelings appropriately. Some individuals accept and learn to live with their loss within a few months and others take years to adapt. The grief process is different for everyone.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration outlines the grieving process in four steps:

  1. Accept the loss
  2. Work through and feel the physical and emotional pain of grief
  3. Adjust to living in a world without the person or item lost
  4.  Move on with life

 

Depression:

Many of the symptoms I mentioned above are similar to the feelings and behaviors of someone who is depressed. Depression is a serious but treatable condition where the symptoms impact the way a person thinks, feels and behaves every day for at least two weeks.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling sad or "empty"
  • Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious or guilty
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Feeling very tired
  • Not being able to concentrate or remember details
  • Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Overeating, or not wanting to eat at all
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems.


If a person feels like they may be depressed, it is important to seek treatment. If someone is having thoughts of suicide, it is important to go to the nearest emergency department or call 911. 


Bryan offers free online depression screenings here
.

 


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month and June 20 is PTSD Screening Day.  In the U.S., 70 percent of adults have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20 percent of these people will develop PTSD. Sometimes traumatic events affect an entire community, such as the Boston Marathon bombings. In other instances, traumatic events can affect an individual.

Examples of traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include: 

  • Natural disaster
  • Fire
  • Car accident
  • Acts of violence, war or terrorism
  • Media coverage of traumatic events


Most individuals will have stress-related reactions following a traumatic event, but not everyone will develop PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD generally last four weeks or more and can make it hard for an individual to function in daily life. Symptoms include:

  • Reliving the event through nightmares and flashbacks
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the event such as large crowds or driving a car
  • Developing negative changes in beliefs or feelings
  • Feeling hyper-alert or easily startled. 


PTSD is often associated with members of the military and veterans, but it is important to know that PTSD can affect anyone. While combat veterans do have a high rate of PTSD, we also see PTSD in members of the public especially among first responders, victims of violence, or those affected by natural disasters.
We offer free and anonymous screenings, providing a comfortable and private way for individuals to assess their symptoms. While the screenings are not diagnostic, they will indicate existing symptoms and if further assessment by a clinician is advisable.


To take an anonymous screening, visit http://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/BRYANHEALTH



Heart Disease and Depression

Reports have shown that half of Americans will experience a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. One of the most common mental illnesses is depression. Depression can impact anyone at any point in their lifetime. Research conducted over the last 20 years shows that people with heart disease are more likely to suffer from depression compared to healthy individuals. It is also known that individuals with depression are at a greater risk for developing heart disease and have a lesser chance of survival from a heart attack compared to a non-depressed individual. Someone suffering from the symptoms of depression may find it more difficult to take the medications and follow other recommended treatment for their heart disease.


Symptoms of depression include the following (Source: National Institute of Mental Health)

  •  Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  •  Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  •  Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  •  Irritability, restlessness
  •  Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  •  Fatigue and decreased energy
  •  Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  •  Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  •  Overeating, or appetite loss
  •  Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  •  Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.
     


If symptoms are present every day for at least two weeks and interfere with routine daily activities such as work, self-care, and childcare or social life, seek an evaluation for depression. If having thoughts of suicide/self harm please seek medical attention right away by calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency department. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255.


Depression is a serious medical condition that impacts person’s thoughts, feelings, and the ability to function in life. It is estimated that 10 percent of American adults will experience some form of depression in a year. Unfortunately, less than half seek the help that they need. Therapies are available to help with the symptoms of depression. 80-90% of those who seek treatment find relief for their depressive symptoms.


The combination of heart disease and depression is one that should be taken seriously. Treating depression will help manage both diseases and enhance quality of life. Work closely with the physician who is caring for your heart disease and with a mental health professional who will also work closely with your heart physician. Examples of mental health professionals are psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and social workers. The Bryan Counseling Center has staff available to help individuals adjust from a medical diagnosis to living life.
 

 



Preventing Violence Through Increased Connectedness

There has been a lot written lately about violence in schools, communities, and in society in general. A lot has been written about steps our Government can take to help with this issue.  It is important that we focus on things each of us can do to help prevent violence in our neighborhoods and communities. Increasing community connectedness is something we can all do and should do to help promote and increase in ourselves and others.


Research supports that the more connected an individual is to their family, friends, and their community, the less likely that individual will be to act out in self destructive ways towards themselves or others. Everyone should ask themselves how we can help our community increase the level of connectedness.  Community connectedness is sometimes also referred to as social connectedness. There are many avenues to social connectedness in our community including social networks such as school clubs community clubs, organized sports, neighbors, and support/self-help groups. Connectedness can be achieved through attending or referring others to a support group, joining a club, joining a school activity, participating in an organized sport, or engaging in any healthy activity with others in your community on a regular basis.

 
If ever concerned about you or someone’s safety please go to the nearest Emergency Department or call 911.  If wanting to know what services there are in your area please visit www.dontbesidelined.com i
f interested in the different support groups in your community please visit www.thekimfoundation.org and search under the “Finding Help” tab and clicking on “support groups”  tab to find a listing of support groups in your town or nearby town in Nebraska. The local newspapers, blue pages of phone book, mental health agency, or hospital are good resources for support group listings as well.


Take a look at your level of connectedness and decide if you have connectedness to family, friends, and the community (social) or if you are concerned about someone help them increase their level of connectedness.  It is through everyone’s collective effort that we can prevent violence in our community by supporting and engaging in activities that promote increased connectedness. 

 

 


 

December, 2012: Does This Time of Year Leave You Feeling Blue?

The holiday season is fast approaching! The leaves are changing, it is getting colder, and the days keep getting shorter. For many people, a change in weather can trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder or what is commonly known as SAD. 
 
SAD is a depression that occurs each year at the same time, usually starting in fall or winter and ending in spring or early summer. This mood disorder is often attributed to the lack of light during the colder months of the year. Between 10 and 20 percent of the U. S. population may suffer from mild symptoms associated with the disorder, and 75 percent of those are women.
 
Symptoms of SAD can include:

  • Excessive sleeping or feelings of extreme fatigue
  • Overeating and weight gain during the fall or winter
  • Inability to maintain regular lifestyle schedule
  • Depression (feelings of sadness, loss of feelings, apathy) and irritability
  • Lack of interest in social interactions, losing interest in activities of enjoyment
  • Remission of symptoms in the spring and summer months. 
     

SAD is a diagnosable disorder that may require treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of this treatable condition, Bryan Medical Center invites you to take advantage of free, anonymous online screening. You will receive immediate feedback as well as information as to where to seek help if necessary.

www.bryanhealth.org/onlinescreenings

 

October, 2012: Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 7-13 is Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). This is a good time to learn about serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Mental illness is a medical illness. It does not discriminate. People from all walks of life, at all ages, may experience mental illness. One in four adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year. One in 17 adults lives with a serious mental illness.

Treatment works, but only if a person can get it. Bryan Health is proud of our long-standing and comprehensive treatment services for children, adolescents, adults and seniors. The earlier symptoms are identified and treatment is sought, the better the outcomes.

Please join Bryan Mental Health Services and the Lincoln Mental Illness Awareness Week Committee as we work together to educate the public about mental illness during this week.

Here are some ways you can be involved:

    • Wednesday, October 10 - Piles Upon Piles: Helping People Who Hoard with Gail Steketee, PhD, from the Boston University of Social Work. The program is at Bryan East Campus, 1500 S. 48th St., from 7-8:30 p.m. A health fair featuring local resources will take place from 6:30-7 p.m. and 8:30-9 p.m. To register, call 402-481-8886 or register online

  • Thursday, October 11 - This is National Depression Screening Day. Our free, online screenings are available at all times.   

During MIAW, let's all talk with friends and neighbors about mental illness and recovery. It's an opportunity to learn facts and end myths to help break the stigma - and silence -  that too often surrounds the topic.

By changing attitudes about mental illness, we can change lives.

 


August, 2012: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Everyone has double checked something in their life.

An example would be making sure your front door is locked before leaving for work. Individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) feel the need to check on things repeatedly, or feel the need to carry out routines and rituals repeatedly. An example would be repeatedly double checking to make sure your door is locked before leaving for work. This repetition may actually make them late for work.

The frequent thoughts one has with OCD are called obsessions. In an effort to control the obsessions, an individual may have an urge to repeat certain rituals or behaviors called compulsions. Individuals with OCD have a difficult time controlling obsessions and compulsions which can be time consuming and can create distress. These symptoms can interfere with a person’s ability to function socially, occupationally or educationally.

OCD can start as early as childhood. OCD is an anxiety disorder, and getting a correct diagnosis is important. 

   


July 2012: Ask a Question, Save a Life

Suicide is a preventable public health concern that impacts all ages. 

Suicide ranks as the 10th overall leading cause of death in the United States. It ranks as the 3rd leading cause of death for our youth. It is important to know that suicide is a threat that impacts all demographics and is preventable. 

There is a myth in society that says if we talk about suicide it will give someone the idea. This myth is one reason individuals are hesitant to bring the subject out in the open. This myth is indeed a myth. One of the best things we can do is to talk about suicide. Raising the question of suicide without shock or disapproval shows that you are taking the person seriously and responding to their pain. If you know of someone in crisis seek help immediately.
 

    • Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach a 24-hour crisis center or dial 911 for immediate assistance or go to the nearest emergency department. The Bryan West Emergency Department provides emergency mental health care/crisis assessments to determine if hospitalization is needed. It is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week located at 2300 South 16th Street.

 

  • Call the Lincoln Lancaster Community Mental Health Center Crisis Line at 402-441-7940.


It is important that we continue to educate ourselves about suicide prevention. Bryan Medical Center along with other entities collaborated with Nebraska Educational Television to produce a video called, “Ask a Question: Save a Life”. This video focuses on three high risk group, youth, military, and the elderly. Click here to watch the video now. 

  

 

 

 

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