PROS Offered in Adult Homes

The talented and dedicated staff of MHA of Rockland literally and figuratively “meet people where they are at.” We engage individuals in a strength based, recovery oriented way to help them concretize the goals that they wish to achieve. We do the bulk of this work in the community, in people’s homes, schools, job sites, and community centers, allowing for greater access to and comfort with services. MHA Rockland has now embarked upon another new program which holds true to this piece of our mission.

 

In June 2017, administrative and clinical staff of our PROS program (Personalized Recovery Oriented Services program) began running therapeutic groups in several of the adult homes in the Rockland community. These groups use art therapy, recreational therapy, and social skill building as ways to engage residents in the homes. Participation is voluntary, and is designed to be short term. It allows individuals to connect to others in a meaningful way, as well as get a taste of what our PROS program is like. In many cases, it results in people applying to and being accepted into our Valley Cottage PROS program. These experiences and connections are beneficial to the participants in enriching their lives and addressing their mental health needs. They are similarly beneficial for the proprietors of the adult homes in creating a more stimulating and fulfilling environment. It is truly a “win win” initiative for all.

Mental Health Association of Rockland Awarded a $10k Grant from Sterling National Bank for Discovering Tomorrow Program

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

 

Valley Cottage – The Mental Health Association of Rockland County’s President and CEO,

Stephanie Madison, has received a $10k check from the Sterling National Bank Charitable Foundation to sustain the Discovering Tomorrow program, which serves youth ranging from 5-18 years of age. Discovering Tomorrow is an important component of the work MHA does with youth and the service it offers is recognized by the NYS Office of Mental Health as a critical tool to engage, connect and motivate young people who struggle with emotional disturbances, who are isolated and need help envisioning a hopeful future.

“Sterling National Bank has made it possible for us to continue to engage youth in talking about and realizing their hopes and dreams by connecting them to needed services and creating a team to support that child”.

MHA’s Case Managers in this program serve children who have serious emotional disturbances that impair their ability to function at home and/or school. The program is provided at no charge to the participants, so their inability to pay is never an impediment to receiving help. Discovering Tomorrow Case Managers are often the only consistent support to a child, as their behavioral difficulties typically cause considerable conflict in their relationships. Short-term, the goal is to help children and their families connect to services that will strengthen their participation in school, family relationships and social connections. Once these relationships are strengthened, the long-term goal is to reduce conflict and prevent hospitalization and out-of-home placement.

As per the NYS Coalition for Children’s Mental Health Services, an estimated 20% of youth receiving treatment for emotional or behavioral problems have either contemplated or attempted suicide. In addition, studies have shown that continuing in school through and beyond high school is strongly linked to longer life expectancies and increased lifetime earnings. “MHA serves over 100 youth per year across Rockland County and Sterling National Bank has allowed us to sustain an important program that benefits children and their families in the Rockland Community”.

 

 

For more information contact Velvet Reda (845) 267-2172, redav@mharockland.org

MHA is offering a free two-day training on suicide prevention – called ASIST – on June 2 and 3, 2015

For immediate release

Event:   Suicide Prevention Training June 2nd and 3rd

Contact: Sonia Wagner, Mental Health Association of Rockland, 845-267-2172, x323

The Mental Health Association of Rockland is offering a free two-day, highly interactive training on suicide prevention, called ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), to the general community on June 2nd and 3rd from 9am to 5pm (registration at 8:30am), with breakfast and lunch provided.

Through video, lecture, and roleplaying, participants will learn how to engage a person who has suicidal thoughts, help them to develop a safety plan, and connect them to additional supports if necessary.

“It is a kind of CPR class for suicide prevention,” said Sonia Wagner, executive vice president of the Mental Health Association.  “So often people are afraid to ask a loved one about suicidal thinking.   In fact, we find that a person who is thinking about suicide is generally relieved to discuss it and grateful that someone cared enough to ask.”

ASIST training has been delivered to over 500,000 people in more than ten countries.

The ASIST training will be offered at the Mental Health Association in Valley Cottage.  To register, please call the Association at 845-267-2172, x320.

My Friend’s Depression is not Going Away. What Should I Do?

It is hard to see a friend you care about sink into sadness or withdrawal and to not know what to say or do to help. Depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects 1 out of every 10 people over their lifetime. It causes tremendous pain for the individual suffering from depression and the people close to them too.

The first step to help is to understand. Depression is not feeling blue for a week or two, but is more intense and lasts longer. The signs and symptoms of depression are different for each person, but can include the following:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, irritable or excessively crying without an apparent cause
  • Losing interest in activities that you had enjoyed in the past
  • Losing or gaining weight unintentionally
  • Sleeping poorly or oversleeping
  • Having less energy or feeling lethargic
  • Having persistent feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
  • Having trouble making decisions or concentrating
  • Having thoughts of suicide or death
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs

Depression affects a person’s attitude and beliefs. When a depressed individual says “no one cares for me” or “nothing will ever change”, these comments need to be viewed as symptoms of their depression.

Remember that depressed people aren’t lazy. They are ill. Everyday activities like going to work or school, cleaning the house, paying bills or feeding the dog may seem overwhelming to them. Just like someone with the flu they may not feel up to it and need your help.

Your friend may not recognize that they are depressed or they may feel that they can “tough it out” or overcome what they are feeling by willpower alone. As a friend the best thing for you to do is to listen to them, provide hope and to be there for your friend. It is generally not helpful to give advice or to suggest that they “can snap out of it” or try to “fix” them. If your friend expresses that they are not depressed or don’t need your help, don’t push them to acknowledge their problem, but instead continue to keep in touch with them.

If your friend is currently receiving professional help, support their treatment, and if they had not sought help, suggest that they seek help by a mental health professional. Most people suffering from depression can be treated by psychotherapy or a combination of psychotherapy and medication. If they do not begin to improve within 6 to 8 weeks, suggest that they speak with their doctor or another mental health provider for a consultation.

If your friend begins to express any hints about harming themselves or others, you should contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Trying to help someone who is depressed can be draining and stressful for you so remember that you didn’t cause the depression and it is also important to take care of your own emotional health.

For more information about community resources, call MHA’s Client and Family Advocate at 845-267-2172, ext. 296.

Jerry Marton, L.C.S.W.

ACT Team Leader

ACT offers a team-approach that engages people in their communities – providing much of the support and care in people’s homes and neighborhoods.  The program is designed for individuals who have not found enough success in more traditional settings.

Raising a Male of Color Today

Raising a Male of Color Today
by Mary Evans, Senior Case Manager

People often say, “raising a child starts in the home”. Even though this concept is still widely uttered throughout America, then why do the same great principles and values that African American males are taught in their home, fail them outside the home? As a single, college educated African-American female, I raised my son up in the Church. I attended every parent-teacher’s meeting for 12 years of his life. I introduced him to the public library. I taught him wrong from right. I was not a substance abuser or an absent parent. We ate as a family each night when I did not have to work. I also held down 3 jobs to support my son. He grew up in an educated, working family. However, I never felt a need to worry until my son received his driver’s license. This is when the rules changed. My son went from being just an ordinary American male to a black or African
American male, who had to be taught the rules of the road as a black or African American male versus his White counterparts. It is unfair, it is unjust and it is maddening. But it is reality.

How could I ask him to understand something I did not understand myself? If you are an African American parent or parent(s) or person of color raising a light, brown, or black skinned male, what was your life experience? How many of you stayed up at night till your son came home? How many of you taught your son the 10 to 2 rule if he is pulled over by the police? How many of you worried when your son drove home from college out of state or vice versa? What about when your son relocated to a Southern state from a big city state like New York: Did you worry that the New York license plate would target him as suspect for drug dealing?

As an intensive case manager (at that time) and social work professional advocating for the rights of others, I work with white, light, brown and black skinned males between the ages of 6-21. As an intensive case manager, I provided advocacy services and linking population of clients served to resources in and out of the community. These services are based upon a client’s treatment plan goals. Nonetheless, there was one incident I do remember that took place in a local restaurant occupied by majority white patrons. This incident challenged my advocacy skills because it involved prejudice against two male youths of color, who happened to be clients of MHA. The two youths and I had just ended a socialization/recreational activity, which happened to be part of their treatment plan goal. Since they were hungry, I decided to finish the afternoon by treating them to a meal at a local restaurant before taking them home. When the youth finished their meal, it was time to pay the bill utilizing agency flex funds. The service was poor, so I decided not to leave a tip and complain privately to the owner. Before I could launch a complaint, a group of white women told the restaurant owner they saw the youths take money (tips) from the table we occupied. After being questioned by the owner; humiliated by the restaurant owner; and stared at by the group of white accusers, the two youths overheard the accusations and began denying it. They even went as far as proving their innocence by pulling their shirt and short pockets inside out. This was an embarrassing moment for the youths, and I was livid at seeing the youths reaction. When the restaurant owner learned I did not leave a tip at the table, he became apologetic, but it was too late. The damage was done as one of the youth said to me, “Mary, we did not steal any money: why did they blamed us?” I was plagued by so many emotions after hearing these words. I wanted to lash out, but was it the right thing to do in my professional role?

From a professional perspective, I have encountered many similar situations–different names, but same players. It’s disheartening but even more challenging to maintain a cool, calm composure while in the presence of youths, who are watching your every reaction. Various trainings and workshops have given me the tools to turn these unfortunate, distasteful experiences into fortunate teachable moments. The fortunate part about situations like these is that here at The Mental Health Association of Rockland (MHA) exists a Cultural Competency Committee, of which I was a member. The purpose of this committee is to ensure that ALL populations regardless of color, gender, disability, and culture are treated with dignity and respect. The Cultural Competency Committee is one of the most profound structural changing agents at The Mental Health Association. It is the “watchdog” for injustices experienced by our consumers and/or client population. The trainings provide skills that align with my value system then and now. As a huge advocate for children and adolescents, I am a firm believer that if injustices (racism, sexism, classism) faced by our youths of color continue to go unchecked and swept under the rug, it will continue to have a profound effect on children and adolescents and lead to more movements currently taking place in America today—“Hands Up Don’t Shoot” and “I Can’t Breathe”!!!

As your son’s role model, I want to leave you with these thoughts to ponder… what has or is your experience raising a male of color? If you are an adult male of color, how do you handle incidents of racial profiling in the presence of your son? In light of today’s headlines focusing on police brutality toward males of color, what advice do you give your 12 – 18 year old son who just received his driver’s license? Do you find that males of color, who are diagnosed with a serious emotional disorder get treated fairly in the justice system? What are you teaching your male(s) of color?
Mary Evans is the Senior Case Manager for the Children’s Case Management Program.
She can be reached at 845-267-2172, x272.
For additional information on our programs, please contact the Client & Family Advocate at 845-267-2172, x296.