MU Extension works to fight startling statistics on mental health in Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mental Health Awareness Month, observed in May, is a good time to look at the startling statistics on suicide and mental health challenges in rural Missouri, says Karen Funkenbusch, University of Missouri health and safety specialist.Three statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are especially troubling, she says.

Reduce holiday stress with these tips

COLUMBIA, Mo. – It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say. Picture-perfect families with perfectly coiffed hair and pearly white smiles appear in matching holiday attire in countless holiday television commercials. Perfectly wrapped gifts wait under perfectly decorated trees. How merry and bright! And then there’s the rest of us, says Jeremiah Terrell, a University of Missouri Extension human development and family…

Suicide prevention in the workplace

In the United States alone, suicide accounts for nearly 40,000 lost lives per year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That's an average of one suicide every 13 minutes. The truth is that anyone can be at risk. Sometimes you NEED help. Sometimes you ARE the help.

Do spring safety check on and off the farm

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Planting season brings increased risk of physical injury and mental stress among farmworkers and families, says University of Missouri Extension safety and health specialist Karen Funkenbusch. Before heading to the fields, review basic safety lessons with workers and family members, she says. Rural roadway safety

Spring activities bring stress

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The busy time of the year is upon us – prom, graduation, spring sports and end-of-school banquets. This flurry of activities can bring stress, especially in rural communities, where these activities may coincide with spring planting, says Jeremiah Terrell, a University of Missouri Extension human development specialist.Now is the time to set priorities and make a plan for the entire family, Terrell says. Good time…

Positive Relationship Development Impacts Your Neighborhood and Community Says Specialist

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The relationships we have with others impact different aspects of our lives, according to Amber Allen, a human development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.We have relationships with our children, significant others, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and anyone we interact with daily. Those relationships impact our families, neighborhoods, communities, coworkers, schools, churches, organizations, and…

A Handwritten Note to a Neighbor Can Be a Game Changer

SPRINGFIELD, Mo -- When a neighbor receives a kind note from us in the mail, especially if it is handwritten, they feel like the writer has a deeper desire to serve them or to connect.“One might say that a handwritten note can be a game changer. Especially now when many consider a handwritten note a dying art form,” said David Burton, community development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Free hotline offers counseling, referrals for Missourians in crisis

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missourians in crisis can take advantage of a free 24-hour hotline for stress counseling as well as information and referrals on legal, financial, crisis/disaster and personal health topics. Individuals can seek help by phone or live online chat.

The gift of time

“The best thing parents can spend on their children is time, not money.” — Anonymous

Balancing the parent role with relationship needs

It’s challenging for new parents to manage their new parenting role and their couple relationship. The joy of having a baby leads to a transition for couples that can strain even the best relationships.

Happy relationships good for health

Why do healthy relationships matter? Research has shown that there are physical health benefits from healthy relationships and marriages. For instance, married people have longer life expectancies than single people, especially married men.

Balancing responsibilities

Do you ever feel as if you are trying to juggle too many items at the same time? Do you care for your kids, go to work, attend school activities, take care of aging parents, help with social events, attend meetings, maintain the car, keep up with the house or apartment, do the shopping, fix the meals and...? The list goes on and on. And when is there time in the day to take care of you?

Stress reduction for a healthier you

One of the best ways to protect your health is to reduce the unhealthy stress in your life. Research continues to show us that too much stress robs us of sleep, causes us to gain or lose too much weight, causes headaches, etc. Too much stress also destroys emotional ties with the people we live and work with on a daily basis.

Becoming more resilient

Life is challenging, we all know that. But many of us wonder why some people seem to have better coping skills. What are the secrets of people who are able to navigate through tough times and bounce back? Dr.

Health benefits of tai chi exercise

Tai chi is a slow motion, low-impact exercise that promotes physical and mental health and relaxation. It is practiced as an effective exercise for health through a series of flowing, graceful, gentle postures and movements.

Have you had 15 laughs today?

How many laughs have you had today? Researchers suggest that the average American laugh 15 times or more a day for health maintenance.

Chronic stress leads to health problems

Our lives can be very stressful, and, if we become accustomed to living with these feelings, we may not even realize how much it is affecting us. Our bodies are designed to respond to stressful situations in order to protect us from danger.

Depression: Let’s talk

Chances are you know someone with depression, whether or not you are aware of it. People who are depressed may be at school, at home or in a professional setting, but struggle to share with others the mental anguish they endure. Depression can affect a person’s ability to accomplish everyday tasks, earn a living and take part in relationships with family and friends.

Reawaken the phenomenal you

The poem “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou could serve as an anthem for the average woman and girl, for all of us who do not look like the models we see in magazines or the actresses we see on television. Angelou has written a love poem for every girl or woman who has struggled with body image.

Mindful eating

Do you have a habit of eating when you are bored, lonely, stressed out, depressed or tired? Sometimes we find ourselves eating, not because we are hungry, but because we are experiencing emotions that prompt us to reach out to food for comfort.

Mindfulness: What it is and how it helps

Recent research provides strong evidence that practicing nonjudgmental, present-moment awareness changes the brain. This practice is called mindfulness.

Personal resources to manage stress

Work and life create stress for each of us. Why do some people cope better than others? Here are some ideas from researchers who study human behavior.Before determining how to cope with stresses, take some time to identify priorities. What are the important things in your life? Child rearing, caregiving for elderly parents, buying a home, having time alone or completing education goals are some priorities people have.