Posts tagged with "emotional health"

United States Suicide Crisis

The United States is a nation currently plagued by many crises. We are facing a public health, economic, and civil rights crisis all at the same time. The coronavirus pandemic alone is changing almost every facet of life for hundreds of millions of Americans. Cases of COVID19 are rising again with fear and anxiety close behind.

Dr. Carlin Barnes and Dr. Marketa Wills – two Harvard-trained psychiatrists and co-founders of Healthy Mind MDs, LLC – a wellness enterprise whose sole mission is to improve the emotional and mental well-being of all Americans. They believe this increased rate of clinical anxiety and depression can lead to another major crisis – suicide. Mental health professionals are concerned that suicide rates will greatly increase over the next few months related to Americans deal with what is happening around them. 

Suicide is not a new national problem. Research has established a strong link between economic upheaval and suicide and substance us In fact, it is a public health crisis that has plagued America for quite some time. Suicide rates among adults in the U.S. were on the rise before this pandemic. In 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that suicide deaths among those age 1 to 64 had increased to 35% in less than two decades. It is evident by our nation’s response, COVID-19 caught us off guard. A study of the Great Recession that began in late 2007 found that every percentage point increase in the unemployment rate, there was about a 1.6 percent increase in the suicide rate.

Drs. Barnes and Wills believe it is important that we, individually and collectively, ring the alarm regarding the possibilities of COVID-19 related suicide. They are available to talk about the signs of a loved one who may be contemplating suicide and how to combat it. Signs include:

• Extreme withdrawal from all family and friends from someone who had previously been outgoing and friendly

• Increased use of alcohol and drugs

• Stating that life is not worth living

• Starting to get possessions and final paperwork in order

• Erratic behaviors,  mood swings, increased agitation/aggression/irritability

• Severe changes in sleep (increased sleep or decreased sleep) and appetite (increased appetite or decreased appetite

Given this confluence of stressors, the mental health of many Americans is becoming a major concern as we adapt to absorb the psychologic impact of all these major events. Data shows that one third of U.S  adults have reported symptoms of clinical anxiety and depression related to this public health crisis.

Barnes, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist and behavioral health medical director at a Fortune 500 managed care company. For the past eighteen years, she has practiced child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry—she has a thriving, diverse, boutique private practice with patient clientele ranging from working adults to urban children and  adolescents. She trained in the specialty of psychiatry at programs  affiliated with both Harvard University and Emory University Schools Medicine and attended Texas A&M University College of Medicine, where she received a Doctor of Medicine degree. Dr. Barnes is a member of several professional organizations including the National Medical Association, the Black Psychiatrists of America, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. She is originally from Hillside, New Jersey, and currently resides in Houston, Texas, where she lives with her son.

Marketa Wills, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist with a master’s in business administration from the Wharton School of Business and serves as a physician executive at a Fortune 500 health insurance company. She has cared for severely mentally ill patients in inpatient, outpatient, and emergency room clinical settings. As treatment team leader and medical director, she effectively collaborated with other mental professionals to ensure that patients with a variety of ailments—ranging from schizophrenia to postpartum depression to substance abuse—were able to live as productively as possible. Dr.Wills earned her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed a residency in adult psychiatry at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Hospital program. In her last year of the program, she served as chief resident. She has received numerous accolades and awards highlighting her clinical and community achievements. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, she currently resides in sunny Tampa, Florida.

The doctors have shared their expertise on numerous news outlets as well as CBS News, NBC Syndication and CBS Radio.
July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Drs. Barnes and Wills would be ideal experts to talk about mental health and suicide issues.

Green Dentistry

5 Reasons Green Dentistry Is Gaining Popularity

For a growing number of patients, a trip to the dentist isn’t what it used to be – and that’s how they want it.

Rather than just a routine “drill-and-fill” for a cavity, they may receive a head massage,  meditative advice and diet suggestions that would seem more befitting a gastroenterologist. What they won’t receive are traditional amalgam fillings – about 50 percent of which are composed of mercury, which has been associated with numerous health issues and is considered an environmental hazard.

This emerging branch of dentistry – which dental professionals say is largely patient-driven – is called “holistic” or “holistic biological.” Holistic dentists believe that poor oral health leads to poor physical health. They perform traditional procedures but consider the whole body – diet, lifestyle, emotional health – when treating teeth. They also focus on using what they consider to be safer materials.

“It’s the opposite of common dental culture, which is simply ‘drill and fill,’ ” says Dr. Nammy Patel, DDS, author of Age With Style: Your Guide To A Youthful Smile & Healthy Living. “Holistic dentistry is looking at and addressing the underlying causes for gum disease and cavities; for example, is it your diet, hormonal changes, or acid reflux?

“For many years in the dental profession, it was assumed that your oral health had only a tangential effect on your overall health. We now know better.”

Dr. Patel provides five reasons holistic dentistry is trending up as a treatment approach by patients:

  • Focus on the whole body and root cause. Holistic dentistry looks beyond symptoms to find root causes for dental issues while expanding methods of preventive care. “It’s a deeper look at a patient that offers them numerous benefits when considering diet and lifestyle and how it all connects with oral health,” Dr. Patel says.
  • Minimally-invasive treatments. “The focus is on helping patients avoid unnecessary, painful and drawn-out procedures that can hurt overall well-being,” Dr. Patel says. “That doesn’t mean sacrificing high-tech treatments for disease. Laser treatments for gum disease and cleaning are one example of minimally-invasive. The latter does a great job of destroying bacteria that are the biggest danger to your oral health. Air abrasion and ozone therapy are effective other effective minimally-invasive procedures.
  • Biocompatible and non-toxic materials. Holistic dentists will remove amalgam (mercury) fillings and favor dental appliances made from more natural substances. “A traditional approach to dentistry often uses mercury fillings or crowns and other harmful materials when treating dental issues,” Dr. Patel says. “Research has shown all kinds of health problems related to mercury, from thyroid issues to Alzheimer’s. Holistic dentistry will use non-toxic resins and materials fully compatible with the body.”
  • Alternatives to root canals. Dr. Patel says holistic dentists are more likely to look at alternatives, such as herbs, laser therapy, or extractions. A key reason: “Research shows unless root canals are completely sterilized and cleaned of all bacteria, the bacteria can get in the bloodstream can cause chronic health complications,” Dr. Patel says.
  • Balances cosmetics and function. “Missing, damaged, or crooked teeth can make you feel self-conscious and affect your quality of life,” Dr. Patel notes. “Holistic care takes a balanced approach to both form and function when developing a dental care plan. For example, if you’re worried about stained teeth, they’ll guide you first to healthy foods that alleviate the problem.”

“Holistic dentistry is committed to making sure you’re comfortable, making your teeth last a lifetime, and using the most natural materials available,” Dr. Patel says.

About Dr. Nammy Patel, DDS

Dr. Nammy Patel, DDS operates a practice called Green Dentistry in San Francisco and is the author of Age With Style: Your Guide To A Youthful Smile & Healthy Living. A graduate of the University of California’s School of Dentistry, she is a leader in the movement to bring environmental sanity and well-being into the dental world. Dr. Patel focuses on helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health.