We all face struggles and difficult times. We are not alone in this and there are many ways to get help for ourselves or others that are thinking about suicide. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death and has become a public health concern. Suicide impacts those all around us, whether it is emotionally, physically, or economically.
There are often warning signs of someone that is contemplating suicide, here are some you learn to recognize:
Talking about wanting to die
Feelings of guilt or shame
Saying they are a burden to others
Feeling empty, hopeless, and having no reason to live
Researching or planning ways to die
Withdrawing from friends and family
Saying goodbye and giving away personal items
Extreme changes in mood, sleep or appetite.
Increase in drugs and alcohol
What can you do if someone you know is experiencing these things?
Express your concerns
Reach out and check in with the person
Be direct and ask about suicide
Make a safety plan
Reach out for professional help
What can you do if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts?
Express your feelings
Reach out for support
Ask for help
Call 988 the Suicide and Crisis Hotline
Connect with a trained crisis counselor. 988 is confidential, free, and available 24/7/365.
Visit the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for more information at 988lifeline.org.
If you or someone you know if talking or thinking about suicide, please reach out. There is help out there, and where there is help, there is hope.
Courtney Paladino LMSW, CCTP is a Behavioral Health Manager with Trinity Health IHA Medical Group
After three years of caring for patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many of Michigan’s major health systems are making masking optional in most areas over the next week.
Factors influencing the Michigan health systems to work together to make this decision include:
The number of COVID-19 inpatients has drastically declined across the state.
There are multiple effective ways to combat the virus, including vaccines and medical treatment.
The desire to restore the powerful human connection when patients, caregivers and loved ones can see each other’s faces.
Specific details about each health system’s optional masking policies will be available on each health system’s website. COVID-19 has become an illness that, in most cases, will be treated like other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu. The virus will likely remain for years to come.
All health systems will continue to provide stations with free masks and hand sanitizer at entrances for patients, visitors and team members who choose to use them. Patients can also ask their care teams to wear masks.
Masking guidelines could be adjusted again if COVID-19, flu or any other virus begins to spread rapidly in the community.
Below are links to each health system’s website and a brief explanation of what’s changing and when:
Effective immediately: Ascension Michigan acute care and ambulatory centers have suspended the routine use of hospital-grade masks except in units providing care to special immunocompromised populations or patients with an increased risk of complications from COVID-19. These include intensive care units, oncology units/centers and transplant units.
Effective Tuesday, April 18: Masking will become optional for patients, visitors, and employees at Bronson Healthcare hospitals and outpatient locations, except for those who exhibit symptoms of respiratory or infectious illness. Masking will continue at Bronson Commons – a skilled nursing facility.
Effective Friday, April 14 at 7 a.m.: Masking is recommended but optional for patients, visitors and clinical teams at our Grand Rapids hospital campus, West Michigan outpatient locations, and Mary Free Bed Orthotics & Prosthetic + Bionics locations. The Mary Free Bed Sub-Acute Rehabilitation program will continue to require masks for patients, visitors and staff.
Effective Monday, April 17: Masking will become optional for patients, visitors, and employees at all McLaren Health Care hospital and outpatient locations, except for designated critical care units, Karmanos Cancer Institute facilities, subacute/outpatient rehabilitation facilities, and skilled nursing facilities.
Effective Friday, April 14: Universal masking will no longer be required in Munson Healthcare hospitals and clinics – with the exception of long-term care and skilled nursing facilities. In addition, the health system will return to its pre-pandemic visitation policy.
Visitors and patients are no longer required to mask in non-patient care areas, including common entryways, hallways and waiting rooms. Patient care areas are defined as any location in which patients are being screened, evaluated, treated or admitted.
Effective Thursday, April 13: Employees and visitors are no longer required to wear a mask except in 24/7 patient care settings and specialty care units. Patients will continue to be screened/tested for COVID-19 at admission and are not required to mask unless endorsing symptoms of illness or diagnosed with COVID-19 infection.
You’ve heard about the benefits of breastfeeding your baby. You know breast milk is best for your baby (the antibodies!). But let’s face it, returning to work after weeks of cozy breastfeeding sessions creates a lot of anxiety and pressure (pun intended) for mom. There’s so much information out there online and from every woman you know that’s ever had a baby. We’re here to breakdown some of the most common concerns around returning to work and continuing to provide breastmilk for your baby. Read on to learn how some common myths around breastfeeding while working are, well, busted.
Myth: Nursing less often will create more milk when I do nurse. Actually, the more you nurse (or pump), the more milk you will produce. Your body is creating your milk supply based on demand. Feed your baby when they ask (in their own way), and your body will produce the milk they need. If you are returning to work, this will help in ensuring you are producing what your baby needs while pumping.
Myth: My baby won’t breastfeed once they get used to bottles. You will always be your baby’s favorite way to get their milk. When your baby is with you, they will expect to be breastfeed. If your baby has a predictable feeding schedule, when you return to work ask your caregiver to hold-off on giving them a bottle close to your arrival, so you can breastfeed your baby when you return home. Also, be sure you drink plenty of fluids, avoiding caffeine and alcohol. Staying hydrated is important in general, but especially while breastfeeding.
Myth: I need a freezer full of milk to return to work. Just when a new mom or dad feels like they are adjusting to life as parents, it’s typically time to return to work. For a mother who is breastfeeding, this transition can be especially difficult. A few weeks before your re-entry into the working world, start mixing some pumping and bottle feeding into your baby’s routine. This will help in two ways; your baby will get some practice with and be more willing to take a bottle and you will have some milk stored for backup. We recommend a minimum supply of two days’ worth of breastmilk for a smooth transition. As you pump at work, you will get into a rhythm of producing what your little one needs. You don’t need a freezer stocked full of milk in order to return to work.
Myth: I can’t breastfeed and pump at the same time. There’s a balance between pumping and breastfeeding. Once you find it, your body will respond and produce the milk required. To start working pumping into your feeding schedule, pump between breastfeeding your baby. Pump about an hour AFTER you feed, and at least an hour BEFORE your baby’s next feeding. If you are returning to work, take note of when your baby typically eats, and pump based on that schedule. Continue to demand milk consistently and your body will get the signal to produce enough breast milk for your little one.
Myth: I will have to stop breastfeeding when I return to work. Every mother has a legal right to take breaks from work to pump. That said, many women may still be anxious about taking this time. While you are pregnant and before you go on maternity leave, chat with your boss about a pumping schedule. That way, your boss will know what to expect upon your return and you will have some peace of mind knowing there is a plan in place to ensure you can continue to provide breast milk for your baby. Also, be sure to understand the accommodations available to you in the work place for pumping. Where is the room? Where will you store the milk you pump throughout the day? To get your questions answered, chat with a human resources rep or a colleague that recently transitioned from maternity leave and pumped at your office, to get your questions answered.
Myth: I won’t be successful at work if I have to stop and pump. For a mother that wants to continue providing breast milk for her baby, taking the time to pump will create peace of mind, and allow you to be more focused when at your desk. You may even want to use the time you spend pumping to catch up on some emails, or read through an article or report that you can’t seem to work into your day while sitting at your desk. Some of your colleagues will understand when you excuse yourself a few times a day to pump, and others may not. The fact is, it’s your right to take time to pump during the work day, so try to focus on your baby and not the opinions of those around you. If you have concerns, talk to a manager or supervisor.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to take care of your baby, but it can be a struggle too. If you are feeling stressed about producing milk for your baby, make an appointment to chat with a provider. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to breastfeeding, and they can provide the support you need as you work through challenges that come with being a new mom.
Originally Posted August 2019
Did you know Trinity Health IHA Medical Group offers Breastfeeding Medicine? While breast milk is felt to be nature’s first food, breastfeeding does not always come naturally. Breastfeeding is a physiological process that involves both the mother and baby. We provide specialized breastfeeding care for both mother and baby. Learn more below.
For me, the month of May means two things: 1. May is Mental Health Awareness month, and 2. it’s finally spring in Michigan. The flowers are starting to bloom, the grass is growing, and the sun is finally starting to show more of itself. For a lot of us, this is not only a reminder of how much we have missed the sun, but also how different we feel during the winter season here in Michigan. It is not uncommon to feel tired, sluggish, de-motivated, and overall, down during the colder and darker months (if these symptoms feel overwhelming or severe or long lasting, you should reach out to your health care provider to start a conversation). The nicer weather often brings with it a desire to get out and increase your activity or get back to things that you might normally enjoy doing. But even with that desire, it can be hard to know where to begin and we often get overwhelmed or intimidated before we can start. We know that exercise, activity and doing things we enjoy are helpful for our moods, and our overall health, so how do we get back to those things after a pause?
When we are low in mood, energy and or motivation, we might find it difficult to carry out everyday tasks and activities. We find ourselves withdrawing from and avoiding these activities. The longer we avoid or withdraw from activity, the harder it becomes to find that routine again, and the worse we may feel about it.
Behavioral Activation is an approach that involves using our behaviors to influence our emotional state. Often our brains think in a way that tells us “When I am feeling better or feeling ready, I will get back to doing those things”. Behavioral Activation (BA) tells us “I will get back to the things that make me feel good, so that I can feel better”. Behavioral health clinicians often use this with clients who suffer from a mood disorder and are not able to do the things they would normally enjoy. The idea behind BA is to start with very tiny baby steps and work your way up. We know that this works with not only getting back to things that we enjoy doing, but also stressful or unpleasant things that we need to do like getting caught up on laundry or paying the bills. The reason BA works is because it helps us to tap into our emotional reward center and use that as a drive to continue.
When I avoid doing anything with the baskets of laundry because I don’t have the energy or motivation to get it done, the baskets of laundry pile up, the task feels overwhelming, and I feel bad about myself for avoiding this task. This creates a lower mood and negative feedback loop, and the task becomes more and more difficult to face.
When I tackle the overflowing baskets of laundry by doing 5 minutes of folding laundry per day, not only am I working towards my goal in a more manageable way, but my brain sees it as completing something, which provides a positive feed back loop. I want to keep doing it because it feels manageable and rewarding.
How can you apply this to the things YOU want or need to do?
Identify the activity or task
Find an accountability partner
This person could be your spouse, partner, coworker, friend, neighbor, anyone!
Set a plan for baby steps
Start with something you feel overconfident about being able to complete/ This might mean doing laundry for 5 minutes a day, 1 minute of stretching in the morning, a walk at lunch one day a week, etc. Goals do not have to be scary or overwhelming to be worthwhile!
Write down the plan and be very specific.
What day are you going to do it, how long will you do it for, what time will you start and stop?
Get to work!
Follow-through with your plan and be observant about how you feel during and after completing the activity.
As you move through this and begin to feel you are making progress, you can increase the duration of the activity as tolerated. If it gets overwhelming, or something gets in the way (and it’s okay if it does) go back a step or start over.
Choose goals from both categories: Things I want to do that are good for me, things I need to do to maintain responsibilities. When we are getting things done, and taking care of ourselves, it’s a win all around.
Did you know our Collaborative Care Behavioral Health Program is available through many primary care locations? Ask your primary care provider if a referral is right for you.
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, Mercy Health, IHA and Mercy Health Physician Partners Adopt Trinity Health Name and Logo
CANTON, Mich. (April 13, 2022) – Trinity Health Michigan will rebrand eight hospitals and hundreds of care sites in Michigan to build recognition, trust and pride under the shared identity of Trinity Health.
“As members of Trinity Health for 22 years, we are transforming our identity to assert our presence as one of Michigan’s largest health care systems, with a singular commitment to keeping our patients at the center of everything we do,” said Rob Casalou, president and CEO of Trinity Health Michigan and Southeast Regions. “We are peeling back the layers to reveal a unified organization with a shared legacy and mission of service to the communities we’re honored to serve.”
Trinity Health is one of the largest not-for-profit, Catholic health systems in the nation. It is a family of 115,000 colleagues and nearly 26,000 physicians and clinicians caring for diverse communities across 25 states. Nationally recognized for its care and experience, the consolidation of individual Michigan brands as part of the unified national brand identity will enable stronger care coordination, increased visibility, less costly duplication, more effective nurse and physician recruitment, enhanced advocacy efforts, and new growth and development.
The unified brand ensures patients and communities that their local doctors and services are connected to an expansive network of clinical experts, research, clinical trials, specialty care centers and leading technologies.
“Patients will continue to see the same doctors and providers they know and trust, backed by our specialists across Trinity Health who are committed to compassionate and high-quality care personalized to individual needs,” said Rosalie Tocco-Bradley, PhD, MD, chief clinical officer of Trinity Health Michigan.
The first hospitals to unveil the new signage were Trinity Health Muskegon (formerly Mercy Health Muskegon) and Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. Signage replacements for remaining hospital campuses will occur in phases over the next eight months, followed by interior signage and printed materials through 2023.
In most cases, legacy names will be featured on new signs to help patients and visitors become familiar with the new brand. Chelsea Hospital, a joint venture between Trinity Health and U of M Health, will feature the logos of both systems.
Mercy Health Saint Mary’s
Trinity Health Saint Mary’s, Grand Rapids
Mercy Health Muskegon
Trinity Health Muskegon
Mercy Health Lakeshore
Trinity Health Shelby
St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor
Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor
St. Joseph Mercy Livingston
Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Livingston
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
St. Mary Mercy Livonia
Trinity Health St. Mary Mercy Livonia
St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea
Trinity Health IHA Medical Group
Mercy Health Physician Partners
Trinity Health Medical Group
St. Joseph Mercy Home Care and Hospice
Trinity Health At Home – Southeast Michigan
Mercy Health VNS
Trinity Health At Home – Muskegon
Mercy Health Home Care
Trinity Health At Home – Grand Rapids
TrinityElite Sports Performance
Probility Physical Therapy
Trinity Health Probility Physical Therapy
During the transition, facilities will be good stewards of their resources by retrofitting campus signage and using existing printed materials. This thoughtful approach will help reduce costs, preserve the environment, and prepare for the arrival of newly branded Trinity Health materials. As a result, community members may see either legacy logosor the Trinity Health logo on billing statements, signs, and patient materials. Once the process is complete, the legacy names of St. Joe’s and Mercy Health hospitals will be retired.
“We are excited to move forward into a new era as one organization while honoring our dynamic and inclusive care teams, Catholic healing ministry, and deep community roots,” Casalou said.
Trinity Health Michigan is a leading health care provider and one of the state’s largest employers. With more than 24,000 full-time employees serving 29 counties, Trinity Health Michigan is composed of eight hospitals located in Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Grand Rapids, Howell, Livonia, Muskegon, Pontiac and Shelby. The health system has 2,233 beds and 5,290 physicians and advanced practice providers. With operating revenues of $4.1 billion, Trinity Health Michigan returns $175.6 million back to their local communities each year. Together with numerous ambulatory care locations, three home health and hospice agencies and 22 senior living communities owned and/or operated by Trinity Health, Trinity Health Michigan provides the full continuum of care for Michigan residents.
This weekend, we will all adjust our clocks and spring forward, but chances are, no one will be springing anywhere for a few days. Losing an hour of sleep can really throw off your sleep cycle leaving you groggy, tired and most likely running late. Plus, the darker morning tricks your body into thinking it’s not actually time to wake up. Luckily, it only takes a day or two to adjust your internal clock to the new schedule. Although short, those couple days can be rough, so we pulled together some quick tips to get through daylight savings.
Clear your mornings.
The Monday after springing forward can be brutal. Maybe Tuesday, too. It’s no small task to get up and going on an hour less sleep, and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be running late. If possible, block your morning schedule, so you can ease into the day rather than rushing through the morning. If working from home is an option, this would be a great day to do it.
Eat to sleep.
Avoid foods and beverages that interfere with your sleep. About four to six hours before bedtime say no to sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
Go into the light!
Light suppresses the secretion of sleep-inducing melatonin. Exposing yourself to sunlight will help with the adjustment to the time change. Open the blinds and curtains! Let the natural light in!
Conversely, when it’s time for sleep, do not expose yourself to light. If you get up at night to go to the bathroom, use a nightlight rather than turning on the lights.
Turn-off when you turn-in.
Help your body adjust to the time change, by getting good sleep. Get your mind and body ready to snooze by turning your devices off. Laying in bed on your phone or tablet stimulates your body and brain. Read a book instead, take a warm bath, listen to calming music, pick-up an eye mask – whatever you find helpful in falling to sleep.
Take your hour back.
Allow yourself some extra time leading up to the time change and try to go to bed early to make up for the hour you are about to lose. Making-up for the lost time, ahead of time, can help your body transition into daylight savings.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there has been a major reduction in the number of baby deaths during sleep since the recommendation to place babies on their back to sleep was introduced in the 1990s. Today, there are a number of additional safe sleep practices to keep sleeping babies safe and sound. Read on for the latest guidelines for infant safe sleep from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Put the baby to sleep in a safety-approved crib. Never place your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa, or armchair. This is an extremely dangerous place for your baby to sleep.
Have your baby share your room, not your bed. Place your baby’s crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard in your bedroom, close to your bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room sharing because it can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50% and is much safer than bed sharing. In addition, room sharing will make it easier for you to feed, comfort, and watch your baby.
Put baby to sleep on their back. Some babies will roll onto their stomachs. You should always place your baby to sleep on the back, but if your baby is comfortable rolling both ways (back to tummy, tummy to back), then you do not have to return your baby to the back. However, be sure that there are no blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, or bumper pads around your baby, so that your baby does not roll into any of those items, which could cause blockage of air flow.
Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation out of the baby’s sleep area. These include pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, blankets, toys, bumper pads or similar products that attach to crib slats or sides. If you are worried about your baby getting cold, you can use infant sleep clothing, such as a wearable blanket. In general, your baby should be dressed with only one layer more than you are wearing. Do not overdress as the baby could overheat.
If your baby falls asleep in a car seat, stroller, swing, infant carrier, or sling, you should move him or her to a firm sleep surface on his or her back as soon as possible.
A firm, tight-fitting mattress
No loose, missing or broken hardware or slats
No more than 2 3/8” between slats (width of a soda can)
No corner posts over 1/16” high
No cutout designs in the headboard or foot board
If you are unsure of the safety of your crib, call the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) at 1.800.638.2772
For more information, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics at healthychildren.org and the Consumer Product Safety Commission at cpsc.gov
If you have questions or concerns about safe sleep practices for your baby, get in touch with your pediatric provider. Rest assured, they will help you and your baby get some much needed ZZZ’s, safely.
Jason Harris, Vice President of Planning and Development, on being named IHA’s new Chief Operating Officer, effective March 13. Jason’s track record of driving impactful changes in tandem with our physicians and administrative leadership made him a natural choice for the Chief Operating Officer position.
Jason joined IHA in 2012 as a project manager and since this time, has advanced his career and made extraordinary contributions to our team and the services we offer to the more than 500,000 patients we serve.
He is strategic, open, engaging, and humble. He has a strong work ethic and the ability to apply wisdom from across disciplines and industries to help IHA achieve results, even in the most challenging of times.
In Jason’s current position as Vice President of Planning and Development, he partnered with physician and operational leaders in growing our medical group to serve more communities and care for more patients. He directed $100 million in ambulatory investments that brought exceptional physicians and staff, and needed services, to new communities across southeast Michigan.
Jason is passionate about living out our IHA CARES Values and is dedicated to ensuring our culture and traditions remain as we look ahead. He is immensely proud to serve our staff, providers, patients, and communities in this new role. Jason received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and later returned to get his MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. He and his wife live in Brighton with their two children. When he’s not spending time with his family, Jason enjoys running, golfing, playing soccer and mountain biking (he’ll see you soon ortho).
As the sun sets on the summer months, days get shorter and the temperature drops, so does our mood. Snow, scarves and holidays are a novelty and enjoyable for a few weeks after the heat of summer, but the dark, cold days of January and February bring much less joy to many. If you find your mood changing (not for the better), at the same time every year, you may have seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This mood disorder typically comes and goes when the season changes. The most common form of SAD appears in the fall and resolves in the spring or summer.
The signs and symptoms of SAD are similar to those of non-seasonal depression, but typically improve or go away with warm, sunny weather. Here’s what to look for starting in the fall or early winter:
Fatigue and hypersomnia
Increased appetite and overeating
Loss of interest, including withdrawal from social activities or people
Desire to be alone (may feel like hibernating)
Like non-seasonal forms of depression, there are treatments available to combat SAD. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and whether you have another type of depression, the treatment for SAD may include:
Bright light therapy
Changes to sleep hygiene, outdoor walks and regular exercise
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, women are four-times more likely to be diagnosed with SAD than men. Other factors that may increase your risk of SAD include: living far from the equator with major shifts in seasons, and a personal or family history of depression or bipolar disorder. Age can also have an impact on whether you get SAD. Young adults seem to be affected more frequently than children, adolescents and older adults.
If you’re feeling any or all the symptoms of SAD, make an appointment to see your provider. They can help find the best treatment plan to get you feeling better.
With the new year comes a fresh start and for many people an opportunity to make some positive changes in their lives. With great intentions, they head off into the new year determined to make a go of this year’s resolutions. Too often, busy lives take over and resolutions are abandoned after just a few weeks. Forming new, positive daily habits is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Read on for some advice on how to incorporate a new habit into your daily routine and make your 2022 resolutions stick!
Pick one goal.
Don’t spread your willpower too thin. Focusing on one goal at a time will increase your chances of actually achieving it.
Look at the small picture.
Rather than setting a resolution for the whole year, start with one month or even one week. Your goal should feel attainable with as little pressure as possible.
Make a sub-habit.
There are things you do every single day without even thinking about it: brushing your teeth, feeding the dog, walking into the house after work, you get the idea. Try setting your goal as a sub-habit of one of your already established daily habits. For example, “after I feed the dog, I will take him for a ten-minute walk” or “when I walk in the door after work, I will put my workout clothes on and run one mile”.
Take it one (baby) step at a time.
When forming a new habit, a low-level commitment is much easier to work into your day. Start with simple tasks that make it almost impossible to fail. Once you get started, you may find yourself doing more. Here are some suggestions for daily micro-commitments:
Take a 5-minute walk
Write one paragraph in your journal
Eat one serving of vegetables
Plan for obstacles.
Weather, time, cost or illness will no doubt present a challenge in achieving your goal of forming a new healthy habit. Plan ahead for challenges and be ready to work through them. Come up with “if-then” statements to help make it over predictable stumbling blocks;
If I am not able to sustain the cost of a gym membership, I will walk in my neighborhood or local mall
If I am not able to walk outside due to weather, I will do floor exercises in the basement for 20 minutes
If I’m not feeling well enough to walk or do a full work out, I will lift weights for 10 minutes
Hold yourself accountable.
We all have the friend that checks in at the gym every day on social media. Well, maybe they have the right idea. When your progress is monitored or witnessed by others, you are more likely to follow-through with your commitment. Consider creating or joining a group with similar goals, and post or text each other when you complete your daily goal. You may also want to tell your primary care physician about your goals and expect to follow-up next year or at your next exam.
Take time to celebrate your success! Having something to look forward to will motivate you along the way. Choose rewards that support your new healthy habit – avoid rewarding yourself with sugary treats or days off from your new habit. Instead, download new music for your workout routine, see a movie, or grab lunch with a friend.
Have you scheduled your 2022 wellness exam? Make an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss some health goals that may benefit your physical and psychological well-being.