Category: Emotional Health

January 21, 2015

sleeping manWhat is stress?

Stress is a feeling that we have in response to particular demands. Events that create stress cover a wide range of situations: they can be everything from taking a test, adjusting to a new environment, to facing a physical danger.


What are the common sources of stress?

  • Academic pressure
  • Pressure to fit in with peer groups
  • Adaptation to body changes
  • Transition to higher educational levels
  • Over-scheduling of extracurricular activities
  • Expectations from parents
  • Family and peer conflicts
  • Relationship problems
  • Career decisions
  • Financial concerns


What are the signs of being “stressed-out”?

  • Increased physical illness, due to suppression of the immune system
  • Mood swings: increased anger and irritability
  • Constant feelings of worry, nervousness, and hopelessness
  • Problems with sleeping and eating
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Withdrawal from social activities


Can stress have positive effects?

Yes! Although most people associate stress with worry, pressure, and tension, some types of stress are actually good for us. For example, the sense of challenge you feel before a class presentation, a performance, or a sport competition is an example of positive stress because it keeps you alert and prepares your body and your mind for the task. Many discoveries and innovative ideas are also results of positive stress. Appropriate levels of stress not only help us stay motivated, but they also add excitement to our daily activities. As you could probably imagine, life completely without stress would be pretty dull.


Consequences of negative stress

When handled inappropriately, negative stress can lead to serious physical and mental problems. Stress contributes to headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, and heart diseases. Repetitive stress is also the cause of anxiety, depression, memory disturbances, and other mental disorders. It is evident that people who are chronically stressed are more likely to engage in smoking, alcohol addiction, and substance abuse.


How to handle stress

  • Take deep breaths
  • Have positive thoughts: Say to yourself, “I can handle this.”
  • Break down tasks into manageable parts
  • Set smaller, progressive goals
  • Be proud of your accomplishments
  • Plan ahead, avoid last-minute cramming
  • Take breaks and find ways to relax
  • Exercise and participate in activities you enjoy
  • Eat healthy, avoid too much caffeine
  • Talk to people around you about your concerns
  • Stop worrying about things that you have no control over
  • Realize that no one is perfect
Posted in Emotional Health, Health Topics by CCHRC | Tags: ,
January 21, 2015


Suicide CAN be prevented and help IS available. Suicide affects both the person thinking about suicide and his or her friends and family. By recognizing the risk factors, warning signs for suicide, and knowing what to do if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, the devastating effects of suicide can be reduced. The most important thing to remember is to GET HELP!


Facts about suicide

  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds
  • 1 in 25 suicide attempts succeed
  • Girls think about and attempt suicide about twice as often as boys, but boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide


A person is more at risk for committing suicide if he/she has these risk factors:

  • Mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Inclination to act on impulse
  • Having tried to commit suicide before
  • A family history of suicide
  • Having lost a loved one
  • Lack of support from family and peers
  • Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • Having access to weapons


Warning signs for suicide:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Talking about hopelessness, feeling trapped, feeling unbearable pain, anger or desire for revenge
  • Talking about having no reason to live or being a burden to others
  • Looking for ways to commit suicide
  • Preparing for death
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Changes in personality
  • Increasing risky behaviors
  • Increasing use of drugs and alcohol
  • Withdrawing socially and losing interest in friends
  • Losing interest in activities
  • Giving away valued possessions


What to do if you suspect someone you know is thinking about suicide

  1. Talk openly and ask questions.
    Asking someone if he or she is having thoughts about suicide is not easy. You can try by saying” I have noticed that you …………….. Have you ever thought about hurting or killing yourself?”
  1. Listen to what they have to say, let them know that you care about them but do not promise to keep their suicidal thought a secret. You can suggest a suicide hotline or for them to chat with someone online. When these hotlines are called, a trained crisis worker will answer. The person in distress can share his or her problems with the worker. The worker can also talk about available mental health resources. All calls are free and confidential. A list of suicide hotlines and resources are listed below.
Program Website and Chat Phone Number
National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-TALK
(1-800-273-8255) More than 150 languages offered
Asian LifeNet Hotline 1-877-990-8585
(Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Fujianese)
San Francisco Suicide Prevention (415) 781-0500
National Hopeline network 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
1-800-442-HOPE  (1-800-442-4673)
Lifeline Crisis Chat
I’m Alive
Youthline – Counseling for teens by teens 1-877-968-8454
  1. Tell an adult you trust about the situation as soon as possible. They can assist you in getting the professional help that the person needs to deal with personal issues that have caused them to become suicidal.

If someone you know is at immediate risk for suicide, call 911 right away. Don’t leave the person alone. Wait with them until help arrives. Be aware that in emergency situations, hospitalization may be necessary.


Where can I find more information on suicide prevention?

January 21, 2015

What are eating disorders?

Distorted body image and obsession with the “ideal” figure can lead to unhealthy behaviors such as eating disorders. Millions of people in the United States are affected by serious and sometimes life-threatening eating disorders, and the vast majority of those affected are adolescent and young adult women. The two most common types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is the deliberate and prolonged fasting (starvation) driven by a fear of gaining weight. Sufferers are usually extremely thin but believe they are overweight. Bulimia nervosa is characterized by a destructive pattern of overeating followed by behaviors such as purging (throwing up), fasting, or excessive exercise.


What are the medical consequences?

Anorexia nervosa can lead to muscle weakness, anemia, hair loss, osteoporosis, low blood pressure, and drop in internal body temperature. For girls and women, anorexia can cause absence of menstruation, a condition known as amenorrhea. Studies have pointed out that people with anorexia are up to ten times more likely to die as a result of their illness. The most common complications that lead to death are heart attack and electrolyte and fluid imbalances.

For people with Bulimia, the binging (uncontrolled eating) and purging cycle usually repeats several times a week and can cause severe health problems. The purging aspect can lead to teeth sensitivity and decay, throat inflammation, and chronic heartburn. Other symptoms include electrolyte imbalance, severe dehydration, intestinal irritation, and kidney problems. Bulimic behaviors are usually done secretly and often cause feelings of disgust and shame.

Many people with eating disorders have coexisting psychiatric and physical problems, including depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior, heart problems, and impaired physical development.


What are the risk factors?

Psychological factors that contribute to eating disorders include low self-esteem, feelings of lack of control in life, troubled family and personal relationships, and emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. In addition, eating disorders can be triggered by life events such as puberty, beginning of a school term, transition to a new job, the death of a friend or family member, and the breakup of a relationship. Stressful situations in any other aspect of life also make people more vulnerable to eating disorders.


How would I know if I have an eating disorder?

An eating disorder is characterized by extremes: sufferers experience severe disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme fasting, overeating, or feelings of extreme concern about body weight. However, sufferers usually start out by just eating smaller or larger portions of food than usual, but later the urge to eat less or more spirals out of control. Eating disorders are very complex and each type has different warning signs. If you experience any of the descriptions for eating disorders, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor or other healthcare providers. If you think a friend might be suffering from eating disorders, encourage him or her to seek help immediately. Many people with eating disorders resist treatment until it is too late. You could be saving a life!


Where can I find reliable information on eating disorders?

January 21, 2015

PHOT0014.JPGWhat is depression?

Depression is a psychological condition that affects your feelings, behaviors, and thoughts. Although most of us feel sad one time or another, a clinically diagnosed depression is a mood disorder marked by persistent sadness, discouragement, and loss of interest in usual activities.


Who is likely to develop depression?

Depression affects men and women of all ages, and ethnic and racial backgrounds. Although the most common time of onset is between the ages of 30 and 40, teenagers can also experience depression.


What are the symptoms of depression?

  • Persistent sadness
  • Irritable mood
  • Feeling of worthlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Changes in appetite: increase or decrease
  • Loss of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide


What are the causes of depression?

  • Social environment: Conflicts with peer groups, breakup of a relationship
  • Family environment: Unhappy family atmosphere, domestic violence
  • Life events: Death of a family member, friend, or pet; moving, changing schools, other stressful experiences
  • Medical conditions: Hormone imbalance, physical illness
  • Genetics: Certain genetic makeup can increase an individual’s susceptibility to developing depression.


How do I know if I am depressed or just sad?

It is normal to feel depressed or sad sometimes; most of us do. However, if you experience most of the above symptoms for several weeks, you could have depression. It may be difficult to see the changes in yourself when you are depressed, but usually people around you can notice the difference. Similarly, if you notice someone having a big change in mood and behavior, talk to that person and encourage him or her to seek professional help.


What should I do if I am always depressed?

If you think you have depression, it is very important that you talk to a health professional and receive proper diagnosis and treatment. Depression is more common than you may think, and it is a very treatable condition. If you have trouble finding a healthcare provider, talk to an adult you feel comfortable with first. You can talk to your parents, a teacher, coach, school counselor, or spiritual leader. It is also helpful to talk to your friends about your feelings and concerns. But for medical issues like depression, adults may be more resourceful about how to find professional help.


How is depression treated?

Counseling or Psychotherapy:

Counseling or psychotherapy includes talking about your feelings, thoughts, and problems with a counselor in a confidential setting. People with depression tend to see life in an unrealistic way. For example, you may feel that you are not good enough or that no one understands you. A counselor can help you feel that you are not alone. When you talk about your feelings with a counselor, you will learn to see things differently and to understand yourself better. The counselor can also help you find ways to deal with your problems.


If you feel that counseling is not enough, there are different prescription medications available to treat depression. Many people find antidepressant medications very effective. Starting on such medicine does not mean that you have to take it for the rest of your life. When your condition improves, your doctor may decrease the dose or stop your medication. However, you should always talk with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medicine.


Where can I find reliable information on depression?

October 22, 2014

812863_90858969What is body image?

Do you think you’re too fat? Have you ever tried to lose weight? When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? As the body experiences dramatic changes in height, weight, and shape during the teenage years, our image of ourselves also changes in the process. Body image is our personal view of our body and, more importantly, our belief about how others perceive our appearance. Body image can be closely linked to self-esteem, especially as teens grow into adolescence and become more concerned about how others see them.


How does negative body image relate to self-dissatisfaction?

Body image is often measured by asking people to rate their current and ideal body shape using a series of pictures. The difference between these two values reflects the amount of body dissatisfaction. Studies have shown that the majority of people are dissatisfied with their appearance, especially their weight. Teenage girls, in particular, see themselves as heavier than what they would like to be. The dissatisfaction with weight is not limited to overweight girls. Normal weight and even underweight girls also express a desire to become thinner. The desire to lose weight is highly correlated with poor and distorted body image.


How does the media influence body image?

Besides the actual state of our bodies, body image is influenced by our culture and ideas presented by the media. Media images have a strong effect on a person’s body image, particularly for teenage girls.  Teenagers become increasingly aware of what the media’s standards are for the “ideal body.” The popular media (television, movies, magazines) has increasingly portrayed a thinner and thinner image as the ideal for women. Such presentations can be unrealistic.  On the average, the ideal woman shown in the media weighs 23% less than the average woman. Constantly seeing such “Barbie-like” doll images that are so far from one’s own reality creates a sense of pressure for teenage girls to lose weight.


Is your body image positive or negative?

 Negative Body Image:

  • You perceive parts of your body unlike what they really are
  • You feel self-conscious and ashamed
  • You believe your body is a sign of personal failure and that you are not as attractive as everyone else

Positive Body Image:

  • You have a real and clear perception of your body parts
  • You appreciate your body for the way it is, and feel comfortable and confident
  • You understand that body size and shape do not reflect your personal character and values

How to build a positive body image

  • Stop comparing yourself with models or movie stars
  • Don’t focus on body areas that you don’t like
  • Don’t focus on aspects that you have little control over: height, for example.
  • Set realistic goals and use healthy methods to lose weight
  • Understand that healthy skin and hair come from healthy eating
  • Focus on the quality of life
  • Create friendships that reflect the real you
  • Participate in extracurricular activities. Allocate time and energy to more important projects.