Life Skills Support Group

Life Skills Support Group

Don’t go through life.
GROW through life!

Kellie Trombley, MHA’s Self-Help Advisor, recently conducted a series of groups on the topic of life skills, with the mission to remove mental health barriers to employment and education with exercises that promote practical outcomes. Participants learned about coping strategies to deal with emotional concerns while gaining knowledge about the culture of the work environment. By identifying personal strengths, participants learned about dealing with stress-related issues, becoming empowered to pursue educational and employment goals while improving general life skills.

For those who were not able to attend, please find the workshop handouts here:

Table of Contents

The Right Frame of Mind
1A Attitude
1B Motivation
1C Responsibility

How to Handle the Tough Stuff
2A Conflict Resolution
2B Dealing with Anger
2C Stress Reduction

How to Put Your Best Foot Forward
3A Communication/Non-Verbal
3B Communication/Verbal
3C Communication/Interview

The Nuts and Bolts
4A Money Management
4B Time Management
4C Decision Making

The Balancing Act
5A Setting Priorities
5B Home/Work/School
5C Family/Friends/Myself

Time to Act/Stop Procrastinating
6A My Personal Plan
6B Design a Resume

Adapted from the Life Skills Support Group Curriculum, County of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health, CALWorks Supportive Services, 2007. Find a link to the full original document here: http://passthrough.fw-notify.net/download/318796/http://file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/dmh/171974_LifeSkillsFinal3-18-08.pdf

 

The Kindness Rocks Project

On November 1 and 8, MHA will host two opportunties to participate in The Kindness Rocks Project.  We’ll be making rocks for ourselves and for the upcoming Survivor Day event on November 18.

Check out more details here:  Kindness Rocks Presentation

For information about participating in MHA’s Community Center activities, call our Westport office at (518) 962-2077.

Financial Wellness Workshops

Click on each title to access the presentations and handouts from the Financial Wellness Workshops held at MHA Westport.

Module 1 – Assessing How You Manage Money
Presentation 
Goals Worksheet 
Spending Diary 
The Money Quiz

Module 2 – Creating a Budget
Presentation 
Budget Worksheet – blank copy 
Budget Worksheet – completed example 
Budget Summary 

Module 3 – Credit
Presentation
How to Request Your Credit Report 
Credit Score Quiz
Debt Worksheet 

Module 4 – Banking
Presentation 
Sample Checks 
“Damper” Check 
Sample Checking Account Statement
Sample Checking Account Register 

Module 5 – Planning for Retirement
Presentation

Module 6 – Shopping and Housing
Presentation
Shopping Worksheet 

 

Top Mental Health Researcher Suggests Link Between Opioid Overdoses and Suicides

Joshua Gordon, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, believes more work must be done on connections between suicidal thoughts and overdoses.
As fatal opioid overdoses continue to rise, the causes of each death have become all too familiar: They usually involve a lethal cocktail of heroin, painkillers, and increasingly, the powerful synthetic opioid Fentanyl. But often left out of these tragic stories is the inner turmoil going on inside each victim, and researchers have started examining trauma and depression as well as social connectedness as possible factors in the rise of overdoses.

In addition to the spread of painkillers and cheap heroin, some fatal overdoses may in fact be suicides. Dr. Joshua Gordon, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, believes that there may be a stronger link between the opioid epidemic and suicide than previously realized.

“There are, of course, links between addictions in general and opioid addictions in particular and suicide,” Gordon told HuffPost. “There is a lot of concern that many of the overdose deaths could be suicides. We need to learn more about the prevalence of suicidality amongst opioid addicted individuals.”

Many of the same drivers behind suicidal thinking can be found in those addicted to opioids, from feelings of isolation and despair to economic anxieties and histories of trauma.
For complete article: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opioids-suicide-depression-public-health_us_59d55486e4b0380b6c9a14e1

A Remembrance and Poem by Barbara Rand

Lake Placid resident Barb Rand gave permission for an excerpt and poem from her upcoming book of poetry to be read at the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk in Lake Placid on Sunday, October 1, 2017.  The following is the reading shared with the audience:

A Remembrance and Poem from Prayers Along the Trail
By Barbara Rand
North Country Out of the Darkness Walk – Lake Placid
Sunday, October 1, 2017

My husband Dennis Ryan was bigger than life. Very much a people person, he always empathized with people who were going through hard times. He was kind, had lots of energy, and was known for being intense. With these qualities, he helped to move the world around him in positive ways and led the many projects he worked on to speedy completion. Whether driving miles to the funeral of a good friend’s parent or involving himself in community affairs, Dennis was always present for others.

Dennis was the love of my life. He was a gentle soul with a huge heart. Perhaps his heart was bigger than the average one, and that is why he gave so much of it to others. He loved his family and me more than himself. He loved his friends, as they were his family too. His passions were many and one of his primary ones was being involved with the lives of others. He was a good listener. When he would talk with you, you felt like you were very special, as if you were the only one in the room. He was a small town guy, but he drew in a city of friends as well.

His famous quote was, “Failure was not an option.” He was a Norwich University graduate and a very disciplined individual who had great respect for the Military life in general. His father was a Pearl Harbor survivor and my father was an 82nd Airborne soldier, surviving all the major campaigns during World War II. As a result, Dennis was deeply involved with the Veterans’ causes throughout his life and right up until his death.

He was a man who was always full of surprises and especially loved the simple things in life. A major passion was his love of music. As a result, he spent the majority of his professional life in the radio business. He started out as a disc jockey in college and finally his experiences grew into management and ownership.

He loved movies and holding hands, chocolate and red wine, and especially our Christmas Eve’s together. He was a big fan of the holidays in general and participated in the Fourth of July, even becoming a licensed pyrotechnic and he set off many fireworks over the years. He enjoyed flying and was a licensed pilot who flew whenever he could. He worked with NASCAR for a time, and Help Wanted.com, and finally as the financial business consultant.

A funny story about my guy to end on….One time at Thanksgiving, the restaurant was out of pumpkin pie, which is my favorite kind. So the next year, he actually brought a pumpkin pie to the very restaurant we had been going to for years, just so I could have my favorite pie for dessert, should they be momentarily out, and never be disappointed. He became the “pumpkin pie guy” at the restaurant forevermore!

He loved his 1976 Eldorado Cadillac so much and called it Big Red and took such wonderful care of it, just like he did with me. Our Sundays were mostly spent on taking road trips in Big Red with the top down as we just cruised the back country roads. This made my guy smile a lot.

He used to walk in our door bellowing, “Honey, I’m Home,” after Jackie Gleason of the Honeymooners, one of his favorite shows growing up. He loved bells and even hung a big bell at work and each time he’d come in the door, he would ring it and say the same thing: “Honey, I’m Home.” The girls at the office all loved him too.

My guy is still inside my heart, where he will forever remain.

After the shock of his death by suicide on May 21, 2012 — a suicide no one saw coming — I fell into deep sadness, then depression. Looking back, I don’t know how I would have survived without the love and support of my family and friends. Mine was a very slow recovery amidst the chaos of financial matters, moving from the cozy house we had shared and the city we had both loved, and dealing with endless details alone.

My long-time love of writing poetry helped me to find a new way of living my life. It provided me with a means for dealing with my extreme loss when I was alone and distraught. The poems started to come to me soon after the suicide and continue to do so often. I don’t think this will ever cease. Eventually, I began to think that perhaps I too could find a way to help others, with my poetry.

The aftermath of a suicide is a long dark tunnel to walk through for those left behind. Extreme effort is required to get through each day, especially at the beginning. I have learned that the stages of grief that psychology and self-help books outline are unpredictable and ever-present in my life. There is no exact science of the grieving and healing processes. It is easy to slip back into the sadness of loss, especially at anniversaries and holidays. Each person grieves in their own special way.

I have been so fortunate to have the ongoing support of my family and friends. My wish is that, in some small way, my poetry will touch others in situations similar to mine. I want others to realize that it is possible to make it from the darkness of despair back into the light of hope.

My book of poems is also a call to those dealing with suicidal thoughts in their daily lives. Death by suicide is not the answer. Reading the thoughts of someone left behind may make it possible you to grasp that there can be another way. Talk to someone. If that doesn’t work, talk to someone else. Because your life matters and there is help for you out here.

New Tracks

Since you left,
I have changed.
I have lived and let go of a lot of pain.
My tracks have been left on many mountain tops,
Firmly embedded in the deep white snow.
My heart is feeling more at peace.
I had to let you go with time,
But all the memories
Are still mine.
Since you left,
I have grown.
And my new home
Is surrounded by mountains
Whose colors and beauty have
Beckoned me back to life.
This is where
I now choose to roam,
And spend my days enjoying life
Knowing with every fiber of my being,
That each day is a true blessing
To be honored and revered,
With not a second to waste.

 

 

If you or someone you know may be having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 800-273-TALK (8255.)  To reach someone in Essex County, call the Essex County Mental Health Clinic Crisis line 24/7 at 888-854-3773 or the Mental Health Association’s 24-hour Hopeline at 800-440-8074.  Free and confidential emotional support is available, and with help, comes hope.

2017 Out of the Darkness Guest Speaker Hillary Kelly

Hillary Kelly

Guest Speaker

North Country Out of the Darkness Walk – Lake Placid

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Seven years ago, I attended my first North Country Out of the Darkness Walk. I was only nine months out from a suicide attempt that gave me three days in the ICU and then seven more on the mental health unit.  I was still finding my footing in accepting my diagnosis of bipolar disorder – a diagnosis I received as a teenager, but did not embrace as part of me until my early twenties.  A select few people in my life knew about my attempt, but I was not comfortable sharing that part of me with most people.  I still felt the shame and stigma surrounding my illness that I had felt for years, the same shame that had caused me to hide years of self-harm, medications, ER visits and short admissions to the hospital.  I came to that first walk with my mother, and I remember us tearfully leaning into each other while listening to the words of the survivors of suicide loss.  We didn’t speak, but we were both thinking the same thing – how close I came to being a name on a sign instead of standing there, absorbing the pain and loss of those left behind.

Those first few walks, those early years in my mental health recovery, were about reminding myself that I was still here, and how close I came to the alternative.  I began to speak openly both about having bipolar disorder, and about attempting suicide.  Instead of the judgment and stigma I expected I was met with support, encouragement and most surprisingly – gratitude. The more I spoke about it, the more other people felt comfortable reaching out and sharing their own stories of struggling with their mental health.

When I was discharged from the hospital in 2009, I began to see a counselor, and I met one I finally connected with, who helped me process not only my illness, but past trauma and encouraged me to develop a plan for the future.  If I hadn’t had her, I would have placed limitations on myself that I didn’t need to.  I struggled to find my purpose, and when I felt I was ready to return to college, I told her that I wanted to help other people with mental illness.  But how could I do that, I said, when I have a mental illness myself?  She said something to me that has stuck with me ever since, and has proven true time and time again – she said, “there are so many wounded healers in this field.”

It took work – and I want to emphasize that – to obtain stability, and then to maintain it.  It took trying different medications until we found the combination that worked.  It took working with some providers I loved, and some that I didn’t, to find treatment that worked for me.

There are many kinds of mental illness.  Bipolar disorder is a lifelong diagnosis and for me, recovery is an active choice.  I will always be in recovery, I will never be recovered.  I have to practice self-care, have a strong support system, and recognize when I am starting to feel unwell.  But with all of this work I am able to maintain a life that I love.  I am a mother to three beautiful boys – my three and a half year old, and my 15-month-old twins.  I also have a career that I am passionate about that brings me the purpose I have always desired.  Do you know what I do?  I am a wounded healer.

I began my career in mental health two years ago, and this past summer I became a New York State Certified Peer Specialist.  A peer is someone who uses lived experience to help others with their mental health recovery.  I specifically work in crisis stabilization – helping people who are actively suicidal or are experiencing suicidal ideation.  I also help people as they are being discharged from an inpatient hospital stay and connect them to services to assist in their recovery.  The same types of services that helped me.  My own experiences allow me to have true empathy for the people I am trying to help.

I asked to speak here today because I know there are a lot of people out there wearing green beads who could benefit from a message of hope.  I want you to know, from someone who has been at that lowest low, that you won’t always feel that way.  And one thing to take away from being here – that I always take away – is that there are people who love you who need you here.  And even if you feel like there aren’t, you never know who you will meet tomorrow, or next month, or next year.  I met my husband six months after my attempt.  There are three little boys here today who might not have existed because of how I felt for a short time eight years ago.

There is a book my mother gave me for Christmas a few years ago by Nancy Tillman called “You’re Here for a Reason”. I’d like to share a passage from that book with you now:

“You’re here for a reason.  If you think you’re not, I would just say that perhaps you forgot – a piece of the world that is precious and dear would surely be missing if you weren’t here.  If not for your smile and your laugh and your heart, this place we call home would be minus a part. Thank goodness you’re here!  Thank goodness times two!”

If you are feeling suicidal, please reach out – whether it’s to someone in your life that you are close to, a medical or behavioral provider, or a hotline, warmline or helpline.  There are people out there who care.  You matter.  There are professionals here today who can provide you with resources and phone numbers, or if you don’t have access to those numbers in a crisis or can’t remember, dialing 2-1-1 can help connect you to local resources as well.  There is a quote I go back time and again when I am feeling low or working with someone who is feeling suicidal. “No feeling is final”.  Trust me when I say it’s worth it to see how the future feels.

Click here to download a PDF of Hillary’s speech. 

If you or someone you know may be having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 800-273-TALK (8255.) To reach someone in Essex County, call the Essex County Mental Health Clinic Crisis line 24/7 at 888-854-3773 or the Mental Health Association’s 24-hour Hopeline at 800-440-8074. Free and confidential emotional support is available, and with help, comes hope.

“Where there is cake, there is hope. And there is always cake.”

Contact:  Shelby Davis
Shelby@mhainessex.org
518-962-2077 ext. 229

Depressed Cake Shop comes to the North
Country Out of the Darkness Walk

Pop-up shop raises awareness for mental health with unique
baked goods

Lake Placid, NY – September 25, 2017 – The North Country Out of the Darkness Walk to Fight Suicide is in its ninth year, and the Planning Committee is excited to announce the debut of The Depressed Cake Shop at this year’s Walk. The motto of the Depressed Cake Shop is “Where there is cake, there is hope. And there is always cake.”

The Depressed Cake Shop is a world-wide movement in experiential public relations. Specifically, Depressed Cake Shop is a pop-up bake shop, comprised of gorgeous baked goods decorated in various shades of grey, sometimes with a pop of color to represent hope. The grey symbolizes the grey cloud that can descend over a beautiful world when someone is struggling with mental health conditions. The pop of color signifies hope, the hope we all have, the hope we lend to someone who is in need.

Depressed Cake Shop is a stunning visual reminder of mental illness and is meant to get people thinking and talking about the subject in a new way. It’s a perfect fit for the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk in Lake Placid, and organizers hope that the creativity will astound participants at the Olympic Oval on Sunday, October 1. Bakeries interested in donating baked goods may contact Amy Quinn at anq1970@gmail.com.

To register for the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk, visit www.afsp.org/northcountry. To make a raffle donation or for information about sponsorship, contact Shelby Davis at Shelby@mhainessex.org or call 518-962-2077 ext. 229.

Suicide Prevention Coalition offers Training Programs

The Essex County Suicide Prevention Coalition aims to implement community-based suicide awareness, prevention, intervention and recovery programs by providing Evidence-Based and Best Practice training models at low or no cost.

Here are some of the available programs:

QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — Three simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. QPR can be learned in as little as one hour.

SafeTALK is a 3 training that prepares anyone over the age of 15 to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources. Most people with thoughts of suicide invite help to stay safe. Alert helpers know how to use these opportunities to support that desire for safety. Powerful video clips illustrate both non-alert and alert responses. Discussion and practice help stimulate learning. Learn steps that contribute to saving lives.

ASIST is a two-day intensive, interactive and practice-dominated course designed to help caregivers recognize and review risk, and intervene to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. Professionals, volunteers and informal helpers all need to know how to help persons with thoughts of suicide in ways that increase their suicide safety.

Creating Suicide Safety in Schools, or CSSS, is a six-hour workshop for school planning teams that looks at four basic categories of preparedness and additional foundational supports.  Often several schools in a district or an area come together to host the training and each sends a planning team.

Lifelines is an Evidence-Based, whole-school program made up of three unique components: Prevention, Intervention and Postvention. The Lifelines trilogy is based on over 20 years of suicide-in-youth research that indicates an informed community can help to prevent vulnerable teens from ending their lives.

Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental illnesses, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common supports. This eight-hour course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to offer initial help in a mental health crisis and connect persons to the appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care. The program also teaches the common risk factors and warning signs of specific types of illnesses, like anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.  There are specific programs for Youth, Adults, Public Safety, Rural, Higher Education and Faith Communities.

If you aren’t sure which training program is right for you or for a free training consultation, contact Shelby at 518-962-2077 ext. 229.  You can also download a list of the available training programs here.

Depressed Cake Shop coming to Out of the Darkness Walk in Lake Placid

“Where there is cake, there is hope.  And there is always cake.”

Depressed Cake Shop is coming to the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk, October 1, in Lake Placid!

Stay tuned for details!

#depressedcakeshop
#outofthedarkness
#stopsuicide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local Quilters Donate Hand-Crafted Quilt to Out of the Darkness Walk

 

This beautiful quilt is being made by two local quilters from Port Kent, and donated to the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk.  With over 60 combined years of experience, their creative pattern design is meant to symbolize the dark colors transforming into lighter ones in the spirit of the “Out of the Darkness” theme.  We appreciate their generous donation and will contribute all funds raised from the raffle towards the Walk.

 

quilt in progress

“Adirondack Hope”

Full Size/Wall Hanging, 77 x 92

Disappearing Pattern Style

 

Drawing will be held Sunday, October 1, 2017 at the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk to Fight Suicide in Lake Placid.  Winner does not need to be present to win.

Tickets are $2 each or 3 for $5 when purchase in person.

Tickets can be purchased from Out of the Darkness Walk Committee Members or at Out of the Darkness Fundraising events.

Tickets can also be purchased online at https://mhainessex.wufoo.com/forms/out-of-the-darkness-quilt-raffle/.   $10 or 6 ticket minimum purchase online.