TXT4Life Statewide Conference to be held April 4-5

TXT4Life, a service of Canvas Health, will be hosting a Statewide Conference, April 4-5, 2017 at Grand Casino in Hickley, Minn.

The conference theme is Ensuring Safety, Creating Hope: An Action Response for Suicide Prevention.

Conference topics will include best practices that address the connection of suicide to unhealed historical and current trauma; chemical health issues, including opioid addiction; and Native approaches to crisis services. Participants also will have the opportunity to take part in evidence-based suicide prevention training (QPR Training).

TXT4Life Statewide Conference participants can earn up to 13.5 CEUs and fulfill requirements for licensure. Content includes chemical health, mental health, crisis intervention, and cultural inclusiveness. We have applied for CEUs from the following boards:

Minnesota Board of Social Work
Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy
Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy
Minnesota Board of Psychology

Find out more and register here.

Canvas Health to Carry On Stomp Out Suicide’s Mission and 5K Event

Canvas Health recently entered into an agreement with Stomp Out Suicide, a local organization dedicated to preventing suicide and promoting mental health through public awareness, to carry on its incredible mission and 5K event.

Sean and Katie Haines created the Stomp Out Suicide event five years ago after their daughter, Alissa Marie Haines, died by suicide at the age of 15. Since its inception, the Stomp Out Suicide event has grown from a small community event to one that attracts over 1,500 people from all around the metro.

“We feel that Stomp Out Suicide’s mission of bringing both hope and awareness of mental illness and suicide prevention fits well with Canvas Health’s mission. We feel proud and honored that Sean and Katie have asked Canvas Health to carry the Stomp Out Suicide event into the future,” said Matt Eastwood, Canvas Health CEO.

This year’s Stomp Out Suicide 5K is scheduled for August 19 in Wyoming, MN! More details coming soon.

Canvas Health Selects New Doctoral Psychology Interns

Canvas Health offers students the opportunity to gain valuable on-the-job experience through its doctoral psychology internship program. Each year, the organization selects three interns from a pool of nationwide candidates.

Canvas Health is proud to announce its new doctoral psychology interns for the 2017-2018 academic year: Peter Lynn of the Clinical Science and Psychopathology program at the University of Minnesota, Stephanie McCarty of the University of St. Thomas, and Jessica Miller of the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology. Congratulations!


Familias Unidas Program offered for Spanish-speaking families

Spanish-speaking community members: Please join us at the Familias Unidas Program, beginning Tuesday, February 7 from 6-8 p.m. at Canvas Health’s Richfield location (1550 East 78th Street; Richfield, MN 55423). This is a 13-week program for families facilitated in Spanish by CLUES providers that provides education on chemical health and mental health topics to support families and reduce stigma. The sessions are free-of-charge and include a light dinner. Click on the links for more information: Familias Unidas Flyer and CLUES Brochure.

Canvas Health a partner in Make It OK in the Valley to shrink the stigma of mental illness

(story courtesy of the Lowdown – St. Croix Valley Area) – Communities in the St. Croix River Valley are starting a campaign—Make It OK in the Valley—to shrink the stigma of mental illness.

Leading the effort are HealthPartners hospitals and clinics in partnership with Washington County, St. Croix County, the Stillwater and White Bear Lake school districts, Andersen Corporation, Canvas Health, and Family Means and Youth Service Bureau. Radio, website, billboard and bus shelter ads will help to raise awareness of the campaign in the St. Croix Valley as well as in the Twin Cities and Goodhue County.

Marna Canterbury, director of community health for Lakeview Hospital, said, “This is a grassroots effort to start a conversation about mental illness and reduce the stigma. The goal of this campaign is to make it just as OK to talk about mental illness as we do about diabetes, heart disease and other physical illnesses.”

The Make It OK campaign is sponsored by HealthPartners, Regions Hospital Foundation, the Minnesota chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Twin Cities Public Television (TPT). More than 30,000 people have visited makeitok.org. The website features personal stories of people living with mental illness, tips on talking about mental illnesses and more. Five Make It OK documentaries on TPT won a Board of Governors Emmy Award in 2014.

In addition to the Make It OK campaign, HealthPartners hospitals and clinics have made a commitment to two other projects to improve care for patients with mental illness, including adding mental health services at Stillwater Medical Group’s primary care clinic and improving care for mental illness in emergency rooms at all HealthPartners hospitals in the St. Croix Valley (Amery, Hudson, Lakeview and Westfields hospitals).

“We support mental health in multiple ways and want to support our patients in getting the care that they need to treat mental illness,” said Ted Wegleitner, CEO of Lakeview Health and president of Lakeview. “If we can make it OK to talk about mental illness, more people will hopefully feel at ease when asking for help.”

Goodhue and Dakota counties also have Make It OK campaigns. The Goodhue program is supported by Red Wing Shoe Company, the YMCA, Mayo Clinic Health System, United Way, churches and schools. In Dakota County, more than 35 presentations have been delivered to schools, churches and community events.

Canvas Health’s ECBA Program honored with Stillwater Area Foundation Grant

The Stillwater Area Foundation presented Canvas Health with a $4,000 grant this week to help children (ages 0-5) in our Early Childhood Behavior Assistance Program. We are incredibly grateful for their support! Learn more about ECBA’s Early Childhood Clinical Services and Early Childhood Consultation.

TXT4Life program increases efforts, outreach, and expands across the state

TXT4Life, a suicide prevention resource for residents in Minnesota funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and serviced by Canvas Heath, has significantly expanded and increased its ability to respond to the needs of both the communities and individuals it serves during 2016. The program has both expanded its’ service areas and has implemented several new initiatives.

TXT4Life continues to distinguish itself from other text-based suicide prevention programs by employing Tribal Liaisons and other Regional Coordinators who present information at schools, community organizations, and other public forums to build program awareness and to give people opportunities for asking questions and request help. The program also has expanded its database of community-specific mental health and mobile crisis services, and other resources that can offer texters longer-term help after text conversations are completed. Providing free suicide intervention and prevention trainings to communities and collaborating with mobile mental health crisis teams and other providers, are other key features of TXT4Life.

Throughout 2016, TXT4Life has collaborated with agency and community partners and all Tribal Nations to align program actions with the goals and objectives of the DHS Contract.  As a part of these collaborations, TXT4Life Regional Coordinators have used research and evidence-based best practices, including culturally responsive and inclusive approaches to reach out to populations identified as “high risk” for suicide throughout the state, including members of Tribal Nations; adult, white older males; and students in grades 7-12. A substantial increase of text conversations from these populations is evident since the implementation of the new initiatives, and continues to grow.

Serving all the Tribal Nations in Minnesota in effective and culturally meaningful ways, TXT4Life is devoted to help end suicide among the population with the highest need in Minnesota-Native youth.  “Being invited into the Tribal communities is an honor. The Tribal Nations have shared a sincere commitment to making the TXT4Life program a central part of their suicide prevention efforts,” said Dr. Rosemary White Shield, TXT4Life Regional Supervisor.

TXT4Life also has a strong presence with students across 54 counties in the state. During a recent school presentation by a TXT4Life Regional Coordinator, a young boy connected deeply with the presentation. When counselors at the school talked with him, they discovered that he had been having suicidal thoughts, and the TXT4Life presentation had encouraged him to reach out for help.

“You saved a young boy’s life today,” the school counselor later told the Regional Coordinator. “What you do matters.”

To use the TXT4Life program, a texter sends the word LIFE to 61222 to be connected to a trained counselor. Counselors respond to texts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ensuring safety, confidentiality, and helping to create hope for all who turn to them.

The TXT4Life program partners with Tribal Nations directly, as well as several agencies across the state to serve funded counties. Though the program is not funded to respond to texts in the Twin Cities metro at this time, funding efforts will continue in the next legislative session. For more information, visit www.TXT4Life.org.

Registration open for Canvas Health’s 24th Annual Conference on Psychotherapy and Mental Health

Online registration is now open for Canvas Health’s 24th Annual Conference on Psychotherapy and Mental Health. The conference will be held on Dec. 2 at the University of Minnesota Conference Center.

The topic of this year’s conference will be sexual identity and gender diversity and will feature top speakers on the topic: Dianne Berg, Ph.D., Jamie Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., and representatives from the PRIDE Institute.

The full-day conference is entitled “Waking to Gender Diversity”.

Six (6) hours of pre-approved CEUs will be available from the Minnesota Boards of Marriage and Family Therapy, Behavioral Health and Therapy, Social Work, and Psychology.

Register Here!


Mental Health and Medication

Mental Health and Medication
by Ashley Krantz (North Branch Crisis Clinician)

Medications and mental health treatment often intersect.  During their training, student counselors learn about the effectiveness of a combined treatment approach using pharmacological interventions and therapeutic interventions for the best outcomes for clients.  Certainly, this seems to be a widely shared principle belief in the mental health field at this time, as many of the clients we are committed to treating are prescribed medication to assist them in managing their illness.  As clinicians, we balance our client’s individual right to choose or deny medication, and our own beliefs about the efficacy of such combined treatment.

In the field, many clinicians can attest to the importance of consistent medication compliance.  When our clients are inconsistent or stop taking their medications, the consequences of their choice and its impact on functioning are as varied as the clients we serve.  Generally, the clinician and client can observe an increase in mental health symptoms, followed by a decrease in functioning in one or more areas of life.  This sometimes results in needing to access higher levels of care, which has a large impact on the cost of healthcare as a whole.  It is estimated that the annual cost of medication non-compliance is a staggering $290 billion (American Pharmacists Association, 2013, p. 71).

The non-compliance rate for those managing SPMI has been estimated to be greater than 50%.  In the literature, barriers to compliance have been suggested, and client-related factors include: lack of insight, attitudes toward medications, attitudes toward the client’s condition, motivation, feeling stigmatized by the disease, psychosocial stress, and perceived benefit of treatment, to name a few.  Other domains of barriers include condition-related factors, therapy-related factors, social and economic factors, and health-system factors (American College of Preventive Medicine, 2011, p. 3; American Pharmacists Association, 2013, p. 70-73).

Many factors can influence an individual’s decision to take medication or explore alternatives to medication; and it seems many more factors contribute to his or her adherence once prescribed.  If you, like me, wonder “How can I support my client in being consistent with his or her medication?” Atreja, Bellam, and Levy (2005) suggest keeping things SIMPLE.  SIMPLE is a mnemonic device that is used to illustrate interventions that can be taken in order to increase the likelihood of medication compliance.  (This author has taken the suggestions for medical providers from the American College of Preventive Medicine p.8-11, and has made the original content applicable for mental health providers, adding suggestions from her own clinical experience).

S- Simplify Regimen

  • Encourage clients to visit their doctor if their prescription as written has them taking medication at many times during the day.
  • Coach clients to ask for their medications in “blister packs”. Many pharmacies can dispense medications into “cards”, where the pills are punched out at the correct time of day.  This allows for easier tracking because clients can see if they have already taken that medication or not.
    • If an individual takes many medications throughout the day, Thrifty White’s “Healthy Packs” may be more effective. Healthy Packs contain more than one type of medication to be taken at a given time, in one neatly labeled pouch.
  • Many pharmacies also offer to mail prescriptions to their customer’s homes, which could save a trip and some time.

I- Impart Knowledge

  • Partnering with prescribers in their efforts to educate clients about the benefits of their medication, counselors can also do psychoeducation about mental illness, and discuss the potential benefits of medication.
  • Refer the client back to their doctor and/or pharmacist with specific questions, being mindful of your limitations as a therapist, not a med provider.

M- Modify Patient beliefs and human behavior

  • Assist clients in processing their beliefs and fears about taking medications.
  • Identify and assist clients to overcome barriers to taking their medications.
  • Assist your client in setting small goals, and rewarding themselves for self-care.

P- Provide communication and trust

  • Provide emotional support to clients who may be dealing with stigma from their community or family members.
  • Improve interviewing skills, to correctly identify problems.
  • Ask for the client’s input
  • Encourage the client to advocate for himself or herself.

L- Leave bias

  • Address cultural differences
  • Acknowledge your own bias

E- Evaluate adherence

  • Ask! Check in with clients about their medication compliance.

In closing, there are many factors that contribute to non-compliance with medications for our clients, and there are interventions that we can provide as part of the care team that can influence our clients in a positive direction.  Compliance with medication is a large and pervasive problem in the health field, and we aren’t responsible for “fixing” the whole issue.  I encourage each of us to evaluate our own responsibility in this area.  Is there an area that could be improved?  If we changed one area, how large of an impact might this have for the clients we serve?


American College of Preventive Medicine (2011) Medication adherence- Improving health outcomes.

Atreja, A., Bellam, N., & Levy, S. (2005). Strategies to enhance patient adherence: Making it simple. Medacapt Gen Med 7(1).

American Pharmacists Association (2013). Improving medication adherence in patients with severe mental illness. Pharmacy Today, p. 69-80.



Join NAMI in Stillwater for 40 Years of Change Event

In celebration of NAMI Minnesota’s 40th Anniversary, key mental health reform leader Sue Abderholden embarks on a grassroots 40 city tour as part of a year-long effort to celebrate progress, measure impact, raise awareness about what NAMI is doing today and learn from community members about their unmet needs, hopes and ideas to build the mental health system.

Please join NAMI Minnesota for 40 Years of Change, an opportunity to learn about the impact of mental health advocacy past and present, and together, help create a vision for the future.

When: Wednesday, September 19, 2016 at 12 p.m.
Where: FamilyMeans 1875 Northwestern Ave, Stillwater, MN 55082
Registration is preferred, but not required. Click here for the registration page.