Tag - mental health

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Dr. Gannon Testifies Regarding Treatment for Mentally Ill in Crisis
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GO PRO (as in Probiotics)
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Meet our Newest Blogger: Dr. David Mooney of Lamoille County Mental Health Services
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Can Your Work Life Be Your Social Life?

Dr. Gannon Testifies Regarding Treatment for Mentally Ill in Crisis

Dr. Liam Gannon - Copley Hospital Emergency ServicesLiam Gannon, MD is the Medical Director of Copley Hospital’s Emergency Services. On February  7, 2017, he testified at the Statehouse to members of the House Health Care and Senate Health and Welfare committees. He spoke about challenges patients and hospital staff faced regarding treatment of the mentally ill in hospital emergency rooms throughout the state. His testimony, in full, follows:

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak on the challenges we continue to face regarding the treatment of the severely mentally ill in Vermont. My name is Liam Gannon and I am the Emergency Room Medical Director and a practicing physician at Copley Hospital in Morrisville, Vermont. Copley Hospital is what is termed a critical access hospital. These hospitals are in areas which are geographically critical and also resource limited. We are your local, small, community hospital.

I would like you to indulge me for a moment and consider the following: you’re visiting Hardwick, Vermont with your family and are out having a nice meal. You suddenly experience crushing chest pain are quickly transported to Copley Emergency Room by Hardwick Rescue.

We rapidly diagnose a heart attack and give you the appropriate immediate medical treatments. We then arrange for your rapid and immediate transport to the University of Vermont where a cardiac team is waiting and a stent is placed in your coronary artery opening the blood flow back to your heart, after which you achieve a full recovery.

Now, imagine you are at the Mountain at Stowe enjoying a family ski vacation. Your son, daughter, wife, or husband catches an edge in the snow and goes off trail, hitting a piece of machinery parked on the side. Again, you are treated by an elaborate and well-designed system of care. The ski patrol get you off the hill. Emergency Medical Services transports you safely to the local community hospital. Again, you arrive, or your family member arrives at our emergency room for stabilization. You’re provided with diagnostic x-rays, intravenous fluids, blood products if needed, and the all-important pain relief that you need. Due to the severity of your injuries, you’re quickly helicoptered to the University of Vermont where a trauma team is awaiting your arrival. Your local community ER physician will have had a detailed discussion with the trauma team outlining your situation and the next needed steps. Although your recovery is long, due to the rapid evaluation and hierarchical system of care, you achieve a full recovery.

Critical access hospitals like mine are designed to diagnose, stabilize, recognize our resource limitations, and quickly involve the specialty centers where appropriate. Of course we admit and operate on patients that are within our scope of practice, and do so quite well.

I want you to take a moment now to imagine that you or your family member begins to have a psychotic break. They begin hearing voices, experience paranoia, and extreme fear that results in violence. Or, perhaps they’re experiencing such a profound depression that suicide becomes preferable to living, despite their close family support. Our current system again lands you in the closest facility, at Copley Hospital’s Emergency Room. You have a potentially life threatening condition, the expertise is not available to you or your loved one, you sit and wait and wait and wait. The hospital is compassionate and tries their best but the bare room, lack of therapeutic environment, and specialty care actually cause worsening of this medical situation.

Prior to the 1950s little, if any, treatments for the severely mentally ill were available. However, we have come a long way in both diagnostic and treatment options since then. Yet, although we publicly acknowledge that mental illness is an organic, medical problem (just as medical as diabetes, heart disease or trauma), we continue to treat it often as a social or legal problem. Treatment of acute, severe mentally ill patients deserves the same prioritization as heart attack, stroke, or trauma.

Facilitating proper care will take resources, commitment, and possibly courage.

I sit before you as a physician, a husband, and father. I sit before you as one of your constituents. If we approach this situation with the same passion and urgency that we would advocate for our own family member, we will not go astray. We must always ask ourselves: What is the best care for this patient? Many of us, including myself, stand before you tonight ready to assist with revolutionizing our current system of psychiatric care for the acute, severe, mentally ill in the State of Vermont. We are here to advocate for change but we are also here to assist in that endeavor. Thank you for your time.

– Liam Gannon M.D.

GO PRO (as in Probiotics)

By: Dr. David Mooney

There is now ample research and preliminary trials to support the ability of gut microbes to influence mood and behavior. Numerous studies have also shown that the administration of probiotics can even reverse certain psychological disorders.

what-are-probiotics

A brief history:

Fermented foods have provided probiotic bacteria in the gut throughout history. All traditional cultures fermented their foods, lived in and with nature, and ate from it in a way that promoted a now endangered diversity of gut microbes. Food fermentation dates back more than seven thousand years to winemaking in the Middle East. The Chinese were fermenting cabbage six thousand years ago.

The Russian scientist Elie Mechnikov, considered the father of immunology, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1908 for his investigation of the benefits of lactic acid bacteria to human health. He studied the correlation between the longevity of Bulgarian peasants and their consumption of fermented milk products. He suggested that “oral administration of cultures of fermentative bacteria would implant the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract.” Mechnikov believed that toxic bacteria in the gut contributed to aging and that lactic acid could help prolong life. He coined the phrase “probiotic” to describe beneficial bacteria.

People have enjoyed one form of fermented food or another long before probiotics became available from health food stores. Think sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), yogurt (fermented milk products), and kimchi (a spicy condiment usually made from cabbage or cucumber that is the national dish of Korea).

There is no better way to consume a rich array of healthy bacteria than to consume them through wholly natural sources, such as sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, and other fermented vegetables. Bacteria consumed in this manner are easily accepted by the body. They work in various ways. They help maintain the integrity of the gut lining; balance the body’s pH; serve as natural antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals; regulate immunity; and control inflammation. In addition, probiotics suppress the growth and even invasion of potentially pathogenic bacteria by producing antimicrobial substances called bacteriocins (proteins that inhibit or kill the growth of “bad bacteria.”) As these bacteria metabolize their sources of fuel from your diet, they liberate various nutrients contained in the foods you eat, making them easier to be absorbed. For example, they increase the availability of vitamins A, C, K, and many of the B group vitamins.

Most people do not have any side effects to probiotics but for some, especially those whose gut bacteria has been out of balance for years, there can be a “transitional period” when existing problems such as gas and bloating can actually be aggravated.

When choosing a probiotic, it is important to choose one that has the strains that have been demonstrated to be effective for your needs:

For the immune system: L. paracasei, L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, L. johnsonii, L. fermentum, L. reuteri, L. plantarum, B. longum, and B. animalis.

For anti-inflammatory functions: L. paracasei, L .plantarum, and P. pentosaceus.

For depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric concerns: Strains in the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus genuses have been shown to have an emerging role. Look for high-quality probiotics that contain a variety of strains in the billions.

Be Well,

Dr. Mooney


Dr. David Mooney is a native Vermonter and serves as the Medical Director at Lamoille County Mental Health Services. He completed his premedical studies at the University of Vermont and obtained his medical degree at American University of the Caribbean. Dr. Mooney then returned to Vermont where he completed his residency in psychiatry and also a fellowship in Public and Community Psychiatry through the University of Vermont. He has decades of experience in hospital and community psychiatry. His main interests lie in Integrative Medicine for all types of mental illnesses, combining traditional and holistic approaches.

Meet our Newest Blogger: Dr. David Mooney of Lamoille County Mental Health Services

Dr. David MooneyDr. David Mooney is a native Vermonter. He grew up in Newport and is the Medical Director at Lamoille County Mental Health Services. He completed his premedical studies at the University of Vermont and obtained his medical degree at American University of the Caribbean. Dr. Mooney then returned to Vermont where he completed his residency in psychiatry and also a fellowship in Public and Community Psychiatry through the University of Vermont. He has decades of experience in hospital and community psychiatry. His main interests lie in Integrative Medicine for all types of mental illnesses, combining traditional and holistic approaches.

Dr. Mooney enjoys spending time with family, skiing, beekeeping, raising chickens, and playing bass in the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra.

Can Your Work Life Be Your Social Life?

By: Lynda Marshall

Workplace wellness

Worried that your boss will see you chatting to the guy at the next desk? Concerned that your employees spend too much time socializing at work? Relax. Those water cooler chats are actually a good thing—for people and for businesses.

Socializing at work is good for people. It’s perfectly natural that we develop relationships in the place we spend the most time—work. Employees with positive workplace relationships are happier at work, and happier people are more productive, more creative, and generally more successful. Social interactions stimulate the production of oxytocin, the so-called “love” hormone, which can lower cortisol (the “stress” hormone) and blood pressure, induce feelings of optimism, and increase self-esteem. Employees then respond to stress better. Social interactions also allow employees to relate to their coworkers as human beings, which promotes better communication and trust.

The bottom line? Don’t be afraid to get friendly. Not TOO friendly, but that’s a different blog post…

Interested in learning more? Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, has a great TED Talk on this subject.

Socializing is good for business, too. Higher productivity and more creativity are important parts of a successful work culture. Don’t forget, that an employee’s attitude will invariably spill over into his or her interactions with customers and clients. Happy employees tend to stay at their jobs longer, which helps businesses save money. Bottom line? Encourage your employees to get to know one another—it’s “work” that will pay off.

Here are a couple of good pithy articles on this topic:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/09/24/how-much-coworker-socializing-is-good-for-your-career/#3b5ba6c55956

http://www.business.com/company-culture/a-good-investment-how-keeping-employees-happy-benefits-a-business/


Lynda Marshall is the Human Resources Director & Compliance Officer at Lamoille County Mental Health Services in Morrisville. She manages human resources, acts as risk management, oversees employee wellness, and edits a community newsletter.

LCMHS is celebrating 50 years as the designated mental health and development disabilities services agency for Lamoille County. LCMHS serves children, adolescents, families, and adults, including individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Its programs help individuals gain independence and enhance the quality of their lives.