Technology Support for Mental Health, Wellness & Well-being

July is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

In this episode of The Wellness Connections Podcast I talk about the late Bebe Moore Campbell and the formidable work and commitment she did, which supported underrepresented communities. In addition a description of the digital platforms and APPs that are available for the support of Mental Health Wellness for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), QTBIPOC (Queer and Trans) Mental Health.

I introduce Katara McCarty’s website where she talks about the Exhale APP. She created the APP to support the Emotional well-being for BIWOC (Black, Indigenous, Women of Color). Her website has BIWOC Resources for your use.

A brief description of Health In Her HUE, a digital platform that connects Black women and women of color to culturally competent and sensitive healthcare providers, and their TEAM goal to “empower women of color, and their allies, to share, learn and innovate around the health issues that disproportionately affect them” is provided.

When you have a free moment listen to my podcast to learn how these websites can be used for your well-being journey. The source links are provided for your easy access to information and APPs.

You can also listen to the Wellness Connections on Apple podcast, Google podcast, and other platforms of your choice. Just click the link below to select.

The COVID-19 Vaccine PassPort Conversation

Vaccination proof for travel outside the USA is not a new requirement. However, since there are people who object to vaccination requirements, I am curious enough to ask “what is the down-side?” On the other hand, what are your thoughts on having travelers arrive in the USA who have no “proof” of negative response to the COVID-19 infection with them? I wonder whether that works for us in the USA healthwise.
For your information, some businesses are already accepting the New York – Excelsior Pass, which is “digital” proof of vaccination and “virus-tested” passport. In fact, Madison Square Garden used it recently to allow admission. Is it disconcerting to you when businesses use this option as a way of assuring their clients/customers that some attempt at protecting them from COVID-19 infection has been made?

At this writing, New York is, to my knowledge, the first US State to have a “digital” version of vaccination proof, which can be accessed on a mobile device. The Excelsior Pass is valid for 180 days after the final dose of the vaccine. When it expires, a new Pass can be activated. The COVID-19 PCR Test pass is valid until midnight on the third day after a test. After it expires – it can still be seen on your device in a dimmed format.

I am pleased to report, that I was able to download the free Excelsior App to my iPhone. After scanning the QR (Quick Response) code that is assigned once a vaccine or test is given, I was able to retrieve my information onto my mobile phone. As a result, I have “digital” proof of my vaccine history and a recent COVID-19 PCR Test. I do not have to print out a copy of my credentials. All I have to do is provide a photo ID.

If you want to, you can also use Excelsior Pass at the website, and print a paper pass without using the mobile app. Read more about it at this link: NY State Excelsior Pass

COVID-19 APPs to the Rescue

Are you remembering the ‘good ole days’ when gathering together for an afternoon of fun was not a COVID-19 health issue? I think we all are nostalgic about those times. As a matter of fact, some of us are ‘sick and tired’ of following the ‘rules’.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted ‘normal’ everyday socializing. And we are all feeling the strain of not having time together.

FYI – The good news is that there are Apps, like UnityLink, which can be used to assist you in having a reasonably safe way of gathering with family and friends.
I am encouraged that in the days ahead, these types of tools will be used more frequently.

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Apps for Breast Cancer


Photo by ready made from Pexels

I am always looking for technology that helps us to lead our lives a bit more stress less in ways that we may not have thought of, especially during this challenging time of Covid19. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Keeping that in mind, I was fortunate enough to learn about these Breast Cancer Apps, many of which are Free. I am eager to share them with you.

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Eye Ergonomics

I am certain that many of you spend hours working on  your desktops, laptops, mobile phones, then there is  Twitter, Facebook, Email,  Excel, Word, APPS, etc. etc.  Have you considered that all of this constant viewing of computer screens during the many hours of a given day  is having an impact on the ability for us to focus with our eyes?  I know I have not been thinking about the strain, although I have suffered from headaches. I have also had blurred vision during the course of the day, along with  neck and back pain.  That’s why I was interested to learn about a New York Times article by Mickey Meece, which offers solutions for eyestrain caused by computers. via Easing Eye Strain With the Right Lenses – NYTimes.comAfter reading the article, I thought it would be helpful for you to know what else I found out, so here is my synopsis.  As always you can click on the links provided for more details.

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is a temporary condition resulting from focusing the eyes on a computer display for protracted, uninterrupted periods of time. Some symptoms of CVS include headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, redness in the eyes, fatigue, eye strain, dry, irritated eyes, double vision, polyopia, and difficulty refocusing the eyes. These symptoms can be further aggravated by improper lighting conditions (i.e. glare or bright overhead lighting) or air moving past the eyes (e.g. overhead vents, direct air from a fan).via Computer vision syndrome – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Presbyopia is a condition where the eye exhibits a progressively diminished ability to focus on near objects with age…The first signs of presbyopia – eyestrain, difficulty seeing in dim light, problems focusing on small objects and/or fine print – are usually first noticed between the ages of 40 and 50 . . .via Presbyopia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

What can you do about eye strain?

In the article by Mickey Meece he discusses special purposes glasses which enhance your ability to see the computer with a sharper focus.

Here’s a list of suggestions I found at the Ergonomics website:
How To Prevent or Treat Eye Strains?

  • Take breaks by getting away from the computer desk for a few minutes
  • Eyes need to focus at different distances from time to time. It’s a good idea to follow the “20/20 rule” — every twenty minutes, look twenty feet away for twenty seconds
  • Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep (very slowly). This will help rewet your eyes.
  • Blinking is very important when working at a computer; it rewets your eyes to avoid dryness and irritation
  • Massaging the temples with your eyes closed for a minute may alleviate the symptoms
  • It is recommended that the viewing distance be around 45 inches away at horizontal eye level or 35 inches away with a 30-degree downward gaze angle
  • The general rule is to keep viewed material as far away as possible, provided it can be read easily. There is no such thing as sitting too far away from the screen as long as you can comfortably read what is on the screen! And don’t forget that you can increase the font on the screen by zooming into the webpage, document or changing the resolution on the screen.
  • keep viewed objects at about the same distance if you have to look back and forth a lot eg. Reading paper documents and looking at the screen to perform a task
  • Looking downward means more of the eye surface is covered by the eyelid, and two other things happen: the eyes unconsciously blink more, and they produce more lubrication

Computer glasses put the optimum lens power for viewing your computer screen right where you need it for a clear, wide field of view without the need for excessive focusing effort or unhealthful postures. The simplest computer glasses have single vision lenses.

a. This lens power relaxes the amount of accommodation required to keep objects in focus at the distance of the computer screen and provides the largest field of view

b. The lenses can be tinted to remove reflections of light from the front and back surfaces of your lenses that can cause eye strain. They also reduce glare caused by harsh overhead lighting found in many office environments. Read more about these unique computer glasses via Computer Eye Strain – Eyestrain.

I hope this is helpful! 🙂

APP Therapy?

As Benedict Carey writes in Science Times . . . a new generation of apps may soon offer psychotherapy on the go. In the past few years, researchers have been testing simple, video-game-like programs aimed at relieving common problems like anxiety and depression. These recent results have been encouraging enough that investigators are now delivering the programs on smartphones — therapy apps, in effect, that may soon make psychological help accessible anytime, anywhere, whether in the grocery store line, on the bus, or just before a work presentation.via Coming to Your Smartphone: Therapy Apps –

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These days, many of us complain about the 24 hour response lives we are leading due to Smartphones, iPads, Laptops, Twitter, Facebook, Email, Internet, the SOCIAL MEDIA THING!  We want a breakNow it seems, even our relaxation and therapy will  come from a computer!  The ‘Relaxation Response‘ is now available in various  APPS.  No Kidding!

The Relaxation Response,  a term coined by Herbert Benson in a book of the same name, where he describes his research into the effects of meditation via Relaxation response – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I am eager to see where this will lead us in the future since it seems  there is a serious discussion about the potential help these APPS may offer. The following excerpt is a brief description of what to expect. You can click the link at the end of this short description to read the full details.

♦ Objective: This exploratory study examined the potential of mobile phone technologies to broaden access to cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and to provide in-the-moment support. ♦ Methods: We developed a mobile phone application with touch screen scales for mood reporting and therapeutic exercises for cognitive reappraisal . . . and physical relaxation. via JMIR-Mobile Therapy: Case Study Evaluations of a Cell Phone Application for Emotional Self-Awareness | Morris | Journal of Medical Internet Research.

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Android cell phone users will want to take this opportunity to check out some of the APPS already on the market to help you with relaxation techniques available for Android cell phones.  Some favorites appear below, and are available, with many others at this  link

Rainy Jungle – A rainy jungle view over a river and a stimulating hail of the raindrops for your relaxation or deep sleep.
Guide to Psychotherapy – Learn The Basics About The Healing Power Of Psychotherapy.
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iPhone and iPad users can find a great choice for meditation and relaxation APPS by clicking the links below.
I hope this is helpful 🙂   PEACE!