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Education on mental health issues needed

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In the first three months of 2021, there were an average of almost four suicide cases per day, up to 336 police reported cases in total.

As Health Director Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah revealed this is more than half of what was reported in 2020. There were 631 suicide cases recorded last year, an increase from the 609 in all of 2019.

More worryingly, this number may be just the tip of the iceberg as suicide cases are unlikely to be adequately reported in Malaysia.

According to Anita Abu Bakar, president of the Mental Illness Awareness and Support Association (Miasa), this is mainly due to the stigma associated with battling mental health problems and disorders, self-harm and suicidal thoughts and ideas, and substance abuse.

“Internalizing stigma for religious or cultural reasons or judgments and labeling, fear of criminal persecution, general lack of awareness or barriers to adequate resources remain a challenge,” she says.

Anita also points out that the published suicide numbers do not include those who have injured themselves or tried to kill themselves and died in hospitals.

Anita: Suicide cases in Malaysia are unlikely to be reported “mainly because of the stigma associated with battling mental health issues.” – Filepic / The Star

“Our national suicide registry is currently in the development phase, according to a representative from the Ministry of Health. As far as I know, this register ceased to be recorded in 2009. We need to fully revive it for more accurate data, ”she says, adding that the number of people turning to Miasa for help is increasing.

Even those who have never faced mental health problems before are now experiencing some aspects of it, with many falling into depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Others struggle with increased suicide risks, with some resorting to harmful coping mechanisms. Miasa, which provides free peer support to the B40 (lower income) group, contacted 43,997 people through its remote services from August 2020 to May 2021.

“Every third caller shows suicidality. The most common problems include anxiety, then depression and stress, followed closely by borderline personality disorders and schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, ”says Anita.

In order to create a more inclusive environment in Malaysia, she suggests empowering the public to end stigma by providing psychoeducation in schools and in the workplace, and involving mental health professionals in policy and decision-making at all levels of society.

Anita also warns against unsafe, unethical and sensationalist coverage of suicide cases in the media, adding that the viral dissemination of images and videos of such cases on social media would lead to “suicide contagion” and encourage suicide “copycats”, a documented phenomenon.

“Also, mental health is definitely underfunded and underinvested, and we are still lacking resources as much of the national mental health budget goes to the four major mental health hospitals for people with chronic mental illnesses, even though those illnesses are only for Responsible for mental health are about 1% of those who struggle with mental disorders. As a result, many in the community are under-treated and not helped, ”says Anita.

ANJHULAANJHULA

The psychologist Dr. Anjhula Mya Singh Bais agrees that suicide cases are under-reported due to stigma, says psychologist Dr. Anjhula Mya Singh Bais that this is also true based on global trends. She also believes the numbers are higher than shown as the world is going through an unprecedented mental and emotional health crisis.

“In psychology there is this idea of ​​collective consciousness and there have been amazing studies on it – for example, you can feel the collective emotion of joy and pride when Malaysia wins sports medals or during the last general election. The same concept could be linked to pain and suicide.

“We are seeing an increase in the need for mental health services and discussions around the world,” she says.

Dr. Anjhula adds that while each person understandably has different levels of resilience, many are reaching a tipping point as Malaysians of all income levels are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Above all, the current social and economic restrictions are causing a tsunami of mental health problems.

“B40 fights will be different from M40 (middle income bracket) or T20 (upper 20% income bracket group), but everyone fights. There are people struggling to get food on the table while on the other end someone is thinking about how to lay off 2,000 workers.

“The government needs to bring psychology and mental health into play in its pandemic response and management, rather than just introducing bans, as these come with high psychological costs,” she says.

In addition to therapy, there are counseling interventions such as movement, the grounding method (find five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, one thing you can taste) and the technique of emotional freedom that involves tapping your fingertips to stimulate energy points on the body can help with stress and anxiety relief, she says.

“I am not asking you to have a solution or a plan for a year. I’m talking about taking it an hour or a minute at a time, ”says Dr. Anjhula.

“Research has shown that the dark impulse that tells you that life is not worth living lasts about 45 seconds. Find a way to distract yourself and gain time for that impulse to dissipate.

“Our ancestors went through the 14th century bubonic plague, the 1918 flu pandemic, and one day, hopefully soon, we’ll move to the other side of a post-Covid-19 world,” she says.

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It’s time to expand the definition of ‘women’s health’

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Common diseases such as cardiovascular disease are under-researched in women, making diagnosis, prognosis and treatment difficult in women.Photo credit: BSIP / UIG / Getty

More than one eighth of the world’s population has a condition that can cause pain, profuse bleeding, and decreased fertility, all possible consequences of benign tumors known as uterine leiomyomas or fibroids. Fibroids can be debilitating and are a common reason for surgical removal of the uterus.

Still, fibroids have received relatively little attention from scientists, either in academia or in pharmaceutical companies. The cause of the disease – and how to reduce its impact on fertility – has been debated for decades, leaving doctors unsure how best to treat people.

Unfortunately, fibroids are just one of many underrated aspects of health in people who were female at birth. (This includes cis women, transgender men, and some non-binary and intersex people; the term “women” in the remainder of this editorial refers to cis women.) Clinical and preclinical studies tend to focus equally on men: a third of the Individuals participating in cardiovascular disease clinical trials are women, and an analysis of neuroscientific studies published in six journals in 2014 found that 40% of them used male animals only. Two studies and an article published in Nature on Aug. 5 shed light on the advances in women’s health research – and the need for more.

A study examines the molecular origins of fibroids and reveals a possible mechanism by which tumors form. Drugs targeting key molecular actors in this process could open up new treatment options with further studies.

The other study takes a multidisciplinary approach, examining both the genetic mechanisms and epidemiological factors involved in ovarian aging, which leads to menopause and fertility loss. The age at which women experience menopause varies widely – with a range of around 20 years for healthy women – and fertility can drop dramatically for up to a decade before it begins.

This work expanded the list of genes that contribute to early ovarian aging and highlights the importance of DNA repair mechanisms in determining the age at which women experience menopause.

Both studies illustrate the advances that can be made if the health challenges of women are brought to the fore. However, advocates of women’s health warn that the field is often too narrowly considered. The study of health and disease in women should not be limited to conditions that affect women only. Conditions like type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease affect men and women differently. Such diseases need to be investigated in both men and women, and the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment may need to differ between the sexes.

Heart attacks, for example, are one of the leading causes of death in both women and men, but women do not always have the “typical” symptoms that men normally experience. Women are also more prone to blood clots after a heart attack, but are less likely to be prescribed anticoagulant drugs by their doctors. Women are 50% more likely to get an initial misdiagnosis after a heart attack than men and are less likely to be prescribed medication to reduce the risk of a second attack, according to the British Heart Foundation.

When it comes to exercise, women are at risk of serious long-term injury if we continue to model head injury training and management on data from men. As our News Feature reports, it is becoming increasingly clear that women experience head injuries and recover from them very differently than men. Understanding why women are nearly twice as likely to experience concussions as men in sports like soccer and rugby requires multi-disciplinary research – and to understand why women take longer to recover from such injuries.

So far, the evidence is sparse, but preliminary data suggest structural differences in the brain. Axons in the brain of women are wired to thinner microtubules that tear more easily; Hormonal fluctuations should also contribute to this. Biomechanics could also play a role – in rugby, for example, it seems that women fall differently when attacked, which could increase the risk of a concussion. Exercise programs designed specifically for women can help alleviate these injuries.

But the clear message from sports researchers is that it is no longer acceptable to exclusively use data from men in these studies. And when women are included, the data needs to be broken down by gender and include a sufficient number of women. A recent study examining MRI images of elite rugby players included women (KA Zimmerman Brain Commun. 3, fcab133; 2021) but of the 44 elite players, only 3 were women.

But the relative lack of women on committees and scientific advisory boards has meant that few of these decision-makers have direct personal experiences with women’s health needs or research gaps. It is all the more important that funders consult the public when determining research priorities.

Since 2016, the US National Institutes of Health has required researchers to conduct preclinical studies in both male and female animals, tissues and cells, or to provide an explanation as to why it is not appropriate to study both sexes. Now it is up to other funders, researchers, and journals to amplify the impact of this change by making sure to include gender-specific data in publications. Funders should also strengthen the resources allocated to support studies of health and disease in women and keep track of how much money is being used to support such research in all areas, not just gynecological diseases. What is measured is done.

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Coronavirus US: It could be February before all eligible Americans get at least one vaccine dose, analysis shows

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More than 90 million eligible people in the US are still unvaccinated. And although the seven-day average of people who get vaccinated each day is the highest since July 4th at 446,300, many experts say the U.S. is still not where it needs to be to get the pandemic – and the rapidly expanding delta variant – under control.

With less than half of the population fully vaccinated, cases have risen again, leading to serious illness.

On Tuesday, according to new data from the US Department of Health, more than 50,000 hospital beds across the country were occupied by Covid-19 patients for the first time since February. That number is more than three times what it was a month ago.

“We’re not crying for Wolf here. This surge that we are currently going through has the potential to be the worst surge we have ever seen – and it already looks like it, ”said former US surgeon general Dr. Jerome Das Adams said in a live online interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday.

The director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday he would like the US to get more than a million vaccinations a day to close the vaccination gap.

“We may get there when mandates come, but it can’t be 250,000, 500,000 a day, otherwise it will go well into winter. I want to arrive earlier,” said Fauci.

With the spread of the delta variant, it may not be possible to completely stop the spread of the coronavirus, said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, on Tuesday.

“But we could still get to a place where this becomes a nuisance rather than a threat to your life.”

Experts are considering boosters for immunocompromised people, says Fauci

Although experts have said the data so far does not suggest the general population needs booster vaccines, Fauci said efforts are underway to get them for people who are immunocompromised.

Some conditions – including autoimmune diseases, transplants, and cancer that are treated with chemotherapy – affect people’s immune systems.

“The people we know almost always don’t have an adequate response, so the need to give them an extra boost is much more pressing than the general population,” Fauci said during a virtual event hosted by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on Tuesday was organized.

The CDC’s vaccine advisors have met to discuss whether immunocompromised people may need additional protection from a booster dose, but have not yet made a formal recommendation or voted on guidelines.

“We are working very hard to put the regulatory mechanism in place very soon to give these individuals a boost that could, if possible, bring their immunity to the level it should be,” said Fauci.

During a discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Tuesday, Fauci said it was “very likely” that Covid-19 variants have developed in the bodies of immunosuppressed people.

People with immunosuppression may not be able to fight off Covid-19 infections for weeks or even months, which means the virus has plenty of time to develop and change.

“Variations, as we all know, came about because of the pressure the human immune system put on the virus, very likely from people who are immunocompromised … / or died and then essentially created a variant,” Fauci said.

“Significant” increase in the number of children and adolescents

As the new school year raises concerns about protecting children from Covid-19, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Tuesday that the number of cases in children has increased “significantly”.

Almost 72,000 children and young people were infected with Covid-19 last week – five times as many as at the end of June, the group said.

The definition of a child varies by state, but generally includes children up to the age of 17 or 18.

Covid-19 protocols vary across the country, but when kids go back to school, counties need to know how to respond quickly to outbreaks.

Covid-19 cases in US children and adolescents rose 84% in a week, the pediatrician group says

Districts need to be prepared to introduce contact tracing, testing, quarantining people who have been exposed to the virus, and isolating people with infections, Dr. William Schaffner, a professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, told CNN.

While most schools follow these steps to isolate cases, conduct contact tracing, and testing, response plans may vary from state and school district to school district, Kim Anderson, executive director of the National Education Association, told CNN.

“As we understand it, it depends on which district you are in. The district should have very well thought out breakout plans that use the voices of educators, parents, and community members in drawing up those plans, and they should have them. ” Plans that follow CDC recommendations, “said Anderson.

“Our recommendation to all students and school districts is to follow the medical experts and adhere to the CDC,” she said.

CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Matthew Hilk, Jacqueline Howard, Virginia Langmaid, Lauren Mascarenhas and Jen Christensen contributed to this report.

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A look at depression – The Fort Morgan Times

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Did you know that 1 in 10 adults have depression?

Mental health problems are one of the most common reasons to see a doctor, but many people don’t know how to diagnose or treat mental illness.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Depression is the most common type of mental illness and it can affect people in different ways.

Most people with depression experience sadness, dejection, frequent crying, hopelessness, or despair, while some others also notice a lack of emotion. These feelings usually appear over several days and can make it difficult for people to function.

People with depression may also have changes in weight, fatigue, slow speech, difficulty concentrating or remembering, loss of interest in their hobbies, too much or too little sleep, feelings of anxiety, or excessive guilt.

Symptoms of depression include hallucinations or thoughts of suicide, harming yourself, or having thoughts of harming others. If you feel at risk of suicide, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 immediately.

What Causes Depression?

Although the exact cause of depression is not clear, many studies suggest that changes in the structure of the brain and chemical balance contribute to depression. As such, depression is a medical disease.

It also causes changes throughout the body and can affect many of the body systems outside of the brain.

Depression is more common in young adults and the elderly, and more common in women than men. People with medical conditions are also more likely to develop depression.

diagnosis

If you have any of the symptoms listed above or have any concerns about your mood, please contact your GP. Your doctor will take a detailed medical history and may give you a questionnaire to check the severity of your depression.

Many other mental disorders share similarities with depression, including: bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD, and grief, so it is important to let your doctor know about your symptoms as much as possible. You may also be screened for other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.

treatment

Treating depression has many benefits, including improved mood and energy, better everyday functions, and even improvements in conditions like heart disease.

In people with depression, the brain’s chemicals are different from those in a healthy brain, so drug treatments are aimed at restoring the brain’s chemical balance. There are different types of medications that can be used, and most depression medications are taken on a daily basis. If you need medication, your doctor will help you find medications that are right for you.

In addition to medication, many people with depression also benefit from advice (also called therapy) from a behavioral medicine specialist, such as a counselor or psychologist.

Both counseling and drug treatment may be needed for people with more severe depression.

Depression can last for a lifetime, but it can also go away in a few months or years, so people with depression should see their medical teams regularly.

Colorado Plains Medical Center is proud to work with the Fort Morgan Times, in partnership with healthcare partners such as Salud Family Health Center, to provide relevant health-related information and awareness to the communities we serve. Please watch out for our bi-weekly articles in the Fort Morgan Times.

Dr. Claire Bovet is a general practitioner at the Salud Family Health Center.

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