Is Exercise Good for Your Mental Health?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, there are a tremendous amount of benefits to exercising for adolescents including maintaining a healthy weight and the prevention of certain diseases later in life. Additionally, exercise provides better academic performance and the creation of a lifetime of healthy habits.

In addition to physical health benefits, adolescents who exercise also experience benefits to their mental health. Exercise can lead to lower rates of depression. These lower rates can be attributed to the fact that adolescents who exercise have a higher self-esteem which is linked to lower levels of depression. It is noted that this can be especially important for adolescent girls who tend to experience more depression than adolescent boys.

 

A recent publication by the Harvard Medical School evaluates a study that supports the idea that exercise is good for adolescent mental health. Particularly for those already receiving formal treatment. What they found was that for those adolescents the addition of exercise leads to a moderate improvement in their depression.

 

Based on the results, while exercise can help a depressed adolescent, it is not necessarily a substitute for more formal treatment. We should also note that this is referring to a healthy amount of exercise. During its Risky Business campaign, Mental Health America has discussed exercise extremes.

 

These extremes include those that don’t exercise enough and those that exercise too much. Let’s explore this as it relates to adolescents so parents can be aware of a healthy amount of exercise for their teens since we know that can positivity impact their mental health.

 

A person that does not exercise enough has an increased risk for certain physical health issues, but it can also contribute to depression and anxiety.

 

On the other extreme is someone who compulsively exercises. A compulsive exerciser or one that is addicted to exercising will miss out on obligations. If they do miss a workout, it can lead to feelings of guilt and/or sadness. Additionally, they may continue to exercise despite an injury or illness.

 

If your teen is not getting enough exercise, here are some ways to encourage them to begin an exercise program.

 

  • First, speak with your family doctor and make sure there are no special considerations to consider before beginning an exercise regimen.

 

  • Begin at a slow pace and gradually work up to more difficult activities.

 

  • Get someone like a friend or relative to join so that they can motivate and hold one another accountable.

 

If you have a teen that is a compulsive exerciser you can help them take control and get into a healthier workout regimen.

 

  • Change up workout routine to include less strenuous workouts or take days off from working out altogether.

 

  • Discuss healthy body types.

 

  • Make sure your teen is getting adequate nutrition from the food they are eating.

 

  • Don’t allow negative self-talk. For example, putting down their body type or thinking they are lazy.

 

  • Encourage a discussion about healthy exercise habits and ask your teen if they are struggling with what that is.

 

If your teen is struggling with either compulsive exercising or depression, know when to seek the help of a mental health professional.

 

Doorways LLC. is a faith-based counseling organization in Phoenix, Arizona, that provides comprehensive outpatient treatment focused exclusively on 13-25-year olds and their families specializing in treatment for eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety/OCD, substance abuse, depression, ADD/ADHD, self-harm, suicide prevention, and family counseling.

 

Teen Eating Disorder Specialist Joins Doorways

Dr. Brad Zehring Teen Psychiatrist Phoenix, AZ,Dr. Brad Zehring, Psychiatrist and Eating Disorder Specialist, is joining the team of providers at Doorways, a faith-based counseling organization in Phoenix, Arizona, that provides comprehensive outpatient treatment focused exclusively on adolescents, young adults and their families.

Therapists at Doorways specialize in treatment for eating disorders, mood disorders, substance abuse, depression, ADD/ADHD, self-harm, suicide and more.

Dr. Zehring is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) and is passionate about helping families who have loved ones with eating disorders.  He attended medical school at Midwestern University – Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona. 

During residency, Dr. Zehring was recognized by the University of Arizona College of Medicine with the House Officer of the Year Award in Psychiatry for 2013-2014 academic year for his enthusiasm, professionalism, and passion in teaching medical students.

Dr. Zehring is accepting new patients.  To find out more contact Doorways at 602-997-2880.

A Counselor’s Thoughts on 13 Reasons Why

by Jan Hamilton

Jan Hamilton, Founder, Doorways Teen Counseling and Psychiatric Services Phoenix Arizona

Jan Hamilton, MS, PMHNP-BC Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

There’s a new program on Netflix that has caused quite an uproar in the media, and in our office.

13 Reasons Why is a Netflix series about Hannah, a middle school girl who takes her own life.

Two weeks after her tragic death, a classmate named Clay finds a mysterious box on his porch. Inside the box are recordings made by Hannah — on whom Clay had a crush — in which she explains the 13 reasons why she chose to commit suicide. If Clay decides to listen to the recordings, he will find out if and how he made the list.

This intricate and heart-wrenching tale is told through Clay and Hannah’s dual narratives.

I spoke to one of our counselors, Sarah VanHolland, LPC, about this series. She is the Clinical lead therapist for our DBT Skills Intensive Outpatient Program and this show has been the topic of conversation many times in that IOP group. Here’s what Sarah said:

“The concerning aspects of the series are its glorification of suicide and its promotion of the message ‘wait until I’m gone, then they’ll be sorry’. 

The show reduces its main character to little more than what happens to her. There is no real mention of depression, genetics, her lack of coping skills, her access to support systems, or biochemistry. 

At times, the show seems to perpetuate a cycle of feeling shame and blaming others. While these issues are harmful and spread misinformation, the series does offer insights into the experiences of adolescents today. 

The show highlights the alarming rate of sexual harassment and assault, mass and instant dissemination of rumors via social media and smart phones, and the overall social climate present in many high school campuses today. 

The show is painfully accurate in its depiction of how secrets are harmful to everyone, how one person’s brokenness causes more brokenness, and that everyone is experiencing their own pain and sadness.”

My concern of course, is that students would try to follow Hannah’s example because the series, though tragic, still “romanticizes” the action of suicide and the idea of leaving a message for the survivors to teach them a lesson.

We hope that parents will talk to their teens about this program and the messages it sends. If your son or daughter are hinting about suicide in any way, you need to take it seriously. Reach out to an experienced professional to get help.

Because doing nothing is not an option.

Summer Eating Disorder IOP for Young Adults Ages 18-25

Summer Eating Disorder IOP Phoenix ArizonaNEW!!!

Summer 8 Week Young Adult (18-25)

Eating Disorder IOP

June 13-Aug 3

11 AM to 2 PM

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.

We will have Snack and Lunch (monitored by Registered Dietitians) and we’ll offer various groups (DBT skills, Relapse Prevention, Body Image, Process Groups, Nutrition, COPE groups, etc)

Our IOP groups are contracted with Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and United Behavioral Healthcare.

For more information about our Summer Eating Disorder IOP for Young Adults, contact our IOP coordinator at 602-997-2880 or [email protected]

Now Hiring: Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner or Psychiatrist

Doorways LLC. is a faith-based counseling organization in Phoenix, Arizona, that provides comprehensive outpatient treatment focused exclusively on 13-25-year olds and their families.

Doorways provides a supportive, family-focused environment, flexible schedule, competitive salary and benefits, and a fun place to work!

Providers at Doorways specialize in treatment for eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety/OCD, substance abuse, depression, ADD/ADHD, self-harm, suicide prevention, and family counseling.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Certification with current unrestricted license from the Arizona State Board of Nursing or Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathic Medicine with current unrestricted license from the Arizona State Board of Medical Examiners,
  • Current DEA License, NPI Number,
  • Three or more years’ experience in the delivery of mental health treatment for adolescents and young adults,
  • Current CPR & First Aid Certifications
  • Empaneled with at least one major insurance carrier in Arizona preferred.
  • Able to support a faith-based, holistic, integrated model of treatment
  • Energetic and passionate regarding working with the adolescent and young adult population
  • Possess excellent interpersonal skills and the desire to grow with a rapidly expanding practice
  • Team player willing to work with a multidisciplinary team of professionals in treatment planning and provision of care 

Responsibilities will include:

  • Psychiatric evaluations and medication management of patients
  • Prescribe, direct, and administer psychotherapeutic treatments and/or medications to treat mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders.
  • Collaborate with our team of professionals for best care practices in the treatment of adolescents, young adults and their families.

If this position is of interest to you, let’s talk! Please contact Jan Hamilton, PMHNP-BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, at Doorways LLC. [email protected]

 

Simple Ways to Reduce Mental Health Stigma

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.One way that we would like to participate is to help reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

In terms of mental health, David Susman PhD refers to stigma as negative beliefs, descriptions, attitudes, behavior or language. To go a step further, a stigma can be unfair, discriminatory or disrespectful in how we talk, feel, behave, or think towards someone coping with mental health issues. To help, we have compiled a list of ways that you can reduce mental health stigma.

  1. Educate Yourself

Accurately inform yourself about mental illnesses. Check out MentalHealth.gov for some mental health facts and myths.

  1. Educate Others

Once you have educated yourself, you can pass on your new accurate knowledge to others. Additionally, you can educate others, by presenting a positive attitude about those with mental health issues. You can do this by challenging any stereotypes or myths that others you know may have about those suffering from mental illness.

  1. Don’t Label Those with Mental Illness

Keep in mind that people are still people and not their diagnosis. For example, do not refer to someone as “she’s schizophrenic,” but rather state they have a mental illness. Remember to be respectful.

  1. Don’t be Afraid of Someone with a Mental Health Issue

Don’t fall to stereotypes. While it may seem that someone with a mental illness may display unusual behavior, keep in mind that it does not mean they are dangerous. That is an inaccurate stereotype that has been perpetuated by popular culture.

  1. Choose What You Say Carefully

How you say something can impact the way others speak and think. Never use derogatory or hurtful language about mental illness or to someone with a mental illness. Be sure not to use mental illnesses as an adjective. For example, don’t say, “I’m so OCD.” Speaking this way only furthers misconceptions and stigmas about mental illnesses.

  1. Be Sensitive and Focus on the Positive

Be supportive and reassuring to someone with mental illness especially when you know they are having a tough time. Additionally, focus on the person’s positive aspects. Essentially, treat others how you would like to be treated.

You can help fight stigma by spreading awareness about mental illness and helping to eliminate the many myths that exist about mental illness. Commit to changing the attitudes around you and we can help to get rid of the stigma once and for all.

Doorways LLC. is a faith-based counseling organization in Phoenix, Arizona, that provides comprehensive outpatient treatment focused exclusively on 13-25-year olds and their families specializing in treatment for eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety/OCD, substance abuse, depression, ADD/ADHD, self-harm, suicide prevention, and family counseling.

 

How to Stop Doing Everything for Your Teen

We all are trying to navigate through this parenting thing, right? We all know there is no right way to parent. One aspect that we as parents have taken on is doing everything for our kids. This may seem okay when they are younger. We know how to pack their lunch, make sure they get out the door on time or remind them to finish their homework. The problem is that a lot of parents continue to do these things and more- well into the teen years.

As a parent, you are hindering your teen’s growth by continuing to not hold them responsible and accountable for such things. It is important to teach your teen to be responsible for their commitments, teen independence, and build future relationships. Additionally, you will teach your teen independence. This is important so that in the future they will not only be able to take care of themselves but also their future family. To help you stop doing everything for your teen and to build the necessary skills for the future, we have compiled a list of things that you should stop doing for your teen.

  1. Laundry

Has your teen ever snapped at you because you haven’t washed those pair of jeans they wanted to wear out on Friday night? That is the perfect reason why you should hand over the task of doing laundry to your teen. They need a good reminder that you are not the maid. Honestly, this is a task they are going to need to do in life sooner than later. Then the next time their favorite pair of jeans are not clean, it’s on them and not on you!

  1. Making themselves meals

This one should be easy. Make sure you have plenty of healthy food choices for your teen can handle this one just fine. At a minimum, most teens can handle pouring cereal, making a sandwich, and packing an apple for lunch. You could also take this opportunity to teach some basic cooking skills. This skill will also help set the stage for further cooking lessons to help them be able to cook as an adult.

  1. Waking them up in the morning

That is what alarms are for! Honestly, you teach your teen responsibility. They are entirely capable of setting an alarm to a reasonable time to get up, get ready, and out the door to school on time. After suffering the consequences of a few tardies or long walks to school, your teen will likely understand what it takes to get up on time in the morning.

  1. Handling their forgetfulness

Have you ever been at work and gotten the call your teen left their project that was due today on the kitchen table? Let me get this straight, you are supposed to leave your work and take them their project so they don’t suffer any repercussions? Not only can this have repercussions for you in lost wages or lost time, it is not you that should suffer. It should be them. As a parent, you can help remind your teen of deadlines or better yet, help them calendar deadlines with reminders to ensure that this doesn’t happen and if it does, they are going to have to figure out how to handle forgetting something.

  1. Contacting Teachers

Sometimes teachers and students have a miscommunication or maybe your teen needs clarification on some school work. Encourage your kids to communicate with their teachers. Your teen needs to learn how to communicate and sort through any school issues with their teachers.

  1. Being overly involved in school work

It can be tempting to oversee your teen’s schoolwork to make sure they are not making any mistakes. However, keep in mind that you have already gone through school and this is their schoolwork, not yours. You can walk through a problem with your student to help them better understand and work through it, but under no circumstances should you be doing it for them. If your teen’s grades suffer they might begin to understand the importance of being responsible for getting their school work complete.

  1. Filling out paperwork

Whether it be a job application, a permission slip, a scholarship form, your teen needs to be filling out the necessary information. As a parent, feel free to proofread or offer suggestions, but the only thing that you should be doing is signing your signature if necessary. For example, if your teen misses a school field trip your teen might better appreciate doing paperwork themselves.

You might feel like your teen is not ready to handle these things, but you must begin handing over responsibility to your teen at some level to begin readying them for adulthood. By suffering the consequences of lack of responsibility, your teen will better understand the necessity of doing things for themselves. By expanding your teen’s responsibilities, you will give yourself a break and better yet, help your teen build self-confidence and skills that they will need throughout life.

Doorways LLC. is a faith-based counseling organization in Phoenix, Arizona, that provides comprehensive outpatient treatment focused exclusively on 13-25-year olds and their families specializing in treatment for eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety/OCD, substance abuse, depression, ADD/ADHD, self-harm, suicide prevention, and family counseling.

How to Teach Your Teen Resiliency

According to Merriam-Webster, resilience is “the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress; an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” Some people are just better adept at bouncing back after facing problems or stresses in their life. Is your teen one of those? If not, it’s not too late to teach your teen the skill of resiliency. It is important for your teen to obtain this skill so they can be more independent prior to moving on to college and adult life. With the help of the American Psychological Association also known as APA, we have some tips to teach your teen resiliency.

  1. Encourage Your Teen to Take a Break

The teen years already have their difficulties due to physical and hormonal changes and can make it difficult to handle life’s normal stress. Throw in a major trauma or tragedy and hormonal shifts can be even more extreme. When this occurs, encourage your teen to give themselves a break by going easy on themselves.

  1. Maintain Routines

High school is already full of choices and college will have even more for your teen. This can be overwhelming to some teens. As a parent, keep home life as routine as possible which can help provide comfort to your teen.

  1. Create a Safe-Haven

As a parent, we understand that home is not always a stress-free zone so allow your teen to have their bedroom be that safe-haven. This will ensure that they have somewhere they can escape and relax from any minor or major stresses.

  1. Express Emotions

The best thing for you to do is encourage your teen to talk about what is overwhelming them or stressing them out. If your teen is having difficulty talking to you, encourage an alternative activity like painting, drawing, writing poetry or journaling. This will help your teen work through any difficult emotions.

  1. Be Social

Ensure that your teen is spending time with friends or with family. Encourage them to talk about things that are going on with them or in the world with you or with their friends. You could also encourage your teen to join a new group at school or at church.

  1. Tune Out

We live in a society where news is at our fingertips. In the wake of tragedy, events can be sensationalized more than ever. Encourage your teen to tune out the news coverage so that they don’t incur further anxiety or worsen current ones.

 

  1. Take Care of Themselves

Help your teen make choices that make them feel good physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Most importantly, make sure your teen is getting sleep. Lack of sleep can be so detrimental when dealing with stress and may actually increase it or induce anxiety. This will help your teen to better deal with tough issues.

  1. Help Someone Else

A great way for your teen to shift their focus off their problems is to have them focus on someone else’s. Suggest your teen volunteer and with a project that they are passionate about.

  1. Be in Control

When a major tragedy occurs, it is easier than ever for things to become overwhelming and spiral out of control for your teen. You must insist that they be in control. One way to do this is to have your teen take one small step toward a larger goal so that it does not seem impossible for them.

  1. It’s All About Perspective

This can be difficult in the wake of a major tragedy that is all over the news and it seems like the entire world is discussing. However, help your teen think about other times where a positive has come out of a negative situation. Helping your teen understand perspective, will help them to not be so overwhelmed and stressed.

Developing resilience is not going to happen overnight. If your teen is still feeling overwhelmed consider reaching out to a mental health professional that can help them cope with their emotions and stresses.

Doorways LLC. is a faith-based counseling organization in Phoenix, Arizona, that provides comprehensive outpatient treatment focused exclusively on 13-25-year olds and their families specializing in treatment for eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety/OCD, substance abuse, depression, ADD/ADHD, self-harm, suicide prevention, and family counseling.

The Toxic Friendship: Frenemies

As parents, we spend a lot of time encouraging our teens to make new friends and cultivate the friendships they have. However, are we examining the types of friendships they have? How about negative relationships that are known as toxic friendships? One such toxic relationship that can exist particularly among teen girls is the so-called frenemy.

A frenemy is a person who was perhaps once a friend, but now the friendship has taken a negative turn and is now what we refer to as toxic. Rather than being a friend to your teen, the person is now just plain mean. As the SMC Education Blog explains, this type of relationship can lead to your teen not feeling good about themselves because of the way the frenemy is treating them. This type of friendship is characterized by hurtful behavior like put-downs, manipulation, giving the silent treatment, gossip, and placing conditions on the “friendship.”

As a parent, you can help your teen avoid these types of relationships and help them understand what positive relationships look like. According to Raising Children, begin by explaining that a positive relationship is one where the friend treats them with respect, looks out for them, is inclusive, and is caring towards them. Once your teen understands how they should be treated, this should help them better form their social group.

You can also help direct your teen to other teens you would like to see them spend time with. You can encourage your teen to try different activities to help foster more positive relationships. It also helps to encourage your teen to have friends from different social arenas. Some examples of this are friends in your neighborhood, from church, sports, school, and other social groups.

You can also help by encouraging your teen to invite friends to your home or other family activities so that you can observe the type of friendships they have and ensure the friendships are all positive in nature.

Additionally, talk to your teen about friendships by asking questions and keeping an ongoing dialogue so they feel open to discuss any issues that may come up.

If there are issues that come up and your teen is not able to avoid a frenemy, you can help. Encourage them to end the negative relationship by being open and saying that the friendship must end because they do not like how they are being treated.

If there is any backlash against your teen like bullying, talk to your teen and if necessary, get the school involved to help figure out a solution.

As a parent, continue to help your teen foster the positive relationships, but realize that there may be a few bumps in the road and let them know that you will work on them together. Be sure to keep an open dialogue going with your teen so that they can discuss any negative issues that potentially come up.

If you find that your teen is having difficulty navigating a difficult relationship, you can also seek the guidance of your teen’s school to help with the situation.

Doorways LLC. is a faith-based counseling organization in Phoenix, Arizona, that provides comprehensive outpatient treatment focused exclusively on 13-25-year olds and their families specializing in treatment for eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety/OCD, substance abuse, depression, ADD/ADHD, self-harm, suicide prevention, and family counseling.