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DeRuyter Monday Mile Team Wins the “Power of Rural Award” for Dedication to Improving Community Health

In celebration of National Rural Health Day, the Madison County Rural Health Council recognizes Madison County residents who have shown a deep passion and commitment to bettering the health and wellness of their community. This year, the Rural Health Council awarded the DeRuyter Monday Mile Team for creating their own  Monday Mile Day and organizing several Monday Mile walks to encourage physical activity and wellness among their community.

The Monday Mile initiative launched in Madison County in 2016 with the creation of the Live Well Committee, comprised of the SU Lerner Center staff, Rural Health Council staff, and various stakeholders in Madison County. Since then, 11 Monday Mile routes have been established, with two currently in the works. The success of the Monday Mile in Madison County has been largely attributed to the enthusiasm and leadership of community residents, like the DeRuyter Monday Mile Team.

For more information on Madison County Monday Miles, check this Lerner Center Issue Brief on the Monday Mile.

We Need to Change the Language we use to Describe Individuals with Substance Use Issues

Austin McNeill Brown
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KEY FINDINGS

  • Terms like “Substance Abuser,” “Alcoholic and “Addict” stigmatize people with substance use issues.
  • Health care professionals, individuals with addictions, individuals in recovery, and the general public all associate negative bias with terms like “addict” and “abuser”.
  • Person-first language such as “person with a substance use disorder” should be used by professionals to describe populations with substance use issues.
  • Health care professional should also use caution with terms like “Relapse” and “Medication Assisted Treatment” as those terms are associated with negative bias.

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Results from the SU Health & Wellness Goal Survey

Shannon Monnat, Mary Kate Lee, Ashley Van Slyke, and Alexandra Punch
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KEY FINDINGS

  • Increasing physical activity is the top-ranked health and wellness goal at SU.
  • Improving diet and nutrition and better managing stress were also highly prioritized.
  • Graduate students were more likely than other groups to report having goals to be kinder to themselves and to improve their mood.
  • Females were more likely than males to report having goals to improve their diet and nutrition and better manage stress.
  • Males were more likely than females to report having goals to improve family relationships, improve relationships with others, and reduce alcohol consumption.

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There are Costs from Spending Too Much Time on Social Media

Sean Withington and Alexandra Punch
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In 2006, Facebook marked the beginning of a new era in social media by making itself universally available. Since then, membership on social media platforms has exploded. Ninety percent of young adults in the U.S. are now on social media, and the majority visit these sites at least once per day.1 Nearly half of all social media users in the U.S. visit sites a minimum of 31 times per week. Social media has benefits, including the ability to share important information, communicate with friends, and expand one’s social circle by being connected to a diverse group of people. Excessive social media use also has costs, including addiction, loneliness, depression, reduced self-esteem, and reduced ability to develop meaningful relationships.1 Continue Reading

People with Developmental Disabilities Have Much more Life to Live

Dalton Stevens
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KEY FINDINGS
• Adults with any type of development disability (DD) die an average of 23.5 years earlier than adults without developmental disability.
• The early death disadvantage is largest for those with cerebral palsy, other rare developmental disabilities, or co-occurring developmental disabilities, who die up to 34 years earlier than adults without DD.
• Individuals with intellectual disability die an average of 12.7 years earlier than those without DD.
• Adults with DD die at extremely higher rates between ages 18-39 compared to those without DD. 52% of adults with cerebral palsy and other rare DD died between ages 18-39, whereas only 4% of adults without DD died at these ages. Continue Reading

Having a disability increases the likelihood of food insecurity despite federal programs to prevent this hardship

Colleen Heflin, Claire Altman, and Laura Rodriguez
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KEY FINDINGS

  • Disabilities are associated with food insecurity through multiple pathways.
  • Work-limiting disabilities, cognitive limitations, trouble hearing, and certain physical limitations are related to increased likelihood of food insecurity for prime-age adults (age 19-59).
  • The high prevalence of food insecurity among the disabled population represents a policy failure at the national level.

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DeStress for Success: Improving Student Mental Health with a New Healthy Monday Program

Mary Kate Lee
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College students’ mental health is suffering. Over the past decade, rates of depression and suicidal ideation among college students have steadily increased.1, 2 Suicidal ideations have nearly doubled from 5.8% in 2007 to 10.8% in 2016-2017.1, 2  The proportion of college students who are diagnosed with a mental health condition continues to increase as well.1 Mental illness during the typical college years (ages 17 – 24) can have powerful negative effects on the development of college students. This time period is particularly important developmentally, as college students are transitioning from adolescence to emerging adulthood.3 During this time, they are establishing autonomy and solidifying their self-identity. Mental health problems can have devastating effects on long term development, relationship quality, and health.3 They are also a strong predictor of dropping out and poor academic performance among college students. Those who struggle with mental illness are twice as likely to drop out of college, and those who do not drop out report a negative impact on their academic performance.The most common place that college students receive mental health services is on a college campus.1 This demand strains campus counseling centers and staff. In order to address students’ need, we must consider other ways to support students’ mental health throughout their college years.

What is DeStress Monday?
DeStress Monday is an international public health campaign that promotes starting off each week with a positive mindset while reducing stress throughout the week.4 This campaign offers evidence-based tools based in psychology and positive psychology that can help maintain and improve one’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Tools include various mindfulness and meditation practices, ways to express gratitude and kindness, ways to practice self-care, and more.

Why Monday?
Research shows that people view Monday as a day for a fresh start, and they are more likely to start diet and exercise programs, attempt to better manage stress, quit smoking, and schedule doctor’s appointments on Monday than any other day.5 A Monday start helps you carry out your healthy intentions for the week. Giving students an opportunity to intentionally begin their week with a positive mindset can help them stay focused and productive throughout the week. The best part is, Monday is always around the corner, giving students a chance to recommit to a healthy habit every week. Using Monday as a tool for self-care can help maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Supporting Students’ Mental Health with the DeStress for Success Program
The Syracuse University Lerner Center created a six-week DeStress for Success workshop series based on the science of positive psychology. DeStress for Success is aimed at undergraduate and graduate students to help them gain the necessary skills to thrive while at Syracuse University. The Monday workshops start with an interactive lecture on a specific topic, followed by a break-out activity, with time for questions and personal reflection at the end. Each week features DeStress Monday resources and covers a different aspect of positive psychology, including: cultivating resilience through positive emotion, identifying and using your strengths, healthy body and healthy mind, increasing mindfulness and flow states, and strengthening relationships through mindful communication.6 Holding these workshops on Monday set students up for a successful week, arming them with resources to create sustainable habits that support their mental and emotional well-being.

Students Empowering Each Other
The Lerner Center collaborated with the Office of Health Promotion’s SAMHEs (Students Advocating for Mental Health Education) Peer Educators to facilitate DeStress for Success. This provided SAMHEs with the opportunity to learn in-depth about DeStress Monday, the Monday effect, and positive psychology. Each week, SAMHEs led parts of the talk or activity of their choice. Student involvement strengthened the impact of the program because the SAMHEs were able to relate to their peers and provide a comfortable and supportive environment. Overall, DeStress for Success serves as another positive resource for Syracuse University students to better their mental health.

Here’s what Students are saying about DeStress for Success
“DeStress for Success was a unique experience that was not only a great kick-start to my week, but was very resourceful. As a SAHME, I assumed DeStress for Success would be a simple workshop in which we sit in a circle and listen to the facilitators speak, but I was pleasantly surprised. DeStress Monday offered a variety of tips and tricks on how to improve our overall wellness. Not only were the workshops something I began to look forward to each week, but I believe these workshops did help me improve my weeks. Monday was a day I usually dreaded, but now I have gained a new perspective and the foundation to view them as a fresh start. I hope to be able to continue not only to help the Lerner Center out with these workshops but start to promote them more to our campus community.” – Megan, SAMHE

“I loved the program, and I think it helped me regroup a lot mentally with finishing this semester out.– Alyssa, DeStress for Success Participant

Bring DeStress for Success to Your Campus
If you want to provide a positive resource to promote college student mental health, consider adopting the DeStress for Success program on your campus. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Talk with your campus Student Services, Health & Wellness Services, Counseling Center, and/or Residence Life departments to collaborate on implementing and promoting the program. Determine who will facilitate the sessions. How will you involve students in the development, promotion, and implementation of the program? What are viable promotion strategies?
  2. Reserve a space and schedule a time for the program to occur throughout the semester.
  3. Spread the word. Share the information on social media, allied departments’ websites, via flyers, posters, student newspaper, and word of mouth.
  4. Incentivize students with a loyalty program. For example, you might award prizes to students who attend 2, 4, and 6 sessions.
  5. Create a brief evaluation of the program to gather feedback. What did students like and dislike? What skills did they take away? Did aspects of their mental health improve? Do they feel equipped to better manage stress?

For more information about DeStress for Success, tips for how to implement it on your campus, and curriculum and other materials, contact Mary Kate Lee in SU’s Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion (mlee77@syr.edu).

 Endnotes

  1. Lipson, S.K., Lattie, E.G., & Eisenberg, D. (2019). Increased rates of mental health service utilization by U.S. college students: 10-year population-level trends (2007–2017). Psychiatric Services (70)1, 60-63.
  2. Eisenberg, D. (2019). Countering the troubling increase in mental health symptoms among U.S. college students. Journal of Adolescent Health (65), 573-574.
  3. Cuijpers, P., Auerbach, R.P., Benjet, C., Bruffaerts, R., Ebert, D., Karyotaki, E., & Kessler, R.C. (2018). The world health organization world mental health international college student initiative: An overview. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research (28), 1-6.
  4. To learn more about DeStress Monday, visit: https://www.destressmonday.org/.
  5. Fry, J. & Neff, R. (2010). Healthy Monday: Two Literature Reviews. Accessed Nov. 25, 2019 via https://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-a-livable-future/_pdf/projects/HM/healthymondayreport.pdf.
  6. To learn more about DeStress for Success, visit: http://lernercenter.syr.edu/healthy-monday/programs/destress-monday/.

About the Author
Mary Kate Lee is the Program Coordinator of the Syracuse University Lerner Center and the creator of DeStress for Success (mlee77@syr.edu).