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5 Ways to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Behavioral Health, Mental Health, Winter | Posted on 04-01-2017

Have you been binging on Netflix? Sleeping more than usual? Not exercising enough? If so, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression related to the seasons of the year. Typically, SAD starts in the late fall when the days become shorter and activities taper off. Symptoms increase and plateau through the winter months. Read the rest of this entry »

Coping with Holiday Grief

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Behavioral Health, Mental Health | Posted on 23-12-2016

Unhappy woman crying in bedDoes grief have you feeling down this holiday season? One may think that the holiday season brings good tidings and cheer, but suffering from grief is more common than people realize. Simply finding a way through the holiday season can be challenging if you’ve lost a loved one. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Ignore Cyber Bullying

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Behavioral Health, Mental Health, Parents | Posted on 08-12-2016

upset-boy-on-cellphoneSocial media and video gaming has seen rapid growth in recent years. With children and adolescents frequenting online communities, this opens the door to cyber bullying and puts our children’s emotional well-being at risk. Children who experience cyber bullying are more likely to show signs of loneliness and social isolation. With prolonged exposure, they can experience lowered self-esteem and depression.

“Our children are facing new and complicated social situations online,” said Autumn Dunham Neubert, LCSW, at Memorial Behavioral Health—Springfield Children’s Center. “Unfortunately, the repercussions can be devastating to their feelings of worth, especially in the preteen and teenage years.” Read the rest of this entry »

Senior Citizens and Anxiety: Five Indicators

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Mental Health, Taylorville | Posted on 18-10-2016

anxiety-senior-citizenFor families and friends with aging loved ones, the signs of anxiety and depression can be subtle and build up over time.

Barb Brauer, a licensed clinical social worker with Christian County Mental Health, shares these common signs that indicate anxiety or depression in an elderly person. Read the rest of this entry »

Help for Men, National Depression Screening Day

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Behavioral Health, Men, Mental Health | Posted on 06-10-2016

Father and daughter sitting in the kitchenSure, everyone has days where sadness creeps in, but typically the feelings should pass after a few days. If it gets to a point that the sadness, exhaustion, or loss of interest starts to affect your daily life, you may be suffering from depression. National Depression Screening Day is Oct. 6 and is an important reminder that depression doesn’t discriminate. It impacts both men and women, but depression can affect men differently than it does women.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, men may be more likely to feel very tired and irritable and lose interest in their work, family or hobbies. They may be more likely to have difficulty sleeping than women who have depression. Read the rest of this entry »

Early Puberty and Depression: Tips for Guiding Younger Girls Through Body Changes

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Behavioral Health, Mental Health, Parents, Pediatrics | Posted on 28-09-2016

Sad lonely girl sitting on stairsWhat used to be a rite of passage for girls entering their teenage years is now occurring more frequently at younger ages, which can make it developmentally and emotionally challenging for many.

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, the average age of puberty in females now occurs around third and fourth grades, which is generally eight to nine years old. Twenty-five years ago, the average age was 12.

Amanda Armstrong, MA, LCPC, is a child out-patient therapist with Memorial Behavioral Health at the Springfield Children’s Center in Springfield, Illinois. She sees firsthand how early puberty can affect some girls and how communication is key in combatting depression. Read the rest of this entry »

Suicide Prevention: You Matter

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Behavioral Health, Mental Health | Posted on 08-09-2016

Suicide-Prevention-ImageHave you or someone you know lost a loved one to suicide? While it is not an easy topic to discuss, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the world, especially among young people. Every year, nearly one million people worldwide die by suicide, or one death by suicide every 40 seconds.

More than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have depression or another diagnosable mental disorder. Many times, they have a substance abuse problem. It is important to learn and recognize the warning signs. The majority tell someone first, so never take threats of suicide lightly. Read the rest of this entry »

MOSAIC Helps Teen Move Forward from Depression

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Behavioral Health, Mental Health, Pediatrics, Testimonial | Posted on 08-08-2016

Memorial Behavioral Health’s Children’s Mosaic Project is a collaboration of community resources that form a complete network of behavioral healthcare to youth in central Illinois. MOSAIC, or Meaningful Opportunities for Success and Achievement Through Service Integration for Children, brings together healthcare services, schools and neighborhood outreach programs to create an integrated mosaic of services.

Now a happy and healthy teenager, Trina* wanted to share her story to let others know they are not alone. Trina, a high school senior, took part in MOSAIC counseling services after she scored in the highly elevated range on a social-emotional screen. Although she had never had any counseling services before, she said she often felt depressed. Read the rest of this entry »

3 Tips for Managing Stress

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Behavioral Health, Mental Health | Posted on 23-05-2016

Stressed-Man-and-FamilyLet’s face it, everyone experiences stress from time to time. Stress can come from anywhere. It could be caused by being late to meet a work deadline, arguing with your children or dealing with traffic. Instead of letting stress get the best of you, try these three easy tips to reduce stress. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Recognize Childhood Depression

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Mental Health, Pediatrics | Posted on 02-05-2016

mental-health-in-childrenEvery parent wants their child to be happy and healthy. They want them to play with friends and to be carefree. Unfortunately, not every child feels this way. Some children may struggle with mental health issues such as depression.

Thursday, May 5, is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and is a perfect opportunity for parents to speak to their children about the importance of emotional and behavioral health.

“Noticing the signs of depression in children can be viewed in two ways,” said Amanda Chahalis, MSW, on-site school clinician with the Children’s MOSAIC Project, a program of Memorial Behavioral Health—Springfield Children’s Center. “The first, the one we typically think of, is feeling sadness more often than not and having a loss of interest or pleasure in everyday things. The second is becoming easily irritated and having difficulty controlling anger.”

Here are a few warning signs that a child may be experiencing depression:

  • Showing irritability or anger
  • Feeling down or having a lack of interest in things
  • Isolating oneself from peers and family
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Yelling or crying without reason

Many parents will say their child, especially teens, demonstrate these symptoms of depression on a regular basis. So what’s normal and when should a parent be concerned?

“Please keep in mind how long the symptoms have been going on, how often they are happening and if there is some other reason your child could be showing these behaviors, such as grieving the loss of a loved one or moving to a new school,” Chahalis said.

If your child is exhibiting symptoms of depression, seek professional help.  Schedule an appointment with a mental health professional for an assessment. If you believe your child is in crisis and in need of immediate assistance, call the CARES Line at 1-800-345-VOICE (9049).

At Memorial Behavioral Health, we understand how emotional or mental health issues affect your life. Our caring team provides help, hope and the path to wellness–close to home in central Illinois.

Amanda Chahalis, MSW

Amanda Chahalis, MSW, is an on-site MOSAIC school clinician with the Children’s MOSAIC Project, a program of Memorial Behavioral Health – Springfield Children’s Center. Amanda is trained in school social work and trauma-based behavioral health interventions. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from University of Louisville and her Master of Social Work from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.