Recognizing the increased stress that often accompanies the holiday season, especially for the pulmonary hypertension (PH) community, Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) staff and volunteers have created a two-part “Holiday Headspace” video series for PHA Classroom’s “Living with PH” section. The series covers how to cope with holiday expectations, stress and anxiety for individuals with PH as well as caregivers.

Part one of the “Holiday Headspace” series is presented by David D. Barnum, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist with a specialization in health psychology, and Patrick Mellin, an individual with pulmonary arterial hypertension who leads a PHA support group. The presenters discuss topics of holiday expectations, added stress and increased anxiety, as well as ways to identify stressors and address them with coping mechanisms. They share information on identifying mental health concerns and where to get professional assistance in addition to information on how to find peer support through PHA. The video recording offers valuable firsthand experience from Patrick Mellin, who addresses ways that he approaches the added stress and expectations during the holidays and through the winter. View “Holiday Headspace” in PHA Classroom or below.

The second video recording of the series, Holiday Headspace: Caregiver Edition, was created to address the concerns of caregivers and added expectations over the holiday season. Michele Freeman, M.S., NCC, LPC, a PH caregiver and professionally licensed clinician, provides valuable insights and information for caregivers to address challenges they face providing support, while also taking care of oneself. She shares her expertise, including ways to identify stressors, coping strategies and how caregivers can find peer support through PHA. View the video below.

Learn more about our “Holiday Headspace” presenters:

Michele Freeman is a caregiver for her husband who has pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a support group leader for Central Oregon and the facilitator for the PH Caregiver online call. In addition, she is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes with individuals with chronic illness.

Dr. David Barnum completed his doctoral training in clinical psychology with a specialization in health psychology at the University of Kansas. After his internship at Temple University Health Sciences in Philadelphia, he has divided his professional time primarily between public mental health settings and private practice. Dr. Barnum’s clinical work focuses particularly on pediatric and family psychology, coping with physical illness and its impacts, and successfully navigating the challenges that confront people at any step along the way in life.

Currently, Dr. Barnum is the clinical director at Larned State Hospital in Kansas while continuing work in the private group practice, Family Therapy Institute Midwest. He has taught as an adjunct professor at various universities in Kansas and continues his involvement in providing multiple levels of professional training. Dr. Barnum has published work in areas of hope, enhancing access to mental health care, and treatment of children impacted by mistreatment and involvement in foster care systems.

Patrick Mellin is an advocate for the mental health community. He is a state trainer, support group leader and speaker for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in New Jersey and serves as a board member for his local NAMI affiliate. He also serves on the Community Advisory Council for the Somerset County Mental Health Center in New Jersey. After being diagnosed with PAH, Patrick became a member of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, writing and consulting on matters related to mental health and a support group leader for other patients and caregivers. As the owner of his own IT firm, he consults for a wide range of working professions.