Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is the month that recognizes the need for Suicide Prevention Awareness, seeing as suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 and the 4th leading cause of death for people 35-54   .

Suicide is always a concern, but with the ongoing pandemic and ever changing landscape that is 2020, mental health is as important as ever. Any health care professional should agree there is no health without mental health.

National google searches for “anxiety and depression” have increased dramatically since March, when the pandemic first started making headlines. Is there a direct correlation? Maybe not statistically, but for those that may have new feelings of anxiety or depression, coping with these new emotions can be difficult. For those that have experience with these mental illnesses, the problem is only compounded by the endless feeling of unknown.

Raising awareness about Suicide Prevention goes a long way towards erasing the stigma of talking about it. Every year we create a design for shirts to raise awareness so you and your group can wear them or sell them during the month of September! We also donate to the National Alliance on Mental Illness yearly because this is an on going battle.

Other ways to help your mental health include getting outside, where social distancing is possible. Go for a walk! This can be especially beneficial if you have a dog, because they will love it too and nothing beats a happy pup. Being outside is a mind booster as well as a physical booster so it’s a win win. Try to meditate if you can even for just 5 minutes in the morning or at night. For a couple more examples that are relatively easy to achieve, check out this article.

Whatever you do, do not discredit the importance of mental health. Erase the stigma around talking about mental health. Be open to the conversation with others or if someone reaches out to you. Above all, remember you are #NotAlone.

If you or someone you know needs helps now, you should immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

For more information, we suggest checking out the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It is a grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Art Becomes Classroom Supplies

Since 2016 we have hosted a contest for students of all ages, all across America for the chance to have their design turned into a shirt that is sold nationally. The contest is centered around the theme of Autism Awareness so the students along with being creative, learn to bring awareness and acceptance to a cause that is impacting more and more people each year.

The over all student winner receives shirts with their design for their entire classroom and teachers, as well as a pizza party and a gift card from WorkPlacePro in the amount of $500. Fortunately this year we were able to see what the classroom decided to buy with their gift card! Maysn and Sophia (5th graders from Texas) were our 2020 winners– check out what their art and hard work earned them!

Their pizza party is delayed until the fall due to Covid-19, but they look forward to having pizza with one of their new classroom books they will be discussing at that time, according to their teacher Ms. Welty.

Check out our winner’s original submission and the winners from the other categories! We always have so much fun hosting this contest and hope to for years to come! Our wide selection of Autism Awareness apparel and accessories change often and are always for a limited time. Check back often, sign up for our email notifications and maybe you could be the winner next year with your own design on a shirt!

Never Skip a Beat on Protecting Your Heart

If you think New Year’s Eve is the only time to make resolutions – think again! Resolutions are about taking steps to change our lives for the better. Consider marking World Heart Day “resolution day” on your calender! September 29th quickly approaches, and WorkPlacePro invites you to join us in setting goals for a healthy heart!

 

What is World Heart Day?


World Heart Day is an awareness-raising campaign that is globally recognized each year in September. The goal of the campaign is to promote heart health, considering cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world. CVD claims the lives of over 17 million people each year. The World Heart Federation wants to reduce that number by as much as possible!

What types of goals should you set?

You can truly take full control of your health. You are also in full control of your goals, and setting the right goals can lead to a long, happy and healthy life.

Doctors across the globe suggest these three key habits to make or break to keep a healthy heart:

1.Exercise


Exercise is the #1 key to a healthy heart! The average adult is expected to exercise for at least 30 minutes for 5 days a week. Take a walk, jog, bike ride or partake in any type of exercise that will increase your heart rate. Cardio exercises help to regulate the work of all other organs. It also reduces stress and regulates blood pressure, which is a goal in itself! Find a routine that works for you and plan to stick with it so you and your health are on the right track!

2. Diet

There are tons of diets out there that suggest fasting, low-carb intake, etc. The best way to eat right is to follow the basic food group/serving suggestions that we learn about in elementary school! Processed foods, sodium and sugars should be avoided as much as possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle. All of these foods cause blockages in your main arteries that can strain your heart and lead to heart attacks and strokes. Everything in moderation! Plan your meals, find a diet that works for you and enjoy feeling better every day with your newly found confidence about your health!

 

3. Don’t smoke

It is very cliche to say and those who do use tobacco products hear it every time they light up. Comments like “you shouldn’t do that” or “those things will kill you” can surely sound like a broken record. However, they are 100% accurate. In this day and age, it’s no secret that using tobacco products will harm our health. If you do use tobacco products, set a goal to quit on September 29th and start your journey to a healthier heart. A healthier you!

Join us this September in accomplishing the goals we set and raise awareness for heart health! Show your support by wearing our “Heart Heath Awareness” design here. Whether you are caring for your own heart or for those around you– we are all tied together!

 

Great (and fun, and rewarding) awareness activities to support your cause

The committee you tasked with finding the right cause for your business has finished its discovery process — and your team finally has a fundraising purpose. High five! Now it’s time to set some goals and activities to help further your company’s mission of helping others.

Continue reading Great (and fun, and rewarding) awareness activities to support your cause

Shining a light on autism

It’s a condition that affects 1 in 68 children in the United States. That’s 1 in 42 boys, and 1 in 189 girls.

One-third of these children are nonverbal.

One-third have an intellectual disability.

And an estimated 50,000 teens with this condition become adults each year, losing important school-based services that help them thrive.

Continue reading Shining a light on autism

Round Up Campaign

Round Up donation total for first 10 month

 

Every time you purchase through the WorkPlacePro.com website you have the option to round up your total to the nearest dollar. When you decide to round up your total you can choose from 3 different organizations to donate your money.

Currently the options are The Breast Cancer Foundation, The American Cancer Society, or the National Autism Association.

In 10 months, you as our customers, have donated $3,635.87 to these organizations collectively. For that, we thank you. We could not do any of what we do without you and seeing you offer up your donations truly means the world to us.

We are currently researching other organizations to add to our round up program. If you have something near and dear to you please leave a comment so we may consider it for our next cause!

How Does ASD Affect Mood and Anxiety?

Autistic people are often anxious. If you have ever been around an autistic person when they are overloaded, you will know that the overload brings anxiety with it as the autistic person cannot cope with something going on in their environment that they are expected to process. If you are the parent or caregiver of an autistic child, then you may have wondered if your child’s mood and anxiety levels are linked with their Autism Spectrum Disorder. The short answer to this question is yes. However, in this article, we will discuss the longer answer of why your child’s anxiety levels and Autism Spectrum Disorder are linked.

 

Anxiety and Overwhelm

One of the features of autism is a difficulty in processing information. Unfortunately, the world today tends to be full of information overload, and things which might not bother a non autistic person will most assuredly cause problems for a person with autism. For example, most people are not bothered by large crowds. However, a sufficient crowd can leave a person with an autism spectrum disorder overwhelmed and anxious. This excessive stress becomes extremely difficult for autistic people to cope with at times. When too many stimuli are thrown at a person with autism at once, especially if the stimuli are new, they may experience what is known as sensory overload. They may go nonverbal, feel overwhelmed, cry and try to get away from the stimuli that are causing the problem. With this sensory overload comes anxiety as they no longer feel as if they are in control of their environment and prolonged stress can actually diminish their ability to cope until the stressors resolve themselves.

 

Fitting In

Meeting social expectations can also lead to anxiety or depression for the the person with autism especially if they are a teenager when mood swings are common in most people. They may feel increased pressure to fit in if they attend a public school or are taught in classes with their non autistic peers. They may try to force themselves to make eye contact which studies have shown can cause a fight or flight response in the autistic brain. They may also hide any special interests that they have, especially if those interests are not ones that are considered age-appropriate for their stage of life. Further, they then may push themselves beyond the point of overwhelm to try to deal with the stress of fitting in in a non autistic world.

As if all of that is not enough, these individuals may have methods of self-expression that are not universally understood. For example, an autistic person may bounce or flap their hands when excited. Society takes this as a sign of developmental disorder or deviance and especially if the person with the ASD is a teenager, their peers may shun and ostracize them, leaving them feeling isolated, depressed and anxious.

 

Recognizing Emotions In Others

Another necessary component of fitting in successfully in society is the person’s ability to read the facial expressions of others for subtle social cues. People with autism have a lot of problems in this area due to the lack of development in an area of the brain used for processing facial expressions. . They can usually understand the stronger emotions showing on a person’s face, but more subtle emotions are more difficult for them to process. Due to misunderstanding the proper social cues, the person with autism may react inappropriately to the situation, though most people learn to figure out the context in other ways. Misinterpreting the situation can lead to a fear of social interaction or anxiety that they are somehow socializing improperly. The increased anxiety and depression can make them much more reluctant to socialize which then leads into a vicious cycle of wanting to reach out, not knowing how and having more and more anxiety and depression piling on.

 

There are a large number of ways that an Autistic Spectrum Disorder and a person’s mood and anxiety levels can connect. People with autism may have problems fitting in and expressing themselves in ways society deems acceptable. They may also find new situations, crowds and changes to their environment to be overloading and a large cause of anxiety. However, despite these connections, the situation is not hopeless. People with autism can learn valuable coping skills which they can use to fend off the anxiety and depression they may face as well as curbing the problems which caused the anxiety and depression in the first place. With some support and the help of coping mechanisms and possibly therapy, a person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder can lead a happy and fulfilling life.

Do Spectrum Children Feel Emotion Like Everyone Else?

There are many stereotypes surrounding autism. One of the most insidious is that autistic people do not feel emotions. Many people see the autistic person as overly logical and even slightly robotic, and like the Dustin Hoffman character in the movie Rain Man, these people view them as an impenetrable collection of tics. As any parent with an autistic child will tell you, this stereotype is a fallacy.

 

The Science

Children on the autistic spectrum do feel emotions. They feel just as happy, sad, anxious, excited and elated as anyone else. In fact, there is not any external difference between an autistic person’s brain and a non autistic’s brain. However, there are certain emotions that they may have more difficulty with, such as shame, pride, and emotions that are more social in nature. One of the reasons for these difficulties with more subtle emotions is found in an area of the brain used for facial processing. In a non autistic brain, this area is very well developed and entrenched early in life. Studies have shown that in most autistic children this brain region does not seem as well developed. This lack of development in the brains of autistic children results in a seeming lack of motivation to socialize in some people and a difficulty in reading emotions. In addition, the amygdala, a brain area concerned with the processing of emotions is also not as well developed or modulated in an autistic brain. This means that autistic people, as opposed to lacking emotions may instead have difficulty thinking through and processing their own. This difficulty in processing emotions can lead to the autistic child becoming overwhelmed faster and more severely than a non autistic child would, which can cause them to shut down, go nonverbal and have other emotion regulation difficulties at times of stress.

 

In Practice

The difficulties autistic individuals can have processing their own emotions and reading the emotions of others mean that there are a number of challenges an autistic child must work around. For example, autistic children will overload under stress faster than a nonautistic child will, and they may not be able to communicate what is happening. As a friend or family member of an autistic child, watch for signs that they are becoming overwhelmed. They may cry, cover their faces, go non-verbal or try to back away from the situation. If at all possible, give the child time to process any new information or stimuli that may crop up.

Some autistic children also have difficulties understanding social and emotional cues. They may have trouble accurately reading facial expressions for more subtle emotions and may mistake a scowl of concentration for anger for example. They also may have difficulty telling when you are really angry versus when you are pretending anger as a joke. Be careful to make sure that the autistic child understands what you are trying to communicate.

 

Understand Their Emotions

Be sure that you understand their emotions. Ask the child to tell you how they feel if that is appropriate for the child and their situation.. Help them learn feeling words and facial expressions. Even nonverbal children can learn to draw pictures or write words to tell you how they are feeling. Be patient. It may take longer for an autistic child to pick up a concept than a non autistic child and getting frustrated at them for not getting it right away will only make things worse.

 

Autistic children are generally not like the Rain Man stereotype and the fact this myth has remained so prevalent is unfortunate. Autistic children are suffering from people’s belief that they do not have emotions and their unwillingness to engage with them. Autistic children have the same emotions as anyone else. However, emotions such as shame, pride, and embarrassment are harder for them to understand or read in the faces of other people. On top of this, autistic children have a greater difficulty processing their own emotions. This means that it may take them longer to tell you how they are feeling than it would for a non autistic child. Patience is necessary. If it is at all possible, give them time to process emotions. If you are impatient, you run the risk of overloading the child. Overload may lead to meltdowns or the child going nonverbal. This is not a pleasant experience and it will make the child far less likely to want to tell you anything about how they are feeling in the future. If you are patient and make sure to explain clearly what you are asking and what you want to know, as well as helping the autistic child to understand more subtle emotions, you can go a long way in helping them to navigate a non autistic world much more effectively.

Supporting a Loved One Through Breast Cancer

When you have a loved one who is diagnosed with breast cancer, it is often hard to know how to help. You may feel lost, hurt, angry or fearful while feeling you have to keep it together for them because they are going through so much. Knowing what to say can also be hard, as things you mean as comfort can come off as anything but. So how do you proceed in this possibly terrifying new world you have found yourself in? How do you comfort and support your loved one? Keep reading, as we discuss some ways in which this can be accomplished.

 

Check Your Own Feelings

If you are not sure how you feel about cancer, it is likely that you will say something thoughtless when faced with it. Cancer is a terrifying prospect, and one we as a society are not taught how to properly deal with. Before you try to be there for the other person, then, stop and take a moment to think. Think about your past experiences with others who were diagnosed. Are you afraid? Angry? Unsure? Anxious? Recognize your emotions and keep them in mind as well as what the person with breast cancer may be feeling.

 

Listen

Above all, it is necessary to listen to what the person is telling you. Sometimes the only support a person needs is someone to vent to or rant with, someone they know has their back and can be a person to lean on until they can face the world again on bad days or someone who will let them celebrate the victories when things are going well. Be sure to show you are listening. Ask questions if you have them, and paraphrase what the person is saying to make sure that you understand. This is not the time for advice.

 

Offer to Be There

Cancer diagnoses are isolating. Offer to go with your friend or loved one to their doctor’s appointments. Appointments can be very overwhelming both physically and emotionally with a lot of information being flung at the breast cancer patient all at once. Take notes for them, to prevent information from getting lost.

See what else you can do- in practical terms. If your loved one has children, perhaps you could cook a meal for the family occasionally, help the children with their homework or do something else concrete to support them.

 

When In Doubt, Ask

No two people are alike, nor are any two breast cancer cases. If you know or have known two cancer patients, do not assume that your friend or loved one with breast cancer has the same needs or wants as the other person with cancer you knew. This should go without saying but when people are trying to be supportive, sometimes they forget to ask what sorts of support the cancer patient actually needs. Breast cancer makes people feel as if their life is spinning out of control, especially at first. Give that person back as much control as possible by listening to their wants and needs and doing as they ask.

 

Breast cancer diagnoses are difficult, both for the person diagnosed and their friends and family. Friends and family may be left feeling unsure, shut out and with no idea what exactly they can do to help. This article is not a definitive guide. However, it will give you a starting point, and ideas for supporting the breast cancer patient in your life.