healthliteracywebhttps://healthliteracyweb.wordpress.comCombine background in mental health/social sciences, public health, applied linguistics, within the context of multi-level education, in creating positive change for individuals and communities.
Specialties: Health communication, counseling, training, program evaluation and research
A little girl 👧🏼 held her father’s hand while they waited for the Covid-19 results. “I’m Fully vaccinated” he said.
Negative (sigh of relief)
“What if the vaccine helps only a few? Which vaccine? What about blood clots?” These are the questions from a group of worried chronic health sufferers. Then there are those breakthrough cases. There is no full proof answer, because we simply DON’T KNOW enough. There, I said it.
“Being forced to vaccinate violates my human rights” says an anti-vaccine midlife adult. And then there is the “selective population” vaccination… it almost sounds like a biblical reference.
The voice of denial has roots in fear …of the unknown
Being familiar with “trust” issues related to the Public Health Service (former name for CDC) this article resonated about the loss of a African American couple from Tuskegee, Alabama. Keep your masks 😷 on in public, and keep your distance please! A third “booster dose” is on the way, much to our dismay.
A recent BBC article about UK experimenting with air filtered schools included is the use of ultraviolet rays to kill airborne viruses (remember “heliotherapy”?) 🦠 Plus, if your child tests positive the general guidelines are found on CDC and other sites
The World 🌎 Health Organization (WHO) has some great tips including the 3Csto avoid — 1. Crowded spaces, 2. Close contact settings where people have close conversations with each other; 3. Confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation
I also liked this simple video with infographics as it’s easy for teens through older adults to understand by MedVizz
More importantly in this “Russian roulette” of disease symptomatology we need to always remember what’s important !
Escaping three fire zones this summer, it was quite scary but quite apocalyptic. I’ve written about prevention and volunteering before (Rafina 2018 fires; Australia 2020); globally whether you’re in Greece, Algeria, California one cannot understand the speed and destruction of forest fire (pine trees 🌲 are the worst “spreaders” with their popcorn type cones). The smoke pollution is the next BIG and toxic problem for all towns and cities. Those K95 masks 😷 will come in handy….
Heatwave at the beach — it started with a stream of smoke eventually difficult to breathe; the burning 🔥 town was mies away…. News, devastation.
I am appreciative of every single thing from the smallest insect to the largest tree. I understand the value of health, and learning more. The summer reading list included Haemin Sunim’s, The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down. Turning inwards and focusing on mental and spiritual health, this is how I’m able to help my clients as self-care, as every week I do a lot of praying and a lot of meditating. This is a significant week before the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary for the eastern orthodox and Catholic Christian traditions, there usually were summer festivals and fanfare in and around August 15th. This year once again, COVID and many fires 🔥prevent this from happening.
During the first COVID lockdown I heard a guru saying how the earth will live beyond what we humans do to destroy it, and it’s true. Then there is the late Steven Hawking’s prediction for the next 200 years (video predictions).
At this moment … crickets (and cicadas) will continue to live, as also the trees, and nature will re-evolve. The crickets will continue to sing as we should be happy that we make it through …. Here is a clip of what I heard today the cicadas and crickets say ….
We are quickly gathering groups 🆘 to help those who lost it all in the fires 🔥 their property, special groups helping devastated and hurt strays…. Many lost their livelihood of olive groves, as replanting appropriate trees will have to happen in Fall and Winter months to help long term with preventing flooding, and rebuilding nature.
In these times we need to be grateful for what we have even if it’s not much. I appreciated a gif someone sent me that says “when you see the sun and you have your health, think that you have an entire wealth, good morning.” I also appreciate these short videos and meditations and am grateful to the people who make them 🥰…
What 5 things are you GRATEFUL for right now ?
I’m happy to have made my own summer wine (white sangria version and indeed as the song says strawberries, cherries 🍒) and enjoy it with friends.
My family, friends and their summer smiles
Beauty in color of nature, inspired art (including street art), and our new turquoise budgie named “Azu”
Summer fruits 🍉 and new tastes like eggplant (aubergine) salad (recipe includes garlic, onions, olive oil, red pepper, parsley, a few walnuts and of course 🍆🤓).
Being a child of God enjoying and maintaining the gift 🎁 of nature.
Summer months are time for summer fun! We enjoy outdoor barbecues, evening strolls, ice cream, sunrises and sunsets, water sports, swimming or simply splashing around, outdoor fun in the city or countryside, even in our own backyard.
Our interaction with nature, bounty of vegetables and fruit for us to eat, and increased physical activity make this particularly a “healthy” time in most of our yearly repertoires. Children especially love the splish, splash, woosh, of water… and parents or caretakers need to always remember things to keep children safe. But do we know enough? After years of health promotion in magazines, internet, news channels, radio, we generally all know
drinking enough fluids/replenishing often in hotter months (Parents.com has some great “hydrating” tips in getting the younger ones to drink more, beyond the 6 glasses of water each day recommendation given by the American Pediatrics Association depending),
theimportance of wearing sunscreen and trends show that adult caretakers are indeed applying to their children but are they doing this for themselves?
On swimming and water sports safety do we know enough? One can be health literate about several choices, but when it comes to perception of risk, this is another matter altogether! Studies show what we intuitively and consciously know… men tend to take more physical risks than women (Harris & Jenkins, 2006, University of California, San Diego). My question is whether this also happens with risks taken with their children? Many a mother, aunt, grandmother, babysitter, teacher may be over-cautious about their child’s safety, but from my and others’ experiences it may be that our male counterparts are lagging behind in knowledge of what they need to do to keep children safe. Even the messages we give (consciously or not) to our young boys/men over time?
People may drown due to other health issues (heart attack, fainting spells, use of substances), those be overconfident in their swimming ability, those who go without using life preservers in activities like canoeing, and several other unintentional drownings as documented by the CDC . Worldwide data as tracked by the World Health Organization which estimates that drowning is the 3rd leading cause of desth! ).
How does perception of risk, and developmental age (particularly of young adults who tend to engage in more sensation-seeking behaviors than others) play a role in these incidents?
Do we need to ante up our health efforts and ‘talks’ with young people and young parents? This can be MORE discussion about the importance of paying attention to warning signs and looking at more appealing signs (the applied linguists have a lot of work to do in helping interdisciplinary efforts towards behavior change!)
Understand how our urban development or growth of vacation resorts may affect the nearby ecosystem that may in turn affect us? If for example in the U.S. state of Florida experts indicate that there are indigenous 1.3 million alligators we assume that they are bound to “leak in” to back yards or vacation wetlands — they’re fast and have even been documented climbing up fences very effectively. Also we should NOT feed these animals (wild animals in general) as this encourages them to come interact with us more… at our risk.
Balance is everything, and police or security personnel cannot be at all places at once!
They are handsome, debonair, can talk you to the moon 🌝 and back again…but as with that, some dark sides of the moon we cannot see clearly until it’s too late. I cannot say how many times I’ve heard this. The experience of the ‘blame game’ where partners take no responsibility, some using their physical or economic strength (if their partner/wife is raising the children and do not work) as male privilege. Worse, the intentionality of a crime where many wives and mothers, girlfriends, are killed as a “result” of their wanting to leave the relationship — perhaps with building pressure from job loss or stress of COVID, who knows? Fits of narcissistic rage, long-standing anger builds to the point of abuse and death. This borderline personality of “I love you but I hate you” is alive and well within all levels of society. There are many sites we can refer to better understand what the POWER & CONTROL issues are and in order to help our friends, neighbors, fellow citizens become more aware of anger management, domestic abuse, and issues of equality. The best model by far is the ‘Duluth Model’ developed in Minnesota in the 1980s as it is still used and modified by many counselors, organizations, and advocacy groups today.
The recent Greek murder case of the 20-year-old Caroline Crouch, beautiful and talented, experienced kickboxer, a mother of an 11-month-old infant, who wanted “out” from a relationship with her husband of almost twice her age, is now dead. Murdered by her husband Babis Anagnostopoulos, who recently confessed …. a national shocker for the country and now the world, for what seemed a ‘perfect crime’…. her personal data watch helped crack the case. It brought me back memories of an older crime from the 1990s in Boston, Mass, a story which also made national headlines with 3rd party accusations — another Carol, and her husband Charles Stuart. She was very pregnant, family issues no one was aware of, and her husband became greedy. In a scene between Rey and Ben (a.k.a. Kylo Ren), the intensity between the characters and being ‘put down’ to feel emotionally vulnerable ….the “Join Me” scene….it is subtle, but the moment of weakness is evident.
Confronting fear and looking in to the dark side to find the “ray” of light was an intentional part of Star Wars. An enjoyable post by Digital Spy shows how Rey helps Ben (Kylo Ren) ‘escape’ from the dark side. Indeed, this is what many women do, as natural caretakers, to help or ‘save’ partners in the name of love. We all need to be in constant check ourselves of our behavior and choices. But as the story made horror film of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde goes, it may be our chemicals and our becoming possessed from this darker side that leads to unexplicable reactions.
Many of these “princes” are indeed fabulous in the beginning of relationships…. until the children come and/or the stress builds …. a large falling out can happen to many who experience the stress of a new baby the first couple of years. For men who may not comprehend that a wife /mother has her priorities on her baby/young child until the balance is resumed, can experience intense emotional conflict. Many of us have been there….with this experience of the “fairytale gone bad” due to longstanding narcissism, borderline features, some traumas (untreated), all too familiar. It does not matter who you are, but it seems that if you are younger, alone or isolated, these ‘characters’ can take this as part of an advantage….
Patterns of behavior can start young … some relate to developmental immaturity, others carry throughout life.
During one of my graduate public health classes years ago, we had created an intervention for violence prevention emphasizing how younger relationships may sometimes end up in dating violence — examples of “power” struggles and use of force (physical, sexual, psychological) because of fear of loss and intense jealousy (i.e. breakup) which can end in a horrible situation, even death.
Communication skills and empathy building, anger management (building EQ) are critical.
Any intervention should include both the perpetrators and the victims. As one teacher friend did by building a communication “card” for her students to deal with bullying, we all need one through life!
Seek counseling and spiritual guidance.
Share your stories so that others can learn from them.
Personality is complex, aspects build over time, the side that past psychoanalyst Carl Jung referred to as our dark side is sometimes unknown fully even to us! Spiritualists call this evil. I recall this pictured vividly in an older film movie “The Ghost” as life circumstances and jealousy lead to extreme actions. The shadow, the anima, the animus, and the Self – as Jung wrote has both a light and a dark aspect… modern research indicates that we CAN help others control these ‘inner demons’ with meditation, prayer, and cognitive restructuring, NLP (or whatever works for them). Of course meditation helps with depression — longstanding depression or intense anger issues, one should always check with a professional! Many Bible verses call for protection, and can be found on-line. If this is something one wishes to seek out, then practice reading these daily!
The “dark triad” of personality, such as the one that may be indicated in personal or workplace relationships, is one that develops over time. It is a combination of narcissism, sociopathy and Machiavellian traits. Wikipedia lists the “Prince of darkness” as being either Satan (in the Biblical sense) or Machiavelli the statesman historical figure of Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 -1527) whose cunning political prowess kept him in power at the helm. You might think his childhood hero was Pinocchio, an innocent and manipulated wooden puppet who eventually developed remorse for his actions….not sure about Niccolo! He wrote the infamous book, The Prince, which some say he was writing about himself, while others think was about what he witnessed around him. It’s worth a read, as we all need to keep these dark sides “in check” as when we allow the ‘takeover’ we can destroy our own life as well as that of others….
If you are READING this, and you recognize some of the emotional instability patterns in several relationships (frequent break-ups, rage at others especially if they ‘don’t pay attention to you’, emotional up and downs) it will benefit you to seek professional help.
Austen Lennon, M.D. has a newer book (2018), a ‘must buy’ for those who want to help people with borderline personality (see GoodReads here). Several sites refer to POWER & CONTROL issues, intending to help our friends, neighbors, fellow citizens become more aware of domestic abuse and issues of equality. I liked this site developed both in Canada and in the U.S. to Reach Out and ‘help a friend’ (webpage). The video below is a ‘taste’ of some of the issues of an emotionally abusive relationship (Duluth Center). You can try to kiss the toad, as that childhood story goes, but they might be one of these very ‘dark’ princes…. so keep your eyes on your inner mirror.
Some days you want to stand out …. even more now with those face masks many of us are still wearing…. because some of us work long hours even some weekends through much of June there are some days, consciously wearing happy colors like yellow can change one’s mood.
We took off in front of that beautiful winged horse we all know from Greek mythology named Pegasus, and then heading over evening to have a seaside meal of calamari (καλαμάρι), or hot dish calamari with purée chickpeas (ρεβύθια), a fresh Greek salad, in Corinth (check out this website as a greatest places in Greece). Mediterranean cuisine makes a wonderful end to perfect days. Of course it’s all better with cheerful friends.
Smiling 😊 is contagious, as I remember taught this years ago when I took a “smiling therapy” class for enhancing my clinical work with youth and groups ….yes there are direct positive affects on our neuronal brain connectivity by looking upward and smiling on our own.
Be like a sunflower 🌻 spread a smile 😃 it’s a simple curve that makes everything better.
It is morning 8 a.m. first time at the beachside for that enjoyable cappuccino — yep! glad that your nose still smells coffee as it’s a sign you don’t have Covid. There they were the chirping happy wrens out for their morning snack. There is a great article on how to attract wrens to your backyard, what about to a favorite outdoor cafe ?
I always tell my son “the early bird gets the worm”… and that’s how it is. You see it in nature… there is competition and resources may be few to scarce. We talk about resources in public health as we see transient populations and of course fear of the unknown or coping during hard times. Animals compete and adapt all the time to change, why are we different? Preventing disease but accessing care early on makes a world of difference and part of global health literacy! As far as getting your sense of smell back ….that too (see DW article).
It was the first time in almost a year that I went to the beachside cafe (featured here at Schoinia’s Bay in Marathon, Greece, the original marathon that is). I had time to think 🤔 about what time I’ve wasted or gained the last two years, resources lost or gained, my own family’s marathon . Spring fever and our own need to socialize, to “belong” and also to feel loved 🥰. This isolation has caused many to feel hopeless and the need to have faith and patience is great. Many feel they’ve lost opportunities, or is it time to rework new ones?
For some, this isolating leads to more “prickly” feelings towards others as people seem antisocial, recently in the U.S. we hear more daily crimes – killings seemingly getting worse. This afternoon in my 15-minutes walk I came face-to-face with a little rodent on the road, a little porcupine. According to Native American folklore (Source) In most Native American tribes, the porcupine is a relatively minor animal spirit, most often associated with self-defense and cautiousness (Covid for sure has fostered this in many of us).
Some Southwestern tribes, such as the Hopi, porcupines are seen as a symbol of humility and modesty, for others, porcupines considered lucky animals. Supposedly, a hunter who spotted a porcupine was sure to have a good day hunting. It is a call then to begin the “hunt” for what one needs…
Porcupines! teach us to be humble, our self-defense in a world of seeming insecurity? or a sign that the “hunt”will be a lucky one?
Faith is not tangible but it is there, a mindset, a feeling, strong motivation for making through the most difficult challenges. A recent cover of Bloomberg magazine featured an artistic image of US President Biden with the line “Move fast and fix things …” eluding to his first 100 days. We all want quick fixes of broken economies, civil unrest, and in our personal pain (from self meds to “ridding ourselves of toxic people” ) but do we look in the mirror? Do we clean our own internal house ? From our choice of words, to the food we eat, the air we breathe (as they say there is no “plan B” to care for our planet 🌍), and our health literacy about our self care and community care is of vital importance to us as local and global citizens.
Over a decade now, I’ve been teaching a course called “Developing the Global Citizen” a hodgepodge of interdisciplinary information and tasks aimed to help increase student awareness of individual and social responsibility as each are challenged to reflect on common issues as well as career development, communication, even corporate responsibility and pandemics! Most students reflect on how much they learned years later. That said, we touch upon health in my courses as a combo of mind, body, spirit but seeing since I cannot mention a specific religious belief the idea of “wholistic health” is certainly one we all can identify with.
The importance of “May day” is not just dancing around the May pole and gathering flowers 💐 , it is about labor laws and being mindful of all our “rights.” This year May 1st was special to Christians of the Eastern Orthodox faith as they celebrated Easter weekend. After one year of lockdowns and not going to church for many the opening of places of worship is their personal “resurrection” back to normalcy.
As George Michael’s song FAITH this year many of us identified …“you gotta have faith” or perhaps 🤔 with SEAL who sang “Crazy”…. we need to survive with humor, social support and spiritual strength as we do not LIVE alone. And if you do isolate ask Why? Deal with your fears, listen 🎧 to affirmations change your self talk. This is faith…. surviving and coping with the most difficult challenges. In these post-covid days we need to continue believing that ‘we will overcome.’
Build faith in your own abilities but also a strong spiritual foundation, as only this can “weather” the elements. Your own experiences can truly help others learn to better cope and survive. Sharing information and advice is caring for your fellow human beings. This last year was one of strong spiritual building for many of us and a show of faith.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don‘t see the whole staircase.
Do you have bad breath 😷? Do your gums bleed 🩸 in excess? Do you get your teeth cleaned at least 1-2 times a year? Keeping overall well-being includes a combination of eating right, brushing teeth twice a day (flossing at least once!) and preventive care especially if you smoke and have chronic health issues that may lead to gum disease. These guys have it right —https://www.123dentist.com/april-is-oral-health-month/
Having had painful gum surgery because my back teeth had “pockets” that caused later issues, and because of a misdiagnosis — the one time I went to another dentist and his machine didn’t pick up my cavity (or perhaps he should lose his license) I went on for months with full pain that got out of control 3 months later … I lost a tooth last Spring.
Realizing that my own dentist inspires me with his knowledge and skill, and knowing that during crises people don’t go to the dentist, it reminds me to remind others …. TRUST your dentist and get your teeth cleaned !
I was so happy when my six-year-old Godson was playing with plasticine (clay) and came up with this …complete with cavities and a “tool” to remove them.
Obviously, the school 🏫 and parents did something to keep him health literate about his teeth 🦷. We need continued education around good oral health. This why health educator teams need to include the allied health professions.
Here are some other images and adverts …love the one with the toothbrushes and Covid, and even in our orthodontist office we wear foot covers to prevent the spread of germs 🦠…. it’s a forgotten area. If you’re like me and you like sugary foodies remember your sugarless gum and brush often !
Smile and the world is a happier place! Keep it clean and pretty ….
April is National Poetry Month, in the U.S. Inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), the Academy of American Poets established National Poetry Month in 1996.
I have been writing poetry for a very long time and only recently during quarantine had a bit more time in my plethora of life and work matters, to pick up some poetry books to read, and of course write more. Why not published….. hmm? Too busy reading articles. Part of inspiring hope is through literature and poetry. Poetry can take many forms, it can describe a mood, reflect on subconscious or conscious thoughts, history, fantasy or reality. Quotes and poetry add great depth to our lives, to inspire, to make a difference, so dream and think like a poet!
Robert Frost, and many of his writings are classics, one of my favorites, as also the metaphysical poet John Donne. Andrew Spacey in Owlcation poetry analysis of Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (written in 1922) provides a great analysis by stanza (group of lines divided into groups and separated by lines in a poem). Indeed some of Frost’s lines are “dark” but then, a lot of music and poetry is. It describes our mood, subconscious thoughts or simply a state of mind. Frost has that ‘hunky sensitivity’ — endearing to many of us romantic types — this poem is indeed reflective of isolation, and if anyone travels to Vermont or New Hampshire during the long winter months, they can understand the context of a seemingly mundane world.
This may be how some people even view the current pandemic. Mundane and isolationist.
Diseases categorized as ‘pandemics’ used to travel very slowly, in older days. So slowly that it took decades and even hundreds of years for these to reach continental Europe from places like Asia. Although it has been documented that quarantines helped control disease spread in the Middle Ages, we as human beings cannot live very long in isolation. We do not travel solely on ships anymore, we are ‘airborne’ — and this is the issue of the current COVID-19 and related SARS family of diseases. COVID continues to get the reputation of being a ‘clotting disease‘ and unfortunately damages multiple organs. We keep losing people, the medical community is overburdened and fatigued.
One of my students recently lost his wife, mother of two, ages 13 and 9, may she rest in peace. Others we know had been hospitalized, some ‘survived’ but still report extreme exhaustion and having ‘fuzzy’ unclear thinking processes.
It takes time. We want to believe that self-tests will shed light on the “Typhoid Mary” types of of our communities, the Spreaders and potential Carriers. We hope that having a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated will help humans move forward so it is not as in ‘the end of days’ or some version of the Apocalypse. We need to go back to the basics of trace data, inform close-nit groups, and train community health aides.
There is confusion, an anti-vax movement, and for sure no perfect solution. As with everything, we need to take action, to educate, and to empower. A recent March correspondence article “Covid-19, cults and the antivax-movement” in The Lancet, I am aligned with this: “Burgess and colleagues drew attention to how people who might have suffered disproportionate economic and health consequences from COVID-19 are now being asked to trust the same structures that failed to provide adequate resources and social protection during the pandemic…..However, Burgess and colleagues make a distinction between ‘people wholly opposed to vaccinations (anti-vaxxers) and…vaccine hesitancy.’“
the tears of pain,
of victory, of power,
the story of greed.
the birth of life,
of growth, of courage,
the story of survival.
the light of truth,
of freedom, of serenity,
the story of peace.
(B. Kondilis, 1991)
Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com
We start with a few, and keep adding…. this is how preventive education starts. Individual is good but population-based even better. Meaning the “biggest bang for your buck.” No one knows it better than people trained by the CDC or similar entities. As it seems, it makes no difference if we were trained 20 years ago or 40 years ago. Whether it was the AIDS epidemic or the Covid Pandemic, increasing health literacy remains a consistent goal.
We are trained to give information, to work with teams and media (radio, TV, internet, magazine, newspaper, you name it), for any type of disease (chronic or infectious/ communicable). Mental health trained clinicians deal with loss, help people better understand their strength and resilience, to ‘have a chance’ and make the world a better place to live. We know there is mistrust, but we also know how important trust-building is to the patient-provider relationship. Healthcare professionals, allied health professionals, mental health professionals all bring their ‘arms’ to the “Round-Table” if there ever was a health communication ideal of ‘Camelot’….
I always loved the phrase “Go fly a kite!” When one is angry 😡…. to give time to relax the intense emotions, breathe some oxygen and get some healthy sunshine 🌞
In Greece this Monday it’s a cultural tradition to fly a kite 🪁 symbolic of the soul flying high as the majority are Eastern Orthodox Christians and it’s a “clean Monday” no meat, subdued and happy moments with family and the beginning of the 40 days of Lent. In light of recent city clashes with police 👮♀️ as well as anarchistic rallies in this part of the world of civil unrest, we need to think 🤔 and take some time to personally contribute to a better world starting with us … manage our systems and manage our anger in healthier ways…. and yes it’s not as easy as it looks (your kite flying I mean 😏)
Go FLY a Kite!
Ms. “Sarakosti” keeps time with her legs ! 7 weeks ….
And of course who would forget Ms. Sarakosti her 7 feet symbolize each week of Lent. She humbly reminds us to turn within and add our family members names (optional) to keep us on path for our detoxification and spiritual growth.
The hope is that we learn to soar and the “growth mindset” takes some time ….
Manage yourself first ….including rethinking about what you do and say. No one is perfect.
Sit with it — Extreme emotions may be warranted but not to the detriment of your relationships. Start counting ….it takes about 10 seconds to realize how you’re feeling and a quick body scan, 🛑 reflect and then act!
Listen — Can you really “hear” truth or simply perceive criticism ? Good friends and family often want what’s best for us, so tease out what is valuable.
Clean house — inner and outer, literally and figuratively. A bit of fasting and reflecting is healthy. Decluttering also makes you feel great and the KonMarie method is one to follow!