Coping in Extraordinary Times Conference Helps Women with Extraordinary Challenges

Mary Wells | 6/18/2009, 8:15 a.m.

Hundreds of women got a refresher course in how to deals with stress during Coping in Extraordinary Times, a daylong conference held on Sat., June 13. The event consisted of a series of workshops at Dr. Ernest Everett Just Middle School in Mitchellville, Md. Itwas sponsored by Prince George's Women United to Help Others, and attracted between 200 and 250 women.

€I want to provide women with the coping skills they need to handle stress and depression," said Leslie Johnson, wife of Prince George€s County Executive, Jack Johnson.

Presenters included Dr. Donald Shell, director of the Prince George's County Department of Health & Human Services; professionals from the Department of Family Services; the Department of Social Services, and other professional health related organizations.

€Get a check-up from the neck-up as a coping strategy when suffering from prolonged anxiety, which leads to stress and depression,€ said Dr. Barbara J. Brown, a staff member at George Washington University Hospital, who followed in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, both of whom were medical doctors.

€When I helped my father in his medical practice, I saw that 60 percent of the patients that came in for medical care often needed psychological care. Fortunately, my father realized this and often referred his patients to a psychiatrist that he worked with,€ Brown said. €That's why I chose to go into the field of psychology when I went to college.€

Dr. Dawne Carroll, medical director of Fit for Life Medical Center, Inc. of Lanham, Md., discussed obesity with the group of women at the conference.

€We don't expend the same amount of energy to produce our food as our grandparents and great-grandparents, therefore, we have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, kidney and heart diseases.€

€The older people didn't have the same kinds of stresses that we see today. Often they lived a lot longer, into their 90's. Even though they had large families, their offspring died, often 30 or 40 years earlier, because they lived a much different lifestyle with fast foods and convenience foods, which led to an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, kidney and heart diseases,€ Carroll said.

€I came to this conference because I was just lying around at home feeling depressed after I got laid off from my job at Wells Fargo Bank. I suffer from chronic illnesses and am going through depression. It's good to know that there are resources out there to help me with the problems I have. I lost my medical benefits after I got laid off,€ said Demetria Whitley, 44.

€It was worthwhile for me to come out here for I have found lots of information and direction that can help me,€ Whitley said.

Johnson said that she likes to find out what the needs of the people are so that she can provide that kind of information at her workshops.

€Monifu, who teaches yoga at the World Gym in Largo, has helped me tremendously since I found out I have sciatica,€ Johnson said. Monifu said that 98 percent of stress shows up in the neck, shoulders, and hip as she took the workshop participants through yoga moves that they can do while sitting in their chairs.

Reggie of Sweat and Go, also demonstrated exercises designed to relieve stress that can be performed while seated.