May, 2013 

May is National Mental Health Month

Many of us find ourselves struggling to cope with the many stressors, challenges and demands of everyday life which can be intensified by added layers of stress when bad things, or even good things, happen. National Mental Health Month recognizes the need for awareness of the importance of our mental health and the resources that are available to help you to cope better and to improve your overall well-being.
This year's theme, "Live Your Life Well", seeks to increase the awareness of the importance of taking action to protect your mental health in times of great personal challenge and in the face of ongoing stress. Give the connection between the mind and body, we may be able to improve our heath by improving coping skills and developing strategies 
that may prevent the onset or shorten the duration of illness and promote recovery and well-being:

  • balanced diet
  • regular exercise
  • enough sleep
  • a sense of self-worth
  • development of coping skills that promote resiliency
  • emotional awareness
  • connections to family, friends and community

Keep in mind that, just as your visit your medical doctor for an annual physical, your body and mind could also benefit from a regular checkup with a psychologist or other mental health professional to make sure your mental health is in good shape too.

Mental health professionals are available to listen, talk and to provide support along the often difficult terrain of life. No problem or concern is too small or too large to be deserving of help. If you need someone to talk to call today.

Trauma May Present as ADHD in Children
Children who have experienced a traumatic event typically present with a variety of mental health symptoms that may mimic various diagnoses. Also, chronic or long-term trauma can have an impact on a child's developing brain and may change the neurochemistry of the brain. Symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity, which are typically related to ADHD, can often occur in children who have been traumatized.  Children may express symptoms of hyperarousal, agitation, or disorganization in the home or classroom, which may look like hyperactivity or impulsivity.  A child with decreased concentration, hypervigilance, low frustration tolerance, and decreased interest in activities may appear inattentive. It is likely that children who have experienced a traumatic event or chronic long-term trauma may be later diagnosed with another childhood disorder, such as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

What is a traumatic event? Children are at-risk for a variety of traumatic events, including, but not limited to: severe accidents, experiencing or witnessing the traumatic death of a loved one, witnessing domestic or community violence, natural disasters, as well as physical and/or sexual abuse.

How do I know if my child has ADHD or if their symptoms are related to a traumatic event? All clinicians should screen children to determine if they have experienced any traumatic events. It is important to report any traumatic events that your child may have witnessed or experienced in order for the clinician to fully differentiate your child's symptoms. Further, receiving a complete assessment of your child's presenting symptoms, background, and current needs is essential in order to ensure your child receives an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
by Jennifer Croyle, NCSP, LPC
If you have concerns about your child call 724-759-7500 today to schedule an appointment.  
Respectful Communication - for a Healthier Life

One of the important components of a happy and healthy life is to feel respected. As we may have learned in kindergarten, but sometimes forget, an important way of earning respect is to be respectful of others. Respectful communication is important in all aspects of our lives; at home, with spouses, children, parents, other family members, with friends, on the job with managers, employees, co-workers, vendors and clients and in every other facet of our lives.


Respectful communication, while it may be in many ways as simple as what we learned in kindergarten, is often a challenging aspect of human interaction. This is most especially true when emotions come flooding up to the surface and we may feel inadequate, unloved or even unlovable. Acting out of a defensive posture to attack the "other" before they attack us can only serve to stir the conflict even more, rather than to earn respect.


Keeping emotions in check enough to be able to treat the other in a respectful way, even when we are not being afforded that same respect, may be even more of a challenge when layers of stress build upon other layers. Self care,including exercise, journaling and meditation may be very helpful.


We often find that in situations involving conflict, including marital problems, separation, divorce, and co-parenting, the tools that worked well prior to these stresses become not quite enough. At these times the benefit of a therapist, coach or mediator may be just what is needed to get back on the path of respectful communication. This is also the reason that we offer Collaborative Divorce Coaching - to bring respect to the divorce process for the emotional health of children and adults alike.

If you are interested in any of our services please call 724-759-7500 today.

Lori Gephart, M.A.
President / Licensed Psychologist / Collaborative Coach
North Hills Psychological Associates, Inc.
In This Issue
NHPA Locations
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Contact Us
NHPA Clinical Staff
Loretta A. Gephart, M.A.
Marc J. Ranalli, M.S.
Andrew Nocita, Ph.D.
Stephanie Kim Phillips, Psy.D.  
Kristi L. Musick, Ph.D.
Lisa A. Aaron, Psy.D.
Shelley Thacher, LCSW
Gail Ludwig, RN, LCSW, ACS  
Laura P. Walsh, LPC, CRC
Mary Koch Ruiz, LPC
Christine P. Rosignoli, Ph.D.
Julie Zubryd, M.A., L.P.C.
Mary Jeanne Hoover, LCSW 
Heidi Stelzig, M.S.Ed., LPC
Stephen G. Huegel, Ph.D.
Mindy Heher, Ph.D.
Thomas Koloc, LPC, NCC
Nicolene Zapach, M.A.
Neha Pandit, Ph.D., LPC
Braden Ambrose, M.S., LPC
Sally G. Hoyle, Ph.D.
Jennifer Croyle, NCSP, LPC
Michelle Metz-Foley, NCC, LPC


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