The Jessica Gove Memorial Youth Activity (“Fishing Pole”) Fund honors a woman who gave many years of service to children and families.
As a Children’s Mental Health Case Manager and Mental Health Practitioner at Canvas Health, Jessica often used games, books, outings, and summer fishing trips with children and teens to help them express their feelings, practice social skills, enjoy a little respite, and feel special and valued. She understood that, regardless of situation or diagnosis, children respond to play, activity, and the opportunity for exploration with a caring adult.
Jessica always carried a supply of games and fishing equipment in the back of her Jeep – a kind of activity toolkit at the ready for youth encounters. She made an annual outing to the lake in Woodbury to bring kids in contact with the experience of casting a line for fish, and then helped them take the fish off the hook even when no one else had the courage. Thus, the Jessica Gove “Fishing Pole” Fund.
Youth-focused professionals can make use of Youth Activity Funds in many ways. These funds can purchase a book, theater outing, fishing license, used guitar, bus pass to visit a college, or other small items that facilitate a therapeutic activity and a sense of self-discovery or confidence for a child or teen that might not have such an opportunity otherwise. Your donation to the fund will be applied to those small things that spark a big difference, and be administered by the Canvas Health Child and Family Division.
Please spend time with a special youth in your life in honor of Jessica’s professional and personal practice and life.
Click here to link to the donation page.
Today, tens of millions of Americans are living with the burden of a mental health problem. They shoulder conditions like depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress and bipolar disorder — debilitating illnesses that can strain every part of a person’s life. And even though help is out there, less than half of children and adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive treatment. During National Mental Health Awareness Month, we shine a light on these issues, stand with men and women in need, and redouble our efforts to address mental health problems in America.
For many, getting help starts with a conversation. People who believe they may be suffering from a mental health condition should talk about it with someone they trust and consult a health care provider. As a Nation, it is up to all of us to know the signs of mental health issues and lend a hand to those who are struggling. Shame and stigma too often leave people feeling like there is no place to turn. We need to make sure they know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness — it is a sign of strength. To find treatment services nearby, call 1-800-662-HELP. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers immediate assistance for all Americans, including service members and veterans, at 1-800-273-TALK.
Our commitment cannot end there. We must ensure people have access to the care they need — which is why the Affordable Care Act will expand mental health and substance use disorder benefits and Federal parity protections for 62 million Americans. For the first time, the health care law will prevent insurers from denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition. The Act already requires new health plans to cover recommended preventive services like depression screening and behavioral assessments for children at no extra cost to patients.
My Administration will keep building on those achievements. Earlier this year, I was proud to launch the BRAIN Initiative — a new partnership between government, scientists, and leaders in the private sector to invest in research that could unlock new treatments for mental illness and drive growth throughout our economy. We have made unprecedented commitments to improving mental health care for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. And we have proposed new funding for mental health programs that will help teachers and other adults recognize the signs of mental illness in children, improve mental health outcomes for young people, and train 5,000 more mental health professionals to serve our youth.
Mental health problems remain a serious public health concern, but together, our Nation is making progress. This month, I encourage all Americans to advance this important work by raising awareness about mental health and lending strength to all who need it.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2013 as National Mental Health Awareness Month. I call upon citizens, government agencies, organizations, health care providers, and research institutions to raise mental health awareness and continue helping Americans live longer, healthier lives.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.
Today a student asked me, “Jenny, why do you repeat back what we say?” My response was simple, “So you know I am truly listening to you.” This is the first lesson you learn when you go to school to be a therapist. It is called active listening.
Active Listening is repeating back what your child has said, using their own words. For example, “This game is stupid because I never win.” An Active Listener would say, “You don’t like the game because you haven’t won.” You might also say, “You’re frustrated because who can’t win at this game.” Adding the feeling into the active listening technique teaches the person to identify or name their feelings.
I have found active listening to be helpful in so many different environments:
1. For the toddler who is just starting to express themselves: “Bird!” An Active Listener would say, “You are excited there is a bird outside.” This teaches the toddler how to form a sentence and that you are listening.
2. When my son was 3 years old he was telling me a story as we were driving and I was responding with “ok” and “yeah”. He said, “Mommy why aren’t you listening?” I actually was listening at that moment, but I’m not always listening in the car! J. It taught me that he didn’t know I was listening unless I used active listening.
3. For the child who is angry and escalating: I have found that 8 times out of 10, if I use active listening when a child is upset, they will calm themselves down, simply because they know that I really heard them.
I believe that active listening works for the following reasons:
1. The child knows they are truly heard. This sends them a message that you care and want to understand and help.
2. The child learns to identify/name their feelings and gives them the language they need to communicate to others.
3. It allows children to hear their problem out loud and help solve it themselves
So parents, give it a try at home with your kids- you might be surprised. I know I was.
Unfortunately, it seems that traumatic events are occurring more and more frequently in our society, the most recent being the bombs at the Boston Marathon. I overheard some students talking about it at lunch and thought I should send out my thoughts on how, as parents, we are supposed to help our children feel safe during this time.
It seems that new research studying the effect of violent video games on children’s brain development, decision making, socialization and moral development is released every day. Unfortunately, the results of these studies are often have contradictory conclusions. One study states, “video games desensitize (children) to real violence,” leaving children with less able to have empathy and more prone to acts of violence. Another concludes that “playing violent video games and the amount of time playing violent video games are risk factors for delinquency and violent behavior.” On the other hand, a study from December 2010 concluded that there is “no link between violent video games, youth aggression. “
Anecdotal evidence is similarly contradictory. Columbine killers Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were reported to be immersed in a violent video game (Doom) and it has been widely speculated that this, to some degree, desensitized them to killing and in a sense, “trained” them to “point and shoot.” Anders Breivik, who killed 69 and wounded 110 children in Norway in 2011, stated the he used the video game Call of Duty as a training aid to kill. And, on the other hand, every child that plays violent video games does not grow up to be a mass murderer or sociopath. Most grow up to be well adjusted, kind, sensitive adults.
So, where does this leave us?
To read more click here.
A collaborative community effort to assist and serve Washington County Homeless Youth ~
Woodbury Rotary offered their financial commitment of assisting and serving the needs of Washington County’s homeless youth population. Last week, Canvas Health’s Homeless Youth Program received a $2000 Woodbury Rotary check, a portion of their $20,000 financial commitment.
The Canvas Health Homeless Youth Outreach Program is dedicated to bringing hope, healing and recovery to adolescent lives. The Homeless Youth Program goal is to find Washington County youth (aged 16 to 21) who are either homeless or living in places not meant for housing and help them develop a stable housing plan. Stable housing may mean reuniting youth with a family member or other caring adult. Read more here.
A National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study published online today in Lancet reveals that the five most common disorders—autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disease, schizophrenia, and major depression—all share similar genetic components.
“These disorders that we thought of as quite different may not have such sharp boundaries,” said Dr. Jordan W. Smoller of Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the lead study authors.
The results suggest that a rethink in how these disorders are defined might be in order. Rather than focusing on symptoms, which can be attributed to one or more disorder, physicians could one day start to rely on specific gene mutations or biologic pathways to make a formal diagnosis.
And it also could lead to better treatments, said Dr. Bruce Cuthbert, director of the NIMH’s Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment Development. “We are finally starting to make inroads where we have actual physiological mechanisms that we can target,” he said. “We can really start to understand the biology instead of having to guess at it.”
Clinics bring together doctors and psychiatrists to cure physical, mental health ailments.
On a recent day at Family Services Inc., a low-income mental health clinic in Gaithersburg, clinic director Amy Van Grack was treating one of her regular patients when she realized the patient was homeless, pregnant and hadn’t seen a primary care doctor in months. So Van Grack walked the patient down the hall to meet with one.
In addition to therapists, counselors and psychiatrists, FSI in December added a medical clinic to its site. The idea: Individuals with behavioral health disorders are more likely to get the physical treatments they need when a doctor is readily available, affordable and near their mental health care provider.
In bringing on physician Sacari Thomas-Mohamed to head up the medical side of the clinic, FSI is at the leading edge of a trend toward what’s called health-care integration — the idea that medical professionals of all stripes should work together to treat the range of ailments a patient might be experiencing at one time. FSI is one of 93 clinics across the country that’s been given part of $174 million in grant money by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration over the next four years to help them accomplish just that. Read more here.
Interested in using your story to make a difference so no more children are hurt by sexual abuse? Want to use your experience to engage others to do something to prevent sexual abuse? If your life or the life of someone you love has been touched by child sexual abuse and you want to use your experience to prevent other children from being harmed, please join us for one of three free weekend theater/writing workshops. The workshops will be a safe space to explore your personal experiences using theater, writing, and movement. You don’t need previous artistic or performance experience. The only requirements are that you have a story you are willing to share and an open mind to others and their experiences. All workshop participants will be people like you who want to use their experience to generate hope, healing and change.
Workshops will be lead by Cordelia Anderson, who understands child sexual abuse and the power of stories for prevention. Cordelia has more than 30 years of experience combining her passion for the arts with prevention of sexual abuse and
exploitation. Cordelia will be joined by guest artists from Pillsbury House Theatre along with volunteers to support participants. To learn more click here. To complete a workshop application click here.
The Mental Health in Schools Act would authorize funding for grants to schools and community mental health centers to work with community-based organizations to expand access to mental health services for students. The grants will also be used to provide training for families, school staff, and other members of the community to look out for warning signs in children and to refer them to the appropriate services when necessary. Part of Senator Franken’s inspiration for the Mental Health in Schools Act stems from the poor ratio of school counselors to students in Minnesota. Currently Minnesota ranks 48th in the nation with 1 counselor for every 780 students. Read the full press release here.