Upcoming Mental Health First Aid Trainings

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an eight-hour course (8Am-5PM) designed to train citizens to assess and support people experiencing mental health challenges and refer them to qualified professionals.  Course is free and open to the community. Space is limited and registration is required. Attendees who complete the training will receive certification. Lunch is provided.

Please see below for a list of dates and locations for upcoming trainings.

October 13- Issaquah |  960 Newport Way NW Issaquah

October 13- West Side Presbyterian Church | 3601 Califorina Ave, Seattle

October 17 Shoreline Youth Curriculum | 17500 Midvale Ave Shoreline City Hall

October 20- Umpqua Bank | 146 W 2nd St. North Bend

November 3- 31957 E Commercial St. | Carnation 98014

November 10- Youth curriculum Maple View Middle School | 18200 SE 240th St. Covington 98042

November 17- Youth curriculum Vashon Presbyterian Church | 17708 Vashon Hwy SW Vashon

Register via email, to Sue Wyder at swyder@valleycities.org

Inflammation in Pregnant Moms Linked to Child’s Brain Development

IMH-funded researchers are connecting the dots between inflammation in a pregnant human mother and possible effects on her young child’s developing brain. So far, they have linked high levels of maternal inflammation during pregnancy to reduced brain circuit communications and altered long-distance brain wiring at birth, poorer cognitive function at one year – and to reduced impulse control and working memory at two years.

Inflammation and mental illness

Inflammation is part of the body’s normal defense against environmental insults, such as infections. In addition, the body can mount inflammatory responses to a host of factors, including obesity, diet, drugs (e.g., smoking), maternal depression, poverty, and stress.

Such exposures don’t necessarily cause harm, but inflammation in pregnant mothers has been linked to mental disorders in their children. For example, studies suggest that the child of a pregnant mother who catches the flu may run an estimated 4-fold higher riskfor developing bipolar disorder and a 3 to 7-fold higher risk for developing schizophrenia. Evidence suggests that the prenatal brain isn’t directly affected by the microorganisms, but rather by the mother’s own inflammatory response to the infection. Research shows maternal inflammation is  also implicated in some cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Clues from Neuroimaging

Yet, few human studies have explored effects on the developing brain that could boost risk for disorders. Now, the first major trove of such evidence is emerging from brain imaging studies.  The researchers measured blood levels of an inflammatory messenger chemical, IL-6 (interleukin-6), in 84 pregnant mothers – and followed-up with neuroimaging and behavioral assessments of their children. Claudia Buss, Ph.D., of Charité University Medicine Berlin and University of California Irvine, Damien Fair, P.A.-C., Ph.D., of Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), and colleagues, reported their latest findings in three recent journal articles (see References below).

“By examining the brain shortly after birth, we were able to distinguish between the influences of prenatal and post-natal environmental factors on the brain’s development,” said Buss.

The researchers first related pregnant human mothers’ IL-6 levels to measures of their newborn’s brain to get a snapshot of how inflammation might affect prenatal development. Buss’s team scanned their brains at rest using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Such resting state scans of brain activity have emerged as an index of how effectively brain networks are talking with each other – levels of functional connectivity. The scans also gauged the anatomical maturity of a key long-distance wiring pathway connecting the executive hub and deeper emotion processing regions.

Inflammation, circuit connectivity, working memory

The researchers reported in Nature Neuroscience that higher maternal IL-6 levels were linked to poorer circuit connectivity in newborns and to reduced working memory at age two. Deficient working memory – the ability to hold thoughts mind – marks several mental disorders and is thought to be key to other “executive functions,” such as inhibition and impulse control. Working memory also depends on the same circuits that showed reduced functional connectivity.  

Using artificial intelligence/machine learning technology, the researchers incorporated these findings into a model that makes it possible to infer from a newborn’s MRI scans the mother’s inflammatory state during pregnancy – and, potentially, a forecast of her child’s future working memory ability.

“Measures of the brain at birth can serve as a reliable marker of the earlier environment and a predictor of later function,” explained Julia Zehr, Ph.D., of the NIMH Division of Translational Research. “With better identification of early inflammation markers, we may be able to develop interventions targeted to those individuals who will most benefit.”

Inflammation, “catch-up growth,” cognition

The researchers reported in Neuroimage that higher IL-6 levels in mothers  were associated with sped-up growth in the long-distance wiring pathway during the first year of life.  Evidence suggested that this may reflect a compensatory response to relatively stunted prenatal growth.  Notably, this “catch-up growth” predicted poorer cognitive performance at age one. A similar pattern is often seen in people with ASD, noted the researchers.

Impulse control, emotion center growth

In Biological Psychiatry, Buss and colleagues revealed that maternal IL-6 levels relationship to newborns’ brain function and structure predicted children’s performance on a test of impulse control at age two. Children of mothers with higher IL-6 levels during pregnancy tended to have an anatomically larger and more functionally connected amygdala – an emotion-processing area deep in the brain – which was linked to poorer impulse control at age two.

“IL-6 is critically important for normal brain development, so we definitely wouldn’t want to block it,” noted Buss. “We still need to learn much more about what levels are associated with adverse outcomes. Until then, the focus should be on targeting those conditions in the mother that have been shown to elevate IL-6 concentrations during pregnancy.” 

For More Information, see OHSU press release:
Study confirms that inflammation during pregnancy is linked to baby’s brain


Maternal IL-6 during pregnancy can be estimated from newborn brain connectivity and predicts future working memory in offspring. Rudolph MD, Graham AM, Feczko E, Miranda-Dominguez O, Rasmussen JM, Nardos R, Entringer S, Wadhwa PD, Buss C, Fair DA. Nat Neurosci. 2018 May;21(5):765-772. doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0128-y. Epub 2018 Apr 9. PMID: 29632361

Maternal Interleukin-6 concentration during pregnancy is associated with variation in frontolimbic white matter and cognitive development in early life. Rasmussen JM, Graham AM, Entringer S, Gilmore JH, Styner M, Fair DA, Wadhwa PD, Buss C. Neuroimage. 2018 Apr 11. pii: S1053-8119(18)30316-1. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.04.020. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PMID:29654875

Maternal Systemic Interleukin-6 During Pregnancy Is Associated With Newborn Amygdala Phenotypes and Subsequent Behavior at 2 Years of Age. Graham AM, Rasmussen JM, Rudolph MD, Heim CM, Gilmore JH, Styner M, Potkin SG, Entringer S, Wadhwa PD, Fair DA, Buss C. Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Jan 15;83(2):109-119. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.05.027. Epub 2017 Jun 19. PMID:28754515

Baby brains reflect maternal inflammation. Rosenberg MD. Nat Neurosci. 2018 May;21(5):651-653. doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0134-0. No abstract available. PMID: 29632358



Rising Temperatures Linked To Increased Suicide Rates

Scientists warn the impact of climate change may be as large as economic recessions, which are known to increase self-harm.

Damian Carrington The Guardian

his story was produced and originally published by The Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Rising temperatures are linked to increasing rates of suicide, according to a large new study. The researchers warn that the impact of climate change on suicides may be as significant as economic recessions, which are known to increase rates of self-harm.

The links between mental health and global warming have not been widely researched but the new work analyzed temperature and suicides across the U.S. and Mexico in recent decades. It found that the rate of suicide rose by 0.7 percent in the U.S. and by 2.1 percent in Mexico when the average monthly temperature rose by 1C.

The analysis was done at county level and took into account seasonal variation, levels of poverty and even the news of celebrity suicides that can lead to more deaths. The scientists found that hotter periods resulted in more suicides irrespective of wealth and the usual climate of the area.

“Determining whether or not the rate of suicide responds to climatic conditions is important, as suicide alone causes more deaths globally than all forms of violence combined and is among the top 10–15 causes of death globally,” said Prof Marshall Burke, at Stanford University in the U.S., and his colleagues, who published their research in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“Even modest changes in suicide rates due to climate change could [lead to] large changes in the associated global health burden, particularly in wealthier countries where current suicide rates are relatively high,” the researchers said. Record high temperatures have been recorded around the world in recent weeks and are likely to have been driven by climate change.

This kind of study cannot prove a causal link between rising temperature and more suicides. But the results show “remarkable consistency” over time and in many different places, according to the scientists. It is also supported by recent research that linked climate change to 60,000 suicides in India in the last three decades.

The researchers also analysed more than 600m messages on Twitter and found that the use of depressive words, such as alone, bleak, lonely and trapped, increased as temperatures rose. “This further suggests that mental wellbeing deteriorates during warmer periods,” said the scientists. One possible way in which this might happen is that when the body cools itself during warmer conditions, the blood flow to the brain is altered.

If current carbon emissions are not curbed, the scientists estimated that between 9,000 and 40,000 additional suicides could be expected by 2050 in the U.S. and Canada due to climate change. That number of deaths is significantly more than would be expected from a 1 percent rise in unemployment due to an economic recession, the researchers said. Other research has already clearly shown that rising heat increases violence between people

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

How Shifting Mindsets Can Help Cut The Costs Of Scaling Mental Health

Lauren CoulmanContributor

Mental health is finally getting the headspace it deserves, right? After decades of hushed conversation and perceived inconvenience - for friends, family and work colleagues alike – around challenges as commonplace as depression and anxiety, the societal penny has seemingly dropped.

No wonder. According to Mind, the UK’s foremost charity in the sector, one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year.

With depression one of the most common ailments – 300 million people experiencing the issueworldwide (accounting for 4% of the global population) - acceptance and understanding that a healthy mind is as important as a healthy body is making headway.

Though mental well-being is still posited as a personal issue, the public and economic cost mean collective ignorance is no longer an option. The systemic consequences add up to a £10 billion bill in the NHS – with spending up 3.9% in 2016-17 – for an already challenged UK health service.

With businesses losing £2.4 billion annually – stress and mental health accounting for 70 million lost work days each year – the social impact is both considerable and consequential.

No more so than to the individual, though. It’s easy to forget human beings sit at the centre of the issue when bottom-lines are being impacted, so whilst conversation around mental health is increasing, that doesn’t always translate to more help for the people suffering personally.

So, why do issues still remain, despite being recognised as a disabling experience by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – and being one of the largest contributors to disease globally? Mainly because of our collective misunderstanding of the nature of mental health concerns.

With poor mental health often still posited as a weakness and medication being seen as a personal failing, we may not be committing people to asylums anymore, but the shame cast and expectation that those suffering just “buck up” adds further injury to well, injury. Far worse, it means people remain silent too.

No wonder people are finding it hard to cope with their diagnoses, should they seek one. Self-harm and suicidal thoughts have increased of late, with notable consequences.

Whilst women always have and still are most likely to suffer mental health challenges, the press coverage around male suicide and the rise in issues amongst children means keeping the subject a taboo is costing lives.

So, support is needed. With suicide the biggest killer of males under the age of 45 – 84 men on average taking their lives each week – and one in ten children having been diagnosed with mental health disorder (though one in four show some evidence of personal challenge) according to charity Young Minds, taking action is no longer an option.

Whether its consideration in the workplace, healthcare provision or understanding from family, friends and co-workers, culturally we need an attitude shift towards mental health.

Fortunately, there are a few organisations leading the way, prescribing a more mindful approach for us all to follow suit.

Raising awareness about the many types of mental health issue can be challenging – our limited understanding doesn’t look much further than depression and anxiety – and societally, we adopt a one size fits all approach.

Yet, the many illnesses under the mental health banner - bipolar disorders, depression, psychosis and eating disorders to name a few - effect different, ages, genders, races and sexualities in many different ways.

That’s what makes one children’s magazine’s approach so refreshing. Through its appeal to children and their parents, the Beano recognised the responsibility it had to use its platform to address a growing youth problem.

Working with Young Minds and YouGov, the brand commissioned research into the safety of children online, and use their website and app as a way to tell stories normalising mental health issues for little ones.

For women, Dove’s (sometimes polarising) efforts to promote real beauty have manifested in the self-esteem project. With 61% of 11 to 17-year-old girls lacking confidence and positive body image - both related to poor mental health - the brand have pushed to have “normal” people spearhead campaigns, and provided online tools, intervention activities and workshops to help shift the dial on a deeply gendered issue.

The topic of men’s mental health has seen increasing coverage of late, and not before time. Top and tailing with the broader conversation around the negative impact of toxic masculinity on all genders, one organisation doing stellar work to promote better understanding is CALM.

The Campaign Against Living Miserably, despite being a small suicide prevention organisation, are working strategically to encourage men to talk about their mental health.

Partnering with the LadBible on the ground-breaking UOKM8 campaign – gathering much-needed data on the state of play for young men today – and advertising with Topshop to encourage men to express their emotions, they punch well above their weight in contributing to the conversation.

Whilst driving for acceptance is essential, so too is funding those organisations which provide the much-needed support on the ground. Lloyd's Bank in the UK has raised £4.8m for Mental Health UK since 2016.

Putting their money where their mouth is also, in 2017 they won the Channel 4 “Diversity in Advertising” award for their mass-media campaign engaging employees and celebrities in discussing different conditions to help #gettheinside out.

Speaking of employees, nothing speaks more loudly than living and breathing the issues you support externally, and for Lloyds Bank, that has materialised in direct action.

As well as funding a pioneering money advice service through Mental Health UK, the bank has also invested in training for 30,000 of its staff, all to help them better understand mental health issues.

That, and sharing personal stories to remove the stigma, openly sharing tips for improving wellbeing across the organisation and equipping leaders to respond as compassionately and supportively as when someone might have broken their leg.

It all adds up to culturally normalising, effectively treating and radically reducing the impact on performance from poor mental health. Sexy it is not, but an honest, direct and practical approach is what's needed, and see Lloyd’s trailblazing where many others are lagging behind.

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA (AP) — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health Organization says they now should be on guard for a danger in the real world: spending too much time playing.

In its latest revision to a disease classification manual, the U.N. health agency said Monday that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a mental health condition. The statement confirmed the fears of some parents but led critics to warn that it may risk stigmatizing too many young video players.

WHO said classifying “gaming disorder” as a separate addiction will help governments, families and health care workers be more vigilant and prepared to identify the risks. The agency and other experts were quick to note that cases of the condition are still very rare, with no more than up to 3 percent of all gamers believed to be affected.

Dr. Shekhar Saxena, director of WHO’s department for mental health and substance abuse, said the agency accepted the proposal that gaming disorder should be listed as a new problem based on scientific evidence, in addition to “the need and the demand for treatment in many parts of the world.”

Dr. Joan Harvey, a spokeswoman for the British Psychological Society, warned that the new designation might cause unnecessary concern among parents.

“People need to understand this doesn’t mean every child who spends hours in their room playing games is an addict, otherwise medics are going to be flooded with requests for help,” she said.

Others welcomed WHO’s new classification, saying it was critical to identify people hooked on video games quickly because they are usually teenagers or young adults who don’t seek help themselves.

“We come across parents who are distraught, not only because they’re seeing their child drop out of school, but because they’re seeing an entire family structure fall apart,” said Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a spokeswoman for behavioral addictions at Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists. She was not connected to WHO’s decision.

Bowden-Jones said gaming addictions were usually best treated with psychological therapies but that some medicines might also work.

The American Psychiatric Association has not yet deemed gaming disorder to be a new mental health problem. In a 2013 statement, the association said it’s “a condition warranting more clinical research and experience before it might be considered for inclusion” in its own diagnostic manual.

The group noted that much of the scientific literature about compulsive gamers is based on evidence from young men in Asia.

“The studies suggest that when these individuals are engrossed in Internet games, certain pathways in their brains are triggered in the same direct and intense way that a drug addict’s brain is affected by a particular substance,” the association said in that statement. “The gaming prompts a neurological response that influences feelings of pleasure and reward, and the result, in the extreme, is manifested as addictive behavior.”

KING-TV (April 27, 2018): Homeless camp at Washington rest stops

Published via KING-5 on April 27, 2018

Washington's homelessness crisis is spilling over into highway rest stops. It's a problem the Washington State Patrol sees night after night -- people sleeping in their cars.

Even though the sign says camping is prohibited, Richard Haddock says he's been living in his truck in the parking lot, on and off, for the last three years.

"That guy in that jeep right next to me is also homeless," said Haddock as he opened the door to his truck. He said he sleeps in the driver's seat, and everything he owns is in the back.

Donna Hogeberg volunteers at the rest area and has seen the problem get worse over the years.

"It is consuming the rest area. We are full up at night, every single parking place is full with people who are spending the night," said Hogeberg. "We see the families. We see the young kids come up and ask for cookies and that might be their breakfast for the day."

Washington State Patrol sees it, too.

"We saw families living out of a van or a car with kids. We ran into young, young kids, toddlers down here in the middle of winter with their parents," said Trooper Chase Van Cleave.

So Friday night, Troopers teamed up with local community groups to help. Catholic Community Services of King County, Valley Cities Behavioral Health Care, Multi-Service Center, Domestic Abuse Women's Network, South Sound Dream Center, and Help Northwest were all on hand Friday. The nonprofits brought lists of resources along with food and blankets.

"We want to get people out of calling this home whether it is for a night or a week or a month, and back on track to whatever their goals, whatever they want to do with their lives. We want to help get them to that," said Trooper Van Cleave.

What Richard wants is to stop living at the rest stop.

"This out here is no fun and games to any of us," said Haddock.

Original URL: https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/homeless-camp-at-washington-rest-stops/281-546790496


FEDERAL WAY MIRROR (March 23, 2018): Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell introduces city’s new homeless task force

Published via the Federal Way Mirror on March 23, 2018
With the goal of examining homelessness in Federal Way, Mayor Jim Ferrell introduced members of the new homelessness task force during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

The group includes representatives from the city of Federal Way, Federal Way Public Schools, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, the King County Library System, South King Fire & Rescue, as well as members of the local business and faith communities.

Task force members, who convened for the first time Tuesday evening, will meet twice a month to start.

Sharry Edwards, a community health nurse with Kaiser Permanente and former co-chair of the Homeless Mothers and Children Initiative, will chair the task force.

“Now that the Homeless Mothers and Children Initiative has, through the good works of New Hope Christian Fellowship Pastor Rick Miller, achieved its most urgent objective of launching an overnight winter shelter for families with children in Federal Way, this new task force gives us an experienced, resourceful and well-rounded group of individuals who can help us really wrap our arms around this multi-layered and complex issue of homelessness in our community,” Ferrell said in a press release. “I want to personally thank Sharry Edwards for taking on a key leadership role with this task force. She has shown herself to be a valuable asset when it comes to leading discussions and brainstorming solutions on this very important issue.”

In addition to Edwards, the Task Force on Homelessness includes: Chantel Arnone, emergency department clinical manager for CHI Franciscan Health; Capt. Jeff Bellinghausen, South King Fire & Rescue; Elric Bey, Federal Way resident; Sarah Bridgeford, CDBG/HS coordinator, city of Federal Way; Jeanne Burbidge, former Federal Way deputy mayor; Angela Coe, regional operations director, Valley Cities Behavioral Health; Robin Corak, executive director, Multi-Service Center; Dan Dizon, FWPS executive director of human resources and community relations; Jack Dovey, U.S. carrier relations and business development director, GPS Lockbox; Willa Gaines, advisory board member, Reach Out; Lawrence Garrett, executive director, Advancing Leadership; Kabal Gill, East India Grill owner; Marty Hartman, executive director, Mary’s Place; Byron Hiller, property management division president, Coldwell Banker Commercial Danforth; Peggy LaPorte, executive director, FUSION; David Larson, judge, Federal Way Municipal Court; Kimberly McGlynn, operations manager, King County Library System; Tom Medhurst, Federal Way Planning Commission and president and CEO of L & L Nursery Supply, Inc.; Rick Miller, pastor, New Hope Christian Fellowship; Jackie Muth, partner, Mahrt & Associates CPA, Federal Way; Stephan Neal, Federal Way Police deputy chief; Lynn Ormsby, advisory board member, Sound Alliance/Federal Way Day Center; Shelley Pauls, liaison for Federal Way faith community; Shelly Pricco, executive director, Nexus Youth and Families; Stacie Scarpaci, probation officer, city of Federal Way Municipal Court; Rebecca Stephens, acting associate director, United States Department of Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System; Ken Stark, vice-chair, city of Federal Way Human Services Commission; Jeff Watson, community services manager, city of Federal Way; Yarden Weidenfeld, Federal Way senior policy adviser; Dan Wise, director of homeless services, Catholic Community Services in King County.

Original URL: http://www.federalwaymirror.com/news/federal-way-mayor-jim-ferrell-introduces-citys-new-homeless-task-force/


New Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic to open with Valley Cities

FEDERAL WAY, WA (March 27, 2018) – There are an estimated 110,000 post-9/11 veterans in Washington state and of those individuals, approximately 10,560 have experienced trauma related to their service, yet only 6,000 have sought treatment.  To meet the needs of this vulnerable population, Valley Cities Behavioral Health will open its first Pierce County clinic called the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Valley Cities.  The new clinic is fully funded by the Cohen Veterans Network and will be in complete compliance with the organization’s excellent model of care. Operations are set to open in fall of this year with building renovations and clinical infrastructure developments already underway. 

Puget Sound post-9/11 veterans with untreated mental illness are experiencing homelessness, poverty, unemployment, divorce, criminal system involvement, substance abuse, and increased rates of suicides. Valley Cities and CVN’s new clinic is desperately needed to intervene in these veterans’ crises. 

The new clinic will provide therapeutic treatment and relief for veterans and their families struggling with a variety of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, PTSD, adjustment issues, anger, grief & loss, family issues, transitional challenges, relationship problems, and child behavioral problems.

Local veterans will gain emotional and mental healing, improved relationships, independence and wellness as a result of the combination of Valley Cities’ local community-based services and CVN’s successful clinical structure implemented nationwide.

About Valley Cities
Valley Cities is a non-profit community behavioral health organization that has been helping individuals and strengthening communities for over 50 years. Services include licensed mental health counseling and chemical dependency treatment for people of all ages, homeless outreach services, housing and family support programs, employment services, and specialized services for veterans and their families. In 2017, we helped over 13,000 people. Learn more at www.valleycities.org 

About the Cohen Veterans Network
The Cohen Veterans Network is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit, clinically integrated
mental health system for post-9/11 veterans and their families. CVN focuses on
improving mental health outcomes, with a goal to build a network of outpatient mental
health clinics for veterans and their families in high-need communities, in which trained
clinicians deliver holistic evidence-based care to treat mental health conditions. To learn more visit www.cohenveteransnetwork.org    

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