Communication, Compassion, and Continuation to Get You through the Winter

Posted on: February 19, 2015 1:00 pm
Tags: Mental health, Coping skills, Stress, Helping others, Community events

                How many discussions have you had about the weather this week?  I’ve had no less than 10 this morning alone.   With temperatures well below 0, who isn’t thinking about how cold it is outside?  Along with our daily worries about school, appointments, errands, bills, and work, we have to be sure our families have enough layers when trekking outside, and decide who will care for our kiddos while they are off school.  (Who, by their fourth day at home, are bored of watching Big Hero 6 and building snow forts.)  The added stress of these frigid temperatures can lead to increased feelings of anxiety and depression for people of all ages.

                If the cold days have you feeling down, you’re not alone.  Psychologists from the Boston area have seen an increase in need for counseling for people feeling stressed and worried about the seemingly endless snow they have endured this winter.   With 8 feet of snow to date, the city is experiencing one of the worst winters recorded.   Fortunately, southeastern Ohio’s winter has not been as treacherous, but when it is too cold to go outside, and the weather makes traveling dangerous, it can leave us feeling trapped.  You may be feeling a lack of control, or stress because simple tasks, like a trip to the grocery store, take much longer.  These feelings are normal, and many people experience them in the colder months of the year.  So what are some strategies for coping with the lack of sunshine and lots of time spent inside?

                There are simple things you can do to handle the added stress.  An easy way to remember a few strategies for taking care of yourself and others is to follow the “three C’s,” which are: communication, compassion, and continuation.  It can be easy to isolate when feeling down, yet maintaining social relationships with friends and family can quickly brighten both your day and your friend’s.  Crafts and coloring are a great indoor activity and fun for both kids and adults.  Also, the weather affects us all, and showing compassion for your neighbors, who are undoubtedly just as cold, can lighten the unpleasant feelings you’re having.  Maybe you can join community members are the Countryside YMCA when they host a health fair from 10am – 1pm?  It's a a free event and there will be many resource booths for kids and adults.  Lastly, continuing your daily routine as much as possible preserves your sense of control when it feels like we are at the mercy of the gusty winds and chilly temps.   We hope to see you at the health fair this Saturday, February 21!  

read more …

Daphne P Morrison House - Click here for photo

Posted on: January 8, 2015 1:00 pm

From the desk of Russ Dern, CEO, Solutions Community Counseling and Recovery Centers

I met Daphne Morrison in the summer of 1981 when I came to interview to replace employee number 12 at the agency then known as Warren County Mental Health Services, Inc.  Over the course of my long working relationship with Daphne, she taught me several important lessons that have served me well and have influenced the direction our agency has taken. 

One of the things that impressed me most was the depth and breadth of knowledge Daphne had of the community in which she had already worked for more than a decade when I met her.   It reinforced for me the desirability of continuity and longevity in working with clients who have long-standing and sometimes multi-generational problems or severe and persistent mental illness.   The effectiveness of the interventions we make is often contingent on the quality of the relationships we form with the clients we serve.

Daphne also showed me the value of patience.  I tried having short conversations with her to no avail, but learned in the process that if something is important enough to meet about, it deserves enough time for a thorough review and a well-reasoned solution.   

Daphne showed me the value of collaboration, even when such efforts do not yield fruit quickly.  Early in my career, she encouraged me to work with representatives from Warren County Children’s Services to develop a community intervention strategy to address child sexual abuse.  When the scale of the project seemed to outstrip community resources, I was inclined to put my energies elsewhere.  Daphne encouraged me to continue the conversation and to work on building a community consensus.  It was not until a decade later that we were able to launch Parents and Children together, our trauma-informed cognitive behavioral intervention program for traumatized children, their non-offending caregivers and siblings.  Patience and collaboration are often difficult to integrate, but the challenges we face delivering services are most often not amenable to a one or two step solution.  Establishing cooperative relations with other systems provides a foundation on which to build to address complex problems.

Finally, Daphne demonstrated repeatedly the importance of advocating for those who cannot advocate effectively for themselves to improve autonomy and quality of life and to address changing community needs as they emerge.   

It is these lessons, continuity, patience, collaboration and advocacy that contributed to our decision to develop a residential program we provide in partnership with the Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities.   It is also fitting that we honor Daphne Plaster Morrison for the lessons she taught and her long and fruitful service to this community in naming this program after her. 

read more …

What is a Coalition?

Posted on: October 10, 2014 1:00 pm
Tags: Prevention, Alcohol and other drugs, Mental health, Wellness

Coalition 101

You may have heard the term coalition used to describe a group in your neighborhood, community, or even military related operations, but what exactly is a coalition?

You’re right if you guessed it’s a group of people coming together around a specific issue or cause. The University of Kansas simply defines a coalition as “a group of individuals and/or organizations with a common interest who agree to work together toward a common goal.” Coalitions may form around a variety of interests or issues. While they may appear very different from one another, all coalitions serve the same purpose, which is to improve their community or a situation. Common coalitions related to prevention include the prevention of substance abuse, violence, suicide, and crime.

Are any of the prevention topics listed above of interest to you? You’re in luck! Anyone can participate in a coalition. In fact, coalitions want community members and youth who are interested in their cause to join them.  According to Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, there are 12 community sectors that should be represented on a substance abuse prevention coalition.  Click on the link below to see what sectors of a coalition you represent. 

12 Sectors of Community Coalitions

Coalitions form to create change on a large scale. With determination and persistence, this will eventually occur through planning and collaboration with community partners. Generally, you will find at least one, if not all, of the following components underlying the efforts of the coalition:

  1. Developing or influencing policy. This can be done on a local level, through community schools or ordinances, or on a larger scale through state and national policy. 
  2. Encouraging individuals to modify unhealthy or unsafe behaviors. Think of efforts to educate individuals about the negative effects of smoking on their health.   
  3. Improving the health of their community. An example of this is campaigns to develop awareness of domestic violence in the community. 

Most likely there are several coalitions in your area that you can become involved with. Giving back to your community creates a safer and supportive environment for everyone. 

Lastly, this is an interactive space, so what other prevention topics would you like to see covered on the blog? We’re looking forward to hearing from you!



read more …