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Mental health and more

Q. What are some things I can do to build good mental health in my pre-teen daughter?

A. This is a good question. In order to have a pre-adolescent daughter exercise good mental hygiene, she needs to be encouraged to communicate the good and the bad, preferably with you. Also, recognize that errors will occur. Every moment is an experience, and every error permits area for growth and learning. Similarly, allow for a healthy relationship to blossom between parent and pre-teen that ensures trust, understanding, and patience through the next foreseeable rough years that adolescence will bring. Having an open relationship is important. Do not merely be a friend to your daughter, but rather be many roles: parent, teacher, supporter, advocate, protector, and yes friend as well. Mentoring healthy habits and modeling appropriate behavior is vital for the healthy development of any child.

Nora Choubkha, M.D. | Psychiatrist at Dallas Behavioral Healthcare Hospital

Q. I’m a mom of three busy boys, and often eat what they eat. I wish I could know just what I need. Thanks.

A. Yes, you do! Simply put, I can share with you what you need daily: fruit, vegetables, whole grains and reduced-fat milk (or other sources of calcium), also include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts. Make sure your diet is low in saturated fats, trans fats, salt (sodium) and added sugars. Also, instead of thinking bad food vs. good food, look for nutrient rich foods – those packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber. Eat a variety of foods from each food group. Moderately active women need 1800 to 2200 calories a day. Check out our Wholesome Ending editorial each month. I often feature foods and their benefits!

Mary Ellen | Editor and Registered Dietitian

Does mental health really affect women more than men?

A. According to the American Psychological Association, women are more likely (two times more than men) to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders or mood disorders like depression or bipolar disorder. Men have a higher likelihood to be diagnosed with substance abuse disorders and schizophrenia. Differences in brain chemistry may account for at least part of these variances. This is why educating women about mental health is key for prevention. Symptoms of depression in women include: *Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood. *Restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying. *Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism. *Sleeping too much or too little, early-morning waking.

Nora Choubkha, M.D. | Psychiatrist at Dallas Behavioral Healthcare Hospital

Q. My dad and I read your magazine; I like the Fun Stuff and We Love This pages. He said I should send a question I have for you to answer. I’m 9 yrs old and my mom is in heaven. What can I do for her on Mother’s Day?

A.Ali, thank you so much for asking me. It’s great that you want to do something special for remembering your mom. Missing a mom is hard, so it may be helpful to write about it; just like you are talking to your mom. Then you can attach the note on to a pretty helium balloon or a few balloons if it’s a long letter with drawings and several pages. Then release the balloons up into the sky. Oh, and you can also include seeds of flowers that were your mom’s favorite in the balloon. When the balloon explodes they will fall and possibly grow in a field. You can say a prayer too! I’ll be thinking of you on Mother’s Day and I’ll say a prayer for you too.

Mary Ellen | Editor and Mom