NMG SHINES LIGHT ON SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER

 

     EAGLE LAKE, Maine (Oct. 1, 2019) – With the first day of Autumn a full week behind and leaves continuing to fall in Aroostook County, Northern Maine General’s Licensed Clinical Social Workers remind residents that help is available for those susceptible to – or already experiencing - Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

In addition to light boxes, medication and Vitamin D, therapy or counseling can be helpful in the behavior modification sometimes needed to navigate the seasons, according to The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

     This is especially true in areas far from the equator, such as northern Maine. NIMH offers a comprehensive look at SAD, reprinted here with permission: 


“What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?


OVERVIEW

     Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur, but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD.


SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

     Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is not considered as a separate disorder. It is a type of depression displaying a recurring seasonal pattern. To be diagnosed with SAD, people must meet full criteria for major depression coinciding with specific seasons (appearing in the winter or summer months) for at least 2 years. Seasonal depressions must be much more frequent than any non-seasonal depressions.

Symptoms of Major Depression

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Having low energy
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having problems with sleep
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide.

Symptoms of the Winter Pattern of SAD include

  • Having low energy
  • Hypersomnia
  • Overeating
  • Weight gain
  • Craving for carbohydrates
  • Social withdrawal (feel like “hibernating”)

Symptoms of the less frequently occurring

Summer Pattern of SAD include

  • Poor appetite with associated weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Episodes of violent behavior


RISK FACTORS

     Attributes that may increase your risk of SAD include:

  • Being female. SAD is diagnosed four times more often in women than men.
  • Living far from the equator. SAD is more frequent people who live far north or south of the equator. For example, 1 percent of those who live in Florida and 9 percent of those who live in New England or Alaska suffer from SAD.
  • Family history. People with a family history of other types of depression are more likely to develop SAD than people who do not have a family history of depression.
  • Having depression or bipolar disorder. The symptoms of depression may worsen with the seasons if you have one of these conditions (but SAD is diagnosed only if seasonal depressions are the most common).
  • Younger Age. Younger adults have a higher risk of SAD than older adults. SAD has been reported even in children and teens.

     The causes of SAD are unknown, but research has found some biological clues:

  • People with SAD may have trouble regulating one of the key neurotransmitters involved in mood, serotonin. One study found that people with SAD have 5 percent more serotonin transporter protein in winter months than summer months. Higher serotonin transporter protein leaves less serotonin available at the synapse because the function of the transporter is to recycle neurotransmitter back into the pre-synaptic neuron.
  • People with SAD may overproduce the hormone melatonin. Darkness increases production of melatonin, which regulates sleep. As winter days become shorter, melatonin production increases, leaving people with SAD to feel sleepier and more lethargic, often with delayed circadian rhythms.
  • People with SAD also may produce less Vitamin D. Vitamin D is believed to play a role in serotonin activity. Vitamin D insufficiency may be associated with clinically significant depression symptoms.


TREATMENT AND THERAPIES

     There are four major types of treatment for SAD:

  • Medication
  • Light therapy
  • Psychotherapy (or counseling)
  • Vitamin D

      These may be used alone or in combination …”


     To access counseling or learn about Seasonal Affective Disorder, please visit Northern Maine General at http://nmgeneral.org/contact-us/ or at (207) 444-5152 and ask for Outpatient Mental Health Services.


     Northern Maine General is a nonprofit social services organization serving Aroostook County, with business offices in Eagle Lake and Caribou. Founded in 1907, NMG provides long-term care, rehabilitation, home and community supports, behavior health services, targeted case management, and consultation services and resources. Contracted services include IT, and subsidized apartments.

NMG ECHOES MAINE CDC MESSAGE THAT

ANYONE AND EVERYONE CAN HELP PREVENT SUICIDE

     

     EAGLE LAKE, Maine (Sept. 12, 2019) – Northern Maine General joins Maine CDC in reminding Maine residents that anyone and everyone can help prevent suicide. To that end, NMG is using its website and Facebook page to spotlight Five Action Steps that could save a life.

     If a friend, relative or someone you know is at risk of suicide:

     1.  ASK: Are you contemplating suicide? 

     2. KEEP THEM SAFE:  Ask him if he has thought about how he would do it, and remove anything that would harm him. The more details the person has envisioned, the greater the risk. Use the national Lifeline as a resource.

     3. BE THERE:  This step speaks to helping your friend or loved one feel more connected and less isolated. Ask for the reasons why, and listen without judgement. 

     4. HELP THEM CONNECT:  Provide her with the national Lifeline phone number and other ongoing resources. Help her write an Action Plan so she can be ready  should another trigger occur.

     5. FOLLOW UP: This step encourages you to check in regularly with your friend or loved one during the days and weeks after a crisis.

     Maine CDC promotes the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's evidence-based, five-step #BeThe1To campaign (highlighted above) and encourages individuals to intervene when someone they know may be at risk of suicide. More information on each step is available at www.bethe1to.com.

     Since 1999, suicide death rates have increased in nearly every state, rising more than 30% in half the states, according to a Sept. 10 press release by Maine.Gov. In Maine, suicide death rates increased by 27% from 1999 through 2016, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among Maine youth and adults ages 10-35. 

     "Asking someone if they are thinking about killing themselves does not increase their risk of attempting suicide," said Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah. "For someone contemplating suicide, knowing that someone cares and can connect them to help may be the thing that saves their life."

     "The statistics regarding youth suicide are alarming," said Dr. Todd Landry, Director of Maine's Office of Child and Family Services, which oversees child welfare and children's behavioral health services. "Suicide is more common among vulnerable youth, so I encourage adults to engage with the youth in their lives – talk to them, ask them questions, and connect with them. For a youth who is struggling, that connection to a trusted adult who loves and cares about them can have tremendous importance."

     Sixty-four percent of people who attempt suicide visit their doctor in the month before their attempt and 38% do so in the week before, according to Maine.Gov.

     "People need to know it is a sign of strength to say they are struggling, and that help is available," said Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah.

     NMG provides Outpatient Mental Health Services (www.nmgeneral.org) that can be used as ongoing, supportive resource; However, if you or someone you love is in crisis, call the MAINE CRISIS HOTLINE (24/7/365) at 1-888-568-1112. If you are not in Maine, call the NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  The VETERANS CRISIS LINE is the same number: 1-800-273-8255, Press 1.


Northern Maine General is a nonprofit social services organization serving Aroostook County, with business offices in Eagle Lake and Caribou. Founded in 1907, NMG provides long-term care, rehabilitation, home and community supports, behavioral health services, targeted case management, and consultation services and resources. Contracted services include subsidized apartments.

 

PEERS LAUD STURTEVANT, MICHAUD AND JANDREAU

 

     EAGLE LAKE, Maine (June 4, 2019) – Nominated by their peers, Melanie Sturtevant, Pamela Michaud and Joyce Jandreau have received Northern Maine General’s Employee of the Quarter designation for outstanding service.

     To laud their achievements, the NMG Employee Relations Council recently awarded Sturtevant, Michaud and Jandreau with $100 each.

     “This peer recognition speaks to the importance of positive co-worker relationships in our successful operations,” said CEO Michelle Raymond. “Great work Melanie, Pamela and Joyce!”

     The Employee of the Quarter program recognizes the efforts of employees who have gone beyond their job duties and supported their divisions and peers throughout the quarter. The Employee of the Quarter displays the following characteristics: attitude and inspiration; collaboration and positive cooperation; enthusiasm and support for NMG’s mission; and quality.

Second Quarter 2019: Melanie Sturtevant

     Based out of the Caribou office as a Day Habilitation Trainer for NMG’s Children’s Day Habilitation program and as a Daily Living Support Specialist for NMG’s Behavioral Health Services, Melanie Sturtevant received these peer comments and reinforcing comments from her supervisors -

  • “Melanie works in the home setting. She will brainstorm ideas with other staff and is always willing to listen to other ideas,”
  • “Melanie is always pushing her clients to work to their fullest potential by encouraging and supporting them,” and
  • “Melanie exhibits excellence in leadership.”

Sturtevant earned the employee recognition for the second quarter of 2019.

First Quarter 2019: Pamela Michaud

A Direct Support Professional for NMG’s Home and Community Supports programs, Pamela Michaud received these peer comments:

  • “Pam strongly advocates for each consumer,”
  • “Pam finds the silver lining and looks for solutions to get things done,” and
  • “Pam is a valuable staff that has proven on several occasions that her knowledge and presence is needed.”

Michaud earned the employee recognition for the first quarter of 2019.

Fourth Quarter 2018: Joyce Jandreau

A Dietary Aide at Mercy Home, Joyce Jandreau received these peer comments and reinforcing comments from her supervisor -

  • “Joyce is very personable and reassuring to staff and residents,”
  • “Her interactions with the residents help them feel comfortable and reassured that their thoughts and needs are heard,” and
  • “While working for NMG, Joyce gives 200 percent.”

Jandreau earned the employee recognition for the final quarter of 2018.

 

Northern Maine General is a nonprofit social services organization serving Aroostook County, with business offices in Eagle Lake and Caribou. Founded in 1907, NMG provides long-term care, rehabilitation, home and community supports, behavioral health services, targeted case management, and consultation services and resources. Contracted services include subsidized apartments.