Teletherapy Options Offer Help Coping with Pandemic

Mental health is as important as physical health during the pandemic. Being isolated from loved ones and friends, being quarantined with your spouse and kids, being separated from loved ones who are ill and being unable to properly say goodbye to people you have lost, and simply being afraid of what’s going to happen next produce anxiety, stress and depression.

Lisa Catania, LCSW of Beverly Therapists said, “Many fears and hardships that are getting triggered by the pandemic, causing stress, anxiety, and depression to increase for most people.” The constantly changing news reinforces a loss of control. Most people fear that they or a loved one will become sick.

“While fear or anxiety helps us to be cautious and adopt new shelter-in-place behaviors quickly, many feel petrified to the point of experiencing sleeplessness, irritability, fear of leaving their house and any contact with others.  We can have a hard time knowing where to draw the line between caution and paranoia,” Catania said.  

Other stressors like working from home or losing a job, homeschooling and even doing essential tasks like going to the grocery store provoke emotional responses and fears that affect relationships as well as a sense of personal safety.

“Very few of us have been through such a historical hardship,” Catania said. “As a society, we are collectively experiencing the discomforts of vulnerability. Thankfully, counseling lends itself well to telehealth, and most insurance policies are covering teletherapy during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Given the strain of the pandemic, regarding many issues such as isolation, financial stress, illness, grief, trauma, it is very important that people are accessing therapy,” said Kathleen McShane, MA, LCPC, CCTP, Director of Begin Within Therapy. Their practice is advocating for longer term coverage for Telehealth therapy, and they have a petition with over 16,000 signatures supporting that need as the stay-in-place executive orders are extended.

Mental health professionals advise people who are feeling stressed by the pandemic to a break now and then from watching the news during the pandemic, make sure to eat healthy meals and get exercise, get plenty of sleep, take deep breaths and meditate, engaging in activities you enjoy, talk to people you trust about your concerns, and avoid alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.

Sometimes it takes more than following these simple suggestions to help cope with overwhelming circumstances and thoughts.

To help neighbors take care of the added stress and uncertainty created by the restrictions of COVID-19, counseling is available as a telehealth option, and locally provided by therapy offices.

Beverly Therapists, 10725 S. Western, 773-310-3488 or The team of therapists at Beverly Therapists has shifted to offer counseling assessment and ongoing therapy through telehealth during this uncertain time. Sessions are private and available by phone or computer with therapists who are trained in teletherapy. Access this option through their website, where you can also read helpful blog posts, find mental health resources and find comfort in empowering advice.

​Begin Within Therapy, 3301 W. 111th St., 312-469-0486 or This group of therapists is available to help current and new clients manage the uncertainty of these times. Sessions are provided online and confidential.

Mirjam Quinn & Associates, 10801 S. Western, 2B, 708-586-7357 or

“Life doesn’t stop during shelter-in-place, and neither should your mental health support.” That excellent advice is on the Mirjam Quinn & Associates website, along with a link to easy online talk therapy ( Services include “coping during shelter in place,” one-time, one-on-one sessions with a trained counselor as well as regular sessions. 

OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center can connect people in need with SilverCloud, a secure, anonymous and interactive platform to help you manage the feelings and causes of depression, anxiety or stress. The free app is available on phone, tablet or computer and consists of up to seven interactive modules that include mindfulness exercises, interactive journaling, and mood or lifestyle charting. Connect at

Free mental health counseling resources are available to Chicago residents. Among them are:

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Chicago Helpline, 311 or 833-626-4244;

Chicago Department of Public Health Mental Health Centers, 312-747-1020.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 24/7, free and confidential support 800-273-8255;

Illinois Department of Human Services Mental Health Division free emotional support text line for people suffering from mental health issues related to COVID-19; text “TALK” to 5-5-2-0-2-0.

Barre it All Offering Mom and Child Yoga 

By Kristin Boza 

Yoga is known as an amazing workout and stress reliever, for both adults and children. Barre it All Fitness, 3202 W. 111th St., introduced Mother/Child Yoga classes to help moms connect with their children while engaging in a fitness practice that promotes mind/body wellness. Children should be at least five years old, or able to handle staying in a designated area for close to an hour, to participate with their moms in the class. 

“The benefits of offering a class for moms and their children are endless, with the biggest benefit being connection,” said Kelly Lucio, founder of Barre It All. “We live in a world where we are constantly distracted by electronics; this class gives parents and their children an opportunity to disconnect from the world for a full 50 minutes.” 

Lucio got the idea for mother/child yoga classes from her cousin, who posted the idea to Moms of Beverly and Moms of Mt. Greenwood Facebook pages to gauge interest. More than 100 moms said they would love to see a mom/child yoga option in the community. 

“This concept really took off in our community and spun into classes for birthday parties, sports teams, and Brownie troops,” Lucio said. “All of the classes and parties have been a positive experience for all. 

Mindfulness is a big part of yoga, and especially in the stressful times our country is experiencing now, participating in yoga will benefit moms and kids in numerous ways.  

“We teach participants about the power of your breath. No matter how crazy life gets, we can always come back to our breath!” Lucio said. “Meditation and mindfulness have real benefits and can reduce both stress and anxiety, which are both things that adults and children can suffer from. By teaching these techniques early on to children and teens, they become more resilient and we are better equipped to handle the potential challenges that life throws at them.” 

Lucio hopes to be back in the studio in April. However, if the studio must still be closed due to the “stay at home” directive, she intends to live stream the mother/child yoga classes online. Stay informed and follow them on Instagram (Barre_It_All_LLC_Fitness) and Facebook ( 

“The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. To see moms hold hands with their children in poses or during shivasana (a mindfulness practice), just warms my heart!” Lucio said. 

To sign up, visit To schedule a private event, email Kelly Lucio at 



Winter Tips 

By Kathryn Cavanaugh, RN, MSN,  
LCMH Manager Health Promotions 

Winter in Chicago presents dangers to the elderly and the people who care for them. Chilling temperatures and treacherous snow and ice can terrorize the elderly and their caregivers. There are certain ways to maximize safety for this vulnerable population. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind to help keep seniors safe during the frigid season. 

HypothermiaEach year, half of Americans who die from hypothermia are at least 65 years old. The elderly are particularly susceptible to becoming dangerously chilled because they have less fat, slower circulation and a more sluggish metabolism. A senior can even become hypothermic while indoors; never set the thermostat below 65 degrees for a person who is 75 or older. Make sure that an elderly person is warmly dressed when inside the house as well as outside. 

Dehydration. Seniors are especially prone to becoming dehydrated simply because they eat and drink less than younger people, thus they consume less water. People also feel less thirsty during the winter and so are more prone to not drinking enough as they should. Make sure your elderly loved one is drinking consistently. 

Ice and snow. Sidewalks slick with ice and snow pose a serious falling hazard for an elderly person. Make sure that the porch, driveway, sidewalk, etc. of the senior has been thoroughly cleaned. Try not to let them do it themselves; bring a shovel or hire an outside service. To maximize a senior’s stability, be sure that they have rubber-soled shoes and new treads on their walker or cane.  

Disaster kit. Winter storms can be fierce enough to knock down power lines and confine seniors to their homes. Make sure seniors are equipped with a disaster kit. Each kit should include enough food and water for several days, a few days worth of the senior’s medication, a flashlight, a weather radio, extra batteries and first-aid essentials.  

Space heaters. While they can provide an elderly person with some muchneeded warmth, precautions need to be taken so heaters don’t become health hazards. If the heater is gaspowered, make sure the senior has a functioning carbon monoxide detector. If the heater is electric, make sure the cords aren’t damaged or fraying. Keep all heaters away from flammable materials such as cloth and paper, and make sure the smoke detector is working properly. 

Clothing. Mittens, scarves, sweaters, hats and coats are a few of the must-have articles for seniors in colder climates. Even in indoors, the elderly should be dressed in layers so they can take clothes off if they are too hot or put more on if they are too cold. 

Check in. Stay in touch with a phone call and dropin visits. 


Top Programs in January 

Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St.  

Knee and Hip Screening, Little Company of Mary O.P.C.C., 6700 W. 95th. St., Oak Lawn  Free. Dates, times and registration: 7084235774. 

Health Academy: Panel Presentation on Weight Management, Sat., Jan 11, 11 a.m., Oak Lawn Pavilion, 9401 W. Oak Park Ave. Free. Registration: 7084235774. 

Wake Up Call Screening: Assess your risk for heart disease and stroke, Sat., Jan. 18. Onehour appointment includes healthy heart labs, ultrasound screening of abdominal aorta and carotid arteries, peripheral vascular screeningheart rhythm screening for atrial fibrillation and kidney health screening. Includes personalized visit with wellness nurse educator. $160 (payment required at time of registration)Registration: 7084235774. 

The Ups and Downs of Diabetes, Sat., Jan. 18, 8 to 10 a.m. Topics are: changes in diabetic treatment, nutrition and well-being, positive thinking and keeping active. Includes light breakfast. $5. Seating is limited. Registration: 7082295629. 

5 Dangers of Drinking and Driving 

By Kathryn M. Cavanaugh, RN, MSN 
Manager/Health Promotions 
Little Company of Mary Hospital 

Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol is not only a serious crime, it’s very dangerous. Alcohol has a substantial effect on a person’s judgement, coordination, reaction time, concentration and vision.  Any amount of alcohol in your bloodstream can impact your driving ability, putting you at risk for causing an accident.   

Following are five dangers of drinking and driving 

Poor JudgementAlcohol clouds judgement. Loss of judgement when intoxicated can leave you more prone to distraction and less able to make good decisions.  Driving skills are also impacted, such as the ability to judge the distance needed to stop in time, or to make a turn without hitting anything. Having a clear head helps your judgement by keeping you alert and aware of the conditions around you. Alcohol will impair this ability. 

Slowed Reaction Time & Lack of CoordinationHaving alcohol in your system causes your body to react more slowly to certain situations.  The likelihood of an accident increases because you won’t be able to respond to something happening as quickly as you would if you were sober. A brain under the influence of alcohol takes longer to process a situation and react. Coordination skills are crucial for being able to safely drive a car, and if they are impaired, you will be putting yourself and others in danger. 

Decreased VisionDrinking may cause your vision to blur, or you might even lose control over your eye movement. This vision impairment can influence how you are able to judge the distance between your car and other vehicles or objects on the road. You might even lose your peripheral vision, which plays a very important role in safe driving.  

Increased Likelihood of Having an AccidentThere are about 10,000 deaths caused by alcohol-related crashes each year in the United States. Alcohol plays a role in roughly one in every three motor vehicle deaths in this country. Motor vehicle deaths are the leading killer of people under the age of 24, whether they are a driver or a passenger. No one should drive after consuming alcohol. This is the only way to protect yourself from the consequences of drinking and driving.  

Potential Legal RamificationsAnyone who chooses to drink and drive is putting themselves at risk for serious legal consequences. Beyond the legal penalties, offenders will also be subject to substantial financial penalties.  

The dangers of drinking and driving far outweigh the reward of chancing that you will get home safely. Safely driving a car is difficult even when you are sober, but adding alcohol into the mix is putting your life and the lives of others on the road at risk. Make sure that you make the right choice and don’t attempt to drive drunk.  

Top Programs This Month 

Little Company of Mary Hospital 

2800 W. 95th St. Registration:  7084235774. 

CHEER (Choices, Humor, Enhancement, Education, Renewal) covers outdoor activities and safety in “Winter Wonderland: The Art of Keeping Cozy,” Wed., Dec. 11, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.Cancer Center. Free. 

Assess your risk for heart disease and stroke with a Wake-Up Call Screening Sat., Dec. 14. Includes healthy heart labs, ultrasound of abdominal aorta and carotid arteries, peripheral vascular screening and heart rhythm screening for atrial fibrillation, plus personalized visit with wellness nurse educator and kidney health screening. Payment required at registration. Fee: $160 ($5,500 value). 

Hand/Wrist Screening with LCMH board certified orthopedic surgeon Ramsey Ellis, MD, Tues., Dec. 17. Free. 

Healthy Heart Screening including CBC with differential, chemistry, blood sugar, cholesterol profile, thyroid, hs-CRP, BP and BMI, plus kidney health screening to determine the amount of protein in the urine. Monday through Thursday, two locations. By appointment only. Fee: $70 ($2,500 value).   

Your Health: Living Well With Congestive Heart Failure 

By Kathryn Cavanaugh, MSN, RN 
Manager Health PromotionsLittle Company of Mary Hospital 

The term “heart failure” can be very daunting when your doctor tells you that you have this significant health challenge.  Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a very common medical condition that varies widely from person to person and can be managed effectively with medications and lifestyle changes. Simply put, heart failure occurs when the heart muscle becomes unable to pump blood to the lungs where it picks up oxygen to carry to other muscles and systems of the body. Indications of CHF include tiredness, dizziness, swelling of the legs and ankles (edema) with sudden weight gain over a period of days, shortness of breath and cough due to a build-up of fluid in the lungs. Common causes of CHF include high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary artery disease. The good news is that the problem develops gradually and can be managed with medications and lifestyle changes. Here are a few tips to help you accomplish that goal. 

Watch your salt intake. This is very effective in lowering blood pressure and helping to eliminate fluid from the body. High blood pressure is a serious risk for developing heart failure. 

Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying around that extra weight puts a strain on your heart. Losing as little as 10% of your body weight can make a huge difference on the overall health of your cardiovascular system. 

Follow a healthy heart diet. Incorporate healthy fats in your diet, such as plant oils (i.e. olive oil) and omega-3 fatty acids (i.e. fish) and load up on whole grains, vegetables and fruits. One thing to keep in mind is that you may need to restrict your fluids to less than 1.5 liters per day. This is about five  8-ounce servings. 

Keep track of your body. Weigh yourself and take your blood pressure every day. If you gain more than three to five pounds in a matter of days or notice your blood pressure creeping up, call your doctor. 

Take your medications. Your doctor will work closely with you to determine the medications that work best for you. Take medications as prescribed. If you have concerns about the medications, talk with your doctor before you make any changes. 

Little Company of Mary Hospital has a Heart Failure Clinic that works with you and your doctor to keep you out of the hospital and managing your symptoms successfully at home. For more information, call 7082294278 

Top November Programs  

Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St. Registration: 7084235774   

CHEER (Choices, Humor, Enhancement, Education, Renewal) “Relax and Regroup Singing Crystal Bowls,” Wed., Nov. 13, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Free. 

Calcium Scoring Screening, noninvasive CT scan of the heart to calculate risk of developing coronary artery disease by measuring the amount of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries, Thurs., Nov. 14Fee: $99. 

Wake-Up Call Screening to assess risk for heart disease and stroke, Sat., Nov. 16. Includes healthy heart labs, ultrasound screening of abdominal aorta and carotid arteries, peripheral vascular screening, heart rhythm screening for atrial fibrillation, kidney health screening and personalized visit with wellness nurse educator. Payment required at time of registration. Fee: $160. 

Skin Cancer Screeningtenminute screening for one area of concern with Sonya Kenkare, M.D., board certified dermatologistThurs., Nov. 21. Free. 




Help for Weighty Issues 

By Eileen McNichols 
Little Company of Mary Hospital 

One of the most common health challenges in the United States today is obesity. Obesity is a medical term that refers to a Body Mass Index (BMI) that increases the risk for serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer and joint disease. Many people who struggle with their weight have all the information they need to lose weight, yet they struggle to maintain a healthy weightObviously, there is more to it than just having the information.  

Obesity occurs when one takes in more calories than the body needs. Being overweight and obesity are related to genetic, behavioral and environmental factors. There are myriad weight loss programs available. However, research from the National Academy of Sciences shows that the percentage of people who are able to lose weight and keep it off is as small as one to three percent. Many factors contribute to consuming more calories than the body needs. Some people develop unhealthy eating habits as children and struggle to change those habits as adults. Most adults are less physically active than they were as children.  Additionally, busy schedules of working adults can make it difficult to shop, plan healthy meals and make time for exercise.   

Factors such as stress, anxiety and lack of sleep also can lead to weight gain People who quit smoking often experience weight gain. Women may also have trouble losing the weight gained during pregnancy and/or during menopause. In some cases, these factors contribute to the onset of morbid obesity and a host of health problems including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, and joint and back pain 

What is the secret to losing excess pounds and maintaining a healthy body weight? There really is no easy answer. Every person is an individual with unique genetic makeup, behaviors developed from childhood, life stressors and environmental factors. The good news is that there is help available to find the underlying cause of your particular struggle and solutions that work for you.  

A comprehensive approach includes nutritional education and support, psychological counseling, medical weight management with specialized physician supervision and if needed, surgical optionsUtilizing the most current research and ongoing support and encouragement, Little Company of Mary Hospital has a multidisciplinary approach to help you be successful. For more information on the final solution to help with lifelong healthy weight management call 708-423-5774. For more information about Little Company of Mary’s bariatric program, go to 

Top four programs this month 

Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St. Info/registration 708-423-5774, 

In Balance: “Updates on Bariatric Surgery” with bariatric surgeon Scott Schimpke, MD, Thurs., Sept. 5, 1:30 p.m.  Free.   

Health Academy: “Updates on Ovarian Cancer” with gynecology oncologist Carrie McIlwain, MD, Mon., Sept. 9, 11 a.m. Free.    

Lung Cancer Screening, Sat., Sept. 14, 8 a.m. to noon, Outpatient Care Center, 6700 W. 95th St. Includes a low dose CT scan of the chest; must meet criteria. Registration required. $125. 

New! Calcium Scoring Screening, a noninvasive CT scan of the heart to calculate risk of developing coronary artery disease. Registration required. $99. 


Overwhelmed by all the bad in the world, and ready to give up? 

By Lisa Catania, LCSW 

Recently I became disheartened when someone I love and respect said that they weren’t sure if they could get behind forgiveness given the state of the world.  This broke my heart a bit because this person is generous with understanding and optimism, and is the voice of reason in almost every situation.  

Flashback to 25years ago: My heart was so ready to have children, but I was in a real state of depression over the ills of humanity. I feared that I would be adding to overpopulation, depleting resources and dooming my children and possible grandchildren to a sick, dying, polluted earth and so much suffering.  A kindhearted, church-going woman heard my angst at the right time and said“We need good people in the future.  Simple, yet freeing words. I had the bravery to have my children and have tried my best to help them be good in this deeply troubled, yet still-so-beautiful world. 

People are in a state of fear and polarization, and teetering on hateful rage, right? How do we find the right path when it is so easy to hate right now?   

I don’t know the answer, but I know deep in my soul that it has to do with the revolution/evolution of the collective consciousness and empowered action. And that it starts from within. We need to show up where we live first, within ourselves, and eradicate our own voice of entitled justification to judge and condemn. I invite you to stop and ask yourself repeatedly: Whatever I want to condemn, do I possess that in myself?  And: How am I adding to the collective problem? And: How can I be the change I want to see? 

On my personal Facebook page, I recently went on a small rant about people making a million forms of pollution on a beautiful beach.  Friends cheered me on. But then had to call myself out – I am as much a part of the problem as everyone else.  Sure, I pack up my plastics, carry them from the beach and place them in the garbage. But then the garbage goes to a dump and flies up in the air and lands on the beach, and when I see it, I’m blaming other peopleI got humble and walked the beach, picking up a big bag of stuff.  I said hello and smiled at each person I met, thinking“I am you, you are me, we are each wonderful and awful, and so worthy of respect and compassion” and hoping that they could feel something stir in their soul that might propel them to see our collective mess and grab a garbage bag too.   

Weach need to wake up, stop being so complacent/detached/disempowered/critical and look at how we are perpetuating the problemWe need to take steps to create what we value It is a big, but essential, endeavor requiring a lot of humility, self-compassion and self-forgiveness, and a lot of accountability and action. And it’s also surprisingly empowering, softening, and hopeful. 

Please don’t give up!  Please continue to love, hope and forgive. Please be accountable and responsible. The world needs YOU to be the difference.  Anyone want to join me in a new movement? #letmetellyouhowiamtheproblem and #whatiamdoingaboutit. 

Patient to Join Thousands this Mother’s Day in the Fight Against Breast Cancer  

Lori Smith grew up on Chicago’s West Side, attending Notre Dame School for Girls and Jones Commercial High School. In 1973, she married Jim Smith, a South Sider and they started their family. The only real “battle” they had was Chicago Cubs or Chicago White Sox, until 16 years ago when Lori was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS).  

DCIS, considered the earliest form of breast cancer, is noninvasive, meaning it hasn’t spread out of the milk duct. This diagnosis was just three weeks after her mom received the same diagnosis. Smith was treated with a lumpectomy and endocrine therapy at Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH).    

DCIS has an excellent prognosis with appropriate treatment, however, having a history of breast cancer increases the risk of a new cancer in the future, including an invasive carcinoma.   

In June 2018, Smith went in for her annual mammogram. The initial images were “all clear,” but next day, Dr. Jilma Patrickfellowship-trained breast surgeon at LCMH, called Smith to schedule a biopsy because the full images of the biopsy showed atypical cells. In July, Dr. Patrick performed a lumpectomy that revealed an invasive papillary carcinoma. Smith had another surgery in August that showed no additional cancer cells.  

Smith didn’t need chemotherapy, but she would have to undergo 16 days of radiation and take an oral endocrine therapy pill for five years. She didn’t let this setback stop her from staying positive and exuding a wonderful energy.   

“I never asked why me? I just said, ‘What do we need to do to fix this?’” Smith said. “I got up every morning for 16 days straight to go to my 8 a.m. radiation appointment with my husband, my rock, by my side.”   

Every day after the 15minute radiation treatment, her husband would take her back to their home in Palos Park. On day 16 when Smith came out of the radiation room, the team of doctors and technicians and her husband were there to celebrate the treatment’s completion.  

Continued self-care, including mammograms, is the next step for Smith. She also plans to do some traveling. Every five years for their anniversary Lori and Jim go on a trip. This past anniversary they celebrated 45 years, but they were unable to travel do to Lori’s health, so Germany and Paris await this loving couple.  

Smith is very appreciative for the LCMH staff, doctors, radiation technicians, her family and especially her rock, Jim. She knows she couldn’t have made it through her diagnosis and treatment without them. Smith will be among the thousands of people who will participate in the 20th Annual Beverly Breast Cancer Walk (BBCW), Mother’s Day, Sun., May 12, starting at 8 a.m., at Ridge Park, 96th and Longwood Drive. 

Over the past 19 years, the BBCW has raised more than $6 million to support LCMH’s award-winning Comprehensive Breast Health Center and impacted the lives of thousands of breast cancer survivors. This generous community support helps to sustain breast health programming, and last year to deepen its impact with the establishment of a BBCW Crisis Fund to assist LCMH breast cancer patients with emergent financial needs within our community.   

Register for the BBCW early to receive a t-shirt with your $30 entry fee; the entry fee for children ages 18 and under is $15; same-day registration is $10 more for adults and $5 more for children 18. Register and find details at   

To schedule a mammogram, go to 


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