Brocade today announced the Brocade SDN Controller 2.0, a commercial distribution of the OpenDaylight (ODL) controller based on the Lithium ODL release, and two new software-defined networking (SDN) applications, Brocade Topology Manager and Brocade Flow Manager. These new solutions reinforce Brocade’s leadership in open source SDN, providing greater innovation, interoperability and choice while eliminating vendor lock-in for customers.
Brocade’s latest open source SDN controller distribution delivers enhancements to meet data center requirements for improved interoperability and orchestration including:
New SDN applications complement this latest release of the Brocade SDN Controller. The Brocade Topology Manager, a free SDN application, displays discovered network topology, allowing administrators to create a list of nodes and conduct simple searches for nodes. The Brocade Flow Manager extends the capabilities of the Brocade Topology Manager by enabling users to view and interact with the network topology using near-real-time information to perform traffic engineering and network segmentation based on end-to-end flow views. In addition, the new Brocade SDN Controller supports the recently-announced Brocade Flow Optimizer to intelligently manage traffic flow and proactively mitigate network attacks.
Ninety percent of respondents in a latest survey conducted by Heavy reading said that a truly open SDN controller with support for multiple vendors is an essential or important factor in SDN deployment plans. The same survey ranked the lack of in-house SDN expertise as the third biggest obstacle in implementing SDN.
“Brocade’s strategy is driven by the very close collaboration we have with our leading service provider and enterprise customers to deliver unique networking products and solutions that speed their transition to the New IP, and software is increasingly central to that pursuit,” said Kelly Herrell, senior vice president and general manager, Software Networking, Brocade. “Delivering open solutions like the Brocade SDN Controller 2.0 and related applications, packaged with a full complement of education and services, will facilitate the smooth journey to SDN for customers worldwide.”
The Brocade SDN Controller is continuously built from OpenDaylight code, free of proprietary extensions. Brocade provides multi-vendor compatibility testing and complete, single-source support for Brocade SDN Controller environments. Brocade and its partners provide a range of support, education, and professional services options. Brocade Professional Services provides consulting expertise to assist with SDN architectural planning, implementation and development efforts. Brocade education courses, available in multiple formats, provide the conceptual foundation and skills that IT organizations need to adopt SDN successfully. Through Brocade online communities, end users and developers can download the Brocade SDN Controller; access community forums, documentation and the Brocade Technical Assistance Center; share use cases, tutorials and code samples as well as learn about the latest developments in networking-related open source projects.
“Brocade’s approach to bringing open SDN solutions to its customers is unique,” said Paul Parker-Johnson, principal analyst for cloud and virtual system infrastructures at ACG Research. “By basing its controller on OpenDaylight software, and adding its own validation, professional support and educational services to streamline adoption, Brocade is delivering a well-curated SDN platform to its customers. The company is also adding visibility and intelligence to managing SDN deployments with value-added applications, like the Brocade Flow Manager, that are built using open software frameworks their customers are looking for.”
Price and Availability
The Brocade SDN Controller 2.0, Brocade Topology Manager and Brocade Flow Manager are available today. A free download of the Brocade SDN Controller includes 60 days of technical support. A production license for the Brocade SDN Controller is priced at $100 per attached node per year, including support. The Brocade Topology Manager is a free application. The Brocade Flow Manager is priced at $40 per attached node per year including support.
I recently published the article "Avoid 'Shots in the Dark' to Maintain Pristine Professional Boundaries" in Psychiatric Times to demonstrate how drinking alcohol in public may lead well-meaning licensed health professionals onto the slippery slope of boundary violations and costly career jeopardy.
Across the U.S., millions of doctors, nurses, and other licensed health professionals are permitted to perform the sacred work of healing others because we have been authorized to do so by licensure boards in one or more states. In these days of telemedicine, many of us hold numerous licenses. Because of the existence of national practice databases and credentialing protocols, a licensure issue in one locale can mushroom into legal trouble in multiple states.
The disinhibiting effects of alcohol are often in the mix when health professionals are accused of behaving unprofessionally. For this reason, I advise colleagues and clients to drink sparingly, especially in public situations involving peers, staff, or patients. Indeed, we might be safer abstaining altogether. Of course, people who are pregnant, enrolled in monitoring programs, or who suffer from alcohol use disorders shouldn't be drinking at all.
What about cannabinoids? Although tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive substance with a different profile than alcohol, it, too, is an intoxicant that may jeopardize the professional well-being of those who use it. This is especially the case in states where using it is not legal. But even where cannabis use is permissible, measurable THC levels may create pricey complexity for health professionals who are drug-tested for whatever reason. Until we possess the ability to distinguish between the THC that entered your system on a workday, and the residue of a single THC gummy that you ingested in the middle of your 2-week vacation to Colorado, avoiding cannabinoids may be another 'Better to play it safe, rather than be sorry' best-practice to consider and incorporate.
Alternatively, you can trust state licensing boards to accept your version of the events that bring you to their attention. If you end up hiring an attorney, remember that the ones who know how to defend you after an operating under the influence (OUI) arrest are generally not the same ones who know how to represent you before the licensing board. So you may have to hire two attorneys, or more if you are licensed in multiple states.
Because this pandemic has brutalized our profession, many of us have used or misused alcohol and/or cannabinoids to mitigate the day-to-day stress and strain. At the same time, the expectation to behave in a completely and utterly professional fashion at all times has never been greater. These words of caution represent a blunt attempt to inspire you to watch your own back.
Steve Adelman, MD, is a coaching and consulting psychiatrist and can be reached at his self-titled site, AdelMED.
This post appeared on KevinMD.
ALL qualified health professionals seeking employment in the public sector have been hired, giving that group a zero unemployment rate as the Health Services Board (HSB) acts to upgrade the public health services.
Since the advent of the Second Republic, the HSB has hired 17 633 workers.
Besides replacing public health sector professionals who retire, or leave for the private sector, or create a vacancy for any other reason, there has been a major effort to expand and upgrade the public health system, which caters for the large majority of the population.
This upgrade was accelerated at the start of the Covid-19 infections and is now being maintained.
The high levels of recruitment, and the lack of any pool of unemployed who can fill vacancies in the public and private sectors, has seen previously closed training institutions reopened and new training institutions opened or planned, to increase the flow of professionals and meet Zimbabwe’s expanding health needs.
The massive recruitment is part of this process and is in line with President Mnangagwa’s vision of matching best international practices in the health sector as a prerequisite to attaining an upper middle income society by 2030.
The HSB said just last month another 398 nurses were hired and 37 environmental health officers joined the Government service this month.
As of yesterday, according to the HSB database, there was a small group of less than 100 environmental health graduates and diploma holders still to be recruited but the process of employing them is on course.
Of this group, 60 have degrees and the remainder diplomas, and the only reason they are still on the database as available is that most of them graduated after June this year.
But the HSB suspects that the number of environmental health technicians might be far less as already the hiring process has discovered that several have already found employment in the private sector and non-governmental organisations, but did not notify the board that they were no longer interested or available for employment in the public sector.
One group of 22 environmental health professionals were recruited for Matabeleland North this month, but turned down the offer having being employed elsewhere and so the HSB had to recruit again.
Speaking to The Herald yesterday, HSB chair, Dr Paulinus Sikosana, said the board has employed all qualified personnel on their database save for the few environmental health practitioners.
Since June there simply have been no applicants waiting for a job offer.
These professionals include doctors, nurses, environmental health practitioners, physicians, radiographers, pharmacists, physiotherapists among several other health professionals who work in the health sector.
“All those willing to join have been engaged. The database is exhausted for professions like nurses, doctors and others.
“In June our database was exhausted for all health professionals. We have a few graduates in environmental health who are yet to be employed. The process to engage them is on, we are filling posts for those who have left and the new ones which were created like those manning port health centres,” said Dr Sikhosana.
On top of recruiting all trained health personnel, Government has opened all training institutions which had been previously closed and new more health training institutions as part of measures to Improve the staffing in institutions.
This year, the HSB has already received nursing graduates from 22 training schools. Besides these, the new facilities like the Accident and Emergency Nursing School opened in Chivhu last year are yet to release graduates, while universities which train nurses usually release graduates at the end of the year.
Zimbabwe has also opened a training institution for professionals in biomedical engineering, who are expected to boost the country’s quest of strengthening the manufacturing capacity of medical consumables.
The expansion of the health sector and the recruitment and training of healthcare personnel is in line with recommendations of the World Health Organisation to boost the number of healthcare personnel to ensure the quality of care is not compromised.
WHO has noted with concern the huge shortage of healthcare personnel around the world and projects a 15 million global shortfall of health workers.
Founder and chairperson of nurses and midwives in Government, Professor Pisirayi Ndarukwa, commended the Second Republic for prioritising the training and recruitment of health personnel.
He singled out the newly established training school for biomedical engineers, which he says will boost the country’s health sector by improving the research and manufacturing aspect of medical consumables.
“This will allow Zimbabwe to make its own equipment and develop new technologies, unlike in the past where everything was imported,” said Prof Ndarukwa.
“All nursing schools are now running. This is good for our health system which will be guaranteed of welcoming new graduates with new ideas and enthusiasm across the country.
“We now have specialised nursing training institutions like Ingutsheni for mental health nurses, Chivhu for emergency services, institutions for midwives among others.
“This helps the improvement of our specialists’ services if we now have dedicated nurses”.
ROCHESTER — Two experienced advanced nurse practitioners with strong ties to the Rochester area, Jean Ball and Lori Wood, are joining Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s existing family practice, Primary Care of Rochester.
Ball, APRN, comes from Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.H., where she worked as a family nurse practitioner since 2008. Prior to her time at Frisbie, Ball worked as a nurse practitioner at York Hospital in York, Maine.
Ball also has experience working as a family nurse practitioner at Sacopee Valley Health Center in Porter, Maine, and a nurse practitioner at Carroll County House of Corrections in Ossipee, N.H. She also owned and operated the Davis Hill Farm assisted living home from 1997-2003.
Ball graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Boston with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She furthered her education at the University of Lowell with a Master of Science in Gerontological, Nurse Practitioner and the University of New Hampshire with a Post Master’s in Family Nurse Practitioner.
Wood, APRN, comes from Family Care of Farmington in Farmington, N.H., where she worked as a primary care provider since 1995.
Wood graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Wood furthered her education at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell with a Master of Science in Nursing, and earned a post-graduate certification in family practice from Simmons College in Boston, Mass.
Both practitioners are accepting new patients at Primary Care of Rochester and can be contacted at 603-516-4212 or visit https://wdhospital.org/rochester.
Primary Care of Rochester, a Mass General Brigham Healthcare Center, is committed to providing outstanding primary care and preventative health care to the entire family from newborn to seniors. It is located at The Ridge Marketplace (92 Farmington Road, Route 11, Suite 9).
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Health care professionals: Names to Know
When 911 operators in Denver receive calls about citizens acting irrationally, mental health professionals are sent along with paramedics to investigate the incidents—not armed police officers.
The city’s program is known as Support Team Assisted Response (STAR). At this stage, it’s only a pilot program, but the early results are promising and could portend a new, game-changing paradigm for the way municipalities manage acute psychiatric illness. In the eight city precincts where the program has been implemented, minor offenses have dropped by 34 percent. Some of these reductions are because mental health professionals are not issuing citations leading to arrests, but the data also suggests that the actual level of minor crimes dropped as well.
Nonetheless, the STAR program is controversial. Since it’s only a pilot program, the results need to be replicated. Currently, the STAR program team only responds to non-violent conduct, such as trespassing, public intoxication, minor disturbance to the peace, etc.
Many of the individuals in these circumstances tend to be agitated and in some form of an altered mental state. Armed police officers are trained to vigorously and verbally assert their authority and take command of interactions when they are dealing with individuals suspected of committing offenses. Such an approach is necessary and effective for an individual who is rational and misbehaving. With someone in an altered and possibly psychotic mental state, such an aggressive response may be experienced as dangerously threatening. As their agitation and fear escalate, the citizen’s unstable mental state frequently escalates to irrational proportions, with potentially tragic consequences. Mental health professionals are trained to establish a rapport with distressed and disturbed individuals and to defuse tensions. Together with other members of the STAR team, they can then assist in identifying the individual's psychological and psychiatric needs and direct them to appropriate psychiatric and medical resources.
As a practicing forensic neuropsychologist in Southern California, I have been asked to evaluate defendants for California's mental health diversion program. It’s structured differently from the STAR program, but with a similar goal, to reduce the criminalization of those who suffer from a mental illness. Here in California, if the defendant is arrested and meets the stringent criteria of the diversion program, the allegations against him or her are held in abeyance for two years, during which the defendant undergoes psychiatric treatment. During that two-year period, the defendant must participate in the prescribed treatment and remain free of any criminal offenses or violations. If they stabilize and meet the criteria, charges are dropped.
The diversion criteria are as follows. First, a court-accepted mental health expert must have evaluated the defendant and diagnosed them with an identified mental disorder as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (Certain personality disorders, such as antisocial personality disorder, are excluded.) In addition, the defendant's mental disorder must have played a significant role in the commission of the offense and, in the expert's opinion, the psychiatric symptoms motivating the criminal behavior would respond to mental health treatment. Most significantly, the court must be satisfied that, as the defendant undergoes treatment, they will not pose an unreasonable risk to public safety. Additionally, the defendant must sign an agreement that they will accept treatment recommendations and waive their right to a speedy trial.
A defendant I recently evaluated for diversion was arrested and charged with battery and false imprisonment. Michael walked into a university lounge and began talking to a student he did not know. He bent down to hug her and lifted her up off her chair. She screamed, which caused Michael to leave the classroom. He was picked up by campus police about a half-hour later as he was walking around campus. The alleged victim told police that Michael looked "high on drugs." Blood tests revealed otherwise, though his appearance made it seem like a possibility. The police described him as shirtless and without shoes. He was disheveled, disoriented, and altered in his consciousness—not from drugs, but from his mental illness.
My evaluation revealed that Michael had a long history of psychiatric hospitalizations for psychotic behavior. His mother told me that he had been "going downhill" about two weeks prior to the incident. When I began my evaluation of Michael, he had been incarcerated for about two months at the local jail, during which time he was psychiatrically medicated.
I diagnosed Michael with a schizophrenic illness and submitted my report to the court. The judge, assistant district attorney, and defense attorney all agreed with my opinion that he was appropriate for the diversion program. He will now be in treatment for two years and monitored by the court. The charges will be dropped if he does not violate any law or provisions of the diversion program during that period. He must follow my specific recommendations, which include weekly individual psychotherapy, group therapy, and psychiatric medication during his participation in the program. I also recommended participation in a psychiatric day treatment program for the first three months of his release from jail.
The provisions afforded by mental health care could, in my opinion, reduce crime and be a cost-effective alternative to the mass incarceration of people who are mentally ill. It might also reduce the incidence of police shootings of people who are mentally ill. The weakness of alternate programs is that there is no systematic and structured place to provide quality psychiatric treatment during the period of time when the defendant is actively monitored by the court and in the process of psychiatric stabilization.
Mental health professionals are at odds over a bill which would expand who can perform mental health evaluations while mandating it be done within a 3-hour window, saying the effort only codifies what community mental health services programs are already contractually obligated to do.
Up before the House Health Policy Committee for testimony only was House Bill 6355, sponsored by Rep. Graham Filler, R-Greenbush Township.
The bill would amend Michigan’s mental health code to require a community mental health services program – also referred to as CMHSP – preadmission screening unit to assess an individual being considered for hospitalization within three hours after being notified by a hospital of a need for an assessment.
The bill would also allow the assessment to be performed by a clinically qualified individual if the preadmission screening unit could not complete the assessment within the three-hour timeframe.
“I just think that having a patient wait for hours or days can be extremely detrimental,” Filler said during testimony. “We’ve seen in the state of Michigan some of those massive issues with individuals just waiting – waiting for an evaluation, waiting for a bed. And people with mental health, mental illness, need immediate care the same way that people with other injuries or illnesses do.”
A portion of the state’s mental health code already requires each CMHSP to establish one or more preadmission screening units within 24-hour availability to provide assessment and screening services for individuals being considered for admission into in-patient or outpatient treatment programs. The address and phone number for the preadmission screening units must be provided by the CMHSPs to law enforcement agencies, hospital emergency rooms and the Department of Health and Human Services.
A preadmission screening unit is required to then assess an individual being considered for admission into a hospital operated by the DHHS or is under contract with a CMHSP. If the individual is clinically suitable for hospitalization, then the preadmission screening unit is required to authorize voluntary admission to the hospital.
Filler’s bill would narrow the window for an assessment by the preadmission screening unit to be performed within 3 hours after being notified for an assessment by a hospital, which is defined in Michigan’s mental health code as an “inpatient program operated by DHHS for the treatment of individuals with serious mental illness or serious emotional disturbance or a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric unit licensed under … the code.”
Should a preadmission screening unit be unable to complete the assessment within 3 hours of being notified by a hospital, a clinically qualified individual could perform an assessment for the CMHSP, crisis stabilization unit, hospital or any other entity contracted to perform assessment and screening services.
There is no penalty should that need to meet a 3-hour window go unmet.
The bill defines such a person as being an individual who, at minimum, has a master’s level degree in a behavioral health specific profession. The preadmission screening unit would also be responsible for the costs of performing any assessment under this provision.
Nicole Knight, a pediatrics nurse and founder for Michigan Parents for Mental Health Reform, said impetus for the bill came from a conversation she had with Filler regarding her son’s own experience with a psychiatric crisis.
Knight, who described her son as having significant mental health concerns, said her family has previously experienced wait times of anywhere between a week to 43 days to receive care which “as a single mother bares a significant financial burden on our family.”
“In addition, that’s significant mental health stress on my son who is not used to being housed in a 10-by-10 room. That leads to restraint and sedation and further trauma that just deepens the trauma he already experienced,” she said. “Urgent psychiatric needs really need to be given the same priority as physical medical needs.”
Analysts at the House Fiscal Agency anticipate the bill would have a negligible fiscal impact on the state but could increase local CMHSP fiscal costs. CMSHP’s, on average, have traditionally completed preadmission screenings within three hours 97.6% of the time.
Several questions did arise around the fact that Michigan is facing an underlying shortage of behavioral health professionals overall and inpatient beds – a fact which would undercut this legislation.
Filler, however, countered that this wasn’t meant to solve a shortage of health care professionals but to allow others in the field to help supplement where a shortage is found. Knight added that the sooner the screening is completed, referencing the 3 hour window, the quicker a patient can get care which “makes a big difference.”
Marianne Huff, president and CEO of the Mental Health Association of Michigan, spoke in support of the bill as well as the intention behind it. She said community mental health services providers, as well as prepaid in-patient health plans, are already required as written in a contract with the DHHS to complete evaluations and assessments within a 3-hour timeframe.
But Huff also expressed concerns that an appropriately licensed mental health clinician could only step in to assist if a CMHSP was unable to complete an assessment. Also concerned about the legislation was Allen Bolter, associate director of the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan, who called the legislation “a solution without a problem.”
“We see this bill as only codifying that contractual requirement in the statute. ... All of this is extremely tragic, however this legislation does not – from our perspective – solve that problem,” Bolter said.
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There have been no shortage of mental health apps gaining traction, and funding, over the last couple of years: the space brought in over $5 billion globally across 324 deals in 2021, a 139% increase year-to-year. People are gravitating toward these apps, especially in the wake of COVID, which ushered in a new wave of apps that allow people to access care wherever they are, whenever they want.
Now that we're a couple of years into this new phase of mental health digitization, it's a good time to do a deeper dive into these apps and whether or not they are actually giving consumers what they desire, and what they need.
The answer is mixed: according to a new study, consumers rated the effectiveness of these apps lower than the clinicians and academics who recommend them, yet many patients still say the apps have helped Improve their mental health.
"As the number of mental health apps has grown, increasing efforts have been focused on establishing quality tailored reviews. These reviews prioritize clinician and academic views rather than the views of those who use them, particularly those with lived experiences of mental health problems," the study says.
"Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased reliance on web-based and mobile mental health support, understanding the views of those with mental health conditions is of increasing importance."
The study recruited individuals who had experienced mental health problems and asked them to download and use three apps for three days. Those users were asked to complete a survey consisting of open-ended questions, which were then compared with app ratings given by professionals and star ratings from app stores.
The surveys, administered between December 2020 and April 2021, assessed 11 mental health apps in all, Breethe, Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer Meditation, MindDoc, MindShift, Reflectly, Remente, Sanvello, Self-Help for Anxiety, and Woebot, and found that there was disagreement between participants and professionals in more than half of the app ratings.
While professionals gave the apps an overall star rating of 4.56, participants rated them almost an entire star lower, at 3.58. Not only that, but while physicians gave the apps a recommendation rating of 4.39, participants have them a rating of 3.44, again nearly an entire star lower.
Part of the problem stemmed from a disconnect between the two groups, the study's authors wrote, and the fact that "participants particularly valued certain aspects of mental health apps, which appear to be overlooked by professional reviewers."
The most notable of these aspects was cost: when asked, “what did you like the least about this app?” the most common answer was a frustration with hitting a paywall after using the app's freemium version, and not being able to try out premium features before paying for them. Participants also said that there were too many ads on the free versions of these apps, and that there were asked to upgrade to premium too often, which participants found “excessive” and “would ruin the flow or calm I had going.”
The highest number of participant negatives, though, came from when users were asked if there were any parts of the app that they found confusing or difficult to use, with users pointing in particular to frustration with apps loading slowly, as well as glitches that caused them to lose their work and progress. This, the authors said, "suggests that current professional ratings are overestimating the ease with which the apps can be used."
Despite all of this, when asked about the impact of the apps on their well-being, users still gave the apps high marks, with many saying it helped them “feel significantly less anxious.”
What this study shows overall, according to the authors, is that reviews from professionals and on the app store "are insufficient for mental health app users to make informed decisions based on the aspects of apps that are important to them," which is even more important because of COVID-19 and its impact on mental health.
The solution, they wrote, is to get more real users to review these apps, to give prospective users a better idea of if the app will work for them.
"As reviews on app stores and by professionals differ from those by people with lived experiences of mental health problems, these alone are not sufficient to provide people with mental health problems with the information they desire when choosing a mental health app," the study concluded.
"App rating measures must include the perspectives of mental health service users to ensure ratings represent their priorities. Additional work should be done to incorporate the features most important to mental health service users into mental health apps."
(Vator will be holding its Future of Behavioral and Mental Health event in October with speakers that include Russ Glass from Headspace Health; Steve Gatena from Pray.com; Ben Lewis from Limbix; Rebecca Egger from Little Otter; Divya Shah from Meta, and others. Register here to buy your ticket)
(Image source: gadgethacks.com)
ST. CLOUD — Still reeling after a St. Cloud woman was accused of murdering her 3-month-old son last weekend, health care professionals in the St. Cloud area are coming together to educate the community on postpartum depression and the importance of seeking mental health care.
Although police have not confirmed whether 26-year-old Fardoussa Omar Abdillahi suffered from postpartum depression, the criminal complaint filed against her indicated Abdillahi lived alone with the child and experienced headaches and feelings of worry and fear following the birth of her son.
Such symptoms are something Mahado Ali remembers all too well.
A former supervisor of cultural competency and health equity for CentraCare, Ali said she got calls about the infant's death from people in the community within minutes of it happening.
Years ago, Ali suffered severe postpartum depression after the birth of her son, and knows first-hand the hopelessness, exhaustion and dark thoughts mothers can go through during their pregnancies and following the birth of their children.
"I know what it's like to be in that dark space and to go through all of that. It just breaks my heart to know that this woman didn't have the support, the help, the services that she should have got, and this had a tragic turn," she said. "Such a sad case for the mom, for the family that's going through that, but also for the community. The stigma of mental health is something that many of us have been fighting against."
More: 'We need more Kahins': Somali refugee helps St. Cloud immigrants recover from trauma, find support
Although stigma surrounding mental health exists in all communities regardless of ethnicity or demographic, Ali said many in the Somali Muslim community are quick to label people in a mental health crisis as "crazy" and in need of spiritual, rather than medical, help.
"So the question becomes, how many lives have to be lost? Whether it's a child that dies or whether it's the mom that goes to jail?" she said. "What needs to happen for people to truly take this issue seriously, and how can we get the community to move past this space of, 'Oh you need to be more connected to God, you need to pray?' And when can we say enough is enough? Let's get this person some help."
It's common for new mothers to experience mood swings, anxiety, crying spells and difficulty sleeping in the following days or weeks after giving birth, due to psychological and chemical changes in the body.
Some mothers experience a more severe form of depression after childbirth that can last several months. Called postpartum depression, it rarely can develop into an extreme mood disorder called postpartum psychosis.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of postpartum depression may include:
Depressed mood or severe mood swings
Difficulty bonding with your baby
Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
Treatment for postpartum depression can include counseling, anti-depressants and hormone therapy.
Kahin Adam, a CentraCare community health worker and psychotherapist, has been working with the Somali and immigrant communities in St. Cloud to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health treatment.
Everyone's postpartum experience is different, he said, and what treatment someone needs depends on their circumstances, support network, ability to navigate the system and access to things like food, a stable income and medical care.
For some, seeking both spiritual and medical help has been effective. Others aren't familiar with Western-style medicine and don't trust it, he said.
That's why mental health resources that are culturally and linguistically appropriate are so important, said Hani Jacobson, a CentraCare community health and wellness nurse.
Jacobson said traditionally when a woman has a baby in Somalia, family and other women in the community care for and support the baby and mother. In the U.S., she said, that doesn't happen as often because family may live far away and everyone's busy.
"That tradition has stopped which has kind of perpetuated the new mom mental health problems we have in the community," she said. "And we have a lot that are really suffering in silence, and by the time they seek help, sometimes it's nearing psychosis or in real psychosis."
Ali said there needs to be more comprehensive mental health education in schools, including education on postpartum depression. Healthcare organizations should work closely with moms, especially first-time moms, and staff should be educated on signs of postpartum depression in their patients, especially those who have experienced trauma, she said.
"As professionals, we missed something. As community members, we missed something. And, sadly enough, her family I'm sure that they have missed something where she had to resort to her child dying," Ali said. "I remember having those thoughts and I remember going to my family and crying and not know what was wrong with me."
More: How Somali for Native Speakers class builds confidence and a connection for St. Cloud students
Ali's son was born early, at 25 weeks, and as a young single mother who experienced a traumatic childbirth, Ali said she felt extremely depressed.
"When my child came home after being in the [newborn intensive care unit] for months, I didn't feel any type of attachment to him. I felt like I didn't love him. I couldn't connect with him," she said.
While working two part-time jobs where she made only $9 an hour, Ali said she was constantly stressed and tired, didn't have time for herself, didn't have support from her family and often contemplated suicide so she wouldn't hurt her child.
"It was really rough. And it took me years to truly know that the world didn't hate me and that I wasn't really alone. But I felt so alone all the time," she said through tears. "It really hurts me to see other people go through this and an innocent child die because we just can't seem to move past this cultural or [religious] idea that we have."
More: Where can you learn about COVID vaccines? For some Somali shoppers, at the grocery store.
Ali said once she started taking anti-depressants, her mood improved significantly. She was able to take care of her son, be a better mom, finish school, get her master's degree and see a therapist.
Her insomnia improved as did her eating habits, and she no longer needs to take antidepressants.
Although initially she was skeptical about therapy and medication, over time "it just got to a point where I really looked forward to seeing my therapist," she said. "It really helped to have somebody to talk to. I wish that we would normalize therapy in our community."
Ali said it's important to share her story so others don't feel so alone.
"I feel like I've been able to help other young moms and other women," she said. "In my profession I feel like it was my duty and my call to be able to share my experiences with anybody that can listen, as long as it's going to save somebody's life, whether it's the child's life or whether it's the mom's life."
On Monday tune in to St. Cloud Somali Community Radio at 1 p.m. to listen to Jacobson and CentraCare gynecology specialist Dr. Fatima Sharifmohamed talk about COVID education and postpartum depression, as well as other resources available in St. Cloud.
To learn more about postpartum depression and treatment options:
Becca Most is a cities reporter with the St. Cloud Times. Reach her at 320-241-8213 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @becca_most.
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This article originally appeared on St. Cloud Times: St. Cloud health officials hope to educate on postpartum depression
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) is urging parents to consult a health care professional before starting their child on melatonin, according to a latest health advisory.
"While melatonin can be useful in treating certain sleep-wake disorders, like jet lag, there is much less evidence it can help healthy children or adults fall asleep faster," said Dr. M. Adeel Rishi, vice chair of the AASM Public Safety Committee and a pulmonology, sleep medicine and critical care specialist at Indiana University Health Physicians, in a press release.
"Instead of turning to melatonin, parents should work on encouraging their children to develop good sleep habits," he added.
SLEEP DISRUPTIONS MAY BE LINKED TO MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS, NEW STUDY REVEALS
Those sleep habits include "setting a regular bedtime and wake time, having a bedtime routine and limiting screen time as bedtime approaches."
Our bodies naturally produce the hormone melatonin to regulate our sleep, per the health advisory.
It is available as an over-the-counter medication and often advertised as a sleep aid — but there "is little evidence that taking it as a supplement is effective in treating insomnia in healthy children," according to the sleep academy, which is headquartered in Darien, Ill.
Melatonin has less oversight because it’s regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as a "dietary supplement" — and research has found that the melatonin content in supplements is not uniform, according to the press release.
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One 2017 Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine study examined the melatonin content in approximately 30 supplements. It found that over 71% of supplements did not meet the label claims.
The study found the most significant variability in melatonin content in chewable tablets, which is the form mostly likely used in children.
"One of the more surprising facts I share with my patients is that over-the-counter melatonin is not closely regulated."
This study "found that the real content in these supplements was very inaccurate," said Dr. Baljinder S. Sidhu, a pulmonologist and sleep specialist who is the co-owner of Pacific Coast Critical Care Group in Southern California.
"While this may not be a big deal for adults, this could have a significant impact on small children," he said.
He advises the use of melatonin with caution.
"One of the more surprising facts I share with my patients is that over-the-counter melatonin is not closely regulated," Sidhu added.
Pediatric melatonin ingestions reported annually to U.S. poison control centers increased by 530% during 2012–2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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"The availability of melatonin as gummies or chewable tablets makes it more tempting to give to children and more likely for them to overdose," added Rishi in the press release.
"Often, behavioral interventions other than medication are successful in addressing insomnia in children," he added.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine shares the following important tips.
1. Melatonin should be kept out of reach of children.
2. Parents should discuss the course with a health care professional before starting the medication.
3. Parents need to know that "many sleep problems can be better managed with a change in schedules, habits or behaviors rather than taking melatonin."
If parents are going to give their child melatonin, the sleep academy recommends verifying that the product has the USP Tested Mark for safety reasons.
"Melatonin is never a first-line treatment in children," Sidhu told Fox News Digital.
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"Insomnia is not uncommon in children as they develop after the age of 2," he added.
"This resistance to bedtime can be difficult to manage and even has a diagnosis we call ‘limit-setting insomnia,’ which can be generally managed with bedtime routines."
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He reminds people that while melatonin can be used for certain sleep disorders, such as ADHD and other chronic health conditions that affect sleep as well as autism, it should always be recommended and managed by a physician first.