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5 ways telehealth can simplify your life

(BPT) – In recent years, we have seen tremendous advances in the areas of technology and medicine, along with more overlap between the two fields. Every year, new technology assists in the diagnosis, treatment and care of different medical conditions. As the new year begins, one new technology trend that you can look forward to is telehealth.

Telehealth uses telecommunication technologies like smartphone apps to deliver virtual medical, health care and education services. Some of the telehealth tools that we have already seen include services that enable you to have video consultations with your doctor without leaving your house and apps that remind you when it is time to take your medication. As an increasing number of telehealth tools become available, here are five reasons why they can improve and simplify your health care:

Telehealth saves you time.

Telehealth tools enable you to participate in audio and video calls with health care providers in lieu of an office visit. While some physical evaluations will still have to be conducted in person, many consultations can be held from the comfort of your own home, saving you time and effort.

Telehealth makes it easy to access health care.

For some of us, health care can be physically inaccessible. For example, individuals who have mobility limitations, are bedridden or live in care facilities can find it very challenging to get to the hospital or doctor’s office. Others who live in rural or remote locations may find the nearest health care provider is hours or even days away. In these cases, telehealth applications bring health care professionals to the patient virtually, providing care that that was impossible before.

Telehealth allows your doctor to monitor your health outside of their office.

Some health conditions require continued monitoring and care. There are now telehealth apps that allow health care professionals to keep track of patient progress and status. For example, patients can log their health status, such as their pain levels, in an app that is also visible to health care professionals, who can then initiate intervention as necessary. This way, your health is under professional supervision no matter where you are.

Telehealth makes it fun for you to take care of your health.

Some telehealth apps “gamify” your health care by making traditionally tedious activities more entertaining. As result, patients are motivated to comply with health care regimens and routines. For example, certain apps designed for diabetes patients use games to encourage them to monitor their blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Telehealth lets you contact the health care professional anytime without an appointment.

Sometimes, you may have health problems that, while not emergencies, still require timely professional advice and expertise. Apps are available that allow you to text or call health care professionals for just such situations. For example, the Signia myHearing App allows new hearing aid wearers to reach out to their hearing care professionals when questions arise regarding their new hearing aids or listening experiences. The hearing care professional can immediately offer assistance, or even remotely adjust the hearing aid settings if necessary.

While telehealth tools will never entirely replace the in-person care that health care professionals offer, they can significantly increase medical professionals’ reach, and help them provide better care to more patients.

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5 tips to turn your home into a retreat

(BPT) – There’s a reason why they say your home is your castle. This is a place of rest and refuge.

The next time you find yourself with a quiet evening or weekend, make self-care and pampering a priority. In fact, you can borrow a few pages from the wellness playbook with expert tips from one the world’s most storied resorts.

Destination Kohler is located in Kohler, Wisconsin, and recently named one of the top 15 wellness resorts by Conde Nast Traveler. A few simple additions to your home, says Garrett Mersberger, director of Kohler Waters Spas, can greatly increase the relaxation factor during your down time.

1. Include the five senses.

The secret to setting up the best spa experience, Mersberger says, is making positive connections to all the senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and sound.

“If one of these is missing, the experience isn’t the same,” he says.

Even the smallest changes can transform your space and elevate your mood. You can light a candle and plug in the indoor water fountain to create sound and lighting that soothes the mind. Snuggle into a plush robe and encase your feet in super soft socks or slippers after your shower or bath. Finally, don’t forget to set yourself up with a glass of wine and a cheese plate.

2. Prepare your body with hydrotherapy.

People have known this since ancient times: water has great powers of restoration, which is why hydrotherapy is central to any worthwhile spa experience. At home, it’s as simple as making small adjustments to your shower routine. Mersberger suggests changing the pulses in your shower head and experimenting with hot and cool blasts of water, which he says are good for the skin and blood flow.

To ready your body for sleep or relaxation, finish with a shower that’s a neutral temperature (about 92-97 degrees Fahrenheit), to return your body to normal.

3. Release blocked energy.

Start your quest for relaxation with a simple yoga move called the seated cat/cow position. “In addition to releasing blocked energy, it also opens the spine,” says Ashley Kohler, Manager of Yoga on the Lake at Destination Kohler. To do this, sit cross-legged on the floor and place your hands on your knees. As you inhale, lean your chest forward and lift your gaze to the sky. As you exhale, round out your spine while drawing your shoulders forward, gazing down.

4. Hone your breathing technique.

Breathing is a vital component of managing stress levels, Kohler says. Yet most Americans only breathe with a third of their lung capacity, creating “flight energy” in the body and cultivating that feeling of stress.

“Conscious breathing will ease your nervous system and help control stress levels and help you unwind,” Kohler says.

Here’s an easy antidote: Sit quietly for a few moments, taking full-body, deep breaths

5. Relieve stress by going outside.

The benefits of going outside in the winter is not only good for our bodies, being outside chases away the winter blahs, as research has told us. Go ahead and skip the treadmill and go jogging in the park. Or take a walk. When you’re done, there’s no better feeling than coming in from the cool air, knowing you are truly in for the day.

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Transform your home into a retreat with these 5 tips from a luxury resort

(BPT) – There’s a reason why they say your home is your castle. This is a place of rest and refuge so you can be returned to your best state.

The next time you find yourself with a quiet evening or weekend in your abode, make self-care and pampering a priority. In fact, you can borrow a few pages from the wellness playbook with expert tips from one the world’s most storied resorts.

Destination Kohler located in the heart of Wisconsin in the quaint village of Kohler — and recently named one of the top 15 wellness resorts by Conde Nast Traveler — is what you might call a luxurious refuge. Here, after you explore picturesque snow-covered hiking paths on snowshoes or cross-country skis, and enjoy five-star accommodations at this historic American Club, you can restore your body and mind at the luxurious five-star Kohler Waters Spa or unique Yoga on the Lake facility.

But even a few simple additions at your home, says Garrett Mersberger, director of Kohler Waters Spas, can greatly increase the relaxation factor during your down time.

1. Include the five senses.

The secret to setting up the best spa experience, Mersberger says, is making positive connections to all the senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and sound.

“If one of these is missing, the experience isn’t the same,” he says.

Even the smallest changes can transform your space and elevate your mood. You can light a candle and plug in the indoor water fountain to create sound and lighting that soothes the mind. Snuggle into a plush robe and encase your feet in super soft socks or slippers after your shower or bath. Finally, don’t forget to set yourself up with a glass of wine and a cheese plate.

2. Prepare your body with hydrotherapy.

People have known this since ancient times: water has great powers of restoration, which is why hydrotherapy is central to any worthwhile spa experience. At home, it’s as simple as making small adjustments to your shower routine. Mersberger suggests changing the pulses in your shower head and experimenting with hot and cool blasts of water, which he says are good for the skin and blood flow.

But be careful, while a hot bath or shower before bed feels terrific, it’s not relaxing since warm temperatures will raise your blood flow, preparing the body for work or exercise, he says. To ready your body for sleep or relaxation, finish with a shower that’s a neutral temperature (about 92-97 degrees Fahrenheit), to return your body to normal.

3. Release blocked energy.

Start your quest for relaxation with a simple yoga move called the seated cat/cow position. “In addition to releasing blocked energy, it also opens the spine,” says Ashley Kohler, Manager of Yoga on the Lake at Destination Kohler. To do this, sit cross-legged on the floor and place your hands on your knees. As you inhale, lean your chest forward and lift your gaze to the sky. As you exhale, round out your spine while drawing your shoulders forward, gazing down.

4. Hone your breathing technique.

Breathing is a vital component of managing stress levels, Kohler says. Yet most Americans only breathe with a third of their lung capacity, creating “flight energy” in the body and cultivating that feeling of stress.

“Conscious breathing will ease your nervous system and help control stress levels and help you unwind,” Kohler says.

Here’s an easy antidote: Sit quietly for a few moments, taking full-body, deep breaths through your nose.

“I like to visualize the ocean, and imagine the sound of the its big crashing waves with every breath I take,” she says.

5. Relieve stress by going outside.

The benefits of going outside in the winter is not only good for our bodies, being outside chases away the winter blahs, as research has told us. So go ahead and skip the treadmill and go jogging in the park. Or rent a pair of snowshoes take a tromp through the woods. Or take a walk. When you’re done, there’s no better feeling than coming in from the cool air, knowing you are truly in for the day.

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Latino commentators redefine sports talk

(BPT) – Sports mean many things to many people, and for the three hosts of the new program Nación ESPN, sports also create some of their most profound life-defining moments. For Marly Rivera, it’s a sense of identity and community. For Bernardo Osuna, it’s a passion that spans three generations. And for Jorge Sedano, it’s a return to the fond memories of childhood and the unity everyone feels.

“I grew up in a large family where sports connected us, and where athletes of Puerto Rican heritage were adored,” Rivera says. “No matter what sport they participated in — boxing, judo, tennis, baseball, etc. — and whether you were born on the island or had a great-great grandmother of Puerto Rican heritage, we would root for you.”

Osuna’s passion is family born as well, though he admits his family loves one sport above all others. “My passion for boxing was born before I was, as my father told my pregnant mother that I would be born on a Saturday Fight Night and that I would be a flyweight fighter,” he remembers. “I was born on a Saturday and although I am way above 112 pounds, I am blessed to make a living covering the sport which my father and my grandfather’s love so much.”

Boxing is just one of a plethora of sports the trio discuss on Nación ESPN, a program appealing to young, bilingual U.S. Hispanic sports fans. The program is a fusion of the two Emmy Award-winning shows, SportsNation and Nación ESPN on ESPN Deportes. Each episode discusses the hot-button topics dominating the sports world, and guests are free to appear on the show and speak in the language they prefer, whether it’s English or Spanish.

Sedano, who also hosts ESPN Radio’s Jorge & Izzy, says the back-and-forth is one of his favorite aspects of Nación ESPN. “There is something about discussing games that lets you still be that kid who grew up loving, playing and arguing,” he says. “What can I say… I enjoy a good argument too.” However, Sedano does caution that Nación ESPN is more than just a bilingual sports program, it’s a bicultural show as well. “It’s important to be bicultural,” Sedano says, “because it allows Hispanics to relate and it doesn’t alienate other cultures. That’s what the makeup of the country is and what it should strive to be.”

Osuna agrees. “Nación ESPN is a unique show with diverse perspectives,” he says. “Our bilingual sports program reflects America today. We may not all be bilingual, but the majority of us are bicultural. We all come from different backgrounds and can find common ground through sports.”

Nación ESPN appears every Monday night on ESPN2, and you can learn more about the program on ESPN.com and ESPNDeportes.com. Fans can also catch the show through ESPN podcasts on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Each show features unique discussion points while delivering on the passion that sports bring out in all of us.

“Sports are the complete package,” Rivera says. “They provide entertainment, escape, fun, learning and most of all, they occasionally provide you with a sense that you have witnessed something so special that you will remember it for the rest of your life.”

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Greater professionalism could be the key to better hospital care

(BPT) – Healthcare reform has been in the headlines for years, and it seems like the only point everyone agrees on is that something needs to be done to improve the system. While politicians debate who should pay for healthcare and how, a group of healthcare professionals, patients and community advocates have set forth new guidelines to help healthcare organizations take better care of patients and communities. At the heart of their proposal is the idea of improving professionalism in healthcare organizations.

Funded by the Commonwealth Fund, the ABIM Foundation, The American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and Northwell Health, and published in the Jan. 11 issue of Academic Medicine, the “Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations” aims to encourage hospitals and healthcare organizations to radically change the way they operate. The authors acknowledge that the kind of sweeping changes they advocate won’t be easy. No single healthcare organization can fully embody all of the described behaviors. Rather the Charter is aspirational.

“Transitioning to the model hospital described by the Charter will challenge historical roles and assumptions of both leadership and staff,” the authors write. Still, they say, making these changes can benefit patients, healthcare providers and organizations.

The emphasis on professionalism

In the Academic Medicine article, the authors acknowledge that both health care professionals and patients are caught up in a vast, difficult, rapidly changing and ethically challenging system. Professionalism can help providers and organizations with decision-making in such a fluid and challenging system, they say. “Professionalism is based on a specific set of principles and commitments that provide an orientation to the thoughts and actions of a given profession,” the authors write.

In 2002, a physician charter was published, establishing professionalism ideals for doctors. While physicians largely embraced the charter, they also reported that policies and organizational structures of the healthcare organizations they worked for and with were standing in the way of fully implementing the guidelines. Incorporating professionalism guidelines into organizational structures could help foster more professional, successful and patient-centric care for everyone, the authors say.

Five key areas of focus

The charter outlines five areas of focus for healthcare organizations:

* Greater involvement and partnership between healthcare organizations and the patients they serve.

*Stronger partnerships between healthcare organizations and the communities in which they are located.

* Greater attention to the well-being of healthcare workers to help reduce burnout, and make them better equipped to provide superior care for patients.

* More collaboration between hospitals, government and community groups to positively affect the social factors that determine health.

* Greater emphasis on ethical business practices that will improve patients’ access to care, quality of care and hospitals’ financial performance.

Realigning priorities to patients

Movement toward more ethical business practices may require the greatest shift in thinking, the authors admit. While the essential objective of healthcare should be to take care of people, the reality is “opportunities (exist) for healthcare providers and organizations to engage in activities that are not in concordance with the principles of medical professionalism,” the Charter authors note.

The Charter advocates that when a healthcare organization faces a choice between actions that benefit the organization or those that benefit the patient, the patient’s interests should be the priority.

“When ethical dilemmas arise from conflicts between an organization’s self-interest and those of the community or patient, the community or patient interest takes precedence,” the authors write. “While this premise of the Charter may seem controversial, it is central to its content, consistent with the seminal Physician Charter on Medical Professionalism, and the source of its greatest potential social benefit.”

Hospitals and healthcare organizations should take patient-centric steps to:

* Protect patient privacy and health information, especially when using electronic health records.

* Establish systems to identify and address conflicts of interest and, when they affect a patient, put the patient’s welfare before that of the organization.

* Be transparent about the cost of procedures and care.

* Make bill adjustments for uninsured patients so that they don’t have to pay substantially more than those with insurance.

* Fairly grant “charity status” to patients who can’t pay for treatment.

* Be flexible in settling patient balances that exceed a patient’s ability to pay.

To review the full Charter, visit the website of the Foundation for Medical Excellence at www.tfme.org.

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5 surprising benefits of U.S. farm-raised seafood

(BPT) – You’re shopping for tonight’s dinner and decide fish sounds delicious. You visit the seafood section of your local market and are suddenly overwhelmed with choices. Salmon, tilapia, clams or shrimp? Imported or U.S. farm raised?

It can feel like there are endless options when shopping at the grocery store. Knowing what’s best for you and your family is difficult enough, yet alone weighing environmental concerns and other impacts of food choices.

When selecting seafood, there are various things to consider before deciding what to put in your cart. For many people, U.S. farm-raised options are their seafood of choice for a variety of reasons. 

Low-calorie protein

U.S. farm-raised fish and shellfish are an amazingly nutrient dense food and are excellent sources of high quality, easily digestible protein. What’s more, they are packed with important vitamins and minerals including essential B-complex, A and D vitamins as well as selenium, iron and zinc. An average serving has less than 200 calories. Some of the leaner varieties like tilapia, clams, oysters, mussels and shrimp have less than 100 calories.

Heart health

Coronary heart disease continues to be the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. According to most health experts, eating fish and seafood just twice a week can reduce the risk of heart disease while providing a host of other benefits. U.S. farm-raised seafood is low in cholesterol and high in omega-3 fatty acids that play a major role in maintaining coronary heart health, as well as the health of the brain.

Safer regulations

If you want to help ensure that the seafood you consume is safe to eat, opt for products that have been farm-raised in the United States. Look for country of origin and method of production labels in your supermarket. The U.S. has strict regulations that help ensure you and your family are eating the highest quality, safest seafood. For example, in the U.S. it is illegal to use antibiotics and hormones to promote growth. Plus, you are supporting family farms that generate jobs for Americans.

Sustainable

More than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Those imports can often come from countries that do not have strict environmental and product safety standards. In the United States, fish and shellfish are farmed using methods that do not harm the environment while helping to meet the growing demand for seafood by supplementing wild harvests.

Pregnancy superfood

There is a growing body of evidence that children whose mothers regularly consumed seafood during pregnancy had better motor skills and brain function after birth. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 recommend that pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers consume at least 8 ounces of seafood each week. Good choices include fish like salmon, trout, channel catfish, hybrid striped bass and tilapia.     

Want to learn more? Visit thenaa.net to get more information and delicious seafood recipes to try at home.

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Tips to make goodbyes better for both parent and child

(BPT) – As a parent, you’ve probably experienced the clinging, clutching and crying that often accompany a goodbye when your child returns to day care or preschool after a long holiday break. Separation can be difficult for both children and their parents. Remember, separation anxiety is perfectly normal and can start at any time during the first three years.

The challenge of separation can vary greatly depending on your child’s age, developmental stage, temperament and environment. But there is relief. Child development experts agree families can learn how to ease separation anxiety and manage transitions by developing a predictable routine between the parent and/or caregiver and child — a consistent way to say goodbye.

Saying goodbye helps your child

You may be tempted to sneak out and avoid a scene, but that only tends to make your child more anxious. Creating a consistent and predictable routine will help ease separations that are painful for both of you. The repetition of a goodbye routine will help your child develop a sense of security and facilitate a smoother transition from your presence to your absence and back again.

“Neuroscience has shown that the consistency and predictability will help your child learn to anticipate your return,” says Dr. Victoria Simms, child development specialist and president of the Simms/Mann Institute. “It’s very important for young children to have experiences that promote security. Consistent routines leave a positive imprint on the brain that will help set the stage for easier transitions during times of separation.”

Tips for easing separation anxiety

1. Bring a familiar object from home. Children often find comfort in familiar objects such as a cuddly lovie, toy or blanket. These special items are called transitional objects. By introducing a transitional object early on your child will begin associating it with you and what you represent to them: warmth, comfort, security and most of all, love.

2. Create your own consistent goodbye routines and rituals. Creating a consistent and predictable goodbye routine is key to making transitions easier. Designate a special place in your house where you can focus on each other for a few minutes before saying goodbye. Don’t forget to confidently give your child a hug and a kiss and be on your way.

3. Comfort yourself. When you’re comfortable and calm, your child will feel less anxious and more confident. Remember, thoughtful distress can help you and your child grow and spending the time to say goodbye will enable your child to manage the separation and help your child reconnect with you in a more positive way when you return.

To further help parents and caregivers understand the importance of creating consistent and predictable routines, the Simms/Mann Institute recently launched the CuddleBright(TM) Experience, a product that incorporates all the elements needed to get your goodbye routine off to a strong start.

By integrating the latest neuroscience research and years of child development theories, the CuddleBright(TM) Experience aims to connect and comfort both parents and children during times of separation. The product is specially designed for children ages 0-5 and their parents. It includes a cuddly lovie, a beautifully illustrated board book, “A Cuddle Before I Go,” and a special keepsake heart that will serve as a transitional object for the parent. These items work together to create a loving goodbye routine for both parent and child. In addition, the CuddleBright(TM) Experience includes a parenting guide focused on 18 child development topics that provide tips and strategies for navigating parenthood.

For more information about the CuddleBright(TM) Experience visit www.cuddlebright.com.

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4 mindful strategies for a healthy 2017

(BPT) – Losing weight and increasing exercise commonly make the top of New Year’s resolution lists. Yet many people fall short of their wellness goals each year. What can you do differently in 2017 to ensure you’re among those who succeed?

“Mental health and taking time for yourself can greatly improve your chances of achieving your health and wellness goals,” says the Mayo Clinic. “It’s important to realize that changing any behavior is often a complex process that requires you to address the mental as well as physical aspects of the change you want to achieve.”

Below are helpful strategies from the wellness professionals at Mayo Clinic to assist you in achieving your goals this year:

Be on your mental game

Weight loss is a common New Year’s resolution goal, but to achieve it, you’ll likely need to do more than simply change your eating habits. Behaviors, thoughts and emotions may be playing a role in keeping you from shedding pounds. For example, not getting enough sleep can thwart better eating and exercise habits. Sleep deprivation can hinder your ability to control your emotions, interfere with positive thought processes and make you too tired to exercise regularly.

Being aware of factors that contribute to negative habits not only can help you succeed, it can also help you sustain the changes.

Be aware of self-talk

Everyone has an integral dialogue, and it’s the voice we all believe the most. Is yours negative or positive? The voice of your self-talk can greatly affect your confidence level. Pay attention to your self-talk and evaluate if what you’re telling yourself is actually true.

When self-talk turns negative, try to challenge it and find a more positive way to look at the situation. For example, turn “I always fail at losing weight because I eat too much” into “I enjoy eating fruits and vegetables and can easily eat three servings a day.”

It will take time and practice to learn how to turn negative self-talk into positive, so be patient with yourself.

Fight boredom with fun and creativity 

People fail at wellness goals for many reasons, including boredom. Approaching your goals with a creative and fun attitude can help keep them fresh and exciting — and keep you on track!

Try learning something new or vary your routine. For example, try a new recipe or modify your usual food choices. Learn to use a new piece of equipment at the gym, or take an exercise class to learn something you’ve always wanted to do.

Dance around the house, take a healthy cooking class, read a book, travel, check an item off your bucket list or create a list if you don’t have one. However you define “fun,” if you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more likely to want to keep doing it.

Prepare to overcome setbacks

No matter how committed you are to a goal, setbacks are normal. Don’t let them derail you. Planning for setbacks and how you’ll overcome them can help you stay on track for the long term.

When planning how you’ll reach a desired behavior change, try including some what-if scenarios. For example, if your fitness routine includes a yoga class after work and you get delayed, think about what you could do to still meet your exercise goal. You might be able to substitute another class or use body weight exercises at home. Having a back-up plan in case your original goal doesn’t work out can help you avoid “all-or-nothing” thinking.

If you experience a setback, be compassionate with yourself; change is rarely easy. Giving yourself a break will help you dust yourself off and get back on track.

By taking a mindful and proactive approach to your health, you’ll be on the way towards achieving your wellness goals through 2017 and beyond. To learn more about healthy living, visit www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle. For more information on customized wellness programs at Mayo Clinic, view our Healthy Living Program.

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Pushed to the brink: How suicide is taking our heroes

(BPT) – The Purple Heart Foundation recognizes that suicide among U.S. veterans is taking place at an alarming rate. Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every single day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. These twenty-two heroes fought to protect the American homeland. These twenty-two heroes volunteered for a life away from home and from their loved ones. These twenty-two heroes, who returned home, were failed by a riddled system and did not get proper treatment. Now, suicide becomes a means of dealing with or an attempt to control the pain. There is a strong and bitter stigma attached to those who have thought about it, tried it, or ultimately did commit suicide.

The Purple Heart Foundation wants to paint a broad picture for the American public about suicide and the prevention that is possible. The Purple Heart Foundation spoke with Coalition & Community Development Coordinator Allison Esber. Esber works for Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery in Canton, Ohio. She is a trained and certified expert on suicide and prevention.

Esber believes there are multiple reasons and situations leading someone to take their life. “There is not one single cause, factor, or event that will make a person feel suicidal. There are many stressors that can cause a person to feel out of control, trapped, or unable to change what is happening,” Esber says.

Of course, other factors like post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, some prescription drugs and depression play a role in their process. “Suicide may occur when the stressors outweigh a person’s ability to cope. What a person considers a stressor varies greatly from one person to another, although some common themes are a loss or major change (i.e. relationship, death, job, move),” Esber. says

So how can you, as a member of the public, discern if someone is suicidal or not? There are visible signs displayed by individuals contemplating suicide. “There are warning signs that individuals who may be thinking about suicide that others may be able to recognize,” Esber says. “If any of these signs are recognizable, reach out for help. These include: talking, posting (on social media) about death or suicide, talks about feeling like a burden to others, feeling trapped or worthless.”

It is not just their emotional behavior that offers signs of suicide but the choices they make can be factors as well. “Individuals who may be thinking about suicide may increase use of alcohol or drugs, engage in more risky behaviors, withdrawal from friends, family, and activities,” Esber. says.

Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK and the Crisis Text Line at 741741. There is a Veterans Crisis Line that is also available. They offer a suicide prevention hotline that can be reached at (800) 273-8255 and press 1. The VCL offers an online chat or the individual can send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. There are also resources available for the deaf and hard of hearing.

The Purple Heart Foundation believes educating the public and veterans about services available will help everyone better understand the issue at hand. Veterans should know they are not alone in their journey. You can show your support for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure veterans continue to get the support and benefits they deserve by visiting www.purpleheartfoundation.org.

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