May is Mental Health Awareness Month
eTalkTherapy

The New Normal

Mental Health Month in the Shadow of COVID-19

In this COVID-19 crisis we see stark images casting a shadow over our ability to navigate the world. We are now face to face with meaninglessness and nothingness in a way that is unparalleled in our modern times. We have arrived at a point where the old “normal” can no longer continue, and we need to create new meaning, which means change.  That which we have been given is no longer enough; we need something different, something new.

This existential crisis has most of us feeling everything from helpless to fearful to angry to sad and all stops in between. Again, it is okay to feel this way. It may not feel good but trying to push your feelings away or act as if they don’t exist is the unhealthiest thing you can do right now or ever.

Our mental health will suffer over the next several months and possibly for years to come. You might find yourself completely avoiding any reminders of what is happening. Normal daily activities have altered drastically, and we will hardly go back to what looks normal anytime soon.

You would think that the ongoing mental health fallout from COVID-19 would be a much larger point in the current conversation. Yet, it hardly seems that way. So, why does mental health and wellness always seem to end up at the bottom of our ongoing health care debate? Costs are a big barrier to treatment, but so are attitudes. A 2007 study in Psychiatric Services, a Journal of the American Psychiatric Association, looked at several hundred potential mental health clients who had thought about seeking services but decided against it. This can be understood from a financial standpoint considering the enormity of the economic fallout of this crisis.

When questioned 66-percent of those surveyed thought the problem would get better on its own. Seventy-one percent agreed with the statement “I wanted to solve the problem on my own.” Several other studies have shown that many Americans still view depression and anxiety as a sign of weakness, and that seeking treatment demonstrates a lack of character or strength. Mental health does not get the attention it deserves because of the stigma, but nearly one out of every five Americans will have a diagnosable mental disorder within their lifetimes, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Since its inception in 1949, Mental Health Month has been celebrated in May and for 55 years this campaign has provided an opportunity to raise awareness about mental health issues. Americans recognize Mental Health Month with events and activities in communities across the country. Many organizations, such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), engage in ongoing efforts to promote Mental Health Month through increasing public awareness and advocacy.

At eTalkTherapy, we recognize and embrace the goals of Mental Health Month. Our objective is to build public recognition and support about the importance of good mental health and daily wellness, and to provide tips to promote mental wellbeing. We understand and acknowledge that there is more to good mental health than offering platitudes or medical management. Accepting the whole person, not just a diagnosis, is paramount to providing quality care and it is our mission.

Take the first step. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed professionals.

In Good Health,
Don

eTalkTherapy

The Benefits of Deep Breathing on Anxiety

by Don Laird and Christina Pettinato

There are many great ways to promote physical and mental health for you and your family during this time of social isolation and distancing. One highly effective technique is quite simple and can be used anytime. Diaphragmatic breathing or deep breathing is intended to help you use the diaphragm (a muscle at the base of the lungs) correctly resulting in less effort and energy to breath. Additionally, it slows your breathing rate and heart rate and decreases oxygen demand, which in turn makes you feel more relaxed and calmer.

There are two ways to perform this exercise. In the video below eTalk Therapist and Mindfulness Expert Christina Pettinato demonstrates the chair method.


You may also perform this technique when lying down.

Lie on your back on a flat surface or in bed. You can use a pillow under your knees to support your legs. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.

Breathe in slowly, deeply, through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand – think of it as a balloon expanding and deflating. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible. Tighten your stomach muscles as you do this, letting them fall inward as you exhale through your lips.

When you first learn this relaxing breathing technique, it may be easier for you to follow the instructions lying down. As you gain more practice, you can try the diaphragmatic breathing technique while sitting in a chair, as demonstrated above.

You should practice this exercise 5-10 minutes at least two times per day. Most people prefer to do it before bedtime because it can promote a better night’s sleep. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend doing this exercise, use soft music or a guided meditation video or audio to enhance the relaxation experience.

Be safe, be healthy, be well,
Don & Christina

Relaxed woman with laptop at home
eTalkTherapy

Staying safe at home

Your mental health matters. During this time of uncertainty, many of us are staying safe at home. But for some, home may not be a safe place to be. If you just need someone to talk to, you’re feeling down, seeking support, or looking for new ways to cope with anxiety, give Kema a call or meet with her live online through eTalkTherapy’s HIPPA secure video portal. Kema specializes in depression, anxiety, postpartum depression, trauma and women’s issues.

All of the experienced and licensed therapists at eTalkTherapy are here to help, contact us today.


Feeling stressed or anxious? We are here to help. Since 2017, eTalkTherapy.com has been serving Pennsylvanians with online therapy and professional counseling services from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Our licensed professional counselors and experienced therapists are highly skilled in the areas of anxiety, stress, depression and trauma. We provide therapy sessions on a HIPPA secure, live-video website or by phone. Don’t allow your worries or anxieties to spiral out of control. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a confidential and affordable appointment with one of our telehealth therapists.

Smiling woman making video call on laptop
eTalkTherapy

We are in this together

Kema wants to know what are some things you do each day to support your mental health? Looking after your mental health during this crisis can be tricky, but Kema shares some advice for maintaining a healthy routine and keeping a positive attitude.

We are here to help. The experienced and licensed therapists at eTalkTherapy.com will continue to support your mental health and wellness through live-video chat or telephone sessions. If you are in need of some help with your emotional well being or you are struggling with life during this crisis, contact us today.


Feeling stressed or anxious? We are here to help. Since 2017, eTalkTherapy.com has been serving Pennsylvanians with online therapy and professional counseling services from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Our licensed professional counselors and experienced therapists are highly skilled in the areas of anxiety, stress, depression and trauma. We provide therapy sessions on a HIPPA secure, live-video website or by phone. Don’t allow your worries or anxieties to spiral out of control. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a confidential and affordable appointment with one of our telehealth therapists.

Medical worker in safety glasses, mask and suit makes a heart sign
Mandi C. Dalicandro-Turk

Helping the Helpers

A Message from our Therapist Mandi for First Responders, Medical Professionals and Front-Line Workers: 

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted our society and community greatly. The stress for first responders is intense; there are increases in restrictions and more complex risk factors. Many first responders start their shifts feeling concern for their health and safety, for co-workers, families and loved ones. Loved ones feel anxious each time you leave to take care of others and do your job.

Mandi C. Dalicandro-Turk

As a therapist, I enjoy working with first responders. I am compassionate and understanding of your
complex needs and experiences, and create a comfortable, supportive therapeutic environment. Working
through difficult experiences in both your professional and personal life is critical to your overall health and wellness, and guards from the stressors and impact of spillover.

This is difficult to navigate alone. I will listen to your experiences through conversation in a safe and relaxed therapeutic environment, and help you navigate your feelings towards healing, wellness, and experiencing a better quality life .

I have over 7 years experience helping adults, couples, adolescents, first responders, medical professionals, and academics. I feel strongly that human-beings benefit from the experiences of learning, growing, and developing through each stage of life.

My areas of focus are: Anxiety, Depression, Chronic Stress, Relationship Issues, Life Transitions, Self-Esteem and Confidence, Autoimmune Issues, Critical Incidents, PTSD, Trauma, Infidelity, Divorce, Loss of Connection, Break Up Recovery, Developing a Strong Authentic Identity, Parenting, Burnout, Grief and Loss.

As an adjunct professor, I teach courses focusing on psychology, research, human development, leadership, motivation, genetics, and stress. Additionally, I volunteer for a Critical Incident Stress Management Team that assists public safety personnel after the experience of a critical incident. Among my latest projects, I am focusing on research related to clinical levels of stress, vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue. I also create the curriculum for seminars and continuing education. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology summa cum laude and Master’s degree in Professional Counseling from Carlow University.

Visit with me me today at eTalkTherapy.com to schedule your first appointment or free consultation. I hope to work with you soon.