good morning, everyone, thanks so much for joining us. i'm erika gonzalez. welcome to "viewpoint." this morning we are talking about changing minds. the expo is this weekend. january 9th and 10th at the washington convention center. joining me this morning is ryan n newcomb and kent alford, executive director of behavior sciences with adventist health care. gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us this morning. ryan, i want to start with you. tell me a little about the american foundation for suicide prevention and your role partnering with us again with us at the expo. >> absolutely. and we're so glad to be back with nbc in year and the changing minds program.
afsp is a voluntary health organization. we work as a nonprofit to help prevent suicide. it's the second leading cause of death for 10 to 24-year-olds in america and locally. and it's the tenth leading cause of death overall. so our work is with a bold goal to reduce suicide in united states, 20% by the year 2025. and that's the research, education, awareness and public policy, law changes. and so for us, mental health making sure that it's okay to get help and that that message is conveyed to the public and that we are smart about mental health as a society, are top priorities for us. >> ryan, tell me about afsp and specifically about the type of help that it was giving the community, let's say, 10, 15 years ago. and is there more assistance being provided now perhaps now that we, as a society, are starting to take the stigma off of mental health?
are you seeing more people reaching out? >> absolutely. and i hope that we're a part of leading that. i think we are nationally and locally. we have grown exponentially in that time period that you talk about and just in the past few years. we've gone from hundreds of walkers locally to many thousands of walkers and tens of thousands across the mid-atlantic region. and so we're really working to engage people, make sure that they know that they can reach out for mental health services and that they can get help, they can call the crisis number and the crisis line when they are struggling or if when they see the loved ones, coworkers or friends struggling as well. >> all right. you mentioned walks because that's something that we partner together on. we just did a walk in october. >> right. you did four or five. i think you had emcees at all of them. >> i want to move on to you now, kent. tell me about your organization and specifically the role that you all will be playing with us at the nbc 4 health and fitness expo.
sfr >> absolutely. i want to say that i'm representing adventist health care behavioral health services. our main campus is in rockville but we do have hospitals in both takoma park as well as eastern shore and montgomery county. and currently we provide services to children, adolescents and adults that are in psychic stress, could be depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, even drug abuse. we do provide services to support them. if they come in and they are acutely ill which means that they are a threat to themselves or others, we do have inpatient units that can stabilize them. and once they get better, we do have step-down programs which is a day hospital where we provide services to support them to continue to integrate back into the community as well as wellness clinics now that actually help maintain the person's mental health while they're in the community. >> how long has it been since you guys started partnering with us, and why choose the expo? why say, you know what, these are two very important days, and we need to be there to show face, we need to be there to shake hands, to answer
questions? why choose the expo to do that? >> so this is going to be our first year. and we thought this would be a great forum for us because we're in a push to really make people aware of how important behavioral health maintenance is. it's not just seeing someone -- >> behavioral health maintenance, i like that. because it is -- it's a process. it's an ongoing process, isn't it? >> absolutely. and we don't want people to come when they're acutely ill. perhaps a person needs a checkup, relationship issues, could be because of school, because of stressors that are causing anxiety. we want to be that agency that is able to offer services to help people to talk to, to listen to and offer support services as they move through the community. >> do people approach ryan, in your experience, at the expo, do people come with questions about for themselves, or are they coming with questions about, you know what, i'm concerned for my loved one? >> yeah. >> what are the needs that you all are seeing at the expo? >> i think it runs the gamut. we have people that have lost
loved ones to suicide, which is very much the leading cause of death, as we said. and they come up and they want resources for loss and bereavement. they want resources for dealing with their grief with their family. and then they have people still struggling. suicide in many cases can be a genetic factor in someone's life. and so it's something we have to look at from that perspective. but the expo's been just an incredible opportunity for us to engage the public, bring people out, get them involved in our organization, and the different things we're doing to educate the public and, you know, as kent was saying, you know, mental health is part of your brain, you know? and it's just like any other organ in your body. a diabetic wouldn't refuse insulin. and so in the same way, we have to look at our brains and our mental health as our physical health. it is the same thing. one and the same. so that's very important to us. >> all right. stay with us. we are back with more "viewpoint" after this short break.
morning on "viewpoint." i'm erika gonzalez. we are talking about changing minds at the health and fitness expo january 9th and 10th. joining me, ryan newcomb of the american foundation for suicide prevention, or otherwise known as afsp, and kent alford with adventist health care. thanks generagain for joining u. for the people watching us that would like to approach one of the booths and talk to you all, what are the types of resources that you'll have available, you know, to the people, to the
folks over that weekend? >> right. well, afsp, we hope to provide an array of resources for military families, in particular, in preventing suicide, military families is one in five suicide as a veteran or active-duty. the lgbt community and reaching out to do them and the ways to do that are very important to us. we'll be doing a presentation called talk saves lives on reaching out to your loved ones in crisis. and what to do when you're concerned and the signs and warning signs to look for. and we have a program called more than sad for teenagers and high school students where, again, it's the second leading cause of death in american is suicide, and so we want to get out there, talk about this, break the stigma around it and let people know that it's okay to get help and that this is preventable. >> kent, what about for adve adventi adventist? >> we have an array of services we'll present at expo. the first thing is we'll have dr. marissa leslie one of our
psychiatrists, she'll present about anxiety and depression and what it looks like and to get help for it. i'm doing a presentation as well on seasonal affective disorder. what is it? you know, this time of year people get depressed. wintertime, lack of sunlight, people have depressed symptoms. what does that look like, and how do you get resources and support for it? we're going to have light therapy lamps. that's one of the treatments for seasonal affective disorder that patients can use or people can use. and we plan to have that at the expo. in addition, we plan to have stress balls. these are balls you can just put in your hand. >> do those really work? >> they work. >> really? >> yes, they do. in fact, sometimes if i'm on 495, i catch myself using a stress ball. >> isn't that the truth? isn't that the truth? >> yes. so we're going to have stress balls, brochures, pamphlets. we'll have some educational information about how to recognize when you have a mental illness, something that takes you away from your normal
activities. >> i'm glad you bring up the recognition part because i'm sure it's key for people whether they are the ones themselves that are dealing with some sort of mental health illness or if it's their loved one and they're noticing something's off. they're not themselves. we can't quite put our finger on it, but how do you know what the warning signs are? what are the warning signs? >> yeah. well, when we talk about particularly for anxiety disorder, you know, anything that causes your vital signs to increase, if you have increased sweating, if you're finding your voice going up and your heart rate is moving faster, your blood pressure's increasing, that could be a sign that you're having some anxiety. or even an anxiety attack which is the worst-case scenario. so at the expo, we do plan to educate, present and tell folks where to go to get help if they find themselves in that situation. >> and this is an area where people run very fast, very hard, the jobs are fast paced, people are stressed out. they're cooperated up in their cars on the roads, going and
coming. and this is really a very stressful environment. so what are some of the tools? just a way that we provide at the expo, talking about good, healthy eating habits and exercising. what are perhaps some exercises that we can do to keep ourselves sound and happy and healthy without waiting to a breaking point? >> well, i would say that there's many treatment options available. and those include healthy living and wellness and exercise and diet. holistically. but then i think the most effective evidence-based treatments are medicine and types of therapy, cognitive therapy, doing things cogniti cognitively like kent was talking about like grabbing that ball in 495 traffic. you know, making yourself get up out of bed even when you don't want to. and then you retrain your brain. >> that's a real struggle for a lot of people. it's those first few minutes in the mornings or even in the evenings of just can't pull
yourself to get out of bed and go. >> right. and i think the key basis of that is making sure that you're treated. because if there's a chemical imbalance in your brain, then you probably need some type of medicine to help with that anxiety and depression. and then therapy helps in addition to that. and that can be permanent help through therapy and retraining the brain. and then you look at addition, wellness like we were talking about, exercise, diet, those type of things. >> all right. stay with us. we're coming back with more "viewpoint" after this break.
been watching us this morning and saying, you know what, i really need to see somebody. i've got some questions to ask them about mental health. where will you all be situated in the expo? where can they find you to ask questions? >> we'll be at the changing minds pavilion. you'll see a big banner there, a big table where we'll have advertisements for behavioral health. please come see us. we'll have plenty of people there both saturday and sunday, and folks will be there on site to answer any questions you have about who and what we are and what we do. >> i think it takes a lot of boldness for folks to come and even just approach you. so is there some type of advice that you would give them about coming unafraid, just really coming honestly? >> yeah. i would say it's a safe place. you know, it's okay. we get -- our volunteers will be out at the afsp table with nbc. they've struggled themselves. they have lost loved ones. they have seen others struggle, and they work with people across
the board. and we have mental health professionals on our team. >> so we're coming to somebody. >> yeah. yeah. >> that gets it, that understands it, that's not going to point a finger, that's not going to, you know -- >> there's no judgment, no stigma. >> and we're going to be roaming about, too. so we might see people who might kind of are on the fence that don't want to come. they might want to come. we're definitely going to be available to those individuals as well. we're not just going to be sitting there. we'll be walking around, working the floor, making sure that we reach out to all. >> are we seeing any types of trends as it pertains to mental health illness? i mean, is it solely young? old? black? white? who does this affect? >> i would say, you know, one of the things we like to say at afsp is suicide and mental health, mental illness don't discriminate. it runs the gamut across the board. yes, there's higher rates in different communities. you look at native americans, and they have one of the highest
rates in the country, and that's socioeconomic things, many things that come together to create those situations. but then you do have other areas like with the military population where there's ptsd and things that are factors there where we need to intervene and be working with our military and veterans to get them the right treatment. >> kent, you were just mentioning that a population that you all are starting to see really a lot of and the impacts of social media is really a younger generation. how is it that social media is playing that strong of a role? >> well, absolutely. my campus is atta coma park, maryland, and we are in close proximity to university of maryland, and we are seeing a lot of young people who lack coping skills. so a facebook taunt, bullying becomes more than a taunt. it becomes an issue for them, suicidal gesture or threat. we see people who don't have the coping skills when relationships fail from the university campus. and so they come to our
inpatient unit for help. and we see a lot of young people just needing support understanding what -- how to cope with life when things go wrong. so that's a trend for us and definitely we are meeting those needs of the community. >> ryan, is there a particular population that you all are seeing? >> right. one of our largest campus walks out of the darkness walks in the country in the spring is at the university of maryland college park, and they're a great partner with us. but it's a second leading cause of death for high school and college students is suicide. at the same time, that generation seems to be more willing to talk about this. they're seeing their friends struggling, and they're wanting to get the word out. they're wanting to destigmatize it. so i think from that perspective, there's some hope out there with this. and that's what we want to get out is to bring hope to those affected by suicide and to save lives at those core groups that need it. >> and that's what we hope that we'll be on the road to at the
back here on "viewpoint" talking about changing minds specifically this year at the health and fitness expo january 9th and 10th, and we so hope that you'll join us. kent, i want to continue with you because we're talking about people really getting some help, but your help doesn't just stop at the nbc 4 health and fitness expo. you all are big partners in the community. so kent is the executive director of behavior health service with adventist health care. tell me how people can access that help in the community, the types of resources that you all offer in the community. >> so first thing i wanted to
say is that adventist health care behavior and wellness services, we offer inpatient, outpatient, wellness clinics. but if a person, let's say, has a need where they are suicidal, they want to hurt themselves and they have no way, no hope, they would call 911, call their doctor and present an emergency department. >> this is not something that you should wait on. >> absolutely. >> you need to pick up the phone and call. >> you've got to call, right. and if you call and you come to our emergency department, for instance, we have a team of specially trained clinicians, it's a needs assessment team that will see that person and put them in a place where they need treatment. is it the inpatient unit? an outpatient service? is it a maintenance clinic, wellness checkup, whatever that person needs, that team is trained to assess them and provide them top-level care that they need to stabilize them wherever they are. >> when people hear call 911, go to an emergency clinic, people think, well, that's really serious. and i should only do that if it really is an emergency.
i just don't know how to gauge this. i don't know if this is an emergency. i don't know if i really should pick up the phone. ryan, what are those warning signs that people need to keep top of mind? >> well, always err on the side of caution, you know. if you are experiencing suicide ideation or worried about someone who is, then you have good reason to worry. and so i would always err on that side of caution. but you know, if there are changes in someone's eating habits and their sleepi ining habits, their appetite, if they have sudden erratic behavior or sudden increase in alcohol or drug abuse, those are things to really look at and make sure that people are getting help. and, you know, it's better to err on that side of caution and have that person around once they've gotten a good health evaluation than to not and to lose someone to what is an illness. so i think it's important for us to make sure that people have access to whether it's their local primary care physician or calling 911 or calling the
crisis number which is 1-800-273-talk. that's 8255-talk. and that's 25 hours a day, 7 days a week. >> okay. kept, is there something that you wanted to add? >> absolutely. the number that we have if anyone has a question about a mental health issue is 1-301-891-5346. they can call that number. i have skilled folks that can help them guide them to where they need to be. may not be as serious as an inpatient, but they may need some support, or they may need resources, and that number will provide them that level of help that they need. >> just a phone call can really go a long way to be able to talk to somebody that knows how to deal with the situation. >> and it's the same thing. if you look up the crisis number or crisis chat, you know, those are places you can go if you're just concerned about someone. you can -- you don't have to -- you're worried about yourself. you don't have to be in immediate crisis. they're there to ask questions in all of these different situations. so it's important for people to have the dialogue. >> right. and to make sure that things
don't have to get out of hand before you reach out and say i need some help, whether it's for myself or it's for a friend of mine, right? >> and you can also go to afsp.org. and on afsp.org, we have a lot of resources for those that have lost loved ones and are struggle as well as those who might be struggling themselves. >> all right. kent alford with adventist health care and ryan newcomb with the american foundation for suicide prevention. they and their colleagues will be at the changing minds pavilion during the nbc 4 health and fitness expo. again, that is january 9th and 10th. and we hope that you'll come out, not just for exercise and eating habits and so forth but mental health is just as important as your overall health. and we hope to see you at the nbc 4 health and fitness expo. thanks for joining us on this "viewpoint."
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