World Trauma Day 2017

 

World Trauma Day 2017

How to COPE with trauma

The 17th of October marks World Trauma Day – a day dedicated to acknowledging the impact of traumatic events, as well as creating awareness around its prevention and treatment. With one of the highest crime rates in the world, South Africans are no strangers to trauma. Stats reveal that on average 329 people are murdered each week, 53 houses are robbed daily, and six cases of rape are reported every hour.

“These high levels of violence and crime take a heavy toll on South Africans, affecting mental, emotional and physical health. Even a perceived threat remains a potent stressor, with direct physiological and behavioural consequences,’ says Dr Ali Hamdulay from Metropolitan’s health division.

Added to this is the financial impact trauma has on us. Dealing with physical and emotional trauma –such as hospitalisation or seeking psychiatric care – can place a massive strain on one’s resources. “When dealing with trauma, it helps if your financial situation is in good stead because the last thing you need is to worry about money as well,” says Cebisa Mfenyana from Metropolitan’s retail division.

Fortunately, there are tools that we can employ to effectively manage trauma and its emotional and financial toll on us. “COPE is a technique that can help us to deal with trauma and ensure that we are equipped to face any eventuality,” says Cebisa.

How to COPE:

C is for ‘confide’: Acknowledge and speak about traumatic experiences: “Although painful to relive, expressing what has happened to you and how you are feeling – whether verbally, written or even through a creative outlet – can be very therapeutic,” says Dr Hamdulay. “It allows one to deal with, understand and work through their emotions.”

O is for ‘own your health’: Excessive stress is a common side-effect of trauma, but it can be managed or minimised by our behaviour. “Try to eat healthy balanced meals, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. While it won’t make what transpired disappear, it will help the problem not to be exacerbated, enabling us to better deal with the trauma. Avoid alcohol and any other stimulants – while they may help you feel better at the time, they will worsen the situation in the long run,” says Dr Hamdulay.

P is for ‘prepare’: Many traumatic events result in physical harm and require hospitalisation and sometimes even out-of-hospital recovery specialists. It is important to understand what your medical aid covers. “Getting hospital cover can also help cover unexpected costs associated with being hospitalised, such as childcare while you recover from the trauma” says Cebisa.

E is for ‘eventuality’: Be prepared for what comes after the traumatic event. Some traumatic events may result in disability or require a certain period of rest. “Disability cover ensures that you get a specified amount if you suffer a disability and you can no longer work. The disability cover pay out ensures that you and your family have a financial safety net so that you are able to help pay the bills,” says Cebisa. “If your work environment is at higher risk of exposure to trauma-inducing incidents, for example, mining or rescue workers, then this type of cover is very important. Speak to a financial adviser to help customise your disability cover to your unique needs, ensuring that it fits your pocket, too.”

Trauma

 

Advertisements

Breast Cancer Month 2017

An Overview of Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Month 2017

By Jean Campbell, MS | Reviewed by a board-certified physician

Breast cancer occurs as normal cells in tissue start to grow and divide in an out of control manner. As they grow, the cells often, but not always, form a tumor in the breast that can be detected in a mammogram before it can be felt as a lump or thickening.

It is important to note that not all lumps in the breast are breast cancer, and not all breast cancers present with a lump. However, all lumps or thickenings in the breast need medical attention to determine whether they are one of many benign lumps that can occur in the breast or are truly a cancer.

Breast cancer is not a single disease; research evidence continues to indicate that there are a number of subtypes of breast cancer. They happen at varying rates in different groups and respond differently to treatments. Some are more aggressive than others and have very different long-term survival rates.

Common Breast Cancers

Breast cancer most often originates in the breast ducts that carry milk to the nipple.

These types, called ductal cancers, account for about 80 percent of all breast cancers. Lobular cancer begins in the glands (lobules) that produce breast milk and accounts for about 8 percent of all breast cancers.

When a cancer is confined within a breast duct or the cells of the lobules it is called in situ, meaning ‘in site.’ Cancers that break through the wall of a duct or the cells of the lobules and spread into the surrounding breast tissue are described as invasive or infiltrating breast cancers.

Other Breast Cancers

Inflammatory breast cancer is considered a rare but aggressive cancer that presents without a lump and results in the affected breast(s) having a swollen, red, or inflamed appearance.

Paget’s disease of the breast, which is also rare, involves the skin of the nipple and, usually, the darker circle of skin around the nipple.

Metastatic breast cancer, which is also known as stage IV breast cancer, is a cancer that begins in the breast and spreads to distant organs such as the brain, bones, lungs, and liver. About 6 percent to 8 percent of women and men are metastatic when first diagnosed. Metastatic cancer, when it occurs, is usually diagnosed months to years after being treated for an early stage cancer.

Who Gets Breast Cancer?

If you have breast tissue, you can develop a breast cancer. While primarily occurring in women, with 1 in 8 women in the United States developing an invasive breast cancer during her lifetime, men do get breast cancer too.

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women living in the United States; unfortunately, breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, with the exception of lung cancer.

Article

The Voices of Male Breast Cancer

Article

The Nipple, Areola, and Montgomery Glands Make up the Outer Breast

 

According to the National Cancer Institute, the incidence of breast cancer is highest in white women for most age groups, followed by African-American/black, Hispanic/Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native women.

African-American women have higher breast cancer incidence rates before 40 years of age, and higher rates of dying from breast cancer than women of any other racial/ethnic group in the United States at every age. Hispanic/Latina women tend to get breast cancer at a younger age than non-Hispanic white women.

Factors That Increase the Risk of Developing Breast Cancer

Aging: A woman’s chances of getting breast cancer increase as she ages.

Family History: A woman who has a mother, sister, or daughter diagnosed with breast cancer has double the risk of developing breast cancer than a woman who does not have a first-degree relative that was diagnosed with the disease. Note: About 85 percent of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.

Genetics: Five percent to 10 percent of all breast cancers can be linked to women and men with gene mutations that were inherited from their mother or father. The BRCA 1 and 2 genes are the most common. Having either of these mutations substantially increases the lifetime risk of breast cancer. These mutations also carry an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women.

Dense Breasts: Women who have a high percentage of breast tissue that appears dense on a mammogram have a higher risk of breast cancer than women of similar age who have little or no dense breast tissue. Abnormalities in dense breasts, such as tumors, can be more difficult to detect on a mammogram.

Race: In the United States, breast cancer is diagnosed more often in white women and least often in Alaska Native women.

Behaviors That Increase the Risk for Developing Breast Cancer

Weight: Studies have found that the chance of getting breast cancer is higher in postmenopausal women who have not used menopausal hormone therapy and who are significantly overweight compared to peers who are of a healthy weight.

Article

Does a False Positive Mammogram Indicate Future Breast Cancer?

 

Article

What to Know About Breast Cancer Symptoms

 

Smoking: Researchers at the American Cancer Society found an increased risk for breast cancer among women who smoke, especially those who started to smoke before having their first child.

Alcohol: The National Cancer Institute reports that over 100 studies document an increased risk of breast cancer associated with alcohol consumption.

Inactive Lifestyle: Women who are physically inactive throughout life may have an increased risk of breast cancer.

What Should You Know to Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer?

Breast Cancer Symptoms

Remember that noticing these symptoms may not mean that breast cancer is to blame. That said, if you are experiencing any, it’s important to bring them to your doctor’s attention.

  • A breast lump
  • Breast pain: That said, breast cancer is usually painless during its early stages. Pain in the breast can be caused by a number of different non-cancerous breast conditions.
  • A noticeable change in the size or shape of a breast
  • Dimpling of skin on part of the breast (like an orange peel)
  • Redness or a rash-like appearance to the skin on the breast: It may resemble mastitis, an infection in the breast, which usually affects women who are breastfeeding.
  • Flaky or crusty looking skin around the nipple
  • Inward turning nipple
  • Nipple discharge (perhaps with blood)

How Breast Cancer Is Diagnosed

A routine mammogram or the results of a physical exam may indicate something suspicious for breast cancer. The only way to confirm a diagnosis of breast cancer is to do a biopsy and take a sample of the tissue from the area in question. The sample needs to be examined under a microscope by a pathologist who is a medical doctor to check for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, the pathologist will assess the characteristics of the cancer and write a report on the findings.

The type of biopsy you get depends on several factors, including the tumor’s size and location, and how concerned your doctor is about it. Options include:

  • Fine Needle Aspiration: The procedure is performed by a breast surgeon or radiologist using a thin needle with a hollow center to extract a sample of cells from the area in question.
  • Core Needle Biopsy: This type of biopsy uses a larger hollow needle than one used in a fine needle aspiration to remove tissue samples.
  • Surgical Biopsy: During this biopsy, the surgeon uses a scalpel to cut through the skin to remove a piece of the tissue in question to be examined by the pathologist.

Explore our Breast Cancer Diagnosis section for more in-depth information on tests and screenings.

How Breast Cancer Is Treated

While there are several options for the treatment of breast cancer, the kind and amount used for a particular case is determined by the type of cancer and extent to which it has spread. Usually, a woman or man diagnosed with breast cancer will receive more than one treatment.

  • Surgery: Most breast cancer patients have surgery to remove their cancer. Those with an early breast cancer often have the option of having breast conserving surgery to remove the lump and a margin of tissue surrounding the lump. This surgery is usually followed by radiation therapy.
  • Chemotherapy: When treatment requires a systemic approach to kill cancer cells that may have traveled beyond the breast or to shrink tumors prior to surgery, patients are treated with chemotherapy, which are special drugs that are taken in pill form or administered into a vein.
  • Hormonal Therapy: An oral medication that blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow. It is frequently given to women and men following active treatment to prevent a recurrence.
  • Biological Therapy: Treatment that helps a patient’s immune system fight cancer cells.
  • Radiation Therapy: This treatment uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. The treatment is usually administered Monday through Friday for several weeks. Treatments are brief and painless.

Our Breast Cancer Treatment section delves into each of these in greater detail, and it’s a great place to start if you’re exploring options.

Early Detection and Intervention

Finding and treating breast cancer while it is still an early stage cancer, before it spreads beyond the breast and through the lymphatic system, offers the best possible prognosis.

Women and men with an early stage cancer are often candidates for breast conserving surgery, such as a lumpectomy, and may not need to have chemotherapy treatments.

Early detection requires:

  • Knowing what your breasts normally look and feel like, and reporting any changes or symptoms to your physician
  • Seeing your physician annually for a comprehensive breast exam
  • If you are under 40 years of age and have a family history of breast cancer, speaking with your physician as to when you need to begin annual mammograms and discuss the need for genetic counseling
  • If you are over 40 with no family history of breast cancer, getting regular mammograms. Note: Mammograms can detect a breast cancer years before it can be felt, while it is easier to treat.

­

There are more than 3 million of us in the United States today that once heard the words, “You have breast cancer.” We are living proof that breast cancer can be successfully treated. When breast cancer is caught at an early stage, it can be treated more conservatively and result in a shorter recovery time.

Sources:

American Cancer Society. What is Breast Cancer? Medical Review: 09/25/2014. Revised: May 4, 2016.

Centers for Disease Control. Risk Factors for Young Women. Reviewed: March 13, 2014 Updated: March 13, 2014.

National Cancer Institute. A Snapshot of Breast Cancer. Posted: November 5, 2014

 

 

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/about-breast-cancer

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/what-is-breast-cancer

https://www.verywell.com/breast-cancer-4014752

Heritage Day 2017

Heritage Day 2017

The first Heritage Day was instituted in 1995, after the first free elections that spelled the end of apartheid and the beginning of a new, non-racially based democracy.

The roots of Heritage day, however, precede 1995. The 24th of September was originally simply a Zulu holiday celebrated in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. It was a remembrance to Shaka, the great chief who united the Zulu tribes into a unified nation. When a bill was being passed in 1995 by the South African parliament to establish South Africa’s official public holidays, the Zulus objected that “Shaka Day” was not included. A compromise finally kept the date but broadened the meaning to include celebration of the heritage of all South African peoples. Thus, it was renamed “Heritage Day”.

The official government definition of the “heritage” in “Heritage Day” counts it to include all that the people inherit, such as culture, history, wildlife, monuments, artwork, literature, music, folklore, languages, culinary traditions, and more. In 1996, president Nelson Mandela declared that Heritage Day would help South Africans use their “rich and varied cultural heritage“ to “build our new nation.” Each year, the government declares a special theme for that year’s Heritage Day. In 1995, for example, the theme was on Enoch Sontonga, the author of South Africa’s national anthem. His grave was declared a new national monument, and his music and life were remembered.

Should you be in South Africa for Heritage Day, you will be able to hear the president’s speech on television, learn much about the cultural heritage of various South African peoples, and enjoy the beauty of the land. Some specific things to do in South Africa on Heritage Day include:

·         Attend a “braais”, if you can get the invitation. “Braais” is the Afrikaans word for “grill or barbecue.” “Braaivleis” means “grilled or barbecued meat.” These potluck-like party dinners are indulged in all across the country every Heritage Day. It is a little like a Fourth of July picnic in the United States. Family and friends gather to grill meats, such as boerewors (a kind of sausage), kebabs, lamb chops, pork, chicken, steak, and ribs. You will also find fish and rock lobster (“kreef”) in coastal towns and pap (cornmeal porridge) in almost every town.

·         Visit Hout Bay for the reenactment of the Battle of Hout Bay held there around this time every year. The battle took place in 1795 between a British frigate in the bay and the coastal cannons and fortifications of the Dutch and French defenders. Although the British failed to take the fort at this time, they later took it and all Cape Colony with it. Afterward, they further strengthened the fort at Hout Bay.

·         Tour sites associated with Nelson Mandela’s life and career. There are many, but some of the most important ones include: the Robben Island Museum, on the island where Mandela was once held as a prisoner; the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha and Qunu, dedicated to youth and heritage themes; the Mandela House Museum in Soweto, where Mandela and his family lived for many years; and Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg, where you can take photographs with his gigantic statute.

·         See The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg or the similar District Six Museum in Cape Town, both of which reveal the realities of the apartheid era. The contrast between then and now is stark and very much “on topic” when it comes to the purpose of Heritage Day.

·         See the world’s largest free-flight aviary in Plettenberg Bay. This is a part of the “natural heritage” of South Africa. It is a mesh dome built over the top of nearly 6 acres of natural forest. Inside, there are literally thousands of bird species.

South Africa has a rich and diverse heritage, and scheduling your visit for Heritage Day is one of the best ways to appreciate it. The history, people, and wildlife of South Africa hold endless variety, and you will never regret the trip.

 

Suicide Prevention

 

How to Help Someone who is Suicidal and Save a Life

1

A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. People who take their lives don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.

Understanding suicide

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. What drives so many individuals to take their own lives? To those not in the grips of suicidal depression and despair, it’s difficult to understand what drives so many individuals to take their own lives. But a suicidal person is in so much pain that he or she can see no other option.

Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person can’t see any way of finding relief except through death. But despite their desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal people are deeply conflicted about ending their own lives. They wish there was an alternative to suicide, but they just can’t see one.

Common misconceptions about suicide
Myth: People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.

Fact: Almost everyone who attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Don’t ignore even indirect references to death or suicide. Statements like “You’ll be sorry when I’m gone,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

Myth: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.

Fact: Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.

Myth: If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.

Fact: Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.

Myth: People who die by suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.

Fact: Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths.

Myth: Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.

Fact: You don’t give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true—bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

Source: SAVE – Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

Warning signs of suicide

Take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously. It’s not just a warning sign that the person is thinking about suicide—it’s a cry for help.

Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions. The best way to prevent suicide is to recognize these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them. If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, you can play a role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing that you care, and getting a doctor or psychologist involved.

Major warning signs for suicide include talking about killing or harming oneself, talking or writing a lot about death or dying, and seeking out things that could be used in a suicide attempt, such as weapons and drugs. These signals are even more dangerous if the person has a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder, suffers from alcohol dependence, has previously attempted suicide, or has a family history of suicide.

A more subtle but equally dangerous warning sign of suicide is hopelessness. Studies have found that hopelessness is a strong predictor of suicide. People who feel hopeless may talk about “unbearable” feelings, predict a bleak future, and state that they have nothing to look forward to.

Other warning signs that point to a suicidal mind frame include dramatic mood swings or sudden personality changes, such as going from outgoing to withdrawn or well-behaved to rebellious. A suicidal person may also lose interest in day-to-day activities, neglect his or her appearance, and show big changes in eating or sleeping habits.

Suicide warning signs

Talking about suicide – Any talk about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as “I wish I hadn’t been born,” “If I see you again…” and “I’d be better off dead.”

Seeking out lethal means – Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.

Preoccupation with death – Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence. Writing poems or stories about death.

No hope for the future – Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped (“There’s no way out”). Belief that things will never get better or change.

Self-loathing, self-hatred – Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden (“Everyone would be better off without me”).

Getting affairs in order – Making out a will. Giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family members.

Saying goodbye – Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.

Withdrawing from others – Withdrawing from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone.

Self-destructive behavior – Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a “death wish.”

Sudden sense of calm – A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to attempt suicide.

Suicide prevention tip 1: Speak up if you’re worried

If you spot the warning signs of suicide in someone you care about, you may wonder if it’s a good idea to say anything. What if you’re wrong? What if the person gets angry? In such situations, it’s natural to feel uncomfortable or afraid. But anyone who talks about suicide or shows other warning signs needs immediate help—the sooner the better.

Talking to a person about suicide

Talking to a friend or family member about their suicidal thoughts and feelings can be extremely difficult for anyone. But if you’re unsure whether someone is suicidal, the best way to find out is to ask. You can’t make a person suicidal by showing that you care. In fact, giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express his or her feelings can provide relief from loneliness and pent-up negative feelings, and may prevent a suicide attempt.

Ways to start a conversation about suicide:

“I have been feeling concerned about you lately.”

“Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.”

“I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately.”

Questions you can ask:

“When did you begin feeling like this?”

“Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?”

“How can I best support you right now?”

“Have you thought about getting help?”

What you can say that helps:

“You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.”

“You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.”

“I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.”

“When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold off for just one more day, hour, minute—whatever you can manage.”

When talking to a suicidal person

Do:

Be yourself. Let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone. The right words are often unimportant. If you are concerned, your voice and manner will show it.

Listen. Let the suicidal person unload despair, ventilate anger. No matter how negative the conversation seems, the fact that it exists is a positive sign.

Be sympathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting. Your friend or family member is doing the right thing by talking about his/her feelings.

Offer hope. Reassure the person that help is available and that the suicidal feelings are temporary. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you.

Take the person seriously. If the person says things like, “I’m so depressed, I can’t go on,” ask the question: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” You are not putting ideas in their head, you are showing that you are concerned, that you take them seriously, and that it’s OK for them to share their pain with you.

But don’t:

Argue with the suicidal person. Avoid saying things like: “You have so much to live for,” “Your suicide will hurt your family,” or “Look on the bright side.”

Act shocked, lecture on the value of life, or say that suicide is wrong.

Promise confidentiality. Refuse to be sworn to secrecy. A life is at stake and you may need to speak to a mental health professional in order to keep the suicidal person safe. If you promise to keep your discussions secret, you may have to break your word.

Offer ways to fix their problems, or give advice, or make them feel like they have to justify their suicidal feelings. It is not about how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting your friend or loved one.

Blame yourself. You can’t “fix” someone’s depression. Your loved one’s happiness, or lack thereof, is not your responsibility.

Source: Metanoia.org

Tip 2: Respond quickly in a crisis

If a friend or family member tells you that he or she is thinking about death or suicide, it’s important to evaluate the immediate danger the person is in. Those at the highest risk for suicide in the near future have a specific suicide PLAN, the MEANS to carry out the plan, a TIME SET for doing it, and an INTENTION to do it.

The following questions can help you assess the immediate risk for suicide:

  • Do you have a suicide plan? (PLAN)
  • Do you have what you need to carry out your plan (pills, gun, etc.)? (MEANS)
  • Do you know when you would do it? (TIME SET)
  • Do you intend to take your own life? (INTENTION)
Level of Suicide Risk
Low – Some suicidal thoughts. No suicide plan. Says he or she won’t attempt suicide.
Moderate – Suicidal thoughts. Vague plan that isn’t very lethal. Says he or she won’t attempt suicide.
High – Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she won’t attempt suicide.
Severe – Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she will attempt suicide.

If a suicide attempt seems imminent, call a local crisis center, dial 911, or take the person to an emergency room. Remove guns, drugs, knives, and other potentially lethal objects from the vicinity but do not, under any circumstances, leave a suicidal person alone.

Tip 3: Offer help and support

If a friend or family member is suicidal, the best way to help is by offering an empathetic, listening ear. Let your loved one know that he or she is not alone and that you care. Don’t take responsibility, however, for making your loved one well. You can offer support, but you can’t get better for a suicidal person. He or she has to make a personal commitment to recovery.

It takes a lot of courage to help someone who is suicidal. Witnessing a loved one dealing with thoughts about ending his or her own life can stir up many difficult emotions. As you’re helping a suicidal person, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Find someone that you trust—a friend, family member, clergyman, or counselor—to talk to about your feelings and get support of your own.

Helping a suicidal person:

Get professional help. Do everything in your power to get a suicidal person the help he or she needs. Call a crisis line for advice and referrals. Encourage the person to see a mental health professional, help locate a treatment facility, or take them to a doctor’s appointment.

Follow-up on treatment. If the doctor prescribes medication, make sure your friend or loved one takes it as directed. Be aware of possible side effects and be sure to notify the physician if the person seems to be getting worse. It often takes time and persistence to find the medication or therapy that’s right for a particular person.

Be proactive. Those contemplating suicide often don’t believe they can be helped, so you may have to be more proactive at offering assistance. Saying, “Call me if you need anything” is too vague. Don’t wait for the person to call you or even to return your calls. Drop by, call again, invite the person out.

Encourage positive lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and getting out in the sun or into nature for at least 30 minutes each day. Exercise is also extremely important as it releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being.

Make a safety plan. Help the person develop a set of steps he or she promises to follow during a suicidal crisis. It should identify any triggers that may lead to a suicidal crisis, such as an anniversary of a loss, alcohol, or stress from relationships. Also include contact numbers for the person’s doctor or therapist, as well as friends and family members who will help in an emergency.

Remove potential means of suicide, such as pills, knives, razors, or firearms. If the person is likely to take an overdose, keep medications locked away or give out only as the person needs them.

Continue your support over the long haul. Even after the immediate suicidal crisis has passed, stay in touch with the person, periodically checking in or dropping by. Your support is vital to ensure your friend or loved one remains on the recovery track.

 

 

Risk factors

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at least 90 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from one or more mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or alcoholism. Depression in particular plays a large role in suicide. The difficulty suicidal people have imagining a solution to their suffering is due in part to the distorted thinking caused by depression.

Common suicide risk factors include:

  • Mental illness, alcoholism or drug abuse
  • Previous suicide attempts, family history of suicide, or history of trauma or abuse
  • Terminal illness or chronic pain, a recent loss or stressful life event
  • Social isolation and loneliness

Antidepressants and suicide

For some, depression medication causes an increase—rather than a decrease—in depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings. Because of this risk, the FDA advises that anyone on antidepressants should be watched for increases in suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Monitoring is especially important if this is the person’s first time on depression medication or if the dose has recently been changed. The risk of suicide is the greatest during the first two months of antidepressant treatment.

Suicide in teens and older adults

In addition to the general risk factors for suicide, both teenagers and older adults are at a higher risk of suicide.

Suicide in teens

Teenage suicide is a serious and growing problem. The teenage years can be emotionally turbulent and stressful. Teenagers face pressures to succeed and fit in. They may struggle with self-esteem issues, self-doubt, and feelings of alienation. For some, this leads to suicide. Depression is also a major risk factor for teen suicide.

Other risk factors for teenage suicide include:

  • Childhood abuse
  • Recent traumatic event
  • Lack of a support network
  • Availability of a gun
  • Hostile social or school environment
  • Exposure to other teen suicides

 

  1. Change in eating and sleeping habits
  2. Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities
  3. Violent or rebellious behavior, running away
  4. Drug and alcohol use
  5. Unusual neglect of personal appearance
  6. Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of schoolwork
  7. Frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
  8. Not tolerating praise or rewards

Source: American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Suicide in the elderly

The highest suicide rates of any age group occur among persons aged 65 years and older. One contributing factor is depression in the elderly that is undiagnosed and untreated.

Other risk factors for suicide in the elderly include:

  • Recent death of a loved one, isolation and loneliness
  • Physical illness, disability, or pain
  • Major life changes, such as retirement or loss of independence
  • Loss of sense of purpose

Warning signs in older adults

Additional warning signs that an elderly person may be contemplating suicide:

  1. Reading material about death and suicide
  2. Disruption of sleep patterns
  3. Increased alcohol or prescription drug use
  4. Failure to take care of self or follow medical orders
  5. Stockpiling medications or sudden interest in firearms
  6. Social withdrawal, elaborate good-byes, rush to complete or revise a will

Source: University of Florida

Suicide Prevention Day 2017

 

PROCARE Team goes to the 80’s.

We were fortunate to recently attend a retro-team social and we returned to the eighties. The team dressed up in bright colours representing the all colourful eighties era. We were spoiled with good music and a gorgeous potjie, with Biltong nogal, that reminded us of the good times gone by.

 

Potjie Collage

World Humanitarian Day – August 19

World | Cause

World Humanitarian Day was established by the United Nations in 2009 to honor humanitarian aid workers throughout the world, both those currently providing humanitarian assistance and those who have lost their lives in their humanitarian work. It’s held on August 19 each year to commemorate the anniversary of the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Iraq, in which 22 people lost their lives, including the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights. Humanitarian aid workers provide life-saving assistance to people in need all over the world who are suffering for a number of reasons, but especially those who live in conflict zones or have been affected by a natural disaster. Anyone and everyone can be a humanitarian, so read on to learn more about the day and how you can help.

Why World Humanitarian Day is Important

A. It celebrates unsung heroes
Humanitarian aid workers are some of the most heroic and honorable people alive: they put themselves at great risk by traveling to conflict zones and disaster areas to help alleviate the suffering of strangers, and are almost never acknowledged for it. World Humanitarian Day is a sobering reminder of how many lives have been lost in the name of this valiant cause, as well as a celebration of those who are out there doing the work right now.

B. It highlights the need for humanitarian work
For the reasons outlined above, “humanitarian aid worker” isn’t an extremely popular profession. Simply put, there can never be enough humanitarian aid workers out there. Every year, millions of people need humanitarian assistance as a result of disasters both preventable and unpreventable. As much as we hope that some of the man-made conflicts that result in suffering can be resolved, there is always going to be a need for more humanitarian work.

C. It’s an international event
A big part of World Humanitarian Day is drawing importance to the need for international cooperation on humanitarian issues. Humanitarian aid workers might be helping people in their home countries, or they might be dispatched to help those in need in other countries. Having international cooperation between countries is essential to maintaining the safety of humanitarian aid workers while enabling them to help those who are suffering.

 

How to Observe World Humanitarian Day

1. Donate to a humanitarian organization
There are humanitarian organizations all over the world, and pretty much all of them are in need of resources. If you are able to donate your time to one of these organizations, that’s wonderful. If you can’t, they sure could use some money to enable their workers to provide resources to those who are suffering. You can do an online search yourself, or check out the UN’s World Humanitarian Day website for resources to get you started.

2. Do some humanitarian work in your community
Being a humanitarian doesn’t have to mean traveling to a war zone—the point of humanitarian aid is to alleviate people’s suffering and maintain human dignity. We’re willing to bet that there are plenty of options for you to do just that somewhere in your community. Try volunteering at a homeless shelter, a nursing home, a hospital, or a place that serves underprivileged children.

3. Contact your elected leaders
Choose your preferred method of communication (a phone call, a letter, a tweet) to let your elected leaders know how important humanitarian crises are to you. Ask them to commit to any number of actions to help bolster humanitarian causes in your community or country as well as outside it.

 

Source: https://nationaltoday.com/world/world-humanitarian-day/

A Woman’s Worth

 

Woman's Day 2017

She gave life. She is a wife. She is a mother and she is a friend. She is a sister, a survivor ’til the end. Appreciate her, we don’t dare. Ask her worries, we don’t care. Wipe away her tears, they are invisible as air. She works, cooks, and cleans. She laughs, helps comfort, and hides her pain. When you struggle, she pulls you through. All this is her, and what do we do? Complain and create a mess, Provide stress and leave her feeling depressed, Push her away and ignore her advice, Tell her she is nothing without thinking twice. She swallows her pride, put her feelings aside. Does as you need in order for you to be free. Ignores your ignorance and tolerates your flaws. You call her names, but She answers with pride, dignity, and a complete loss of self. You call her nothing. I call her Strong, Smart, Sensual, Caring, Giving, Surviving, Tolerant and powerful. I call her WOMAN!

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/a-womans-worth

World Day Against Human Trafficking 2017

South Africa is a hotbed for the billion dollar human trafficking industry.

Even worse, experts say parents often play a role in the modern-day slavery of their own babies and children.

People are sold for muti and organ “donation”, babies and children are used for sexual exploitation, cheap labour and even forced marriage.

In Durban, police have found girls as young as 12 years old selling their young bodies on the streets. 

The Centre for International Policy’s Global Financial Integrity programme estimated last year that global human trafficking accounted for R230 million of illicit trade, only one third behind drugs and counterfeit goods.

In 2000, social workers and officers of the Child Protection Unit estimated there were 28 000 child prostitutes in South Africa.

Joan van Niekerk from Childline says they are still trying to assess exactly how many people have been caught up in the human trade.

“However, it is a significant problem in South and Southern Africa and is fed by our high levels of poverty, orphanhood and parental irresponsibility,” she says.

According to Barbara Ras, founder of the Atlantis Women’s Movement and a shelter for trafficked victims in Atlantis, there has been an increase in numbers.

“In 2009, we had 16 trafficking victims, in 2010, 35, and last year we had 67,” she tells the Daily Voice.

“I think the reason for this spike is that no one is making a noise about it, our courts are too quiet.”

Recently a Joburg teenager told of how she escaped a child trafficking ring.

The 16-year-old girl was kidnapped in Bramley last year by four men.

After being drugged, she was taken to Khayelitsha where she was raped, beaten, threatened and told she would be put to work as a prostitute.

After two months, she managed to escape and was reunited with her family.

The Hawks are currently investigating the case.

Barbara says traffickers especially target women and children from rural areas, and often lure them away under the pretext of jobs in the big city.

“These people are poor, there are no jobs, some parents are alcoholics and don’t take care of their children,” says Barbara.

“These are innocent girls who go away to work because they think they can get a better life and escape the poverty cycle.”

She says trafficking rings are more sophisticated than people think.

“There’s a whole network of people involved – recruiters, taxi drivers, the person waiting in the city, etc. There are even women that help with the trafficking of children and other women,” she explains.

“However, girls are also taken from malls, bus stops and taxi ranks.”

Barbara says traffickers treat the girls well in order to gain their trust.

“The girls are drugged – it’s placed in their food and drinks – so by the time they realise they are in trouble, it is far too late,” she says.

“While they are drugged, they are raped and photos are taken of them, which is used to blackmail them.

“Their clothes and shoes are taken away, so that they don’t escape.

“Some of these girls don’t even have breasts yet.

“They are brought into Cape Town and dropped off in places like Athlone and Goodwood for domestic work where they are treated like slaves.”

Barbara adds: “In other cases, they are taken to clubs and brothels where they are kept drugged, beaten and abused.

“They are kept prisoner and are constantly watched.

“Some girls are even sold from person to person – this problem is bigger than we realise and this came to light through the active work of the City’s Vice Squad.”

Barbara says trafficking is done by both local and foreign perpetrators.

“One of the biggest contributing factors to trafficking is that there is too much free access to our borders,” she says.

“We need more border control and national government must make sure we get our specialised units back – we really need them.”

Meanwhile, organisations have called on Parliament to finalise the Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Persons Bill, also known as the TIP Bill.

Currently offenders are charged with sexual abuse, rape and kidnapping.

According to Molo Songololo, a large number of cases gets dismissed in court due to lack of evidence, poor investigations, poor cooperation from witnesses (victims), and the length of the prosecution process.

“Another danger is when these perpetrators are arrested but not convicted, they come back and search for these girls because they know too much,” adds Barbara.

“The scars never heal for these children, many are so damaged that they go back to the streets and prostitute themselves.

“Traffickers are unscrupulous people and they must be brought to book. And if people know about it, they must speak out.”

* Getting help to abused victims

Joan van Niekerk of Childline urges everyone to be vigilant against traffickers.

“Be alert – keep an eye on children in your community and, in keeping with the spirit of Ubuntu, see every child as your child,” she explains.

Look out for signs of abuse, bruises and a fear of different people.

If you are worried about a situation, contact:

* The South African Police – 10111

* Childline/Lifeline – 08000 55555

* Molo Songololo – 021 448 5421

* Safeline – 08000 35553

* Cape Town Child Welfare – 021 638 3127

* The Trauma Centre – 021 465 7373

* Molo Songololo, Patrick Child Line – 08000 55555

* The Child Trauma Centre – 021 556 9556

* Jelly Beanz Inc – 082-jelly-00 (082 5355 900)

* The Salvation Army – 021 761 8530/1/2/3/4/5

* Rape Crisis – Athlone 021 447 9762 and in Khayelitsha 021 361 9085.

* How these sinister syndicates operate

A victim of human trafficking is defined as someone who is being forced or being lied to and then moved (from their home) in order to be exploited for sexual purposes (rape, porn, prostitution), cheap labour or their body parts, among other purposes.

In some cases, the person can be trafficked without being moved, “ownership” of the person changes from trafficker to trafficker at a fixed location.

Parents act as traffickers of their own children by allowing others to sexually exploit them for financial reasons such as paying off debts.

In rural areas, parents are found to sell daughters as child brides.

The Network Against Child Labour estimates that there are 400 000 children working in South Africa.

According to the Human Rights Committee, child labour is everywhere, from taxi ranks to farms and coal yards.

They are forced to work brutal hours that adults are protected against simply because they have no recourse to the law.

Their average pay is R10 a day.

Sex exploiters pay anything from R10 to R150 to traffickers for access to a child’s body.

Reports say human trafficking is mostly TO South Africa and it is organised by international crime syndicates from Africa, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.

http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/shocking-reality-of-sa-human-trafficking-1224202