- Every two years, Alameda County's EveryOne Home sets out to conduct a point-in-time homeless count in the county. The group and volunteers go out into the community and provide survey questionnaires to those who are living outdoors. The data collected from the survey is used to help the county better serve the homeless.
- From funny to brutally honest, Buzzfeed has a list of 29 young adult books about mental health that are a perfect gift idea.
- The Senate has passed HR 34, or the 21st Century Cures Act. According to NAMI, HR 34 contains a number of provisions designed to improve access to needed care and foster recovery, which could prevent consequences from lack of mental health care such as homelessness, hospitalizations, suicides, and unnecessary incarceration.
For many members, finding inspiration in recovery can be difficult, especially when things that are supposed to help, like medication, can cause discouraging side effects. The Recovery Center at Woodburn (RCW) in Oregon understands that there are challenges in recovery, and takes the time to work with members so they can overcome these hardships.
Sarah Lahey, a Rehab Therapist at RCW, has shared with us a story about Robert, a resident at Woodburn for the past two years, who was able to find a way to balance getting better and continuing doing what he loves: art.
This month, Robert was featured in a local art show. He shares about his recovery process and inspiration through his artist biography below.
Robert is a self-taught artist and contemporary painter from Woodburn, Oregon. His love for art started five years ago following a dark period of recovery and adjustment from a disability. An unfortunate side effect of the medications he needed for his treatment caused severe hand tremors, which he still has today. Although this was a challenging time in Robert’s life, through perseverance and a self-taught technique of bracing his hands on the surface of the canvas, he found joy in the one area he initially had very little control over: painting.
Robert is a spiritual person and sees his art as a way of giving back. Although he has done a series of delicate flowers and a songbird collection, his real joy of painting centers on the childhood delight of big machinery and earth moving vehicles.
Robert’s current work displayed in this art show evokes the iconic childhood experience of playing with Matchbox cars and Tonka Trucks. There is a hopefulness to his imagery that is tied to his future goals, yet connects back to his earliest hopes and dreams: the ones where he wished he was big enough to reach the peddles, tall enough to see over the steering wheel, and trusted enough to run the equipment. His work represents every bit of being a man, being in charge, and creating or building something that he can call his own. Both in his personal life and in his paintings, Robert strives for autonomy, independence, and freedom.
Robert has lived all over Oregon, but favors the more rural places where he has the space to dream. His paintings are acrylic on canvas and his signature works consist of bold, bright colors, playfully capturing his perspective of trucks and construction vehicles in action. This is his first show.
Here's to a happy, safe, and warm holiday season.
We are excited to reveal our holiday card and 2017 Recovery Calendar!
We would like to give a big THANK YOU to all the programs and artists who took the time to create such lovely works of art and poetry–we wish the year was longer so everyone's art could be displayed.
Witches and Wizards and Wonder Woman, oh my! The San Diego AOT team had fun showing off their spooky spirit this Halloween.
- The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance launched an online toolkit that supports law enforcement agencies around the country in planning and implementing effective calls for service involving people with mental illnesses.
- Instagram is launching a new feature to help users who post or search about self-harm, and provide them with the option to contact helplines directly, or receive tips on getting help.
- Mental illness is not a costume. See how advocates at This Is My Brave encouraged others to share their #FaceofMentalIllness this Halloween season to show what mental illness can look like.
- Need a pick-me-up? Here are some comforting affirmations to get you through.
The fair, sponsored by Riverside County Mental Health Department, takes place in September each year in Riverside County as a part of National Recovery Month. Recovery Happens is intended to help unite those already in recovery and spread the message that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover. The event included many activities such as a dunk tank, a recovery walk, live music, free hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy, and an awards ceremony.
Telecare RISE took part as one of the exhibitors to inform participants about our Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) program, and to gather information and increase collaboration with county partners and contract providers in helping members achieve their goals and dreams.
Another exhibitor was Art Works, a nonprofit company that assists clients with disabilities to create and sell works of art that individuals and companies can purchase to decorate their office space. “Their services can empower our members and allow their works of art to be celebrated in the community,” said Telecare RISE Administrator Stephen Thorpe.
There aren’t many print mediums outside of scientific journals seeking to open up conversations around mental health-related topics. Anxy, a peer-led print magazine currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, aims to do just that—normalize the conversation about mental illness and “smash those stigmas”.
“We intend to cut through the clutter and open up conversations about those transformative moments in powerful personal narratives.” said Anxy’s Founder and Creative Director, Indhira Rojas. “Anxy exists to demonstrate that sometimes the darkest and most paralyzing experiences can have empowering ripple effects in our lives.”
Anxy will be a bi-annual print magazine with different themes—personal struggles, loneliness, or fears, for example—paired with stunning visuals, photo essays, and personal narratives by and for people with lived experience.
The Kickstarter campaign for Anxy ends on October 19—and they still have some little ways to go. If you feel this project is necessary, consider supporting it in a way that works for you: make a contribution, share the news within your networks, or spread the word on Facebook or Twitter.
September is a busy month for generating awareness on mental health issues. Every year, SAMHSA sponsors it as National Recovery Month as a way to increase awareness and understanding of mental health issues and to celebrate those in recovery. This year, the theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!” People in recovery are encouraged to share their personal journeys and connect with others on SAMHSA’s forum.
The second week of September is recognized as Suicide Prevention Week to help promote resources and awareness around the issues of suicide, the third leading cause of death among young people. On September 10, 2016, we observe World Suicide Prevention Day to connect individuals affected by suicide and to raise awareness on suicidal ideation and the treatment services available.
There are a variety of events and awareness campaigns taking place around the country that you can be a part of. Below are some ideas to get you started:
- Download and share the infographics we created: Suicide Prevention: Facts and Risks and Suicide Prevention: Facts and Risks for Youth
- Check out SAMHSA's event calendar to find out what's happening in your area for National Recovery Month.
- Download SAMHSA’s Recovery Month Toolkit or EachMindMatters Suicide Prevention Activity Tip Sheet for ideas on reaching out to your community and spread awareness around these issues.
- Download the Know the Signs Campaign Toolkit Catalog to view the resources and materials available for suicide prevention.
- Use one of the Active Minds social media post suggestions as a guide for starting the conversation within your own community on Facebook or Twitter.
- Take NAMI’s Stigmafree pledge and share the link with others in your community.
Graduation is a time for celebration and new beginnings. What better new beginning can come from a graduation than a slate wiped clean, a criminal record expunged? That’s what happened when Judge Joe T. Perez of the Superior Court of Orange County handed a graduation certificate to Thurman Williams. He had just completed one of the first court-ordered Assisted Intervention (AI) programs in California, which operates out of Telecare STEPS in Santa Ana.
“For me, graduation was emotional because you accomplish something that's very difficult,” said Thurman. “It’s also kind of bittersweet because you are part of a family. You go to the program every day or once a week for twenty-five months, and now I don’t have to. It was kind of strange to just go, ‘I can do whatever I want.’”
The “whatever I want” part was going back to his place of employment—Telecare TAO and TAO South. Thurman was offered a job at Telecare during Phase III of the AI program after his peer mentoring skills were recognized while going through program. He was asked to give a speech at Telecare’s 50th Anniversary party in Orange County, and was offered a job as a Wellness Center Coordinator shortly after.
“The fact that I worked for Telecare while going through an assisted intervention program—that has never, ever been done before. I didn’t even really think about becoming involved in mental health at that time,” said Thurman, who had a successful baseball career both playing for the San Francisco Giants and then continued as a coach for future major league players. “I knew I was going to always advocate for mental health afterword. I was always going to do something, but I didn’t know it would turn into this.”
Now, Thurman is a PSC I and runs groups for other members in court-ordered treatment.
“It's just basically me, as somebody who's gone through the program, kind of giving advice on how I navigated through it, and how to avoid backtracking,” said Thurman. “I want to do this. I wasn’t sure, but it’s where I need to be. This is how I had to come full circle. This is where I’m supposed to end up, I think.”
News you can use — and a little fun and inspiration — from around the internet and our programs, too.
- Our STEPS program in Orange County celebrated their first completion of the Co-Occurring Education Groups curriculum.
- See how Share and Care in Los Angeles uses arts therapy to help youth through trauma and to develop their resiliency.
- Thor actor Chris Hemsworth shows his support for Livin, an organization that aims to fight the sigma surrounding mental health.
- The Anna Freud National Center for Children and Families launched a series of expert podcasts this month to help parents understand and manage child and family mental health problems.
Telecare's 105-member, Full Service Partnership (FSP), Orange County STEPS, recently celebrated their first completion of the Co-Occurring Education Group (COEG) program. The group had a total of 51 members who attend one or more of the classes, and 15 graduates!
The graduates were given certificates for completing the program and were treated to a lunch where pizza and cake were served.
To graduate, participants had to have attended all 16 weeks of the COEG program. Each session covers a different topic of discussion: from understanding addiction, to recognizing triggers, to reflecting on one's hopes and goals. The groups are open, so new participants can join a group at any time. The flexible drop-in format, and the resources and tools that are provided at the end of each group, are meant to encourage participants to take ownership over the decisions they make about their health choices.
Congratulations to STEPS' first successful group of participants, and the staff that worked so hard to make it happen!
A little cool weather didn't stop the staff at SOAR from heating up the competition during their second annual Telecare games on Wednesday, June 15.
The scavenger hunt took place in Old Town Sacramento, where program staff teamed up, worked together, and acted out, to get ahead in the race.
"It was amazing to see the teams work together as well as the help members of the community," said SOAR Clinical Director Kezzia Bullen. "As a judge, the best part was the stop where the teams had to sing a railroad themed song to an actual train and capture it on video—one team even had choreography. Another clue had teams searching for a locally renowned 'mini' treat from Danny's Mini Donuts, but it proved challenging and our judges ended up with extra erroneous goodies, which was dubbed the 'pile of wrong.'" A delicious error indeed!
"At the end of the hunt, we laughed, told stories of the afternoon, and gave out the prizes over pizza," Kezzia said. "We cannot wait to do this event next year and make it even better!"
Telecare's Clark County Evaluation and Treatment (E&T) program in Vancouver, WA, celebrated their military folks for the month of May by bringing in photos of family members who've served to post on the program's bulletin board.
The men and women featured served as a Belly/Top Gunner (who crash landed three times, breaking his nose each time!), Cobol Programmer, Recovery Specialist and Mechanic, Command Post Dispatcher, C-17 Cargo Plane Load Master, Morse Code Interpreter and Security Service, and a Corporal in the Spanish War.
Each person was stationed in various places around the United States, as well as abroad in Cuba, Iraq, Niger, Germany, Japan, Guam, and Thailand. Their service has spanned from 1898 to present, and included serving time during the Spanish War, World War II, Vietnam, Iraq, and Peace Time.
Much thanks to all the service men and women, past and present, and to those who will choose to serve in the future!
La Paz Geropsychiatric Center organized a twofer on Friday, May 20 by hosting a Dodger Days barbecue for residents and staff, as well as a commemoration for Mental Health Month. Staff dressed in their Dodger Blue shirts hosted several guests from the community.
In Long Beach, California, Telecare operates a Mental Health Rehabilitation Center (MHRC), a Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF), and a Mental Health Urgent Care Center (MHUCC) on one campus known as "La Casa".
As a background, some of Telecare’s consumers with a history of trauma or abuse can have maladaptive behaviors that lead to legal, social, and health-related challenges in the community. These consumers exist at all levels of care in California, from Full Service Partnership (FSP) and Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) programs all the way up to high-level locked programs such as La Casa MHRC. These behaviors can include, but are not limited to, self-injurious behaviors such as cutting, head banging, striking out, and drug seeking. Some of the problematic behaviors seen in these consumers are not always fully correctable with standard supportive therapy and medications.
For this reason, La Casa created a multidisciplinary committee in 2015 to create a strategic plan to implement a Modified Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) track in the MHRC, and some of its surrounding sister programs (La Casa PHF, La Paz Geropsychiatric Center, and the MHUCC). The program uses the term "Modified DBT" as the training and curriculum does not necessarily follow the traditional DBT format given that consumers have a concurrent serious and persistent mental illness and are often in an inpatient environment.
There is continued work being done at all of these programs, but La Casa is pleased to report the first phase of the implementation is complete at the MHRC and selected consumers have finished the first eight-week cycle of treatment.
La Paz Geropsychiatric Center in Paramount, CA was chosen to be a part of the pilot study of Music & Memory through CAHF and UC Davis; the program seeks to enliven and enrich the lives of those who have been diagnosed with dementia. La Paz received 15 iPod shuffles from the Music & Memory study program, and 15 residents with a diagnosis of dementia were chosen to participate in the program. Each resident was interviewed to find out more about their favorite music: what artists they enjoyed, what live concerts they’d seen in their youth, any musicals they enjoyed, or what genre was most appealing to them. Rehabilitation staff then worked to download the music on to each resident’s personal iPod.
Although the study is to last for three years, so far there have been some encouraging results:
- Residents who prefer to spend their time in their room have been more social with others.
- Those who are sometimes loud and difficult to redirect, listen to their music quietly with big smiles on their faces and sway to the beat.
- Others who can be rather disorganized and difficult to understand find their voices and sing full songs with proper lyrics.
We are looking forward to see what other changes may come about in the future to improve the overall well-being of these residents!
“The graduation luncheon signifies an end of an era and the beginning of a new one in the member's journey,” said Natalie Reinfeld, ATLAS/TABS/AOT/FOT Administrator. “We like to think of it as a celebration, but also as a ‘rite of passage’ for our members who, in their own lives, might not have had the opportunity to partake in such events.”
The 63 members who were honored at the ceremony got to walk the red carpet and add their own star to the walk of fame, and received awards for: "Power over Substance," "Making Choices,” "Exploring Identity," "Awakening Hope," "Making Connections," and "Wellecare."
Way to go 2016 grads!!!
A huge congratulations to the staff and leadership team at Garfield Neurobehavioral Center (NBC) for receiving a $180,000 Quality and Accountability Supplemental Performance (QASP) award by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).
The state-developed program evaluates skilled nursing facilities quality of care. One hundred points are divided among the measurements with point values distributed for each quality indicator. Facilities receive an overall quality of care score when points from each of the quality measures are totaled.
Quality Measures categories are as follows:
- Nursing Hours per Patient Day (NHPPD)
- Direct Care Staffing Retention (optional)
- Physical Restraints— Long Stay
- “Facility Acquired” Pressure Ulcers— Long Stay and Short Stay
- Influenza— Long Stay and Short Stay
- Pneumococcal— Long Stay and Short Stay
- Patient/Family Satisfaction
Garfield scored very well in the areas of (high) staffing, (low) physical restraint use, (few) pressure ulcers, and (high) rate of immunizations.