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DECEMBER 2017 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT

DON’T WORRY

BE HAPPY POSITIVE MENTAL

HEALTH PRESENTED BY

SPONSORED BY


FROM THE EDITOR

NEWSPAPER READING IS A HABIT DON’T BREAK THE HABIT!

Silence Kills: Blacks Should Not Battle Oppression and Inequality Alone

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D. Kevin McNeir

Editor Washington Informer ...Informing you everyday in every way

In Memoriam Dr. Calvin W. Rolark, Sr. Wilhelmina J. Rolark THE WASHINGTON INFORMER NEWSPAPER (ISSN#0741-9414) is published weekly on each Thursday. Periodicals postage paid at Washington, D.C. and additional mailing offices. News and advertising deadline is Monday prior to publication. Announcements must be received two weeks prior to event. Copyright 2016 by The Washington Informer. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send change of addresses to The Washington Informer, 3117 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., S.E. Washington, D.C. 20032. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. The Informer Newspaper cannot guarantee the return of photographs. Subscription rates are $45 per year, two years $60. Papers will be received not more than a week after publication. Make checks payable to: THE WASHINGTON INFORMER 3117 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., S.E Washington, D.C. 20032 Phone: 202 561-4100 Fax: 202 574-3785 news@washingtoninformer.com www.washingtoninformer.com

PUBLISHER Denise Rolark Barnes STAFF D. Kevin McNeir, Editor Ron Burke, Advertising/ Marketing Director Shevry Lassiter, Photo Editor Lafayette Barnes, IV, Assistant Photo Editor John E. De Freitas, Sports Photo Editor Dorothy Rowley, Online Editor ZebraDesigns.net, Design & Layout Mable Neville, Bookkeeper Dr. Charles Vincent, Social Sightings columnist Tatiana Moten, Social Media Specialist Angie Johnson, Circulation REPORTERS Stacy Brown (Senior Writer), Sam P.K. Collins, Timothy Cox, Will Ford (Prince George’s County Writer), Eve M. Ferguson, Hamil Harris, Tatyana Hopkins, Jade James-Gist, Edwin Lake, Daniel Kucin, D. Kevin McNeir, Lauren Poteat, Dorothy Rowley, Brenda Siler, Sarafina Wright (General Assignment Writer) PHOTOGRAPHERS John E. DeFreitas, Shevry Lassiter, Roy Lewis, Demetrious Kinney, Mark Mahonny, Lateef Mangum

It’s apropos that as we move through the holiday season, one in which many Blacks suffer from the “holiday blues,” that this health supplement addresses the problem of mental health while offering our readers ways to both recognize this challenge and to find ways to promote healthier outcomes. Research has long indicated that African Americans already face premature death due to health disparities that include higher rates of some cancers, diabetes, hypertension and obesity. But race and racism also significantly contribute to Blacks’ higher propensity to mental health distress. And because our community tends to assert that “only white people can afford to be human, be vulnerable and seek mental health care,” we are often prone to ignore the signs or to avoid treatment and therapy. Centuries-old archetypes project Black women as having nerves of steel and bodies that can withstand anything. As for Black men, we’re expected to push on and persevere, no matter what, until we simply drop dead or just give up. However, as Keith Washington, Ph.D., president of the Association of Black Psychologists emphasizes, “Racism

and our response to it kills us more than anything.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health states that Blacks are 10 percent more likely to report serious psychological distress than non-Hispanic whites. Research shows that as many as two-thirds of people with depression do not seek treatment and that Blacks are less likely to get treatment than non-Hispanic whites. And while the church is more often the place Blacks turn for mental and emotional relief, the average clergy person is ill-equipped to help one handle most of the “madness” that comes our way each day. Messages abound suggesting that we need to “pray harder,” or “have more faith” if we want to be healthy and happy. But the problems are often more severe than we realize and therefore require the assistance of trained professionals. As the theme for this supplement innocently states: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – the title from a popular song by the a cappella singer Bobby McFerrin released in the late 80s to rave reviews – such simple messages should not lead us to wallow in de-

pression and mental anguish. Rather, we should look for ways to “promote more positive mental health” – the second part of our theme. Sometimes, just knowing that you are not alone can make a difference in the healing process. We must, in effect, “open up to open up.” Further, we must not allow the stigma of mental health found so prevalently within the Black community to deter us from looking for and accepting help. So, are you ready to live beyond the pain? Are you tired of experiencing various cycles of depression throughout every decade of your life? And, are you willing to claim release from mental health issues so that you can reclaim your freedom? If so, we hope and pray that this supplement will put you on the road to recovery. You may also wish to visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness website for valuable resources, or call 800-950-NAMI. Finally, go to africanamericantherapist.com to find Black therapists in major U.S. cities, including the District. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help. You are not alone. Help is available that will provide you with a greater focus on methods that promote a life of psychological well-being. Enjoy the rest of your life. Enjoy today! HS

“Research has long indicated that African Americans already face premature death due to health disparities that include higher rates of some cancers, diabetes, hypertension and obesity. But race and racism also significantly contribute to Blacks’ higher propensity to mental health distress.”

www.washingtoninformer.com / DECEMBER 2017 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT

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Supporting More Positive Mental Health at the Workplace Stress in the workplace is a costly problem in America and around the globe. /Courtesy photo

By Stacy M. Brown WI Senior Writer Clinical depression has become one of the country’s most costly illnesses, according to Mental Health America [MHA], a more than 100-year-old community-based nonprofit located in Alexandria, Virginia. In October, the organization collaborated with the Fass Foundation to release a report called, “Mind the Workplace,” which included findings from a twoyear research project launched to understand more about mental health concerns in the workplace. The report found that depression ranks among the top three workplace problems for employee assistance professionals, following only family crisis and stress. Further, three percent of total short-term disability days are due to depressive disorders – 76 percent of those cases representing female employees. Officials at MHA say they recognize the psychological impact that workplaces can have on their employees. Millions of employees spend a large part of their lifetime at work, increasing the effect that workplace environments can have on psychological well-being, researchers found. MHA’s research, which counts as part of an ongoing commit-

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ment to uncovering workplace disparities and addressing the psychological needs of the workforce, also found that disengaged workers can contribute upwards of $450 to $500 billion a year in losses in productivity. “We know that employees who are overstressed and under-supported can significantly impact the people around them and a company’s success,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of MHA, in a published statement. “Interestingly, our research found that recognition overall was more important than salaries in employee satisfaction – which means even small companies with limited budgets can improve workplace health and productivity by focusing on the individual in addition to the bottom line,” Gionfriddo said. Officials at the National Alliance on Mental Illness [NAMI] in Washington, D.C. have also provided assistance, suggestions and contacts for those suffering from workplace depression and other mental health-related problems at their place of employment. The nonprofit has launched a new video titled “Stigma Free Company” which they said could be used independently or while working collaboratively with a NAMI state organization or affiliate. The video provides information about mental health and walks participants through a group discussion to determine

ways to improve workplace well-being. Even, across the continent, workplace mental health has emerged as a major issue. In the United Kingdom, six in 10 people say poor mental health affects their concentration at work, according to the London-based MQ, which stands for mental health quality of life. Further, 70 million work days are lost in the U.K. each year because of poor mental health with $105 billion pounds lost each year to the economy. Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, the leading cause of disability, with many of these people also suffering from symptoms of anxiety, according to the World Health Organization [WHO]. A recent WHO-led study estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity. Unemployment serves as a well-recognized risk factor for mental health problems, while returning to, or getting work tends to be protective. On the other hand, a negative working environment may lead to physical and mental health problems, harmful use of substances or alcohol, absenteeism and lost productivity, the WHO said. Workplaces that promote

mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains, WHO officials add. MHA officials said, if left untreated, depression can be as costly as heart disease or AIDS to the U.S economy, costing over $51 billion in absenteeism from work and lost productivity and $26 billion in direct treatment costs. What’s more, depression tends to affect people in their prime working years and may last a lifetime if untreated, health experts say. “While much of the results of our research show that many people are dealing with high levels of stress, low engagement or specific mental health concerns, the results also pointed to some low-cost options that could make things better,” Gionfriddo said. “Not everything is about money. Workplace perks can go a long way in creating a healthy environment with higher levels of job satisfaction and employee engagement. Workplace challenges can be turned into opportunities if companies incentivize employees with workplace perks, particularly those determined to have the largest influence on workplace health,” he said. Harassment and bullying at work are some of the most commonly reported issues and often trigger work-related stress, said WHO officials who noted that

DECEMBER 2017 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT / www.washingtoninformer.com

work-related risks to mental health also include: inadequate health and safety policies within a company; poor communication between employees and their managers; employees’ limited participation in decision-making or control over work; low levels of support for employees; inflexible working hours; and unclear tasks or organizational objectives and goals. “It’s important to create a workplace that prioritizes the health, safety and well-being of employees,” said Dr. Enes Kingman, who has worked in psychiatry for 27 years. “Yes, money can be saved, but more importantly, so can the well-being of humans which should be a priority for all.” The World Economic Forum notes that a healthy workplace can be achieved if there’s a concerted effort to protect mental health and reduce work-related factors. A healthy workplace which focuses on mental health promotes: adaptation to fit different needs; a greater balance between work and home life; the encouragement to address all mental health problems regardless of cause; the inclusion of research from comparable companies in efforts to provide support; a commitment to both providing support and directing employees toward avenues where they can secure additional help; and getting employees more involved in the workplace and supporting career development and creativity. With those steps, “a lot can be achieved,” Kingman said. HS


Facts About HIV/AIDS: Are You at Risk?

Submitted by AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia Since the 1980s, HIV has been a major health concern across the globe. People all over the world need to learn about the risks and dangers of the virus. That is especially true in the District, which has the highest lifetime risk of getting HIV and AIDS in the country. Statistics show people living in D.C. have a one in 13 chance of being diagnosed with the disease in their lifetimes. The good news is that there is hope. Modern medicine is better able to treat HIV, and more information than ever before is available about how to avoid it. World AIDS Day on December 1 is dedicated to teaching people the truth about the disease, but you can learn all year long. Do your part to reduce your risk and increase awareness about HIV and AIDS.

HIV AND AIDS

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This virus attacks the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off diseases. Over time, HIV can destroy the cells

in your body that protect you from infections. There is currently no cure for HIV. Once you are diagnosed, you will have the infection for life. AIDS is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. This is the final stage of HIV. People with AIDS have had their immune systems badly damaged by HIV and are less able to fight infection. They are at higher risk of being diagnosed with other diseases, like pneumonia, the flu, and certain cancers. Without treatment, life expectancy with AIDS is one to three years. Not everyone who has HIV will develop AIDS. A person can live with HIV for a long time without knowing it. It can take 10 years or more for HIV to become AIDS. During that time, a person may not have any symptoms. With the right medicine, it is possible for someone with HIV to live nearly as long as people who are HIV-negative. The most important factors are being diagnosed early and following your treatment plan.

HOW HIV SPREADS

HIV is spread by certain bodily fluids. Blood, semen,

pre-seminal fluid, breast milk, and vaginal and rectal fluids can all contain the virus. If a person with HIV engages in any activity that exposes those fluids, he or she could spread the infection. The two most common ways people get the virus are through sexual contact and drug use with shared needles. Sexual activity: Unprotected sex with an infected person is one of the most common causes of HIV infection. Most of the fluids that carry the virus can be exposed during sexual activity. If those fluids are able to enter the other person’s body, the virus may spread. Anal sex is the highest-risk sexual behavior, followed by vaginal sex. It is rare but not impossible to get HIV through oral sex. Using condoms and practicing safe sex can greatly reduce the risk of transmission. Drug use: Sharing needles or syringes can lead to the spread of HIV. Blood and other bodily fluids can stay in the needle and pass from one person to another. Even if the needle has not been used recently, it could still contain the virus. HIV can live for up to 42 days in a used needle.

In addition, there are some less common ways to contract HIV. For example, HIV-positive women can pass on the virus to their children through birth. Blood transfusions, being bitten by a person with HIV, or contact between open wounds and HIV-infected fluids can also spread the virus. While it is possible to get the disease from one of these methods, they all are rare. Some groups are at a higher risk to get HIV. Statistics show you may be at a higher risk if you are: n Gay, bisexual, or a man who has sexual contact with other men n African American n Hispanic or Latino If you are not in one of these groups, you still could be at risk. No matter your risk level, taking steps to stay safe can reduce your risk of infection.

PREVENTION AND TREATMENT

There are many things you can do to prevent the spread of

HIV. And if you have the virus, there are treatment options available. n Practice safe sex: Using condoms correctly every time you have sex can greatly reduce your risk of getting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Reducing the number of sexual partners you have can also lower your risk. You can avoid certain activities, like anal sex, which carry a higher risk than others. n Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): PrEP is a medicine that can lower the chance of getting HIV in a person who is at high risk. The medicine can stop the virus from taking root and spreading in a person. PrEP is not for everyone, and is reserved only for certain highrisk people. For example, if you are HIV-negative but have a partner with HIV, you may be eligible for PrEP. n Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP): This medicine is for people who may have recently been exposed to HIV. It can prevent infection after a recent exposure. It must be taken as soon as possible if you think you are at risk. PEP is for emergency use only, up to 72 hours after exposure. If you think you have been exposed to HIV due

CONTINUED ON PAGE H-5 www.washingtoninformer.com / DECEMBER 2017 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE H-4 to unsafe sex, drug use, or sexual assault, contact your health care provider right away. n Antiretroviral therapy (ART): If you have been diagnosed with HIV, there is still hope. There are medicines you can take called ART, which can help manage the virus. By taking medicine, taking care of your body, and getting help from your provider, it is possible to live a healthy life with HIV.

BE TESTED, BE SAFE

There is no way to know if you have HIV without being tested. Just because you feel fine does not mean you don’t have the virus. People with HIV may not show any symptoms for years. During that time, they could accidentally spread the virus to others without knowing. This is why having an HIV test is so important. You have many options for being tested in the District. To find a testing center near you, you can: n Visit gettested.cdc.gov n Text your ZIP code to

“Since the 1980s, HIV has been a major health concern across the globe. People all over the world need to learn about the risks and dangers of the virus. That is especially true in the District, which has the highest lifetime risk of getting HIV and AIDS in the country.”

KNOW IT (566948) n Call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) These testing options are confidential. No one will know you were tested or your status. Whether you have HIV or not, you should always practice safe sex. Using a condom every time you have sexual contact is important in stopping the spread of the disease. There are resources for free condoms available in the D.C. area. Go to www.rubberrevolutiondc. com to learn more. If you have questions or concerns, AmeriHealth Caritas

District of Columbia is here to help. You can contact our Member Services department at any time if you have questions or need help making an appointment. Call us at 1-866842-2810. Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, AIDS. gov All images are used under license for illustrative purposes only. Any individual depicted is a model. WI

Know the myths about HIV/AIDS There are a lot of false ideas out there about HIV and AIDS. Sometimes it is hard to know if something is real or just a rumor. Get the facts about HIV here and help spread the truth. THE MYTH: You can get HIV/AIDS by being around someone with the disease. THE TRUTH: You can’t get HIV by hugging, shaking hands, or touching someone with the disease. You also cannot get it from breathing the same air, sharing a toilet, or touching the same objects like doorknobs. THE MYTH: You can catch HIV from mosquitos. THE TRUTH: It is not possible to get HIV from mosquitos, ticks, or other insects. THE MYTH: You can tell someone is HIV-positive by looking at him or her. THE TRUTH: The only way to tell if someone has HIV or AIDS is through an HIV test. THE MYTH: Straight people cannot get HIV. THE TRUTH: All people, regardless of sexual orientation, can get HIV.

I got a gift card for taking care of my health. You can too. You can get a $25 gift card if you: • Are an AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia member

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• Are 12 – 21 years old • Get an annual physical exam

Visit www.amerihealthcaritasdc.com/giftcard to learn more.

Note: Member cannot get more than $50 in incentives each year. AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

www.amerihealthcaritasdc.com 5400ACDC-17100158

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DECEMBER 2017 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT / www.washingtoninformer.com


Tools to Help Teens Navigate their Emotional Landscape Submitted by Children’s National Health System As any parent of a teen can tell you from experience, the emotion centers of teen brains are developing rapidly in adolescence, but impulse control is less developed – meaning a teen’s ability to employ good planning and judgment may be impaired. Even more worrying are the statistics that teen girls face a high risk of depression and that teen boys are more likely to take risks that most of us seasoned adults wouldn’t. Parents can help teens navigate this important time first and foremost by establishing a trusting bond before you and they are hit by their teen years – or as soon as possible if they’re already there. By showing them that you are a caring, open and nonjudgmental

resource, you can help them learn the skills to get through sticky situations, and make it through their teenage years as a healthy young adult with few bumps in the road. And if you need help figuring out how to help them, there are many resources available, starting with your child’s pediatrician or at a Children’s National Health System primary care center, including at THEARC. Here are some tips to get you started, from Children’s psychologist Eleanor Mackey, Ph.D.: • Make time to chat: Set the stage for your kids to come to you by letting them know you will listen and be there. Make sure they understand they don’t face punishment if they come to you with tough stuff. The best message is, “I’m here for you, and you can talk to me.” • Use open-ended questions:

Active listening skills are key here. Restate what your teen has told you, follow it up sincerely with an open-ended question like, “Wow, how have you been handling that?” It empowers them to think through the situation and know they can navigate it. • Make a safety plan: Make sure your teen knows they have a “free pass” or “out” to text you to be picked up from any sticky situation, no questions asked. Consider establishing code words for when things are ok and when they aren’t, so they know how to remove themselves from an uncomfortable situation without losing face with friends or facing punishment. • Take your child seriously and reserve judgement: Heart-

break and hurt will happen and teens don’t always tell their parents about it. This is a chance for you to let them know you are available to listen. When they do talk, don’t brush aside adolescent moodiness or “young love” as insignificant—it feels big to them! • Don’t fret about freedom: Know your teen and how independent they can be and show good judgment. If possible, give him or her a little bit of space to try their own way and test their independence. Evaluate what works, and if something doesn’t work, take a step back. Some kids are very responsible and others aren’t. • Trust your gut: If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t—which means it’s a good time to step in and help them by

practicing your active listening skills. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Parenting is a big job, and none of us are experts at it. If your teen is inconsolable or you are concerned about his or her behavior, there are people who can help, many of them close to your neighborhood. For example, pediatricians at Children’s National Primary Care Center at THEARC are trained to assess basic mental and behavioral health of children as part of routine well-child visits. If needed, the center also offers onsite mental health providers including social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists who are specialists in helping children, teens and families learn new coping skills and how to talk to each other. An expanded Children’s primary care center will open at THEARC in early 2018, making more of these expert support services available for more kids and families. HS

STRONGER IS THE BEST CARE FOR KIDS, RIGHT IN SOUTHEAST D.C.

The trusted top care you already know and love at Children’s Health Center at

THEARC is moving just across the campus to a bigger and better location! Our brand new location at THEARC will feature more space, doctors and programs

that help kids to get the best care close to home. Because at Children’s National, we don’t just help kids grow up. We help kids GROW UP STRONGER.

Convenient hours (including evening and Saturdays) for: Urgent care and illness visits

Check-ups, school and sports exams for children and teens Dental check-ups Newborn exams and breast-feeding support Hearing and vision screening

Immunizations and flu shots for daycare and school Evaluation and counseling for behavior, emotional and learning problems Special programs for childhood asthma and obesity and other childhood illnesses

OPENING EARLY 2018 AND ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS.

Children’s Health Center at THEARC 1801 Mississippi Ave SE, 1st Floor Washington, DC 20020 For more information: 202-436-3060 ChildrensNational.org

www.washingtoninformer.com / DECEMBER 2017 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT

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CHILDREN’S NATIONAL IS #1 FOR BABIES Children’s National is proud to be named #1 for newborn intensive care in the U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospitals survey and ranked among the Top 10 children’s hospitals overall. What makes us the best choice for care in the nation’s capital? Expertise that’s focused on children’s unique needs and support for every family. At Children’s National, we want every child to GROW UP STRONGER.

Learn more about top-ranked care for children at childrensnational.org/usnews 1-888-884-BEAR

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childrensnational.org

#GrowUpStronger

DECEMBER 2017 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT / www.washingtoninformer.com


‘I Can’t Stop Talking About Myself’

Celebrated Actress Jenifer Lewis Tenacious at Her Craft while Managing Bipolar Disorder

By Brenda C. Siler WI Contributing Writer When Jenifer Lewis enters the room, her energy immediately takes over. That voice and that smile tell everyone, you’d better hold on tight. We’ve seen her in the Broadway musical “Eubie.” She formerly sang with The Harlettes, Bette Midler’s back-up singers. She proved memorable in the Lifetime film “Jackie’s Back.” Now, Lewis can be seen weekly as the grandmother on the hit TV series “Black-ish.” But even as a young child, Lewis felt destined to become a star as she recalls in her recently-released memoir, “The Mother of Black Hollywood.” After all, she’s always had a built-in audience that included her mother, grandmother and aunts each of whom have consistently

cheered her on. Lewis has long exuded a sense of confidence, recognizing what she has to offer and being keenly aware of how to land a desired gig. She credits her mother for instilling in her a good work ethic. Still, deep inside, she says she sometimes heard a voice whispering to her that caused her both anxiety and doubt. But she ignored it. “As long as there was a stage, I was ready,” said the multi-talented entertainer. Her talent and belief in herself could not be disputed during her recent visit to the District during which Lewis promoted her autobiography and participated in an interview before a live audience at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Northwest. What had been slated

The in-demand actress Jenifer Lewis has never been one to shirk from “telling it like it is.” /Photo by Shevry Lassiter

as a one-on-one conversation morphed into a 40-minute, one-woman performance filled with funny life stories about navigating the jungle of Hollywood, moving anecdotes about working through her bipolar disorder and heartfelt reflections about losing many friends to HIV/ AIDS. It was while filming the popular mini-series “The Temptations” that Lewis says she couldn’t take it anymore. Demons she’d battled for years and tried to nurse with alcohol could no longer be contained. “I had had enough,” she said. “I called my therapist in Los Angeles and said, ‘I’m ready, I’m sick, please

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER’S

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help me.’ Those were the hardest words I ever said.” Lewis admits she often tried to ignore her disorder or manage it on her own by going to spas, drinking wheat grass or juicing – all while refusing to take her prescribed medication. She eventually realized she should not stop taking the meds because as she admits, “I nearly lost her mind.” Working with her therapist to face her bipolar disorder, Lewis also discovered she suffered from a rarely-discussed addiction: sex. “If you want to get well, then do what’s necessary,” she said. It’s part of testimony that Lew-

is shares with her peers and with younger entertainers when they appear be in trouble. So, with a heart filled with love for others, she says she instinctively pulls others aside and offers them her help. “But, if they ain’t ready, there is nothing you can do,” she said. “The only thing you can really do is live your best life. You’ve got to keep it moving. The fight is too big.” When it comes to addressing mental health issues in the Black community, Lewis knows there has long been a stigma associated with confronting such problems. She acknowledges the work that some Black churches have initiated which includes hosting regular meetings and providing opportunities for counseling. As for Jenifer Lewis, she’s keenly aware that remaining busy sits at the top of the list for ever-growing fan base. What’s next? She’ll provide her recognizable voice for a Disney animated series called “Big Hero Six” in which she’ll bring life to a character called Professor Granville. She said she’s having a ball playing the animated figure but notes unabashedly that Black-ish stands as “the cherry on top” of her career. However, whatever Lewis takes on, the supreme diva promises to always “keep it real.” “I don’t leave a room unless everybody is laughing,” she said. “That’s how I roll.” HS

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JANUARY 1, 2018 REGISTRATION BEGINS AT 9AM RUN STARTS AT 10AM

ANACOSTIA PARK 1900 ANACOSTIA DRIVE To register, visit: DCFreshStart5K.eventbrite.com

www.washingtoninformer.com / DECEMBER 2017 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT

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Getting the Care You Need When You Need It, Closer to Home Submitted by Children’s National Health System Finding the right pediatrician for your kids can be tricky. The doctor you choose for your child must be at the right location, offering the right services, at the right hours to fit in your busy schedule. It’s an important decision, and one that you should not make lightly. Many pediatric practices will let you set up an appointment to meet a doctor before you bring your child for the first appointment. The primary care doctors at Children’s National Primary Care Center at THEARC offer a few pointers to consider

when choosing kids’ pediatricians: • A pediatrician should always ask questions about your child’s general health, health history, and growth and development. A really great pediatrician also checks in on his or her school performance, emotional health, and general safety questions about home hazards, sleep positions, and car seats, for example. • Convenience. Is the doctor’s location convenient for you? What services are available so you don’t need to make multiple stops--dental check-ups, prescription refills, sick or urgent care visits. Make sure the location offers flu shots and

other vaccinations on site. • Know the hours of operation and how they work for your schedule. If you need early morning, late evening, or weekend appointments, be sure the provider you choose has that option. If you have to take off of work for routine check-ups, keeping the appointments can be hard. Ask if the office offers medical advice by phone or video. • Do you and your child feel comfortable with your care provider? Be sure that any care provider you take your child to creates an environment where both you and your child feel safe enough to ask

questions and talk about worries. This is especially important for parents of teens—find a doctor whom your teen might feel comfortable asking sensitive personal questions. • Check to see if the pediatrician is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). If so, the doctor is board certified in pediatric medicine and keeps up to date on current medical knowledge in the field. Soon, parents and families in Ward 8 will have even more high quality options for kids’ primary care. Children’s National Health System’s Primary Care Center at THEARC will be expanding its lo-

cation in early 2018, which means more access to the kind of care and expertise that every parent wants for their kids. THEARC location will offer services such as dental care, urgent care, vaccinations, and mental health services in one location, with early morning, late evening, and even weekend hours to meet the needs of more busy families. The single most important thing for parents to remember when searching for a pediatrician is to trust your gut. You’ll know when you find the practice that works for you and your child. HS

STRONGER IS THE BEST CARE FOR KIDS, RIGHT IN SOUTHEAST D.C.

The trusted top care you already know and love at Children’s Health Center at

THEARC is moving just across the campus to a bigger and better location! Our brand new location at THEARC will feature more space, doctors and programs

that help kids to get the best care close to home. Because at Children’s National, we don’t just help kids grow up. We help kids GROW UP STRONGER.

Convenient hours (including evening and Saturdays) for: Urgent care and illness visits

Check-ups, school and sports exams for children and teens Dental check-ups Newborn exams and breast-feeding support Hearing and vision screening

Immunizations and flu shots for daycare and school Evaluation and counseling for behavior, emotional and learning problems Special programs for childhood asthma and obesity and other childhood illnesses

OPENING EARLY 2018 AND ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS.

Children’s Health Center at THEARC 1801 Mississippi Ave SE, 1st Floor Washington, DC 20020 For more information: 202-436-3060 ChildrensNational.org

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DECEMBER 2017 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT / www.washingtoninformer.com


Yoga Can Yield Many Unknown Benefits D. C. Couple Finds Inner Harmony for the Body and Soul

By Brenda C. Siler WI Contributing Writer The sweat that comes from hot yoga does a body good for healing and focus. At least that’s what students at Bikram Hot Yoga hear from its founders and owners, Omekongo Dibinga, Ph.D. and Kendra Blackett-Dibinga. The couple leads a team of instructors for their three yoga studios located in Riverdale, Takoma and Ivy City. They received start-up funding for Bikram Hot Yoga through the Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Inc., a non-profit community loan fund based in the District since 1987. Health benefits from yoga continue to be embraced by people of all ages with 14 styles available for discerning health advocates. Bikram Hot Yoga Studio features hatha yoga in a 105-degree room with 40 to 50 percent humidity. Also offered: hot

Pilates in a 95-degree room with 40 percent humidity; and Nidra yoga, a relaxing, meditative-style of yoga done in a non-heated room. Omekongo and Kendra say they gained an appreciation for the benefits of yoga from their individual aches and pains. As a former fitness Omekongo Dibinga and Kendra Blackett-Dibinga pose in harmony at trainer and runner, Kendra began their Ivy City yoga studio. /Photo by Shevry Lassiter experiencing knee problems and A key benefit from yoga: the vitality, maintaining a balanced mehad have a screw inserted. A friend touted the benefits of hot yoga say- achievement of body and mind tabolism; reducing weight; supporting that it enabled her to discon- calmness which contribute to overall ing cardio and circulatory health; improving athletic performance; and tinue arthritis medication. Kendra wellness. “To focus and stay in a yoga pose, that providing greater protection from says she immediately tried hot yoga is a form of meditation,” Kendra said. “I injuries. and quickly shared the benefits with Testimonials from Bikram Hot her husband, Omekongo, who had can tell when someone is distracted beYoga clients who started classes with been seeking ways to manage lower cause they will lose their balance.” According to the American Os- specific health issues routinely point back, groin and knee pain. teopathic Association, yoga has to improved wellness. And while Once on board with hot yoga, many health and healing benefits medical professionals do not cite Omekongo became trained to be including: lowering blood pressure, yoga as a substitute for treatment one of the first hot Pilates instructors in the DC area. Hot Pilates focuses reducing insomnia; increasing flex- directed by licensed physicians many on strengthening muscles and the ibility, muscle strength and tone; students have claimed to achieve a improving respiration, energy and decrease in blood pressure, weight body’s core.

Make your voice heard as the DC Department of Health builds the citywide Sex Is… campaign: an initiative designed to encourage a sex-positive, judgment free dialogue on sexuality and sexual health between youth and adults in DC.

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loss, overcoming depression and being able to reduce the amount of medications they once took. “We have students who have been in physical therapy or treated by a chiropractor,” Omekongo said. “Their movement has greatly improved. We even have a chiropractor who comes to classes at our studio.” Omekongo and Kendra have been married for 22 years and have three children ages 11, nine and two. They say that between co-owning a business and raising three young children, they have seen parallels between yoga and managing day-today life. “How do you stay focused to get things done?” Kendra asked. “I found with yoga, I became more focused. What once took me five hours to do, I am now able to complete in a couple of hours.” HS RIVERDALE PARK | 301-699-1300 6202 Rhode Island Ave., Suite 200, Riverdale Park, MD 20737 IVY CITY | 202-288-5745 1510 Okie St. NE, Washington, DC 20002 TAKOMA PARK | 301-270-4777 7324 Carroll Ave., Takoma Park, MD 20912

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Physical Activity Behind Positive Mental Health By Brittany E. Tillman, CHES Have you ever heard of the phrase, if you don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter? You put your mind to it and you can conquer any challenge. A positive mental state is a great place to reside and revisit when challenges of today can become quite overwhelming. One of the most effective ways to a keep a positive mental state of health is physical activity. Physical activity can enhance mental health factors such as, decreasing depression, reducing anxiety, improving mood, lowering stress, positively impact attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), improve memory and sleep. Research states that physical activity can directly affect a stronger sense of mastery or control over your life. Wow, could physical activity be an effective natural alternative prescription to mental health challenges without the side effects of pharmaceutical medication? Yes, of course. Studies prove that mild depression can be treated with physical activity in contrast to antidepressant medication. Furthermore, it can prevent relapsing associated with depression. Physical activity can break the habitual cycle of negative thinking by promoting calmness. In addition, during physical activity a chemical in the brain known as endorphins are released by the body. This morphine like chemical gives a person an energetic and positive boost alongside of reducing the perception of pain. Physical activity also can be used as an anti-anxiety treatment. For someone dealing with the challenges of anxiety physical activity can relieve stress and ten-

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sion, boost mental and physical energy and provide a sense of well-being by interfering with the constant worry. Medications like Ritalin and Adderall are used to treat symptoms of ADHD, yet physical activity can reduce the symptoms without the host of gruesome side effects. There are three neurotransmitters in the brain (that function as chemicals) such as, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin which are elevated as a result of physical activity. As those brain chemicals elevate they improve symptoms of ADHD, such as, concentration, motivation, memory, and mood. Engaging in physical activity doesn’t have to be boring or time consuming. Try activities like 15-mintue walks in the park, yoga, boxing, kickboxing, social activities with friends, or clean the house. When you are at work consider exploring your work building or the outdoor scenery at work, engage in social groups at work, join a committee, walk the stairs to relieve stress and if a gym is available near your job or on site look into becoming a member. Another scientifically validated tool to help cope with stress, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, and depression is meditation. Take a moment at your desk, or designated rooms in your home and work to practice deep breathing and relaxing meditative techniques. Lastly, another option is to invest in super cheap stress relievers, such as, stress balls or what helps you get back to the place of calm and ease. Keep these stress relievers in your house, at work, in your car and other places you tend to frequent. As discussed there are numerous natural methods of improving mental health. Try and see which method best fits your needs to sustain a positive mental state of health. HS

Health Neurotics, LLC

is an emerging health promotion firm in Washington, DC offering health promotion consultation products and services. Health Neurotics specialize in diet and physical activity aspects of health promotion and health education for adolescents using health literacy standards and cultural competence to targeted demographics. One of our most celebrated efforts was a guest appearance on Sirius XM Shade 45 nationally syndicated radio show, First Aid with Kelly Kinkaid focusing on Diabetes Awareness Month. Our soon to be available highlighted invention, Body Cycle is a software application game for adolescents 12 and older to actively engage in learning about chronic disease and behavior change. We can be contacted at Betillman@gmail.com.

DECEMBER 2017 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT / www.washingtoninformer.com


Rewards Program

I got a gift card for getting my prenatal checkup. You can too. You can get a $25 gift card if you: • Are pregnant and within your 1st trimester • Are an AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia member • See a midwife or OB/GYN for your 1st prenatal office visit

After your exam, you can sign up for a gift card to 1 of these retailers: • Wal-Mart

• H&M

• Chipotle

• Downtown Locker Room (DTLR)

Visit www.amerihealthcaritasdc.com/giftcard to learn more. Note: Member cannot get more than $50 in incentives each year. AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

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www.amerihealthcaritasdc.com

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