Tag: Mental Health

What is Shame and How Does It Affect Us?

By LaTangellia Walker | Community Health and Human Services Intern

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

Shame is a painful, self-critical emotion; A feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. When we feel shame, it is common to think of ourselves in a negative light. We begin to think that we are ugly, incompetent, or stupid (The psychology of shame, 2023). The moment we begin having these thoughts, we separate our true selves with an ideal image of who we aspire to be. Our ideal image is usually represented by a strong figure, not someone who drowns themselves in self-pity.

Shame is associated with many mental health disorders. The most common mental health disorder that shame is correlated with is suicide, which is often seen as a motive for suicidal behavior. In 2021, 47,646 people died by suicide (CDC, 2022). Suicide rates have been skyrocketing for years and there is evidence that social factors such as loniless, financial ruin and shame are more direct causes of this dramatic increase.

The most common questions we are asked in the United States are “What do you do?” or “Are you seeing anyone?” or “When are you going to have kids?” Oftentimes, when we are being asked these questions, we judge ourselves before anyone else gets a chance to. But what would happen if we let others judge us without judging ourselves? When we leave this world, we aren’t going to care what people say about us. 

So how can we learn let go of our shamefulness?

  • Admit when you feel shame and explore why.
  • Talk to someone you trust about what you are feeling.
  • Find compassion for yourself.
  • Remember that your opinion of yourself matters the most!

 We do not feel ashamed because of our actions, but because of who we are (The psychology of shame, 2023).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, September 30). Suicide increases in 2021 after two years of decline. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/nchs_press_releases/2022/20220930.htm 

Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). The psychology of shame. Psychology Today. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sonnet-freud/202009/the-psychology-shame 

Did You Know That Plants Can Help Reduce Stress?

By Terrie Johnson | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern

Photo by Cottonbro Studio on Pexels.com

Plants are essential in relieving stress due to their mood-boosting properties. They provide a positive experience beneficial to a person’s mental and physical inclinations (Gu et al., 2022). The 4 most common plants that are known to reduce stress are Lavender, Jasmine, Lemon balm and Rosemary.

Lavender is one of the plants that help reduce stress. It contains a rich fragrance that boosts an individual’s mood once inhaled. Lavender’s floral smell is stipulated to have a calming effect, which decreases the experience of stress (Thrive, 2023). Consequently, it can be planted in one’s green space to help create positive moods.

Jasmine is also a stress-relieving plant because of its fragrant flowers. Even though it is identified as a shrub, it gives rise to flowers that release a pleasant smell (Thrive, 2023). Thus, when the fragrance is inhaled, an individual experiences a positive mood. This feeling reduces stress and increases contentment with the surrounding (Gu et al., 2022). Jasmine flowers are also colorful, which makes them visually therapeutic. Thus, they help to advance emotional and mental relaxation that reduces stress.

Lemon balm is recognized as one of the plants with positive effects on stress reduction. When used as an herb, its leaves release tantalizing flavors with calming effects (Thrive, 2023). The relaxing properties advance the mitigation of stress and its related issues. Lemon balm also has purple flowers that appear during summer. Their relevance is the provision of visual relaxation, which combats stress. Therefore, the use of this plant would reduce the condition.

Rosemary is a plant that can be used to trigger benefits that limit the experience of anxiety. In the green space, it transforms the atmosphere with its scent. Since it belongs to the mint family, it releases a fresh fragrance (Thrive, 2023). The resultant smell has positive psychological impacts. For example, when inhaled, the fragrance calms the body. It also energizes the mind, which shifts one’s thoughts from stress. Therefore, it is a meaningful plant that would advance the experience of positive outcomes.


Gu, J., Liu, H., & Lu, H. (2022). Can even a small amount of greenery be helpful in reducing stress? A systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(16), 9778. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19169778

Thrive. (2023). Plants to help ease the mind. Thrive.org. Retrieved from https://www.thrive.org.uk/get-gardening/plants-to-help-ease-the-mind

Are Diabetes Medications the Solution To Weight Loss?

By Terrie Johnson | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern

Photo by Olia Danilevich on Pexels.com

The use of diabetes medication for weight loss is a growing trend among people facing obesity risks. A drug called semaglutide is used to help individuals manage their body mass. Based on existing studies, this medication is effective for weight loss. Its criticality is also based on limiting the development of type 2 diabetes (Singh et al., 2021). Patients receiving a dose of semaglutide medication have a higher chance of maintaining a desirable body mass index. Thus, the use of diabetes medications provides leverage for weight loss. This efficacy also makes it possible to mitigate the development and effects tied to type 2 diabetes. Therefore, the medication is a critical intervention for weight-related risk factors.

Even though diabetes medications such as semaglutide and liraglutide have positive effects on weight loss, they have negative implications. For example, their use curbs cravings for certain foods critical for relevant nutrients. The medications also lead to side effects like diarrhea and bloating (Singh et al., 2021). These issues may limit the achievement of the desired life quality. As such, there is a need to consider the reduction of side effects tied to diabetes medications. This stance would increase their efficacy in the advancement of weight loss. Thus, the interventions instigate the limitation of obesity-related issues that may reduce one’s quality of life.

Based on the review of existing studies, diabetes medication for weight loss is effective in mitigating weight-related issues. They also protect against the development of type 2 diabetes among at-risk populations (Singh et al., 2021). Thus, drugs, such as semaglutide, are instrumental to be applied in the weight loss process. They are effective in handling the risk of obesity and diabetes. Despite their side effects, the positive aspects are immense. Therefore, diabetes medication should be used to promote weight loss among at-risk patients.


Singh, G., Krauthamer, M., & Bjalme-Evans, M. (2021). Wegovy (semaglutide): A new weight loss drug for chronic weight management. Journal of Investigative Medicine, 70(1), 5–13. https://doi.org/10.1136/jim-2021-001952

Got a Tension Headache? Here Are A Few Ways To Relieve It!

By Terrie Johnson | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern

Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

Tension headaches affect the overall well-being of a person. The provision of interventions that relieve them advances the quality of life. One common way to relieve tension headaches is by using painkillers. (Hassan & Asaad, 2020). Medication is the first choice since it relieves pain. Physical exercises, such as yoga, provide leverage for the relaxation of the body, which can help to relieve tension headaches (Hassan & Asaad, 2020). Massages are also used to loosen tension in the head and neck muscles. This intervention is necessary because it stretches tight and shortened muscles, which aids in releasing tension in the head.

Other intervention measures that can be used to advance the relief of tension headaches include getting adequate sleep, using cold ice packs, etc. Changing sleep habits can help limit the experience of sleep apnea or insomnia. Cold packs can also be placed on the head to reduce tension headaches (Hassan & Asaad, 2020). The cooling effect reduces pain and minimizes headaches. If an individual has a tension headache, they are encouraged to stay at home and avoid taxing activities. They would also provide leverage for long-term quality health since they limit the experience of pain.

The application of non-evidence-based intervention measures may also relieve tension headaches. One relevant suggestion is to avoid stressful situations. The probability of having tension headaches are higher when we are stressed, or in noisy environments. That risk decreases when surroundings are conductive. In turn, calm environments are guaranteed to relieve tension headaches.


Hassan, M., & Asaad, T. (2020). Tension-type headache, its relation to stress, and how to relieve it by cryotherapy among academic students. Middle East Current Psychiatry, 27(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s43045-020-00030-3

Clearly Defining Anxiety

By Terrie Johnson | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern

Photo by Yan Krukau on Pexels.com

Anxiety is a mental health state frequently experienced by people all over the world. This is true regardless of their age, gender, cultural background, or religious affiliation. According to Medline Plus in the NIH National Library of Medicine, when experienced, anxiety is the feeling of fear, distress, concern, and panic. As such, anxiety is not only experienced psychologically but also physically. When people are anxious, they perspire excessively, their heart rate increases, and their muscles are tense. However, when it emerges, anxiety is most frequently the body’s response to a stressful event, thought, or encounter. Yet, whenever it happens, it is the body’s ways of coping with overwhelming difficulties that can temporarily cause other disorders.

When anxiety reaches extreme extents, it contributes to the development of anxiety disorder, phobias, or panic attacks. This is evident by increased breathing, feeling as if a heart attack is occurring, and being overwhelmed with weakness. Anxiety reaches levels of this concern when people have mounting challenges related to relationships, school, work, health, or money. Medline Plus states the difference in the two disorders is the length of time the stress persists. Typically, stress sustained for over six months daily contributes to the development of disorders. However, when phobias are experienced, it is often the result of being afraid of things that will cause minimal to no danger. Most often, this is related to things like spiders and snakes, heights, tight spaces, or social environments. Yet, the threat is not as real as the fear that accompanies it.

As a way to positively address problems with anxiety, cognitive behavior therapy is the most effective recommendation. This psychological approach refers to the integration of teaching people to think different to change how they act. When people are trained to react with confidence and assurance, they can prevent being afraid and being overtaken with fear. Another step people can take is towards eliminating anxiety is to avoid triggers. This means talking about bothersome subjects and eliminating aspects of life that provoke fear. Lastly, people can seek psychiatric treatment. This means being prescribed antidepressants to reduce symptoms, increase productivity, and promote a sense of normalcy. Yet, meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques can be just as advantageous as well.


Medline Plus. (2020). Anxiety. NIH National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov


Photo by Krukau on Pexels.com

Brittney Griner and Russian Prison Release

By Terrie Johnson | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern

Credit: Britney Griner Instagram

The release of Brittney Griner from Russian imprisonment garnered a great deal of attention from around the nation. Brittney Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA athlete that was detained at a Russian airport in 2022. Russian officials accused Griner of being in possession of CBD cartridges which is illegal in the country. However, 10 months after being sentenced to nine years in prison, she is back on America soil thanks to a highly controversial prison swap. As such, her homecoming is both joy-filled and packed with the reality of possible lifelong mental health implications.   

CNN Reporters Salahieh and Yan shared Griner was held in an imprisonment camp for women that provided beds insufficient for a small child. Standing six feet nine inches tall, this was one component of her captivity that prevented her from getting sleep. Additionally, the camp forced women to sew as a form of intensive labor. However, Griner was too tall to sit at the tables and her hands were too large for the sewing machines. As a last resort, she was assigned to carrying the fabric used to create various garments. Most notably, Griner was forced to cut her signature locs which nearly reached her waistline. This was considered necessary since Griner could not dry her hair in the frigid temperatures of Russia and constantly battled the flu and pneumonia from exposed, wet hair. Along with these inconveniences, there were numerous aspects of the experience that would cause Griner to need the professional help of a therapist to strengthen her mental state.

As such, it is highly recommended that Griner and her loved ones that have been a part of the journey receive psychological counseling to address any emergent issues. Acknowledging being imprisoned in another country, serving as a political pawn for world leaders, being deemed unworthy for a prisoner swap, and being separated from family; it is imperative that Griner gets the supports she may need. Griner and her family may need to unpack the difficulties of being detained in another country, serving in a penal colony, and dealing with the anxiety of release. This can be achieved in individual counseling, group counseling, and trauma therapy. All parties can also join online support groups, perform community service, and connect with or advocate for Americans still in captivity.

Have you been impacted by a traumatic event? Was your family also impacted? Be encouraged and seek support for yourself and your family. For resources in your community, use the FindTreatment.gov to find the closest treatment location.


Kudryavtsev, Kirill. (2022). How the WNBA could have saved Brittney Griner. BAZAAR. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/politics/a40837022/wnba-could-have-saved-brittney-griner-pay-discrepancy-russia/

Salahieh, N. & Yan, H. (2022). Brittney Griner is back in the US and dunking again after almost 10 months detained in Russia. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2022/12/12/us/brittney-griner-us-arrival-monday/index.html

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). (2023). Helping Patients Cope with a Traumatic Event. https://www.cdc.gov/masstrauma/factsheets/professionals/coping_professional.pdf

Is cosmetic surgery worth it?

By Terrie Johnson | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Plastic surgery, also commonly referred to as cosmetic surgery, is increasing in popularity throughout the United States. This practice can be defined as trying to uniquely enhance one’s physical appearance by undergoing surgical or medical procedures. According to Theunissen Aesthetic Plastic Surgery of Baton Rouge, some of the most frequently received plastic surgery requests are for nose enhancements, breast augmentations, and butt enlargements. Additionally, people often make surgical changes to their cheekbones, stomach area, and arms. Individuals are spending thousands, and sometimes having multiple surgeries, to look younger, more attractive, and socially appealing, often at great risk. The prevalence of butt injections has resulted in numerous deaths with several individuals being incarcerated for illegally providing them. For example, journalist Adriana Diaz of the Daily Mail wrote about the case of Maxine Messam of Bridgeport, New York, who died after receiving botched injections and being driven to the hospital unconscious.

Theunissen Aesthetic Plastic Surgery warns there are repercussions people far too often overlook. While the obvious benefits of altering one’s individual look can be achieved, undergoing plastic surgery procedures can lead to major health issues. This may include developing bacterial infections, having surgical complications, and/or experiencing unforeseen illnesses. Also, some candidates for surgery may be high risk for problems due to their current health state while others may encounter lasting scars, viruses, and/or a diversity of other lifetime consequences.

As such, it is highly suggested people explore healthier alternatives before seeking plastic surgery. If not, there can be significant psychological issues that accompany any operations. Specifically, Michael Reilly and Karen Parsa of Psychology Today warn people that they may develop body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). This is a mental illness individuals develop after becoming addicted to plastic surgery. People with this issue are obsessive in their thinking or compulsive in their actions. Additionally, researchers Randy and Lori Sansone of Psychiatry (Edgmont) found there is a stark rise in patients of primary care physicians and mental health professionals that have undergone cosmetic surgery. These individuals are often at a higher risk for suicide, BDD, and other psychiatric comorbidities. However, there are healthy ways of preventing these mental illnesses. The most beneficial steps individuals can take is to work on their self-esteem and level of confidence.

Comprehensively, Melissa Dittmann from the American Psychological Association (APA) states, it is imperative more psychologists start to evaluate issues related to cosmetic surgery. The importance arises from a major increase in popularity of cosmetic surgery and a rise in the number of people dissatisfied with their appearance and body image.” As such, it is not advantageous to try to keep up with societal norms and magazine standards for beauty. These industries use manipulation tactics to alter the appearance of models, actors, and tv personalities in a way that does not align with their natural state. This makes it important for people to know what they see is not real. Instead, we should embrace our own beauty and not allow society to make them feel less than. Still, for people that choose to pursue plastic surgery for other reasons, it is important to do research on the procedure and the professionals performing it. Per, Theunissen Aesthetic Plastic Surgery following all post-op care orders to prevent complications, infections, or life-long difficulties is imperative.

So what about you? Have you considered cosmetic surgery? Are you working to improve your appearance? Leave a comment on this blog and/or join us on Facebook.


Dittmann, Melissa. (2005). Plastic surgery: Beauty or beast? American Psychological

Association (APA), 36(8). 30. https://www.apa.org/monitor/sep05/surgery

Delray Plastic Surgery. (2020). Fall in love with the way you look at Delray Plastic Surgery. https://delrayplasticsurgery.com/fall-in-love-with-the-way-you-look-at-delray-beach-plastic-surgery/

Diaz, Adriana. (2022). Naked woman, 53, dumped outside Bronx hospital dies ‘after receiving botched butt injections’: Police hunt two women who dropped her off. The Daily Mail. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10516945/Partially-naked-woman-dumped-outside-Bronx-hospital-dies-receiving-botched-butt-injections.html

Reilly, M., & Parsa, K. (2020). Cosmetic surgery and psychological disorders. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/dissecting-plastic-surgery/202004/cosmetic-surgery-and-psychological-disorders

Sansone, R. A. & Sansone, L. A. (2007). Cosmetic surgery and psychological issues. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 4(13). 65-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2861519/

Theunissen Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. (n.d.). Cosmetic plastic surgery pros and cons.https://www.drtplasticsurgery.com/pros-and-cons-of-plastic-surgery/