COVID-19 Vaccination Update for Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital

Prior to the coronavirus vaccine being available to the general public, Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital will be providing COVID-19 Vaccination as soon as it is available to all front line caregivers and employees.

Once we are supplied with the vaccine we’ve developed an implementation process and are prioritizing distribution to front line teams and then vulnerable populations.

Until that time we are following State Department of Health Guidelines assuring all workers are wearing face coverings, good Hand Hygiene, and social distancing to limit exposure.

Safety is number one, we can get through this together.

For more information regarding Vaccine Distribution: Click Here.

How to Talk to Children About Suicide: An Age-by-Age Guide

“You can’t prompt suicide by talking about it or asking about it,” says Thea Gallagher, clinic director at the Center for Treatment and Study of Anxiety in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: Losing a teenager to suicide, before you even know anything is wrong. Parents may feel wary about talking about mental health and suicide with their children, but experts say it’s important. The Today Show provided an excellent in-depth look about how to talk to children about suicide from several experts in the field, click the link below to educate yourself on how to address this very sensitive and very important topic.

If your child is struggling with thoughts of suicide, Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital is available to take your call 24/7. Call now at 360-651-6400 to speak with a mental health professional. Click here to learn more about our adolescent program and services.


The Mental Health of Healthcare Workers during COVID-19; Resources and Support

Working within high stress environments is familiar for emergency room and intensive care staff. Frontline healthcare workers have been trained to maintain focus and perform complicated procedures while responding to gunshot wounds, heart attacks, and patients coding. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic introduces a new challenge, a chronic stress and pervasive uncertainty that threatens both the physical and mental health of frontline workers.

Now more than ever, it is important to make sure frontline workers address their fears and make sure to have strong coping strategies. Mental Health America (MHA), the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all has provided resources to help address the stress and anxiety that burdens frontline workers and to help prevent burnout.

If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis and need help, Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital is open 24/7. Call us at 360-651-6400.


Will COVID-19 Make Seasonal Affective Disorder Worse?

A Yale Medicine expert explains seasonal affective disorder and how COVID-19 may impact it.

For some people, the winter months, which bring fewer daylight hours, can trigger a form of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Medical experts worry that the added stresses from COVID-19 might impact SAD symptoms. But, treatment is available, read on for further information and how to seek support.

If you are having trouble managing your mental health and need support, Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital is here to help and available 24/7. Find out more about our treatment options here. Call us today at 360-651-6400.


Thanksgiving 2020: 5 Tips on how to protect mental health during this holiday season

Thanksgiving is traditionally a holiday for family togetherness, give your family a peace of mind by taking care of yourself this holiday season with these 5 tips from Medical News Today on how to protect your mental health.

Click Here to Read the Tips

If you are having trouble managing your mental health this holiday season and need support, Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital is here to help and available 24/7. Find out more about our treatment options here. Call us today at 360-651-6400.


Guide to Mental Health Care for People Who are Transgender

Transgender Awareness Week, typically observed the second week of November, is a one-week celebration leading up to Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), which memorializes victims of transphobic violence. Gwendolyn Ann Smith began Transgender Day of Remembrance in November 1999 to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered in 1998.

75% of transgender youth report they feel unsafe at school. Nearly half of transgender and nonbinary youth did not receive wanted mental healthcare due to concerns related to LGBTQ+ competence of providers in 2019. 40% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being physically threatened or harmed in their lifetime due to their gender identity in 2019. Follow this link to Mental Health Match for a helpful guide from Dr. KS Stanley, Psy.D for information on how to care for people who are transgender and see how you can become an ally.

Coping Through COVID-19; 5 Tips to Help Teens Navigate the “New Normal” During a Pandemic

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently reports that the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is low for young Americans, research on natural disasters makes it clear that, compared to adults, children are more vulnerable to the emotional impact of traumatic events that disrupt their daily lives.

Adolescence is a phase when teens value time spent with friends and the pursuit of independence from their parents. The Coronavirus pandemic has left teens feeling even more isolated and burdened with social isolation. However, parents can help their teens navigate and develop strategies to make life easier for their teens, and themselves during this unprecedented time.

1. The Importance of Structure

Prior to the pandemic, teenagers’ schedules were heavily filled with nonstop classes, sports practice, part-time work, and social outings; today navigating through unstructured time may be difficult for them to adjust. Lisa W. Coyne, PhD, founder and senior clinical consultant at the Child and Adolescent OCD Institute at McLean Hospital states, “it’s important for parents to gently encourage their teens to have structure around schoolwork as well as household tasks.” She suggests parents teach teens a simple principle to organize their time. “First, do the hard thing, which is most likely schoolwork,” she said. “And then do the fun thing—a video call with a friend, or whatever it may be.” Coyne added, “Parents can emphasize that this situation is difficult for them too and model how to follow these guidelines themselves.”

Dr. Coyne suggests that regular sleep and exercise schedules are also beneficial, as these factors help to regulate mood and provide structure. “It’s important to remember in adolescence teens go through a sleep-phase shift. They tend to go to sleep later and wake later than when they were younger,” Coyne said. “At the same time, there are simple things parents can do to set some boundaries with this,” she added. “Setting limits on screen time in the late evening would be a big one, as screens can disrupt sleep onset.”

2. Balancing Family and Alone Time

A teenager’s time is precious to them and this pandemic can be difficult for teens to feel they have a sense of autonomy. “A teen’s room may be their haven, and I’d encourage parents not to immediately worry if their teens are spending a good bit of time in their room,” she said. Coyne suggests that parents be respectful by knocking before entering and asking permission. She adds, rather than making demands that teens have family time, parents can invite them. “Giving teens a role in the family, for example, to help with a particular daily task like setting the table, doing the dishes, can also be helpful and give teens a sense of structure.”

3. Connection Through Collaboration

Feeling the stress of social isolation in teens can be especially difficult during a pandemic. However, the era of social media and online gaming can be helpful for teens during this time, said Coyne. Teens are very good at pushing boundaries, Coyne suggests parents have collaborative conversations around the actual risks and how these work in the context of the family and physically distancing restrictions.

“Consider: Are there older, vulnerable family members at home? What are the government or town restrictions?” Coyne said. “Instead, approach the situation by empathizing and treating the teen as if they are just about to do the ‘next right thing.” According to Coyne, if teens feel empowered and trusted, they will sometimes make better decisions about risk. “The best way to get there,” Coyne said, “is to work on authentic, empathic, and more collaborative conversations with teens.”

4. Coping with Change and Loss

Many teens feel as though they are mourning a loss, like missing high school milestones – prom, graduation, school performances, sporting events, and parties. Coyne said the first action parents can take is to recognize that their teens maybe be grieving these losses. She suggests that parents can empathize and give space to their teens by listening, and then then receiving what their teens wish to say. Coyne points out that parents should “resist problem-solving in this conversation, as the most important ingredient would be for teens to feel heard.”

If parents want to help, Coyne said, they can then ask thoughtful questions, such as “Do you have any ideas about how you might mark these occasions a different way? What are your friends doing? If you could do something that would help you and your friends make this a meaningful event, what might that look like?” If the teens come up with an idea, such as a remote “Google Hangout” prom, parents can support it.

5. Coping with Frustration

Adolescence would not exist without constant barrage of frustrations between parents and teens, Coyne suggests that parents refrain from their first instinct of coming down hard on their teen and instead she encourages parents to remember a couple of simple rules: 

  • Timing Is Everything: A well-timed chat when a teen is calm goes much further than in the middle of a heated argument when nobody can hear anything the other person is saying.
  • Pick Your Battles: “Is your teen safe? Are they mostly responsive and connected in your home? Then see if you can let the minor irritations go,” Coyne said. “We all lose our temper sometimes, and it isn’t necessarily a mark of disrespect to one another.” Be gentle and empathic, she adds, and in quiet moments, set kind but firm boundaries when required about what behavior is, and is not, ok with you.

Most of all, Coyne said, parents need to listen, and allow to let in what their teen has to say. “It may be helpful for parents to take some time to think back to what they were like, and what they understood, and how they viewed the world when they were teenagers, and to let that ‘teen self’ out to chat with their own teen.”

If your teen is having trouble managing their mental health and needs support, Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital is here to help. Find out more about our treatment options for teensCall us today at 360-651-6400.

4 Ways to Cope with Election Anxiety, Backed by Science

It has been described as one of the most warring, garish and angry presidential elections in history. And it is taking a toll on our mental health. Among feeling anxiety and uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, more than two-thirds (68%) of U.S adults say the 2020 presidential election has significantly increased their stress – a 16% increase from the 2016 presidential race, according to The Harris Poll, conducted on behalf of the American Psychological Association. The A.P.A. recommends to “read just enough to stay informed.”

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the contentious election, here are some researched-based strategies that the APA says can help to cope with election anxiety.

  • Avoid dwelling on things outside of your control. Research has shown that ruminating, excessive overthinking, and repetitive thoughts can impair thinking and problem solving. Instead, distract yourself with meditation. Be aware of how much election talk is dominating conversations with friends and family and change the subject.
  • Focus on what you can control. Give yourself permission to take a break from the news and limit your media consumption. Avoid politics altogether if a conversation is likely to escalate to conflict.
  • Have a voting plan. Having a plan on how and when you will vote can help ease anxiety, and getting others involved will also promote follow-through.
  • Control your media use. If scrolling through social media and news channels elevates your anxiety, allow yourself to take a break. Instead, switch channels to something that takes your mind off from politics, go for a walk, or call a family/friend.

Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital is open 24/7 for immediate assistance – 360-651-6400

Coping with Mental Health During COVID-19

Studies have shown the emotional impact of quarantine during other disease outbreaks and indicate that such isolations can lead to negative mental health outcomes.

During this extraordinary time of uncertainty and fear, it is likely that mental health issues and substance use disorders among people with mental health conditions will be intensified. In addition, pandemics have shown to induce general anxiety across a population and may lead to new mental health and substance use issues.

Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital is open 24/7 for immediate support of mental health needs, and we have compiled a range of resources and information on coping with mental illness during the COVID-10 Pandemic, from blogs to webinars and resources within your community. We are in this together.



Additional Resources:

Mental Health is on the Presidential Ballot, learn about each candidates stance

It is so important that we are all aware of our choices and educate ourselves to those issues that impact our lives; be it mental health parity, suicide prevention or positions on the Opioid crisis.

Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital is here to encourage you to exercise your right to vote, to be educated to each candidates position, how it effects you and allows you to make an informed decision in this presidential election. Your vote matters, it matters for you, your loved ones and the future.

For more information on Presidential candidates’ positions see the link below.

COVID-19, Mental Health, and the 2020 Election: A Review of Candidate Platforms