The National Alliance on Mental Illness celebrates the first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Month. About 1 in 4 adults experience mental illness in a year, and 1 in 17 adults lives with a serious mental illness. Some common symptoms to pay attention to for yourself or people you care about are:
Difficulty perceiving reality, or changes in one’s own feelings, thoughts, or personality
Multiple physical ailments with no apparent cause (headaches, stomachaches, etc)
Thinking about suicide
Inability to complete daily tasks, or handle daily stress and emotion
For more information, and specifics on different mental health concerns, a wealth of resources is available at https://www.nami.org/. There are also mental health services at places like the Diana Baldwin Mental Health Center, PHMC Health Connection, The Family Practice and Counseling Network, and other Federally Qualified Health Centers around the city.
September is National Recovery Month and we want to recognize the work people have done and continue to do to recover from substance use disorders. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.7 million adults struggled with a substance use disorder in 2017. Substance use, treatment, and recovery are impacted by many factors and there are different programs working to address the complicated reality of treatment and recovery.Collecting and analyzing data related to these complexities helps health professionals to develop and spread specific ways of intervening and supporting people who have more than one medical need. An example is the interaction of drug and alcohol use with HIV on possible transmission risk factors. Another overlap is that the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 24% of people living with HIV also need substance abuse treatment. Having data on the need for overlapping services helps to create a net of care for the people impacted by complex needs.
The Center for Disease Control cites heart disease as the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Men have a greater risk of heart attack, and tend to experience one at an earlier age. Regardless of gender, prevention through primary care, testing, and heart-healthy activities and diets are important.Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack can be crucial. People have various warning signs of a heart attack, and in many cases men and women notice different symptoms. Nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, and chest, neck, or back pain are common symptoms. Others can include upper back pain, fainting, indigestion, and extreme fatigue.
Philadelphia Fight’s Men and Boys Health fair is this Saturday, come out and learn about important resources to stay healthy!
The CDC puts the prevalence of hypertension, or high blood pressure, at 1 in 3 adults worldwide. That figure is true in the United States as well, according to the American Heart Association. Hypertension increases risk of strokes and heart attacks. The CDC warns that hypertension does not always have warning signs, so it is important to monitor your blood pressure regularly. You can do this at a doctor’s office, a pharmacy, or at home.
Head over to the Critical Path Learning Center on September 26 for a workshop for men on recognizing symptoms and treating hypertension. Register by calling 267-428-7352 or online at critpath.org/community-workshops
In recognition of World Suicide Prevention day, today we have some information on how to help those we care about. The National Institute for Mental Health suggests these five ways of helping someone experiencing emotional pain. Ask how they are feeling; if they are considering suicide or self-harm. Keep them safe as is appropriate for your relationship and ability. Often this looks like the next three actions: be there for them, help them connect with professional support, and stay connected with your loved one.
Injection drug use accounts for most of the incident infections with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the United States. HCV infection is a complex and challenging medical condition in injection drug users. Caring for patients who use illicits drugs presents challenges to the health-care world that require cultural competence, patience, and an understanding of the dynamics of substance use and addiction. Many programs and non-profit agencies are successfully integrating HCV care into health-care settings, however, there are still barriers to proper care for those impacted individuals. Join us next Friday, June 7th, 2019 for our webinar ‘Overcoming Barriers To HCV Care for People Who Inject Drugs’; register here at https://bit.ly/2GsfqcN today!
Everybody knows the importance of fruit as a part of a well-balanced diet, but most people do not know just how good fruit is for health physical and mental health. Studies show that increases in the consumption of fruit (and veggies) are linked to increases in mental well-being and life satisfaction. Eating the suggested amount of fruit daily improves the ability for the body to lose weight and heightens brain functions. In addition, a diet rich in fruit reduces the risk of stroke, certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases, and type-2 diabetes.
In an earlier health fact, we discussed the advances in technology that led us to having effective treatment for HIV however, the search for a cure is important even if we have effective treatment. Significant discoveries about the body’s immune system have been made on the road to finding a cure with some promising attempts to create a vaccine, antibodies, or effective gene therapy. Join us for part II of our HIV Cure Research Update webinars: A Day in the Life of a Cure Research Participant (fight.org/chta). This webinar will explain what volunteers can expect in a cure-focused clinical trial and gain insight from a recent participant of a trial.
Refreshing sleep is important in staying healthy. May is recognized as Better Sleep Month, which aims to raise awareness about the benefits of sleep and how poor sleep can disruptive our day to day activities. Better sleep does not refer to just the length of time we sleep, but the quality of sleep, environment (uninterrupted, dark room, turning off your electronics and worries)and a consistent schedule are important as well. Visit bettersleep.org to learn about the implications of the most common sleeping positions, a breakdown of the amount of sleep needed per age group, and more ways to create a better sleep environment.
Advances in treatment for HIV has made it possible for people with HIV to live long and healthy lives. We now have more tools and technology than ever to navigate the epidemic through treatment, prevention, and education. Many organizations and researchers are pushing for the development of a functional cure. Connect with FIGHT Research if you are interested in a clinical trial to test potential treatments for HIV/AIDS and its complications. Also, join us next Friday for our webinar “HIV Cure Research Update” to learn more about current updates in cure research and the research being conducted at the University of Pennsylvania and The Wistar Institute; register today at fight.org/chta
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. It is passed from one person to another during skin-to-skin contact with an infected area of the body. Did you know that HPV can cause more than just cervical cancer? HPV infections can spread to other parts of the body, like the anus. The principal cause of anal cancer is HPV. Very few patients with an anal HPV infection develop anal cancer, but we must still take precautionary measures to prevent both HPV and anal cancer. Lower your chances of contracting HPV by getting your series of HPV shots at Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers; and learn more about anal cancer at our 2nd annual Anal Health Symposium on April 19th; register here FREE today:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/philadelphias-2nd-anal-health-symposium-making-your-bottom-a-top-health-priority-registration-55301978707
Mental health is a level of psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act, and helps determine how we handle stress and make choice. Positive mental health allows people to realize their full potential, work productively, cope with every day stresses, and make meaningful contribution to their communities. Early signs like feeling helpless or hopeless, experience mood swings, or thinking or harming yourself or others are signs that common with people with mental health issues, but do not be afraid to get help. You can visit the Diana Baldwin Mental Health Clinic at 1211 Chestnut Street, Suite 605, or visit their website https://fight.org/programs/diana-baldwin-clinic/ to call and schedule an appointment with a health care provider if you are experiencing some of these feelings or signs.
Annette B. Gadegbeku, MD
Annette B. Gadegbeku, MD is Director of Adult Medicine at John Bell Health Center and Jonathan Lax Treatment Center of Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers. Dr. Gadegbeku is a Family Medicine Physician who specializes in primary care for all ages (from pediatrics to geriatrics)!
Dr. Cruz is a board-certified pediatrician who serves as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He has presented and/or published in the fields of community violence and domestic violence prevention, quality improvement, behavioral health, curriculum development, and mentorship.