Mental Health In America

Graphic showing stats: "1 in 5 adults in U.S. (18.5%) experiences mental illness in a given year. 59% of these adults didn't receive treatment in the past year. 1 in 4 adults in U.S. do not fill a precription due to cost."

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but it is something you should be conscious of year round. Why? 1 in 5 U.S. adults experiences mental illness in a given year and 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 has or will have one at some time during their lives. Most common are mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder.

So why is this important?

Often people with mental disorders suffer silently—they may be ashamed, not sure how to get help, or consider their disorder to be a life-long sentence rather than a temporary problem. Awareness can help break the stigma and give people the tools they need to help themselves or others with mental illnesses.

The stats are overwhelming—50% of students ages 14 and older with a mental illness drop out of high school. And sadly, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in youth (10-24). 90% of people who committed suicide had an underlying mental illness, which may have been preventable if treated.

Being able to look for signs that indicate something is “off” can help you identify a classmate, friend, family member, or even an acquaintance who may need help. There are many resources out there—half of the battle is navigating the system and finding a combination of treatments or therapies that fit.

MentalHealth.gov suggests being aware of these early warning signs:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having little or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and painsAdobeStock_48362766
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Mental health issues should never be something to be ashamed of.

As of 2017 there are over 7.5 million uninsured American adults with mental illnesses. If you are on prescribed medications for any condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). 

By WHBlogger 
Updated: 4/30/2019 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like.

Sources:
1. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-mental-illness-ami-among-adults.shtml

2. http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf

3. 
https://www.kff.org/health-costs/press-release/poll-nearly-1-in-4-americans-taking-prescription-drugs-say-its-difficult-to-afford-medicines-including-larger-shares-with-low-incomes/

Arthritis: 5 Things You Should Know

1. Who is Affected

You probably immediately associate arthritis with old age. Perhaps you have an older family member or friend who suffers from it and has joint pain.images-21

However, what you probably don’t know is it can occur at any age. Although it mainly affects adults (about 1 in 4), there are an estimated 300,000 babies and children in America that suffer from juvenile arthritis.

In America, over 54 million people have been diagnosed with arthritis.

2. What is The Most Common Type?Portrait of an adult woman with his elderly mother.

The most typical form of arthritis is osteoarthritis that afflicts primarily older patients. This condition happens when there is a loss of cartilage between joints, causing your bones to rub against each other, resulting in stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement.

3. What Causes Arthritis

Arthritis can be hereditary or caused by other factors such as bacterial or viral infections, problems with your immune system, or an injury that can potentially lead to osteoarthritis. Additionally, it is associated with more than 100 diseases. In some cases, like diabetes and multiple sclerosis, it becomes an autoimmune disease. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can also damage skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels, in addition to joints.

4. Can Arthritis be Prevented

Unfortunately, it cannot be prevented, but there are some things you can do to help you deal with arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation recommends the following guiding principles. Always consult your doctor before starting a diet or exercise regimen. 

  • YogahandsEducate yourself — Know the various stages of the disease and how it progresses. Stay current on the latest research and findings.
  • Remain physically active – Maintain a good exercise routine that promotes weight management and joint health (such as walking, aerobics and yoga).
  • Protect your joints – Always protect your joints regardless of what you do —from working to working out.

5. How is it Treated?

Arthritis treatment usually focuses on pain relief and improving joint function. The medications available to treat arthritis vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. The Mayo Clinic provides the following list of commonly used arthritis medications and treatments: 
  • Analgesics – reduce pain but have no affect on inflammation
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – address both pain and inflammation
  • Counterirritants – creams and ointments that contain ingredients to help reduce pain
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – stop or slow the immune system’s attack on your joints
  • Biologics – genetically engineered drugs that target various protein molecules involved in the abnormal immune response
  • Corticosteroids – aimed at reducing inflammation and suppressing the abnormal response from your immune system
  • Physical Therapy – improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints
  • Surgery – used if all else fails; involves replacing your damaged joints with artificial ones


If you are on a prescribed medication to help manage your arthritis, or for any other condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.
By WHBlogger 
Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 
Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

Updated: 4/30/19

Pet Owners Live Healthier & Happier Lives

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-12-31-10-pmOriginally published in Huffington Post 

By Shane Power, President of Watertree Health, and Lisa Chau, Communications Manager of
Watertree Health

Smiling man holding leash of white dog while walking in park.Fitbit Blaze, Under Armour HealthBox, Gymwatch Sensor, iFit NordicTrack Escape, Emfit QS Sleep Monitor… These are some of the health and fitness gadgets you’ll want this year. Technology is amazing, exciting and cool. But it won’t put a smile on your face the way a cat or dog might. Sometimes, there’s nothing better for your physical health than a pet.

According to WebMD, research has shown that animals can positively impact mood and help with stress. Pets provide companionship without the emotional complications human interactions typically bring. Plus, the physical contact of petting a cat or dog can be incredibly soothing. Cleveland Clinic notes that certain illnesses such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers or heart disease can get worse with stress.

One study found that dog owners had an 11% lower risk of experiencing a heart attack and were 33% less likely to die from a heart attack compared to non dog owners.  In another study, married couples with pets had lower blood pressure and heart rates.

Increased exercise may be an extra contributor to the improved health of dog owners. An NIH investigation revealed that adults who regularly walked their dogs were less likely to be obese because of higher rates of physical activity. A second NIH study found that older adults who regularly walked their dogs had more mobility at home, walked faster and for longer durations.

Pets can also be the first step in combatting loneliness. As we reported previously, recent suicide rates have skyrocketed in part because of social isolation. A dog or cat can be a constant companion, and can make a meaningful difference. Eventually, pet owners may connect with other animal lovers during daily walks or casual conversation. Pets provide a safe topic for discussion as well as regular opportunities for socialization.

In addition, pet owners may find new purpose in providing a healthy household for their dog or cat. Daily responsibilities associated with animal care refocuses energies and reminds owners of their capabilities, value and worth. They benefit physically and mentally – pet owners are motivated to exercise more and live healthier.

In Psychology Today, Dr. Azadeh Aalai wrote,

Dog owners exhibit greater benefits than non-owners on dimensions as far ranging as self-esteem, physical fitness, sociability, happiness, and overall health (McConnell et al., 2011). Moreover, dog ownership has also been implicated in helping to alleviate symptoms of depression among terminally ill patients, the elderly, and veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In fact, many innovative therapies today targeting our returning veterans specifically integrate canine therapy, with some resources referring to the presence of dogs as “life-savers” for these veterans (e.g. Colin, 2012).

The mental and physical benefits of owning a cat or dog can be tremendous – increasing happiness and healthiness. Can your Fuelband do that?

Co-authored with Shane Power, President of Watertree Health, where Lisa works in communication and business development. Both love dogs and cats.

Updated: 4/30/19

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Help Stop Animal Cruelty

By Watertree Health President, Shane Power

Today, there are millions of animals suffering from cruelty and homelessness nationwide. According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®), three key issues affecting animal welfare include dog-fighting rings, puppy mills, and animal hoarding. As a result of rescuing these animals, owners surrendering their pets, and other factors, 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters across America each year. Through support of animal welfare organizations like the ASPCA, we can help change millions of lives. For Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month this April, let’s discuss three ways you can help make a difference right in your community.

Volunteer at an Animal Shelter:

For example, by dedicating just a few hours a week to walking dogs at your local shelter, you’ll help better prepare these dogs for adoption. Interacting with them can help develop their social skills, which builds trust and character. Many animal shelters have foster programs that grant permission to take home furry friends with the hope of ultimately finding them a loving home

Report Animal Cruelty:

Speaking up can be a matter of life or death for animals living in horrendous conditions or with abusive owners. To ensure your safety, never approach an animal you believe may be suffering from mistreatment or enter someone’s property without permission. What you can do is write a concise report, take pictures for evidence, and get in contact with your local authorities. Keep in mind that submitting an anonymous report is an option, but those with a witness are more likely to be pursued. For more information, visit www.aspca.org.

Adopt a Shelter Animal:

Adopting can help bring immense joy into the life of a rescue animal and their new owner! It has been scientifically proven that having pets can help drastically improve your health. For example, dog owners are two times more active than non-dog owners. They can also potentially help with self-esteem, loneliness, stress, and more. Always remember, adopt don’t shop!

Let’s help give the victims of animal cruelty a deserving second chance. By volunteering at an animal shelter, reporting animal cruelty, and adopting, you can help improve the lives of animals.