Mental Health Monday #MHM – PTSD Help

Back in March I wrote an article about PTSD and recognizing the symptoms and a very brief paragraph about how to reach out for help. The other morning we had a call, and I regretted that I had not put more focus on how to provide aid and support for a family member who has PTSD rather than just the symptoms. If you have a family member with PTSD, I need to start by saying I am sorry that I did not give you as much help as I might have.

I do need to provide a link to the original article because recognition of the symptoms are the first step. It can be found here: https://nrhpdmedia.com/tag/ptsd/

Also, I have mentioned a couple of things that I need to bring up again quickly.

First, I have talked about cortisol and how that hormone, a result of stress, has enormous physical and mental consequences when it is not released; This bit of info ties into the next thing I need to refresh us all on.

Second, the amygdala is, along with the thalamus, the part of the brain that deals with fear, stress, and emotion. If the amygdala receives a threatening message from the thalamus, it sends out an emotional response.

Issues arise when cortisol is being continually dumped into the system. The brain begins adding additional connections in these parts which then trigger more depression, anxiety, stress, and hyper-reactivity while simultaneously reducing the ability of the brain to access the prefrontal cortex which is where we do our real thinking. More reactivity, less processing… see where this is heading?

– – – – –

Whew, it sure took me a long time to get to what I said was going to be the focus, didn’t it? Sorry, but I feel like if we understand the “how” and “why ” we can wrap our heads around the “what” to do.

So what do family and friends do when they see someone they care about going through the symptoms we have discussed before?

Well, here is a pretty good list cobbled together from a few different sources:

  • Learn as much as you can about PTSD. Knowing how PTSD affects people may help you understand what your family member is going through. The more you know, the better you and your family can handle PTSD.
  • Offer to go to doctor visits with your family member. You can help keep track of medicine and therapy, and you can be there for support.
  • Tell your loved one you want to listen and that you also understand if he or she does not feel like talking.
  • Plan family activities together, like having dinner or going to a movie.
  • Take a walk, go for a bike ride, or do some other physical activity together. Exercise is important for health and helps clear your mind and also helps the body process cortisol.
  • Encourage contact with family and close friends. A support system will help your family member get through difficult changes and stressful times. People who have PTSD may isolate themselves which will significantly compound the problem.
  • Practice “mindfulness” or “Loving-Kindness” meditation techniques. It is ok to allow yourself to feel your feelings. Trying to suppress them means they will take control. Sure, maybe this seems pretty “sappy” or “granola, ” but it works. There are many videos on YouTube to guide you through this.

Your family member may not want your help. If this happens, keep in mind that withdrawal can be a symptom of PTSD. A person who withdraws may not feel like talking, taking part in group activities, or being around other people. Give your loved one space, but tell him or her that you will always be ready to help.

What if they get angry or have an outburst? Well, we all know it is nearly pointless to attempt a discussion when someone is overly upset. Here are some pointers:

  • If anger leads to violent behavior or abuse, it is dangerous. Go to a safe place and call for help right away. Make sure children are in a safe place as well.
  • It is hard to talk to someone who is angry. One thing you can do is set up a time-out system. This helps you find a way to talk even while angry. Here’s one way to do this.
  • Agree that either of you can call a time-out at any time.
  • Agree that when someone calls a time-out, the discussion must stop right then.
  • Decide on a signal you will use to call a time-out. The signal can be a word that you say or a hand signal.
  • Agree to tell each other where you will be and what you will be doing during the time-out. Tell each other what time you will come back.
  • While you are taking a time-out, don’t focus on how angry you feel. Instead, think calmly about how you will talk things over and solve the problem.

After you come back:

  • Take turns talking about solutions to the problem. Listen without interrupting.
  • Use statements starting with “I,” such as “I think” or “I feel.” Using “you” statements can sound accusing.
  • Be open to each other’s ideas. Don’t criticize each other.
  • Focus on things you both think will work. It is likely you will both have good ideas.
  • Together, agree which solutions you will use.

Finally, how can you communicate better?  We have discussed some of this in the past, but I found this great YouTube video that has the key ways to talk to someone in crisis: The Secrets of Hostage Negotiators.

– – – – –

I hope this helps.  Again, it is something I wish I had included the first time around.

 

Please, don’t ignore a problem. If you have someone who needs help, call someone for help. Me, the VA, a rape crisis center, whomever. Just help that person find help or an outlet.

Take care,

Chris

 

Where to get help:

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/where-to-get-help.asp

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/family/resources_family_friends.asp

 

Other info:

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/family/helping-family-member.asp

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/helping-someone-with-ptsd.htm

 

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Major Crash 820 Toll Lanes – PR 17-12

Carissa Katekaru                                                 PR 17-12

Media Relations Coordinator/Public Information Officer

Phone: (817) 427-7076

E-Mail: ckatekaru@nrhtx.com

 

NEWS RELEASE                For Immediate Release

 

On Tuesday May 30, 2017 at approximately 6:15 pm, North Richland Hills Police Department was dispatched to the 6300 block of west bound Loop 820 TEXpress lanes regarding a major crash. Upon arrival, officers located a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) that had significant damage.

The vehicle was occupied by three adults and two children. The driver, a 31 year old white male, was air lifted to an area hospital with serious head injuries. A 30 year old white female passenger was ejected from the vehicle and air lifted to an area hospital in critical, but stable, condition. The third adult passenger, a 32 year old white male, suffered minor injuries and was released at the scene. Two children, ages four and three, had been sitting in car seats and were released from the scene with no apparent injuries.

Initial crash investigation indicates this was a single vehicle crash. It appears the SUV swerved in an attempt to make the exit at Iron Horse Blvd, causing the vehicle to roll. West bound 820 TEXpress exit for Iron Horse Blvd remained closed for approximately one hour during the investigation.

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#MHM – Remember, take care of YOU! 

According to Fortune Magazine, while 96% of American workers say that vacation time is important to them, 54% of them didn’t use their earned time adding up to 662 million hours of vacation time going back to companies. That’s $604 earned dollars we’ve given back to our employers.
Why is this a mental health concern?

Heart disease is the number one killer in the country because of sedentary lifestyles and stress. Stress is significant because of the associated hormone, cortisol, causes a high blood pressure and a buildup of midsection fat and also our view on our lives causing burnout and depression, mental illness and shorter lifespans. Cortisol also causes us to crave fatty and sugary foods.

Many cite affordability as a reason they don’t take a vacation. A vacation doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant to be effective. 

One study in Australia showed that just 30 minutes in nature once a week reduces stress. If you’re here in the DFW area, there are many fantastic nature trails, and many are free or very inexpensive. In North Richland Hills, we have over 30 miles of hiking and biking trails.

Even looking at a picture of a nature scene reduces stress. I recently found a YouTube channel with some beautiful, ultra-high definition videos of nature scenes that run for hours. You can find the link below.

There are also some great apps out there to reduce stress. The one I use comes from calm.com. There is a website and an app which has free and paid options. 

Others think that not taking time off makes them look better to their bosses. Statistics show that people who don’t take time off or more likely to be passed over for promotions or raises.

So I’ve made it a point in my life to start getting outside more and doing healthy things to de-stress at the end of each day. Join me?

So taking off and even having a stay-cation is a win/win. Better health, both physical and mental, and it even may get you that raise you so richly deserve. 

Resources:

· https://www.nrhtx.com/235/Parks-Trails

· https://www.google.com/search?q=best+nature+trails+in+dfw&oq=best+nature+trails+in+dfw

· https://www.youtube.com/user/TheSilentWatcherCom

· http://www.calm.com

  

Sources:

· http://fortune.com/2017/05/23/vacation-time-americans-unused/

· http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-and-the-body#1

· https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1
Officer C. Morgan #622

Mental Health Peace Officer

North Richland Hills Police Department

(817) 427-7092

 

Accident Rufe Snow Dr. at Trinidad – PR 17-11

Carissa Katekaru                    PR 17-11

Media Relations Coordinator/Public Information Officer

Phone: (817) 427-7076

E-Mail: ckatekaru@nrhtx.com

NEWS RELEASE                For Immediate Release

On Wednesday May 24, 2017 at 8:10 pm, North Richland Hills Police were dispatched to Rufe Snow Dr. at Iron Horse Blvd. reference a major accident. Upon arrival officers located a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) and a motorcycle with significant damage.

The initial investigation indicates the motorcycle was traveling north bound on Rufe Snow Dr. approaching Iron Horse Blvd. The SUV was west bound on Trinidad from a stop sign, when it entered the roadway of Rufe Snow to cross. As the SUV entered the roadway, the vehicle struck the motorcyclist. The motorcyclist was transported by ground ambulance from the scene to an area hospital, but did not survive their injuries. The driver of the SUV did not have any reports of injuries. At this time, it is unknown whether speed was a factor in the case.

The name of the motorcyclist is being withheld at this time, pending proper notification of family members.

rufesnow_trinidad

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Keeping you Informed

In keeping you informed, our department received a report of a possible assault behind a business, located near a biking trail in the 7600 block of Mid Cities Blvd.  However, at this time we do not have evidence to validate an assault occurred. As such, we do not believe there to be any threat to the community at this time as the department continues to fully investigate the matter.

As always, remain conscious of your surroundings and be sure to call 9-1-1 if you see any suspicious activity. Remember, if you see something, say something.

 

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PR 17-11 Domestic Disturbance

 

North Richland Hills Police Department

4301 City Point Dr.

North Richland Hills, TX 76180

 

Carissa Katekaru                                                                                                      PR 17-11

Media Relations Coordinator/Public Information Officer

Phone: (817) 427-7076

E-Mail: ckatekaru@nrhtx.com

 

NEWS RELEASE                For Immediate Release

On May 7, 2017 at approximately 4:15 pm, officers were dispatched to the 6500 block of Jerrell St in reference to a non-violent domestic disturbance between siblings. After a period of time, the male suspect refused to exit the residence at the direction of officers and additional units, as well as specialized equipment, were called to the scene. The suspect soon after, exited the residence and was taken in to custody without incident. He was transported on outstanding parole violation charges to Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office for booking.

 

The suspect is identified as 25 year old Nathan Nida from Watauga, Texas.

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Mental Health Monday #MHM Unaccepted offers

Unaccepted offers for assistance

Greetings all.

The image attached is an example of how many calls I might close in a week on average. These are letters I send out to notify someone that their “case” is being closed out.

case closure letters (2)

When a call comes in a report is generated and comes to me. In almost every instance, I send an initial contact letter which has my contact info, what I do, and a little bit of info about the process. Each letter closes with some general resources in the area. Within a week or two, I will attempt direct contact. Simultaneously, MHMR of Tarrant County is following a similar process. Some of these letters come back undeliverable, though that’s not often.

More often, the attempts to offer assistance simply go unanswered. I’d like to believe that this simply means that needs are already being met, but the more realistic side of me says that it’s much more likely that the recipients are not open to accepting help. Whether it be because of fear, stigma, or pride, the vast majority of offers for help go unaccepted.

If one were drowning, I don’t believe that many would refuse an extended hand from someone on shore. Being overwhelmed with life isn’t much different than drowning and isn’t something that few of us experience. We all do, and we all struggle with accepting help for exactly the reasons I mentioned. Fear of not understanding what will happen. The stigma that it will mean something is “wrong” with someone. Or pride that makes one think that accepting help is something “weak” people do.

Try going to a counselor or opening up to someone about what is going on in your life and tell me that it is something a weak person can do. I feel it takes a huge act of courage to be able to get the first word out. I’m not ashamed to admit that I needed counseling after a divorce. I’m a cop. Can you imagine what it takes for one of us to admit we’re not totally in control of things and need help?

If someone offers a helping hand, accept it. If you are overwhelmed, let someone help.

All the best. You know where to find us.

 

Officer Morgan.

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Mental Health Monday #MHM #TBI

Traumatic Brain Injuries or TBI’s 

Hi all,

Sorry, I have not written anything in a few, but I am generally busier than I wish I were. That said, let’s talk about a different kind of brain issue than my norm. Let’s discuss “Traumatic Brain Injury” or “TBIs.”

TBIs are in the new frequently these days because of the frequency of incidents with our military men and women encountering IEDs and other concussive type mechanisms of injury. However, there are many numerous causes of TBIs that we here in in the US could encounter. In Texas, more than 144,000 people sustain a traumatic brain injury each year, and an estimated 440,000 Texans have a disability related to a traumatic brain injury.

In the US, the number of people who are diagnosed with a brain injury each year is more than the number of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and ALS….combined.

So why is it important to address this issue?

Well, NOT protecting our brains can leave us with lifelong consequences. While some effects can be overcome, some are not. Everything we are, think, know, remember, believe, do, see, hear, taste, etc.… it’s all controlled or stored by our brain. The human brain is not designed to withstand impacts so we need to do what we can to try to avoid injuring it. We could change our very personality by not doing so.

So what are the number one cause of TBIs? Falls. Falls account for 40% of TBIs. Some other reasons are:

  • concussion
  • violence
  • blast injury
  • struck by or against something
  • motor vehicle crash
  • abusive head trauma
  • shaken baby syndrome
  • sports injuries

Who is principally at risk?

  • Children ages 0-4 and Adolescents ages 16-19: most likely to have TBI-related ED visit or hospitalization. (This is due to falls or general risk taking.)
  • Older adults age 75+: have highest rates of TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths among all age groups. (This is due to falls because of declining mental and physical attributes.)
  • Domestic Violence Survivors: Studies estimate the prevalence of TBI in domestic violence survivors is over 35%.
  • Athletes: Over 1.6 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur in the U.S. each year.

Moreover, how do we avoid a TBI?  Follow these tips to reduce the risk of brain injury:

  • Seat belts and airbags. Always wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle. A small child should always sit in the back seat of a car and be secured in child safety seats or booster seats that are appropriate for his or her size and weight.
  • Alcohol and drug use. Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications that can impair the ability to drive.
  • Wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, skateboard, motorcycle, snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle. Also wear appropriate head protection when playing baseball or contact sports, skiing, skating, snowboarding, or riding a horse.
  • Preventing falls

The following tips can help older adults avoid falls around the house:

  • Install handrails in bathrooms
  • Put a nonslip mat in the bathtub or shower
  • Remove area rugs
  • Install handrails on both sides of staircases
  • Improve lighting in the home
  • Keep stairs and floors clear of clutter
  • Get regular vision checkups
  • Get regular exercise
  • Preventing head injuries in children

The following tips can help children avoid head injuries:

  • Install safety gates at the top of a stairway
  • Keep stairs clear of clutter
  • Install window guards to prevent falls
  • Put a nonslip mat in the bathtub or shower
  • Use playgrounds that have shock-absorbing materials on the ground
  • Make sure area rugs are secure
  • Don’t let children play on fire escapes or balconies

However, say something happens, and someone you know ends up with a possible head injury. Here’s what to look for:

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Blood or clear fluid draining from nose or ears
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in limbs
  • Trouble walking
  • Slurred speech or vision issues
  • Seizure

Symptoms may not appear until days, weeks, or even months after the injury.

Continue to monitor for signs and symptoms even if you do not observe any immediately. See a doctor if you notice any of these changes after the injury.

COGNITIVE:

  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Changes in Work/school performance
  • Delayed thinking and understanding

BEHAVIORAL/EMOTIONAL:

  • Changes in personality and behavior
  • Irritability/Aggression
  • Depression/Anxiety

PHYSICAL:

  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Sleep disturbances or fatigue
  • Ongoing headaches or neck pain
  • Sensitivity to light and noise

And finally, consider downloading a wallet card at the link below if you have a brain injury that has left you with permanent symptoms that may complicate your normal life, including an interaction with a police officer. Some symptoms, because of a lack of knowledge about your history, might appear to indicate intoxication or alcohol or another substance. Having a wallet card with easy to understand information may help mitigate a situation.

I hope this information helps. Head injuries are not something we “rub some dirt on and walk off.” It is something to take them all seriously until you are confident it not.

Sources:

https://hhs.texas.gov/services/disability/office-acquired-brain-injury

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/basics/prevention/con-20029302

https://hhs.texas.gov/services/disability/office-acquired-brain-injury/disaster-precautions-preparedness/wallet-id-card

-Officer C. Morgan #622

Mental Health Peace Officer

North Richland Hills Police Department

(817) 427-7092

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Fatality Accident – North Tarrant Pkwy – PR 17-10

Carissa Katekaru                                                 PR 17-10

Media Relations Coordinator/Public Information Officer

Phone: (817) 427-7076

E-Mail: ckatekaru@nrhtx.com

 

 

NEWS RELEASE                For Immediate Release

 

On April 17, 2017 just prior to 7:00 pm, officers were dispatched to the 8600 block of North Tarrant Parkway (cross street of Saddlebrook Ct.). Upon arrival, officers noted a white two-door sedan and white minivan with significant damage.

The two-door sedan was in multiple pieces, with the rear of the vehicle on fire. The white male driver of the two-door sedan had been ejected from the vehicle and was located deceased at the scene. The white male driver of the minivan was transported by ground ambulance to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. An additional three other vehicles were involved in the accident, as a result of swerving to miss the initial incident between the white sedan and white minivan; however, no other persons were injured.

Witnesses’ report that the two-door sedan was traveling east bound on North Tarrant at a high rate of speed when they heard what was described as a “pop” sound. The sedan then lost control and rolled across the center median into the west bound traffic of North Tarrant Parkway. After the sedan crossed the median, it ran head-on in to the white minivan. Officers are currently investigating to determine the cause of the accident, but at this time speed is believed to be a factor.

Names of involved parties are being withheld, pending family notifications.

 

image1 (9)

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Assault by Contact at Walker Creek – PR 17-09

Sergeant Kevin Palmer                                                                                            PR 17-09

Public Information Officer

Phone: (817) 427-7074

E-Mail: kpalmer@nrhtx.com

 

 

NEWS RELEASE                For Immediate Release

 

On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, at 6:26 PM, a father of a student from Walker Creek Elementary met with the North Richland Hills Police Department to report an incident where an educational assistant* grabbed his child by the face.  The matter was documented as requested by police department staff.  The following day, the father returned to the police department and requested that an offense report be taken.  The officer was shown an electronic image of the child’s face and observed what appeared to be a mark on the child’s cheek.  The officer completed a report for Assault by Contact.  The case is currently being investigated.

 

Birdville ISD reported that they are aware of the incident and are conducting their own administrative investigation into the matter.

*updated 4:30 PM 4-13-17 (previously reported to have been a teacher)