The most natural way to treat anxiety Monday, Feb 8 2021 

By Jacob Maslow — Branded Content

If you are someone that suffers from depression, you know all too well how isolating and lonely it can feel. You may even feel like you’re the only person in the world that feels that way. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Mental illness and anxiety are very prevalent, especially in the United States. While feeling stuck during the depression and anxiety episodes is common,  it doesn’t necessarily have to be commonplace. People can take steps to completely transform their lives in ways that will benefit them for years to come.

Create Lists

A common side effect of anxiety and depression is poor time management. And as tasks begin to stack up, it triggers self-perpetuating stress and feelings of worthlessness. Studies have shown that those who make lists and stick by them can eventually complete all their daily tasks if they come up with a plan. Creating a list can seem overwhelming at first, but once you start checking off the things you need to do, you will feel accomplished. It is important to remember that even though lists are helpful, you will not always have the time or energy to complete everything. Please do not get discouraged and take it one day at a time.

Practice Transformative Learning

Transformative learning is also something to consider if you are desperate to make positive changes in your life to separate yourself from your anxiety. This concept is about completely rewiring your brain to change your perspective in a way that empowers you. It is easy to fall into a cycle of cynicism and negativity, especially if you are susceptible to depression. Learning how to think more positively could potentially help you move forward.

Change Your Self-Concept

Depression and anxiety will lie to you and make you question just exactly who you are. It can also overwhelm and make you believe that you will never get anything done. Like with any chronic illness, it can get worse if it’s untreated. Instead of succumbing to self-hate, it is essential to be accountable for your responsibilities and understand that you need to take care of yourself.

One way to do that is by questioning your self-concept and believing that things will get better if you want them to. Be sure to include positive affirmations like allowing yourself to receive compliments. For example, if you are funny, be sure to tell yourself that you are funny every day.

Use Online Therapy

If you’re anxious, including being nervous about traditional therapy, online therapy is a great tool to transform your life for the better. Instead of scheduling an appointment with a regular therapist, you can get treatment at your own pace. YANA understands that it takes a village to help someone in distress and they have trained professionals to help anyone in need. YANA anxiety treatment is an original and comfortable way to treat your bouts of anxiousness.

All you have to do is sign up, and a doctor will provide you with a consultation informing you of the next steps to start your treatment plan. You can get plans as low as 12 dollars a week and have any necessary medication delivered to your front door.

Live Differently

Once you understand that your feelings of anxiety are temporary, you can be accountable for yourself and have a better life. Living differently and changing things up a bit not only will elevate feelings of happiness but could potentially make it harder for you to experience symptoms of depression. Be sure to develop a plan if things start getting dark again, and remember to take it one step at a time.

While recovery can seem like a daunting endeavor that is borderline impossible, it is possible to get better. You have to put the work in and be patient with yourself.

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Maslow // Cosmic Press

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Could COVID-19 Be Contributing To Louisville’s Spike In Homicides? Saturday, Sep 19 2020 

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The scene at Jefferson Mall on Saturday morning was painfully familiar. A shooting had drawn dozens of police officers, several ambulances, civilian onlookers, and a helicopter circling overhead.

A victim was taken to the hospital in unknown condition. The police weren’t releasing information about the shooter or motive. 

Justin Vincent was in the parking lot about to enter the mall when he heard gunshots inside.


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Mental health tips to stay healthy during COVID-19 Tuesday, Aug 25 2020 

By Catherine Brown–

It is often easier to worry about the physical precautions that we should take during the pandemic. Washing your hands, wearing a mask and social distancing in public are clear ways to care for yourself and others. But when it comes to mental health, it might not be as easy to spot the concerns.

As college students, many of us already probably struggle to get out of bed in the morning. Adding on a global pandemic certainly doesn’t make it any better.

Here are some tips for taking care of yourself during a stressful global pandemic:

 

Watch for signs of mental distress.

The CDC suggests ways in which you can identify signs of distress. Some of these signs can include fear or worry about your financial situation, or your or someone else’s health, changes in sleeping patterns and difficulty concentrating. 

Seek professional help if you or a loved one are experiencing any of these signs and they persist for several days leaving you unable to perform your normal responsibilities. The University of Louisville’s Counseling Center is available by phone at 502-852-6585 on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Refrain from reading the news too much.

Syndicated news channels spin the news in their favor. Stories about tragedies related to the virus can incite panic and negative emotions. The CDC recommends taking healthy breaks from social media and television reports about the pandemic. 

When you do use social media, be sure to verify your news sources.

Local governments will usually have the most up-to-date information. Don’t read too heavily into the information you see posted on social media. Anyone can post false information on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Don’t fall into the traps of clickbait news. By carefully choosing your sources of news, you can prevent stumbling upon false information that could cause worry.

 

Take time to enjoy activities while socially distancing.

Practice hobbies that can keep you socially distanced, but can still be done with friends. Some hobbies can include reading, writing, drawing or even coding.

U of L Counseling Center Director Aesha Uqdah gave students tips for coping with the pandemic, such as being creative at this time. 

“Engaging in creative activities can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Creating some sort of art or writing can help you process your emotions in a productive way. It can also produce calming effects on your brain and in the body,” Uqdah said.

The Counseling Center is hosting virtual group art therapy sessions on Fridays from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. starting Sept. 18. 

On Aug. 25, U of L is hosting a virtual RSO Fair for students to become involved in their Louisville community. This is an opportunity for students to look for activities that can let them separate from classwork.

 

Keep in touch with friends and family.

Take time to text, call or video chat your friends and family. Touch base with the people you care most about and let them know that you are alright. This could relieve worries for those of us who become preoccupied with the wellbeing of loved ones.

Take care of yourself physically too.

If you aren’t taking care of yourself physically, chances are your mental health will be affected. Eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and keep up a regular sleep schedule. 

U of L’s Belknap campus has plenty of walking trails. With approximately 274 acres of land, the downtown campus is perfect for students looking to get some exercise into their day. Even walking from campus housing and between buildings can improve physical health. Improving physical health will improve mental health.

Make sure you put your health first. It might seem more worthy of your energy to worry about others. However, if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t put in your full effort to take care of those around you.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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For Some, Pandemic Brings Copay-Free Counseling By Phone Friday, Jun 12 2020 

In light of social distancing, quarantining and widespread protests over racial injustice, mental health issues may be pushed to the forefront. 

But amid more demand for services like counseling and therapy, some aren’t comfortable with risks of in-person treatment during the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Andy Beshear issued an order that insurance companies cover COVID-19 treatment; he also encouraged providers to offer telehealth, so more patients could see their doctors from home. But he didn’t mandate offering telehealth — or mandate that insurers cover it free of copays, as some other states have.

Despite this, some public and private insurances in the commonwealth are offering telehealth services and waiving co-pays for its members.

Louisville-based insurer Humana is waiving cost sharing for all telehealth visits, including behavioral health, for in-network providers through 2020. The company also announced in May that it would waive all cost sharing this year for Medicare members — including copays, coinsurance and deductibles — to keep seniors connected with their doctors.

“We will continue to assist all of our members through this unprecedented health crisis by easing any financial burden of seeing their doctor and helping them to live safely in their communities,” said Bruce Broussard, President and CEO of Humana in the release.

Medicaid patients in Kentucky can also access some of these services without co-pays. 

In a letter to all Medicaid providers in March, shortly after a state of emergency was first declared, Beshear said he would relax some guidelines to improve health care and telehealth access. 

The state’s Medicaid program suspended co-payments during the state of emergency related to COVID-19, including co-payments for behavioral health services. Some services that health care providers previously had to offer in person are now allowed by video conference or telephone during the pandemic, according to Anya Weber of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

CareSource is not waiting copays on telehealth, according to Jonas Thom, Vice President of Behavioral Health. CareSource is an insurance company with 1.9 million members. 

Thom said that telehealth mental health resources are available to their members, but the company isn’t waiving copays unless a member’s plan already includes that. However, Thom said the company is “looking into seeing if we can waive some of those costs.”

Beshear has encouraged Kentuckians to pay attention to their mental health, and pushed for expanded access to telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Mental Effects of COVID-19 

COVID-19 has affected, and potentially eliminated, people’s usual day-to-day routine, according to Baptist Health’s behavioral health services manager, Kim Gray. The lack of structure can add to a lack of care for mental health whether or not people have preexisting mental health conditions. 

“If you used to wake up at 7 a.m. for work, wake up at 7 a.m. now. If you used to go to the gym, go take a walk or run in your neighborhood,” said Gray. “We’re seeing a lot of people who have lost their schedule, stay in and sleep all day, which can add to depression.” 

Baptist Health’s Louisville hospital does not offer any telehealth services for behavioral health “due to the level of care and the services we can provide on campus,” according to Gray, and their behavioral health sector offers socially-distanced, in-person services. Gray said behavioral telehealth services are provided at other Baptist Health-affiliated providers and hospitals.  

Gray said that she has seen a mix of young people and adults seeking services. 

“A lot of the young people we see have come back from college, are living with their parents, and can’t see their friends or be on a college campus,” said Gray. “We’ve seen adults who come in due to losing their job or being furloughed.” 

Gray said the change and transition of life due to COVID has affected everyone, but it has great implications for those with preexisting health conditions.  

 

Kentucky ranked high for mental distress Thursday, Feb 27 2020 

–By Eli Hughes and Madelin Shelton

A recent study that analyzed the mental distress of Americans based on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention data showed that Kentucky ranks high across multiple age groups.

DirectCBD, a company specializing in canibid oil procucts products, analyzed the CDC’s data and found that Kentucky had the fourth highest increase in mental distress.

Kentucky also ranked 14th among the states for highest rate of mental distress for Generation Z and 19th for Millennials.

The data, which covered 14 years of information from 2004 to 2018, sought to see how many Americans experience mental distress on a regular basis.

They found that women are much more likely to experience mental distress. Generation Z women with a 64% rate of distress.

The state of Kentucky’s rate of mental distress increased from 29% to 35.7%. The study believes that possible factors could include the shortage of mental health resources and the opioid crisis.

Dr. Gordon Strauss, a professor at U of L and the director of student mental health services, says that the first step to stopping this rise of mental distress is ending the stigma around mental illness.

 “If we can begin to regard mental illness as just one more instance of illness in general, much of the shame and avoidance can be reduced or even eliminated,” Strauss said.

Strauss also highlighted the many resources available to U of L students who are struggling, “The university Counseling Center provides therapy and counseling—both 1:1 and in groups—for students.”

The university also has a psychiatric department as a part of Campus Health Services where students can be evaluated and treated for mental illness. Both the Counseling Center and Campus Health Services provide these services free-of-charge.

For more information, visit the Counseling Center’s website at https://louisville.edu/counseling or call their number at (502) 852-6585.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Mental Health Bill Aims to Help Homeless Youth Saturday, Feb 22 2020 

Youth Action Board members in FrankfortA bill under consideration in the General Assembly would give more homeless youth in Kentucky access to mental health services. 

Under House Bill 213, unaccompanied children age 16 and older would not need permission from a parent or guardian for mental health services.  Rep. Joni Jenkins (D-Louisville) is sponsoring the bill and says it could help 3,000 young people in Kentucky. 

Coalition for the Homeless Director of Communications Catherine McGeeney says many homeless youth are unable to get guardians’ permission for much-needed mental health care.

“To experience homelessness is to live a life that is full of trauma,” McGeeney said. “Mental health counseling is a mandatory thing for unaccompanied youth, for youth who are experiencing homelessness, to help them to make it through this trauma and to come back more resilient and be able to find a way out of homelessness.”

McGeeney says poverty often causes homelessness, and the number of homeless youth in Louisville rose sharply between 2009 and 2015. Efforts to combat youth homelessness have since decreased those numbers.

Kiandra Hilliard says this bill would have helped her when she was homeless. Hilliard is now 23 and a member of the Coalition’s Youth Action Board.    She says having such a law would empower homeless youth who need help.

“It’s actually a big step to where young adults will be able to feel more comfortable receiving services,”  Hilliard said. “This bill could honestly help make young adults feel more comfortable to (get mental health care) by themselves and not feel pressured or have other people (surrounding them) that they do not want around.”

The bill passed the Kentucky House with a unanimous vote on January 28. It has been in a Senate committee since January 31.

Preview: “Next to Normal” reminds us we are not alone Sunday, Nov 17 2019 

By Blake Wedding —

Students at the University of Louisville always have a wealth of options when it comes to finding on-campus art and entertainment. This fall, the Cardinals for the Appreciation of Musical Theatre (CAMT) is offering something different for students that is both uniquely thought-provoking and thematically complex.

The CAMT’s fall production, “Next to Normal,” is a re-imagined story that nearly any and every person will be able to relate to on some level. “Next to Normal” is a powerful depiction of mental illness and how it affects those afflicted and the people around them.

This groundbreaking production asks important questions about how we face these issues, how we can learn to live with them and how we can eventually move past them to find our own path in the universe.

“Next to Normal” is a Pulitzer-Prize winning musical that explores the age-old story of family dysfunction through a new and forward-thinking lens. The plot centers around the character of Diana Goodman, the mother of this family, whom actress Jess Harris Stiller insightfully brings to life.

By extension, the CAMT’s take on “Next to Normal” features an all-star cast and production team, comprised of talent from both the University of Louisville and across Kentucky.

Director Sarah Thomas believes “Next to Normal” is an important story that will emotionally resonate with viewers. She believes it is a story that everyone can relate to in some way.

“As I’ve argued many times, people don’t go to the theatre for escape; they go for connection. To make sense of the world around them and their own lives, to be reminded that we all go through essentially the same trials, that we are not alone,” Thomas said.

Students who are interested in seeing the CAMT’s thoughtful rendition of the contemporary musical can email UofLCAMT@gmail.com to reserve seats.

Prices are $5 for students and faculty. Your last chances to see the show are Nov. 15 and 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the George J. Howe Red Barn.

Photo Courtesy / U of L CAMT

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U of L counseling center hosts “Fall Wellness Fair” Saturday, Nov 16 2019 

By Victoria Harris —

The Counseling Center hosted a “Fall Wellness Fair” in the Red Barn Nov. 7. 

The fair focused on raising awareness of on-campus student resources for physical, mental and emotional health. The fair featured tables representing student housing, the PEACC Center, the LGBT Center, TRiO Student Support Services and others.  

The first 100 students to check-in received a free rainbow tie-dye t-shirt and a food card. After visiting five tables and collecting stamps from each, the food cards were redeemable for access to a buffet table that included mini-pumpkin muffins, chicken salad sliders, cheese plates, popcorn and cider.

Campus health services offered free 30-minute chair massages. Students could also have their faces painted or have their caricature drawn at this four-hour fair. 

The Kentucky Humane Society was present with two young puppies, Corndog and Tatertot, whom students could hold.

U of L’s counseling center held this event to provide resources and engage students in wellness-related activities.

Photo Courtesy of University of Louisville Student Affairs

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Tune the clocktower’s eerie tune Friday, Nov 8 2019 

By Ben Goldberger —

There are some things that most universities share. Libraries, fight songs and alma maters are all parts of a college’s identity. The University of Louisville is unique in the sense that we have two different Alma Maters: the official tune and the one the clocktower plays at noon every day. 

You don’t have to be a music major to know that this version of the alma mater is extremely out of tune. The clocktower’s eerie rendition is practically in a different key than the official composition. 

The university should act with a sense of urgency to resolve this issue since the clocktower is one of U of L’s most recognizable structures, also because this could be a problem for students’ mental health. 

Studies have shown that music in minor modes can enhance feelings of sadness, anxiety and depression. Professors Curtis and Bharucha conducted a study that supports this. They concluded that the minor third interval, the space between two notes that is a half step smaller than a major interval, is manifested in vocal patterns that represent sadness.

This is important because the minor third is the note most responsible for making the chord minor instead of major. A chord consists of the first, third and fifth notes of the scale, and the third is the only note in this chord that changes in a minor chord. 

Another reason that minor keys are so upsetting is that our brains are not expecting them.

“Our brains expect to hear major tonic chords in the music we listen to, so when a minor tonic or note is played, our brains are left unsettled and confused,” says freshman music therapy major Emily Carter.

Even if students do not pay full attention to the tune from the clocktower, our brains are listening to the notes subconsciously. The retail industry understands this the most, picking background music specifically tailored to make their customers buy more. 

In 1980, Ronald Milliman conducted an experiment that found when markets played slower songs in the background, customers shopped slower and bought more as a result.

As explained by Thinkgrowth.org, “In Milliman’s supermarket study, he found that, on average, sales volume was 38% higher on days when stores played slow background music.”

Most customers do not pay any attention to the music playing over the intercom at stores, yet the tunes still have an effect on their actions. That is the same with the eerily out of tune alma mater that the clocktower plays.

On top of this, colder weather is rolling into the Ville. Cold temperatures cause metals to shrink slightly, causing instruments made out of metal to dip even more in pitch. 

“When it is cold the kinetic energy decreases, so the atoms take up less space and the material contracts,” according to Physlink.com.

U of L should use this as motivation to tune the clock tower even faster because it is only going to get colder for the next few months. With winter break coming in a month, that would be a perfect time for the university to retune the bells, providing a nice surprise for their students to ring in the new semester.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr// The Louisville Cardinal

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Keeping students mindful through meditation Wednesday, Oct 2 2019 

By Zoe Watkins —

While a college student’s life is constantly changing and stressful, taking a few minutes to meditate could prove beneficial. The University of Louisville’s Office of Health Promotion and the Get Wealthy Now program offer students daily meditation.

One Mindful Moment (OMM) is a very quick drop in session that only lasts 15-20 minutes where you try a variety of meditation techniques with the guidance of the instructor Paula Kommor.

Kommor guides participants through the session by using the method of revive, renew and refresh where people reinforce their desires to practice meditation and help expand their skills.

This program can be beneficial to students as it helps reduce stress, improve sleep, lessen self-judgement and practice mindfulness through meditation.

“Emerging adults, college students, are experiencing the most stressful time of their lives. With this being such a volatile period, it is important for students to create stability and a ground by practicing Mindfulness Meditation techniques. These techniques will help stabilize the student in this ever-changing climate,” said Kommor.

The program is open to faculty and staff as well.

“OMM sessions help me relax throughout the hard word day,” said associate professor Sherri Brown, “During the sessions, Paula allows us to reflect on the good things in life. By opening our minds, we can become more focused in our everyday lives.”

If you can’t find time to go to one of these events, Kommor suggests using visualization, breath focus, walking meditation, eating meditation and body scanning if you can.

OMM happens throughout the week at several different locations, but one of the newest locations is at the College of Business in room 366 every Tuesday from 12 p.m. – 12:20 p.m.

Graphic by Alexis Simon / The Louisville Cardinal

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