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Turning Complacency into Trust

Turning Complacency into Trust

DAP Health Insights -- Saturday January 16, 2021, from David Brinkman, CEO   

Trusting COVID Vaccines

COVID is taking up to 4,000 lives daily in the U.S., and even as vaccines are becoming available some are concerned. Do the vaccines work, and are they safe? According to the CDC and numerous oversight organizations, these vaccines are the safest and most efficacious vaccines that have ever been developed.

We all need to become advocates for getting as many people vaccinated as possible, according to Dr. Mike Witte, vice president and CMO of California Primary Care Association. You can learn more by watching below.

Coping with Political Stress: DAP Talks

The chaos at our nation’s capital is adding another layer of stress and anxiety to life as we continue the fight against COVID, but self-care can help us survive during times of uncertainty. According to Dr. Jill Gover, behavioral health manager, this type of stress is unique, including how it can affect the brain and influence behavior. She also offers strategies and tips for getting through it. You can hear more in the latest DAP Talks below.   

Coping with Stress During Times of Polit …

Coping with Stress During Times of Political Uncertainty

Hi everybody.  It's been a very hard week and I just want to acknowledge that, wherever you are on the political spectrum the news this week has been very distressing. And so I just wanted to take a few minutes to talk about how to cope with political stress.

When we talk about trauma generally, we talk about it as an emotional response to a terrible event, and it’s usually like an accident or a rape or a natural disaster.  And typically, there's shock and denial that comes initially. It's a traumatic experience, but there's also vicarious trauma that comes from being a part of and witnessing political events that are extremely distressing and part of what makes it so traumatic is the sense of being out of control.

So when political events occur that people don't feel that they can change or that they can control it in any kind of concrete way, it can feel really overwhelming. And rapid political changes tend to have a more extreme sense of stress. The other aspect of this that makes it so traumatic and so stressful is the uncertainty.

And uncertainty makes us suspicious. It makes us less tolerant. Political uncertainty creates a cognitive dissonance in our brain and the brains conflict center is over-activated. So along with that, uncertainty can create a negative bias and we can fall into a kind of doom and gloom kind of perspective.

The constant state of emergency keeps people very fearful and anxious. And what this does is produce high levels of cortisol and over a long period of time, that can be damaging to our health.  So, what's happening for a lot of folks, especially with the civil unrest that we witnessed this past week is a stress response.

That fight flight or freeze reaction. And when that happens for us, we lose our ability to think clearly. We're more inclined to kind of circle the wagons to protect ourselves. We tend to be less tolerant, more suspicious, more defensive, more rigid in our position.  And this need for safety, overrides reason.

It's like our amygdala hijacks, our neocortex. And we are producing high levels of cortisol, as I said before, and over an extended period of time, that will damage our health. What are we going to do about it?

Cause it's a balancing act, right? My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane. So that fine line, that balance of how much of this news do I watch?  And at what point is it going to make me so anxious that it's really not really healthy for me. So what to do?

Well, we say over and over and over again, mindfulness practices. And what I want to say to all of you is that that can look different for each of us. For some people it's a meditation practice. That's very formal for other people that might just be taking one minute to breathe deeply from the diaphragm.

Or it might be a progressive relaxation or a guided visual imagery, anything that will turn on your parasympathetic, parasympathetic, nervous system and calm you down. Okay, those are really, really helpful. Also set some personal boundaries around media consumption. If you're finding that you're getting really, really anxious, don't start ruminating about the news.

We don't need to vicariously traumatized ourselves by repeatedly watching the same upsetting visuals over and over again. So limit it , And my third little chip is today. Dream. I really encourage people to think about positive, inspiring visualizations. Thinking about it at a time in the future, where you are living the life you want for yourself.

Picture that life for yourself. And, give yourself a minute to really flush out the details of ever inspiring visualization of what you want your future to be. That's very therapeutic, uh and engage in some pleasurable distracting activities, whether it's gardening, knitting, art, light TV shows right now.

My personal favorite is Richardson on Netflix.  It's a wonderful Jane Austin soap opera, and it totally does attracts me , and it's very pleasurable. So, whatever that is for you, I encourage you to engage in something that's pleasurable that can distract you and accentuate the positive gratitude lists are really helpful.

They pull up backed and in order to get away from that negative bias of doom and gloom, it pulls us back into a healthier perspective.

I want to also emphasize the importance of sleep. Please prioritize your sleep. What can happen if you're not sleeping is a vicious cycle where you increase your stress. It becomes more difficult. for you to kind of function without sleep. And so, then you rely on caffeine to keep you going during the day, and then that causes more anxiety and more stress, and that contributes to insomnia.

And you're kind of in a vicious circle. So, please put sleep, at the top of your list and a good average is around seven hours. Some people need more, so they believe a little less, but try to have around that mean, and. Give yourself the space and the opportunity to get a good night's sleep.

 And then, last but not least. And my tips is, really identify and come back negative filtering and catastrophizing. Just take a step back and examine how accurate is this thinking and recognize that when we're catastrophizing, we're jumping to the very worst-case scenario and more often than not, it's not going to be as bad as we think it's going to be.

So, I think pertains to what's happening right now in our nation. So, one of my personal favorite mantras that has helped me through this time is this too shall pass just like the clouds passing across the sky. Right. Everything changes the good and the bad and this too shall pass.

Collaborating for Public Health Takes Fr …

Collaborating for Public Health Takes Friends

DAP Health Insights -- Saturday January 9, 2021, from David Brinkman, CEO   

Inspiration for the New Year

The challenge to community health centers is growing as funding continues to be redirected towards COVID relief, threatening care for about 28 million patients they served across the U.S. in 2018. We are collaborating more than ever with other non-profits working for health equity in our Valley for a united approach to public health.

Turning of the New Year—A Show of Hope hosted online by United Methodist Church of Palm Springs, gave everyone a chance to recalibrate and readjust as the New Year begins. It also raised funds for DAP and other non-profits.

Thanks to what Pastor Jane Voigts calls the “magic of saying ‘yes, and,’ Valley entertainers and non-profits convened and collaborated to create a celebration that no one will forget. You can hear more about how together we are finding hope, even in the darkest places in my video message below.

DAP Health Center Will Grow in 2021

Services at DAP are expanding in 2021, but our patients won’t necessarily have to leave home in order to receive them. More mobile van services, help getting Internet access, and telehealth will make health easier this year for many.

COVID’s effect on healthcare and our community continues to develop, but we are acting now to address these challenges. You can read more in our cover story in The Standard Magazine here.

Gratitude for Food Assistance

Food insecurity in this Valley has worsened because of COVID, and the challenges are not ending soon. Thanks to The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Pendleton Foundation, our partners at Find Food Bank distributed over 66,000 pounds of food in just two days at the end of last month. This food will provide sustenance for clients of DAP, plus at nonprofits across the Valley, like AAP – Food Samaritans, The Narrow Door, and The Salvation Army USA.

Freedom from Smoking Clinic Resumes

Smoking cigarettes can cut anyone’s life short, and the threat drastically increases for people with HIV (PWH). We are encouraging everyone to stop smoking during this pandemic, although stress and isolation can increase the urge.

We are excited to launch our no-charge Freedom from Smoking clinic, started this week to provide the support smokers need. This 7-week program is open to the public and will take place each week via Zoom. Anyone interested should e-mail Cory Pulver at cpulver@desertaidsproject.org or call 760-992-0469.

Building Hope on Solid Ground

Building Hope on Solid Ground  

New housing on DAP campus gets city approval, Dr. Kekar says trust vaccines, and Dr. G offers practical wisdom on getting through the holidays this year. 

City Council Approval Feels Like Home 

Even though COVID shook us in 2020, we did not give up on our promise to build additional safe and affordable housing as we expand our campus. We are thankful to the Palm Springs City Council for its unanimous approval last week for us to add 61 affordable housing units and 18,500 square feet of healthcare space at our campus.  

We are proud to call the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition our partner in developing these beautiful new living spaces, with 29 units reserved for residents coming out of homelessness. 

We couldn’t agree more with Palm Springs City Councilwoman Lisa Middleton when she said the expansion is "a stunningly beautiful project, and anyone would be proud to be able to call it home." You can read more in The Desert Sun’s coverage here. 

Dr. Kerkar Urges: Trust COVID Vaccines 

Now that vaccines to fight COVID are becoming available, convincing everybody that they are safe and effective is crucial if we are going to eradicate this infection. DAP Director of Infectious Diseases Dr. Shubha Kerkar shared about why she trusts them, looking at other vaccines in recent memory that helped eradicate polio and smallpox. You can read more here. 

Get Through Holiday Blues with Dr. Gover 

The holidays can be a difficult time, and this year COVID is compounding feelings of stress, anxiety, and sadness for many in our community. Paying extra attention to our emotional health is important this holiday season, and it just got easier with practical strategies from Dr. Jill Gover, DAP’s behavioral health manager.  

Dr. Gover says that having a plan for how you will spend them is important, even if you are isolating at home to keep safe. You can read more here

Coping with the Holiday Blues in 2020

Coping with the Holiday Blues in 2020  

Palm Springs, CA (December 17, 2020) -- The holidays can be a difficult time, and this year COVID is compounding feelings of stress, anxiety, and sadness for many in our community. Paying extra attention to our emotional health is important this holiday season, says Dr. Jill Gover, DAP’s behavioral health manager.  

“For many LGBTQ+ folks, the holiday season is a trying time, especially if you are estranged from your biological family,” says Dr. Gover.  “Many of us have opted for chosen family, and this year we cannot be with our chosen families, either.” 

Having a plan for how you will spend the holidays is important, even if you are isolating at home to keep safe. 

Get started by acknowledging your feelings. 

Feelings of discontent are normal but dwelling in denial is dangerous.  

It’s normal to feel sad if you cannot be with loved ones this year. It’s also normal to swing from feeling happy and excited about the holiday season, to feeling sad and disappointed.  

This year the holidays will definitely feel bittersweet,” says Dr. Gover, who wants to remind everyone: 

It’s important to express your sad feelings.  

If you don’t, says Gover, they can bottle up inside you. If you try to be stoic about it and you keep saying “it’s fine, it’s fine,” the difficult feelings will seep out in other ways that may be harmful to you.  

Don’t pretend to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.  

“It’s OK to acknowledge there’s some sadness here as well.” Celebrating the holidays will look different this year, and due to social isolation, stress and uncertainty around the pandemic, it’s a difficult time. 

This holiday season, things will be different, “and that’s OK,” says Dr. Gover. Her advice is: “Be realistic and let go of previous expectations.” 

Things to keep in mind: 

  • The holidays don’t have to be perfect 
  • It’s OK to change your annual ritual to reduce stress 
  • Recognize that the new normal is not the same as the old normal 

Strategies to work through the holiday season that anyone can use are: 

Set Aside Differences 

Accept family and friends as they are. Recognize that others are experiencing holiday stress and depression, too.  

Stick to a budget  

You don’t have to overspend to compensate for not being with the ones you love, especially if it will create a financial crisis later for you.  

Try these alternatives: 

  • Donate to charity- nonprofits need our help right now 
  • Give homemade gifts 
  • Instead of individual gifts for each family member, consider just one gift for the entire family to use together. This will reduce stress. 

Plan Your Holidays 

Decide how you want to spend your holidays“Think about how you want to spend the holidays now, so they don’t sneak up on you,” says Dr. Gover. “You don’t want to wake up on the special day and feel bereft.”  

If alone, plan to do something specialThis could include setting up a structured time for a Zoom visit with loved ones, taking a hike, watching the sunrise, or making a special meal 

Learn to Say No 

“It’s so important to set limits.” If you feel vulnerable or overwhelmed, it’s OK t to say “no” to an event. 

Set boundaries 

Stay away from people, places and things that are not emotionally or physically safe 

Keep healthy habits  

Don’t forfeit what you’ve been doing during this pandemic to keep yourself healthy.  

  • Get plenty of sleep 
  • Maintain a regular exercise routine  

Don’t Forget Seasonal Affective Disorder  

We are in the darker part of the year, with the days ending earlier. Less sunlight can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)—health experts warn us that these symptoms are worsening due to the required isolating we all have to practice. Read more about SAD here 

Take a breather—create enough time for self-care.  

Give yourself downtime 

  • Take a walk 
  • Listen to soothing music 
  • Do a guided imagery relaxation 
  • Read a “fun” book 
  • Take a bath 
  • Play with your pet 
  • Meditate or do yoga 

About Therapy at DAP 

Desert AIDS Project is proud to offer in-person psychological services, as well as Virtual Visits and phone visits via your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.  If you or someone you know would like to find out more about therapy at DAP, please call (760) 992-0450 or log on to daphealth.org. 

About Dr. Jill Gover 

Dr. Jill Gover leads a team of compassionate and competent California licensed clinical psychologists who are ready to help our community. 

Dr. Gover is passionate about social and environmental justice advocacy and LGBT political activism and she has volunteered with various political causes and campaigns such as the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Human Rights Campaign, and Equality California. Learn more about Dr. Gover here. 

About DAP Health Center    

DAP Health Center (DAP) is a humanitarian health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 8,000 people, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. A variety of wraparound services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other health and wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.    

DAP’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.    

Visitwww.desertaidsproject.orgto learn more.    

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Our Collective Wisdom Mobilizes Our Hope

Our Collective Wisdom Mobilizes Our Hope  

Weekend Wrap Message -- Saturday, December 12, 2020, from David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO  

Mobile Testing and Treatment Thanks to Direct Relief 

STI rates remain the highest they have been for California in three decades, and many in the Coachella Valley continue facing new barriers to care and treatment as COVID continues. But thanks to a generous award from Direct Relief, our Mobile Testing team will regularly bring STI testing and treatment directly to neighborhoods where we know the need is greatest for these services.  

This award also enables us to provide more STI testing and treatment at DAP in our sexual health clinic, staffed by DAP clinicians and following COVID health and safety protocolsDAP is the only California health center among 10 others nationwide that won the Innovation Awards in Community Health: Addressing Infectious Disease in Underserved Communities. You can read more here. 

Dr. Kerkar Distinguished by IDSA  

While COVID continues to complicate healthcare, DAP is taking a leadership position in this Valley, thanks to our medical team specialized in infectious diseases. Dr. Shubha Kerkar was given the top honor in her field when she was elected recently as a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the nation’s leading infectious diseases professional society. Dr. Kerkar helped us write the roadmap created during the worst years of the AIDS crisis, one that we apply today for patient care at DAP. You can read more here

DAP Talks: Volunteers  

Keeping about 200 volunteers rewarded during this time of historic uncertainty seems like it would be challenging, but the mission of DAP inspires so many that Marcie Lerner and Larry Naishtut, our volunteer services coordinators, are in good company when it comes to helping to keep our organization on track. Between the hunt for treasure at Revivals and serving 8,000 DAP patients through a variety of programs, there really is something for everyone if they want to get involved and give back with a gift of their time. You can listen here.  

Vaccinations: Winning Faith, Trust and C …

Vaccinations: Winning Faith, Trust and Credibility  

A look at the history of global pandemics 

By Shubha Kerkar MD, FIDSA, FACP, AAHIVS 

The possibility of control and eradication of the current global pandemic of coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) is now a distinct reality because of two promising vaccines that have shown safe and effective performance in preventing 95 percent of infections in preliminary data of phase 3 trials. 

How will these vaccines work? 

Vaccination prepares the human immune system to combat specific infections. In addition to the very basics, such as barriers to exposure with facial covering/masking, physical distancing and handwashing, vaccination is a powerful tool in the armamentarium of defenses against COVID-19.  

Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines are based on a novel platform using “messenger” RNA to create vaccines (mRNA). They do not use the live virus or even any particle of a virus. They do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept.  

The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.  

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give our cells instructions to make a harmless piece of “spike protein, which is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle. Once the instructions (mRNA) are inside the muscle cells, the cells use them to make the protein piece. In a placebo-controlled clinical trial where 30,000 to 40,000 volunteers in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated groups, there was a total of 100 infections, five in the vaccinated group and 95 in the placebo group. All volunteers who received the vaccine experienced no serious side effects, thus proving safety and efficacy.  

What does history tell us? 

In the real world, however, vaccines are only as good as the ability to be accepted by everyone. Winning faith and trust in vaccines depends on the credibility of the doctors, scientists and experts, and their ability to educate and help calm fears.  Once accepted, then the details of how to administer to the entire world population are practical challenges.   

 History tells us that vaccine strategies have successfully eradicated some of the deadliest infections on Earth, including smallpox, polio and measles, in times of scarce resources. The concept of vaccination was first noticed by the famous Dr. Edward Jenner in 1796 when he gave “lymph fluid” obtained from a milkmaid who had cowpox to James Phipps and established that he developed protection from smallpox.   

 In 2020, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, a deadly disease causing global pandemic for thousands of years. Worldwide vaccination was carried out in an era of no computers, no internet, no easy overseas transportation – all on foot – and simply targeting the worlds population one person at a time.  Of course, now, the challenges are different. 

What are we seeing today? 

Today, as I look around, not everyone is willing to accept vaccination as a silver lining in the dark cloud of this global pandemic. Perhaps there is no clarity, only doubt and mistrust, due to misinformation filtering through the current geopolitical scene, civil conflicts and social media, thus creating confusing layers. 

I remind all to look back in history: When Dr. Jonas Salk discovered the polio vaccine, 70 million mothers stood in line to get their children vaccinated – even before the benefits were confirmed.  Infantile paralysis was a devastating condition seen every year prior to that. Thanks to the polio vaccine – and the trust in that vaccine  today, it is part of childhood vaccination, providing 100 percent effectiveness in preventing polio. 

It is not just us here in the valley, our state or county. We must focus and be part of collaborative international cooperation and the contribution of global intelligence and unite in celebrating this great discovery. We must educate ourselves, gather all the courage and will to educate and counsel each other, and slowly win faith and trust in the possibility of prevailing in this battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dr. Kerkar is director of infectious diseases at Desert AIDS Project and an infectious disease consultant at Desert Regional Medical Center and Eisenhower Health. For more information on vaccinations visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines. 

Image of DAP care provider

Shubha Kerkar, MD, MS

Physician, FACP, AAHIVS, FIDSA

Shubha has been performing infectious disease consultation since 1991 and has the distinction of having been a part of DAP since 1993 when she joined us as a part-time infectious disease consultant. Her practice is primarily focused on inpatient or hospitalized patients at both Desert Regional Medical Center and Eisenhower Health where she cares for individuals with serious infectious diseases. Once these patients recover and leave the hospital they continue on their path to a healthier life by transitioning to Shubha's office-based skilled management program at DAP. Click here to learn more about Dr. Kerkar.

Dr. Shubha Kerkar: IDSA Fellowship is To …

Dr. Shubha Kerkar: IDSA Fellowship is Top Accolade  

Media Contact: 
Jack Bunting 
(760) 323-2118 
jbunting@desertaidsproject.org 

(Palm Springs, CA) December 10, 2020 -- Shubha KerkarMD, FIDSA, was given the top honor in her field when she was elected recently as a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the nation’s leading infectious diseases professional society. This accolade helps shine a spotlight on her decades of service to people with HIV (PWH) in the Coachella Valley, beginning in the early 1990s, when mortality rates were much higher. 

“I am delighted, and I feel appreciative of this recognition,” said Dr. Kerkar. “I recognize that I walk this path of success, together with all, and not alone.” 

Today as COVID presents similar challenges for patients and health care workers to navigate, she continues making a substantial contribution to public healthDr. Kerkar is Director of Infectious Diseases at DAP and Desert Regional Medical Center, and an infectious diseases consultant at Eisenhower Health.  

Dr. Kerkar helped us write the roadmap created during the worst years of the AIDS crisis, one that we apply today for patient care at DAP,” said David Brinkman, CEO. “While COVID continues to complicate healthcare, her expertise in infectious diseases is matched only by her leadership and compassion for others.” 

Fellowship in IDSA is the highest honor in the field of infectious diseases. It is given to those who have achieved professional excellence and provided significant service to the profession.  

“Infectious diseases specialists have trained their entire careers to step up to the plate during a crisis such as the one we face today with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IDSA President Barbara Alexander, MD, MHS, FIDSA. “ID physicians and scientists are working on the front lines of every aspect of this outbreak, from treating patients to developing and studying diagnostics and therapies to working on vaccines. They are also preparing for the next outbreak and protecting individual and public health.” 

As COVID vaccines are nearing release, Dr. Kerkar is quick to point out that public trust in any vaccination is the first hurdle in widespread adoption. She and her peers play a big role.  

“Winning trust in the vaccines depends on the credibility of the doctorsscientistsand experts who must act now to educate and work to calm fears around safety and efficacy,” said Dr. Kerkar. “Once accepted, then the details of how to administer to the entire world population are practical challenges. 

You can watch Dr. Kerkar describe the early days of HIV when she accepted the 100 Women Award from Barbara Boxer at the 2018 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards here. 

Applicants for IDSA Fellowship must be nominated by their peers and meet specified criteria that include continuing identification with the field of infectious diseases, national or regional recognition, and publication of their scholarly work. Nominees are reviewed and elected by the IDSA Board of Directors. Fellows of IDSA work in many different settings, including clinical practice, teaching, research, public health and health care administration. You can read more here. 

About the Infectious Diseases Society of America 

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) is a community of over 12,000 physicians, scientists and public health experts who specialize in infectious diseases. Our mission is to improve the health of individuals, communities, and society by promoting excellence in patient care, education, research, public health, and prevention relating to infectious diseases. 

About DAP Health Center   

DAP Health Center (DAP) is a humanitarian health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 8,000 people, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. A variety of wraparound services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other health and wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.   

DAP’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.   

Visitwww.desertaidsproject.orgto learn more.   

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Regulating Emotions for Elevating Your M …

Regulating Emotions for Elevating Your Mood  

I hope everybody is doing their best to stay safe and working to manage self-care a little bit better during this very stressful time. Today I want to talk about the concept of emotional regulation. Before we begin, I want to stress that emotional regulation does not require ignoring your authentic feelings or suppressing them. In fact, it can help us get more in touch with them.  

Oftentimes when we are overwhelmed, we can get stuck in various emotional states. We can get stuck in rumination and inaction. Or we might experience a negative emotional state, such as extreme depression or extreme anxiety. 

Remaining in these states can pull us down into rabbit holes. If we ruminate about the negative, it can become very hard for us to pull ourselves out of it. My goal today is to help you understand the practice of regulating our emotions a little bit better, which can oftentimes improve our mood. When we do this, we tend to react in healthier ways, and with practiceit’s effective in managing our mental health more effectively.  

Technique One: Opposite Action  

This comes from dialectical behavior therapy, which initially was created to assist individuals who experienced emotions in very extreme ways. And the goal was to help them not avoid the emotion. And we don't want to suppress something that is natural, but we want to learn to regulate it in a healthy way. Rather than feel an emotion at intensity level 10, we want to teach ourselves to feel the same emotion at around a 5 or 6; low enough that we can still cognitively make decisions that are healthy for us. 
 
When we are overwhelmed by emotion, we have urges that tend to lead to unhealthy behaviors. For example, some people might turn to drugs or alcohol in situations where they're feeling overwhelmed. To them, that unhealthy behavior is suppressing or masking the feeling that is uncomfortable to them.  

Again, the goal with opposite action is not to suppress the feeling, but rather to help identify the feeling first.  

For example, imagine I'm feeling overwhelmed and sad, but I also want to regulate it. I'm going to think opposite.  

I’d ask myself what's the opposite of sadIt’s happy.  

I’d also ask myself what’s the opposite action from sad. If I'm sad, I might turn to drugs or alcohol, but a healthy and opposite option is exercise, meditating, or journaling 

Iwe're able to work through a few steps, we can identify what we are feeling, and then we can visualize the opposite of that. From there, we can pick a healthy action to take that delivers us to a better place, opposite of where we might normally go in terms of unhealthy choices. 

Technique TwoVisual Grounding  

Grounding is very much tied to mindfulness and using visual description to ground is simple and accessible. We can use it anywhere, and it brings us to a place of peace. It brings that emotional regulation much lower so that we can think through things in a healthier way. Again, wdon’t want to suppress the emotion. Rather, we want to manage it more effectively, so that our mood is actually improved in the long run. The technique begins by stopping wherever you are.  

You can be in your office. You could be outdoors, or you can be in your bedroom.  

Start by looking around. Then, start describing everything that you see. Your inner dialogue might sound like:  

I have a computer in front of me; next to that is a frame that has a golden rim around it. And below that is my watch, which is black; next to that is a mouse that is white, and to the left of the computer is my desk lamp, which is black; next to that is a speaker; and so on and so on.  

Do that for a couple of minutes. You will find that you focus so much on describing things that you've naturally lowered the overwhelming emotion that you were feeling. This will help you regulate enough to be much more present and in control.  

DAP Increasing Mobile STI Program Thanks …

DAP Increasing Mobile STI Program Thanks to Direct Relief and The Pfizer Foundation 

(Palm Springs, CA) December 10, 2020 -- STI rates remain the highest they have been for California in three decades, and many in the Coachella Valley continue facing new barriers to care and treatment as COVID continues. But with a recent award from Direct Relief, DAP’s Mobile Testing team will bring STI testing and treatment directly to neighborhoods where the need is greatest for these services.  

DAP will also use the award to provide more STI testing and treatment at the DAP campus in its sexual health clinic, staffed by DAP clinicians and following COVID health and safety protocols. DAP is the only California health center among 10 others nationwide winning the Innovation Awards in Community Health: Addressing Infectious Disease in Underserved Communities.  

“We are grateful to Direct Relief and The Pfizer Foundation for this generous award for our Mobile Testing program,” said David Brinkman, DAP CEO. “Together we can address areas of need in our community for STI testing and treatment that that been complicated by COVID.” 

The award is intended to support innovative approaches to infectious disease education, screening, testing, treatment, and care. The awards program is implemented by Direct Relief and is funded by The Pfizer Foundation. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing systemic health inequities, resulting in vulnerable patients and their loved ones experiencing even greater hardship," said Caroline Roan, President, The Pfizer Foundation and Chief Sustainability Officer, Pfizer Inc. "We are proud to support Direct Relief and its network of frontline safety-net clinics across the U.S. to break down barriers to good health in underserved communities and increase access to life-saving infectious disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care." 

“These awards are intended in part to allow providers to test and improve new care models and solutions, which is of utmost importance as healthcare is drastically changing due to COVID-19,” said Thomas Tighe, CEO and President of Direct Relief. “We are humbled by the dedication of these largely unheralded safety-net health providers to improve the lives and health of the people they care for.” 

About The Pfizer Foundation 
The Pfizer Foundation is a charitable organization established by Pfizer Inc. It is a separate legal entity from Pfizer Inc. with distinct legal restrictions. The Foundation’s mission is to promote access to quality healthcare, to nurture innovation, and to support the community involvement of Pfizer colleagues. 

About Direct Relief 

A humanitarian organization committed to improving the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies, Direct Relief delivers lifesaving medical resources throughout the world to communities in need—without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. For more information, please visit https://www.DirectRelief.org. 

About DAP Health Center 

DAP Health Center (DAP) is a humanitarian health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 8,000 people, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. A variety of wraparound services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other health and wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.  

DAP’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.  

Visitwww.desertaidsproject.orgto learn more.  

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