Mental Health Archives - Mantachie Rural Health Care, Inc.
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ADHD During a Pandemic: How to Help Your Child Stay on Task

ADHD During a Pandemic: How to Help Your Child Stay on Task

ADHD During a Pandemic: How to Help Your Child Stay on Task

ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is more common than ever among schoolchildren. Children with ADHD are easily distracted, impulsive, often fidget, and struggle to pay attention or focus on the task at hand, such as listening to a class lesson or completing an assignment. Over the last few decades, great strides have been taken to help children with ADHD improve their symptoms and perform better in the classroom. However, the recent pandemic has seen an upswing in children who are again struggling to keep up with school work. 

What causes ADHD?

ADHD is a result of less activity in the part of the brain that controls attention or imbalances in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Children with ADHD are either predominantly hyperactive/impulsive or predominantly inattentive. Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive children display more fidgety or disruptive behaviors while predominantly inattentive children simply struggle to focus attention. 

ADHD Treatments

Providers treat ADHD by two different methods–medication and therapy. The most successful treatment of ADHD combines both medicine and therapy. Stimulant medications are the most commonly prescribed and best medicinal treatment for ADHD. Certain non-stimulant medicines are also sometimes used but are believed to carry a higher risk for the patient. Talk therapy and support therapies such as social skills therapy can help children with ADHD learn how to cope with struggles. It may also boost their self-esteem, as well as teach them how to get along well socially. 

The role of the parent or guardian is as crucial in the treatment of ADHD as therapy and medication. Parents or guardians can help their ADHD child stay on task with the implementation of a daily written schedule or routine. This schedule should include all tasks to be completed from the time they wake up to bedtime. Tasks include basic daily activities such as eating breakfast, brushing teeth and hair, and getting dressed, as well as any home tasks such as chores or homework. 

Parents are also their children’s biggest advocate at school. They should ensure the school treats their child’s ADHD virtually through special education and modifications to help the child stay on task. IEPs and 504s should be in place for any student with ADHD.

ADHD and Coronavirus Pandemic

ADHD doesn’t place your child at a greater risk for contracting coronavirus. However, the pandemic could still affect their condition. Behavioral health experts have seen a rise in ADHD children who are struggling to keep up with schoolwork due to distance learning and other hurdles caused by the pandemic. Luckily, parents and children can implement a number of measures to help ease ADHD struggles.

  • Create a new daily schedule/clear routine for distance learning. Work with your child’s teacher or teachers to create the best schedule to manage their ADHD during the pandemic. Ensure the schedule includes breaks that detail activities for the child to do to unwind. 
  • Make sure teachers continue to implement learning modifications and adjusted them to fit distance learning. 
  • Create one space for everything. Students are using a plethora of learning and streaming programs for distance learning. A child with ADHD may become overwhelmed by the various links and programs they must access each day. They may benefit from consolidating links and schedules all in one place. Consider using a Google Document since Google Classroom is a commonly used program among schools. Parents should work with the child’s teacher to create this designated starting place.
  • Develop daily/weekly checklists and scheduled check-ins. Again, parents and teachers should work together to create daily and weekly checklists to help children with ADHD stay on top of school tasks and assignments. Ask to schedule regular check-ins between the child and their teachers to give them opportunities to address problems or questions.
  • Ask for non-screen work. It’s no secret that too much screen time is detrimental especially to children who are already struggling with attention or learning disabilities. Parents should talk with their child’s school or teachers to find out if paper assignments are available to complete and return to the school to help reduce screen time. 
  • Use tools like text-to-speech to help children stay on task. ADDitude Magazine offers a great list of assistive technology apps and extensions to help students struggling with schoolwork.

Has your child been struggling with ADHD-like behaviors for longer than six months? It could be more than just struggles of learning during a pandemic that are causing your child to have problems. At Mantachie Rural Healthcare, we diagnose and treat ADHD with combined work between your child’s healthcare provider and our behavioral health specialists. Don’t let your child struggle through another semester when help is just a call away. Request an evaluation appointment today at 662-282-4226 or through our website.

Teens Active in Extracurriculars Have Stronger Mental Health

Teens Active in Extracurriculars Have Stronger Mental Health

Teens who participate in extracurricular activities tend to have better mental health than those who do not, according to a recent study published in the journal Preventive Medicine. The study, conducted among more than 28,000 seventh grade students across 365 schools in British Columbia, found that those who played sports or participated in the arts had fewer mental health issues than students who spent their free time behind a screen. 

This should come as no surprise. Physical activity and practicing a hobby or art are known to boost teens’ mental health. But in a pandemic year when many activities have been greatly altered or sidelined altogether, teens must get more creative and independent with keeping themselves busy and off the screens. 

How to Maintain Extracurricular Activities During the Pandemic

Many sports and activities have managed to continue in some capacity this year while others haven’t fared as well. Whether your child is participating in an extracurricular that is active this year or holding out for next year, it’s important to keep them on track and in practice for their chosen outlet. 

Encourage them in any way you can. Be a listening ear when they are practicing their music scales or volunteer to play the catcher when they want to practice their curveball. If your budget allows, spring for socially distanced lessons to help them improve their chosen sport or art. If not, check out the many free resources online including YouTube. Yes, we know this means putting your teen behind a screen. However, this counts as productive screen time and you can monitor their progress and lessons to ensure they’re not getting distracted. 

Limited Screen Time is Key to Teens Mental Health

The British Columbian study found that boys and girls overall fared far better mentally with less than two hours of screen time in addition to participating in extracurriculars. Even if your child can’t attend a band practice or art lesson, you can still limit their screen time. And you can encourage other productive activities like reading or learning a life skill. 

We know that limiting screen time during a pandemic is harder than usual. But we and other medical experts believe that making this sacrifice will ultimately reward you and your children in the long run. If your teen is struggling to stay strong mentally, we can help. Mantachie students can begin seeking help at our school-based clinic and continue treatment at our main clinic. Dial 662-282-4226 or request an appointment online to learn more. 

Depression Myths and the Truths Behind Them

Depression Myths and the Truths Behind Them

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. However, we encounter many misconceptions about depression and what it is and is not. Today we are taking a look at the most common myths surrounding depression and revealing the truth behind them.

Myth #1:  Depression isn’t a real disease.

Depression is a very real, complex illness impacted by psychology, sociology, and biology.  Anyone can get depression regardless of your family history. Contrary to popular belief, depression doesn’t just affect your emotional health but it can also negatively impact your physical health as well.

Myth #2: Antidepressants are a cure-all for depression.

Although antidepressants are a very powerful and effective treatment for depression in most instances, they aren’t always enough.  Psychotherapy or talk therapy often successfully treats depression.

Myth #3: You can snap out of your depression on your own.

Depression is not the same as sadness. Just like any other medical condition, depression requires proper diagnosis and professionally prescribed treatment. People who are depressed cannot talk themselves out of it one day. If you have battled depression for months or even years, it’s time to talk to your provider about treatment.

Myth: 4 Depression is caused by trauma.

Unhappiness or sadness are completely normal emotions following a sad or traumatic event but this is not the same as depression. Depression causes feelings of sadness, emptiness, or loneliness at any time even if things are going relatively well. These feelings typically last for long periods and often have no cause.

Myth #5: If you have a family history of depression, you will get it, too.

Depression is more common in people who have a family history of the condition. However, family history does not guarantee that you will be affected by the illness, too. 

Myth #6: Only women get depressed.

This simply is not true. Men experience depression, too, but they may not be as likely to talk about it as women. In fact, the number of men in the US who die by suicide each year is four times that of women. Another reason we urge men to reach out more about their emotional health. Your provider’s office is a safe place to find help.

Myth #7: Once you’re on antidepressants, you’re on them for life.

Some people will need prescribed medication for depression for the rest of their lives. However, not every depression patient fits that description. Each case of depression is different which is why there isn’t one perfect cure-all for the disease. Many patients are able to successfully wean off of medication with their doctor’s help after a certain period of successful treatment. 

Are you struggling with depression or have depression symptoms? Don’t suffer alone. Mantachie Rural Health Care offers behavioral and medical help for depression. Click here to request your appointment now. 

Suicide Prevention and Opioid Recovery

Suicide Prevention and Opioid Recovery

Statistics paint a bleak picture when it comes to suicide and addiction. A Psychology Today article cites drug and alcohol abuse as the second most common risk factor for suicide. One in three people who take their own life are under the influence of drugs. Poisoning composes the third-leading method of suicide and three-fourths of those deaths by poisoning use drugs. The article points to drug or alcohol abuse as the leading indicator of suicide risk over depression or mental illness. For true suicide prevention, we must support opioid and addiction recovery.

Links between suicide attempts and addiction include depression resulting from an inability to fight an addiction, the loss of relationships due to addiction and the use of drugs and alcohol to mask mental illness. Persons who abuse drugs may also have lowered inhibitions and show a readiness to take more risks. 

Addiction Recovery Key to Suicide Prevention

Treatment for opioid addiction addresses not only the known addiction but also the mental illnesses and mental trauma triggering the addiction or depression caused by the addiction. Opioid and addiction recovery are key to suicide prevention, but it’s important for addicts and family members to expect a holistic approach to drug treatment. Managing both underlying mental illnesses and addiction improves an addicts chances at recovery and reduces the risk for suicide. 

When an addict seeks treatment, family, friends and their medical team should ask the hard questions “have you considered or attempted suicide or are you considering suicide?”. Asking the hard question does not give your loved one ideas about suicide, but rather opens a conversation about an otherwise stigmatized subject. 

Signs to Know

Not every person considering suicide shows signs of depression. Often family and friends piece together signs of a loved one’s suicide plan after the fact. Because of the increased risk of suicide related to drug addiction, it’s imperative for the addict to seek treatment and for friends and family to ask the hard questions. 

Signs a person is considering suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Increasing drug or alcohol use
  • Talking about feeling trapped
  • Displaying increased anger or rage
  • Talking about not wanting to be a burden to others
  • Behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping less or more
  • Isolating themselves

If someone you know is talking about suicide, whether they have an addition or not:

  • Ask them if they plan to commit suicide.
  • Listen without judgement.
  • Remove objects that could be used for suicide
  • Stay with the person or leave them in the care of someone else while you get help.
  • Call the suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Call 9-1-1 if self-harm is imminent.

Parents, spouses, children and friends of addicts worry about overdoses and violence involving their loved one. Suicide adds another line to the worry. Treatment isn’t just about the addiction but about healing behavioral and mental health issues contributing to or caused by the addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid or addiction recovery and suicide prevention, call our behavioral health clinic at 662-282-4359 for an appointment or in case of a medical emergency call 9-1-1.

A New Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer’s is Being Studied with Promising Results

A New Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer's is Being Studied with Promising Results

Experts have long believed that earlier treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is the key to slowing or stopping the disease. Now, a new blood test for Alzheimer’s is being studied. It demonstrates promising results that could lead to early diagnosis and treatment. 

A study presented virtually at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2020 and in the JAMA medical journal revealed promising results for those fighting to cure dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The new blood test–which still likely won’t be available for several years–detects different types of tau protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. 

How the New Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Works

The new test works by focusing on the specific subtypes of tau protein. This key protein becomes abnormal as Alzheimer’s disease changes the brain. Initial results found Alzheimer’s patients exhibit more of a particular subtype, a modified tau protein called p-tau217, than healthy patients who participated in the study. 

Studies of the blood test have shown its results to be as accurate as a spinal tap or PET scan. The blood test can also distinguish Alzheimer’s disease from Parkinson’s disease and other types of dementia with 89% to 98% accuracy. What’s more, the test could differentiate between the different types of cognitive dementia and flag early signs of Alzheimer’s. 

Experts say earlier detection of dementia could lead to testing current treatments for these diseases at a much earlier stage. Earlier treatment could result in slowing or completely stopping the progression of dementia. 

Just how early can this new blood test detect Alzheimer’s? Possibly up to 20 years before the first symptoms occur by measuring p-tau217 levels. 

As you can read, exciting moves are being made in the quest to cure Alzheimer’s and dementia. Though we may still be several years away from seeing these new tests become available for patients, we’re confident the treatments for these terrible diseases are going to improve greatly and change the lives of patients and their families. Learn more about the new blood test study here.

How Pets Improve Mental Health

How Pets Improve Mental Health

We all know someone or may even be that someone who seems to constantly be rescuing and nursing a stray pet back to health and happiness. Pet lovers and rescuers never seem to get enough of loving on their furry friends. As it happens, studies have shown there’s an actual reason we find pets so appealing–pets improve mental health and literally bring more joy to our lives. Here’s how.

Pets decrease stress, anxiety, and depression.

Pets of all sorts ease stress and cure loneliness. Simply watching fish dance around an aquarium or stroking a furry pet can instantly ease tension and anxiety. Your pet’s companionship itself helps you feel less lonely and they can also help you meet new people. Dog parks are great places to meet people that share at least one common interest (pups!) and pet lover groups of all different types of pets exist on social media and often meet together in person. If rescuing strays gives you an even bigger thrill, joining one of the many rescue groups in our regions is another great way to meet new friends. 

Pets that can be walked like dogs and even cats (we’ve seen it happen!) provide another avenue for easing depression and stress–daily walks! Just make sure you research the type of dog breed you are interested in before adopting. Most dog breeds enjoy a good walk every day but working breeds need much more exercise than a walk down the road. You’ll also want to consider your household when adopting a dog. You want a dog that is friendly with everyone in the family including children and other pets. The last thing you want is to return a pet because they didn’t get along with everyone else. 

Pets add routine and structure to your day.

Believe it or not, having some sort of routine or structure to your day helps keep depression and anxiety in check. But if you’re retired, disabled, or don’t work outside the home it’s especially easy to lose daily structure. Having a pet to care for returns structure to your day and cures boredom. 

Pets build self-confidence.

Few things make us feel better about ourselves than the joyful greeting our pets give us when we come home for the day. Training pets and volunteering with shelters or rescues are other ways we can increase our self-confidence.

Are you struggling with anxiety or depression? Getting a pet is a great way to start feeling better. A proper diagnosis and treatment is another way. Mantachie Rural Healthcare provides both primary care and behavioral healthcare for your convenience. Click here to request your appointment now.


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