Monthly Updates
We are happy to announce
Porterville and Visalia Wellness Centers have reopened!  My Voice Media Center is holding one-on-one Zoom classes by appointment only. Visit our Calendars Page for more information about the activities these organizations are offering for August 2020.
NAMICon 2020, A Virtual Event, is now available to view on demand until August 23, 2020.

To access the event, type in the password nami2020. Use the navigation toolbar at the top of the page, click on Monday or Tuesday, scroll down to the session you would like to watch, and click on "watch recording."
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AmazonSmile is also available in the Amazon Shopping app. Learn how to generate donations for NAMI Tulare County here.
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FEATURED ARTICLES
MENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH
All You Need is Love... and Kindness
Wishing others well can improve your mood in minutes! New research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies shows that loving – kindness is the most effective attitude for increasing personal happiness.
 
Participants in the study were instructed to take a 12-minute
walk and think in a specific way about the people they encountered, either (a) observing physical appearance, (b) considering loving-kindness, (c) contemplating shared traits, or (d) evaluating them negatively.

Those in the loving-kindness group saw the most personal benefits to their own mood and stress—all by thinking sincerely. “I wish for this person to be happy.”
 
Lead author Douglas A. Gentile concluded, “Offering kindness to others in the world reduces anxiety and increases happiness and feelings of social connection. It’s a simple strategy that doesn’t take a lot of time.”

Reference:
Esperanza, winter, 2020
Is Journaling Worth the Effort?
Journaling can play multiple roles: helping people with a mental illness understand their emotions more clearly, problem-solve or plan for the future, track aspects of your mood and behavior, and sometimes predict ----and prevent---episodes of mania or depression.

There are no rules. Use a computer or write your thoughts down on paper. Journal entries can be shared, discarded or revisited at a later date. There is no rule that says you have to journal every day. Why journal? it can play many roles: help people with mental health illnesses understand their emotions more clearly, problem-solve or plan for the future, track behavior and track aspects of their mood and behavior and sometimes predict and prevent episodes of mania or depression.
 
You don’t necessarily have to write down your thoughts every day. You don’t have to share your thoughts with anyone. You can look back and see how far you have come. Your entries don’t need to be polished or grammatical. Maybe you just want to put smiley or unsmiling faces on a calendar to indicate mood.
 
Writing down your short-term goals for the day or the things you want to accomplish long-term can be very helpful. The choice is yours. Ben Weinstein, MD chair of psychiatry at Houston Methodist in Texas, states “Sometimes the very act of writing things down can resolve some of your feelings. It’s a way to offload thoughts and resolve some of those feelings”. There is no judgement from anyone. No one else needs to hear, see, or read what you write down. You might feel better if you tear up the sheet after you have spent time writing.
 
A flight of ideas, jumping from topic to topic, choppy ideas, are signs of an elevated mood. These can be signs of an impending episode and are something to share with your therapist. “Tracking mood, hours of sleep, exercise and eating can help make sure your social rhythms are Intact.” This will allow you, with your therapist to look to see if you had more good days than bad days in the last month or vice versa.
Ben Weinstein, MD, says journaling can be a tool to cultivate self-awareness and challenge what psychiatry calls “lack of insight." Lack of insight is a characteristic of bipolar disorder, especially in elevated moods. It means the individual with the illness doesn’t always recognize how behavior is changing as a mood shift starts or even during a mood episode—even when the differences are quite obvious to others. "The parts
of the brain that help with insight and understanding don’t always function as well during mood episodes. A person may not notice the changes in patterns of behavior or moods in advance, but these patterns can help us learn to predict when things are going bad,” says Weinstein.
 
“Everyone is allowed to have a bad day, a bad mood, or a bad night’s sleep, but when patterns emerge or you see a trend, it’s time to call your doctor so you don’t have a major episode,” he adds.
 
Ideally, your journal can help alert you and your treatment team that something is going on—especially if you keep track of easy to quantify behaviors like sleep and activity levels, along with attitude and outlook.
 
If you normally sleep seven hours, and for the past days it’s been four or five and you are not tired, it could suggest an impending manic episode,” Weinstein says.
 
Some people with bipolar disorder report a great uptick in mood and euphoria before a full-blown episode, but this may already be headed to a point where insight is not as good. If you track sleep and mood, you can say, “Wait a second, this may not end well for me.”
 
Ultimately, journaling puts you in the driver’s seat because it allows you to notice patterns and “take ownership of your treatment,” Weinstein says.
 
Yvette P. 50, of Glendora, CA states, “when I am depressed, my entries can be dark and filled with negative self-talk and self-pity.” Her handwriting gets messier when she is feeling low, another sign that depression is brewing. She wakes up and journals, this practice sets the tone for her day, she says. “If I notice that I am feeling “blah” I try to do positive self-talk to counter the negatives, and review my gratitude list. It helps me realize that my problems are minute in comparison to many. As she looks back on her journaling, she can see how far she has come.
                       
Reference:
Bp, Fall, 2019, Denise Mann, MS
What is Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT)?
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ralph Nelson, President
Sandra Juarez, Vice President
Mary Mederos, Treasurer
Kathy Farrell, Secretary
Donna Grigsby
Karen Mabry
Bruce Nicotero
Elizabeth Vander Meer
Ivy Jones
Ray Lara