Mission Moments at the 27th Annual Conference of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health

Posted by on Nov 15, 2016 in Children's Mental Health, executive director, family support, federation conference, GPS for Youth and Families, national federation, sustainable family support organization | Comments Off on Mission Moments at the 27th Annual Conference of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health

Here at Guided Pathways –Support for Youth and Families (GPS) we share what we call mission moments

Time out between conference sessions for taking photos in downtown Phoenix's Herberger Theatre sculpture plaza.

Time out between conference sessions for taking photos in downtown Phoenix’s Herberger Theatre sculpture plaza.

at our monthly staff meeting. A mission moment is any experience that reminds us of the importance of youth and family support and the need for helping families with emotional, behavioral and mental health challenges achieve wellness and resiliency.   During the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (NFFCMH), November 10th – 13th, in Phoenix, AZ, we experienced many mission moments.

The sunshine of the Sonoran desert and warm welcome of NFFCHM Executive Director Lynda Gargan set a positive tone from the start at the opening-day plenary session. SAMHSA’s Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch Chief Gary Blau reminded us that it’s now more than ever that family voice is needed. Presenters lead discussions on such vital issues as peer support, transgender and gender diversity, trauma-informed care and resiliency.

Opening plenary session shared why youth engagement and leadership is needed now more than ever.

Opening plenary session shared why youth engagement and leadership is needed now more than ever.

We were honored to be chosen to present at the conference. During our presentation, Partnering for Youth Empowerment Support in Schools, participants shared their challenges and passion for supporting transition age youth and involving schools in the work of ensuring at-risk youth receive support for social and emotional development in addition to academic growth and success.

Ashley Peoples moderated a discussion during a 3-hour family/mentor institute, part of the national peer training collaborative Team Up For Families (TUFF) at the 27th NFFCMH Conference.

Ashley Peoples moderated a discussion during a 3-hour family/mentor institute, part of the national peer training collaborative Team Up For Families (TUFF) at the 27th NFFCMH Conference.

GPS Youth Peer Coordinator Ashley People’s participation and leadership as a content developer on Team Up for Families (TUFF) was a true mission moment. TUFF is a family-driven learning collaborative of certified trainers working within systems of care from Maine to Hawaii.  Ashley is one of 16 youth peers chosen to develop the TUFF curriculum to teach youth and families to navigate systems effectively using tools such as the Team Up for Your Child step-by-step family guide.  Watching Ashley and her peers begin to tackle this awesome work reminded me of the tremendous strengths of youth with lived experience and the value of supporting their empowerment.  They are tomorrow’s leaders and the work we are doing together today could not happen without them!

The words of Sue Klebold, author of “A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy,” provided powerful mission moments. One of the conference’s keynote speakers, Sue is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School in 1999 who killed thirteen people before ending their own lives.  Sue reminded conference attendants that the work of youth, parent and family supporters truly matters and can have a life-saving impact. This tragedy galvanized a nation and, as a result, we are all more aware and focused on supporting families in every way possible.

Erin Callinan shares her poignant recovery story.

Erin Callinan shares her poignant recovery story.

Book author and board member of Mentally Ill Kids in Distress (MIKID), Erin Callinan brought another

 

powerful mission moment in her keynote speech about her experiences after unexpectedly being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age seventeen – two weeks before beginning her senior year in high school. Erin validated our passion for and belief in the importance of facilitating and supporting youth, parents and families in creating natural and other supports, when she talked about how she and her family found hope and strength together to navigate her way through the fear, shame and stigma that follow being diagnosed with a serious mental illness.

Eric Bruns shares research on family support.

Eric Bruns shares research on
family support.

Eric Bruns, University of Washington’s Wraparound Evaluation and Research

 

Team director and Jane Walker, executive director of Family Run Executive Director Leadership Association (FREDLA) updated participants on the Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI): the tiered process to build a proposal for family and research partnerships. Bruns and Walker and co-presenter Jane Adams, executive director of Keys for Networking in Kansas discussed family and research partnerships, engagement strategies, and building the evidence base for the value and efficacy of parent peer support.

We thank the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health for this 27th Annual Conference, the only national conference dedicated solely to issues that impact children and young adults with behavioral health challenges and their families.  We look forward to experiencing future NFFCMH Conference mission moments!

Statement by Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health on the Orlando nightclub shooting.

Posted by on Jun 14, 2016 in GPS for Youth and Families, Mental Illness, Recovery | Comments Off on Statement by Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health on the Orlando nightclub shooting.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of the Pulse shootings, the people of Orlando, FL and all of us in the aftermath of this tragic event.  We thank Linda Rosenberg for her message below and urge everyone who may be experiencing the symptoms of trauma to seek support.

-Guided Pathways Support for Youth & Families

 

June 13, 2016

Statement by Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health on the Orlando nightclub shooting.

We grieve for the victims, their families, the witnesses and the greater Orlando community after this horrific act of violence.

And we are grateful for and stand with the community mental health providers who will support the community in the painful aftermath.

The psychological wounds of a trauma of this magnitude can be severe. For survivors, the world may no longer feel safe. Mass violence once confined to action movies and war zones became a reality in their own backyard. In a moment, their sense of safety and trust in the world around them shattered.

These reactions are natural responses to mass violence.

An individual’s experience of trauma impacts every area of functioning — physical, mental, behavioral, social, spiritual. The economic costs of untreated trauma-related alcohol and drug abuse alone were estimated at $161 billion in 2000. The human costs are incalculable.

Healing is possible. People are resilient and when support is in place, a person can find meaning in their lives again, even after a terrible tragedy.

We urge members of the Orlando community – and those in other places who are reacting to news coverage – to be aware of symptoms of trauma and reach out for help. Symptoms may include headaches, backaches, stomachaches; sweating and/or heart palpitations; and changes in sleep patterns and appetite. If you or someone you love needs help, use the SAMHSA Treatment Services Locator (https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov) or call 1-800-985-5990.

The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with 2,500 member organizations, serving 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council was instrumental in bringing Mental Health First Aid to the USA and more than 500,000 individuals have been trained. In 2014, the National Council merged with the State Associations of Addiction Services (SAAS). To learn more about the National Council, visit www.TheNationalCouncil.org.

For more on How to Manage Trauma: http://www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Trauma-infographic.pdf

Trauma Healing and The Brain, – Discussing the Effect of Trauma and The Link to Drug Addiction

Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Children's Mental Health, family support, Mental Illness, Recovery, self care, Substance Abuse, sustainable family support organization | Comments Off on Trauma Healing and The Brain, – Discussing the Effect of Trauma and The Link to Drug Addiction

We hear a lot about the effects of trauma and the importance of trauma-informed care these days and for good reason. For those of you who may have missed our blog in the last two weeks, Gabor Maté is a medical doctor recently retired from active practice. He was a family physician for two decades and for seven years he served as Medical Coordinator of the Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver Hospital in British Columbia. For twelve years he worked in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with patients challenged by hard core addiction, mental illness, HIV and related conditions. For two years he was the onsite physician at Vancouver’s unique Supervised Injection Site, North America’s only such facility. He is internationally known for his work on the mind. This video on the link between trauma and drug addiction ends our Mental Health Awareness Month offerings. I hope you find it informative and thought-provoking.

Consequences of Stressed Parenting

Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Children's Mental Health, family support, GPS for Youth and Families, Mental Illness, Recovery, self care, Substance Abuse | Comments Off on Consequences of Stressed Parenting

Stress is again the focus of this week’s blog and video offering.   Dr. Gabor Maté talks about the link between stressed parenting and the preponderance of childhood disorders like ADHD, autism and oppositional defiant disorder. The talk was given at the KMT Child Development & Community Conference. It underscores the importance of managing the stress in our lives for our own well-being and for that of our families.

Caring for Ourselves When We’re Caring for Others

Posted by on May 16, 2016 in Children's Mental Health, family support, family support organization, GPS for Youth and Families, Mental Illness, Recovery, self care, sustainable family support organization | Comments Off on Caring for Ourselves When We’re Caring for Others

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month! Each week we’re focusing on a different aspect of mental wellness. This week’s focus is self-care. As parents and caregivers, we all face stress – stress in the workplace, in the home, and virtually everywhere that people interact. Caring for a child or youth with complex emotional and behavioral needs brings added tensions to our lives. In order to combat the damages stress can bring about we need to recognize and manage it effectively and insightfully. When left unchecked, accumulated stress goes on to undermine us, disrupt our body’s physiological milieu and can prepare the ground for a multitude chronic diseases and conditions thus making it even harder for us to adequately care for our families. This week we are sharing a video featuring Dr. Gabor Mate. Dr. Mate is a medical doctor who, before his retirement, worked for two decades as a family physician and served for seven years as Medical Coordinator of the Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver Hospital in British Columbia. I first heard Dr. Mate present at a co-occurring disorders conference two years ago and found him to be engaging and profoundly attuned to the importance of empowering youth and families. I believe he’ll provide you with some great fuel for thought.

 

Musings from the 49th Annual American Association of Suicidology Conference

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in GPS for Youth and Families, King County, Suicide | Comments Off on Musings from the 49th Annual American Association of Suicidology Conference

Musings from the 49th Annual American Association of Suicidology Conference

By Susan Millender, GPS Executive Director

 

I am attending the American Association of Suicidology Conference this week, along with more than 1,000 loss survivors, researchers, mental health therapist, substance abuse treatment providers and other professionals in the field of suicide prevention. After suicide hit close to home in our own King County youth and family peer support network twice in the past two years, I felt it important to gain more information and talk with others about the prevention work going on in their communities. More than a few King County teachers and school administrators have shared their concerns about the mental health crisis of students they support and about the families who have lost sons and daughters to self-harm in their districts with us at the outreach events we’ve participated in during the last four years. Both the 2012 and 2014 Healthy Youth Survey point to increases in depression, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among King County youth ages 12 to 18.

What I’ve learned this week is that we are certainly not alone in our local area, when it comes to suicide. Suicide remains the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Most people who are suicidal do not receive treatment. Suicide is surrounding by silencing stigmatization and shame, a fact that is all too clear from the differences in recent newspaper headlines: Robin Williams Commits Suicide; Alan Rickman Loses His Battle With Cancer. Suicide is responsible for claiming 41,149 lives in 2013. The death rate in our country is the highest in 25 years, according to Dr. Marsha M. Linehan, University of Washington’s director of Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics (BRTC).

Dr. Linehan’s presentation entitled ‘Real Change Is Possible’ has surely been one of the highlights of this conference for me. She’s nothing if not a strong champion for change and a great holder of hope for recovery. Dr. Linehan believes it’s necessary to “cast a wider net to prevent suicide’.   Within that belief and based on the research she has done proving the effectiveness of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in treating suicidal behavior is Dr. Linehan’s  conviction that “ you do not have to be a therapist to teach DBT skills.”  She asserts that DBT is better compared to expert therapy in reducing suicidal behavior and that “you can’t rely on therapists to do everything”, therefore she advocates for starting to teach people who are not therapist, particularly parents, DBT.  Her goal is not keeping a person from taking their own lives but, teaching a person how to build a life that she/he experiences as worth living and that she/he wants to live!

I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Linehan and other innovators who’ve shared much during the week. Today we must build the suicide prevention of tomorrow. I am excited to share more creative and empowering ideas with all of my colleagues upon my return to King County!

9 Best Ways to Support Someone with Depression

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in depression | Comments Off on 9 Best Ways to Support Someone with Depression

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S, Associate Editor at Psych Central

 

If your loved one is struggling with depression, you may feel confused, frustrated and distraught yourself. Maybe you feel like you’re walking on eggshells because you’re afraid of upsetting them even more. Maybe you’re at such a loss that you’ve adopted the silent approach. Or maybe you keep giving your loved one advice, which they just aren’t taking.

Depression is an insidious, isolating disorder, which can sabotage relationships. And this can make not knowing how to help all the more confusing.

But your support is significant. And you can learn the various ways to best support your loved one. Below, Deborah Serani, PsyD, a psychologist who’s struggled with depression herself, shares nine valuable strategies.

  1. Be there – According to Serani, the best thing you can do for someone with depression is to be there. “When I was struggling with my own depression, the most healing moments came when someone I loved simply sat with me while I cried, or wordlessly held my hand, or spoke warmly to me with statements like ‘You’re so important to me.’ ‘Tell me what I can do to help you.’ ‘We’re going to find a way to help you to feel better.’”
  2. Try a small gesture – If you’re uncomfortable with emotional expression, you can show support in other ways, said Serani, who’s also author of the excellent book Living with Depression.

She suggested everything from sending a card or a text to cooking a meal to leaving a voicemail. “These gestures provide a loving connection [and] they’re also a beacon of light that helps guide your loved one when the darkness lifts.”

  1. Don’t judge or criticize – What you say can have a powerful impact on your loved one. According to Serani, avoid saying statements such as: “You just need to see things as half full, not half empty” or “I think this is really all just in your head. If you got up out of bed and moved around, you’d see things better.”

These words imply “that your loved one has a choice in how they feel – and has chosen, by free will, to be depressed,” Serani said. They’re not only insensitive but can isolate your loved one even more, she added.

  1. Avoid the tough-love approach – Many individuals think that being tough on their loved one will undo their depression or inspire positive behavioral changes, Serani said. For instance, some people might intentionally be impatient with their loved one, push their boundaries, use silence, be callous or even give an ultimatum (e.g., “You better snap out of it or I’m going to leave”), Serani said. But consider that this is as useless, hurtful and harmful as ignoring, pushing away or not helping someone who has cancer.
  2. Don’t minimize their pain. – Statements such as “You’re just too thin-skinned” or “Why do you let every little thing bother you?” shame a person with depression, Serani said. It invalidates what they’re experiencing and completely glosses over the fact that they’re struggling with a difficult disorder – not some weakness or personality flaw.
  3. Avoid offering advice – It probably seems natural to share advice with your loved one. Whenever someone we care about is having a tough time, we yearn to fix their heartache.

But Serani cautioned that “While it may be true that the depressed person needs guidance, saying that will make them feel insulted or even more inadequate and detach further.”

What helps instead, Serani said, is to ask, “What can we do to help you feel better?” This gives your love one the opportunity to ask for help. “When a person asks for help they are more inclined to be guided and take direction without feeling insulted,” she said.

  1. Avoid making comparisons – Unless you’ve experienced a depressive episode yourself, saying that you know how a person with depression feels is not helpful, Serani said. While your intention is probably to help your loved one feel less alone in their despair, this can cut short your conversation and minimize their experience.
  2. Learn as much as you can about depression – You can avoid the above missteps and misunderstandings simply by educating yourself about depression. Once you can understand depression’s symptoms, course and consequences, you can better support your loved one, Serani said.

For instance, some people assume that if a person with depression has a good day, they’re cured. According to Serani, “Depression is not a static illness. There is an ebb and flow to symptoms that many non-depressed people misunderstand.” As she explained, an adult whose feeling hopeless may still laugh at a joke, and a child who’s in despair may still attend class, get good grades and even seem cheerful.

“The truth is that depressive symptoms are lingering elsewhere, hidden or not easy to see, so it’s important to know that depression has a far and often imperceptible range,” Serani said.

  1. Be patient – Serani believes that patience is a pivotal part of supporting your loved one. “When you’re patient with your loved one, you’re letting them know that it doesn’t matter how long this is going to take, or how involved the treatments are going to be, or the difficulties that accompany the passage from symptom onset to recovery, because you will be there,” she said.

And this patience has a powerful result. “With such patience, comes hope,” she said. And when you have depression, hope can be hard to come by.

Sometimes supporting someone with depression may feel like you’re walking a tight rope. What do I say? What do I not say? What do I do? What do I not do?

But remember that just by being there and asking how you can help can be an incredible gift.

Let’s Celebrate Summer!

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Let’s Celebrate Summer!

Summertime aHigh Flying Kite June 2015 Gas Works Park.jpgcroppednd the livin is easy. The lyrics of the popular George Gershwin song may not hold true for many of us parents of kids with emotional and behavioral challenges. Still the season offers a wealth of opportunities to refresh, refuel, and even relax a bit! Time to get outdoors, let the warm of the sun melt away your tension and put a smile on your face! These photos show what we’ve been up to so far this summer.
Daylight breaks earlier and lasts longer, during the summer months, giving us more time to walk along a peaceful nature path or sit under a shady tree in the park and listen to the birds sing. There are community fairs and free concerts, picnics and neighborhood barbeques. Make plans for at least one summer outing that you can enjoy – as ‘me time’ or as an adventure for the whole family.
Spending time in nature is good for our mental and physical wellbeing. Fresh air and natural scenery can improve quality of life for us and our kids. Dr. Susanne Preston, a Clinical Mental Health Counseling instructor at South University, Virginia Beach says, “The fresh air and sunlight have the largest benefit.” According to Dr. Preston, “With increased exposure to natural sunlight, incidents of seasonal affective disorder decrease. When individuals are exposed to natural sunlight, the vitamin D in their skin helps to elevate their moods.”
“Research has shown that spending time in nature has been associated with decreased levels of mental illness, with the strongest links to reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, in addition to increased self-esteem,” Preston says.
Preston recommends outdoor activities like taking walks around the park or neighborhood, yoga, and meditation as healthy, relaxing ways to get some fresh air.
Kite aloft at Gas Works.jpgcroppedI welcome you all to come outside and join us this summer! On Sunday, July 26th, from 11:00am to 2:00pm, we’ll be in Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way NE, in Seattle for the Annual Picnic of the Families, Partners in Health, Professionals Networks of Support. If you’ve never come out to this free afternoon of family fun, you’ve missed having a great time! There will be face painting, arts and crafts, a water play area, music, performances and games plus free hotdogs, burgers, beverages and chips. Adding to the enticement are the wonderful potluck dishes everyone brings to share.
You’re also welcome to join us on Saturday, August 22nd, from 1:00pm to 4:00pm, in Renton’s Kiwanis Park, 815 Union Ave. NE, for our Guided Pathways Family Play Day. The focus of the afternoon is fun – bubbles, hula hoop contests, coloring, bean bag toss and other games that are always best enjoyed on a sunny expanse of green, green grass. There’ll be snacks, treats and prizes too!
We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Momentary Healing

Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Children's Mental Health, depression, Mental Illness, Recovery, Suicide, Video | Comments Off on Momentary Healing

Wynne Lee, 17, struggled with depression and cultural expectations for several years. The teen from Diamond Bar, California, is like many kids from Asian American families who often have trouble finding appropriate treatment.

Watch the video:

 

Reprinted from Children’s Mental Health Network
http://www.cmhnetwork.org/news//momentary-healing

Sesame Street in Communities

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sesame Street in Communities

SesameStreetIt’s the Month of the Young Child, and the Sesame Street pals are celebrating with videos designed to help little ones grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.

Check out their video on Children’s Mental Health Network:
http://www.cmhnetwork.org/news/sesame-street-communities