Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

Service of Let Me Talk

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

Photo: recoupera.com

Sometimes friends repeat a story, describe an incident, share a worry or anticipated stressful encounter again but not because they forgot they’d already told you. She may be trying to get something out of her system or find a solution by speaking out loud or he may wish you to hold his hand and reassure him virtually, if not actually.

The trick, if you’re the listener, is to know when your friend is in a rut, or has changed the conversation or their actions even just a bit to stimulate change. I knew a woman who went over precisely the same ground when complaining about her husband never altering her behavior or approach yet expecting a different outcome. She listened to nobody, including her psychiatrist. Her complaints became tedious because she refused to try another tactic to improve the dynamic with her spouse. Sad ending to the story: She divorced him to live with a much younger man who soon left her and her ex died suddenly. Only then did she realize what she’d lost.

Photo: fluxmagazine.com

Staying silent about a pal’s repetition can also be a matter of manners or compassion. A friend posted information on social media about a suicide hotline. The first comment written by an angry woman who usually put him down was “This has been around before.” In my response to her comment I asked if she’d noticed the same TV commercials about a car, medicine or flooring company ad nauseam and noted that marketers pay for such repetition for good reason. Similarly, I continued, you couldn’t publish the number of a suicide hotline often enough so in addition to a “like” and a comment, I shared his post.

For a listener, the 60 seconds it takes to hear something again isn’t going to ruin your day. Cutting off someone with  “I know, I know,” when they are trying to work out an emotional kink isn’t necessary, unless it’s the same old same old over months or years.

Have you felt frustrated if a friend has stopped you when you wanted to vent?  For a more satisfactory outcome should you preface your vent with “I know I’ve said this before but hear me just one more time please…..?”

Photo: insidesmallbusiness.com.au

Service of Quick and Easy Solutions for Depression: Intrusive Much?

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Photo: pano.com

Photo: pano.com

I appreciate companies that tackle a challenge in resourceful, efficient ways, but not at risk to safety, privacy and efficacy. According to Rachel Emma Silverman, “Companies are waking up to the costs of untreated mental illnesses like depression, which is linked to $44 billion a year in lost workplace productivity, according to the University of Michigan Depression Center. The center cites data suggesting that workers suffering from depression cost companies 27 lost work days a year.”

Her Wall Street Journal article “Tackling Workers’ Mental Health, One Text at a Time–Employers are turning to counseling services that can be accessed on smartphones,” inspired questions. We’re not talking about tips to treat a paper cut here. Plus, to receive what resembles a mental Band-aid an employee must be willing to give up privacy.

StressEmployee assistance programs [EAPs], where staff has access to free counseling on the phone, don’t seem to work, she reported. In contrast, Silverman wrote: “Some apps mine data about employees’ phone usage, or medical and pharmaceutical claims, to determine who might be in need of care. Others allow workers to text and video chat with therapists—in what are being called ‘telemental’ health services.”

The apps also collect data—telling employers how many look for help for stress, anxiety or depression–but according to Silverman, an employer doesn’t learn anything about individuals. However some in the industry worry that a lost or hacked phone puts an employee’s privacy at risk and others, who are happy to see something is being done, point out that the security of the privacy is unproven.

AnxietyAccording to Silverman, one app, Ginger.io, “alerts a health coach when a user hasn’t texted in a while or hasn’t left the house, potential signals of increased stress or anxiety.” She continued, it “gathers phone-activity data with users’ permission; the app does not monitor the content of messages or a phone’s specific location.” The human resources director at a company that offers both EAPs and mobile apps reports about the latter. It “feels like a more immediate solution for folks, because they are always on their phones anyway.”

Another corporation expects an ROI of over $2 million this year. Last year it spent $11.5 million on “behavioral health treatments” for its US employees wrote Silverman. It has signed them up at Castlight Health Inc. that “computes users’ health and pharmaceutical claims, as well as their search history within the app, to identify who might be at risk for a mental health condition and direct them to appropriate care.” Silverman described that the smartphone screen of staffers with something like chronic pain– associated with depression and anxiety–might be “Feeling overwhelmed?” A click leads to a list of questions about mood, treatment suggestions and an online therapy program.

Mental health mavens add, “While treatment by text is convenient, some users may still need to supplement it with in-office visits to a therapist.”

I’m all for mobile apps that share weather, sports scores, the shortest driving distance between here and there, movie reviews and the time to expect the next First Avenue bus and I don’t care if the world knows I’ve accessed them. With technology as fine tuned as it is, I can’t believe that the employer won’t know if someone seeks out help which might prevent them from getting a promotion.

  • And if an app determines someone has stayed at home for two days, might the reason not be the flu or a sick child–rather than an indication that you are paralyzed by depression?
  • Haven’t you researched a disease or condition a friend or relative mentions? How would the app know it’s not about you?
  • Are corporations blaming stress and anxiety on staff, who must be cured, instead of fixing the management style, unrealistic expectations or work conditions that may have caused much of the employee anxiety and blues in such numbers?
Photo: tinybuddah.com

Photo: tinybuddah.com

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