RECOVERY SERVICES OFFERED TO INMATES

MHA has launched an innovative and very well-received discussion group for men incarcerated in the Rockland County Jail. Co-facilitated by our clinic’s director, Juliet Stiebeck, and clinician Jennifer Conforto, the group draws ten men each week who choose to participate in discussions about their lives, hopes, and dreams. Some of the participants will likely be released shortly while others will be serving long-term sentences upstate.
The topics have included how addiction took control of their decisions, how their resilience has helped them to survive, and what they still have control over while incarcerated.

The participants have been tremendously open with and supportive of each other, which speaks to the safe environment that the facilitators have helped create with the group’s assistance. While Juliet and Jennifer come prepared with a particular topic for discussion, they make it clear that this is the participants’ group and will follow their direction.

Juliet reflects on this new endeavor as one of the most meaningful projects she has taken on at MHA. It helps her to see the participants in the group as people who “want the same things out of life as I do.” Unfortunately, she says, “the drugs took over their lives and they lost all sense of self.” This group is intended to help them reconnect with who they are and envision a better future.

After piloting and learning from this experience, we plan to expand the program and start a group for women.

Trauma Informed Care

Trauma Informed Care

 

Here at MHA of Rockland, we are incredibly proud of our 65 year history of providing exceptional services to more than 50,000 Rockland County residents affected by mental health and/or substance use issues. An important part of that history has been keeping abreast of research and innovation, thereby providing evidenced based practices at all times. Currently, our dedicated staff are trained in 10 different best practice models which are implemented with children, adults, families, and significant others. Now, we are expanding our horizons yet again, as we have embarked upon an agency wide initiative to be a trauma informed care organization. Trauma informed care realizes, recognizes, and responds to the widespread impact of trauma on the individuals we have the privilege of supporting every day. Through utilization of six key principles of trauma informed care, we help people find a path to recovery, promoting strength, empowerment and resilience. The six principles all staff are being trained in are:

  • Safety
  • Trustworthiness and transparency
  • Peer support
  • Collaboration and mutuality
  • Empowerment, voice and choice
  • Cultural, historical and gender issues

Every single staff member will receive this training, from our receptionists and drivers to our clinicians and doctors. It is yet another way that we continue to be committed to excellence, providing outstanding supports and services to our Rockland County residents.

Springtime Challenge

Springtime Challenge

 

Myth – the rate of suicide goes up in the winter.

Fact – the suicide rate goes up in the spring.

 

 

This reality seems counter-intuitive.  After all, isn’t Spring the time when we can at last go outside and bask, hike, eat, camp, bike, walk, bird-watch and all that in the radiance and warmth of the glowing sun?

Scientists have puzzled over this for years.   Many possible explanations abound, including highly physiological ones, such as one proposing that an inflammatory response may be the cause.

There is good reason to pursue these ideas, but there could be a combination of effects, as is so often the case in behavioral health.  As a social worker with a background in suicide prevention hotlines, I have heard countless people talk about how they feel more “themselves” on cloudy days and how the sunny days of Spring often leave them feeling depressed.    It has often seemed to me that the outside “mood” of rainy weather was more compatible with their internal states of mind.  This compatibility seemed to be comforting to them.  The coming of Spring, however, seemed jarring to their internal state.  They talked more about wanting meaningful relationships – and they seemed to perceive that everyone else had them.  “After all,” they would point out, “look at all the couples walking hand-in-hand out there.  Look at all the families having picnics.”

In the winter – especially during the holidays –  the radio waves and social media outlets are full of messages of hope and compassion for those who are struggling.  Hence a person feeling outside of the mainstream knows that he/she has company.  Not so in Spring.  This season is expected to cure our emotional woes.  For many people who struggle through depression, this unfulfilled promise is deeply disappointing and may trigger thoughts of earlier let-downs.

How can we help our loved ones feel better when they seem not to join the celebration of Spring?  First, it helps simply to recognize that we don’t all react the same way to the new season.  Second, showing someone that you’ve noticed their struggle, and by extension that you’ve noticed them, can make a huge difference.   A gentle invitation (without advice) to take a walk, or perhaps to do something indoors like going out for lunch, can make a difference.  Any way that you can show this person in your life that you notice them, see their struggle, and want to help in a way that’s comfortable for them will go a long way.  If you’re feeling pushed aside when you do this, then it might be helpful for you to find some professional support and guidance on how best to assist.

 

At MHA we offer lots of support to individuals who are living through behavioral health challenges.  We also assist their families and friends.  Most of that help is free.  For more information, please call us at 845-267-2172, x296.

 

 

 

 

New Program in Recovery Services

According to recent research published by The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, approximately 50% of prison and jail inmates meet the clinical criteria for substance abuse or dependence. Data from a national study in five major American cities show that at the time of arrest, 63% – 83% of arrestees have drugs in their system. These statistics speak to the importance of individuals who need substance use treatment having access to quality care, before, during, and after periods of incarceration.

MHA of Rockland is proud of our Recovery Services program, a medically supervised outpatient clinic offering prevention and treatment services for children, adolescents and adults impacted by personal and familial drug and alcohol use. This program serves more than 500 individuals a year, helping to break the family cycle of addiction, and supporting people in building positive and meaningful lives.

In addition to our Recovery Services program, we are excited to announce that our trained staff will now be providing weekly drug treatment groups in the Rockland County jail. Separate groups will be offered, free of charge, for men and women who wish to access support and treatment during their incarceration. Prior to release, individuals will also be helped to connect to community based resources, both at MHA and other agencies, to further their recovery efforts. It is yet another new initiative that strengthens our mission of connecting people, educating families, and rebuilding lives.