Tag: mental health

Mental Health During a Pandemic


The struggle is real.

The pandemic has taken a significant toll on the mental health of many in Baltimore’s Jewish community. Fortunately, in these difficult times, The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore’s agencies and programs are equipped to serve the needs of the community safely and effectively.

At Jewish Community Services (JCS), that means delivering therapy, support groups, new client consultations, triage, financial assistance and career coaching — all remotely.

Early on, JCS offered a series of free virtual programs called “Brief Bites” to help members of the community adjust to life during the pandemic. In recent months, the agency has provided interactive discussions on pandemic-related issues, as well as community-wide programs on addiction, and planning for financial, medical and end-of-life matters. JCS support groups for individuals with low vision, dementia caregivers, Parkinson’s patients and their families and those experiencing grief are also running online.

Police Piloting Diversion Program for Low-Level Drug, Prostitution Cases

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Some suspected drug and prostitution offenders in Baltimore will soon have the opportunity to see a case manager instead of a booking officer.

Johns Hopkins Creates Teen Depression App



Approximately one in five teenagers suffers from depression, but providing treatment for this group is often tricky. That’s one reason why some psychologists are turning to technology to help connect teenagers with the mental health care they need.

Addiction More Stigmatized Than Mental Illness, Hopkins Study Says



Drug addiction and mental illness are both daunting things to struggle with, but people facing drug addiction face a much stronger stigma than their mentally ill counterparts, recent research out of Johns Hopkins suggests. For example: while 62 percent of people said they’d be willing to work closely with a fellow employee who had mental illness, only 22 percent felt the same way about addicts.

Meditation Helps Ease Anxiety and Depression, Johns Hopkins Says

Photo by Sigurdas via Wikimedia
Photo by Sigurdas via Wikimedia

Ten percent of Americans take some form of medication to help deal with their anxiety and depression. But according to recent research from Johns Hopkins, they might consider just finding a peaceful spot and sitting quietly — because mindfulness-based meditation may be as effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as medication.

Adolescent Depression Seminar for Students, Community


On Tuesday, October 22, Roland Park Country School will hold the fifth annual Robinson Health Colloquium, which this year focuses on adolescent depression awareness. The event features Karen L. Swartz, M.D., founder and Program Director of the Johns Hopkins University Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP), who will help educate the community about the medical illnesses of depression and bipolar disorder.

Dr. Swartz will address parents in the RPCS Sinex Theater at 7:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. In addition to the evening program, RPCS will also host a panel of psychologists, pediatricians, and social workers, who will speak with the Upper School students during the school day. Mary Beth Marsden, news anchor at WBAL Radio, will be the moderator for the panel. Dr. Swartz will also hold a workshop with the faculty in the afternoon.

Karen L. Swartz, M.D. is an expert on mood disorders with a particular interest in women’s health. She is the Director of Clinical and Educational Programs at the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  She has also been the Director of the Affective Disorders Consultation Clinic at Johns Hopkins for over ten years.  Swartz received her B.A. from Princeton University and her M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  She completed her residency in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1995 followed by a fellowship in Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

ADAP is a school-based program designed to educate high school students, faculty, and parents about adolescent depression. Depression affects approximately 5% of today’s teenagers, making it one of the most common illnesses teenagers face. ADAP aims to increase awareness about mood disorders in young people while stressing the need for evaluation and treatment.

Local Non-Profit Gets Major Grant to Provide Mental Health Services in Local Schools



The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced its support of Elev8 Baltimore through Forward Promise, the Foundation’s $9.5 million initiative to improve the health and success of boys and young men of color. Elev8 Baltimore received approximately $500,000 over 30 months to support its Adolescent Behavioral Health Partnership with the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Bayview. The partnership provides mental health support to fifth- to eighth-grade boys in East Baltimore, presenting them with skills they need to effectively manage stress and the effects of trauma, ultimately reducing levels of depression and anxiety.

Elev8 Baltimore was one of 10 organizations selected for their innovative community-based programs that strengthen health, education, and employment outcomes for middle school- and high school-aged boys and young men of color. From Alaska to Baltimore, the Foundation is investing in best practices and successful models that can be brought to scale. Elev8 Baltimore will use the grant to provide services to boys in two East Baltimore schools.

Event of the Day: What’s Mindfulness Got to Do With It?


From the Baltimore Fishbowl events page…

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
6:00pm – 7:30pm | FREE!
The Institute for Integrative Health
1407 Fleet St
Baltimore, MD
Increased energy, mental agility, and a positive mood have long been hailed as benefits of mindfulness, a way of experiencing our lives moment by moment. Now there’s growing scientific evidence to suggest that mindfulness also slows cellular aging and boosts the immune system.

This interactive, experiential session will demystify the elusive thing called mindfulness and explain what it means for your health, including its impact on stress hormones, brain density, and chromosomes. You’ll discover what mindfulness feels like and learn about its potential to improve mood, self-esteem, task performance and decision-making as well as to alleviate pain.

The session will also introduce you to exercises and resources for becoming more mindful.

Admission is free but reservations are required: www.bit.ly/WhatsMindfulness
Doors open at 5:30p.m.

Asperger’s Is Out, Hoarding Is In: The DSM-5 Redefines Our Mental Disorders



The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which provides psychiatrists with standard criteria for classifying mental illness, and which provides laymen with an endless source of anxiety, is getting it’s first major revision in 20 years. The DSM-5 will finally be released on May 22. According to the Washington Post, no one has read the entire thing yet, but it’s already generating a fair amount of controversy for what it’s omitting, adding, continuing to include, or regrouping.

A few major changes in the DSM-5:

Compulsive hoarding has been added as a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Gender identity disorder has been renamed “gender dysphoria,” despite the transgender community and their allies’ push for it’s exclusion.

Histrionic personality disorder, whose sufferers use their physical appearance to draw attention to themselves, has been removed.

Asperger’s syndrome has lost status as a disorder unto itself, and has been grouped in with autism spectrum disorders.

ADHD diagnosis has been modified to reflect difference in adults and children who suffer from the disorder.

-The term “mental retardation” has been replaced with “intellectual disability.”

For more, read the excellent article in the Washington Post.


State Task Force Finds ‘Insufficient Data’ Linking Mental Illness to Gun Violence



Months before the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Maryland’s General Assembly put together a task force to “[study] gun access laws for people with mental illnesses.” What they found, besides a lot of murky political and legal terrain, was a lack of data linking mental illness — however that’s defined — to gun violence.